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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Driver quotes after Friday Practice at Magny-Cours

Ferrari topped the lap times during Friday’s Free Practice at Magny-Cours but perhaps the biggest surprise was the Toro Rossos of Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who posted the third and fifth quickest times.

Felipe Massa: "Today we were quick and we have found a good balance right from the first few laps in this morning's session. I think the work which culminated in the test session at Silverstone is beginning to produce results. We were competitive and I think that can continue for the rest of the weekend. The harder tyre seems more consistent in terms of performance, while the softer one seems to give more grip, which will be useful for qualifying."

Kimi Räikkönen: "I would say that this was quite a positive day. We worked well and I think we can be competitive this weekend. The car went well right from the morning, but there is still room for improvement. However, as usual on a Friday, it is hard to say what the real pecking order is in the field. The performance of the two types of tyre we have here is pretty similar, even if I never managed to get a clean run with the softer on and so it's hard for me to say which is quicker."

Scott Speed: “I am not sure exactly where we stand, as you don't know what the others are doing in terms of fuel load. Certainly we were on the low side when I did my quickest lap. The gearbox is definitely a step forward and the car was not bad today. We struggled a bit from understeer. This afternoon, I had a few problems, including one with the steering wheel, that prevented us from getting through all our programme, apart from looking at the tyre comparison and even that was not so conclusive as I had a problem on the warm-up lap for my last run. Generally, we look more competitive than we have in past races. Now we just need to work hard, keep our heads down and try not to make any mistakes for the rest of the weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton: “This morning was a little frustrating as I missed some track time when the engine protection system came in as a result of the engine running too cool and I stopped on track. Luckily the car was returned with about 45 minutes of the session still to run so I still managed to get quite a few laps in and completed our planned programme in the afternoon session.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi: “Maybe the quick times look nicer than they are in reality. We still have to work on improving the balance of the car, as the handling is not perfect yet. Even so, it is nice to see our names near the top of the order, at least on paper. Now we need to work on improving our traction and front end grip. For sure we are more competitive as the car has made a big step forward, mainly with the new seamless shift gearbox, which makes for much quicker changes. However, the other teams have probably also improved in other areas. Tomorrow, we will work on generally improving the set up, but we can look to the rest of the weekend in a positive frame of mind.”

David Coulthard: “A normal Friday session today, evaluating tyres, chasing balance and getting the car set ahead of tomorrow. The times were promising, but I don’t really get too excited about them on a Friday, as qualifying is the important thing.”

Nico Rosberg: “I didn't feel very good about my first runs out on the track but we managed to improve the set-up quite a lot today. We discovered some interesting things and tyre-wise we found some good results as well. As is usual this season, it's not immediately obvious how we'll work the two tyres, but we will go through that this evening. It's a lot of fun to drive on this track because of the new tarmac which gives it a lot more grip. My general feeling today is positive even if there are still some things we need to improve for tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso: “We managed to complete our programme, and we have a good understanding of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres characteristics in these cooler than expected temperatures. We could have been faster today, and there is still a little bit of work to do tomorrow on the set-up. However I think we will be stronger over the weekend than we appear today and so I am not too worried about the results so far.”

Anthony Davidson: “I am happy with our day's work. We found a good balance for the new tyres close to the end of the day and I'm obviously pleased to be so high up on the timesheets. We found some quite big differences between the tyre options and I think that every team will find them a challenge for the rest of the weekend.”

Ralf Schumacher: “That was a reasonable day’s work. The car was reliable in both sessions so we did quite a lot of work on different set-ups, as well as getting information on the different tyre compounds. There seems to be quite a bit of difference between the medium and the soft tyres so we will have to look at the data and see what we do in terms of strategy. Track temperature was lower than usual here because of the cooler weather but that didn’t cause any problems and it is the same for everyone anyway. The car definitely improved during the two sessions so I am optimistic for the weekend but the battle in the midfield is very tight so it is difficult to say exactly where we are this weekend. Our target for tomorrow is clearly to get into Q3, I was very close to that in Indianapolis and I hope to achieve it this time.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “I had a pretty good day. We did lots of laps and completed the programme, which is always the first objective. The changes we made to the set-up were good, and I felt really comfortable out on track. The times and handling balance were quite consistent on the long runs, which is an important factor for the race, and I don't think the position will look too bad once we have completed our analysis. There's still more progress to come from our work overnight, but I think we have a good starting point to work from.”

