Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 08 Jun 2012
McLarens Lewis Hamilton on topping both sessions; team mate Jenson Button on a frustrating wait in the garage; Felipe Massa on his continuing renaissance at Ferrari; Caterhams Heikki Kovalainen on crashing out in the morning; and Williams Bruno Senna on doing the same in the afternoon. The drivers and senior team personnel report back on the opening day in Montreal
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:15.564, 1st; P2 - 1:15.259, 1st
Im very happy with my start to the weekend: happy that the rain held off for both sessions today and happy that we got through a lot of good set-up changes. This is a great track to drive - its a place that requires 100 percent commitment and where the driver can really make a difference. It magnifies the differences between drivers. Today, even though the option tyre was a little quicker, I preferred running on the prime tyre.
It was an unfortunate day for Jenson, who had some problems with the back-end of his car. Still, I was very pleased for him that he was at least able to get out at the end of the session and get some laps under his belt. This is a place where its important to do some running, because there are some pretty close walls and you need to build your speed up gradually. So today has been positive, but its definitely going to be tight this weekend - not just for qualifying, but for the race, too.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:16.347, 10th; P2 - 1:15.812, 9th
Well, we certainly had a few issues today. We had an oil leak on my car in this mornings session, so the mechanics had to take the gearbox off then put it back on. And then we found another problem, so they had to take it off again then put it back on again!
They did a great job, but the delays stopped us from doing any high-fuel running or any set-up work simply because we had to get out on the circuit and get some laps in. It meant we didnt put a set-up on the car that felt quite right. Still, as I say, I want to say a massive thanks to the guys for working flat-out to get everything fixed - they were fantastic. But Im not too worried - the car has been working well and Lewis has been quick all day, so theres a lot of good information for us to look at for tomorrow. I enjoy driving around this place, so well be hoping for a bit more luck tomorrow.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Lewis performed extremely well today. His short-run pace was strong, and his long-run pace was excellent. For Jenson, clearly, today was rather more troubled, albeit through no fault of his own. He suffered an oil leak in this mornings session which necessitated the removal and re-fitting of his gearbox. Then, prior to this afternoons session, we diagnosed another problem and as a result we had to change his gearbox yet again.
Consequently, he lost a lot of running time today - and then, when we finally got him out onto the track with only 18 minutes of P2 to go, he encountered quite a bit of traffic and was unable to get a decent run in the few laps available to him. Still, hats off to his mechanics, who did a splendid job to remove and replace the back-end of his car, not once, but twice, today.
But tomorrow, in P3, well work on getting Jenson a good package with which to qualify, and we all know how brilliant he can be at this circuit. Last year he was superb here, as tens of millions of TV viewers worldwide wont need me to remind them. Lewis, too, is always super-competitive here - he won this race in both 2007 and 2010 - and Im sure hell approach tomorrows qualifying session with his customary confidence again this year.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:15.842, 4th; P2 - 1:15.313, 2nd
I am rather pleased with the way things went this Montreal Friday. This morning, we concentrated mainly on evaluating some new updates, while in the afternoon, we worked principally on a comparison of the two types of tyre, looking for performance over a single lap and also to check the behaviour of the car with a lot of fuel on board. The first indications seem to be positive, but it is much too soon to draw any conclusions as Friday times should never be taken at face value. Now we must concentrate on analysing the data and prepare as well as possible for the rest of the weekend. The circuit named after Gilles Villeneuve is very similar to a street circuit, with the walls very close to what are normal roads. It therefore becomes very important to find the right reference points, especially in terms of braking points and how far one is from the walls, in order to put together both a quick lap and to drive smoothly over a long distance.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:16.619, 12th; P2 - 1:15.410, 3rd
It was a very positive Friday for us. We managed to do a lot of laps and, above all, test everything we had on our programme. Fortunately, the rain, and boy did it rain, arrived just after the second session had ended, so we managed to do everything properly. I think we can be happy with the fact that the updates we have brought here worked, even if its hard to give an instant assessment of how much of an improvement they have produced. In any case, the intention is to keep the car in this new configuration. The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me to be pretty consistent in terms of performance, even if, obviously, the track is not yet providing much grip, this being the first day of the race weekend. To sum up, this has been the best Friday of 2012: lets hope that can continue through Saturday and Sunday as well!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
