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Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes

09 May 2014

Daniel Ricciardo on Red Bull's improvement, and the likelihood of catching Mercedes; Lewis Hamilton on his fantastic start to the weekend; Pastor Maldonado on Lotus's significant gains, and why there is further room to improve. The drivers and senior team personnel give their feedback after a significant first day in Barcelona...

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:27.973, 3rd; P2 - 1:26.509, 3rd

"It's nice not to have gone backwards during the short break and I think we have shown improvement; we want to close the gap to Mercedes but they don't seem to be showing any signs of slowing down! It's not great that Seb wasn't running, two cars means twice the amount of feedback for the team and you don't learn so much from one when you are trying new parts - but at least we got some good data. The short runs and long runs were both okay today."

Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:30.942, 20th; P2 - no time

"We had a simple failure in one of the looms this morning, which caused a short and meant the car stopped. We had to change the chassis loom, which is a big job so I wasn't able to go out this afternoon. It's a small failure, but a big consequence; there was nothing new on that part of the car, it was something new that happened in that area. Luckily it happened today (rather than tomorrow), but unfortunately we lost the chance to prepare for Sunday with two cars, so I have to rely on what Daniel did today and get into the rhythm straight away tomorrow."


Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:27.023, 1st; P2 - 1:25.524, 1st

"It's been a great day today and I'm happy to be back in the car after what feels like quite a long break. I can feel the positive step forward that we've made with the car so a big thank you to everyone back at our factories for all of their hard work since China. Our two practice sessions today went very smoothly, in fact I've not had such a good Friday for a very long time! Barcelona is a difficult circuit in terms of the tyres so our running was all about trying to see how long the tyres would last and we were able to make some positive changes with that during P2 this afternoon. It's very difficult to overtake here so we will do everything we can to qualify as high as possible tomorrow, but really it is all about the race and looking after those tyres is the most important thing. Just finally, it's great to see so many fans here today enjoying the action in this beautiful weather."

Nico Rosberg, P1 1:28.168, 5th; P2 - 1:25.973, 2nd

"The team have done a great job during the short break that we have had since China. We have brought some new upgrade parts here to Barcelona this weekend and they are working quite well on the car. It looks like we are very quick again, however personally I didn't feel very comfortable in the car today, especially as I had limited running in P1. We still have a lot of work to do tonight and I will be working closely with my engineers to find my perfect set-up for the weekend."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director

"Barcelona is a milestone in this year's calendar in terms of understanding the relative performance of different teams and we are pretty happy with how this first day went. It was unfortunate that we suffered a problem with the ERS cooling system this morning which cost Nico track time but he recovered well in the afternoon. Lewis had a smoother day and put in a strong performance throughout with a good long run on the option tyre this afternoon - unfortunately, Nico encountered traffic when he was doing the same programme, which made it harder to analyse his pace. Overall, we seem to have a good set-up basis which is important because we know how demanding this race can be for the tyres. Our updates seem to be working well so far and we will keep pushing hard tonight to see where there is more performance to be found for qualifying and the race."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)

"During Nico's first run this morning, we uncovered a problem with his Hybrid system which unfortunately cost him the rest of the session as we resolved it. However Lewis had a good, fault-free session and was able to complete his programme, which gave us a baseline indication of both the car balance and the pace. Both cars ran through the afternoon session without issues. Our lower fuel runs at the start of the session allowed us to focus on the preparation of the tyres for qualifying runs, and we were then able to evaluate the endurance of the option tyre in the longer runs. That work has given us some very good information for Sunday afternoon. Tonight's task is now to analyse the data we have collected today to optimise the car's performance for both qualifying and the race. Overall, it has been an encouraging start to the weekend."


Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:28.791, 10th; P2 - 1:27.824, 8th

"It has been a good day today with all upgrades working and improving performance as we had expected. It's hard to see who we will be fighting with come the race as all the teams have made a step forward. There are still some rear grip issues, it has improved since the start of the season, but we are not there yet. The medium is the best tyre for the weekend as we were struggling for grip on the hard tyre, as is everyone else. It's always good to see upgrades working as they have all done which is once again impressive."

Valtteri Bottas, P2 - 1:28.698, 14th

"We have had a positive day as the upgrades we brought here have worked as expected, but it's hard to say where we are in comparison to other teams. We will see tomorrow. The rear of the car was a bit snappy at the end of Turn 3 and this was made worse by the tailwind, the grip was also hard to handle in this corner. I didn't have all the updates as Felipe was testing them for comparison, so I'm feeling positive knowing my car will be faster tomorrow."

