European GP - Friday - Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:33.478): "As always we focused on tyre evaluation and general set-up work. Obviously this was affected a bit by the wet weather. However I found a good balance early on and am generally happy with the car. We have introduced some aerodynamic changes this weekend which so far seem to be working well and I know the team has worked really hard since Silverstone. As I haven't run recently on a drying track I went out to gain some more experience, just in case we need it this weekend."
Fernando Alonso (4th, 1:33.637): "Of course the weather played a role in today's practice with the rain in between the two sessions. However as we knew that it might rain we focused on getting a lot of running in the first session. I struggled with low grip and oversteer but we are working on improving the balance. During the second session the track was drying all the time. I think the weather will add an extra challenge this weekend but we did do some wet weather running during last week's test at Spa so we have a good basis. I like this track and hope for a strong performance this weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A positive start to a weekend where the weather might play an important role. Fernando and Lewis completed their programmes according to plan. The weather did affect the grip levels slightly but we are confident that we will have a competitive weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The first practice day at our second home grand prix after Silverstone looked good. We were fast and consistent achieving all our planned good mileage."
Giancarlo Fisichella (15th, 1:34.431): "It was a normal Friday for us. As usual, we did our race preparation today, working to find a good baseline set-up for Sunday, and to look at the tyres. There is still some work to do overnight to get the balance right, and we need to improve our competitiveness a little bit too. But we have seen many times this season, that we are a little far away on Friday - and more competitive in qualifying and the race. We did our job today, and completed our programme. Now we need to follow our plans and analyse the data in order to achieve a good level of competitiveness in qualifying tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen (16th, 1:34.446): "The main thing for us today was to do our usual tyre comparison, which we managed and got a good answer from. The set-up programme was busy too, and while not all the changes were positive today, we have found the direction to go in for tomorrow. The car is not as stable as usual at the moment, so we need to improve that area to find more lap-time. The job now is to get our heads down, understand where we can make the car better for tomorrow's practice session, and to have a trouble-free morning to prepare for qualifying."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Just as we found last year, grip levels during first practice were extremely low, and it was very difficult to get the car working well in those conditions. Fortunately, the heavy rain at lunchtime did not affect our programmes too much, and the car was working much better in second practice. As usual, we remained on a high fuel load throughout the day, as we looked at the behaviour of the two types of tyre and evaluated our new aero package."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Moving into the second half of the season, our technical programmes for Friday practice are well- established, especially at a circuit we know well such as the Nurburgring. We had anticipated disrupted running after seeing heavy rain forecast but, in the end, it had minimal impact on our work and the atmospheric conditions were within normal limits. This circuit presents the unusual characteristic of being situated at altitude, which in fact makes life easier for certain moving parts of the engine, but our work focused, as usual, on optimising areas such as engine mapping and gear ratios. The day went smoothly, with no problems, and we have a good basis from which to fine-tune our performance ahead of qualifying."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:33.339): "I am reasonably happy with today. We have proved we are competitive in pure terms on this circuit and we will have to wait for tomorrow to understand exactly where we are compared to our main rivals. I think there is still room for improvement in terms of the handling of the car which is nevertheless good on both types of tyre we have here. The weather, especially the wind, made the second session a bit complicated but this problem was the same for everyone."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:33.590): "Overall, it has been quite a positive day. I think we have a competitive car. Clearly, we expect a very tight fight with our closest rivals, but we are up for it. We improved the set up of the car from the first session to the second but we still have some work to do, especially in terms of performance over the first timed lap. It's a shame that on my last run on new softer tyres I had a bit of traffic in the first part of my first lap which cost me time. This afternoon, the track was still slippery at first because of the rain and then the wind made it difficult to drive."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "The usual Friday programme was disrupted by the changing weather. We were expecting the second free practice session to be wet and so we had planned in the first session to compare the two types of tyre available to us this weekend. At this point the track conditions were definitely not at their best. Then, in the second session, when we ran entirely on dry tyres, the wind came into play, complicating the situation. In any case, we have shown we are competitive, although we are aware we still have to improve, both in terms of first lap performance and over a longer run, especially with the softer tyres. All in all, we have a good starting point from which to work forward over the rest of the weekend."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:33.880): "Today's running was always going to be difficult because of the weather. The rain after the first session left the track slightly damp for the start of the second. With the programme that we had, the work we did was positive and our long-run pace was reasonable. There is still a lot of work to do on our long-runs but the car worked well on both tyres and then on new tyres at the end. To get a good lap round here you need a very good set-up and today is not a bad start. We're moving in the right direction."
