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In quotes - Friday in Spielberg

19 Jun 2015

The threatened rain held off, allowing most of the paddock to work through their planned programmes. The teams and drivers report back on their progress after an intriguing opening day in Austria...


Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 1st, FP2 - 2nd

“In general it was a decent practice day for me. It´s a challenge to nail the setup for this track - but I felt comfortable in the car. The red cars are very strong here. They had very impressive pace - on higher fuel levels as well as low. They are our closest rivals, I think, but on this short track the lap times are quicker and all the cars are closer together. We will definitely need to work hard to find a few tenths for tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 2nd, FP2 - 5th

“It’s been an ok start - not the best but not the worst either. I had a bit of oversteer here and there but generally the car feels great and we definitely made improvements from P1 to P2. There’s just not a lot of grip out there on track and I didn’t put a full lap together. I had some good sectors and was a few tenths up on a couple of laps, so the pace is there. I was pushing hard and learning with every lap. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying hard enough. With the tyres, the option was one step faster than the primes as usual - but other than that the difference between them wasn’t spectacular in terms of feeling. I’m not sure how our pace looks relative to the others. I haven’t seen the data but Ferrari looked quick and it’s definitely closer here than at other circuits. We’re always aware of the threat from our rivals and we take it seriously every race. Hopefully it’ll all come together tomorrow.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“We saw today the picture we had expected after Canada: the competition is close on this kind of circuit and we have a battle on our hands. On a circuit with the shortest lap time of the year, of course the gaps are smaller than elsewhere, and this makes it important to get every detail right. We saw today that it is tricky to string together a mistake-free lap, especially in the cool conditions with the tyres at the bottom of their working temperature range. But we ran reliably in both sessions and completed our programme, so we have lots to think about tonight. I think we can expect a close-fought weekend and a nice battle on this great circuit.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“Overall, a trouble-free start to the weekend. There was a threat of rain early in the day which never materialised, so we managed to complete our full programme. Lewis flat-spotted one of his tyres in P1 – but this was the only minor setback of the day and both drivers seem happy with the car. Performance between the teams looks very close on both low and high fuel, so it looks like being an interesting and entertaining weekend ahead.”


Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 12th, FP2 - 4th

“I had a positive day and it’s enjoyable to drive the E23 around this circuit. The day was pretty straight-forward actually. We had no dramas so we were able to work through our programme and make good progress. I think there is still some potential for more pace from the car and then we should go well tomorrow and in the race. I’m looking forward to it.”

Romain Grosjean
FP2 - 7th

“The car felt good, but we’ve still got some work to do ahead of the race and qualifying. The balance wasn’t quite where I wanted for my fastest run on the super soft so we’ve got some progress to make for qualifying. Pastor went well in the same conditions, so we can see there’s pace to be found. For the race we’ve got to work on some of the set-up but there is good potential for the weekend ahead.”

Jolyon Palmer
FP1 - 14th

“It was a good session. There were no real dramas but I had to stop slightly early as I had a flat spot on the front tyres, which was a shame. It’s a great track to drive an F1 car; it’s just a short lap but there’s plenty to do and I was able to push. Overall I am happy with my session and I’m looking forward to seeing how the team performs over the rest of the weekend."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

“A good, productive day for us. Jolyon flat-spotted a tyre and we had to bring in Romain for some work on his brakes, but other than that it was very much a routine Friday. We focused more than usual on heavy fuel running in the morning and worked further on this in the afternoon. All three drivers gave positive feedback about the car and Romain has a little more pace to come on the super soft tyre with a tweak to the balance, so we have a strong basis looking to the rest of the weekend.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 8th, FP2 - 8th

"I think the day started off well. We had some new updates, so we used the first practice to test them and I was quite happy with the session. It was important to complete lots of laps in the morning and we then made the right choice for FP2. The lap times were not too bad on both the soft and supersoft tyres. It’s a shame that I got held up in the last sector on Options, if not I could’ve ended higher up, so I’m happy with today. I also like this track and driving here in an F1 car is even better!"

