French GP: Friday Quotes
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:15.854): "It was a good day, apart from a slightly tight neck which I began to feel this morning: so as not to take any risks, I chose to avoid doing too many runs of several laps. I therefore concentrated on the car's set-up, working with both types of tire. On the softer ones, it seems to be a little bit harder to find the right balance, but we must take into account that today, as usual on a Friday, the track is still dirty. Everyone suffered a bit with graining on the front tires, but tomorrow the situation should improve. We must study all the data we have gathered to prepare as well as possible for qualifying and the race."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:15.999): "I am happy with the way things went during these two free practice sessions. We got through all our usual Friday job list, working mainly towards the race. Of course we don't know how much fuel our main rivals were running, but I get the impression we are very competitive. Maybe I did not get the most out of the first lap, but I am happy with the balance of the car. We tried out this new system for a Safety Car period and I think it could be a good solution because it puts everyone in the same situation and that way, you can't be penalized just by unfortunate circumstances."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Overall, it was a good start to this race weekend. Both drivers declared themselves pleased with the handling of the F2008 on this track. In evaluating the results, the usual unknowns come into consideration, these being the fuel taken on by the other teams and their work schedule, but we can say we are confident for the rest of the weekend. Coming off the back of two negative results, having not fulfilled our potential, it's time to get back to our usual standards."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Because Felipe was suffering with a stiff neck this morning, we slightly modified the two drivers' programmes from the usual ones. The Brazilian concentrated on defining the best set-up on the car, while Kimi also had to tackle the task of evaluating the behavior of both types of Bridgestone tire available to us. We are happy with the work we did today: the F2008 seemed to be going well on this track and that means we can be cautiously confident for the rest of the weekend."
Robert Kubica (6th, 1:16.317): "This was a quite difficult Friday and we lost some running time in the second practice session due to technical problems. The balance of the car was a bit strange and, therefore, it was quite difficult to drive. We now have to analyze the data and see what we can do for tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld (8th, 1:16.458): "It is too early to say how we will perform here, but today my free practice was trouble free. We did everything that is on the usual Friday programme, including the tire comparison and evaluation. At the very end of the second session the car bottomed out heavily at the exit of turn three after I ran over the curbs. I could feel something come loose and went back to the pits one or two minutes before the flag."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Today we completed the usual race preparation and concentrated mainly on the tire comparison. In addition, we made some set-up changes, and we will now analyze all the data we gathered. At the beginning of the second session Robert's car had a misfire which we fixed by changing an electronic component. This cost us some time, but we were still able to complete our programme. Although Robert is not yet happy with the set-up, I think we have a good basis for the rest of the weekend."
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:15.778): "We had a small engine problem at the end of the morning session but my mechanics did a remarkable job to fix the car and we were able to continue our free practice programme this afternoon without any problems. We tried several new elements that we ran in the test last week and everything went well and we completed our programme. Looking ahead to qualifying tomorrow, I think that our level of performance is rather encouraging."
Nelson Piquet (9th, 1:16.543): "The day has gone well. We have been able to do a lot of running and as a result collected lots of data, which I hope will allow us to continue improving after we have been through it this evening. We still need to make some small changes to improve the behavior of the car, but overall I am satisfied with this first day. It's certainly a good start to the weekend."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We had an engine problem this morning, which was unfortunate, but at least it happened towards the end of the session and so it didn't have too much of an impact on our programme. We spent most of the day evaluating various different approaches for the race, and while it's always good to see your car at the top of the timesheets, we know that this is not always a true indication of our ultimate level of performance. Nonetheless, both cars completed their programmes today and we have some useful information, which is a good basis for the rest of the weekend."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We had an engine problem this morning with Fernando, which is never a good thing, but it only happened in the final ten minutes of the session, and so it did not have too much of an impact on our programme today. We completed most of what we wanted to and so we end the day with some interesting data. Our two drivers have made good progress and we have learned a lot of things, which leaves us in good shape to continue our progress tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg (11th, 1:16.682): "We made a lot of progress today which is satisfying. We made quite a few changes to the car over the course of this morning's session because I had some slight oversteer but, once we'd made those adjustments, things started to improve and we were fairly competitive in the afternoon. Performance-wise, we can be pretty happy with where we are at the moment. Obviously, my race strategy is a lot more important here than normal, so I might have to compromise my pace in tomorrow's qualifying to account for that."
Kazuki Nakajima (14th, 1:17.002): "It was a bit of a difficult day for me. We struggled a little with the grip levels but we tried many different set-up options to solve the problem and it finally started to go our way towards the end of the sessions. I think track conditions will be better tomorrow so hopefully qualifying will go ok for us."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "It was a day of homework with both drivers working through their scheduled set-up programmes. We have a lot of data to go through now to make decisions for, firstly, getting good qualifying positions and then for the race. Obviously for Nico, with his ten place grid penalty from the incident in Montreal, it's going to be quite a hard race on Sunday."
David Coulthard (10th, 1:16.572): "There was some initial graining on the tires early in the session, but it improved as the track rubbered in. It was a pretty normal Friday practice for us, we managed to work through all of our programme and now we'll look at the data to see what we can do for tomorrow."
