Lewis Hamilton made the most of his quick-running McLaren to set the practice pace in Budapest on Friday, leading both sessions. All 24 drivers and senior team personnel report on the opening day of action at the Hungaroring
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:23.350, 1st; P2 - 1:21.018, 1st
Its a great feeling to start the weekend on a high. We had a much smoother Friday here than we did at the Nurburgring, so Im pretty happy. The car looks reasonably competitive, given the balance and the fuel load that we had.
Its important not to read too much into Fridays, though. The track may be different tomorrow, as may the temperatures. Having said that, I think weve probably got about the same pace as we had in Germany, which is encouraging.
The guys have been pushing very, very hard back at the factory. Weve got a couple of upgrades here this weekend and its a great achievement by everyone to have got them here in such a short space of time.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:23.772, 5th; P2 - 1:21.322, 3rd
A trouble-free day, which is nice. We managed a lot of good runs and did a lot of useful set-up work, so it was a good day. Im very happy with the direction weve taken with the car.
Were strong in the first and last sectors. Im quickest in the first sector and Lewis is fastest in the last. If we can put it all together, well be looking pretty good.
I enjoy driving at the Hungaroring. With a few more set-up tweaks, I think we can be competitive. I hope to challenge for victory, but Im not the only driver thinking that. Ferrari and Red Bull will also be looking to have good weekends, but thats great for Formula One.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Weve had a pretty straightforward day. Its good to see Lewis topping the time sheets, and both drivers have been pretty competitive on their long runs.
Theres a huge amount of evolution in the track here, from Friday morning through to Saturday morning. It only therefore starts becoming representative on Friday afternoon, so there are still some question marks.
But its definitely a better feeling to go back to the hotel on a Friday night at the top of the timesheets rather than in the middle somewhere. So far, so good.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:23.642, 3rd; P2 - 1:21.259, 2nd
First of all thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes on my thirtieth, especially to Bernie, who came along to wish me the best along with you journalists during the press meeting! Its nice to celebrate here with Ferrari, a team I will definitely be with at least until I am thirty five We finished the planned work programme and thats always a positive start to a race weekend. Now we will analyse all the data gathered and make the best choices for qualifying and the race. I am pleased I was able to do so much running, especially from the point of view of studying the tyre degradation, which at this track is always a significant factor. The track is still very dirty, as is the norm for a Friday at the Hungaroring: however, we know it will improve each day and by Sunday afternoon, it will be much more rubbered in than today. We saw that McLaren looks very strong, as indeed it was last weekend. Now we must try and improve the car, especially in the third sector of the track, where we seem to be suffering more than most.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:24.115, 6th; P2 - 1:22.099, 6th
We got through a lot of work, especially in terms of comparing the two Pirelli tyres. The first signs are that degradation is significant, both on the Prime and the Option, which will be a decisive factor when it comes to strategy. I think we will witness a very close contest between the usual three teams, Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves. It will be not be easy to get a useful grid position, but it will be very important to do so, because I think that, despite everything, overtaking at this track will still be very difficult. I was not able to do a quick time on my first lap with the Super Soft, because I ran wide at Turn 9, so todays lap time is not totally representative of the potential at my disposal: the tyres degrade easily so you have to give it your best immediately. I told Fernando this morning, you are getting old like me! Joking apart, its an important day for him, so he gets all my best wishes again!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
As usual we had a packed programme to get through, including an evaluation of various configurations both on the aerodynamic front and in terms of the management of the exhaust gases. We concentrated principally on the updates to the 150º Italia in the morning and then in the afternoon, we switched more towards finding the best set-up on the car and on a comparison between the two types of tyre Pirelli has brought for this race. As you can imagine, there is nothing new under the sun: really just a Friday like so many others. The obvious consequence of that is its very hard to say where we are compared to our closest rivals. The only thing we can be sure of is that Red Bull and McLaren both seem very competitive, irrespective of the fuel levels they were running. Tyre degradation is more or less what we expected but we have to take into account that track conditions change a lot over the course of the weekend as the track rubbers in. Predictions? It will be a very close qualifying and even the race looks like being hard to read, especially as there could be various strategies implemented.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:23.666, 4th; P2 - 1:21.508, 4th
I made a mistake this morning when I got on the damp kerb. Ive seen a few of those over the last few years, but drivers still dont learn - we still go out there and push! I clipped the turf and hit the barrier, but fortunately only the front wing was damaged. We recovered pretty well this afternoon and got a lot of mileage in. The car ran well and we have lots of info to go through tonight. The tricky thing is the tyres. Ferrari and McLaren are certainly performing well, as they have done at the last few races - its no big surprise that they are doing decent lap times and its a race between all of us.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:23.564, 2nd; P2 - 1:21.549, 5th
I felt a little bit better in the car, but its not like last year, it seems very tight and McLaren and Ferrari are quick. I think we need to raise our game if we want to be at the front. I am not sure if KERS and DRS will have such a big effect this weekend, but I think the new tyres will be a major factor. Ive just stepped out of the car, so havent seen what the others did - I think they will be the most important thing to look out for, in terms of managing the tyres for one lap, but equally for getting the most out of them for a whole stint. It will be a tough one. The bandage on my hand? Its just a little thing, but you know how it goes with us men, we like to make a big fuss!