We had a lot of work to get through today and we were worried the rain might come, which could certainly have made life complicated. Fortunately, the expected storm hit immediately after the end of the second practice session, so that we were able to get through everything we had set ourselves to do. We brought two different exhaust configurations here: one was the one used in the last two races, the other represents our latest interpretation of the concept that was part of the car when it made its debut in Jerez. From what we could see today, the latter configuration seems to be positive in terms of performance even if, obviously, we need to analyse the data very carefully to make the right choices for the race. This track requires a rather different downforce level to those we have visited so far, so we also worked a lot on this front and, in this case also, we need to study the data we have acquired before making a judgement one way or the other. Finally, we had to check the behaviour of the tyres, especially the super-soft, over a long run: we did not manage to do that many laps and, also linked to this aspect is the unknown factor relating to temperature. In fact, the weather forecast for Sunday suggests an increase in track temperature of around ten degrees, which could completely change the situation compared to what we have seen today. Therefore there is a lot of work to do over the rest of the weekend, but at least we have got off on the right foot.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:15.682, 2nd; P2 - 1:15.531, 4th
We ran the super soft tyres this morning thinking there would be rain this afternoon; in the end it didnt come but you never know in advance. I think we had a good day; we got decent laps and even with the different approach in terms of when we ran the tyres, I think we can be happy. Lets see what we can do tomorrow. Its a great track here, there are a lot of stop and starts, braking, chicanes and quick changes in direction but its good fun - its part of this track, there are bumps, so its wild and rough, but its fun.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:15.897, 5th; P2 - 1:15.907, 12th
Its been a pretty good day. We thought there would be more mixed weather, but it didnt come. We ran the super-soft tyre in the first session, which we thought was the right thing to do, but in the end it didnt really rain in the second session. The programme was a bit compromised, but we still got everything done that we needed to. Were pretty happy with where were at and Im confident in the work we did with the car, so Im looking forward to tomorrow. There are some quick cars out there, but weve seen that Fridays before this year - Im looking forward to the weekend.
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:16.460, 11th; P2 - 1:15.544, 5th
The weather was a bit of a worry today with the constant threat of rain so we had a very busy morning and probably did more laps in FP1 than we normally would. The initial baseline of the car was good and we worked on improving things further with each run. By the end of the day I was very happy with the feel of the car in terms of balance. Of course the ambient conditions are expected to change overnight and we need to see how that impacts us tomorrow, but based on todays performance I think we can target Q3 if everything comes together.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:15.986, 6th; P2 - 1:15.799, 8th
I enjoyed both sessions and ended the day with a very positive feeling. The balance of the car is where we want it to be and the changes we made to during the lunch break seemed to take us in the right direction. There is still a lot of homework to do this evening and room to improve things further, but its been a good start to the weekend.
Jakob Andreasen, Force India chief engineer
A busy and productive day of practice in Montreal as we worked hard to dial the cars into this challenging circuit. Conditions were overcast all day with the threat of rain keeping us on our toes and forcing us to adapt our programme to make sure we came away with the data we needed. That was why Nico ran the super-soft tyres this morning, just in case the afternoon turned out to be wet, while Paul focussed on the softs. In the end the rain held off and we were able to run through a complete dry tyre programme with both cars. Another priority was to understand the brake and engine cooling requirements to make sure the solutions we have in place are adequate. So far weve been encouraged by our pace and the drivers feedback suggests the changes we made to the cars between the sessions have been positive.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:16.000, 7th; P2 - 1:15.651, 6th
I am happy as we had a very smooth day today. It was nice that the weather conditions remained stable and the rain only came after the second free practice was over. I think we are doing alright in terms of set-up, but it is difficult to say how this will look tomorrow as we are expecting higher track temperatures. For me both tyre compounds, the soft and the super-soft, look okay. The difference between them is quite small.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:16.249, 8th; P2 - 1:15.898, 11th
My car is very well balanced on a high fuel load, but we need to improve it for qualifying conditions, as we havent got that right yet. However, I have the feeling we can be quite competitive here, and I am really looking forward to my first qualifying and race on this track. Getting used to the circuit wasnt an issue at all because I knew it from last years first practice session as well as the simulator.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
It was quite a smooth day. In the morning we had to adapt the programme because some heavy rain was expected for the afternoon. We, therefore, moved some of the planned runs forward. Still we decided not to use all our tyres, which turned out to be the right decision because in the end it didnt rain, so we were able to do a lot of mileage and test many different things. Overall we are happy, but there is still a bit of work to be done for two reasons. First of all we have to assess whats best for the race, and secondly the weather is expected to get a lot hotter, so we have to adapt what he have learned today to warmer conditions. Overall it was a good day.
