Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 15 Mar 2013
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel may have dominated both practice sessions as the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix got underway in Melbourne on Friday, but there was still plenty to discuss as the light began to fade in Albert Park. All the drivers, and senior team personnel, reflect on their early progress...
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:27.211, 1st; P2 - 1:25.908, 1st
Overall it was a good day for us. It was pretty seamless and there was no trouble with the car. After all the mileage of testing, it was fun to be out there - this circuit doesnt get easier, its a good challenge. The soft tyre doesnt last too long, but the harder tyre is a decent race tyre. The weather should be quite changeable tomorrow and, as we cant predict how much that will impact the tyres and car balance, we need to be ready to change things. Today was a good day and the balance was good, but we need to be ready for whats coming up.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:27.668, 5th; P2 - 1:26.172, 2nd
It was not a bad day and we got through plenty of information. It was nice to have a bit of sun on the circuit after Barcelona, where we had pretty overcast conditions. We had to correlate a lot of information from Europe and that went pretty well. We still have a huge amount to go through tonight and were expecting a bit of overcast stuff tomorrow, so we need to be ready for that. Overall, it was pretty positive for us, but there are still areas to improve on.
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:28.013, 7th; P2 - 1:26.322, 3rd
That was an interesting day for us. There are a lot of new things to learn with the car and we made some good progress over the day. We can certainly be happy with our testing programme when you compare where we came from last year. My car had a gearbox problem at the end of the second session but these things happen and it doesn't affect us for tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:27.552, 4th; P2 - 1:26.772, 7th
Overall it was a good day, if perhaps not the smoothest. I'm happy with where we are and to see Nico in third place on the timesheets shows that we're pretty competitive. That's a reflection of a great job that everyone has done at the factory and here at the track. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
We had a very good day today until the last five minutes of the second session. Nico's car had a gearbox issue which we were aware of during the session but decided to continue running to maximise our track time as far as possible. With Lewis, there was some damage to the floor of the car from an earlier run which caused him to go off. Overall it was a very reasonable first day and we were able to get a good picture of the tyres and the balance of the car. There will be the inevitable late night in the engineering office as we look over today's data and work out how to optimise the car for tomorrow.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
Apart from the few laps we lost with each driver at the end of second practice, it was a useful and busy test day for the team. We completed most of our programme on a range of fuel loads and collected our first impressions of the tyre behaviour here in Melbourne. It was a solid start to the weekend and another milestone passed for us. Now we need to continue improving the car overnight and see what tomorrow brings in qualifying.
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:27.877, 6th; P2 - 1:26.361, 4th
"It's good for the season to start and the car felt pretty strong out there. I don't think we're the fastest but it's a good start. It was nice to have a reliable day after spending some time in the garage during testing. The track was as I remembered it and there were no surprises from it or the car. We'll have to see what happens tomorrow with qualifying as maybe it will be a bit cooler. I'm happy so far this weekend."
Romain Grosjean, P1 - 1:28.520, 10th; P2 - 1:26.680, 5th
"It feels great to be out on circuit and on such a lovely day too. The track felt good and the car felt better. It took a while for the grip to come to us, but you expect that on a street circuit. We made good progress with set-up on the car over both sessions and I think there's more to come which is promising."
James Allison, Lotus technical director
"It's been a steady start so far. The car has run reliably and reasonably quickly, but we feel there's more to come from it. Broadly it's been a successful day in terms of the programme we had in mind for these opening sessions, with both tyre compounds, our latest aero package and a few setup tweaks all given sufficient time for assessment. There's still work to be done, but we're certainly running with the leading group which bodes well for the rest of the weekend."
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:27.547, 3rd; P2 - 1:26.748, 6th
Overall, this was a very productive Friday, as we did a lot of laps and got through an important initial analysis of the behaviour of the two types of Pirelli tyres available for this race. Our efforts were helped by particularly favourable weather with sunshine and summery temperatures. However, the weather is expected to change completely from tomorrow, with wind, rain and a significant drop in temperature, which could influence Sundays race. Im not expecting any major surprises here, we already knew we were not the quickest and that was confirmed today. The car responds well, but we know there is still much to do if we want to fight with the very best.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:27.289, 2nd; P2 - 1:26.855, 8th
All aspects of both sessions were positive, even if we are aware that much work still awaits us both this weekend and for the whole season ahead of us. In the second session, when I went out on the supersofts, something did not work properly on the KERS and that cost me time, denying me the chance of doing a better lap. I am not surprised by the performance of our opponents and I expected Red Bull to be competitive right from the start.