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:24.250, 7th; P2 - 1:22.121, 7th
This circuit is really challenging, and it's very satisfying when you get your laps together cleanly around here. We had two decent sessions and the short and the long runs on the super softs were reasonable. However there is still a lot of work to do to improve our package for qualifying and look at how to manage the tyre degradation. It's interesting to see how the top six positions are changing from race to race, and we'll keep pushing to get even closer to, and maybe into, that group."
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:24.369, 8th; P2 - 1:22.440, 8th
Coming to the second race of a back-to-back series means that you are not able to do a great deal to the car between the two weekends so the practice sessions today went pretty much according to our expectations. We do have the developments from the last couple of races to work with but they obviously do not mean we can make up some positions. We will certainly try to make the best of what we have in our hands for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We had two reasonable sessions today with a lot of mileage achieved on both cars. It's clear that the tyres are degrading a fair amount with the track in its current state so we have gathered lots of good information on this to work with overnight. Having such a short time between this race and Germany last weekend, there are no further major developments on the car so we are focusing on getting the best from our recent upgrades and improving their performance."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"We did a lot of laps today, and only both Ferraris achieved a higher mileage during both sessions amongst the top eight placed cars. We learnt a great deal as well which we now will try to translate into a more consistent performance during the race stints on Sunday. Our single lap performance looks quite decent, taking into account our current level of performance, and the fact that the layout of this track is certainly one of the most challenging ones for the current concept of our car. Tomorrow it will be about optimising what we have learned today in order to be in our best possible form for the race on Sunday."
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:25.336, 12th; P2 - 1:22.835, 9th
The morning was quite positive and we completed the programme and managed to learn a bit more about the package we ran at the Nurburgring last weekend. That set us up quite nicely for the afternoon when we did the usual performance runs and long runs to get data on the two tyres. It was good to get 40 laps in during the second session and it helped get me up to speed with the track, which is still quite new for me. The circuit was very green to begin with and tyre wear was high, but it was still consistent and improved quite a bit by the end of the day.
Adrian Sutil, P2 - 1:22.981, 10th
A fairly normal Friday for me and we did most of the things on the job list. I was struggling for grip a bit today, especially at the start of the session and I was having to fight the car. But I think most of that was due to the fact that the track was quite green today. We know it always gets better with each session so I dont think its anything to worry about. In the afternoon the longs runs went well and gave us plenty of information on the soft and supersofts for the race.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:25.357, 13th
I started my programme by trying out a different front wing concept to collect data on its characteristics. Then, we switched back to the usual set-up and I did a proper baseline run and the car felt pretty good straight away. I struggled a bit with brake warm-up today, but overall it was another good session and the soft tyre lasted pretty well for me.
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
"There were two themes to the programme today, aero development and tyre evaluation for the race. As usual Nico ran some development items in FP1, whilst Paul worked on some areas of the car we felt could be improved after the last race. In the afternoon, with rain showers popping up around us, we were fortunate to collect the tyre information as intended and now have to analyse that. The circuit grip was not high, and we expect to improve the balance a bit more before qualifying.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:25.113, 11th; P2 - 1:23.030, 11th
Although we look better than we did at the Nurburgring, I have the feeling it will be tough to catch the Force India cars, but we want to get in front of them in tomorrows qualifying. The balance of my car is not really brilliant yet, but I think we can improve that. For me the soft tyre is the difficult one up to now, so I prefer the super-soft.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:24.620, 9th; P2 - 1:23.399, 12th
I think we have a better pace here than we had recently at the Nurburgring, and I also believe the ambient temperatures, which are supposed to get higher, will help us to do a better qualifying as it is crucial to get the super-soft tyres to work then. On the long runs I had degradation with both compounds, but with the soft the balance was better compared to the super-soft. For me the soft tyres were also more consistent than the super-soft. I believe it will become quite an interesting weekend for all of us in regard to the tyres.
James Key, Sauber technical director
It was a reasonably productive day. The weather conditions changed as the day progressed. We expected rain this afternoon, and in the end it was quite the reverse. The track temperatures went up to what probably will be more relevant in relation to what we expect tomorrow and on Sunday, so it was a useful session in that respect. Weve been working pretty much the whole day on the set-up of the cars, and we found several good directions from what we did both in the morning and afternoon. Weve got some work to do in the middle sector just to get the balance a little bit better. We collected a lot of data, and we just have to continue to work hard over night to make more progress.