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 11th, FP2 - 11th

"A challenging day today. The track is very slippery and there’s not much grip out there, but overall we did a positive job as a team. We split the programme for both cars in order to gather a lot of data in terms of downforce and right now it’s very difficult to judge what will be the best for tomorrow, as one thing works better in the race, another in qualifying… So there’s a lot of analysis to do tonight in order to choose the best option to go with. I have to say that it’s very nice to drive here, it’s an old-school very challenging track and that’s something I like!"

Phil Charles, Race Engineer

"A pretty good first day here in Austria. Both drivers settled in well and we were able to test some new parts on both cars, which worked positively. We also set the two cars up slightly differently today and there’s some interesting information for us to go through tonight. Probably the biggest thing for us to go away and work on now has to do with the amount of graining when on the Option tyre. We seem to be a lot happier on Primes, so we need to work on the set-up and make sure we find a way to work around this graining. But overall we can be satisfied with our Friday, we ticked all the boxes on the programme."


Valtteri Bottas
FP1 - 4th, FP2 - 14th

"Our main aim today was to put the new parts we have through their paces and they all seem to be working as expected, which is encouraging. We have high targets for this weekend and we are still on course to meet these. The long run looks really positive and seem to be closer to the front than we have been previously."

Felipe Massa
FP1 - 9th, FP2 - 15th

"We have had a good day with a lot going on in terms of changes to the set-up. We had a slight issue when we went out to set our fastest laps, but we have corrected these and feel comfortable moving forward. The long run looks strong but we have two very quick cars in front so it still won’t be an easy weekend."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"We had quite a few new parts to test today and so worked on different configurations of those throughout the day. We have a lot of data from both drivers and cars that we have to go through tonight in order to make sure we are getting the most from the package. The long runs this afternoon were extremely encouraging and so we end the day happy, with everything looking to be working well."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

"It’s a short lap here at the Red Bull Ring, taking less than 70 seconds to complete. We’ve seen the load on the tyres to be quite low, and a performance gap of 0.7 second between the two compounds. The biggest factor though will be the weather: there’s a risk of rain tomorrow and a slightly smaller possibility of rain on race day. This would clearly have a major effect on tactics, so all the signs are for an unpredictable weekend."


Marcus Ericsson
FP1 - 15th, FP2 - 13th

"It was a positive practice day for us here in Spielberg. Comparing our performance to Montreal, I think it is promising that we are more competitive here. We tested different set-ups on both cars, therefore, we collected some ineresting data which we are going to analyse tonight."

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 5th, FP2 - 9th

"Overall it was a good day. We were quite productive in both sessions when working through our programme. It is positive to see that our pace is quite competitive, and that I have a better feeling with the brakes now in comparison to Montreal. The balance of the car is also satisfying, so I am confident for the weekend."


Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 3rd, FP2 - 3rd

"It has been a good day of work, but it's only Friday and it's difficult to know where we are compared to our opponents: because of the layout of the track here all the cars are closer to each other. Unfortunately I could only run one lap with the Supersoft: I was going a bit fast and I ran wide, then I destroyed the right front tire by locking it. It was a pity, I would have preferred to do the long run with this compound. I did it with the Soft compound and even if I was a bit stuck in traffic it was more or less ok. Now we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. We have to make sure that everything works well, then start from there and do a good job over the weekend."

