Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 27 Jul 2012
In the morning McLaren team mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button led their nearest rival, Ferraris Fernando Alonso, by half a second, whilst after lunch Hamilton remained on top of the timesheets, besting Lotuss Kimi Raikkonen by less than two-tenths of a second. The drivers and senior team personnel report on the early running at the Hungaroring
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:22.821, 1st; P2 - 1:21.995, 1st
Its been a really positive day. Im very happy. During the sessions we made some useful changes to the car to get it dialled-in, and were on the right path, but weve still got a bit of work to do. The guys did a fantastic job. Were going to keep pushing, though.
Im on it. Ive been on it all year. I feel a lot of support from the fans, here and everywhere, and I think things are looking pretty good this weekend. Ill be focusing on maximising every lap and every opportunity I get out there.
Overtaking here is difficult, so qualifying and track positioning will be of paramount importance. Some drivers may do longer runs, some may do shorter runs [in the race]. Either way, Jenson and I will be looking to qualify well and start at or near the front.
I love this track, even if overtaking here is a challenge. Its a drivers circuit, with real character to it - lovely off-camber corners, nice ups and downs - and those elements combine to make it great fun to drive. It just flows.
Im happy with my days work and I think the guys in the garage will be happy with their days work too. They certainly should be. Well done, guys!
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:22.922, 2nd; P2 - 1:22.747, 6th
FP1 was reasonably good for us - we were competitive straight out of the box, in fact. This afternoon, in FP2, we tried a few things to improve our cars balance, and I think we made some decent progress in the end.
So Im pretty happy with the car, all in all, and I think were pretty competitive around here, but in FP2 we learned that a lot other teams are pretty competitive around here too. As ever, though, itll be about getting the perfect balance.
I reckon were going to see a fierce battle for victory this weekend. Having said that, we had a good car at Hockenheim, and we should have a good car here too, so we should be up there. As I say, its much too close to call, though.
This circuit is known as a difficult one on which to overtake, but I think itll be possible to do so in the DRS zone down the pit straight. Elsewhere itll probably be tricky to make passing moves stick. But its a fun circuit to drive on, and of course I scored my maiden Grand Prix victory here, which is always special.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
As FP1 began this morning, the track surface was already pretty hot, but, even so, it was a little difficult to get the tyres to switch on in the first instance, and as a result we struggled to achieve optimal balance, excess understeer being the principal problem. Nonetheless, our car appears to be competitive enough, and both drivers reported themselves happy enough with it.
Fridays are now test days really, though, so we arent going to get carried away. Besides, the Hungaroring is relatively lightly used in the run-up to the Grand Prix weekend, so the track surface is always rather green for initial running. Inevitably, therefore, itll rubber-in significantly over the course of tomorrow and Sunday.
Today we saw a light sprinkling of rain, but our forecasters tell us that well probably experience dry conditions for qualifying and the race. We hope theyre correct, and that the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix will be a entertaining and exciting motor race, contested on a dry track, and that Jenson and Lewis will be in the thick of it by the time the chequered flag is waved on Sunday afternoon.
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:23.983, 8th; P2 - 1:22.180, 2nd
It was a normal Friday for me. We did the normal things and tried to make the car as quick as it can be. We were second fastest which was good, and weve managed to improve the setup on my car over the last few races so Ive been pretty happy with it. Were just making small improvements, but were making them all the time and going in the right direction. Its only Friday, but were hoping for another good day tomorrow.
Romain Grosjean, P1 - 1:23.633, 5th; P2 - 1:22.922, 5th
Not the best day weve had but not the worst either. The car didnt feel quite as I like it, similar to how it felt in Hockenheim, which made things a bit tricky. I made a mistake running wide on the exit of turn seven in the second session which meant I touched the wall, so a big apology to the guys for that. On a more positive note we now understand a few things which need improving in terms of setup, so hopefully tomorrow these will make a difference and Ill have the confidence to push a bit harder and show the true pace of the car.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
We conducted valuable analysis of our latest aerodynamic developments on Kimis car this morning which help bring it a step closer to deployment in a race sometime in the future. Romain was uncomfortable with his car today which is something we will try to understand this evening. Kimi was pretty happy overall, even this morning when we werent running the native downforce settings for this circuit. With the Hungary setup in the afternoon, Kimi was comfortable, quick, and happy with both specifications of dry tyre. Whilst we havent conducted our usual long runs today it looks like both compounds should be reasonable race tyres.
