Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 22 Jul 2011
Mercifully for the neutral fan, Ferrari seemed to have lost none of their Silverstone pace on Friday, as they battled it out with Red Bull for top honours in the two opening practice sessions in Germany. The track was cool and the skies were largely grey, but there was still plenty of action to talk about. The drivers and senior team personnel report on day one at the Nurburgring
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:32.217, 2nd; P2 - 1:31.711, 1st
So far so good; the car feels pretty good here. Fernando (Alonso) and Seb (Vettel) are really quick as well and you never know when McLaren might turn up tomorrow too. I havent been watching them too much today, weve been concentrating on ourselves and trying to improve the car with each run, thats the most important thing we can do. Its nice if it stays dry, as its a bit easier to manage, but whatever tomorrow throws at us, we should be ready for it. Im feeling comfortable so far.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:32.268, 3rd; P2 - 1:32.084, 3rd
It was cold out there today! It was good fun, the circuit was quite slippery with the low temperatures, but we did a lot of laps and the car seems okay, although Im not 100% happy yet. Well see what happens tomorrow, but at this stage weve got a bit of work to do. Ferrari looks very competitive, McLaren is a bit harder to judge, but we will see. We dont know the conditions for tomorrow - rain is forecast, but it depends when and if it will come.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:31.894, 1st; P2 - 1:31.879, 2nd
A normal sort of Friday just like any other. First impressions from the car are good, which confirms that we are working in the right direction. Ive said it before, its not a case of a miracle having happened at Silverstone, because of the regulations relating to the exhausts. That result was down to the many improvements introduced race after race, as could be seen from the fact that, even from Monaco, we had returned to a good level in terms of being competitive and here too, where we are back to the Valencia rules, we are at the front end of the field. In theory, the cold is not a friend to us: in these conditions, the Red Bull has even more of an edge, but its up to us to adapt as well as possible to these conditions. On top of that, the low temperatures can also impact on our strategy for qualifying, given its not easy to do a time right from the first timed lap. It if was to rain, the situation would be even more complicated. The incident with Michael (Schumacher)? Nothing happened, maybe he didnt see me coming and then I had to brake suddenly. And then, on a Friday much like any other, a bit of excitement is quite welcome
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:32.681, 4th; P2 -1:32.354, 4th
It was a good day: we had so much work to get through and we managed to do it in both sessions, without having any problems. I would say we can be reasonably satisfied with our level of competitiveness, even if its too soon to say if we can fight for something important. The pace over a long run is not bad on both types of tyre: there is quite some difference between the Prime and the Option and we will need to keep that in mind when coming up with our race strategy. Its a bit of a struggle to do a time immediately on the first lap, even with the Soft, but I think its the same problem for everyone. I like this circuit: there are climbs and descents and a lot of changes of direction which make it fun to drive. Sure, if on top of that you have a quick car then you can have even more fun!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
We had a very full work programme that we managed to complete without any reliability problems, which is always a good way to start a race weekend. Felipe and Fernando did practically two Grands Prix distances between them, picking up a lot of data that is now being studied by our engineers. There were various elements being assessed, both for this race and for the forthcoming ones: we will now try and put together the best possible package for the rest of the weekend. Its hard to say where we are compared to the others because of the usual unknowns regarding fuel loads and also because of the different programmes being run. From what we could see, the low temperatures are certainly not helping when it comes to getting the tyres working at their best right from the first lap, especially with the Medium compound. Tomorrow, qualifying could be affected by rain, which means it will be important to do a good job of managing the tyres and the strategy.
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:33.863, 7th; P2 - 1:32.411, 5th
"I'm quite happy with the work that we achieved today and we are going in a good direction. We are continually developing our car and days like today help that process. It's difficult to see the real picture for the weekend however; we don't know what fuel loads the other cars were running and we need to have a close look at our data. It was a really nice feeling to drive the corner which bears my name here in a Formula One car; I certainly wouldn't have imagined that at the time that we inaugurated the corner."
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:33.787, 7th; P2 - 1:32.557, 6th
"It's amazing to see how many spectators came to the Nurburgring today for the practice sessions. I love the atmosphere at the German Grand Prix and I tried to wave to the fans but there's not much space for it in the car! In general, I am happy with our work and progress today so far. It seems that the new parts are working quite well in the dry and I think there is a small step forward. However on Fridays, you never know exactly where you are and what the other teams are doing."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We've had a solid day to start our German Grand Prix weekend here at the Nürburgring. It was a particularly useful day to further evaluate our new exhaust system following its introduction at Silverstone and the limited dry running that we were able to achieve there. It was a good effort from everyone in the two sessions today but it would be nice to find a little more lap time before qualifying tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"A productive first day at our home Grand Prix: surprisingly it stayed dry, but the forecast still predicts rain for race day. We worked through our planned programme and evaluated all three different types of Pirelli tyre available to us today. Our race simulation at the end of P2 showed consistent lap times, which were of course still not quick enough compared to the top three teams. Our positions in the rankings today reflect more or less our current place in the pecking order."
