Malaysian GP - Friday - Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (9th, 1:36.797): "This is my first Malaysian Grand Prix, but I got to know the circuit well during last week's test. The heat and humidity are as I expected and have trained for. The practice today was pretty straight forward, and we made further steps. The circuit conditions are constantly changing which makes it challenging to find the right balance. I'm looking forward to qualifying tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (12th, 1:37.041): "The team tested here last week when most of the set-up was done so we had a good basis for today's practice. There is now some more data added to the file which we will look at overnight, but everything went as expected. I spent some time just getting used to Sepang again as I wasn't testing last week, but there were no surprises, and I really enjoy this track."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A solid start to our Malaysian Grand Prix where we continued the work from last week's Sepang test. Today the main focus was on tyre evaluation on a circuit where traditionally tyres have very high levels of degradation. This impacted significantly on our lap times. We look forward to qualifying tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This circuit with high temperatures inside and outside of the cars is really very challenging and especially so for the tyres. We did a lot of laps and learned for tomorrow when we aim to get an order like in practice one rather than in practice two."
Giancarlo Fisichella (2nd, 1:35.910): "It was a pretty normal Friday for me, and we managed to do a lot more running than in Australia, which is a good start. The balance of the car is not too bad, but we are lacking grip, and that marks the car nervous and inconsistent to drive. Of course, the hot conditions always mean grip levels are lower, but we made some decent progress today - and hopefully that can continue tomorrow. Physically, it was tough out there today, especially as I have been suffering from the flu in the past couple of day. But by Sunday, I am confident everything will be OK."
Heikki Kovalainen (3rd, 1:36.106): "It was a really good Friday for me, especially compared to the first day of practice in Australia. After the test last week, it was good to complete another 60 laps today and get in tune with the circuit again. In terms of the car's handling, it was quite like the final day of the test: the balance wasn't too bad, and improved in line with the circuit conditions, just as it will have done for all the drivers. The heat makes life tough here, and it is going to be a long, hard race but I feel well prepared after the test. In terms of competitiveness, we don't really know where we stand at the moment, as we can't know what the other teams were doing. But the picture will become clearer tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "As the second practice session progressed, track conditions became much more like they were last week - and accordingly, we reached the same relatively good compromise for the balance of the car, as we had achieved by the final day of the test. Just like the car, the tyres were behaving in the same manner too, and we can therefore be reasonably confident that the data we collected last week remains relevant for our work. It is always nice to see our drivers at the correct end of the timesheets, but it is relatively obvious that we were running lower fuel and new tyres at the right time of the session. There are no miracles in racing, and we will only be able to assess our true competitiveness after qualifying and the race."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "300 km per car is our notional target for each of the new-format Friday sessions, and it was pleasing to achieve that target, after failing to do so in Australia. The test last week gave us a good baseline to work from, and means we are a little better prepared than would normally be the case. On the technical front, we had no problems and everything is working normally. We will hope to build on our good start to the weekend as we prepare for qualifying and the race."
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:35.780): "All things considered, we can say this has been a good day. We tried both types of tyre available to us and also tried various set-up changes on the F2007, starting off from the basis of what we learnt in the test last week at this track. Obviously, there is still a lot to do with qualifying and the race in mind, but the weekend has got off to a positive start. I hope we can continue in that way!"
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:36.160): "It's been a reasonably good day, even though I am not completely happy with the set-up of my car. We still have to find the right settings, similar to those we had last week at the test. Having said that, I still believe we can fight for first place both in qualifying and the race, although at the moment it is hard to have a clear picture of the whole situation. The difference between the two types of tyre? Not much, especially when it comes to consistency in lap times."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We already ran at this track last week, so today's programme centred mainly on checking the data we had gathered over those four days of testing. We were able to get through the planned programme without any particular technical problems arising with the F2007. The performance of both types of tyre is pretty similar over a long run and the way we use them in the race will be based on our strategy choices. From what we could see today, I think we will be competitive even if it is difficult to work out the pecking order given that, on this track, the fuel load has more of an effect on lap times than at other tracks. Tomorrow starting with free practice and as a result of carrying out several tests, we will be using the same engines that finished the Australian Grand Prix on both our cars."
Jenson Button (15th, 1:37.578): "Well, a tough day really trying to find a balance. Initially the circuit was very dusty but as the track improved through the day we were able to work on the car more. The fact remains however that we are still a long way from where we want to be."
