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Fri, 22 June, 2012Europe: Driver Friday quotes

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault (1st, 1:39.334):
“We have tried some new parts on the car today, but the lap times have not really allowed us to have a fair conclusion of them yet. It was important to have a clean practice today and I'm happy with what we did. The conditions will change again for Sunday I think; it was a bit cooler today, which will make a difference. It's close between the teams and it's not yet clear what the right strategy is for Sunday, hopefully we can make a step forward tomorrow.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes (2nd, 1:39.465):
“Just the one session for me today, but it went very well and we were able to pack a lot of work into the afternoon. I feel quite comfortable with the car and we managed some good runs on both tyres compounds today. I think the key factor for the rest of the weekend will be managing the tyres if the temperatures increase as expected and making sure we can deliver the same level of performance.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari (3rd, 1:39.595):
“For me it was quite okay today, except for an hydraulic problem which prevented me from doing long runs in the afternoon. In the morning we had a couple of test items. This worked fine and was the reason why I didn't do performance runs in the first session. Despite the fact that there had not been too much time for set up work, the car was good when we fitted the soft tyres. Tyre management will be the key here and this depends not only on the driving, but also on the car's set up. For the race it is important to get everything right in this regard so that the tyres don't drop off too quickly, but tomorrow first we have to focus on qualifying. The grid position here is more important than on other tracks because overtaking is really difficult.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes (4th, 1:39.601):
“Our work today was reasonably good, with obviously a lot of data to be confirmed now in our technical briefings before qualifying. The second session initially started with an issue with the clutch but it turned out very ok. Of course we are aware that it will be a challenge for everybody, especially to keep the rear tyres alive but this is as expected. Let's see what we can do tomorrow.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault (5th, 1:39.644):
“It was a good day and we managed to fulfil our test programme. It would have been useful to have done a few more miles but we have still gathered a lot of valuable data. We're getting closer to where we need to be so I'm happy with how today went.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes (6th, 1:39.700):
“When I got in the car this morning the baseline set-up was a good starting point and I didn't really change that much for the rest of the day. Our single lap speed looks strong, as does the long run pace, and we appear to have a good feel for the tyres already. Given the pace we have shown today we seem competitive so hopefully we can challenge for the top ten in qualifying tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (7th, 1:39.733):
“Overall, it's been a positive day, during which we tried various updates on the car: some worked well, others need some modifying and then they might be used at Silverstone. Naturally, we also worked a lot on the tyres, which seem to degrade quite significantly here. On this topic, we have to take into account that conditions can change rapidly according to the cloud cover. With the sky completely clear, the track temperature can easily go up by four or five degrees and change the behaviour of the tyres. Now we need to analyse carefully all the data that Felipe and I have gathered and then put together the best combination of set-up and technical solutions for qualifying and the race. This year, pole position seems to be less important than in the past and I think that is the case even on a track like this: it is always important to be first away, obviously, but it doesn't mean that if you start further back you have no chance of winning. The championship? I'm not here to do the score sheet, I'm only thinking of race by race. Today, Hamilton is ahead of me, so the objective is to leave Valencia ahead of him and then, maybe in Silverstone, Vettel will be first, so he will be the target.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault (8th, 1:39.868):
“Today was not as hot as we expected, certainly after the weather we saw here yesterday, but the long run pace was there and the car felt good. We still have a few things to try with the setup, so there should be some more pace to come. Qualifying will be the big moment for us as we have seen that we need to find a little bit of improvement there. It's not the end of the world, as we have seen that we can make good gains on Sunday with our race pace. The trick will be to find more speed in qualifying without disturbing this.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault (9th, 1:39.901):
“The car's working well, but there are areas where we can improve. I was happier on the harder tyre, the balance on the soft tyres wasn't great today, but we'll work on that tonight. The wind was playing a role today – but there will be less tomorrow. Regarding changes we've made to the car, we'll know on Sunday if they're working well for us. The circuit will get a bit quicker as we lay rubber down, and it will get a bit hotter as well, so let's see.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (10th, 1:39.926):
“I'm happy with today's practice sessions, and we were able to learn a lot on high and low fuel levels. Although it's cooler today, the conditions are still really hot out there, but I believe that we understand the tyre work on the rears a bit better now. It was also difficult to avoid locking the front tyres in the braking zones. I'm looking forward to the next two days and it should be an exciting race on Sunday.”

