Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 26 Oct 2012
Red Bull dominated the opening day in India, with Sebastian Vettel setting the benchmark in both Practice One and Two. The drivers and senior team personnel report on the early running in New Delhi
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:27.619, 1st; P2 - 1:26.221, 1st
Fridays are always difficult with so many things changing. The track improvement was quite big today, it was dusty to start and improved lap by lap, so I wouldnt be surprised if tomorrow the order is different, but weve had worse Fridays, so I am happy. We need to keep working and improve a little bit overnight.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:28.175, 5th; P2 - 1:26.339, 2nd
That went pretty well. I had a lock-up in Turn 1, which I could have done without, but it wasn't the end of the world. We got on with the important stuff, which is understanding the soft tyre on short and long runs. We'll have a look where we can improve the car, you can always improve. The team is incredibly motivated and the drivers also.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:28.044, 3rd; P2 - 1:26.820, 3rd
This is an interesting circuit: after the longest straight, theres a combination of high-speed corners which are very nice to drive. Today the track was still very dirty, which is usually the case at new tracks that arent used very often. Tomorrow, when it will deliver more grip, it will be even more fun. The track conditions, which change rapidly lap after lap, make it even more complicated to understand the situation relating to the hierarchy down the pit lane. We must study the data carefully to make the right choices for the rest of the weekend. Nothing much to say about tyre performance: from what weve seen today, we can hope theres one less problem to take into consideration.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:28.542, 7th; P2 - 1:28.296, 15th
It was a rather difficult day, especially in the afternoon. The first session went well and we were able to do everything we had planned. But in the second one, when we switched from the hard to the soft, the balance of the car was no longer the best and it was becoming very difficult to drive, to such an extent that I ended up spinning. Unfortunately, that damaged a tyre and so I was unable to do the work over a long run which had been one of our priorities. In the final half hour, I therefore concentrated on pit stop practice, the only thing possible with the tyres in that condition.
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
As usual on a Friday, we had a busy programme to get through. In the morning we concentrated on evaluating some aerodynamic updates we had for this race, while the afternoon was given over mainly to the comparison of the two types of tyre, over short and long runs. Unfortunately, while Fernando had no problems and was able to carry out his programme normally, the same could not be said for Felipe: one of the settings on his car was incorrect and that compromised the balance of the car and prevented him from getting the most out of the set of Softs and also led to him spinning, which damaged one of the tyres, pretty much ending his session. We have to evaluate the data carefully to understand which of the updates we brought here will be used, but first impressions seem to be positive.
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:28.447, 6th; P2 - 1:27.022, 4th
We learned a lot in the two practice sessions today and found some good set-up directions, so it was a decent day. Fourth place is not our realistic position at the moment but I am confident that we're looking a little better here than at the previous two races.
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:28.993, 8th; P2 - 1:28.222, 13th
We had two sessions today where we worked mainly on long runs and the performance was reasonable by the end of the day. The car balance was ok, particularly in the first sector with the slower corners, and as such confirmed the performance that we expected from the circuit characteristics. With the soft tyres, I didn't really get a lap together, but we managed to build a basis to work on for the rest of the weekend.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
We've had a very solid day's work here today and completed our planned programme. Our focus was on getting the car balanced which went pretty well over the two sessions. The tyres are very consistent here and, whilst there are still improvements to make to the car, we're looking in reasonable shape for the weekend.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
A positive first day for our team. It would be wrong to read too much into Nico's position in the second session but all in all this was a better Friday for us than we had during the last couple of races.
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:29.291, 10th; P2 - 1:27.030, 5th
The circuit is nice. For me it was easier to learn than the Korean track ; its not as technical but its good. Its always nice to come to a new place like this - Ive been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places so its good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve on one lap but I think we are not far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren. Our car was working well, especially on soft tyres but with the hard tyres it was more difficult to find grip.
Romain Grosjean, P1 - 1:29.895, 15th; P2 - 1:27.397, 9th
Its been very hard to set-up the car as the track has been evolving a lot through the day ; from zero grip in the morning to much better in the afternoon. However, weve made good progress today and were working on improving further overnight. There are a few blind corners, and some quick places where you dont want to make mistakes either. Hopefully we find the car we want for qualifying and get what we want tomorrow.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
We ran the Coanda exhaust system on both cars for the first time following its successful debut with Kimi in Korea. New bodywork around the exhaust area to better harness and utilise the Coanda system was employed on both cars. Kimi evaluated the latest evolution front wing. Pirellis hard compound tyre was used in the morning, the hard and soft used in the afternoon.
