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In quotes - Friday in Barcelona

08 May 2015

With many of the teams bringing significant car updates to the first European race of the season, there was plenty to talk about after the opening practice sessions in Spain...


Will Stevens
FP1 - 19th; FP2 - 19th

“It’s good to be back in the car. The past three weeks have felt like an eternity! We’ve made a positive start to the weekend, working steadily through our programme, and it’s nice to be back at a more traditional circuit and one where we have a little more experience. There’s more to come from the car but it’s nice to get off to a trouble-free start.”

Roberto Merhi
FP1 - 20th; FP2 - 20th

“It has been very enjoyable to be driving in front of my home crowd for the first time in an F1 car. It’s a special feeling for sure. I’m reasonably pleased with how the day has gone. We’ve had another smooth day with no problems and this has helped me to get a good set-up rhythm. This morning I focused on an aero programme for the team and this afternoon it was good to get a feel for the option tyre. There is more work to do but a promising start.”

John Booth, Marussia Team Principal

“It has been a good first day here at the Circuit de Barcelona, working to understand the aero update we have introduced for this weekend. Obviously it’s a small step compared with those of the other teams at this stage of the season, but we’re following our own development path so this is an important first update for us nonetheless. This morning’s session was very good as we worked through our programme and then this afternoon we were pleased to see the option tyre working well for us, with good degradation.”


Felipe Massa
FP1 - 8th; FP2 - 10th

“Today was a normal Friday and we worked through our programme well. The focus was on understanding the tyres and maximising the performance of the package ready for qualifying and the race. We know this track well from testing, but the conditions were very different with a lot of wind and hotter temperatures so the lap times were slower. Mercedes and Ferrari are still looking very strong so we will need to wait and see where we are compared to them.”

Valtteri Bottas
FP2 - 8th

“Missing the first session meant the second practice became more important so I’m happy we had a good run plan and could do everything we targeted with the tyres, car set-up and testing the updates. Now we need to look through the data and I’m sure there is still some more we can unlock from the package in time for qualifying. It’s too early to say anything about performance and where we stand, so we will have to wait until tomorrow to see where we are compared to our rivals. Having said that we are very much looking forward rather than backwards and looking to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.”

Susie Wolff
FP1 - 14th

“Overall it was a good session because we managed to complete all of the work we had planned. For me it was slightly frustrating that I made a mistake in Turn 3 on my quickest lap, but apart from that it’s so good to get back in the car because you learn so much every time you take to the wheel. There is always that middle ground of pushing but ensuring that the car comes back in once piece, so it was important for me to not cause any difficulties for Valtteri and set him up well for the sessions ahead. This has been a good basis and I can analyse what I did right, what I need to improve next time, and use that for my next FP1 session which is coming up soon.”

Rob Smedley, Williams Head of Performance Engineering

“We had a programme of experiments we wanted to get through this morning that focused on tyre management and understanding the updates we have brought to this race. Susie was excellent and acquitted herself really well, especially as she hasn’t driven the car since winter testing. The parts we tested in FP1 were carried forward to FP2 and they have been working well which is very positive. Felipe picked up some damage during his short run so his lap time was not particularly representative. We are looking good in terms of long run pace, but can make improvements to our performance in qualifying mode.”


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“The conditions we had in free practice were quite different to what we experienced during pre-season testing, with much higher track and ambient temperatures today, but we have seen the same basic trends confirmed. The work we carried out on the 2015 rear structure has clearly paid dividends, with much less wear and degradation seen on the rears compared to last year, despite higher energy loads. Consequently, we are probably looking at a two-stop race for the majority of competitors. The teams know this track so well that the competition is incredibly close. So it’s obvious that even the smallest advantage when it comes to tyre management could translate into quite a significant gain on track.”


Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 4th; FP2 - 4th

“It was quite a strange day. The position and lap times were not too bad, but I was not completely happy with the handling of the car. I don’t know if it was caused by the wind or by the conditions of the track, but I have been struggling all day. We did not see anything bad with the upgrades we brought here. It’s just the feeling that it’s not completely right, as if the car was sliding. I feel there’s a lot to improve and to gain, in the evening we’ll look more into details and see what we can do for the rest of the weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 3rd; FP2 - 2nd

“I think it’s quite straightforward that the medium are the faster tyres, but today it was a bit slippery for all the cars. Grip seems to be very low, nothing abnormal as we’ve seen it across many years now. When we come from the winter usually in summer the track is quite a bit slower. It always helps when there are cars around and I think everybody covered quite a lot of laps today: of course on Sunday it will improve, but the general conditions will remain the same. They say it is going to be a bit cooler on Sunday and maybe that will help. I think we can improve the cars, but the gap with Mercedes is still there. It was not the best lap today, but I believe that in these conditions it is difficult for everybody. The difference between the two tyre compound is quite big on a lap for us, while on the long run it is a lot smaller, but then when you slide so much you can’t really extract the performance out of the tyres. Today everyone was sliding a lot, so it’s not entirely fair to judge the new pieces on the car. But most important, there’s nothing wrong with them: they’re working as expected so we can hopefully build into that”.


Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 1st; FP2 -3rd

“It's great to be back in Europe and back to this track, where we did so many laps in the winter tests. I worked a lot on race pace in the afternoon and was happy with my long run, where we seemed to be quicker than the Ferraris. On one lap I still have a bit of work to do to find some more speed, so I'll be working hard with the team tonight to find out where I can improve. On track it was quite a difficult day for everyone, I think. The conditions were really strange and the track was very poor. I don't know really why but hopefully it will be more predictable for qualifying and the race.”

Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 2nd; FP2 - 1st

“It's been a fairly decent day - mainly working on setup, tweaking the balance bit by bit. It's often hard to get a good comparison between the sessions with the track and wind conditions changing. The wind was quite strong at times today and really inconsistent around the lap. The car is quite affected by that and it was pretty hot out there in the afternoon too, so I think maybe the temperatures also had an effect on lap times. The priority was understanding the tyres and how they wear because, ultimately, the race is the most important part of the weekend. We've not analysed the times yet but our pace felt pretty strong.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“It was an unusual day out on track and a good one for us, with one of our drivers topping each session. You could see that it was tricky out there for all the drivers in the field - some of the onboard shots were all over the place and pretty exciting to watch. Both our boys were complaining about a lack of grip and I'm sure that was similar for every team. The second session was quite a strange one, with some unusual gaps between the teams, and we found the car was better on the prime tyre than the option in the hot conditions. Like last year, we looked particularly strong in the third sector, for which you need to keep the tyres in good condition around the rest of the lap - and that's an encouraging sign. There's now plenty of work ahead of us to analyse the data tonight and make the right choices for tomorrow and Sunday.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“It's been a reasonably trouble-free day and a positive start to the weekend. It was quite windy out on track but generally the conditions have been good. The morning session focused on experimenting with setup, while the afternoon followed the usual programme of learning how best to use the tyres for qualifying and the race. Our pace looked encouraging on both compounds but we're expecting another close battle. On the long runs there were some difficult aspects to managing the tyres, so we'll be working hard overnight to put ourselves in the best position possible for the race. Finally, we've brought quite a few aerodynamic updates to this race, so a big thank you to everybody back at the factory for putting in the hard work to get those on the car for this weekend.”


Jolyon Palmer
FP1 - 13th

"It was probably my best FP1 so far from a driving perspective. It was helpful knowing the track well and I could push early on but there wasn’t a lot of grip with it being the first session of the weekend. It was quite windy as well but I got down to a good pace and I was in a nice rhythm. I’m certainly comfortable in the car and improving every time I get out on track so another valuable session for me and the team”

Romain Grosjean
FP2 - 12th

“It wasn’t the best day for me as I sat out FP1 then we had a dramatic looking bodywork issue during the course of FP2. This means I’ll have quite a lot of work to do in FP3 ahead of qualifying tomorrow. Of course, we all know this circuit very well, but you always want as much track time as possible. On the plus side, we know there’s good potential in the car so if we can have a clean day tomorrow we’re capable of good things this weekend.”

Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 18th; FP2 - 14th

“This morning was frustrating as I watched most of the session on the TV screens, but this afternoon was much more productive and we completed a good long run. We know this circuit can work well for our car and the weather is looking good so I think there’s potential for a strong day tomorrow then an even better day come Sunday.”

Nick Chester, Lotus Technical Director

“That was something of an interesting day for us. Jolyon had a straight-forward and productive FP1, whilst Pastor’s car suffered from a minor gearbox issue which curtailed his running. Pastor then enjoyed a good FP2 including a long run, whilst Romain’s car suffered from the failure of a bodywork fastening and the resultant bodywork disintegration and dispersal. Despite the two maladies we’ve collected good data today and even ended our FP2 session with a 2.1secs pit stop so the crew are clearly fired-up for the weekend ahead.”

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 7th; FP2 - 5th

“We had a good run in FP2 and there is a lot of data for the team to analyse to find improvements. We have some upgrades here and we’ve been looking closely at how they work. We’ll try to extract the maximum out of the car so we can make the most out of qualifying tomorrow.”

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 9th; FP2 - 13th

“We expected we would be limited with mileage today, and we also knew that we would have to use the fourth engine for FP2. It would’ve been nice to get some more laps in but we did enough to give us plenty of data to look at. Dany had a cleaner session and we’ll also look at his data and try to learn a few things for tomorrow. There’s a lot of potential with the upgrades and tomorrow's qualifying is what counts.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 11th; FP2 - 17th

“It was one of those days where we ticked off all the jobs without too many issues. I think the long run pace is looking a bit better than our one lap pace, but we still need to find a better balance overnight. There’s a lot of homework to do, but we did a lot of laps today so we have the data we need to make our decisions for tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 17th; FP2 - 18th

“Today was not the easiest of days, although we had anticipated we would struggle here more than on previous circuits. It is clear that we need to find something more tonight if we want to really fight the teams ahead of us. We couldn't find the right balance and throughout the first two sessions I didn’t feel particularly comfortable, either on the short or the long runs. Tonight's debrief and the engineers’ work will hopefully give us some solutions so that we can be a bit more competitive tomorrow and, most importantly, in the race.”

Robert Fernley, Force India Deputy Team Principal

“We split the programme between the two drivers in FP1 - evaluating some small aero variations to the front and rear of the car, and gathered all the information we needed. It’s fair to say the drivers have struggled with the general balance of the car, especially with the high track temperatures this afternoon, but we worked hard to try and make improvements during the sessions. We take some encouragement from the long run performance, which at this stage appears to be more consistent and more competitive than our pace over a single lap. We also recognise that the margins to the teams ahead of us are quite small so if we can find a good direction tonight we can bring ourselves forward in the midfield fight. That’s especially important for qualifying because we know how difficult it is to overtake here and track position is crucial.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 6th; FP2 - 6th

“I’m happy with today. This morning in FP1 I did some longer runs as well as testing the new aero bits we’ve brought here and it was useful to get valuable information and put it all together for the afternoon session. I think the car is strong on this track, which makes me very happy and confident for tomorrow. Now we just need to carry on like today and optimise everything and hopefully we can continue like this for the rest of the weekend.”

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 5th; FP2 - 9th

“It was a positive day for us. We immediately saw that the car was adapting well to this tricky track and this made me feel confident straight away. This afternoon’s FP2 was a bit more difficult for me because we struggled a bit and still need to fine-tune a few things, but we know what we have to do to be ready for tomorrow. It’s amazing to drive out and see so many Spanish fans cheering me on here in Barcelona. It’s great to be racing at home and I look forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Phil Charles, Toro Rosso Chief Race Engineer

“Overall today has been quite a good day in terms of what we’ve covered with our programme. We had some new parts, a couple of aero tests to do as well as some aero characterisation and that all went well today in FP1. In terms of coming to a race event, this is a track that both drivers know quite well, which meant they both got up to speed pretty quickly. It’s nice to see that, because of this, we can take a different approach to the race weekend. Both drivers did a very good job today, driving really well and providing us with valuable feedback. Unfortunately there are a few things we still need to correct on Carlos’ car for tomorrow, but a part from that, it’s been an interesting day. Here you have a decent temperature shift from FP1 to FP2, so you get to know if your car is good in cooler track temperatures and hotter ones and today we seem okay in both conditions. So overall, a pretty positive day! As normal, there’s still a lot of homework to do tonight to try and put all the little bits of learning that we’ve done today together and make a good set-up for both drivers.”