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:25.836, 14th; P2 - 1:23.679, 13th
We tested a lot of things today. We had to run without KERS in the morning session because of a small problem but we reinstated it for the afternoon and it was fine. The car has improved a little bit, but P13 isnt where we want to be and its going to be tough to break into Q3 tomorrow. Our goal today was to focus on set-up for the race as I think points are achievable here.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:26.124, 18th; P2 - 1:24.181, 15th
We brought new parts to Hungary which we spent today testing. I was trying out a new cooling system and I have an updated rear wing coming tomorrow that was working well on the other car. Ill be working hard tonight with my engineers to improve the car. Weve got plenty to do in order to have a good race.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
We tested different diffusers and a new rear wing with Rubens today and new bodywork and a revised suspension system on Pastors car. Although we had a KERS issue in P1, both cars will have KERS for qualifying and we will have the new rear wing for Pastors car in time for tomorrows last practice session.
Nick Heidfeld, P2 - 1:23.861, 14th
"As I only drove in the second session, we tried to make full use of this time and we made good progress with the car. We initially had a lot of oversteer but we made changes which rectified this. We're heading in the right direction but there is still time to be found from the set-up. The grip level from the circuit seems quite low and there is quite a big difference between the tyres, so tomorrow will be interesting."
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:25.093, 10th; P2 - 1:24.546, 17th
We had some difficulties with the car, because the floor and rear wing were not performing efficiently. As a result, we lost some time and a chance to do more running, as we spent a lot of time fixing the problem. This was also the reason for the lack of grip we experienced out there. We also struggled to get sufficient temperature into the soft tyres. That said, we managed some good track time and completed quite a few laps, and we'll now look ahead to tomorrow to improve on this and give us a good shot come Sunday."
Bruno Senna, P1 - 1:25.855, 15th
"It was a great session for me in the car this morning; I learnt more about the car, and the evolution of it. I would have liked to have run on another set of tyres to get in a quicker lap time but it was still a great experience and very beneficial. Ideally, I would like to have achieved a faster time, but I had a productive time out there. I'm glad the weather held out as it allowed me to take what I wanted from the 90 minutes. It was a fantastic opportunity and I enjoyed every moment, no doubt about it."
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:26.099, 17th; P2 - 1:24.182, 16th
It was a busy day, in which I did a lot of laps, especially in the morning, when I completed the most of any driver. We concentrated on car set-up for the race, looking at solutions to improve its pace. It is not so clear where we stand just yet, although I think we can expect qualifying to be tough again, while in the race we can be better. I tried both types of tyre, but I do not feel I have a clear picture of the different qualities of the two of them. I think on Sunday, the behaviour of the Supersoft will be one of the key elements that decides what sort of race we can have.
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:25.890, 16th; P2 - 1:24.878, 18th
We ran a different strategy to normal in terms of our work programme, running the Supersoft tyre right from the morning session. I was not very happy with the handling of the car at first and, during the day we made some quite drastic changes to the set-up. Towards the end of the afternoon, I was getting near the limit, so I think the next step is to go back very slightly on these set-up changes to do better tomorrow. In terms of performance, I would say we are in a similar position to where we were at the last two races, which means we lack a little bit of pace. It was good that the track conditions did not seem to change much over the day, which will make it easier for us to analyse the data we have gathered.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Ross chief Engineer
Both drivers completed their programme for the day, Jaime ahead of schedule which is why he stopped early this afternoon. We ran the day slightly differently to many Fridays, already doing long runs in the morning session, as we were concerned there was a chance of rain in the afternoon. We focussed mainly on race set-up, doing long runs with both tyre compounds, so that we can now aim to have a good race pace for Sunday. Both the super-soft and soft tyres behaved well, possibly aided by the relatively low ambient temperature today and I think this will mean we could see various different strategies applied during the race. Today, the track remained quite stable compared to previous Fridays here, so I do not expect too many surprises from that point of view tomorrow or Sunday.
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:27.352, 20th; P2 - 1:24.994, 19th
Im very happy today. I want to thank the whole team, everyone at the factory and in the race team because they have all been patient with me and have worked hard to give me the new power steering system and a car that I can really feel. As soon as I pulled out this morning it felt so much better than before so today Ive been able to start rebuilding my confidence in the car, and working on all the little changes and improvements that help me to find a setup I can really work with. Its been a really positive day and for that my thanks go to everyone in the team.
