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In quotes - Friday in Italy

04 Sep 2015

Monza is the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar, but it didn’t take long for the drivers to get up to speed on Friday. They and their teams report back on the action from day one…

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson
FP1 - 13th, FP2 - 12th

“It has been a productive day. We were able to test different set-ups on the car. As Monza is a special high-speed track, we were also trying different downforce levels. It was not the cleanest day, as we had some interruptions in the programme due to the changes we made. But overall we collected a lot of data, so we are going in the right direction for the weekend.”

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 11th, FP2 - 11th

“It was a normal Friday. The work we have done today was mainly on the aerodynamic side, finding the right downforce level. Besides that, we did brake tests. All in all, I feel quite confident in the car. We are working step by step on some details, but the overall balance is satisfying at the moment.”

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 1st, FP2 - 1st

“Today was a good day definitely a testing day in terms of our programme, but a good one. I had a bit of a break in the second session but it was just so the team could check a few spikes in the data and everything was ok in the end. I didn’t particularly hook up the first two sectors this afternoon they were definitely better in the morning. So, I’m sure there’s some pace to find and Ill be looking through the data tonight to find it. There’s nothing major just very small tweaks here and there which might give that bit extra. The car is feeling good and the team are doing a great job but its still very intense out there. We’re working as hard as we can to keep improving and the challenge is always there no matter how fast you are. Now we need to keep it together through the weekend. It should be close with Nico as always so I’m looking forward to a battle.”

Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 2nd, FP2 - 2nd

“It's always great to be back here in Monza. The Tifosi are amazing and I want to thank everybody who gave me a warm welcome and the gifts for the birth of my daughter. The track is very interesting also, with big braking zones, low grip, low chicanes and lots of high speed sections. Today in the quali simulation it was very close with Lewis. It looks like it will be a tough fight between the two of us, so I look forward very much to the weekend. Our car is amazing here and the Mercedes power in the back is strong as always too.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“It’s great to be back at Monza a wonderful circuit with a lot of history. The morning session saw a bit of extra tyre work to understand some slightly different settings for this event. We also ran new engines, so there was also some extra work with engine calibration. For the afternoon we ran a normal programme. Lewis did have to stop for a period in the middle of his long run for a precautionary check on his brakes but, other than that, we achieved everything we intended to cover today. Both drivers were happy with the car, which showed good pace, so we look forward to what I’m sure will be an exciting qualifying session tomorrow.”

Williams

Valtteri Bottas
FP1 - 9th, FP2 - 9th

“It was a good Friday. Thankfully it stayed dry and we got through the whole plan without any issues. We were doing a lot of set-up work with the car, trying different aero, mechanical and suspension settings. Now we've tried a lot of different things with both cars so we have plenty of information for tomorrow to choose all the best combinations so I'm looking forward to the outcome because I think we can be competitive.”

Felipe Massa
FP1 - 8th, FP2 - 10th

“We had a positive session and I am happy with the balance and feeling of the car which is a good start to the weekend. We have to now have a look at the data and compare this to where we think our competitors are over the short and longer runs. At a first glance the car looks competitive, we just need to make sure we are ready for tomorrow.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“Today we focused on testing our specific Monza package which all seems to be working very well. We've had quite a substantial programme to get through in terms of performance and car specification, so it’s been busy. We've tested a myriad of mechanical components, new transmission developments, new suspension developments, plus other developments which we're putting in the pipeline for the future which the team have put a lot of effort in to. The long runs were good and on low fuel we looked quite reasonable for where we usually are on a Friday. Both drivers are reporting that the balance of the cars is good so I think we're in a positive position for the weekend.”

Marussia

Will Stevens
FP1 - 19th, FP2 - 17th

“A pretty good start to the weekend, for me and the team, so I’m feeling happy. It’s still quite early in the weekend but it’s nice to see us performing well here and we seem to have a pretty good set-up from which to make progress. We’re a little closer to the McLarens, and hopefully we can keep in touch with them in qualifying and the race, which will make Sunday even more interesting.”

Roberto Merhi
FP1 - 20th, FP2 - 18th

“Generally, we’ve had a really strong first day as a team. From my point of view, I think there is some room to improve and for things to be very close, not just between me and my team-mate, but also with our team and the McLarens. We seem to be a bit closer here and Monza is the type of circuit where we can demonstrate that progress, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“A very positive outcome to our first day of running, as we find ourselves sitting between the two McLarens in P17 and P18. Both drivers did a good job today to get the most from the package here. There are a few areas for improvement, but when we get on top of these we should be in a good position from which to attack the rest of the weekend.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 4th, FP2 - 5th

“That’s not bad at all. The car had quite good pace today and we collected a lot of information about the tyres on the long runs. We lost a little bit of track time when I had to cut short a run in FP1 and return to the garage, but in the end it wasn’t a problem because we got nice long runs done on both tyre compounds. We were also able to test all the new items we wanted to try out, which was very positive, and now we’re just going to do the usual tweaking overnight to get even more out of the car and improve the balance further. Overall it was a very good, straightforward, useful and productive Friday.”

