Turkish GP Driver Preview quotes
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes:
“I love racing in Turkey: it's a real challenge because you need to attack the lap to get a good time, but you also need to be careful with your tires – if you push too much, particularly through Turn Eight, then your tires are going to suffer. It's all about finding the perfect balance in practice and being disciplined in the race so you don't overdo it. I also love the fact that it's a new circuit that has really captured the flavor of some of the older, classic tracks – it's got a bit of everything and is fantastic to drive. Also, as it's anti-clockwise, it gives your neck a bit of a workout – but you just need to make sure you've exercised the left side of your neck a little more than usual before getting in the car.”
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes:
“Turkey is all about Turn Eight – the high-speed, four-apex left-hander. On a good day in qualifying, it's flat-out – and that's a pretty good feeling when you get it right. It's also very important to look after your tires through Turn Eight – you put a lot of load through the tires, particularly the fronts, so it's a good idea to look after them during the race. The best place to overtake here is into Turn 12, the corner at the end of the back straight. You can get a good tow and slipstream past – with KERS we should hopefully see some exciting racing.”
Felipe Massa, Ferrari:
“For Istanbul, we will have another small step in terms of aerodynamic development, which should improve the car still further and that is down to a big push from the guys in the factory. We want to continue to improve as quickly as possible, to try and win some races. If will be fantastic if we find we are in a position to fight for the win in Turkey.
“I have a very good record in Istanbul, having won for the last three years starting from pole position each time. I find it difficult to explain why I should be so strong here, other than the fact we had three fantastic weekends in Turkey, when everything worked perfectly, with the car performing very well right from the first session. It would be nice to carry on in the same direction. I just like the track and feel comfortable there, but it's hard to pinpoint why it suits me better than some other circuits. I do prefer fast flowing tracks and have a feel for all the corners here, as it's not good enough to only be fast over one particular section of the track. I think I've also found a good way to set up the car perfectly for this circuit. It's not just Turkey though, as I've won in Brazil for the last two years and actually, it should have been the last three in my home race. In fact, it's been suggested to me that maybe the reason is that they are the only two anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar. Who knows? Maybe I'm better than others at driving through left handed corners!”
Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari:
“The Monaco weekend was a step forward as far as the result is concerned, but we have to be patient: I know that our fans want to see us winning immediately, but we have to be realistic. We're closer, that's for sure, and we'll have some updates in Turkey; but we know that the others work hard too. Compared to the Monaco track the Istanbul Park is a more conventional track and we have a more definite idea. I really like this track and it's very demanding. There are all types of corners and blind spots to brake; everything you need for a beautiful race. This year's cars have less downforce, but we're using slicks: corner number 8 will be very exciting under these circumstances. I think that it's the downforce we still have to make up ground compared to Brawn GP and Red Bull, but we're heading in the right direction.”
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber-BMW:
“The track in Istanbul is totally different to Monaco. It is a very modern race track with a couple of high-speed corners. The most famous high-speed corner there is the left-hander turn 8. Of course, we hope to perform better in Istanbul than in Monaco.”
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber-BMW:
“I hope our dismal performance in Monaco proves to be a glitch and that it was down to that particular circuit being unsuitable for our car. After all, there were signs of a forward trend at the previous race in Spain, and the next update is ready for Istanbul - also including a double diffuser.
“The Istanbul circuit has some extremely good sections, particularly turn 8, of course, which is quite a challenge - very long, fast and with several apexes. For the long straight with the right-hand kink you need a good top speed.
“It's a vast city, very international and fascinating. I'll be there on Wednesday already for an event with our partner Intel. I'm staying at a hotel on the European side again and will take a motor scooter to carve my way through the congestion over the bridge to Asia.”
Fernando Alonso, Renault:
“It's a fun circuit with good overtaking opportunities, especially turn 12 at the end of the back straight, which leads into the final complex of low-speed corners. There are also fast sections and some special corners like the long left-hander of turn 8, which is one of the most exciting of the year. The challenge of Istanbul Park is to find the right balance so that you have a responsive car that works well in the fast and slow sections.
“It's clear that we need to take another step forward. We will have new developments for the car over the next few weeks and that should help, but I'm not expecting to jump to the front of the grid in Turkey. However, I still believe that later in the year we can be back fighting for podiums and winning races, just as we did last year. We know it won't be easy, but the whole team is extremely motivated and determined to get back to the front.”
Nelson Piquet, Renault:
“I do enjoy driving there as it's quite a varied track with some slow and fast sections. Turn 8 is the high-speed corner that everybody talks about as there's nothing else like it all season. It's a very physical corner which feels like it goes on forever and that makes it tough for the tires. We will have less aero grip this year, but with slicks tires I think we will still be able to take it almost flat-out.
“My priority is to try and score some points to help the team in the championship. The track should suit the car and we will also have some new updates this weekend which should give us some extra performance. We need to qualify well, hopefully in the top ten, and choose an aggressive strategy so that we can move forward in the race.”