Robert Kubica: “After starting the day with some steering problems, which meant missing the first hour of running, everything went smoothly this afternoon. We have nearly completed our programme with quite a lot of set-up work. I am happy to be back in the car, we have to work for tomorrow, but generally the car’s balance is not too bad.”

Alexander Wurz: “We had a very interesting Friday session and ran through the programme according to plan, the only shame is that there were some yellow flags out when I was on my quickest lap. Now we have to go through the information to improve our set-up and make the correct tyre choice. The circuit was okay today, but just a little slippery. That's like every other venue on a Friday though and it provided a good foundation for consistent work.”

Jarno Trulli: “We went through some set-up work and also looked at tyre performance so it was a productive day and now we understand more about the direction we should take with the car. We suffered from a bit of understeer in some places during the day but in general the car seems quite good. Now we will have to work hard with the information we have and try to make more improvements before qualifying. We will have to wait and see where we stand in terms of performance because it is hard to judge on a Friday. We had a great race in the US with my sixth place but every race is a different challenge and it depends a lot on many variables, things like the weather, how the car is suited to the circuit and so on. For tomorrow I aim to qualify in the top 10 again so I can fight for more points in the race.”

Jenson Button: "It was a typical Friday practice for us today as we focused on evaluating the tyres and finding the best set-up on the car. Most of the runs went fairly smoothly with Rubens and myself covering a lot of laps, giving us plenty of data to work with overnight. It was pretty windy out there today which will make the data comparisons more tricky, but the conditions are the same for everyone."

Mark Webber: “I’d just started a long run in the second session and the car suffered a transmission problem, so I had to stop. The second session on a Friday is important, so it’s a shame that we couldn’t run for all of the time, but we’ll get information on the problem tonight and look into it ready for tomorrow.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “The car balance isn't quite where I want it to be at the moment, and that was costing me time today - especially as I also had some traffic on my last timed laps on new tyres. But that is something we can tune overnight, to be honest. The important thing was to do the programme, make some good set-up changes, and give ourselves a platform for tomorrow. I think we managed that successfully, and we know the direction we need to go overnight. There is still work to be done, and some time to be found in the car, but I think we will look better tomorrow, than the timesheets suggest right now.”

Rubens Barrichello: "I thought the car was a little more competitive today, although that isn't necessarily represented by our position on the time sheets. We struggled a little with the balance of the car during the morning session, particularly with the rear end, but it improved over the course of the day. Unfortunately I didn't get my last run on the new tyres this afternoon due to the yellow flags after a car went off the track. That would have improved my lap time a little for sure. Still, we have a lot of information to look over this evening to try to improve for qualifying tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld: “The practice sessions have been okay so far and, anyway, I like driving on this circuit. I stopped early because I wanted to save my back. Last week at the Silverstone test I had some problems. I can still feel it and as a precaution I want to have it checked today.”

Takuma Sato: “The day was quite interesting because the two tyre options behaved differently, so we need to analyze the large amount of data we were able to collect today. We also ran some new aero developments and there were a few good points from them. The car ran reliably and with no problems, so I think that it was a positive day.”

Adrian Sutil: “I am not happy with today, I cannot find a balance I am happy with on the car. With one set-up I have a lot of understeer and with another I have oversteer; it is difficult to find a middle ground. We have a lot of work to do and we have to check all the data and see what we can do for tomorrow.”

Christijan Albers: “In the first session I was actually pretty happy with the car and I think we were making some good progress, but in the second session I touched the kerb on the exit of turn 12 and went straight ahead. Unfortunately this damaged the car and I couldn't continue. I am disappointed as we still had two new sets of tyres to use and we could have improved the time. We did make some steps though and we will have to see what will happen tomorrow.”

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