Felipe Nasr, P1 - 1:29.272, 14th

"In the first session we limited our running as the track started off quite green. We have some new parts in the car and so my focus was to analyse how they performed. The car felt good and we found a lot of positives but there is some work still to do on the rear as Barcelona demands a lot of rear downforce. We made some small changes mid-way through the session which resulted in the car becoming harder to drive, which is interesting for me to know how these changes effect the car. Overall it is a positive day for both myself and the team as we obtained a lot of data from the new upgrades."

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance

"It was a constructive day as we had a lot of work to do in terms of car set-up and tyre management as well as testing all the new pieces. We completed the tests we had planned and as a result all the parts we brought are working as expected or even better, which is key at a track like Barcelona where everyone is trying to find more downforce. We still have a lot of work to do in order to optimise our car set-up and the long run pace, and so that is the focus for this evening."


Romain Grosjean, P1 - 1:29.944, 17th; P2 - 1:29.493, 17th

"Today was frustrating as we had quite a few small problems which made it difficult for me to get clean runs and set a good time. This also made it difficult to get the set-up of the car where we want it to be. The positive is that we can see there's pace in the car from Pastor's laps. If we can get everything sorted and my car running like it should we could have a good result in qualifying tomorrow."

Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:28.744, 8th; P2 - 1:27.866, 9th

"The car felt good today and it feels like we're really making progress. We completed more set-up work and it was great to have a day without any issues. With the programme we were running I didn't set my fastest laps when the track was quickest, so there's more to come from the car as it is, as well as from further set-up improvements. It's great to be running in superb weather conditions and with many Venezuelan fans in the crowd. I have a good feeling about this weekend."

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director

"We had a good start to the day and were able to assess a lot of our new aerodynamic parts, including the floor and front wing, as well as engine mapping upgrades. Pastor was pretty happy with his car straight away, whilst we had a few niggles with Romain's car which we're working on rectifying for tomorrow. We've accumulated plenty of data which means a good chunk of work to be done overnight and hopefully more performance on track for qualifying tomorrow."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:28.828, 12th; P2 - 1:28.074, 11th

"It was generally a positive day and we got all the information we wanted from the two sessions. We still have some work to do to find some performance in the car as we have the potential to improve. The track here in Barcelona is very challenging and it is going to be key to find some extra grip, especially when working with the harder compound. Degradation is high here, last year was a four-stop race and I expect the demands for the tyres to remain high this year as well."

Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:28.779, 9th; P2 - 1:29.129, 16th

"Today has been a fairly challenging day. Our race pace looks good but it will be crucial to qualify well because overtaking is always difficult on this circuit. The compounds available for this weekend are very hard and this creates some issues with getting the tyres to work as desired. We need to work on this aspect with the engineers tonight and then we will be able to battle for a place in Q3, which has to be our aim."

Robert Fernley, Force India deputy team principal

"It's been a productive day with 100 laps completed and no significant loss of time. We were able to evaluate some upgrades in the morning session and we were happy with the results, so we retained them for FP2. It got very hot in the afternoon and this makes it hard to find enough grip, but we have identified the areas of the set-up we can work on to improve our performance. We will work with the data we have collected to achieve that tonight. Our long run pace looks good when compared to our rivals so we can use this as a starting point to improve the balance of our car overnight."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"The tyres have a lot of work to do in Barcelona, particularly the front-left, but despite this wear and degradation is in line with our expectations, which means that we should see most drivers do a maximum of three stops tomorrow. With no pre-season testing in Barcelona this year, the teams used today to adapt their 2014 cars to the high-energy characteristics of the track, and we expect lap times to fall further as more rubber is laid down. There is normally a high degree of track evolution here, helped by the large number of support races, which will have an effect on tyre wear over the rest of the weekend. On that subject, the fact we're bringing the most number of tyres that we've ever transported to a grand prix - 3224 - underlines our commitment to the sport and providing the best possible spectacle for the fans, by encouraging competitors to run as much as possible."

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, P1 - 1:28.792, 11th; P2 - 1:28.049, 10th

"It was a productive Friday and I was quite happy with the balance. The car ran reliably on both the option and prime tyre, so we were able to collect a lot of useful data which we will study tonight. I have a good feeling and I hope we can come out strong in qualifying tomorrow."

Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 - 1:28.859, 13th; P2 - 1:28.246, 12th

"Not a bad Friday, even if we still have a lot of work to do and things to understand for tomorrow. A certainly positive aspect is that we look pretty good on the long runs, so if we can manage to improve overnight, things should look better for tomorrow."

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso head of vehicle performance

"Overall, until five minutes to go, it was going quite well today. We had a solid Friday with pretty much all of our test items completed. As everybody, we had a few new things on the car here and we had to go through the process of testing them against our preview solutions and I have to say we feel like we have now the answers we were looking for. Pace wise, the field is extremely tight, with two or three tenth between being P6 or P12 so it's going to be about trying to extract everything out of the car tonight to be at the top of that group tomorrow. Unfortunately we had an issue with Jev's pit stop at the end of his long run, when we lost a wheel as soon as he left the pit lane, but luckily no one was injured. We have to understand exactly what went wrong and make sure we can correct that for tomorrow."