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:16.264, 9th; P2 - 1:15.697, 7th
"Our work was pretty typical of a normal Friday, however we used the softer tyre this morning to make sure that we could complete our full programme in case of rain later on. This afternoon, we then concentrated more on the set-up and balance. I had a good feeling in the car but it's too early to make any predictions for the weekend so we will have a good look at all the data this evening and go from there. I really enjoy this track so it's nice to drive here again."
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:15.782, 3rd; P2 - 1:15.878, 10th
"We had a good day today, although the track temperatures were quite cold which should not be the same over the weekend. This made it a little more difficult to warm up the tyres, but we were able to collect some good data on our long runs and have a lot of information to look at. It's a great track here and I'm really enjoying being in Montreal."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"We had a fairly full programme today and thankfully the forecast rain held off until after the end of P2 this afternoon. Our tyre usage sequence was a little different to a normal Friday as we were anticipating rain in the second session so we used the option tyre this morning. The engineers and drivers worked through the programme well, and we have some good long run data to look at this evening. There are still some areas to improve on the car but overall it has been a good start to the weekend."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Our target today was to prepare ourselves for the race and therefore we mainly simulated race conditions during long runs. The lap times both drivers achieved looked quite consistent. Michael and Nico posted their quickest times today on the prime tyre as we used the options during our race simulations. We learned a lot about the behaviour of both types of tyres, which are the soft and the super-soft compounds like during the last race weekend in Monaco. Car number seven finished seventh today whereas number eight was 10th, so there is room for improvement tomorrow and on Sunday."
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:16.859, 13th; P2 - 1:15.987, 13th
We completed all of the things that we had planned for the session so we have had a productive day and are in a good place heading into the weekend. We still need to work on the set-up to get the right balance, but overall the car felt good and was consistent, particularly on the long runs. We have also brought some upgrades to this race and they were performing well which is encouraging.
Bruno Senna, P1 - 1:18.762, 21st; P2 - 1:17.022, 17th
It was a difficult day today. I had DRS issues during the morning session and have limited experience of this circuit so today was about getting my eye in and seeing how far I can push the car. Obviously I pushed too hard towards the end of P2 and hit the wall, which is disappointing. Nevertheless we have made some improvements on the overall package and tomorrow morning I can go out and try to fine tune the set-up to get a good result on Sunday.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
We had a mixed day today with Pastor completing his entire run plan, despite having to readjust the programme ahead of the first session due to the impending inclement weather conditions. Bruno's running was hampered in the first session with a fault on his DRS system which was rectified for the second session. Unfortunately Bruno made heavy contact with the wall during the second session. He is perfectly fine and the mechanics are now working hard to rebuild the car. We are happy with our long run pace but still have work to do to optimise the car for qualifying.
Romain Grosjean, P1 - 1:16.890, 14th; P2 - 1:16.360, 14th
Today was my first time at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and I really enjoyed it. Its not an easy track, and the weather wasnt what were expecting for the rest of the weekend so its a shame not to get some running in warmer conditions. Weve spent a lot of time learning how the car behaves here and trying a few different things with the setup. We have a good amount of data, but obviously well need to work just as hard tomorrow if the temperatures are higher. The car felt good and we did a few laps on the super-soft tyres as well, so overall it was quite a useful day.
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:17.014, 15th; P2 - 1:16.562, 15th
It was an okay day for us. We expected rain in the afternoon so we used the super soft tyres in the morning to make sure we could do some long runs, and we completed everything we needed to do today as the rain didnt come until later. Im not 100 percent happy with my setup and I think were missing a trick somewhere. Its not a major issue, but I know we can go faster. Lets see how it goes tomorrow, anything can happen and hopefully its a little warmer as that usually seems to help.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
In FP1 we attempted to condense the programmes of both FP1 and FP2 into a single session. The red flag period interrupted this somewhat. Some of the expected rain came before the FP2 session, but not sufficiently to disrupt running so we were able to complete a good number of laps, despite another red flag period. We evaluated our new Montréal specification rear wing and ran race simulations.