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:32.996, 5th; P2 - 1:32.724, 7th
Its been a productive day. We got through our run-plans well, and my long-run pace is better than it was at Silverstone, which is a good thing.
Weve got some updates on the car and they seem to be working, which is also positive. But its only Friday, so its too soon to draw conclusions - and, besides, and we dont know what programmes the other teams were running.
The Ferraris look like theyre up there, and the Red Bulls seem quick too, but anything can happen in the race and well be working hard tonight and tomorrow to maximise our chances.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:33.628, 6th; P2 - 1:33.225, 11th
Its been a slightly frustrating day for me. I couldnt get a good balance on the car this morning - and, once wed found some rear grip in the afternoon session, my KERS Hybrid system was no longer working. That cost me quite a bit of lap-time under braking and on corner exits.
Then, with 20 minutes of the afternoon session remaining, a problem with an experimental exhaust brought my day to a premature end. It was a test part and failures sometimes happen when youre trying new things on a Friday.
Looking to tomorrow, I think it will be difficult for us to beat the Red Bulls in qualifying. But our aim is to race with the front-runners on Sunday afternoon.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Jenson had a KERS Hybrid problem today, and consequently had to do a bit of running without the lap-time benefits that KERS Hybrid confers.
The experimental exhausts that he was testing also failed, which cut short his track time - but thats an inevitable result of our having to use Fridays for testing.
Lewis had a more trouble-free day and completed a competitive long run, which was encouraging.
But today was basically a data-gathering exercise, and well now analyse that data overnight in preparation for qualifying tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, P1 - 1:35.444, 15th; P2 - 1:33.098, 8th
These were two important sessions for us as we were able to try the new exhaust and diffuser. We had no technical issues which enabled us to work through a lot of our planned programme so we can now make a decision of where to go next with it. As I was evaluating the new parts I did a lot less balance work than I would have down otherwise. We also didnt do a high-fuel long run which we would normally as we focused on learning as much as we could with the new exhaust and floor. Even though its quite cool the soft Pirellis are heating up pretty well so there were no problems in that regards and there was the usual difference between the two compounds. Theres now a lot of work to see what we do with the floor and what happens with the weather. It was good that it was dry today but the forecast doesnt look as good for the next two days.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:34.094, 11th; P2 - 1:33.138, 9th
I was pleased with today. We did a lot of aero testing and worked on a number of set-ups. It was my first time on this circuit so I needed some time to get know it and understand how to drive here. Set-up wise, we are not far away from a good car, even after our running was interrupted by a radiator leak which cost us a little bit of time in second practice. The soft tyres had more grip than we experienced with them previously. All in all, we were pleased with progress.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
Nick ran a rearward exiting exhaust for the first time on the R31 and a complementary rear floor. Vitaly ran a new front floor and front wing. Vitaly suffered from a water leak in FP2 necessitating a change of radiator. We ran with both the soft and the medium Pirelli tyres. Due to Vitalys water leak and Nicks exhaust evaluation we did not run a high-fuel long run.
We are on a steep learning curve with the rearward facing exhaust and made strong progress through the two sessions. There were no issues with balance and we have a good baseline set-up here with both car configurations. We have a lot of data to digest for determining which exhaust configuration we will use for qualifying and the race. We had good running time with the soft Pirelli and are happy with the performance we saw.
Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:33.832, 8th; P2 - 1:33.211, 10th
I struggled with some understeer in the car today through both sessions so we worked hard on trying to resolve those issues. We played around with a few things, changed the ride heights and found some improvements. The morning programme focussed on running with our new floor and everything looks quite positive with that. The afternoon was more preparation work for the race and getting the usual data for the tyres with some longer runs.