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 20th, FP2 - 1st

"In the afternoon session we had a problem with the gearbox as one of the sensors went to the alert mode and we had to slow down. Obviously now we'll have to take a close look at it: we don't know what's the problem yet, but it seems to be unrelated to the one we had this morning. It's always better if it happens in free practice rather than in qualifying or in the race, but we have to look into it and make sure it's not happening again. In terms of feeling with the track, the lap is short and you just need to get into the rhythm. Unfortunately we didn't get as many laps as we wanted, but that's what it is. Overall the pace looks fine, we've taken a lot of information from this session, which is good. We know that we have a good car and we think we are competitive, let's see what's happening overnight. We have to make sure that we stay with Mercedes as much as we can, it should be an interesting qualifying tomorrow."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 13th, FP2 - 6th

"Our afternoon session was a big improvement over the morning: we made some changes to the car that turned out to be positive and allowed us to make the most of the soft tyres, which continue to suit our car well. It was a straightforward Friday, especially as the rain that everyone expected didn't come. I am satisfied with my pace over the long runs, even though I don't have any reference against our rivals just yet: it is something I will need to look at with my engineers tonight. This is a short track so all gaps will be very small in qualifying: one or two tenths can mean a difference of three or four places. It will be crucial to optimise our set-up in final practice to get tomorrow afternoon right."

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 10th, FP2 - 10th

"I’m feeling positive about today's work. We showed good pace in both sessions, even though Nico and I went in different directions when it came to set-up. The track keeps evolving and there was quite a big track improvement between the morning and the afternoon. The main priority was to get good tyre data and with the high number of laps today we have all the information we need."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

"Starting a race weekend on a damp track is never ideal and it meant track evolution was magnified compared to the norm. In fact, the threat of rain was present for most of the day, but fortunately it stayed away in the afternoon. We covered a lot of laps today – 168 between the two cars – which has given us all the necessary information heading into the weekend. We made some good progress with the set-up and, despite the low track temperatures, both drivers appear happy with the balance. As a lap, this is short and intense: the margins between drivers will be very small in qualifying and it will be important to make every lap count. The weather remains a big question mark as it could go either way on both Saturday and Sunday, but we will be prepared whatever the circumstances."


Will Stevens
FP1 - 18th, FP2 - 19th

"Overall it’s been a good start to the weekend and I’m feeling quite positive. We’ve done some good work with our programme today and our long and short run pace seems good here versus the cars around us. We’re in a good place compared to the McLarens ahead. The weather looks a little unpredictable, and if we manage to miss the rain, it will certainly be cool and cloudy for the next couple of days. I think we can do a good job here so we’ll have our heads down tonight to look at what we need to do from here."

Roberto Merhi
FP1 - 19th, FP2 - 20th

"I lost a bit of track time today with a small issue, so I haven’t had a completely smooth day and I think this is reflected in the lap time. The afternoon was a bit more straightforward and the pace was starting to come towards the end of the session, so I’m sure we can continue to improve tomorrow morning in preparation for qualifying. It’s a great lap here; really enjoyable to drive and quite challenging. We saw that today, up and down the field, so it’s a circuit that could bring some opportunities for the race."

John Booth, Team Principal

"We’ve had a reasonably good start to our weekend here in Spielberg, completing our planned programme with Will and Roberto. We had a small problem with Roberto towards the end of the morning session, but we were soon on top of this and back on track for the afternoon. There are good signs for our relative pace here and it’s a track that could spring a few surprises. We’ve seen today how tricky sector 3 can be, in particular that final corner. I think there is good reason to look forward to a positive qualifying and race, and hopefully the weather is the only unknown quantity now."

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 6th, FP2 - 12th

"It’s been a relatively normal Friday for us and we know there are a few things we can work on now. If we do our homework overnight, hopefully we can find some improvements for tomorrow. Even with the penalties, we have to keep pushing as anything can happen in the race. This track is not easy for us but we will try our best."

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 7th, FP2 - 17th

"The track conditions were tricky today; I think it was a combination of low temperatures and the smooth surface which made it difficult to generate tyre temperature. We didn’t manage to put it all together for the short runs and I didn’t improve on the option because of a mistake in the last corner. But we’ll get on top of it tomorrow and hopefully get into the top eight on the grid. We were prepared to take the penalty here, so we’ll be starting further back, but hopefully we can have some fun overtaking. We’ve had a tough season so far but everyone is really motivated and determined to keep pushing."