Our base setup appears to work solidly, with the Montréal specification rear wing delivering the expected performance. We are still working on refining the setup to ensure both drivers are happy. Our position in the times does not reflect our pace due to the different programme we ran today.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
We ran the option tyres in first practice with some high fuel loads. The rain held off so we ended up running just one set of tyres for second practice which is why our times looked a little bit slower than others. Neither driver was 100 percent happy with their car, so we spent some time working with set-up changes. Romain felt his car was a little too biased to the front, but he was much happier with the changes made. Kimi paid attention to improving his car over the kerbs as it was a little bit too harsh to start with; steadily improving through the day. Im confident our finishing positions in FP2 will not reflect where well be in qualifying tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:18.177, 19th; P2 - 1:16.981, 16th
First I want to say thank you to the team for doing a great job and getting the car fixed and ready for most of FP2. I made a mistake on the exit of turn 9 and hit the wall, obviously doing some pretty substantial damage to the car but, thankfully, not to the chassis. As soon as we got it back to the garage the guys started work on rebuilding it so to get that job done and giving me FP2 track time was a very good achievement.
"Before the FP1 off the car had felt good pretty much from the first lap. In FP2 I had the same sort of positive feel from the balance and I think we look ok here - not quite as close as we were in Monaco but certainly close enough to have a good race on Sunday.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:17.935, 18th; P2 - 1:17.075, 18th
I am pleased with how both sessions went today. 64 laps over FP1 and FP2 gives us a very good amount of data to work on tonight and we pretty quickly found a decent balance on both sets of tyres so I think we can keep progressing throughout the weekend. We obviously can't tell where we really are against the cars ahead as everyone was running different fuel levels and tyre compounds at different times, but I think we look pretty good here. The aim now is to keep up the positive momentum and see what happens in quali and in the race.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport support to Caterham
"Canada is an interesting challenge for us from the engine side. The track evolves quickly over the weekend but for us cooling and fuel consumption are probably the biggest focus areas, and we need to pay particular attention to the weather as that has a large effect on both cooling and fuel consumption. Both sessions today were dry so I think we have good data to work on from todays running, despite losing some time on Heikkis car after his accident in FP1.
On the cooling side the weather also has a major influence on how we configure the car. The lower speeds in the wet mean the cooling capability of the cars also has to be lowered to compensate so todays information from the dry runs should give us the right platform to work on for both qualifying and the race. Both drivers are happy with how we have started the weekend, so we go into FP3 and qualifying in a positive frame of mind.
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
That was a positive Friday for us. Heikki's accident this morning obviously meant we had to change his run plan for the day but excellent work by the team gave him enough laps on both tyre compounds in FP2 to make sure we minimised the loss of track time today. His times this afternoon were good but there is definitely some more to come. He had a few issues with traffic on the super soft tyres so I think we will see him pushing hard all weekend. Vitaly also had a good day, working through his whole plan and setting good times on both the soft and the super-soft tyres. We have some more work to do on his car to help improve his low-speed traction and front grip, but we know what to do with that so I think we will be in good shape tomorrow on both sides of the garage."
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 - 1:17.352, 16th; P2 - 1:17.124, 19th
The day went smoothly, because even if there were a couple of red flags and a few drops of rain, we managed to get through all our programme, completing a good number of laps. However, at the moment, we are a bit too slow and must work hard overnight to find some speed from the data. On the long runs with more fuel, we were looking better than the short ones. As for the track, I enjoyed my first time driving on it and its certainly challenging and exciting.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:17.580, 17th; P2 - 1:17.716, 20th
We ran the usual Friday programme, with the exception that we had some new parts to try, including wings aimed specifically at this track which needs the lowest levels of downforce so far this season. Apart from that, we also evaluated some updates concerning the exhausts. It was a productive day and we were lucky to escape the rain, which arrived just at the end of FP2. Thats a good thing, because the forecast is for dry weather from now on. The car ran trouble-free so I was able to complete a lot of laps. We can improve the balance, but we have started on the right foot, because even on a dirty track this morning the car felt quite good and the balance in terms of braking was fine. I expect tomorrows performance will be more representative of our real pace. Hopefully, we can qualify well and have a good weekend.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
A very busy Friday for us with quite a lot of new parts to evaluate. Some were linked to Canada and the specific nature of the track which is the lowest downforce one we have come to so far this year, therefore we had new front and rear wings to deal with that. On top of that, as part of our ongoing development programme we had some significant modifications on Daniels car concerning the exhaust system. So apart from preparing for qualifying and the race in the usual way, we also worked on evaluating these updates. Although we have learned some interesting things for the future, we still have a lot of work to do to improve car balance and grip level for tomorrow. Overall a positive day in terms of running, with no issues on both cars, but we are aware we must work hard to bring improvements that can make us more competitive tomorrow.