Paul di Resta, P2 - 1:33.299, 12th
It was my first time on the full Grand Prix circuit here at the Nurburging so part of today was about getting up to speed and confident on the track. From the start of the session the balance of the car felt quite stable, especially through the higher speed corners. We tried to improve the performance of the car in the low speed corners and worked on braking stability to avoid rear locking. Overall the car has been working well today and it gives us a good basis to build on overnight.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:33.858, 9th
I enjoyed the session and it was fun to drive the Nurburgring for the first time with a Formula One car. But it was a tricky start because I lost the KERS for my first run, which changed the car behaviour quite a bit. Fortunately we got the KERS back for the rest of my runs. One of the objectives of the day was doing a comparison of the new floor on Adrians car this morning while I ran with the older version. That gave us some useful data. Then I did my final run on the new soft development tyre, which felt pretty good.
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
"It has been quite cold here today and we were fortunate to get away without any rain showers. The team worked very hard to deliver a broad programme, with the time both in and out of the sessions used very productively, which should be a good basis for our weekend. Although we haven't been here for a couple of years, the car balance was quite understeery as usual and we have some work to do to adapt to the long cambered corners on this track. Overall it seems we are heading in the right direction.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:36.371, 16th; P2 - 1:34.113, 13th
Today was very busy. In the first session we did some aero tests, and only in the second session worked with the different tyres. We are not as competitive yet as we thought we would be here, but we did a reasonable job today and hopefully in qualifying we can aim for higher positions.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:36.882, 19th; P2 - 1:34.491, 16th
It was not so easy today. We went through our programme with no problems, but overall we are struggling with grip and dont understand why yet. We are not yet as good as we expected we would be, and have to improve for tomorrow.
James Key, Sauber technical director
In the morning session both cars did a round testing aero items. We were looking at various new parts and did no real set up work in that session. In the afternoon we concentrated on the tyres available. We ran the test tyre Pirelli provided, which was a soft compound, and it looked okay. We also ran the standard soft tyre for here, and did some race runs towards the end of the session. Generally it was a very productive day. Mainly we now need to work a little on getting the tyres to work in the colder temperatures.
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:35.389, 14th; P2 - 1:34.344, 14th
We werent as competitive as we should have been today but if the weather changes it could be interesting. I really like the track so Im looking forward to a better weekend.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:36.842, 18th; P2 - 1:34.996, 17th
We had a few problems today and I didnt have a great feeling in the car. I think it will be a tough weekend for us but we are working hard and hoping to improve for tomorrow.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Today we spent the morning evaluating a new rear wing, front wing and suspension design. We still have some work to do on all of those items, so we haven't decided which options to race here in the Grand Prix. With the high altitude here, we have to set-up the car differently and today was about optimising the set-up around that.
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:35.115, 12th; P2 - 1:34.487, 15th
This was a good test day for us and I completed a lot of laps. We had a busy programme, trying some things for the future and also various different set-up scenarios. I did a long run on the Option tyre this afternoon and we are still looking better in race trim than in the qualifying simulation. Based on this, I would say we have the possibility to score some more points on Sunday, although the weather is looking uncertain. Tomorrow morning we can look to improve the car a bit more for the race and in the afternoon, qualifying will again be the limiting factor for us, because it will be very difficult to get ahead of our closest opponents, but I am very motivated for the race.
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:35.371, 13th; P2 - no time, 24th
I had a misfire from early on in the morning session, but we continued to run anyway. Then in the afternoon it got worse and the mechanics had to strip down the car to trace the cause of it, so I could not run in FP2. In the morning session, I was able to evaluate the experimental Soft compound tyres that Pirelli supplied us here. However, despite the lack of laps, I still believe we can move forward tomorrow, when there is also a chance the weather could be different with the threat of rain. So, overnight we have to fix the car then decide on what set-up to run if it is wet and despite todays difficulties, I still believe we can have a competitive weekend.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
We ran a good programme with Jaime today, doing some important testing in terms of set-up work in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, we concentrated on race set-up and he did a very long run on the Option tyre, which will provide useful data for the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately, Sebastiens day did not go smoothly, as we had an issue on the car which prevented him from running in FP2. Now all our efforts are focussed on finding and fixing the problem before tomorrow. Hopefully, we can take elements of what we learned from Jaimes data today and transpose it onto Sebastiens car for tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen, P2 - 1:36.392, 17th, P1 - 1:35.753, 18th
Im pleased with todays performance - that was one of the good Fridays. We completed more laps than anyone else out there and the car has felt good all day. I can feel that we have made a decent improvement to the back of the car which helped us find a good balance pretty early on and it was working well on both tyre compounds, so this goes down as a good days work.
