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In quotes - Friday in Brazil

13 Nov 2015

The drivers and teams report back on the first day of F1 action at the iconic Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos...

McLaren

Fernando Alonso
FP1 - 16th, FP2 - 18th

"My second session today was cut short because of a power unit problem, so tomorrow I have still quite a bit of work to do to get ready for quali and the race, including testing the Option tyres.

"The problem with the power unit I had in FP2 today means I'll have to have it replaced, and fit the one I used in Mexico, which obviously has rather a low mileage. But I'm not frustrated, actually. In fact in some ways I hope I can get as many problems over and done with here, and again in Abu Dhabi, and then have zero problems next year.

"It's a learning process, and sometimes it's a bit annoying, but, really, it's trial and error, and that's the only way to succeed. We're learning all the time; that's the main thing."

Jenson Button
FP1 - 13th, FP2 - 16th

"On Fridays I don't tend to look at the times so much - it's more about the feel. So, well, there's quite a bit of work for us to do. There was quite a lot of grip out there, but we couldn't make use of it all; and we're struggling a bit with overall balance, too.

"Having said that, I'm sure it's more or less the same for everyone, especially with the high tyre pressures we have to run around here. Doing that makes it difficult to make proper valid comparisons, in fact.

"So things aren't perfect, but, hopefully, helped by some good work in some long meetings tonight, we can find a better balance. Going forward, I gather there's a chance that it will rain - and hopefully it will, because rain would give us a better opportunity to do better on Saturday and Sunday."

Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda

"The ICE problem that interrupted Fernando's running in FP2 was a bit frustrating, but I guess these things happen. We aren't yet able to pinpoint what the precise issue was, but we're working on it. For tomorrow we're fitting a power unit Fernando ran in Mexico, so he'll incur no penalty in respect of today's issue. 

"On a more positive note, in FP1 we trialled two front-wing developments, both of which looked promising, and one of which we continued with throughout FP2, and may in fact adopt for the rest of the race weekend.

"Other than that, this evening we'll crunch the data we obtained today, in an effort to optimise tomorrow's FP3 and quali."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"The start of day one at this historic Interlagos circuit started smoothly. In FP1, we had a busy aero testing programme with the front wing as the main focus. Both drivers put in solid laps, and as a result we managed to gather a lot of data. We were also able to set up the power unit deployment and engine mapping for both qualifying and the race.

"We had planned for a longer-run session in FP2, but unfortunately Fernando's mid-session engine issue prevented him from doing any more laps. Jenson, on the other hand, continued to gather useful data for race strategy and tyre wear, so we'll look to share this within the rest of the team.

"We're still investigating Fernando's power unit issue, but, in the meantime, we'll change it ready for tomorrow."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 2nd, FP2 - 1st

"It was a good day, as we were able to test a few new things in the first session. Times in the afternoon were not showing the real picture, as Lewis drove in different engine modes to me. He was also very quick today and it looks like we will have a great battle again this weekend.  Besides this, we also had to learn the track because there are some quite major changes with the new kerbs. It´s always great to be back on this fantastic circuit. The atmosphere is great, there's so much history and the fans are very enthusiastic. I have great memories from last year, when I was able to win here for the first time. So I very much look forward to qualifying and the race."

Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 1st, FP2 - 2nd

"The car feels good here - but I think it's going to be a close, hard-fought weekend. Last year in the race I had really good pace - but it's hard trying to find the right balance that works in Qualifying and the race. I really need to improve my grid position this time because that can heavily influence the race. It's a short lap, it's hot and humid here and the track is also hard on the tyres. But they're working well and the grip is good. There is a bit of degradation but not as much as usual, so its generally feeling very good out there. They've changed the kerbs quite a bit. Before we could abuse them a little bit more but now you need to go around them, which I think is a good thing! It's an honour to wear Ayrton's colours on my helmet this weekend and to get a win would be extra special."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"A good start to the weekend here at Interlagos. It was great to have warm and dry running through both Friday sessions for the first time since Singapore! We ran through a regular Friday programme very smoothly, with a few test items during P1 and a first look at the prime tyre on low fuel. In P2 we ran our regular programme evaluating Prime and Option on low and high fuel. Both drivers are generally happy with the car and appear to be very evenly matched once more in terms of both outright pace and on the long runs. We'll now prepare for qualifying and hope to carry today's performance through the rest of the weekend."

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 10th, FP2 - 12th

"There's more to come from the car but we clocked up a lot of laps today so we can make some good progress on the set-up before tomorrow. It's a short track but we really put in the laps in the afternoon. It's always great driving this track."