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
This morning we evaluated various aerodynamic configurations and worked on the set-up, while in the afternoon, we worked mainly on comparing the two compounds, which will be a key factor over the rest of the weekend. The degradation appeared to be particularly marked and in fact, it fell in line with our expectations and those of Pirelli. We got through todays planned programme with both drivers, despite suffering a KERS failure on Felipes car during his run on the supersofts, in the second free practice session. Now we need to analyse the data we have gathered very carefully, especially from the longer runs. We have much to do and a long evening ahead of us to be as well prepared as possible for tomorrows qualifying.
Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:28.426, 8th; P2 - 1:27.435, 9th
"It was a very good day and I feel satisfied. The baseline set-up was not too far away from what we needed and the car felt very similar to the way it performed in Barcelona at the final test. I had a good feeling all day and enjoyed working with my engineers, who I already know very well. The track is obviously evolving and improving, but we got a good feel for the tyres. The main focus tonight is to work on improving the balance on the supersofts."
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:28.910, 13th; P2 - 1:28.311, 12th
"It wasn't the easiest of days because I had a balance issue with the car in the second session. It looks like I picked up some damage, so it was not easy to gauge exactly where we are. Given that it's likely to be wet tomorrow, it was crucial to get all the tyre information we needed today. There is a noticeable difference between the two compounds, but it's difficult to say much more until we have been over all the data."
Jakob Andreasen, Force India chief engineer
"A typical day of Friday practice to start the season. The cars are working well and we were able to pick up where we left off in the Barcelona test. Adrian settled back into the routine seamlessly and worked his way steadily through the programme. The only issue of the day was some damage to the floor of Paul's car, which we were unable to fix, so that compromised his car's performance this afternoon. Overall we're well prepared going into the weekend and possibly anticipating some wet weather tomorrow."
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:28.786, 12th; P2 - 1:28.187, 10th
Overall it was a challenging day. On the first day there are always a few things you need to work on and improve. I think we still have some homework to do. Free practice two was quite difficult for me because of traffic. I think we can still improve our time. We collected a lot of data for the tyres and if we do our homework well we should be able to aim at the top ten in qualifying tomorrow.
Esteban Gutierrez, P1 - 1:30.203, 16th; P2 - 1:28.772, 15th
"It was a very productive day. The tyres are getting better, and not as critical as in Barcelona. As a team we need to find more speed, and that means me as a driver as well. Ive improved from free practice one to free practice two. Now I will focus on improving for qualifying tomorrow.
Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
"The weather was good to us today, which allowed us to evaluate both tyre specifications as well as some development parts on the car. We had a small problem on Estebans car in P1 which cost us a few laps, but we got out back on track. Overall, we have some work to do on the car's balance, but we are reasonably happy how it performed. We now need to go and look at our data and make the most of it for qualifying and the race.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:28.440, 9th; P2 - 1:28.294, 11th
Clearly, were not as quick as wed like to be, so our task now is to work hard to find out why our car is like it is, particularly in terms of ride and downforce. Our short runs werent particularly encouraging, to be honest. Were a couple of seconds off the pace, by the looks of things, and thats always going to be disappointing for a team as successful as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
But, in a situation like this one, all you can say is that theres a hell of a lot of work for us to do - and that were well up for it. This team is incredibly good at turning things around, performance-wise, when thats whats required. So well now spend the next few hours working hard, studying our data, and Im confident that well be able to find some improvements for tomorrow. Qualifying wont be easy, but Im pretty sure well be able to do a better job on Saturday than weve done today.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:28.597, 11th; P2 - 1:28.566, 13th
Were struggling a bit, to be honest. We arent as competitive here as wed wanted to be. But were working on it - and, as Jenson says, we should be able to find some improvements for tomorrow. But, going forward, I know exactly how good Vodafone McLaren Mercedes technical guys are - Ive seen it from the outside before and Im seeing it from the inside now - and theres no doubt that they can close the gap to the cars ahead better and faster than anyone else. We have an incredible team spirit too, which is fantastic to be a part of.