Were confident well be able to put in a good showing tomorrow. We need to find more pace on the hard tyre, but soft tyre pace is good. We are yet to reach a conclusion on whether we will use the updated rear bodywork. The front wing will be used by both cars for the rest of the weekend.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
Both drivers got up to speed pretty quickly on a new track once more. We spent the morning session evaluating the new front wing and some new rear diffuser parts ; we need to investigate further the diffuser parts but the new front wing looks good so well run it with both cars for the remainder of the weekend. We were able to conduct an uninterrupted FP2 programme, running both tyres reasonably early on, followed by a long run on the soft compound. Were missing a little pace on the hard tyre so were investigating our tyre temperatures and pressures, however on the softer tyre our car looks very competitive on both low and high fuel loads. It would be nice to squeeze another two or three tenths out of the car in qualifying, but nevertheless we confident of the potential for a good show tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:28.046, 4th; P2 - 1:27.131, 6th
It was quite a positive day - on my side of the garage, at least.
The car felt quite good, but to get the best from the tyres each lap wasnt so easy. Were not quite quick enough yet, but tyre durability and our long-run pace both looked quite good. In fact, I was very happy with the long run. If we continue in that direction, well hopefully be strong in the race.
I think were probably quick enough to qualify third or fourth fastest at the moment, but, to go for pole, were going to really need to push hard in our development work tonight.
It looks like itll be another close race.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:27.929, 2nd; P2 - 1:27.182, 7th
It hasnt been a perfect day.
Our lap-times in the first session were okay, but we couldnt really get the option [tyre] working in FP2 - perhaps that was down to a temperature issue.
Then I had a gearshift problem during my long run in the afternoon. The team is currently looking into it - hopefully, well have it sorted by tomorrow.
Still, I think Lewiss long-run pace looks promising. Were still a few tenths shy of the very fastest cars, but I think were more competitive on long runs than we are on short runs, where were slightly struggling to get the tyres working.
Fortunately, this is a good circuit for overtaking, but our aim is obviously still to qualify as close to the front as possible.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
This was a relatively routine practice day for the team, although it proved quite difficult throughout both sessions to find a low-fuel balance that worked for both drivers. However, our long-run pace certainly looks competitive.
Unfortunately, Jensons final run of the afternoon was cut short by a gearshift issue, but Lewiss race pace was more encouraging - Lewis himself felt the car was very well balanced during his long run.
Our aim for this evening will be further to maximise our race-pace potential while simultaneously looking to improve our performance in qualifying. Whilst a good grid position isnt essential for the race, since overtaking into Turns Three and Four should be relatively straightforward, itll still be important to stake a place close to the front of the grid in order to optimise our chances of scoring maximum possible points on Sunday.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:29.850, 14th; P2 - 1:27.233, 8th
It was my first experience of the Buddh circuit today and I have to say they have done a really nice job. Theres a good flow to the lap and the second sector is very technical and challenging. The programme for me today was quite straightforward because we managed to do everything we wanted. I completed a decent long run on the soft tyres this afternoon and I think we are quite well prepared going into tomorrow.
Paul di Resta, P2 - 1:29.760, 12th; P2 - 1:28.004, 11th
It was not an easy session for me. The balance is still not perfect and we need to work hard tonight to try and improve that before final practice. The main issue of the day was the puncture I picked up half-way through FP2 because I missed out on my high-fuel run on the soft tyres. Also, it was hard to get a clean lap during my low fuel run because the track was so busy. Weve got data with the other car but it would have been helpful to have run more laps and got a proper feel for the soft.
Jakob Andreasen, Force India chief engineer
The circuit was quite green this morning with very low grip so that made it difficult to learn too much. The priority was to get Nico up to speed quickly and pick up some data on a few test items, which all went to plan. The afternoon was less straightforward, largely because Paul picked up a puncture after his low fuel run on the soft tyres. That meant he missed out on his long run. Fortunately we got all the data we needed with Nicos programme, but it certainly put Paul on the back foot. In terms of car balance we still have some work to do to get the car where we want it, but we have the data we need to make sure we can pick the right options for tomorrow.
Bruno Senna, P2 - 1:27.738, 10th
We were working hard to get the optimum car set-up today so we had to try a number of things to get the right balance during the second session. On the whole we have had a very productive day and completed what we had set out to do. Now we need to work on improving our set-up ahead of tomorrows qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:30.041, 16th; P2 - 1:28.596, 17th
Today the pace wasnt quite where we want it to be for qualifying so we will have to work hard and analyse where we can improve to give us the sort of one-lap pace that will get us into Q3. Our long runs continue to be strong though, like they have been all season, so thats encouraging for the race itself.
