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In quotes - Friday in Shanghai

10 Apr 2015

Mercedes set the Friday benchmark in China, but there was plenty more to report from along the pit lane. All ten teams feed back on day one in Shanghai...


Valtteri Bottas
FP1 - 9th; FP2 - 7th

It was a normal Friday for us without any mistakes or unknowns. The updates we brought have worked, so we are a little quicker through the corners now, which is always positive. The temperature here suits us better than in Malaysia, so I think we can be strong in qualifying but we need to make sure we focus on the race and especially on the front left tyre graining.

Felipe Massa
FP1 - 10th; FP2 - 17th

The first session went to plan, but this afternoon we had a few issues with the rear wing. Under braking I lost all grip in the rear tyres and as a result the car spun which put me out for the rest of the session. We lost a lot of time, but the team made the changes to Valtteri’s rear wing so the same wouldn’t happen to him. We need to have a strong day tomorrow to set ourselves up well for the race.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

We completed the majority of our plan today, unfortunately we didn’t get all the data we would have liked to due to Felipe’s spin in the second session. The spin was caused by a rear wing stall which was easy to rectify so we were confident when sending Valtteri back out. The data and driver feedback from the new parts we have installed seem positive, but there is still more work to do to see where we are in comparison to our rivals ahead of qualifying and the race.


Jolyon Palmer
FP1 - 15th

"I've been waiting to get my hands on the E23 during a Grand Prix weekend and the experience didn't disappoint. The track was quite green which provided its own set of slippery challenges and I had to learn the circuit quickly as I hadn't driven in Shanghai before but overall I'm happy with P15. I was able to complete a decent tally of laps and test the limits of grip on a couple of occasions on the fresh track. It was great to be out on track and mixing it on a Grand Prix weekend."

Romain Grosjean
FP2 - 9th

"Obviously I’d have preferred to be in the car for both sessions but we had a good afternoon and we’re always happy to see a top ten lap time. We completed a good number of laps and the car feels basically pretty strong. As always, we’ve got some areas we can improve on but we’ve made a good start."

Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 11th; FP2 - 11th

"I didn’t feel 100 percent happy with the car for all of today, but we made good progress on getting the set-up where I want it so it’s been a good day. The weather’s been pretty good here and certainly better than some of the forecasts we saw earlier in the week. It’s a fun circuit to drive with some good challenges and I think we should have a strong car for tomorrow’s qualifying."

Alan Permane, trackside operations director

"A solid day for us with no issues to report. Jolyon did a great job for the first time in the car in an official practice session and ended the session just outside the top ten and only six tenths off of Pastor’s lap time so that was a strong first effort. Both Pastor and Romain made good progress with their set-ups and there’s further time to be found. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible tomorrow."


Marcus Ericsson
FP1 - 14th; FP2 - 13th

"It has been a decent day. I did plenty of laps working through the planned programme. I think I had been struggling a bit to get a good feeling for the car on new tyres. However, on used tyres during the race simulation at the end of the day we were quite competitive, and I felt comfortable, which is promising for the race. Now, we need to fine tune the set-up of the car overnight to make sure of having a good qualifying tomorrow."

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 5th; FP2 - 8th

"It was a good day. I am satisfied as I think we have fixed the issues we had in Malaysia. The updates we brought seem to work well. We need to make sure we do a good job in qualifying and find a suitable set-up for the race. I think we have a good chance of scoring points again."

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
"It was another positive Friday. We had no major issues, so we were able to complete our planned programme. We tested a new front wing on Felipe’s car, which was encouraging. Marcus concentrated more on set-up work. In the afternoon we did the usual race preparation with long runs on high fuel and the tyre comparisons. We were pretty lucky with the red flag, which didn’t really spoil the programme for our drivers. Overall, we can have a positive outlook for the remainder of the weekend."

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 8th; FP2 - 15th

"We managed to go through today’s plan with no issues, so I’m happy with that. FP1 was all about learning the track. I felt quite comfortable from the very beginning and was able to build-up on that. It’s a nice track, I like driving here, it’s challenging and different to other circuits, which is good. FP2 was more focussed on tyre life and performance. Unfortunately, during the Option run the red flag spoiled our short run, but when we went back out to complete the long run I felt good. Everything is very close here, it’s going to be a tight fight this weekend, but we are ready for it."

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 12th; FP2 - 14th

"It was a bit of a difficult day today, to be honest. I wasn’t really happy with the balance of the car in FP1, so we tried to improve it for FP2. It was better but we still need to find a bit more pace. Of course, we were also not able to complete the ideal lap this afternoon because when we went out the red flag came out. There’s definitely room for improvement and hopefully we can do a better job tomorrow. I like driving here, it’s a technical track and quite challenging, but that’s what I like."

Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer)

"It hasn’t been the best of days for us today. Our long run pace is relatively better than our short run pace, but we’ve got a lot of work to do tonight. It’s a tricky track, both in terms of setting the car up and for the drivers, so we know we’ve got to look in both directions. We’ll help them where we can but we’ve got to kick hard now and make the car easier to drive. We will sit down and do our homework now and try and make everything a little bit better, kinder on the drivers, and the short run will hopefully come up quite nicely then. We’re not as happy as we have been recently, but it’s only Friday so we still have time to get back to where we know we can be."


Roberto Merhi
FP1 - 20th; FP2 - 19th

"It has been a good day for me and I’m certainly feeling more at home in the car and more able to push. I’m pleased with the way the pace is developing as we work through set-up options and I look forward to continuing the work from today in FP3 tomorrow to prepare for qualifying."

Will Stevens
FP1 - 19th; FP2 - 20th

"Overall, a positive first day out on track for the team, which makes the electronics issue we experienced this afternoon all the more frustrating as we had been getting into a nice rhythm. Well done to the team for quickly diagnosing it and getting me back out on track, as it is important to go into tomorrow knowing that we have resolved it. It was disappointing not to get a run on the option tyre but there are some good signs, particularly in terms of the pace, so we’ll look to build on that progress tomorrow."

John Booth, Team Principal

"Today has been a largely positive day. We’ve achieved a good deal of track time which has enabled us to focus rather more on set-up. Consequently we have seen a good improvement in terms of pace. There is still a lot of work to do of course, but it’s encouraging to be back into a good flow. We did experience a setback on Will’s side of the garage, as a result of an electronics issue, but in the end we were able to get on top of this much sooner than we thought and return Will to the track for a couple more laps before the end of the day’s running. At this stage of our development every lap counts, although disappointing for him to miss out on the option run."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 6th; FP2 - 3rd

"We had a good Friday, we got all the running we could from the sessions and our pace looks good. We had a few aero updates and drivability is always getting better, we definitely have had an improvement and that’s all we can ask for. We obviously have a few more steps to take but we’re making them in the right direction, so that’s positive."

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 7th; FP2 - 6th

"We are investigating what happened with the brakes, it felt like I couldn’t stop the car, so we need to learn more about that. Everything had been fine up until the end of FP2. It’s a shame I couldn’t make a longer run but we still got many useful laps in. We brought some upgrades here and they look quite positive."


Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 4th; FP2 - 2nd

"Overall it has been a good day of work. In the afternoon we had a problem with the brakes but the mechanics did a very good job and managed to fix it, then I was able to go back on track and go on with the programme. It's a bit early to make predictions, we still have things to improve, tomorrow we have to make sure that everything works and have another good day without any issues or problems and then we'll do our best for qualifying and the race."

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 3rd; FP2 - 4th

"Generally I feel happy in the car, but I think we can improve it for tomorrow, that is usually what Friday is for. So ideally I would have loved to do more laps, but all in all it was a solid session, for the team as well. I think we can do a step forward tomorrow and then we can see what we can do. First of all it is only the third race of season; second, it is a different track compared to Malaysia, therefore the most important thing is to look after ourselves. The target n.1 is that we are right behind Mercedes, you have to accept that they are very strong, as the season gets on we try to get closer and closer. Fight for pole with Mercedes tomorrow? They were very strong today. For us the most important thing is to make a step forward, there are a few things that we can improve. Am I scared of Red Bull? No, it was probably the first more or less ok Friday for them. I think it is clear that it gets tougher as the season goes on, as everybody will find his own rhythm. Tyre management will be crucial."


Paul Hembery, motorsport director

"The main thing today is that there’s been very little graining despite the cool temperatures here, which is a positive step and has allowed the teams to prepare for the race effectively so far. The performance gap between the two compounds is close to what we expected, and we would anticipate a two-stop strategy to be the most likely option for the race on Sunday."


Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 1st; FP2 - 1st

Today was definitely an improvement on Friday in Malaysia. It was good to get both sessions in and that puts me in a stronger position. The team has done an amazing job to find some improvements in the car. Balance-wise it's way better than the last race and it was generally feeling really good. I don't know how long I went on each compound but it felt good on the long and short runs. The prime perhaps didn't feel as good as the option but I'll have to go and analyse the data to see where we are compared to the others. It was quite close between us and Ferrari. They look just as fast as they were last time out and Nico was quick as well, so we definitely have a race on. But I feel like I've got some improvements to make and I think we've got the pace to stay ahead.
Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 2nd; FP2 - 5th