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault (11th, 1:39.945):
“The car feels okay and there were no issues. The wind was a bit of a factor in the morning but it was better in the afternoon. I was stuck in traffic for quite a bit of my long run in the second session, so I wasn't able to go as fast as the car was capable of, but we don't have any issues on that front. The E20's strong point always seems to be its race pace but of course we are looking to make it quicker in qualifying. Let's see how it is tomorrow morning and we'll do whatever's necessary. We'll make a few changes to the car for sure, but I think we're pretty okay.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes (12th, 1:39.990):
“The car didn't feel too bad today: we struggled a little with front locking, and the lap-time isn't quite there yet, but we've made some changes that should start to improve that tomorrow. We did a lot of work to improve the front [wheel] locking, but we're also going to go back on a few changes in order to get a car set-up that we know feels reasonably good. There are a couple of other changes we're also considering for tomorrow which could be quite interesting. I think we're quicker over a single lap than the time-sheets suggest, but the car is still a little tricky to drive on Option tyres. I'm confident that the changes we're now making will make a difference – but whether that will be enough to challenge at the front is still an unknown, because the field is so extremely competitive right now.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault (13th, 1:40.075):
“We completed our full test programme today. The track was so green at the start of the day, as expected, but the grip level has been increasing throughout each session. The car was consistent but we lost a bit of time on our shorter runs this afternoon. We need to understand the set-up of the car a bit better and to anticipate how the track conditions will change tomorrow. The car is working well but we still need to improve.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes (14th, 1:40.147):
“We didn't have a brilliant day today – it was a bit of a struggle to be honest – but I'm quite confident that we can make changes overnight and get back into the hunt tomorrow. I wasn't totally happy with my car today, but, being realistic, you can't always get it absolutely right, can you? This year, we've usually got the balance spot-on during practice, but we perhaps didn't run precisely the correct set-up today. We think we know what the problems were though, and how to put them right, so we ought to be fine for tomorrow. I'm quite confident that we'll have improved things for qualifying.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (15th, 1:40.244):
“We did a huge amount of work on development of the updates we brought here and now, with the data in our hands, we will try and choose those things that can give us an improvement in performance terms already right from this weekend. This morning I worked mainly on a series of aerodynamic comparisons, so I definitely did not use the tyres or the car in the best way possible. The afternoon went much better, when I was pleased with the balance and the car's handling out on track. It's a shame I made a mistake on my first timed lap on the Soft tyres, right at the start of the lap: my time, also taking into account I was one of the first to switch to the Option, could definitely have been better and I could have ended up significantly higher on the final time sheet, for what that's worth on a Friday afternoon. There is still much work to be done, because I expect we will see some cars going very quickly tomorrow, but also over a distance, the situation is not too bad: there's a bit of a performance drop from the tyres, but all in all, the times were good. The wind? It was a nuisance, especially at some points of the track where it made it very easy to lock the fronts.”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari (16th, 1:40.511):
“For me it was a rather difficult day because I wasn't happy with the balance of my car. On low fuel I struggled a lot, while it was better on a high fuel load. Kamui and I had different programmes for today and we now have a lot of data to be analysed and compared. I think we probably have found something today what could help us for tomorrow.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault (17th, 1:40.963):
“That was a positive Friday for us. FP1 started out with the track as green as we knew it would be, but that affects everyone the same so we got on with the programme and concentrated on finding a balance that would work once the grip levels improved. We were also looking at some new KERS maps that worked well, but perhaps would be better suited to a circuit that is less stop/start than Valencia. We'll look again at that overnight and I'm sure we'll find the right solution for this track in time for FP3. In FP2 we got through most of the plan, running on low and heavy fuel and on both tyre compounds and until we had a mechanical issue towards the end of the session the car felt good. We have brought a couple of updates here and it definitely felt better but we will see the full upgrade package at Silverstone. Still, it's good to see us continuing to develop the car and to keep getting closer to the target this year, so I think qualifying and the race could both be pretty interesting for us.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (18th, 1:41.121):
“The track was quite dirty in the morning session, with some litter on it, blown across by the strong wind, but it cleared up as the afternoon went on. The wind actually affected the car in a few braking areas when it was blowing as a tailwind. As for the car, when I was running in more of a qualifying trim, we seemed to be lacking a bit of performance. On my long run at the end of the second session with more fuel on board, I certainly felt the car was better, so that was more positive. Therefore, we need to improve the car on low fuel and I think we have an idea how to do that, so we will study all the data now and put together a plan for tomorrow. I am confident that, tomorrow, we can move up a few places from where we are now.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault (19th, 1:41.197):
“A pretty good Friday for me, with both sessions going to plan. In FP2 we ran a new version of the front wing and the initial feel it gave was good - it's too early to tell how much it's worth but it's a good sign that what was predicted in the factory seems to have worked on track. There's more to come for the next race but this looks like it could be a good step.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (20th, 1:41.263):
“I have raced here before, a few years back in GP3. Of course, it's a very different circuit from the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, but at least I had some idea what to expect. We did a lot of work on set-up, trying things linked to the exhaust system configuration that was first used by Daniel in Montreal. In general, we need some more speed and a couple of tenths off the lap times, because we are not fast enough. I think if we can make just small improvements in a few areas, then we can find more pace tomorrow.”