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:26.878, 19th, P2 - 1:25.447, 20th
It feels like we have taken a step forward with the updates weve brought to the back end of the car but I still need to work on finding a balance Im happy with. We tried a few different setup options today but I couldnt really find the best solution on either compounds, but weve completed a lot of mileage so Im sure well find the right way forward tomorrow.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
That was one of the best Fridays we have had this year. We have made some modifications to the diffuser and those changes have definitely worked, and with Jarno immediately telling us the new power steering system is working exactly as we wanted it to we have been able to push closer to the cars ahead than we have for a while. On Heikkis car we need to work on finding him a balance he is happy with and we will see how we have got on with that tomorrow, but overall this has been a very positive Friday.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader for Lotus
A good Friday for the team. We have completed a very decent number of laps and worked through all the engine maps we will need to use here. Driveability is the key to maximising engine performance at this circuit and with the amount of data we have generated today on both cars I am sure we can find more time for qualification tomorrow for both Jarno and Heikki."
Riad Asmat, Lotus chief executive officer
"I am very pleased with todays work across the whole team. Back at the factory we have put in a lot of hours on the updates we have brought here, both on the diffuser and the new steering system, and it is clear from both drivers lap times that those efforts have closed the gap to the teams ahead more than we have seen for several races. Jarno in particular has been able to push today and he reported that as his confidence increases he will be able to find more time, so I think quali tomorrow could be very interesting.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:28.533, 21st; P2 - 1:28.533, 21st
This morning was all about aero runs, which is always useful as we are able to collect plenty of data. In the afternoon we worked on the set-up and on some ideas for tomorrow. The main issue at the moment is the tyres, as they are proving to be quite difficult to handle this week, so we will have to have a good look before tomorrow.
Jerome dAmbrosio, P1 - 1:28.903, 22nd; P2 - 1:28.903, 22nd
It was a pretty good Friday today. We had some useful testing this afternoon and it was good that we didn't see any of the rain that we were expecting. This morning we didn't really work on set-up and instead I concentrated on collecting aero data, but this afternoon we had a good programme and we'll have a lot of data to go through tonight. Overall it was a good day so let's see what tomorrow brings.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
Its been a busy Friday for us. In the morning we completed plenty of pre-planned aero tests on both cars. Unfortunately, Jérômes changes took longer than expected and he also had a small issue with the set-up of his steering, but in general it was a positive first session. In the afternoon fortunately the weather remained dry and we were able to continue the set-up work on the two cars. At times in the session, we have had the two cars set up quite differently and we need to analyse carefully the data gathered in order to decide how we approach tomorrow. This weekend the tyres are going to play a big part and this will also influence the decisions we take. Its clear that our pace is not quite what weve been used to for the last few races, so we need to try to add some significant performance to the cars overnight.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:29.904, 24th; P2 - 1:27.730, 23rd
It was ok this morning, I was just feeling my way into it. There was a bit to learn for myself but also the car was not to my liking so it was a combination of me getting into it and finding a good balance between the car and myself. We went a step closer this afternoon with that but not enough. We can improve with the prime tyre. As for the option, it was my first time on super-softs and I liked the amount of grip you get from them. The balance is a bit closer to what we need but we still have some work to do with the primes, well try and solve it for tomorrow.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P21 - 1:29.059, 23rd; P2 - 1:28.255, 24th
In the morning I was very happy with the car, which was responding really well. We had good pace and understood a few things about the setup. Then we changed a few things for the afternoon but it didnt work, so we put everything back to how it was. However the car wasnt reacting like in the morning. We had some problems with the rear end which caused over steering. Now we have to understand why this occurred and work hard to try and get things right for tomorrow.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
HRT F1 made good progress in the two ninety minutes free practice sessions. Neither Vitantonio Liuzzi nor Daniel Ricciardo encountered any problems in the first session and could continue to work through the team program in the second session. The track was dirty this morning, so the team decided to experiment and try a few things, with the intention of doing more intensive set-up work when the track had cleaned up this afternoon. The weather forecast looked unstable for the afternoon, so by precaution the team tested some components in the morning that they would normally test in the afternoon.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Its been an interesting day of free practice, where as we expected, weve seen that there is about eight-tenths of a second of difference between the soft and the supersoft tyre: a combination that we also used in Monaco and Canada. Nonetheless, the supersoft clearly does have a small advantage, which will mean that those aiming for pole position are going to use it. Depending on the track and weather conditions, I think well see about 15 laps out of the supersoft tyres during the race and around 25 laps from the soft tyres: we saw them being used for 24 laps today. There are a wide variety of cars looking very competitive, which is going to make the order in qualifying hard to predict. But after analysing our tyre data tonight, we should have a better idea of where everybody is at.
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Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 29 Jul 2011
Lewis Hamilton made the most of his quick-running McLaren to set the practice pace in Budapest on Friday, leading both sessions. All 24 drivers and senior team personnel report on the opening day of action at the Hungaroring