Rubens Barrichello (14th, 1:34.411): "We made some big changes for the afternoon session and I was not very happy with the car as a result. They didn't translate in the way that we hoped. The track was very different as well this afternoon after the rain and it was quite windy out there. We have learned some important things for the rest of the weekend though."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "The rain between the two sessions reduced somewhat the time available on a dry track in the second session. Jenson was able to find a good balance on both medium and soft tyres whereas Rubens is still not happy with the car balance, so we have some work to do in order to give him the car he needs for tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld (9th, 1:34.146): "Our Friday went well, even better than expected before the weekend. In the first session especially we were strong. In the second session the balance of my car wasn't as good, although we didn't change a lot. It was down to the track conditions - the rain had washed the rubber away and the wind had changed direction. But as usual the second practice session never really demonstrates our true performance. I think we have a good basis to work from."
Robert Kubica (10th, 1:34.221): "The day was quite okay but the weather was so so. The track was a bit wet for the first half an hour of the afternoon session, but then it dried. We did tyre evaluation in the morning and then in the afternoon worked on the set-up, mainly doing research to get the right balance of the car as it is a big change from the last two races."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Overall we are happy with today's work. Due to the weather conditions we split the programme and did more running in the morning than we would usually do. We concentrated fully on race preparation and have done the majority of the work needed for this. Both drivers completed a lot of laps without any problems. Tomorrow morning we will be preparing for qualifying, and also continue to fine-tune our cars' set-up to get the best out of both tyre specifications in the race. This was a positive start to the weekend."
Ralf Schumacher (5th, 1:33.668): "We had a good two sessions today. It's good to be back driving in front of my home fans again and I am pretty happy with the work we did, and especially with our lap times. In the last few races we have changed a few things with our set-up and that has helped. My pace was quite competitive in France and Silverstone, even if the results were not there, and that seems to apply to this circuit as well. We worked on the car set-up, as well as understanding the tyres on this track, and everything went well. The team has a lot of information now, more than we expected because the rain stopped earlier than predicted, which gave us the chance to do a few more laps than usual. We are pushing very hard and my target for tomorrow is to get into Q3 again, which will give us the opportunity to fight for points. We will work on the car before qualifying and I am feeling optimistic."
Jarno Trulli (6th, 1:33.746): "It was a reasonable session for me. You can see from our lap times that I was really competitive today. It's a shame that in the end I had traffic on my quickest lap in P2, so I lost a bit of time - otherwise I could have been even faster and further up the results. But nevertheless it is important that we are going in the right direction and making progress. We want to score points in every race this year so we want a good result this weekend for everyone at the team, especially as this is a home race for us. As always, we are fighting hard but every race is a different story so we will have to see what happens tomorrow in qualifying. I am aiming to qualify once again in the top 10, even though the competition is very tough. If we can improve the car a little bit tomorrow before qualifying, we can have a good weekend."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a very productive Friday for us. We changed our programme slightly in the morning because we had some rain forecast for during the afternoon session. The rain did arrive but it stopped a little bit earlier than predicted, which gave us the possibility to do some additional work on the dry set-up and this will help our preparations for Saturday and Sunday. Initially, after the rain, the track took a bit of time to come back to the best conditions but towards the end of the session it was fine. We had two completely trouble-free sessions which was good and allowed us to do a lot of work on the tyres and the set-up of the car. We gathered a lot of data on both the medium and soft tyres and we are in a good position to decide our strategy. Generally, we seem to be in quite good shape and we hope to carry that through the rest of the weekend."
Mark Webber (11th, 1:34.235): "That was a good session for us. I think we did everything we wanted and we got some really good data. Everyone got a little bit more running time on track than they expected, as the weather cleared and the track dried, and the car ran well so we're happy. I think we stand a good chance of getting into the top ten tomorrow."
David Coulthard (17th, 1:34.504): "Balance wise we were chasing some understeer in the morning then, as the conditions changed, we made some adjustments to the car so it came to being more rear limited at the end. There's still potential there to bring together the entire lap and obviously we're going to be in a tight bunch again tomorrow so, as always, it will be very important to hook it all up right in qualifying."