Rubens Barrichello (21st, 1:38.713): "It's simply the case that we have had a very bad day. To end the day where I am is obviously extremely frustrating. We were not able to improve the braking stability issues that we have, so all I can say is that we need to look at what we have learned today and try to find a solution that can get us back to where we were during the test last week."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Following a reasonably positive test here last week, which saw some improvement in car performance, we were obviously hoping to carry that progress through into the race weekend. We have experienced very different track conditions today compared with those we saw at the test and this has made it difficult to achieve a good balance. At the close of the session we had made some progress with Jenson's car, however with Rubens' car we have a specific problem which we have not yet solved and that is something we will be looking into immediately."
Robert Kubica (7th, 1:36.717): "We have had many problems today. Some we were able to fix in second free practice, but there is still some more work to do to fix the rest."
Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:36.862): "I am not happy with my car yet. Especially at the beginning of the session the balance was not good at all, and the car was difficult to drive. Although later we made a step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do."
Sebastian Vettel: "I had a trouble free morning. My main task was the comparison of the two different tyre specifications and we got a lot of data. This is a new track for me and I found it wide and relatively difficult to learn. Particularly in corners ten and 11 and 13 and 14 it was not easy to find the right line, but I got used to it pretty quickly."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Both our race drivers complained about the lack of car balance. Despite several modifications to the set up of the car, we were not able to make a significant step forward. We now have to analyse all the data in order to understand where this problem comes from."
Ralf Schumacher (8th, 1:36.760): "That was a reasonable day and good preparation for the rest of the weekend. It's obviously hot here and the conditions push the drivers to the limit. But I like the heat and last week's testing was a good preparation for the weekend. Despite so many cars running here, the circuit was still very low on grip today. Still, we made it through our programme of work with no problems. We are comfortable with the track and the tyres were also working well. It's difficult to judge true performance after the first race but our goal is to get two cars into the top ten again and hopefully to take more points."
Jarno Trulli (16th, 1:37.712): "Since the beginning of the day I've been struggling so we will have to look into that tonight. The track was short of grip early on and I found myself sliding with all four wheels. The car has been inconsistent and it has not responded to the set-up changes we've made. And while the track improved I actually got worse with the same set-up. So something strange is happening and now we need to investigate why. Still, I like this track and I have always performed pretty well here. The weather is changeable and our forecasts say we may yet see some thunderstorms during the weekend."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "We got a lot done in the two sessions so that was a productive day. For both cars to run trouble-free was good, especially in the hot conditions that we have here. Even though we tested here last week we still had a lot of things to do and we went through our programme quite well. But you wouldn't have known there had been a test last week from the track which was as short of grip as usual on a Friday here. Both cars were sliding a lot and it was not easy to find a balance in these conditions. But given how many laps we have completed, we have a lot of data to look at tonight to see what changes we can make to improve our cars further for tomorrow. In Australia there was quite a big difference between the two tyres but here there is a far smaller gap and both tyres are well suited to the circuit. That means we will have to work out how best to use them over the weekend."
Mark Webber (11th, 1:36.906): "We ¬†did ¬†our ¬†programme ¬†as ¬†planned ¬†this ¬†morning, ¬†but ¬†had ¬†a ¬†few ¬†running ¬†problems ¬†in ¬†the afternoon, which didn't really help too much, But, we got through most of the programme. It would have been nice to do a bit more running this afternoon, but that's the way it goes. I'm not sure what the problem was that we had at the end of the second session."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:37.203): "There ¬†was ¬†an ¬†issue ¬†with ¬†brake ¬†pedal ¬†clearance ¬†in ¬†the ¬†steering ¬†column ¬†of ¬†my ¬†car ¬†this afternoon, which meant we had to make some modifications during the session. For some reason it was catching, so we lost a little bit of time and confidence adjusting that. Also, there were some sensor issues which affected performance a little. The track conditions seemed to be pretty much the same as when we were testing here last week."
Nico Rosberg (5th, 1:36.523): "We have found a couple of reasonable set-ups over the two sessions today, but it's hard to say where we really are at the moment. We will know a little bit more by tomorrow after the last free practice session."
Alexander Wurz (6th, 1:36.621): "I only drove in the afternoon today and the car felt very different from how it was in last week's test, so we had to do a lot of work in the session to find the performance we had last week. We are still not completely satisfied, but we have practice tomorrow to improve upon where we are."