Karun Chandhok, P1 - 1:38.765, 21st; P2 - 1:37.248, 20th
That was good day of learning. The main area Ive been looking at is the brakes - we use a different material here to my previous team so I think thats why Ive maybe ended up with quite a lot of square tyres today! I had a few moments under braking, and a couple of lock-ups, but thats what today was about - getting used to the tyres and the brakes and easing myself into a place where I can start to push. Over the day I improved my time from this morning by over 1.5 seconds, so Im pleased with that, and now Ill work with the engineers to find more time and keep pushing forwards tomorrow.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
A pretty useful first day where we were able to complete the programmes on both cars and make sure Karun completed a decent number of laps. He was obviously on a steep learning curve so we wanted to give him a chance to work on the tyres, both over a single lap and on long runs and he acquitted himself very well in both sessions. He and Heikki were struggling to warm up the front tyres, especially on the harder compound, but we can work on that and look forward to tomorrow.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader for Lotus
The main challenge here is to work on the driveability of the engines. We need to find a good top speed for the long straight and couple that with strong traction out of the slow and medium speed corners, and after having completed so many laps we have a very decent amount of data to work on to give the drivers the best package we can. We also wanted to make sure Karun could run as much as possible on different fuel loads and get used to the different engine maps, so the fact he completed so much mileage means this has been a good day all round."
Riad Asmat, Lotus chief executive officer
"I am delighted with how today has gone, both in terms of the mileage we completed and the fact that both Karun and Heikki have performed so well. Karun has done exactly what we needed him to do - learn as much as possible, avoid any mistakes and ease himself into his race weekend. There is definitely more to come from him in pace and he can be pleased with how well he has grabbed the opportunity he has here in Germany. It is also good to see that the work that has been going on at the factory to resolve the reliability issues that befell us at the last race appear to have eradicated those problems, so now we have to make sure we have another strong Saturday and look forward to seeing both cars cross the line on Sunday.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P2 - 1:38.145, 22nd
Overall, the afternoon was a good session. I focused a bit on everything. Its important to understand the tyres and how they react for the long distance race. It is also important to improve our speed and the balance in terms of set-up and aerodynamics so we had one and a half hours to work on both and I think we covered both areas. It was a good Friday.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:39.279, 22nd; P2 - 1:40.737, 23rd
I had an easy start to get used to the car. We worked on the balance of the car and the tyres. A good first session to start my second ever F1 race weekend. Unfortunately we had a small problem with the car in the second session and could not take full advantage of all the track time.
Narain Karthikeyan, P1 - 1:38.504, 20th
Its good to be back in the car. We had a good set-up and a proper session and enough running time to test mechanical parts. Some changes that we made to the car had the effect I was hoping for. I am proud to have kept the 20th position in the classification even if I did not get the lap together. I could have gone quicker.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
Its Friday practice as usual, and we made good progress despite a second session problem. Narain had a good session in the morning and was still the fastest Indian on four wheels in the World. Unfortunately Daniels car encountered an engine problem. However, we seem quite competitive on long runs and the balance of the car was good right from the start of the day. We will have a lot of work to do tomorrow - assuming it is dry to prepare our race strategy.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:40.109, 23rd; P2 - 1:36.940, 19th
This morning we wanted to focus on our aero program and therefore we didnt do any real set-up work, so we only used the Prime tyres, which are slower than the two soft options. I think the second session was reasonable for us. Im not 100% happy but I think it was a good start to the weekend. I felt comfortable in the car and Im very happy to be in Germany and racing at home in front of the fantastic German fans.
Jerome dAmbrosio, P1 - 1:40.428, 24th; P2 - 1:37.313, 21st
It was a smooth Friday, certainly in comparison to Silverstone where we were disturbed by the weather. We got some good testing done and Im quite confident for tomorrow. I still need to fine-tune my driving to the track but Im definitely pretty happy about today.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
The morning session was spent in part going over some old ground, confirming the engine mapping direction to ensure we were getting maximum aero performance. We also experimented with some set-ups which we arrived at from the data we collected at the straight line test. There is certainly quite a significant difference between the Prime and Option tyres, particularly at the start of the run, and in fact with Timo we opted not to run the Prime tyres in the second session to get more useful set-up work. At the end of the session weve acquired even more data than we would normally achieve on a Friday to go through, which we are hopeful will yield some improvements that we can apply overnight.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Weve been pleased with what we can see so far of the performance from our experimental P Zero Yellow tyres, although we will have to wait to hear the detailed feedback from the teams before we draw too many conclusions. However, weve seen that the performance from these new tyres is similar to the pace from the current soft tyre, but with added durability. So one option could be to use it as a medium tyre next year. The cool conditions today meant that the rapid warm-up time of the soft tyre was an important factor in performance, and we expect that to remain the case for the rest of the weekend.
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