Nico Rosberg (7th, 1:33.845): "It wasn't easy to find the right set-up today. It was especially difficult in the afternoon because it was very windy and the rain before the session took a lot of the rubber off the track. I'm not completely happy with the car, but we tested a lot of options and we've definitely learnt a few things. We therefore have some good ideas on how we can improve it in time for tomorrow's qualifying. Tyre-wise, this weekend could be very interesting because the weather is making the selection very hard."
Alexander Wurz (12th, 1:34.264): "The Nurburgring weather made it all a bit different today. Everyone was running varying programmes, including me, just because we had to react to the weather forecast. We had an interesting day, going through a lot of data. Everything was ok, but I'm a little bit upset because I lost half a second on my fastest lap due to a problem in the last corner. Anyway, all in all, I feel pretty comfortable on this track."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good practice today, especially considering the wet weather in the early part of the second session. We worked through our programme; looking at different tyre options, cooling and race set-up. We also evaluated through three new tyres in the morning as we were aware of the risk of rain in the afternoon and had to make sure we had a tyre compare. Overall, we've achieved what we wanted to and now have all the information needed to make sure we are prepared for qualifying and the race."
Scott Speed (19th, 1:35.320): "We have a couple of new parts on the car, but at the moment it is difficult to tell if it has actually done anything or not. I did not get so much done and did not complete that many laps after a mechanical problem in the morning. But the car does not feel too bad here. It's hard to tell how far off the pace we are as we don't know what fuel loads the others were running. The main problem I had today was a lack of overall grip especially in the first sector and the slow parts."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (20th, 1:35.653): "I had quite a decent day with the car working reasonably well from the morning. We still have to get a clear picture of how the tyres compare, because we have an idea, but not a completely clear one as yet. The car did not react too badly, but we have plenty of work to do overnight to improve our situation. I had a good start to the afternoon session, but towards the end, when I was on new tyres, I lost the rear of the car in corner 5 and went over the gravel on what could have been a strong lap. The rain at lunchtime did not have much effect on the track, but the wind changed direction for the second session, which affected corner speed and the behaviour of the car in some corners."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:36.527): "It was a hard day today. I was not particularly happy with the car as it was difficult to drive, with slightly too much oversteer, and we don't seem to be able to get the tyres to work with the set-up. I think it is just the characteristic of the track with its high banked corners that we are having problems with, but we'll have to work on the set-up overnight, but if we can't find an improvement we will just do our best to live with it."
Markus Winkelhock (22nd, 1:37.319): "Actually today was not too bad, especially considering I had only tested the car for one day this year before coming here! I felt I went better throughout the day and I felt confident with the car after just a few laps. Step by step we improved, but unfortunately I was pushing too hard in the second session and span into the gravel. We lost around 25 minutes of the session, which was unlucky, but at the end of the day I was not that far off Adrian, who I think has been very quick this year. But I know where I am losing the time and I think I can improve again tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A reasonably difficult day for us. Both drivers were reporting a lack of stability on turn-in and unfortunately we weren't able to dial it out. Markus had some problems in the first session with his seat fit but he was able to improve throughout the day until his second session was cut short by his spin into the gravel. Nevertheless he will have learnt a lot from today and I'm sure he can improve again tomorrow. With Adrian we didn't have any real issues although he lost some time this morning with a hydraulic problem. Overall though we have a lot of work to do overnight to improve the cars for tomorrow."
Takuma Sato (13th, 1:34.357): "Because we knew that it was going to rain in the afternoon we had a busy morning session, which is unusual as the track is always green in the morning. The car performed reasonably well and I was happy enough with the balance to go into the normal Friday tyre comparison runs. We were lucky in the afternoon that the circuit dried very quickly after the lunchtime rain and we were able to complete another dry session, collecting interesting data. Hopefully we can improve tomorrow again as today we ran reasonably well."
Anthony Davidson (18th, 1:34.554): "We were quite lucky with the weather today. The F1 sessions managed to miss the downpour at midday and we were able to work on our dry car balance. Obviously with the expected rain in the afternoon everyone worked on the balance of their cars heavily in the first session and we looked at the longer runs especially. I am happy with balance of car, I think we all did a good job today and all went smoothly."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "Good solid work."