Kazuki Nakajima: "I was happy with my performance this morning except for the mistake I made when I had a spin. Thanks to the team for recovering the car so we could get some extra laps in before the end. Initially we struggled with car balance, but we improved during practice and I think we will take some more steps going into P2 & P3. I have been here once before in a GT car, but I really enjoyed this circuit today - it is a challenge, some really attacking sections and then some more tricky stuff, but very enjoyable."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "This morning we had a software problem on Kazuki's car that meant he was unable to select first gear after his spin, but this will be fixed for tomorrow. Otherwise it was a productive day running through different set-ups for the race, but having tested here last week, a lot of the work on cooling and brake wear and normal systems work has already been done."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th, 1:37.855): "We have found some improvements on the car in the slower sections, where the car is beginning to react quite nicely. We tried various mechanical changes that seemed to work. ¬†As ¬†we ¬†have ¬†said ¬†a ¬†few ¬†times ¬†already ¬†this ¬†year, ¬†we ¬†are ¬†still ¬†paying ¬†the ¬†price ¬†for ¬†not having tested much in the winter, but I am sure that the arrival of Giorgio Ascanelli brings us a plus and a lot of information and so I think we should be able to make a step forward quite soon."
Scott Speed (20th, 1:38.650): "Track conditions seem similar to those at last week's test, so no big surprises from that point of view. I'm glad we got that opportunity to test because today I never got much proper running. First off in the morning, I had to run the T-car, because it had never been ¬†used ¬†before ¬†today ¬†and ¬†that ¬†meant ¬†the ¬†usual ¬†stuff ¬†with ¬†a ¬†new ¬†car, ¬†like ¬†sorting ¬†out ¬†the pedals and the driving position. Then I had to sort out my own race car so I only really ran properly at the end of the second session. At first sight, my prognosis for here is the same as in Melbourne, meaning we are still quite a bit off the pace."
Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:38.419): "At first it was difficult as I had to learn the circuit and, with no testing data from last week, it was quite hard to find a good balance overall. But in the end we managed quite reasonable times and went better in the second practice. We fine-tuned the set-up and the performance of the car with the harder tyres and gained around a second. On the last outing I switched to the softer tyres, but unfortunately I had a yellow flag on my fastest lap and lost about three tenths. It was still a reasonable time, just 2.6secs off the pace, but I think we can improve tomorrow and leave some cars behind us."
Christijan Albers (22nd, 1:39.807): "We found it difficult to find a good set up and get a reasonable time, so we have to study the data tonight, both from the car and about my driving style too. Most important is to find the right balance, which we couldn't do today. It's such a shame about the puncture as I didn't get a chance to run on the softer tyre, which might have made a difference."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "We had a productive day today, especially as we didn't go to the test last week. Both drivers worked on evaluating the new tyres, which we hadn't tested at this circuit before, and although we had some degradation on the rear and some oversteer, we know how we can improve on this tomorrow. Adrian was reasonably happy, but now we've got to maximise this performance. Unfortunately Christijan's afternoon was cut short with the puncture, which meant he didn't get the chance to try out the softer tyre that, as Adrian showed, gave some improvement in time."
Takuma Sato (14th, 1:37.282): "I think it was a difficult day. Having completed a good test last week, we came back here with a positive attitude, but this morning we really struggled. Looking at the others, I thought that the track conditions weren't too bad, but we just could not get a good grip. In the afternoon we tried a slightly different approach and the car seemed to work better than in the morning, which I was happy with, but still I think we have to work a lot for tomorrow's session."
Anthony Davidson (18th, 1:38.334): "It was a difficult day for me. I couldn't find the balance in the car all day and so hopefully we can improve on this for tomorrow. The car didn't feel anything like it did in the test here last week, so it's a bit confusing. But Taku had a good day and proved that the car still has the pace that we had in Melbourne, so it's just up to me and the engineers to work on it overnight and get a nice balance for tomorrow."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "In the first session we struggled with low grip. We didn't want to run the car too much on a green circuit and when we did we found that we had very, very low grip. We pushed hard this afternoon, I think Takuma's found quite a nice balance and he seems to be satisfied with his car. Unfortunately that can't be said for Anthony who's struggling with his car balance and we've got quite a lot of work to do for him overnight."