Lastly, its important to remember that the Australian Grand Prix is only the first race of the season, and that theres a long road ahead of us. We knew before we came here that we wouldnt be as quick as some of the other teams, but our task is still to score as many world championship points as we can. The competition in Formula One is incredibly intense, and every world championship point counts.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
"Well, today has been a very challenging day. Our car appears to be lacking in grip and consistency, and is suffering from significant understeer and poor ride. Try as we might, we didn't move forward in performance terms during the course of the day, either. But, having said that, we've collected a lot of data, and we'll be working extremely hard this evening and tonight in an effort to utilise that data in order to do whatever we can to effect improvements.
"Moreover, you don't win world championships in the first Grand Prix of the year; you win world championships by managing the progressive development of your car from its baseline in Australia in March all the way through its development journey towards its final destination: Brazil in November. As I said a couple of weeks ago, our car is complex. Perhaps we haven't yet worked out how best to harness its potential, but we believe that potential is there."
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:30.969, 18th; P2 - 1:28.627, 14th
"In FP1 it was soon clear that in terms of balance and set-up we were not where we wanted to be so we made some changes and they helped. I definitely feel we made progress from morning to afternoon, but not enough, so there is more to do overnight to find more pace. Its nice to be racing at home in Australia again, which is an added incentive to work really hard to get the car to go quicker and give the fans something to cheer about on Sunday.
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 - 1:30.729, 17th; P2 - 1:28.968, 17th
Its really nice to be back on track for the first Grand Prix, the first day of practice and Im happy to be back in the car. The most obvious change from winter testing has been the higher temperatures and this meant the tyres have worked much better today than they did in Spain. We have quite a bit of work to do to get closer to those ahead and I feel we currently lack some speed. However, our long runs looked pretty good and the balance of the car was okay.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
A busy day for everyone, finally being here in Melbourne after a series of cold and wet winter tests. This meant it was a case of discovering how our car behaves in these conditions for the first time. This was also the first day of running for us on the supersoft tyres. We tried to complete as many laps as possible, splitting the tyre investigation for the race between the two drivers. We have a lot to do tonight to adapt the car to these new conditions, trying to ensure we get the car in the best possible performance window. As expected, the competition is very tight in our part of the grid. Our work is therefore aimed not only at finding the best possible set-up for the rest of the weekend, but also to start moving it forward for the season. In Melbourne, we can usually expect the unexpected and there is a chance of a wet qualifying, while the race here always throws up some surprises. So we must ensure we are ready for whatever circumstances we encounter.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:29.443, 14th; P2 - 1:28.852, 16th
We ran some different tests today on the car and the tyres, so we havent got the maximum pace out of the car yet. We have a lot of work to do before tomorrow, but we have another practice session to focus on the set-up needed for qualifying and well be analysing all todays data this evening.
Valtteri Bottas, P1 - 1:29.928, 14th; P2 - 1:29.386, 18th
It felt good to be back on track today. Its a new circuit for me so it took a few laps in the first practice to get to know it a little better. The track improved a lot going into the second session with much more grip, so I felt like the car could still improve further. We will analyse all the data tonight and keep working on the car in FP3 to get everything ready for qualifying.
Mike Coughlan, Williams technical director
We did some aero evaluations this morning comparing the two packages that we brought to Melbourne. We'll be running our FW35 launch aero package for the remainder of the weekend as it has proven better around the Albert Park circuit and in the conditions we have here. This afternoon we ran through a fuel level and tyre programme. We'll now look at the data and be ready for tomorrow.
