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In quotes - Friday in Singapore

18 Sep 2015

The opening two practice sessions at Marina Bay threw up quite a few surprises. The 20 drivers, ten teams and one tyre supplier involved report back on the action...


Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 5th, FP2 - 2nd

“It was a normal practice session, we were doing our normal things and everything worked more or less ok. There is always something we can improve but overall the car was behaving well. As usual, Mercedes will be very strong and also Red Bull seems to be quite quick here, but today it’s only Friday and it’s hard to judge from the lap times. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have a good day and then we’ll go from there.”

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 4th, FP2 - 5th

“It is always difficult to make predictions after the Friday sessions. In general, I think it was a good day for us. The car seems to work, but other than that I think we can still improve. I was not entirely happy with my short-runs, so for Qualifying we still have to improve a bit, but for the race it looked ok. The pace seems to be there, but it’s also fair to say that I haven’t seen too much of the data yet. So we will see. Obviously, we can expect the Mercedes to be quick tomorrow: I don’t know what happened to them today, they looked a bit slow, but for sure they will change it for tomorrow. We know that the Mercedes don’t show everything on Friday, and as expected the Red Bulls are fairly quick here as well. So tomorrow it will be tight. I look forward to Saturday, I like the circuit, it is a big challenge: there’s a lot of corners, it is a long lap and it’s not easy to get everything right. For tomorrow we should be a bit quicker, but it is only Friday and we should keep our feet on the ground.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 3rd, FP2 - 3rd

“We’ve had a pretty nice car out of the box at the last few races, because the balance has been right. Both free practices today were good for us, we hit a bit of traffic on the Option lap, but we know what we have and I think we are looking good for the weekend. Saturday is the important day but I am happy we started off on the right foot in free practice. The car felt strong and as expected is performing well at this track. We will be doing some fine tuning tonight. We expect the silver cars and the red ones to turn it up tomorrow, but hopefully we can keep the pace we showed to get up as far the grid as possible.”

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 18th, FP2 - 1st

“We expected the car to perform better at this track because it has fewer straights. This afternoon, it didn’t look bad at all and our pace looks promising. I didn’t do much running in the first session, so it was more of a challenge in FP2 and maybe slightly surprising that I did a quick lap immediately, but I felt comfortable straight away. It’s good to be P1 for the first time. However, all the teams will be working hard overnight and we will have to see what the situation is. So I don’t have any particular expectations for tomorrow.”


Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“We found conditions as we expected them to be in Singapore tonight, with a very green and slippery track that evolved rapidly. So far, it’s about a second and a half between the two compounds, which is again broadly in line with our expectations. This leads to a few strategy options, in a race that is always unpredictable. In other news, we’re obviously very pleased to see that the procedure for measuring tyre pressures during the race has been formalised and clearly communicated to all the teams; this is very important to eliminate any grey areas.”


Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 2nd, FP2 - 4th

“The sessions were good, we got on with our programme. It was very enjoyable and the track is very physical. The car feels good but the others are much closer this weekend. It’s always the case here. There are no problems with the car but everyone looks closer, if not a bit faster. We’ll still be fighting, we just need to work hard and find out where the time is. Qualifying is very important as overtaking looks very difficult so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 1st, FP2 - 7th

“In the first practice session I felt good in the car; I did some changes with the setup between the sessions, but I went in the wrong direction. It was good experience, as I know now what to do for tomorrow. The track is very demanding and tyre wear seems to be very high. Generally it is great to be back in Singapore as the event is really cool. But to be in the car is horrible, it’s unbelievably hot for us as we have expected.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“We ran our normal programme today and there were no big issues. We worked a lot on the tyres and it seems to be a very competitive situation with Ferrari and Red Bull, who look strong this weekend. We will be looking to optimise the car for both single lap and long runs. It’s a circuit that historically produces high degradation, so that’s an important aspect. We’ll be working hard overnight to get the best out of the car.”


Felipe Massa
FP1 - 17th, FP2 - 11th

“It's always the job of Friday practice to understand the tyres and the track. It's a difficult track here and today was not so different from what I expected, and very hot. Now we need to analyse everything to improve our performance for qualifying tomorrow. We know the teams around us are very competitive here, maybe even closer to Mercedes than usual.”

Valtteri Bottas
FP1 - 6th, FP2 - 17th

“The car felt good today, we were able to find a good balance. We tried the option tyre, which was a bit of a struggle for us today, so we need to analyse how we can get a bit more out of it tomorrow. The long run felt consistent tonight, so the main thing to work on from today is the option tyre.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“We've got a bit of work to do on both the low and the high fuel. The drivers are alternately happy on the prime and the option tyre, so we need to work to get them each happy on both compounds. The reality is we need to find a bit of performance as well. The up sides are that we've brought a lot of new parts here, worked through our programme diligently, and they seem to be working well. Now we just have to put everything together to ensure we get a good position in qualifying.”