Bruno Senna, P2 - 1:22.253, 3rd
It was a good afternoon getting a feel for the track conditions and how the tyres were performing. The car was behaving well but we need to keep working. There is good potential in the car though which makes me happy ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:24.300, 11th; P2 - 1:23.337, 12th
It was a busy day for us trying a few different things to help us decide which direction to go regarding set-up for the weekend. We didnt complete all our planned long runs because of the rain this afternoon so its difficult to say where we are. Im still feeling confident for the weekend but we have some work to do in practice tomorrow morning to make sure we can improve before qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas, P1 - 1:24.152, 9th
It was a good first practice for us. It was dry so we completed our programme without any problems. The car felt good but we were also able to make some improvements during the session. There are still some things to fine tune but overall it was a really good morning.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
We had a very good couple of sessions today with all three drivers performing well and giving us back excellent feedback on what was an extremely busy run programme. In the morning both Pastor and Valtteri tested a number of different aero development items. They also established a decent mechanical baseline set-up. In the afternoon Bruno and Pastor ran different programmes, concentrating on getting more tyre information for the remainder of the weekend. Unfortunately the rain came earlier than expected and we adapted the run programme to get some information in the wet, which may prove useful come race day.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:23.904, 7th; P2 - 1:22.417, 4th
All in all, it was a good day, with the only inconvenient factor being the rain, which arrived halfway through the afternoon, which prevented us doing the planned long run to understand the tyre behaviour, However, it was not just our problem, as everyone found themselves in the same situation. All the same, we did manage to get a reasonably clear idea on tyre performance and on that of the car, but its really too early to judge where we are compared to the others. There are definitely some cars that are going quickly, as indeed was the case in Hockenheim. But we are well aware that the results of the first day at the Hungaroring always need to be taken with a pinch of salt because at the start of the weekend, the track is always very dirty and the situation changes radically from Friday through to Sunday. Lets see how things go tomorrow. We realise we need to do everything as well as possible to get the very most out of what we have to work with.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:23.397, 3rd; P2 - 1:22.582, 5th
Whats to say, the usual Friday, at the end of which it is always difficult to hypothesise on how things will go in qualifying or the race. Even more so when it rains, as happened over the past three race weekends. Because of this afternoons rain in fact, we did not manage to try the dry tyres over a long run but, at least in the morning we managed to complete the work relating to the aerodynamic updates which we brought here in Hungary. Now its up to our engineers to do all the analyses to put together the best possible package for the rest of the weekend. Here, qualifying is definitely more important than elsewhere: it will therefore be vital to go into every little detail to be as well prepared as possible for tomorrow. The unknown relating to tyres? Its the same for everyone as was the case in Silverstone and Hockenheim!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
We did a hundred laps between our two drivers, but much less than half of them were really significant in terms of evaluating the performance of the F2012 on this track. As usual on Friday, we had a lot of work to get through, especially as far as the cars aerodynamics are concerned. Luckily, the rain, which seems to be always with us in this long summer part of the season, arrived when this part of our work had been completed: we picked up a raft of data which we now need to analyse, both on the track and back in Maranello, to decide not only the configuration of the car for the rest of the weekend, but also to continue our development work for the second part of the season. We had no reliability problems, which is always positive. From the little one can see of the others, it only goes to show what we said before the weekend: there are some cars that are faster than us and if we want to have even the slightest chance of beating them, we must do everything perfectly. It wont be easy, but we will give it our best shot as usual.
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:24.559, 14th; P2 - 1:22.794, 7th
I think the most important thing today is that we managed to get some good information on some test items which is something that has not been easy at previous races with the mixed weather. Even though it rained again this afternoon, we completed a lot of work before it arrived and have some useful set-up data going into the weekend. I managed to run on both the medium and soft compounds today, but we missed out on getting the long run data because of the rain.
Nico Hulkenberg, P2 - 1:23.713, 13th
Quite a positive day overall, but like everybody we missed out on getting the long run data. Apart from that, I felt comfortable in the session and we got through most of the set-up programme. I went out towards the end on intermediates to get a feel for the wet conditions, but the track was drying very quickly so there was not too much to learn.