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 5th, FP2 - 4th

“We’re starting to get a good read on the car now, and that showed with a good run today. I’m still not completely comfortable with a few things - we had a change of brake pad material ahead of the first session and it was difficult at first, but we built up into it and set a really good lap time on the option tyres. I feel there’s potential for even more to come and that we can make further improvements to the balance. To be P4 and P5 in these practice sessions is encouraging, although we can’t read too much into it because we don’t know what the other teams were doing in their programmes. Tomorrow is going to be an important day for us to push forwards.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“It has been a very strong start to our Monza weekend. Both drivers were happy with the balance of the car from the very first laps of the morning’s session, and this enabled us to focus on refining our setup over the rest of the day. During FP1, we performed some aero tests, including various levels of rear-wing downforce. Nico lost some time towards the end of the morning session, but it didn’t affect our preparations significantly since we were able to recover all lost ground in the afternoon. As usual, the margins are very tight around this track and a few tenths can make a huge difference in terms of grid position. Our focus now turns to getting the most out of the car in qualifying trim to give our drivers the best chances tomorrow.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 14th, FP2 - 14th

“We knew it was going to be a tough day today, and that’s how it turned out to be. We just have to try and make the most out of this situation, optimise the car and try to find a bit of performance… It’s no secret if I say that it’s difficult for us at this track, as here in Monza you need a lot of straight-line speed… But, all in all, I think it’s been a useful day. We tried some different things on both cars and we’ve managed to gather plenty of data to work on tonight.”

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 16th, FP2 - 15th

“This morning’s FP1 was a bit scrappy as we had a few issues with some settings and then a spin also compromised my session… But we were able to recover and FP2 was much more positive. Our focus was on the long runs and we worked on setting the car up for Sunday, as we know that in tomorrow’s qualy we won’t be able to do much due to the positions-penalty for changing engine. I’ve really enjoyed it out there today, it’s one of my favourite tracks and even more after today... The top-speeds we reach in the DRS zones and with the tows is pretty big, the highest I’ve ever reached in my life obviously, and it felt great!”

Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer

“We had a bit of a tricky FP1 today, unfortunately Carlos’ session was cut short. But I have to say Carlos’ P2 was much better. His crew worked really well. They turned the car round very quickly and he caught up most of the lost mileage from this morning and in fact collected some really useful long-run data. Max has done a good job throughout the day, building-up his confidence and getting to grips with the car at this high-speed track. We came here expecting this to be a tricky weekend, as this circuit doesn’t suit our package, especially in the short-runs. For this reason, we’ve decided to change Max’ engine, compromising his qualifying session this weekend but hoping this will put him in a better situation for the upcoming races. This means that now both Max and Carlos will be taking grid-penalties, but we are still staying positive. The good news is that the long-runs don’t look too bad and we have collected lots of good tyre information that hopefully will help on Sunday. The track temperature is expected to be higher on Sunday so we will carefully study all that data tonight and come up with the best possible set-up we can for Sunday.” 

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 7th, FP2 - 13th

“We know we’ll lose quite a bit of time on the straight here in Monza, so it’s the best place to take our penalties. We focused on the race set-up, since we will be starting from close to the back of the grid. If it’s looking to be a dry race, we’ll look at saving tyres during qualifying, and other strategy options. We have a standard setting for the brakes and we've seen the normal tyre wear which is expected at this track. We’ll do what we can for this race.”

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 12th, FP2 - 20th

“It was a tough day for us today. We lost quite a bit of time in the second practice session and we couldn’t work through our full programme. Qualifying isn’t our main focus, as we have the penalties to deal with and we made the decision to concentrate on the long runs. The pace is what we expected for Monza.”

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 6th, FP2 - 6th

“It was a very normal Friday, the sessions were running smoothly and we had no issues.

I was not very happy with my driving, we have to fix a couple of things and then, like in any other race, we’ll have some work to do to try to improve and find the right set up for tomorrow and Sunday. I did not have the time to see what the others were doing today, we did our own things and hopefully we can have a good weekend in front of all our tifosi.”

