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Belgian GP 2008


Friday Team Quotes

Lewis Hamilton, Belgian GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive


Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:48.504): "It was an unusual day because of the changing weather. Overall, I am happy with the work we did over the three hours. The car is working well and responds positively to the set up changes we have made. We tried various solutions and now we must study the data to draw the right conclusions. The tyres worked as we had expected them to: the softer ones seem to offer more performance. I think we are moving in the right direction."

Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:49.328): "When I went off the track at turn nine, I clipped the kerb and the surface was a bit slippery there because of the rain. I ended up spinning and then hitting the barrier. Unfortunately, not only did the rear wing break, but the floor was also damaged and it could not be repaired in time. A shame as already earlier, when I had gone onto new tyres, it had begun raining and I lost a bit of time. Let's hope tomorrow morning there's no rain so that I can run more consistently in the dry. In the morning, apart from a few little electrical problems, the car wasn't bad. Tomorrow we will see what we can do and obviously the weather will be a key factor."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "All in all, it was a day of questions, characterized by rather changeable track conditions. We knew the weather here at Spa would play an important role and today we had firsthand experience of that. From what we could understand of the day, taking into account the usual Friday unknowns, the Ferrari barometer is tending more towards good weather: our performance level seems competitive and we are managing to get both types of tyre to work well. It was a shame Kimi had an off, which lost him some track time, but I don't think this will prove to be a handicap for the rest of the weekend."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Kimi's off track excursion meant we were unable to complete the full programme we had planned for him. His car was too damaged to be repaired within the time available. Even with the hiccoughs caused by the coming and going of the rain, for his part, Felipe was able to complete what we planned for him, picking up some very useful information. Allowing for the fact that track conditions were difficult to understand during these three hours and that temperatures were decidedly on the low side, I think we can be competitive."

BMW Sauber

Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:49.725): "Generally speaking my first day of practice here was okay. The track's level of grip was, as expected, low and this meant it wasn't too easy to drive the car. We have made some small changes during the course of the day, but, due to the inconsistent weather conditions, it was extremely difficult to make judgements. Because of the weather we couldn't do our usual tyre comparisons either, as we could not run the harder and softer compounds under the same conditions. This makes the analyses tricky but that's the same for everybody."

Robert Kubica (11th, 1:49.875): "The conditions today were variable, especially in the afternoon session. Therefore today it was not only the testing that was difficult, but also evaluating the results of our programme. At the end of the day the conditions were the same for everybody. We shall now analyse the data and prepare for Saturday. When I was doing a practice start at the end of the session the engine stalled."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Because of the changing track conditions, it's very difficult to draw the right conclusions from the set-up changes we made during the two sessions today. We were not able to complete our programme as planned, and this was specially the case for the tyre comparisons. The set-up decisions for tomorrow will now be based on data analysis and simulation. According to the latest weather forecast it should be dry tomorrow morning, which would give us the chance to complete our work in the third free practice."


Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:48.454): "We were able to make some good progress today with the set-up of the car, but the track conditions did not allow us to complete our programme. This is not too significant because the situation is the same for all the teams and we still have the final practice session tomorrow morning to prepare for qualifying, so I'm not too concerned."

Nelson Piquet (19th, 1:51.334): "We had a lot to get through today, but in the end we didn't do as much running as I would have liked. Our programme was very busy, but I still don't feel perfectly comfortable in the car. I'm sure that this is something that I can improve with my engineers in time for tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We always expect some of our sessions in Spa to be disrupted by the weather and today was no exception. We tried to change our plans in real time during the session to maximize what we could learn, but, as always, there are still questions to be answered. Overall, though, we've had a successful day."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The conditions were very changeable and nobody was able to complete their technical programme as normal. However, we have been able to check some small things and will aim to find the rest of our answers tomorrow. So the day has been less busy than expected, but we remain positive for the rest of the weekend."


Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:49.405): "The morning didn't start too well and we weren't looking so good, so we made some big set-up changes over lunch and we definitely improved and found some clear direction. We have some new development parts on the car, which have helped our pace even if the conditions have been too variable to really get the most out of them today. If I think about it, our experience today has been much like last year when we struggled here on Friday but improved a lot over the course of the weekend. So we have taken some good steps forward today, but of course we still need to find some more performance tomorrow to close up to those in front of us."

Kazuki Nakajima (15th, 1:50.364): "In the morning, conditions weren't too bad, even if we had to improve our lap times considerably. We made some set-up changes, but I found this afternoon was much trickier. I was struggling to get a good feeling from the car. I'll be looking to find overall grip in tomorrow's practice session, and if I manage to do this, then I will be able to push more."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a pretty difficult day with weather causing variable conditions for everyone today, especially in the afternoon. We had to alter our P2 programme quite a bit, but we still managed to generate some data and set-up information for the car and tonight we will use that work towards the best set-up for qualifying. We experienced no mechanical problems today."

Red Bull-Renault

David Coulthard (12th, 1:49.922): "Tricky Spa weather conditions this weekend, which makes it more difficult to evaluate where you are with the tyres etc. due to the changing conditions. What else to say? Don't come here on your Summer holidays?"

Mark Webber (20th, 1:51.640): "It was a pretty good first session, we did quite a lot of running in anticipation of the mixed conditions forecast for the afternoon. We did one run in the afternoon, but unfortunately I then went back out and made a mistake on an out lap on slightly cool tyres. I couldn't recover it in turn eight, slid across the gravel and damaged the car. We'll be back again tomorrow."


Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:49.715): "It was a bit of a difficult day for me. I lost part of the morning session with a technical problem so I lost a lot of running when the track was dry and then in the afternoon unfortunately I couldn't do much because the session was hampered by the poor weather. So in the end there is very little we have learned from today's sessions. I hope this will be a good weekend for us but of course it depends on how the car suits the track and there are many other variables, such as the weather and the track temperature, which do affect things. I hope we can keep up the momentum from recent races and be strong again."

Timo Glock (14th, 1:50.281): "Today was pretty tricky in general, especially with the weather which didn't make it easy in the afternoon. We still have to work on the car because I am not completely happy with the set-up at the moment. The cold conditions didn't help us. We made a little step forward on the last run but there is still improvement to be made. We have to wait and see how it goes tomorrow. This is usually one of the most exciting races of the year so I am looking forward to racing here and even though today was a bit difficult, the conditions were the same for all drivers so I am still reasonably optimistic."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "The red flag and the weather conditions had a big effect on our programme today. The day was completely disrupted and on top of that we had an electrical problem with Jarno's car. Thankfully we were able to find it and fix it for the second session and we had no further issues. But with the rain drops coming and going the track was changing a lot from one run to another. That made it very difficult to learn much about the car, but it is the same for everyone. It seemed like we were back to winter testing conditions today because I don't think we have seen track temperatures like that since the winter. With the hard compound Bridgestone Potenza tyre this means that warm-up is definitely an issue. Still, we are fairly happy and looking forward to a successful weekend."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel (7th, 1:49.427): "It was an interesting day and as expected, the weather made for some pretty strange conditions. Especially in the afternoon, it was important that we got some dry laps, to get another look at how the car was performing, having made some changes to it, as I was not completely happy with it in the morning. The afternoon showed it was much better. I thought it was cool to drive in these conditions as you have no margin for error: ten centimetres the wrong way and you can crash. You have to be very precise and it demands very accurate driving. It was interesting and I like it."

Sebastien Bourdais (13th, 1:49.948): "This is the most beautiful track, but the conditions are often a pain in the arse and with the dry tyres in the drizzle we had this afternoon, if you touched the white line you would crash. So I didn't take any risks, especially as you don't learn much in these conditions. The morning session was quite good and now we just have to find a solution to the fact I am locking the rears. Apart from that, we have found a reasonable balance and I feel happy with that as I think we were quite competitive this morning and in general, we look in good shape."