Pedro de la Rosa, P1 - 1:18.182, 20th; P2 - 1:18.908, 21st
"It looks like weve taken a significant step forward here in Montreal. Our set-up is working well, our top speed is good and, overall, the car is working well. Im happy that my mechanic is well, its a huge relief because I was very worried for him. We were quicker than the Marussias in the morning and the afternoon but both the car and myself can improve. The rise in temperature expected for tomorrow is good for us were struggling to heat up the tyres in the last sector and that will help us.
Narain Karthikeyan, P1 - 1:19.354, 22nd; P2 - 1:19.378, 23rd
"Today wasnt a bad day, we made some changes to the car and it responded quite well. We improved a lot from the morning to the afternoon and we got the most out of what we had but we still have to improve tomorrow. I had a problem with the front left brake which didnt allow me to do a heavy fuel run so well have to work on that for tomorrow.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"Before anything I would like to say that were very relieved because our mechanic, Craig, is well after this mornings incident as we were all very worried. As for the racing, we tried out the wing that we specifically brought for this circuit and it seems like the cars balance is good and its working as expected. Our only weak point was the brakes but its something were going to continue working on to improve. Were comfortably inside the 107%, so this is confirmation that the wing is working well. Tomorrow we will evaluate again how the upgrades are performing but were running well.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:20.004, 23rd; P2 - 1:19.084, 22nd
It has been a difficult start in Montreal for us today. The performance of the car was not perfect. We tried to evaluate some downforce levels in P1, but in general it was a bit difficult as the track was very green this morning to start. In FP2 we tried some set-up changes again. I made a little mistake in turn 1, when I had a bit of a spin. In general I think it is not our strongest track here, but we have to try to get on the top of the problems. Brake instability is still a problem here. The other teams are looking quite strong so I think we have a difficult weekend in front of us. Now we have to work hard overnight to get the car in better shape and see what we can do tomorrow.
Charles Pic, P1 - 1:20.067, 24th; P2 - 1:19.902, 24th
A difficult start to the weekend at a track that is new for me. In those circumstances you hope for more consistent conditions than we experienced, but we kept our focus and completed our full evaluation programme, which was positive. This afternoon, in drier conditions, we had a problem with the brakes, so we had to change them. The team worked very hard to ensure I could get back out on track for the last ten minutes of the session, so thanks to them for that. We hope for a dry track for the rest of the weekend so we can start to make up some of what we lost today.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
It has been a very interesting start to the weekend, with the weather and related incidents keeping the drivers and the engineers on their toes. We obviously have a new lower downforce aero package for this race, so the pressure was on this morning to get those evaluations completed before the weather hampered our efforts. We gathered all the data we needed though and that was more important than the story reflected by the timesheets and we are now equipped to make the right decisions for the rest of the weekend, including how best to operate the tyres. This afternoon the weather brightened up at first and we were able to start putting the data to work in getting a better picture of how we are looking. Somewhat frustratingly for Charles the brakes on his car had a loss of performance. This is not uncommon at this track but we felt the best option was to change the brakes and he lost track time as a result. In the dry conditions forecast for the rest of the weekend we hope to see some improvement.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
The teams were disadvantaged by wet weather during free practice in Monaco a fortnight ago, and we think they were all quite rightly wary of this happening again. So we saw plenty of drivers on the soft and super-soft tyres right from the beginning of the first session, but without knowing which fuel loads the different cars were running, its quite hard to get a firm idea of their relative pace. Our initial findings suggest that there may be a difference of around 0.4-07 seconds between the two compounds, but as the circuit is evolving all the time, we will only be sure once we have analysed all the data. The fact that there was a red flag in both sessions simply goes to underline the difficulty of this circuit, with grip at a premium. Had the second session gone on for just a few minutes longer, we would also have seen the Cinturato intermediate and wet tyres coming out, so it emphasises just how unpredictable this race is. Under the circumstances, the teams will want to accumulate as much information as possible to cater for every eventuality. I am sure we will see plenty more running tomorrow morning as the teams continue to collect data and with the top 10 covered by just 0.619s we are surely set to see a very close qualifying session.
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