Mark Webber (16th, 1:17.106): "It wasn't one of our better Fridays, it's a good thing it wasn't Saturday today! At least we have a chance to work through everything tonight and understand how we can get more performance from the car. After a very encouraging Barcelona test, it's suddenly a bit of a mystery here how to get comfortable with the car. But, we'll work tonight and try to get a better set-up ahead of qualifying tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (12th, 1:16.743): "Today we made it through a lot of work on tires and set-up and the car felt good in general. It has been hot so the track conditions were changing a lot over the course of the two sessions. We still have to solve some set-up issues in order to find more speed as the car's handling is crucial here. The track surface is very dark and it is quickly affected by the sun so it can suddenly become very slippery. You have to prevent that and figure out what balance you might end up with in the race. But Toyota has generally been competitive here so I hope we can do well this weekend."
Timo Glock (15th, 1:17.092): "That was a difficult start to the weekend. The tires are just not working for me at the moment and that makes the car very difficult to drive. I can't get the peak out of the tires for the first lap so I am not getting the lap time, then I get massive graining and a big drop-off. So we have work to do but I remain hopeful. After our good result in Montreal, we had a positive test last week in Barcelona and collected data in all areas aimed at improving the car both mechanically and aerodynamically. We'll have to see how much progress the other teams have made but we should aim to score points."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "We ran through our complete programme without any issues at all, so that was a productive day for us. The main areas we focused on were tires and the level of downforce that we want to run in the race. By the second session the track was already in quite good shape. So the data on the tires was representative and that should give us enough to make our decisions for the race on Sunday. Jarno put in a good, consistent, long run in the afternoon and while we still have to work on the set-up for both drivers, we collected all the information that we needed."
Sebastian Vettel (5th, 1:16.298): "I am very happy with the work we did today. I had a good pace since the beginning of the morning session and we made changes that seemed to improve the car. Fifth looks very good, but you never know what fuel loads the others were running, but it's better than being twentieth! The new aero package is a good step forward and should show its value on this track with lots of fast corners and quick changes of direction."
Sebastien Bourdais (13th, 1:16.758): "It's an enjoyable feeling to be taking part in my first home Grand Prix and to be close to the fans and I have a lot of good memories of this circuit. I got off on the wrong foot this morning, struggling to find the right balance on the car. The new aero package speaks for itself in that I think we are a bit more competitive, but we will have to see what happens in qualifying to see what the real improvement is. Today, I was not on the same programme as Sebastian and when earlier we were on the same set of tires, the times were quite close between us. Therefore, given the difficult start this morning the day has ended up not so bad."
Jenson Button (17th, 1:17.244): "It was a productive day today and we were able to achieve good mileage over the two sessions. We made progress during the course of the day and I felt happier with the car this afternoon. Unfortunately we were still lacking pace, which was a surprise as we were hoping to be challenging the top ten here in France."
Rubens Barrichello (19th, 1:17.591): "It was a busy day as we had a number of items to evaluate on the car to find the best set-up for this track. Although the track conditions improved in the afternoon, we were not able to make as much progress as we hoped over the course of the day. We were expecting the car to perform better around this circuit, however it is evident that we have some work to do to get the balance right. Although we may have been running a different programme to our competitors, I think today reflects that we will be competing in the midfield pack this weekend."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "A challenging day, but all is not lost. The lap times may not reflect the true pace of our cars today. Neither car had all the elements in place at the same time to put a lap together. We were making some fairly significant changes to the cars looking for a balance. It has to be said that we were expecting to have a better car than we had today. As usual we will be looking at all the information carefully in order to try to improve the car for tomorrow. It is important that our approach is calm and methodical."
Giancarlo Fisichella (18th, 1:17.394): "We went through the scheduled programme today and made some steps forward, but we are still relatively far away from the others and have some work to do. The grip level was quite poor in both sessions and we had some understeer in the high speed corners. We also compared the tires and the softer compound works OK, but it will still be a difficult weekend."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:17.868): "Overall it was such not a great day as we had a few small technical problems today. The main issue was with the brakes and then the tires overheating. I was struggling under braking, and this morning I lost a lot of the session. In the afternoon the track was slower as the temperature increased and it was difficult to get the tires to work well again, but now we have found the problem and can get it fixed for tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A pretty typical first day doing our normal programme of set up work and tire evaluation. Adrian struggled a bit with the car under braking all day and we will need to work on this tomorrow. We nevertheless managed to complete our programme with no major issues. The tire position looks fairly clear now and we have established a fair set-up, so overall a reasonable first day for us."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:16.232): "We made a great deal of progress this morning and seemed to get the car dialed in nicely to the circuit. This afternoon, I unfortunately had a twitchy moment at the exit of turn three and ran wide into the gravel. It cut short my run with no major damage and slightly disturbed our run programme. At the end of the session, we tried out a new Safety Car timing system, which still needs a little more work at the moment. But today has shown we're looking quick this weekend."
Heikki Kovalainen (7th, 1:16.340): "This is a circuit I've always enjoyed - the sweeping corners and fast chicanes really suit my style and I quickly felt at home. It's been a pretty straightforward day: during the afternoon, we worked on the set-up and tire comparison runs without any problems. I'm happy with the balance of the car in both the slow and fast corners and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Heikki had a straightforward run through practice, but there was some disruption to Lewis's programme this afternoon. He had a couple of offs - one of which damaged a nosecone. But today has been very constructive, we concentrated on our race set-up, and both our drivers seem pleased with their cars. We're looking quite quick."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It looks as if the times completed under racing conditions are quite close. But - as usual on Fridays - we only will know more about where we are in comparison to our competitors tomorrow."
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