Jules Bianchi, P1 - 1:31.263, 19th; P2 - 1:29.696, 19th
It has been a very good first practice for the team and for me, so I am quite happy given that it is only my third day in the car. I have been looking forward to this day for quite a long time and it really worked out well I think. Im sure its the case for other teams as well, because this is only day one, but it is very encouraging to know that while we have a good basis today, there is a lot more to come. We completed a detailed programme and put some good mileage on the car, so we have a lot of information to look through and see the direction for tomorrow. The car is performing well but we have quite a lot of understeer and we need to improve this. As for the track, I like it a lot. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but once you are up to speed its an amazing lap and now I cant wait to do some more tomorrow.
Max Chilton, P1 - 1:32.176, 20th; P2 - 1:30.600, 21st
Our objective today was to learn the Albert Park track as quickly as possible and then start to gather plenty of information with the car and the tyres, so Im pretty happy with what weve achieved in terms of the programme. Now we can start to piece that together a little more to focus on outright performance and I think tomorrow we will have a clearer idea of where we stand versus the cars around us. Even at this early stage though Im sure we can feel positive about where we are in relation to our immediate competitors and the car has shown some real promise. Though its early in the season, thats a nice reward for all the hard work weve been doing over the winter and in testing, so well done to the team here and back at home. So, a late night tonight looking at the data and then well aim to push forward again tomorrow. Albert Park is an amazing circuit and Ive loved every second of driving it so far. Tomorrow will be another big milestone in my debut weekend with my first Formula One qualifying and Im very excited about that.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Were very pleased with our opening day here in Melbourne and it really couldnt have gone any better for us with our new car, two new drivers and some good signs in terms of performance and reliability. We came here with a few concerns about how things were going to play out with the tyres, but we also knew that the less abrasive track surface and high ambient temperatures would mitigate many of the issues we experienced in testing. Degradation will remain a challenge though and we can expect to see some interesting racing as a consequence of that, which is of course a good thing. Were feeling positive but at this stage were not treating this as anything other than a good first day and we wont have a true picture until weve completed our first qualifying and then have a race distance under our belts. What I will say though is that the team have got us off to a good start here and the drivers have done a very solid job, so theres a nice feeling as we head into our first Grand Prix of the new season. Weve done all our homework today and put the drivers in a good situation to make the most of their first Grand Prix weekend, so we will see what tomorrow brings now.
Charles Pic, P1 - 1:32.274, 21st; P2 - 1:30.165, 20th
For our first full day of running that was ok. We definitely have work to do to get where we want to be and we knew where wed be relative to the cars around us for the early part of the season, so theres been no real surprises today. In FP1 we ran through a pretty normal programme on the medium tyres but we have some work to do to extract the maximum performance from them so well look at that tonight and do more work on that in FP3. In FP2 we did a couple of longer runs on that compound before switching to the supersofts and found that deg levels on those was good, especially on the long runs, and the times were consistent. Now we need to make sure we can get the same performance level out of the mediums as we did on the supersofts and that will set us up ok for Sunday.
Giedo van der Garde, P1 - 1:32.388, 22nd; P2 - 1:32.450, 22nd
First I want to say how good it was to start my first full F1 weekend. Ive worked very hard for a long time to get here and a lot of people have helped make my dream come true, so I want to thank them for helping make it happen. On track FP1 was good - we got through a decent number of laps and focused mainly on tyre evaluation, running on the mediums for the whole session so we could have a detailed look at degradation levels on that compound. FP2 started okay - on the first run I had some understeer that we dialled out for the second run but unfortunately I have a bit of rear locking as I went into T3 and went into the gravel. The anti-stall kicked in before I could get the car back out and that was the end of my afternoon. Despite that we have a lot of data to work through tonight and well come back fighting tomorrow. Well have to make the most of FP3 but Im looking forward to it and its all part of the learning process for me.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
The teams were able to try out our tyres within their proper working range for the first time, so as usual they made the most of the opportunity to assess the behaviour of their cars in representative conditions on different fuel loads. The medium tyre showed plenty of consistency, just as we expected, while the drivers also benefited from the rapid warm-up of the supersoft. With Albert Park not being a permanent facility, the track started off green but lap times rapidly improved as more rubber was laid down. From what we can see of the degradation so far, wed expect the majority of the teams to stop twice during the race, with some of the faster cars maybe trying three stops. As anticipated, we saw a performance gap of around a second between the two compounds here, which leaves the door open for plenty of strategy.
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