Jenson Button (17th, 1:50.925): "Whilst it is great to be back at Spa, one of the most challenging and enjoyable circuits of the season, we did have a difficult time in free practice today. It was very hard to get heat into the tyres in the cool and damp conditions, which meant that I had little front grip which is particularly difficult here given the cambers in the corners. We also struggled with understeer. However we have a lot of data from the test last week and from our running today, so we will study this overnight and see where we can improve before qualifying."

Rubens Barrichello (18th, 1:51.238): "I was happier with the balance of the car in the afternoon session, however we struggled a lot with the rear end which was very unpredictable throughout the day. The rain this afternoon did not help as we lost some track time but this was the same for everyone. At the moment, it looks like this track and dry conditions will not favour us, so we will be hoping that it rains heavily over the weekend."

Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "The biggest issue with our car here is that we are struggling to get temperature into the tyres with both compounds. It is not unusual for our temperatures to be low compared to others and these cool and damp conditions mean that you lose a lot of grip. We appear to be more competitive in the high downforce sections of the track suggesting that we have a little too much wing. Tyre temperature is always a challenge at Spa, however we made a positive step with Rubens at the end of the second session so there was some improvement. If the track improves over the weekend, this will certainly help. If this is the case, we expect to find increased grip and a step forward in performance as a result. We will also be looking at our aero performance closely for the rest of the weekend."

Force India-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (8th, 1:49.585): "In the end I could put together a good lap and now at least we have some idea about the balance in these type of conditions. This morning was OK but we lost the final few minutes of the session with a broken damper and couldn't improve the time from the first run. At least we had some more tyres to use in the afternoon, but then unfortunately the rain started and it was difficult to judge when we could go out."

Giancarlo Fisichella (16th, 1:50.740): "It was a shame we could not do more laps in the drying conditions in the afternoon. Unfortunately I was coming out of turn eight and just came on to a really wet part of the track on dry tyres. The car just snapped away and there wasn't anything I could do to catch it before it went into the barriers. Until that point it had been a fairly normal day, we were finding a good balance and getting used to the tyres and I think we could have got a good time in the drier conditions at the end of the session."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A mixed day today, for both the conditions and the drivers. Unfortunately Giancarlo's day was spoilt when he had a spin on the water that came out of the tyres following Raikkonen's accident. Other than that he had had a reasonable day, evaluating the tyres and working towards a set up for the weekend. Adrian was however able to complete most of his programme, although with the slippery conditions it was difficult to get a good balance. Overall though I think we have continued the momentum from Valencia and the VJM01 looks to be performing well. We hope to have a good weekend."


Heikki Kovalainen (3rd, 1:48.740): "In mixed conditions like this afternoon, there's not a lot you can learn about the set-up - but there's a lot at risk if you lose the car. In the damp, the kerbs were extremely slippery - like ice, almost - so we weren't in a great hurry to go out this afternoon until the track dried out. It's hard to know where everybody stands because of the rain, but our times in both sessions show we're looking competitive."

Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:48.805): "This morning, the temperatures were quite low so the track lacked a bit of grip and made warming the tyres more difficult than normal. The wet-dry conditions we encountered are typical of Spa, but they make if difficult to change your set-up because you're always attacking a moving target. Still, we got some good data this morning before the rain came, so we feel we're in good shape for tomorrow."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "The changeability of the weather, both this morning and this afternoon, influenced our decision to concentrate on race set-up and tyre selection procedures. The result was a smooth and uneventful pair of practice sessions for us today. We're now looking forward to what we believe will be improving weather conditions throughout the remainder of the weekend."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Typical Spa - a partly wet and partly dry practice. Nevertheless we learned a lot and found a good basis. Today's times don't mean a lot, but I think we should be in good shape."