Romain Grosjean
FP1 - 14th, FP2 - 16th

“Marina Bay can be a tricky circuit to get on top of and today we struggled to get the pace out of the car. We have some work to do on set-up and it’s always difficult to get a clean lap here with the traffic. I didn’t get the cleanest of laps when we went on the softer tyres so we know that we can easily do better than sixteenth. We’ve got some work to do to refine the set-up ahead of tomorrow, but we’ve got a fairly good idea where to look. I’m sure we’ll be in a better position come qualifying.”

Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 10th, FP2 - 18th

“The car felt pretty good in the first session and our pace wasn’t bad. For the second session the car didn’t feel great so we need to understand the changes we need to make for improvement. There was a small issue with a sensor in FP1 which meant my session ended slightly early but it was no big drama.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director

“We completed a decent tally of laps today however we weren’t able to demonstrate the pace we think we have in the car. Romain conducted further tests and aero assessments with our new front wing in the first session whilst Pastor was able to show top ten potential with his run. The second session wasn’t as productive in terms of pace, but we have all the ingredients to be able to improve tomorrow.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 7th, FP2 - 10th

“It’s my first time driving here, so in FP1 this morning I had to learn the track and we took it easy. I improved quite a lot and I’m happy with today’s progress. I didn’t touch the wall, managed to stay out of trouble and was able to get a lot of track time, which is always important. This morning we were also validating all the new updates on the car and it was a good first session. FP2 also started well and the performance was good, especially on the Soft tyre. We still need to work a bit on the car balance regarding the Supersoft, so we will make sure we do it tonight. I have to say that physically, this is the toughest track so far this year, but I’m coping well as we trained very hard before getting here.”

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 9th, FP2 - 15th

“FP1 was a good session for us. We managed to complete our programme and learn the circuit, which was my main objective here today. FP2 wasn’t that straight-forward unfortunately - I kissed the wall at Turn 5 and I suddenly had a puncture which ended up damaging the floor a bit… So we needed to change it and lost some track time, which made it quite a difficult session, but it’s better that it happened today and not tomorrow or Sunday! It felt very warm out there, you really sweat a lot, but we’ve trained very well for this race and I’m happy to confirm that all that hard work is now paying off.”

Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer

“Singapore is a very tricky track - don’t forget there’s 23 corners in a lap, and it’s very much about being precise, neat and tidy. It’s a circuit that definitely takes a bit of learning and settling in to get it right. This is especially tricky for rookie drivers - and we have two! That being said they both did a very good job in FP1, building their confidence nicely. FP2 however was a much scrappier session for a number of reasons: Carlos had a bit of damage on his car, which unfortunately cost him a lot of running, so he wasn’t in a perfect flow to get a good Option lap in. Max’s short run wasn’t perfect either, and we think we can work on that a bit more with getting tyres ready. Regarding the long runs, I think we need to analyse this carefully tonight. Understanding the tyre temperatures here will also be important in particular on the Prime for us. It’s probably fair to say that today we haven’t really hit the bullseye with the tyres as often as we would like.”


Marcus Ericsson
FP1 - 16th, FP2 - 12th
“It was an interesting day. We tried many different things on the car, obviously this was with the new aero package, which gave us some valuable data. Overall, it looked positive, but we need to analyse the data in more detail in order to understand how much we benefit from it, and in which areas we need to adjust the set-up of the car to suit the aero update. It has been a decent day, but we have some work to do for tomorrow.”

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 13th, FP2 - 13th

“I am satisfied with both sessions. It was important that we were able to gather a lot of data from our new aero package. At the moment it is difficult to judge the new aero package, but so far it has felt quite good. We need some time to analyse and understand all the data. Tomorrow we will also continue to work on the set-up of the car.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 8th, FP2 - 9th

“It has been a pretty straightforward day of practice - getting through the programme with no dramas and collecting a lot of data. The performance looks good, but it’s only Friday and I would expect everybody to step up their game tomorrow ahead of qualifying. The car has shown good potential, but there is still work to be done to improve the balance, especially during the long runs where I didn’t feel totally happy. On the whole though, we’ve done a lot of our homework and things are going to plan.”