Romain Grosjean
FP2 - 7th

"It was pretty hot out there and you really felt it in the car! We had a few areas to work on with the set-up in the afternoon, but P7 on the board is pretty good for us at this stage in the season. It's a great track that I really love and you forget just how good it is till you get out there and put in a lap. I'm really looking forward to qualifying."

Jolyon Palmer
FP1 - 12th

"It is an awesome track. There are a lot of blind corners and walking around it yesterday was an eye-opener as I have never raced here before. It is really good to drive. It felt pretty hot in the car and the tyre performance was dropping off quite quickly, but it was a great experience. We had a productive morning including trying the latest front wing so it's been a positive day."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"That was a decent day for us. We completed good run programmes in both sessions and the E23 looks good in all the configurations we evaluated. Romain showed promising pace in the afternoon and there's more to come from Pastor. We've got some progress we can make overnight so tomorrow will be an interesting day."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

"Friday's two free practice sessions followed the established pattern of running, although the threat of rain – which never really materialised – perhaps added a certain pressure on teams to gather as much information as quickly as possible. We've certainly got plenty of data to analyse now, and while wear and degradation is typically high in Brazil, we are not noticing anything out of the ordinary from a tyre perspective so far. The track is still evolving so tomorrow's comparative data will be interesting too, but we should be in for a busy race with plenty of strategies and pit stops. As always, the unknown factor seems to be the weather."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 9th, FP2 - 8th

"It was a standard Friday with lots of laps covered and plenty of data collected. Track temperatures were high for most of the day so it didn't really matter that there were a few spots of rain because it evaporated very quickly. There is still a lot of work to do ahead of qualifying because I'm not completely happy with the balance and we need to work more on understanding the tyres. With such a short lap the grid is always tight here so it's important we find some more performance tonight."

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 15th, FP2 - 11th

"We learned a lot today with a big test programme this morning. Everything went smoothly and it has given us plenty to analyse because we ran different programmes with each car. The afternoon was standard for us – collecting the tyre information and continuing to improve the car. I think we need to change a few things tonight, but I'm confident we have enough information to make sure we choose the right direction."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

"Overall we've enjoyed a fairly routine day of Friday practice, which allowed us to work through most of the items on the job list. Interlagos is a fairly unique track in terms of its layout so we put our focus on the twisty second sector and making sure the cars work well through those low-speed corners. Both Nico and Checo explored some different set-up directions during the day, but ended the afternoon session fairly content. I think we are in good shape heading into the weekend and will be targeting Q3 for both cars once again."

Marussia

Alexander Rossi
FP1 - 19th, FP2 - 20th

"Today was pretty challenging in terms of getting to grips with the car balance and managing our tyres, so we definitely have some work to do overnight. Despite this we were able to complete a solid run plan and we are confident that we can make the necessary improvements leading into FP3 and Qualifying tomorrow."

Will Stevens
FP1 - 20th, FP2 - 19th

"Today has been a productive day and it was the first time in a while that we have managed to complete good runs for qualifying and for the race during the Friday programme. I'm pretty happy with how the car is working here. I think the race is going to be tricky with rear tyre degradation, so I've worked hard to try and maximise the car for Sunday. I am enjoying the circuit here and hoping for a good weekend."

John Booth, Team Principal

"A very positive Friday for us today. FP1 was dedicated to set-up work and despite a few niggles on Will's car, both drivers managed to collect important information to be analysed this evening. The short lap in São Paulo helped in the sense that the issues could be solved without impacting the run plan significantly. In FP2 the risk of rain only translated into a few drops from time to time, so we ran a solid programme that gave us invaluable information to prepare for qualifying and the race. Both drivers had the opportunity to test the two race compounds and check balance and degradation for Sunday."

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson
FP1 - 18th, FP2 - 17th

"It was a good Friday. It was my first time driving on this track, so in FP1 I wanted to cover as many kilometres as possible. In the morning we tried different set-ups on the car and then made the right changes for FP2. I felt more comfortable in the car. I had a good feeling on the high and low-fuel runs with the medium tyres. However, I was a bit unlucky on my short-run on soft tyes as the red flag came out, which meant we had to change our programme. We postponed this low-fuel run to the end of the session, but lost the edge of the tyres as I had already been out with this set. On soft tyres we have some work to do, but on the medium tyres we had a reasonable session."

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 14th, FP2 - 13th

"Two positive practice sessions today. In the morning the main focus was on aero work. So far we have never been able to do as many aero measurements on the car. It was positive that we collected a lot of valuable information. In FP2 I was able to concentrate more on driving, especially with a high-fuel load. I was able to run many laps, and I think there is still room for improvement. Driving in front of the Brazilian fans felt like being at home. I really like the atmosphere around the track, and I am pleased I have the chance to drive in front of my home fans."