Marcus Ericsson
FP2 - 16th

“It was a good session. Obviously I had to catch up as I did not drive in FP1. Overall we did short and long-runs on which we could gather information on the tyre behaviour. This is especially important for the race. At the end of FP2 we focused on pit stop practice. Overall it was a positive day.”

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 10th; FP2 - 15th

“In the morning the grip conditions on the track were quite low. However, I had a good feeling in the car straight away. We had a suitable balance under these conditions. As the track temperatures were much higher than in the morning, I had oversteer on the medium and hard tyres. Thus, it was a bit difficult to extract the maximum out of the car. Overall it was a good day. For tomorrow we need to analyse the collected data especially those from the warmer conditions.”

Raffaele Marciello
FP1 - 12th

“It was good to be back in the car. Overall I am satisfied with my second FP1 session. I think I did a good all-round job as I could go through the planned programme consisting of aero measurements and some set-up work. The driveability of the car was good, and I could give some valuable feedback.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber Head of Track Engineering

“It was a normal Friday for us. In the morning we focused on set-up and balance checks, and had also Raffaele back in the car. In the afternoon we mainly focused on race preparation with Marcus and Felipe. They did long-runs on the medium and hard tyres and we finished the second free practice session with pit stop practice.”


Jenson Button
FP1 - 16th; FP2 - 7th

"You simply can't compare the car I drove today to the car I last tested here back in February; the difference is night and day. Then, the last corner was easy-flat, whereas now it isn't because of the extra grunt our Honda power unit is pushing out these days. We felt reasonably good on the Prime tyre this morning, but really struggled on it in the afternoon, when we were much better on the Option. So there's a lot of work for us to do in every area to optimise what we have, and also to figure out why the car is doing certain things on track.

“All in all, it's been a positive but tough day in terms of putting miles on our components: for example, we tried three different front wings today – so the sessions were mainly about data collecting. There's still plenty of room for improvement, so we need to properly study all the data tonight."

Fernando Alonso
FP1 - 15th; FP2 - 11th

"Today felt more like a test day than the Friday of a grand prix weekend. But it's been positive: we ended the day without any technical problems, and we completed everything on our run programme. I had a little spin at the end of FP1 – I was pushing on one of my in-laps, just having a bit of fun, when the car pirouetted at Turn 12.

"The track was a little bit slower today than it was in winter testing, and we had to adapt the car to today's conditions, but hopefully tomorrow we can be a little bit closer to the cars at the front. We've made a number of positive steps today, and the car seemed to behave well, but we have a lot of work to do tonight. We need to pull everything together and then select the best parts for qualifying tomorrow."

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda racing director

"It's been a busy day: we had an extremely aggressive run programme planned for today – with lots to assess and analyse – and, pleasingly, we got through it all. It's hard to definitively measure the extent of lap-time improvement that this weekend's upgrades have provided, but we're seeing useful positives in every area.

"Additionally, both Fernando and Jenson have given us some very detailed feedback, but it's clear that we still have some work to do if we're to get the whole package working to its fullest extent on Saturday and Sunday. The most important thing, however, is that we're moving forwards."

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

"Today, FP1 was a bit difficult because we were trying to pull together various updates from both the chassis and power unit side – so the 90 minutes went rather quickly! In the end both sessions were very productive for us, though, and we were able to test the power unit driveability software updates that we implemented during the mini-break. Based on the FP1 results, we then tweaked the engine dynamics further for FP2. 

"On the operational side, things are working more smoothly than they were on the first four race weekends, and we're satisfied with today's work in the garage. We still need to review our data further for tomorrow's running – qualifying is very important at this track, as it's so difficult to overtake here. But, as always, we'll do our best."