Jarno Trulli, Toyota:
“I am hopeful of a strong result this weekend. Monaco was difficult for everyone in the team but that is in the past now and we are looking forward to the next race. Monaco is basically a one-off circuit for Formula 1 and the Istanbul track is very different so I'm sure we will be a lot more competitive this weekend. We are third in the Constructors' Championship which shows that overall we are in good shape this year and it is important we return to the performance level we had in the first four races. Istanbul is not one of my favorite circuits and I have not had much luck there in the past; but I am determined to change that. Turn 8 is the most challenging part of the track and it's important to get your set-up right for this as you need a balanced car to be really quick. I can't wait to start practice and find out where we are because I am fired up to bounce back this weekend.”
Timo Glock, Toyota:
“I am going to Turkey with a huge amount of determination because Monaco was not the kind of weekend we expect and we are all looking forward to getting back to where we belong. Everyone at the team is really passionate about racing and about succeeding so the Monaco weekend hurt us but also gave us even more motivation to improve. I have spent some time at the factory since then to do what I can to help and I can see everyone there is giving everything for the team to succeed. Clearly we want to get back in the points this weekend but really our goals are higher than that and we ultimately want to be fighting for the podium. It's a very close fight at the moment so it's difficult to predict exactly what will happen but certainly we expect a big improvement and I am looking forward to battling at the right end of the grid in Turkey.”
Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota:
“Turkey is usually a good track for us and we should be able to score points there. I like the circuit, and it's a completely different proposition to where we've just come from. There are definitely some good overtaking opportunities around the lap as the track stretches to about 20m wide at one point and there are lots of large braking zones. We'll have some upgrades for Turkey, so I really hope that maybe we can make a step forward and pick up points. It's so difficult at the moment though. There are teams that have come from behind us and are now in front, like Ferrari, and then teams like Red Bull, Brawn and Toyota are still ahead of us. It's going to be very challenging for us to score points, but I really hope that we can beat one or two of those cars with the upgrades we'll have. We need to keep getting a handful of points from each race.”
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota:
“Turkey is one of the few tracks we race on in an anti-clockwise direction so that puts a lot of pressure on our necks. With lateral loads reaching 4.5g, I'll be doing lots of neck work before the race to prepare. I don't have much experience of the track as I was knocked out of last year's race on the first lap, but it's a circuit which tends to suit our car with its mix of long and short straights, several corners for overtaking and then there's turn eight – a triple apexer where we'll hit speeds of 250km/h. It'll be challenging, but I can't wait to get going. I haven't had the best run recently, I know that, and I need to turn it round and get some good, solid finishes.”
Adrian Sutil, Force India-Ferrari:
“The main upgrades will now come in Silverstone so we have to be quite realistic about the performance this weekend. We have to keep pushing and try to have another strong qualifying that sets us up for the race. I enjoy the track and you can actually overtake in some corners so I hope we can have some good fights and be able to move up the field. I think we're solid midfield contenders now so we have to get to the finish and see where we are.”
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Ferrari:
“I quite enjoy Turkey. It's a very physical track, you get lots of adrenaline when you drive there with the gradient changes and I have had some good results, including a fourth in 2005. We don't have a lot of new development coming through for this race though so it is going to be a tough one but once again we need to keep pushing. I'd love to get into Q2 again but we will know more about where we stand after Friday.”
Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes:
“The Turkish Grand Prix is always a race that I look forward to as I really enjoy driving the Istanbul Park circuit and have been quite competitive there in the past. Hermann Tilke did a great job with the layout of the track here and the changes in gradient are great fun and quite challenging for the drivers. We've seen some excellent racing at Istanbul Park with good overtaking opportunities at turns one and three. You can also pass down the hill into turn nine and at turns twelve and thirteen if you brake late enough and get it just right. Turn eight is obviously the corner that everyone talks about and it's probably the longest corner that I've ever driven. It's quite high G-force, up to 5G for seven seconds, which puts a lot of stress on your neck. You have to be as smooth as possible through the triple apex and if you get it right and take it flat, then it is one of those corners where you exit with a huge smile having made up a lot of time.”
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes:
“Istanbul Park is quite a challenging circuit as it is one of very few tracks which runs anti-clockwise, just like my home circuit of Interlagos in Sao Paulo. It's tough driving an anti-clockwise track as the muscles on that side of your neck aren't used as much throughout the year so we do some extra training to prepare as some of the quickest corners at Istanbul Park are also left-handers. The lap itself has a nice flow allowing you to find a good rhythm and the highlight is the high-speed turn eight which is a quick and blind triple apex corner with the additional challenge of some very bumpy tarmac. The circuit is one of the best modern tracks on the calendar and I have been very impressed since we started racing here in 2005. The facilities are fantastic but most importantly from a drivers' point of view the track has produced some really good races.”