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 3rd, FP2 - 3rd

"Overall it was a difficult day. We didn't get the best timing for our run, so now we look forward to the analysis of our laps. Hopefully we can make a step forward for tomorrow and improve the car. Today everybody struggled quite a lot with the tires: they seem even more tricky than last year, but then I think it was slippery for everyone. I tried to do the best I could, but maybe I wasn't quick enough. The car was moving around and sliding quite a lot. Hopefully tomorrow we will be in better shape."

Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 5th, FP2 - 4th

"In general, the two sessions were quite confusing: a lot of things happened and I don't think we have got a clear picture. In the morning we spent the first half an hour to do some aero testing, then we had one run followed by a small issue with the set up and I spun off. In the afternoon a lot of things kept happening, always when we went out. We had some laptimes but it was quite messy in all ways. I haven't seen what the others did in the long run, our race pace felt ok but we're still struggling a bit. Now we have to look at what we did today and then try to fix certain issues for tomorrow. For sure we have some work to do."

Williams

Valtteri Bottas
FP1 - 7th, FP2 - 6th

"We got a lot of information about the tyres today, which was the main priority. We got the soft and medium compounds to work well and the long runs felt consistent, so I'm really hopeful that we can be strong this weekend. It was more slippery than last year, but it is the same for everyone and I was quite comfortable."

Felipe Massa
FP1 - 17th, FP2 - 10th

"It was a very difficult day. The car was unstable and I struggled to get the grip I wanted at the rear. I don't think I had one clean lap without losing the rear at some point. The surface offers low grip but very high tyre degradation, so the car was sliding a lot. We have a lot of work to do to tonight to make the car a bit easier to drive and more competitive for qualifying tomorrow."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"They were good sessions for us, we had to do quite a lot of work to get the balance right but we have the cars well tuned in now. Low fuel, for where we usually are on a Friday, was competitive, and we can be happy with our high fuel performance. There are a lot of details to go through as usual, but fundamentally we're very competitive against the people around us in the championship. We're in a good position."

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 8th, FP2 - 14th

"Today was maybe not the best of days, but in general it was okay. I like it here and I enjoy driving this track. We still need to find some time, but we did a lot of running, which was important to achieve. It will be a very challenging race on Sunday, that's for sure, because it's very hard for the tyres here."

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 11th, FP2 - 15th

"I think we had a good first day in Brazil. We managed to complete plenty of laps, which was the main target for today as this is a new track for me. I must say that I really enjoyed it a lot out there, it's an interesting circuit! We were able to complete all of our programme without any issues. The only little inconvenient in the whole day was that our run on Option tyres in FP2 was spoiled because of the red flag. A bit of fine-tuning needs to be made for tomorrow, but overall I'm happy with today."

Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer)

"A bit of a difficult day for us today. The short runs didn't look to be our normal performance level so we know we have some work to do in this respect tonight. We did make some changes across lunch so we will dive in the data tonight to see if there is a direction or some clues in those changes that can help us. In terms of the long runs it looked like a lot of people were struggling with tyres after quite a small number of laps. On the positive side, I think we were not in as bad a situation as some in this respect, however, getting on top of the tyres for Sunday will be a big focus. Both the front and rear axle are not particularly happy so it will be quite an engineering problem to tackle."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 4th, FP2 - 5th

"Top 5 on this track is very good for us. I'm not sure if we can expect to stay there tomorrow, but that's definitely the target. Normally when we have a Friday like this, the weekend goes a little bit better. They changed a few of the kerbs in turn 2 and turn 8. We used to be able to put four wheels over the kerb and now they are a bit too high so that basically means the corners are a bit tighter. It changes the approach a little bit for some corners but the asphalt was fine. We should be able to do a little bit of overtaking, but I think we have to rely a bit more on strategy. It's at least a two stop race so that opens a few more windows and opportunities. We'll see how that goes. I don't know what the weather's going to do. Dany has the old engine and I have the new one. It doesn't look like much but it's obviously just the first day running on track and I'm sure the guys will have a look tonight to see whether there is something they can tune and for sure trying to get more power out of it. The positive was that the engine was reliable and we ran all day so we got good laps and good information."

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 6th, FP2 - 9th

"The track was rather dirty in the morning, but conditions seemed more normal in FP2. There's still some work to do as we can be quicker, especially in sector 2. This is not an easy track for us. My engine compared to Daniel's? I don't know, we will have to look at the data. All in all the day was OK. We did plenty of laps and have enough data to analyse and tomorrow I hope to improve so that we can go on to get some good points over the weekend."