Jules Bianchi, P1 - 1:25.715, 16th
Lots of laps for me today, which was useful and Im getting more used to the car now. I started off by doing a lot of short runs so the team could evaluate some test items, then I did a couple of longer runs towards the end. It was difficult to find the limit and I was not totally comfortable with the car today, so I think there is some more laptime still to come. Its always valuable to get time in the car on a race weekend and hopefully the team will learn a lot from the data.
Jakob Andreasen, Force India chief engineer
We made the most of the dry morning session to run through a busy aero programme with Jules and gathered some useful data. He did a good job once again although we struggled to find the sweet spot with the car in the morning session. Nico was back alongside Paul for the afternoon and we focussed on fine-tuning the cars as well as understanding the tyres. It was a shame to lose the final half of the session to rain, but we made some progress with the car and have a good idea of the direction we need to take tomorrow.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:24.608, 15th; P2 - 1:22.824, 8th
Theres still a lot of room for improvement and things that we need to do a bit better for the weekend - then we can see where we are. We got a decent run on the primes which was important and we learned things from that, but it looks tight. Unfortunately the weather caught us out, same as everyone, but we will see what we get tomorrow.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:24.546, 13th; P2 - 1:23.814, 14th
We got some running in the wet and the dry, but weve got work to do. Im not super happy with that today, but its good that its only Friday. We seem to be going okay in some places, but losing time in others - so well go through it tonight. I need to work on the balance. Theres no change from the engine mapping amend.
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:23.845, 6th; P2 - 1:23.160, 10th
We had two sessions with normal running, expect for my little crash into the tyres this afternoon. I just locked up and run out of road. By hitting the tyres, I lost the front wing, but other than that, nothing is damaged on the car, I believe. It was the kind of incident that happens when suddenly a shower hits the dry track. The car felt okay until then, and we will now look deep into our data to find a good way to approach qualifying and the race. The rain might undoubtedly be an opportunity but I am not totally sure about the forecast. Let's see what we can take away from here.
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:23.628, 4th; P2 - 1:23.164, 11th
This is a great track to drive, and it was really exciting out there, particularly this afternoon with the mixed conditions. At the end in some places it was dry, and in others, there were rivers of water. It was a decent day of testing for us overall. We worked a lot on different things, and this afternoon we tried to bring my car in a different working window mechanically, but there is still some work to do on that tomorrow.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
We had a mixed day really. We did some lower fuel work this morning and planned to do higher fuel this afternoon, however the rain came just as we began that programme so there is still some work to do there. Michael had an unfortunate incident during P2 when the car aquaplaned and went straight off. The conditions were similar to those which we might see on Sunday so we were keen to get out and see how the car was, and we were still able to pick up quite a lot of useful information from Nico. The balance of the car isn't great yet around this technically challenging circuit and there is some work that we want to do tonight to improve the car for the weekend.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
It was not a great first day for us here in Hungary, and there is room for improvement tomorrow. Michael's off in the second session due to aquaplaning was not a big deal. He lost only ten laps of track time compared to Nico and his car will be fine for tomorrow.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:24.394, 12th; P2 - 1:23.841, 15th
The weather today was a kind of surprise. We had such a packed programme and I really would have preferred two dry sessions, because we still have a lot of work to do. For some reason we struggled in the morning. We dont understand our poor performance in dry conditions yet and have to investigate that. We were fast on the wet track but I think that is not worth anything when I look at the weather forecast.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:24.268, 10th; P2 - 1:24.623, 18th
It was a difficult day. I am not happy yet with my car. We need to look at the data now and we need a good third free practice session tomorrow. However, on the time sheets it looked particularly bad for me in FP2 because I didnt manage to go out on soft tyres after a brake problem needed to be fixed in the garage.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
The session was not the easiest to manage with the rain. Overall theres quite a lot of work for us to do with regard to performance as well as reliability. We had some reliability issues on Sergios car, which cost him some running time. It was easier here to get the intermediates tyre to work than in Hockenheim, but also here half of the track was quite dry. In completely dry conditions we are definitely not where we want to be with regard to the lap time, so we have to analyse all the data tonight and draw the right conclusions.