Valtteri Bottas, P1 - 1:29.691, 11th
It was a good first practice today because we managed to complete a busy programme. We completed some good aero evaluations and managed to get a good amount of data. This was my first time driving this circuit and I can tell that it will become one of my favourites because it has a nice flow to it and the surface is very smooth which means that tyre wear is lower so you can push the car a bit more.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
The track was in reasonable shape today and we had a couple of very productive sessions with all three drivers giving very clear and detailed feedback on their different run programmes. We clearly have some work to do ahead of qualifying but our longer run pace looks pretty competitive.
Sergio Perez, P2 - 1:28.178, 12th
For me the second free practice was as difficult as expected in terms of finding a good set up for a single lap, but I think we look quite good when it comes to covering the race distance. Of course I didnt get the mileage I wanted today because I could not take part in the first free practice session, but, despite this, it was a productive day for the team and we have enough information to make the most out of our chances.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:29.802, 13th; P2 - 1:28.455, 16th
I found it difficult today to find any grip. I cant really say whether this is down to the dust on the circuit, the tyres or the car. Most probably it is a combination of all those factors and we have to find the best way to improve. This goes especially for when we run low fuel, although I didnt do that many laps with a lighter car. I spent a lot of time running on a high fuel load and I think we are doing fine with the heavier car. We have to work now, but also to consider that anyway the grip level of the track will improve.
Esteban Gutierrez, P1 - 1:31.212, 20th
It was a great experience to step in for Sergio this morning. For me it was the first time I have been at the wheel of the C31, as I have only done straight-line testing so far. Also I didnt know the track before, which made it an even more interesting session. I have worked very closely with the team all season, listening to the radio and attending the engineers meetings. Today I really enjoyed seeing from the inside of the cockpit what I had only seen from the outside. It was also very interesting to be part of an official Formula One event for the first time. It is obviously different to testing and it is challenging to stay focused. I think the circuit here is amazing, especially with the chain of fast corners. However, my target was to progress during that session and make sure I brought the car home in one piece. Now Sergio will be taking over again but, in case anything should happen, I feel ready to get into the car again.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
Actually today was quite similar to what we experienced at the two recent race weekends, when we were also struggling with our low fuel performance on Friday and were a lot happier with the cars balance on long runs. However, despite the driver change, we still managed to complete our entire programme of evaluating the tyre compounds, which are soft and hard this time, and carrying out set up work under varying fuel loads. We now have to maximise our potential for qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:29.204, 9th; P2 - 1:28.239, 14th
I enjoyed driving this track last year and its been even more enjoyable today in what is a quicker car than I had back then. I had a good time out there, while also pushing as hard as we could to be in good shape for tomorrow. In general, I think we achieved what we set out to do. We were good straight out of the box this morning, so we did not make many changes in FP1 and the general balance of the car seemed quite good. In the afternoon, it was clear that the track evolution affected the balance and we have to keep that in mind, as it will evolve even more tomorrow and we have to plan our changes on the car to take that into account.
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 - 1:30.401, 17th; P2 - 1:29.167, 18th
Today was my first time at this track and it is really fun to drive, keeping you busy throughout the lap. However, my pace was not that good and we definitely need to look at the data and decide what to do because were about a second away from where we should be. As for the tyres, there seemed to be a big difference between the performance of the prime and the option, but no problems on this front. Daniel and I ran different set-ups to evaluate various choices and clearly, what he had worked better than mine, so we will keep that in mind tonight.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
Today went smoothly for us and we managed to get through all our planned programme on both cars. We had a few set-up directions we wanted to evaluate, some of them on the same car, others across both cars. Overall, we are a little bit happier with the way Daniels car was working, while Jev also had to deal with learning this circuit for the very first time, so tonight we will work on providing him with a car he is happy with. We know this circuit features a massive track improvement as the day goes on and we saw that again today: the tyres are lasting very well so we have no concerns on this front.