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 3rd, FP2 - 3rd

“It was a solid day for us, we had no issues with the car and we’ve got quite a lot of running which is always positive. The qualifying here will be very important: overtaking is possible with so long straights and this always helps, but still the first corner is very tight and the higher up you are the easiest it is. The first two cars are quite far away unfortunately, maybe we can get a bit closer tomorrow and we’ll see what happens in the race. The focus now is on the car and on how to find a few tenths for tomorrow as we’re not entirely happy. Seeing all the flags around on Friday was a good warm up. Expectations are high, but all we can promise to our fans is that we’ll give it everything we have.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“Today was a routine free practice day in Italy, with the teams gathering as much data as possible to use not only in the race, but in the all-important qualifying session tomorrow: which is always absolutely crucial at Monza. This could well be a far from straightforward race though: weather forecasts indicate a risk of rain tomorrow then a dry race, which could certainly mix things up a bit. For this race, we’ve altered our pressure and camber limits compared to what was previously prescribed: with the cars getting faster and faster - especially as development accelerates during the second half of the season - these new parameters should allow the drivers to extract the maximum performance and durability from the tyres. Once again, we’re privileged to be in front of our fantastic home crowd, whose support today has been tremendous. Their dedication looks set to be rewarded with the prospect of a fantastic race weekend ahead.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso
FP1 - 17th, FP2 - 16th

“We knew this circuit would be tough for us - but we tried some changes with the car in order to learn things, so let’s see how things go on Saturday.

“If it rains tomorrow, that ought to mix things up, particularly for the cars at the front. For us, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference, as we both have grid penalties for making an engine change, so we’ll start towards the back.

“We’ll do minimal laps tomorrow in order to save the engine, and, hopefully, recover some places in the race.”

Jenson Button
FP1 - 18th, FP2 - 19th

“It’s always nice coming to Monza. This is a circuit we love, and the fans are so passionate - and, as racing drivers, it’s fantastic to go racing with that sort of atmosphere around you.

“It’s been a tricky day for us. My car lost coolant at the start of FP2, and we couldn’t change the ERS pack with enough time to get out for the end of the afternoon session. So I did one timed lap - which isn’t great - but at least we can learn something from Fernando’s data.

“We knew this was going to be a tough weekend for us, and this just makes it more difficult, but hopefully we won’t have any problems tomorrow.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director

“We knew that both here and Spa would present a steep challenge for us, but Formula One is not supposed to be easy, and we’ll come away from these two character-building weekends feeling stronger and more unified than before.

“Today has been tricky for the team, particularly for Jenson, who didn’t get too many laps under his belt in this afternoon’s session owing to a leak on his car.

“Last but not least, I want to say a big thank-you to our hard-working mechanics: they made planned engine changes on both cars between FP1 and FP2, and will change them both again ahead of FP3 tomorrow. Their industriousness, commitment and positivity are to be applauded.”

Satoshi Nakamura, Chief engineer, Honda R&D Europe

“FP1 proceeded according to today’s run-plan, setting both cars up with new ICEs. After fundamental checks were completed with the aero and power unit data, we finished the session early to start the planned power unit change for this afternoon’s FP2.

“Fernando’s FP2 session ran smoothly, but, unfortunately, Jenson’s data showed signs of a water leak; therefore we were forced to bring the car back into the garage. After investigating, we found that the water hose had been dislodged, which we were able to fix during the session. However, there wasn’t enough time remaining in the session to get the car back out onto the track, but fortunately the incident didn’t affect the ERS, and we’re duly preparing for tomorrow’s sessions.

“We’ll be using all of today’s data, including Fernando’s long-runs in the afternoon, to set up the car for tomorrow.”

Lotus

Jolyon Palmer
FP1 - 15th

"It was a tough session as I only got a couple of laps on the first set of tyres as we carried out aero mapping work before being interrupted by a red flag. That meant I had a lot to do once the session resumed and we did manage to get a good number of laps in. The purpose once again was to work on the new front-wing which we brought to Spa and trying to make more progress with it. It was a useful session but there is more work to be done."

Romain Grosjean
FP2 - 7th

"We had a pretty good afternoon; the car was working well especially on the shorter runs which saw us set the seventh fastest time. We have a little bit more work to do on our longer runs, which we'll do overnight and see where we are on Saturday. Generally we're happy with what we have done so far. For qualifying, we should have a good fight on our hands with Force India, Williams and Ferrari. And the rain – if it comes – could be challenging as we run such low downforces, which makes the car very slippery in the wet."

Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 10th, FP2 - 8th

"It was a good start today, we have a decent balance with the car and we still have more potential to get for tomorrow. We also have plenty of data to analyse for the new Pirelli tyre pressures ahead of qualifying and especially for the race on Sunday. It'll be important to take good care of the tyres during the Grand Prix. For qualifying, it's difficult to say as everyone is quite close behind Mercedes. We will hard push as always."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

“It's been a productive and competitive day. We carried out further aerodynamic work on our new front wing with Jolyon and made some alterations as a result which are positive for the future. With Pastor, we focused on fairly long runs during FP1, while our traditional tyre programme and brake assessments were carried out in FP2 with both Pastor and Romain. Both cars are working well so far and the drivers are pretty happy. We hope to make more progress tomorrow and qualify well into the top ten like we did in Spa."