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 - 1:25.559, 17th; P2 - 1:24.328, 16th
In general, it was an okay day. We came here with some aero updates to evaluate and the test went off smoothly and my first impression is that they are working in the right direction. However, we are still suffering from a lack of speed and finding more pace in the dry is what we need to work on now to close the gap. In the short term its going to be difficult, but we will try and find something for tomorrow, making the best of what we have. In the afternoon we tried to make the most of the rain to see what conditions could be like if we had bad weather on Sunday. But the track was partly dry and partly wet, so it was rather inconclusive.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:25.354, 16th; P2 - 1:24.345, 17th
The track seemed less dirty than usual for a Friday and there was pretty good grip this morning. Theyve also resurfaced the last corner and that seems to have really rubbered in a lot, which is good. I was not too displeased with the car in the morning, but in general, it is a similar story to the last few races, in that we lack pace compared to the others. We made some changes to the car in between the sessions, but they just confirmed my initial feeling that the car would not be as good, but we wanted to try it anyway, confirming that the car was actually better in FP1. There is a bit more pace to come from the car, but Im not sure it will be enough to move up the order very much from where we are now.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
We had a few new aero parts to try: a new rear wing and a slight variation to our diffuser. The test this morning went smoothly and it has produced plenty of data for us to study now. The drivers got into their stride quickly, which helped with the work on the job sheet. In the afternoon session, before the rain arrived, we got on with our usual Friday tasks, including doing a tyre comparison. Although there is currently only a very slight risk of rain for Sundays race, it was still worthwhile going out on track with the intermediates to judge the conditions. In fact, it seemed that part of the track was better suited to slicks and others to extreme wets, but you never know, that could happen again on Sunday so it was a useful experience.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:26.440, 19th; P2 - 1:24.823, 19th
Overall its been a pretty positive day. We managed to complete a good number of laps in both sessions, despite the rain in the afternoon, and the times today show that were getting back to where we want to be, relative to the opposition.
I was particularly pleased with the time I produced on the soft tyres in FP2 and I think it shows that weve made some progress. The rain obviously affected us the same as it did with everyone in FP2 but we made the call to go out on the inters and managed to get some good information on those tyres and the setup we might consider for Sunday, if the forecasts about rain are right. All in all, its been a good day and Im looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:26.755, 21st; P2 - 1:25.220, 20th
Both sessions today were pretty good. Even though it was business as normal, 58 laps on a Friday is decent mileage, even with the rain interruption, and weve managed to get through the test programme wed set for both sessions.
Times-wise its too early to say where were at this weekend. Hopefully we can have another dry session tomorrow in FP3, and who knows what will happen during the race. The trick is not to make any mistakes in either session tomorrow and put ourselves in as strong a position as possible for the race on Sunday so we can have a good result ahead of the August break.
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
I am pleased with what we have accomplished today. In FP1 we ran our normal Friday morning programme and both drivers completed their runplans for that session. In FP2 we put the Valencia-spec aero package on Heikkis car so we could run back-to-back tests with the package introduced in Silverstone. Development opportunities on track are obviously extremely limited and as part of the development plan we had targeted this race some time ago to run direct comparisons with the new parts, and FP2 in Hungary gave us the perfect opportunity to run those tests. Now the team on track and back at the factory will look through all the data we have generated achieved today I think this has been a very useful exercise for us.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader to Caterham
"The Hungaroring circuit is one of the slowest tracks of the season, with low power sensitivity. The average speeds around the track are approximately 180km/h and there are only two parts of the track where we use top gear - the start-finish straight and the 790m straight between turns three and four.
"The second sector is the most complex part of the track and is where significant lap-time can be won and lost. It is taken mainly in third gear and the cars do not reach more than 245km/h. Many drivers comment that the corners link together and having a good flow through each corner helps save time. To do this it is vital that the cars are set up correctly and that is an important area for us to focus on with the team, to make sure Heikki and Vitaly can attack that sector as much as possible.
"We have a number of other considerations at the Hungaroring, particularly around the atmospheric conditions we face. The track is set in a very dusty amphitheatre and the levels of airborne dust and sand are very high, especially after a predominantly hot, dry Friday. The airborne dust particles could be extremely damaging for us as they are very abrasive for the engine internals, however our high grade filters help us minimise damage. The other issue in Hungary is the high air temperatures which over the past few years have been around the 30 degrees Celsius mark, putting an emphasis on efficient cooling solutions. As this is such a 'start-stop' circuit, there is little time for the engine to 'breathe' and this also affects the fuelling strategies so today we have been working hard with the team on making sure we give the drivers the optimal engine package to take account of all these considerations."