Heikki Kovalainen, P2 - 1:29.320, 19th
Having sat out FP1 the key for me was getting through as many laps as possible and Im pleased with what we achieved in FP2. The balance has been pretty good all afternoon on both tyre compounds - we did have some understeer in the high speed corners on the first run on the soft tyres but we dialled that out for the long run and the car felt good as the grip levels kept improving. Its good to see clear air between us and the cars behind and maybe we can play with the tyre strategy tomorrow to push closer to the cars ahead - that has to be the aim.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:42.104, 19th; P2 - 1:29.606, 20th
FP1 went well for me. Even though there wasnt a lot of grip early on the car felt pretty good and we got through a lot of aero work that gives us data to work on tonight. In FP2 we were again running well but on my second run on the soft tyres it looked like we might have had a problem with the engine so we ended the session a little early to let the Renault Sport F1 guys take a look and make sure we prevented any damage. Until that point the car had again felt good and wed found a balance where deg levels on the tyres were very manageable. I think were in quite good shape for tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully we can have a strong weekend here in India.
Giedo van der Garde, P1 - 1:30.896, 19th
It was another good session for me today and one I want to dedicate to my Grandpa who sadly passed away last week. I know hes always been very proud of me and he told me to enjoy myself whenever Im driving, so I made sure I did today. The circuit is pretty technical but I was up to speed quickly and didnt have any problems getting through the plan we were running today. One thing that was really obvious was just how much the track evolves - even on my first run I could feel the grip levels improving with every lap, so by Sunday it will probably feel very different, but for me in FP1 it was fine. Ill be back in the car again next week in Abu Dhabi at a track I know well, and then I have two full days at the Yas Marina Circuit in the young driver test. Its good to keep adding to the mileage Ive already done this year and Im really pleased with how much progress Im making with the car and the team in general.
Pedro de la Rosa, P1 - 1:32.859, 24th; P2 - 1:30.950, 21st
"I loved the circuit. Its really nice and also very challenging. You have to use the kerbs a lot and the car really suffers, so we have to drive carefully. Overall I had good sensations with the balance of the car, especially in the afternoon when I was able to do more laps. But weve still got a lot of room for improvement and if were able to improve the balance of the car well be able to run better. Especially in changes of direction because we lose too much time on quick corners and we can correct that. Now we must continue working on the set-up of the car to have a good qualifying session tomorrow.
Narain Karthikeyan, P1 - 1:32.125, 22nd; P2 - 1:31.372, 23rd
It was a great feeling racing in India once again, at home. The first session went pretty well and in the afternoon we decided to change the balance of the car to improve certain aspects. Wed just set the soft tyres when, unfortunately, we suffered a hydraulic failure which impeded us from improving our times. But the problem should be fixed for tomorrow so I hope to have a good qualifying session.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"Ive got mixed feelings today. Narain was running very well but a hydraulic issue prevented him from getting the most out of the soft tyres. And Pedro was the other way round; in the morning he didnt run much because we had to change the brakes, and he didnt know the circuit, but he adapted very quickly and in the afternoon he did some tests on a full tank and set a very good time. We have to try and improve the car to fight for a good result in qualifying.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:32.369, 23rd; P2 - 1:31.113, 22nd
Today was a pretty normal Friday. The track was very dirty to begin with and FP1 didnt work that well for us because we struggled a bit with traffic and I never got a clear lap. In FP2 we worked on the set-up programme and it went pretty well with the tyres. The start of the session was okay and the long run was good, so thats important for the race on Sunday.
Charles Pic, P1 - 1:31.903, 21st; P2 - 1:31.493, 24th
It has not been a straightforward day today. This is another new track for me and Im enjoying the layout and characteristics. While FP1 went well for us, we have struggled in FP2 and I have experienced a few small issues which have interrupted our flow. There is more we can do to improve ourselves for tomorrow, however our long run pace was good which is positive.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
A fairly routine Friday for us, aside from a few small upgrades around the front wing which we evaluated in FP1. At the minute these look like they represent a small gain, although we will confirm this with more data analysis this evening. Both drivers have completed their intended programmes, running the normal combination of low and high fuel. The track seems to be quite dirty and both drivers have been struggling for overall grip which, at present, does seem to be hurting our pace. However, Im sure that with more running in FP3 and into the first part of qualifying, we will see the effects of this problem starting to dissipate.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
With quite a significant performance gap between the two compounds and a track that is still rapidly evolving, teams have the opportunity to use these speed differentials as a basis of their race strategies, which are sure to play an important part in the weekend. As always, to get the best out of the tyres the drivers will need to prioritise keeping them within their ideal operating temperature here. Last year the winning strategy consisted of two stops, but this year one pit stop might even be possible for some drivers from what we can see so far. Both Red Bull drivers have set a very rapid pace so far, but its the combination of speed and strategy that will win the race on Sunday and at this point we never know exactly how much fuel the teams are running. With the tyres coping with the demands of India very well, we would expect the race pace of the top drivers to be closely matched.
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