Timo Glock, Marussia-Cosworth (21st, 1:42.424):
“I have to be quite pleased with the work I have done today, as it has not been an easy day of Free Practice for me. I seem to have picked up a stomach bug over the last couple of days and for a time I have to say I was feeling quite unwell. Back in the car today I have felt a little better and I am hopeful that I am on the mend. With the programme I worked through, the car was performing well for me, so a good start in that respect. My plan now is to work through the data so I have plenty to sleep on while I concentrate on recovering for a new day tomorrow.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth (22nd, 1:42.958):
“A very interesting day for me as my programme was slightly different to normal. The engineers changed things around quite a bit to help Timo's recovery, which meant that I was doing more of the race preparation work. This was good for me and I am happy with what was a slightly more diverse plan. In the end, we seem to have a good set-up direction and with the amount of running we did, we have plenty of data to explore this evening. I think once we have looked at this and we are back in sync tomorrow, we will find that we have recovered some of what we lost in Canada and we can start to work on the gap to the cars in front of us again. For me, a good start, and I am happy that there is more we can achieve this weekend.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth (23rd, 1:44.201):
“In the morning the track was very dirty because it hadn't been used yet, so we just did some running and some work on the set-up and weight distribution of the car. In the afternoon we tried a few other things as the track was in better condition but we struggled to get the option tyres hot for the quick lap, so we have to work on that to try and get the most out of them for tomorrow's qualifying. Other than that it was a good day and tomorrow we must look to build on this and find that long-desired good performance in qualifying.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth (24th, 1:44.260):
“In the first session our weakest point was braking, as we were blocking the front and rear tyres. We improved notably in the afternoon after making some changes and you could feel it straight away. The session was going well but I made a mistake and went off track which, unfortunately, damaged the entire front suspension. My session ended there and we were unable to test neither the soft tyres nor many things which we had in mind but I'm keeping the positive aspect which is that we improved the car. I'm well and my mechanics are already repairing the car. They're extraordinary professionals and tomorrow everything will be ready again to give it our best go once more in front of our home fans.”

Jules Bianchi, Force India-Mercedes (First practice only):
“My morning session went well and the team learned a lot from the aero evaluation we did with the front wings. My first few laps were not at the limit, but I improved my speed step-by-step with each run and got more confidence with the conditions. The track was not so clean to begin with and although it improved during the session my tyres were going away at the same time. It was the second time I have used the medium compound tyres and I felt quite happy with their performance during the session.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Renault (First practice only):
“It was pretty difficult this morning as the track was still quite dusty and the last time I drove the car was Barcelona so I had to get back into the rhythm. I was building up all the time and we got all the data from the new aero parts we were testing which is the main thing. The wind made it a bit trickier so it wasn't the easiest of conditions, especially when the walls are so close. The main positive thing was how we managed our tyres, as my times in the third stint were still good in comparison to my first two runs.”

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