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:27.015, 22nd; P2 - 1:27.104, 21st
The first practice was quite okay. With all the changes made since Hockenheim, my car seems more back to normal, I would say. Theres still some work to do on the set-up and to make the car a little quicker, but I was quite happy at the end of the morning. On the cautious side we will take a good look at the data and make sure it is as positive as it felt so far. Then the weather hit and it was very difficult out on track on the intermediate. The consistency of the wet patches was quite varied; it was very strange. Some corners were impossible to drive and I almost lost my car at the same point as Michael (Schumacher), but luckily I caught it. Now, well have a good look at everything and see what we can come back with for tomorrow.
Charles Pic, P1 - 1:26.705, 20th; P2 - 1:27.185, 23rd
We made a good start to the weekend in FP1 and I was quite happy with the car. It felt well-balanced quite quickly. In the break we made some changes that we thought may help to improve it further, but on the opening run this afternoon I felt this was not a good direction. It took some time to change things back, by which time we had lost the window for a run on the Soft tyre because the weather turned against us. The rain was heavier than predicted and so it also did not dry as quickly as we had hoped. I did a run with the intermediate tyre to prepare for similar conditions through the weekend.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
I think the whole pit lane was surprised by the intensity of the rain we experienced this afternoon, relative to the forecast of a much lighter shower. As such, it had a bigger impact on the course of the FP2 session and we were unable to continue what was a very positive start to the day this morning. Charles was looking strong, finishing the FP1 session between the two Caterhams. We were also pleased to hear more positive feedback from Timo in light of his recent balance woes. So we went into the afternoon feeling optimistic, but the weather rather dominated and left us with a race against time and track condition but we were unable to achieve our Soft tyre run at the end of the session. We are therefore out of kilter with the cars around us on the timesheet. Well come back at things afresh tomorrow and hope to pick up where we left off this morning in terms of the promise indicated for the rest of the weekend.
Pedro de la Rosa, P1 - 1:27.101, 23rd; P2 - 1:27.106, 22nd
"In general today went quite well. Despite the fact that we were unable to do long runs with a full tank to see how the tyres reacted, we did at least have the opportunity to test both compounds at the start of the second session and we got ahead of the rain. The car has performed well from the very start but we still have to improve it a bit for tomorrow, especially make it quicker on slow corners because its oversteering. But we have a clear indication and a good base so all we have to do now is work.
Narain Karthikeyan, P2 - 1:27.822, 24th
"The Hungaroring is virtually a new track for me because its been seven years since I raced here, so I would have liked to have done more miles in the dry, but the rain caught us all by surprise. The track is pretty bumpy and quite technical so its quite tough to get used to, but I think weve done a good job. Were not far off our main rivals and I think that tomorrow we can take them on.
Dani Clos, P1 - 1:28.176, 24th
"Today I was finally able to enjoy a dry session in good conditions. Towards the end of the session we were running very well on used tyres and I feel better every day in the F112. Just like any Friday session the objective was to have a first contact with the circuit and start to improve the set-up. I still need to do more miles to continue progressing but today I took another step.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"We did a good job in the first session with Pedro and Dani, who is more comfortable in the car every time. Both of them completed their work with no issues. With the heat from this morning we couldnt imagine that it would rain in FP2 and we would have liked to have done more laps with Narain since he hadnt run here for a while. But despite this he set good times and at the end the track was in tricky conditions so we didnt risk it. Were being consistent and tomorrow we will try to continue in this line.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Although we had the same tyre nomination as Germany, the conditions were quite different underlining the capabilities of our tyres in a wide range of weather and track conditions. The unique layout of the Hungaroring means that driving precision is key to hooking up the flowing sequence of corners, and obviously the grip from the front tyres in particular is crucial. Teams can improve turn-in by working on the set-up, but this can have a detrimental effect on tyre wear so as usual todays running was about finding the best compromise set-up, under challenging circumstances. Once again we saw some rain during the session, but with a 50% chance of more rain on Sunday this was a valuable opportunity to learn not only about the car in these conditions but also the circuit, with some parts of the track remaining much wetter than others. The rain also meant that teams did not get the opportunity to complete long runs on full fuel with the soft tyre, which will affect their strategic preparations for the race and now becomes a priority for the final free practice session tomorrow. Were expecting a difference of about 0.8s per lap between the soft and the medium tyres in dry conditions but with so many variables we seem set for another unpredictable race, following what should be a dry qualifying session tomorrow.
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