It seems that we are very quick on one lap - but I just didn't get my lap together on the softer tyres. I tried a different line on the grass at the final corner, which was not very quick as it turns out! Obviously, that wasn't ideal and it cost me a good lap. But Lewis showed the pace we have in the car. On a long run we need to analyse the data to see where we are but the Ferraris seem to be very strong again. In the morning I tried a new front wing and we collected a lot of data, so that was a very useful session for us. It will be a long night with the engineers to find the best setup for the race on Sunday.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

It was a good day from a reliability point of view, with both cars running the programme like we planned and doing lots of laps. We also ran a new front wing in the morning and the correlation all looks good, so a great job done by the team back at the factory. Performance wise, we look competitive over one lap - although Nico didn't quite get his lap together today. But Ferrari are close - and closer still on the long runs. We saw in Malaysia that we need to get every detail right to put together a winning weekend, so this will be our focus tonight as we do our analysis and tomorrow in preparation for qualifying. It will be an exciting battle.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

We had a good day today: there were no problems to report and we completed our planned programme successfully, including the evaluation of our new aerodynamic parts. We ran the two different types of tyre at different fuel loads and gathered a lot of useful information. There is a big difference between the prime and option over a single lap, which will certainly influence strategies for the rest of the weekend. Both drivers were pretty happy with the car today but Ferrari look to be similarly competitive here as they were in Malaysia, so we will have our work cut out once again. 

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 18th; FP2 - 16th

"It was a straightforward Friday in which we were able to get through our programme as planned. The majority of our work was on the tyres and on car balance, which should offer us a base to work from for the rest of the weekend. We were able to run with some test items in the morning and hopefully this will give the team plenty of data to process and analyse. I definitely think there is some interesting stuff going forward. We obviously have some work to do in order to extract some more performance from the car, especially as we switch between the different tyre compounds, but that should be the main focus for us tonight."

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 16th; FP2 - 18th

"Today was not the easiest of days for me, especially the afternoon session, but at least the conditions out on track were quite consistent. We had to abort my first run on the option tyres and, when we went to resume it, there was a lot of traffic, which made it difficult to learn about our single-lap performance. It is something we will need to focus on tomorrow morning ahead of qualifying. On the other hand, we were able to fit in a longer run on the prime tyres, which gives us useful information for Sunday."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

"It was a very busy Friday for the team and, despite a few minor technical issues that needed addressing, we were able to complete a solid amount of laps. We had the opportunity to test a few new parts that have been created as part of the VJM08's development process and we will need to analyse their impact on the car's performance tonight. The tyre programmes went largely to plan so on that front we should have the necessary information to help our race preparations. We have a lot of work ahead of us tonight and we will push hard to turn what we learned today into performance."


Jenson Button
FP1 - 13th; FP2 - 10th

"We look reasonably good out there, but that can perhaps be explained by the fact that we seem to have been able to extract the maximum out of our car today, whereas perhaps some of the other teams haven't.

"Still, the car feels nice to drive – especially when we're running on the Option tyre. However, our one-lap pace seems to be better than our performance over a long run, which is a turnaround from how we went in Malaysia. But I think we can make some improvements in that area for tomorrow.

"Irrespective of today's finishing position, the feeling with the car is good. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend nonetheless. There's been progress today – hashtag progress!"

Fernando Alonso
FP1 - 17th; FP2 - 12th

"It's been a very positive Friday for us – I enjoyed both sessions. We completed our aero programme during the morning, and then focused on set-up work this afternoon. All the updates we brought here seem to be working as we'd expected, and they've put us closer to the mid-pack. It's very encouraging to see that we're moving firmly in the right direction – it's a question of time as to when we'll become competitive.

"Obviously, we began the season from a lower starting point than some of the other teams, so it's been easier for us to make quick improvements, but the team is so focused and determined to improve – that's very impressive.

"While it's been great today to run in the middle of the pack – and I want to be able to maintain that sort of progress – we need to keep our feet on the ground: we saw in the first two races that the others tend to take a step forward in qualifying, so we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda racing director

"While we won't get carried away with seeing both cars finish this afternoon's session in respectable positions, it's always encouraging to see signs of positive progress. As we witnessed in Malaysia a fortnight ago, we're continuing intensively to develop and improve MP4-30, and today's sessions proved to be no exception. Indeed, both Fernando and Jenson were reasonably happy with their cars' balance, and our engineers will look to refine that tonight.

"Tomorrow, we'll acquire a much clearer read of our rivals' respective performance once we get into qualifying. But, for the moment, it's nice to see that we're continuing to take some good steps forward with both the chassis and the power unit." 

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

"Today, we saw some positive progress with the power unit's hardware reliability – and that has led us to be able to adjust the energy management system to cater for the needs of both Fernando and Jenson. I'm looking forward to a further step tomorrow."