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 12th, FP2 - 6th

“It was a solid day of practice and I’m happy with the work we’ve done today. There are still some things we need to change and analyse to improve for tomorrow, but I’m already feeling confident with the car. Track conditions were very good and the temperatures were quite cool compared with previous years. We managed to do long runs on both tyre compounds so we’ve got a lot of information to prepare for the race.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director

“Today was a very important day and it was satisfying to complete our programme without any major interruptions. We had several new upgrades to evaluate and a very comprehensive run plan in order to obtain a lot of data, not just for this weekend but also for the remainder of the season. Both drivers were quite happy and comfortable with the car right from the start and they steadily improved the balance as the two sessions progressed. The first indications from the timesheets show that, as predicted, the midfield battle in qualifying will be very close and every fraction of a second will count. We’re also well aware that track position is crucial as there aren't many overtaking opportunities around the circuit, which makes qualifying well all the more important.”


Will Stevens
FP1 - 19th, FP2 -20th

“The day had been going quite smoothly until an unfortunate error on my part at the start of FP2. I was getting up to speed with the track and I’d completed some encouraging aerodynamic evaluations, and the second session would have provided the opportunity to put all of that together and see how we are looking for the rest of the weekend. It wasn’t to be, so we face a busy FP3 tomorrow to complete our programme ahead of qualifying. It’s a fun circuit and a really interesting experience, so I’m looking forward to getting back on track - literally - tomorrow.”

Alexander Rossi
FP1 - 20th, FP2 - 19th

“It’s a shame that a small mistake overshadowed what for me was a very positive first day with the team here in Singapore. Prior to that, I was really pleased with how things were going, so I’m not too downhearted, although I have to acknowledge the supreme efforts of my car crew - both car crews in fact - in getting my car repaired so quickly. These are not ideal conditions to work in at the best of times, as the humidity is incredible, so I’ll try to reward their hard work over the rest of the weekend. I didn’t get the chance to do my option run, so it will be a busy FP3 session tomorrow, but I’m focused on the positives from today and looking forward to picking up where I left off.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“We have certainly had better starts to a race weekend, however all is not lost. We’ve missed out on some valuable running for two drivers with little experience of racing here in a Formula 1 car, and of course it will be a busy night for the car crews, but we’ll be back to full strength tomorrow with two fully repaired cars. In both cases, these were small mistakes that, had they happened at any other circuit, would have been very benign. Because they happened here, at a street circuit that is very unforgiving due to the lack of run-off areas, both drivers incurred the heavy penalty of ending up in the wall, with a reasonable amount of suspension and gearbox damage. It’s not ideal, but if we look at the running they had until that point, there is a lot to be positive about. Alexander mastered the controls very quickly and was completely at home in the car, banging in some great laps before he ran wide. It would be doing him a huge disservice for anyone to judge him on that small error alone. On the other side of the garage, Will did a lot of solid back to back work this morning with the aero upgrade we have this weekend. The boys in the garage have had a rough day, but we’ll dig deep, get through tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”


Fernando Alonso
FP1 - 11th, FP2 - 8th

"I think eighth is pretty representative of our true position today. This circuit suits the characteristics of our car – it's very different from Monza and Spa. So, since this track is favourable to us, we must try our best to take this opportunity and really deliver.

"I'm also happy with the changes to the layout of the circuit since last year. The track should be safer now, and probably will offer a better opportunity for overtaking, as in turn 13 now there's a very wide entry, so we'll see different racing lines there on Sunday, and hopefully some action too."

Jenson Button
FP1 - 15th, FP2 - 14th

"My day was okay, but it's always tricky to get a balance at this place. There were a few issues that we had on the lower-fuel runs; we just didn't have the right balance at all.

"I think Fernando had a reasonable balance – we were on a different spec of engine today. I was running on an older spec of engine at the end of its life. We should be able to find more performance tomorrow – hopefully we'll be up where Fernando was today, and then you have a good fight on our hands to try to get into Q3.

"On our long-run pace, the first three teams are so fast, a couple of seconds quicker than the rest. So we'll do the best we can tomorrow and Sunday and see where we stand. I'm looking forward to it though. It's going to be much more exciting than the last two races were, because at least we're in the fight here. I think we'll be in the middle of the pack, hopefully."

Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda

"Without wishing to over-promise, I would nonetheless describe today's running as encouraging. We finished the day in eighth and 14th positions, Fernando's best lap just 0.8s slower than the fastest of the day.

"Also, we managed to get plenty of laps completed, without any reliability issues of any kind all day, so we've now got a great deal of data to work on tonight, with a view to approaching tomorrow's qualifying in a positive frame of mind."

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

"Both FP1 and FP2 sessions were run according to plan, and it feels that the car as a whole package is heading towards a good direction this weekend.

"Fernando and Jenson used a different aero package setting for the practice session, therefore we were able to gather an abundance of set-up data. We'll analyse further tonight for the optimal qualifying set-up."