Jules Bianchi, P1 - 1:29.820, 16th; P2 - 1:29.991, 18th

"I think we have shown that we have made a good initial step with our updates today. It is never the case that you get everything from them immediately, so there is still plenty of work to do to understand how well they are working and where we can improve. With Max running the previous specification today we will have some interesting information to look through this evening. In simple terms we are closer to the cars ahead and keeping the Caterhams behind us, which is good."

Max Chilton, P1 - 1:30.748, 19th; P2 - 1:31.148, 19th

"It hasn't been an entirely straightforward day for me today and that can be frustrating when we have so many important boxes to tick. The primary focus today was achieving a good comparison between the two different aero specifications. We made good progress this morning so I was able to make use of the developments myself this afternoon. We lost a bit of time early in FP2 because of an engine problem and the afternoon was a little bit stop-start generally. I'm looking forward to evaluating what the new developments can bring. "

John Booth, Marussia team principal

"FP1 was a very productive session for the Team, with both cars completing their programme as intended. With Jules we saw that the aero upgrades were working well and we also took the opportunity to reoptimise the set-up of the car to work with these developments and also some mechanical changes we have brought to this race. With Max, he didn't have the benefit of the upgrade in FP1, however we were still able to carry out some tests to aid aero correlation on this package which will be very useful data going forwards. In FP2 we felt confident that we had enough data to apply the upgrades across both cars, which was a little earlier than planned. FP2 was not as kind to us and we did suffer some issues on both cars. It seems also that the track conditions had changed significantly and the balance shift this caused forced us to go back on some of the set-up work we had completed. In the end, Jules completed the majority of his programme and was happy with the car in race trim. We stopped a little earlier than planned on the option long run, however we have still generated good data for us to examine tonight. With Max, I'm afraid he had a very stop-start session, with the Team and Ferrari working hard to diagnose some electrical issues which were affecting engine performance. He also unfortunately ran wide over a kerb and we lost some parts from the rear wing on his push lap. In the end, Max's session was curtailed by a mistake at T4, which saw him run wide. Overall a positive day in terms our upgrades behaving as planned and also to see that the performance relative to our nearest competitors does seem to have improved. However, we will remain cautious until qualifying and the race to see where we really are in the pecking order."


Jenson Button, P1 1:27.891, 2nd; P2 - 1:27.811, 7th

“In this afternoon’s warmer temperatures, it was harder for us to get the car working properly. When you’re limited on downforce, the car seems to operate properly within a very narrow temperature range.

“This morning, I think we looked quicker than we actually were. We’re now trying to work on the balance to improve our long-run pace a little more - and I think we can make the car a bit stronger for tomorrow.

“There are a few upgrades on the car for this weekend that seem to have helped the balance, so hopefully they’ll help us compete in the tight midfield group in which we find ourselves.

“A good result here would be for us to get everything out of our package - but it’s still too early to say where that would put us.”

Kevin Magnussen, P1 - 1:28.423, 7th; P2 - 1:27.788, 6th

“I like this circuit, and the car feels better here than it did in Shanghai, so hopefully we can have a better weekend.

“I think our upgrades are working - they’re not going to completely change the world, but they’re a small step in the right direction and we need to keep taking those small steps.

“If we get everything right this weekend, I think we can be fighting well in the midfield pack. That’s obviously still not where we want to be, but it would represent a step forward from China.

“So I think we can be slightly encouraged by the improvements we’ve made. Anything that moves us forward is good.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director

“Today has shown just how relentless is the pace of Formula One development.

“We brought a series of upgrades to our car this weekend, and it’s encouraging to see that the package has been a useful step. It seems to have corrected some of the problems that affected us in China last month, but we’re still only taking the first steps on a long journey back to the front.

“As a team, we worked well today, diligently refining the car and collecting data to work through this evening. Apart from the top three teams, the battle for the midfield is incredibly delicately poised - so our aim for this weekend will be to try and emerge on Sunday towards the head of that pack.”


Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:28.128, 4th; P2 - 1:27.121, 4th

“There wasn’t much grip on track today and in general, we struggled a bit more, which was down to a series of factors, including the track being less rubbered-in than usual. On top of that, we have less aerodynamic downforce than in the past and also in my opinion, the tyre choice here is too conservative for this track. Now we face a lot of work to try and optimise the balance of the car and get the most out of it, even if the circumstances are not that favourable to us. We must be cleverer than the others in terms of making the changes we need and adapting to them in time for qualifying.”

Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:28.337, 6th; P2 - 1:27.296, 5th

“We had a particularly busy time on track today, trying to do as many laps as possible to complete the planned programme over the two free practice sessions. In the morning, we tried various set-ups, alternating between two different rear wings, while in the second session, we concentrated on preparing for qualifying and the race and on analysing the behaviour of the two compounds Pirelli has brought here. This evening, we will carefully analyse all the data gathered, to decide which direction to go in.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director

“Today we had a particularly packed programme and despite the very poor track conditions complicating our task, mainly in the first session, we managed to get through it without any glitches. We tried various aero solutions in the morning and did a comparison between the two Pirelli compounds this afternoon. We have suffered with poor grip especially on the hard tyres and this made controlling the car more difficult, but that was the case for most of the teams. The data gathered from the work we split between the two cars will be extremely useful to understand in which areas we can improve and, even if our rivals proved to be very strong, we will do our utmost to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race.”


Esteban Gutierrez, P2 - 1:29.105, 15th

“In total, it has been taking me some time to adapt to the track conditions and to the new package. At the moment, I don’t feel very confident. I am not very happy with the car’s balance. We had some issues with the power unit, so we lost quite a lot of time on track, which makes it more difficult to get a proper feeling for the car. However, we will do our best to sort these things out. We have data from Adrian’s car which will help us to analyse the differences between the cars and to find the right balance for tomorrow.”

Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:29.688, 15th; P2 - 1:28.284, 13th

“We definitely made a step forward today. In the morning it was not easy to evaluate things because we had to solve some minor issues. However, I had a good feeling about the potential of our car, and during the afternoon was able to witness this. My fast lap was ok, but I think we can improve in every corner. If we can implement everything tomorrow, we certainly have a good chance to finish tomorrow’s qualifying in the top ten. I am satisfied with today’s outcome. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are going in the right direction.”

Giedo van der Garde, P1 - 1:30.440, 18th

“It was not a good session for me, as I struggled quite a lot. We had a few issues with the reliability of the car. We had problems with braking during downshifting, which created a lot of oversteer. After going out for the second stint, we had a brake problem. It was a difficult situation for me, but the good thing is that I didn’t hit the wall. After that, the team was able to change the brakes, so I could run again and continue our planned programme during the last run. From my point of view, the main issue is oversteer. If we can solve this issue, I think we can further improve.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara , Sauber head of track engineering

“It was definitely not an easy day because we had some reliability issues. This didn’t help as we were going through a very comprehensive programme with a car that has changed quite a bit. We lost time in the morning when Giedo suffered a brake problem, then we had an issue with the brake by wire bleed in the afternoon, and finally Esteban was hampered by an ERS issue towards the end of the day. However, there are some positive aspects as well. On Adrian’s car we could see we had made a step forward with the modifications we brought to Barcelona. The midfield is very close together, and Adrian was not far away from a top ten position. The difference to Esteban was quite significant, which had to do with some set-up issues. We will have a lot of work to do tonight, but I’m confident we can further optimise the performance.”


Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:30.997, 21st; P2 - 1:31.338, 20th

“That was a tough day for us, with lack of grip stopping us get anything good out of the car in either session. We used most of FP1 for aero evaluations, looking at the new parts we’ve brought here and also starting work on the setup options we have for the weekend ahead, but with the grip issue I really couldn’t put a clean lap together in the whole session.

“It was the same in FP2. The track was a lot hotter than FP1 and it seemed to make the rear worse, but overall I couldn’t find a decent lap time on any of the runs. We obviously have a lot of work ahead of us tonight to find a setup direction that will allow us to get back to the performance levels we’re targeting, but we’ve had a few Fridays like this so far this year and we’ve always come back fighting on Saturday so I know we can be better tomorrow.”

Marcus Ericsson, P1 - 1:31.421, 22nd; P2 - 1:31.586, 21st

“Like Kamui, for me the low grip levels in both FP1 and FP2 dominated both sessions. I couldn’t really push at all because for most of the day the car was switching from oversteer to understeer the whole way round the lap - to be honest it was a bit like driving on ice which is not what we want!

“For FP2 we made several changes but still had the same issue with grip. The traction levels were also very low and it was difficult applying the power, especially with the car moving around as much as it was. With all of this going on I didn’t have a chance to put in a clean quick lap on the mediums, so the final times today are pretty meaningless for us and I’m sure we’ll bounce back tomorrow. Even with the handling issues today we’ve still completed a good amount laps so we have a lot of data to work through and we’ll get back to where we want to be.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

“The second session was a step forward and we were able to run the new software upgrades we brought to this race. Everything worked as planned and we were able to complete the tests we required. The upgrades represent a step forward and we were happy with the progress. In FP1 unfortunately we had some issues with the calibration and had to run in a downgraded mode with less than optimal energy management, but we managed to recover in the second session and it should not affect the weekend.”