• Malaysian Grand Prix - Friday practice

Who said what after Friday practice at Sepang

ESPNF1 Staff
March 22, 2013

Read what the drivers and teams had to say after Friday's practice sessions ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix

The teams had to work in hot conditions at Sepang © Sutton Images
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Caterham

Charles Pic - FP1 21st: , FP2 20th:
"Friday has been ok for us and it's mostly been looking at tyre degradation and balance. There was a little too much understeer in the first session this morning so we tried a couple of setup changes and they seemed to work. In the afternoon we had to change the plan a bit when the rain started but that gave us a chance to run seven laps on the intermediate tyres which could be important for Saturday and Sunday. We also had our first runs on the medium tyres here and wear rates were ok on those. I had a small mistake on my quickest lap on the performance run and that cost me quite a bit of time so I think there's more to come tomorrow, especially in qualifying.

"We've also been working on improvements in the garage between runs, cutting down the turnaround times, and that's working well. Overall it's been a good week in Malaysia so far for me. It's been busy but I'm enjoying it - we've had a great welcome wherever we go and I'm sure that'll continue all weekend."

Giedo van der Garde - FP1: 19th, FP2: 21st
"I think we've had a pretty good day. We've completed a lot of laps on all the tyres except the full wets and run through the whole program. In FP1 it was the normal runplan, focusing on the hard prime tyres and starting to understand deg levels on those - our pace on that compound and the wear rates were both encouraging, but we'll have to work a bit more on getting them up to temperature efficiently and then keeping them in that first phase of degradation as long as possible.

"In FP2 we did a couple of short and long runs on the primes and one on the medium tyre, as well as a stint on the inters when the rain started. It wasn't the intense rain we had on track yesterday but it was still enough to mean we needed to run the inters and with rain possible in quali and in the race that's more good data for us. It's also good for me to get as many laps as possible done on the intermediates - it's all part of the learning process and with full running in both FP1 and FP2 today, compared to Melbourne, we're in a better position for tomorrow and Sunday than we were last weekend."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 4th, FP2: 4th
"Today, the car worked well in all conditions and that is very good news for us. This circuit is more representative than Australia for evaluating the car's performance and so it was important to understand here today if the positive feelings from the winter were not just an illusion. On my lap on the Medium tyres, I did not have the right balance, otherwise I could have managed to improve, as I did on the Hards and I could probably have been on the "front row." Now we must see how tomorrow goes, when it could rain at any moment and on a track where tyre degradation is much higher than in Melbourne. With a high number of pit stops likely, a car that works better in the race than in qualifying could be an advantage. However, tomorrow we will try and do our best to get a place on the front row, because, as usual, the start, strategy and pit stops will hold the key".

Felipe Massa - FP1: 7th, FP2: 3rd
"Overall, it was a good day, even if the rain that arrived for the end of the second session cost us some valuable time, when it came to comparing the two compounds over a long run. The car responded well in both sessions and, as for the tyres Pirelli brought here, I felt much more comfortable on the Mediums that we'd already used in Australia. We now have a long evening to work on understanding what the real behaviour of the tyres is, because that is definitely what can make the difference and could make us more competitive, as we prepare for both qualifying and the race".

Pat Fry, technical director
"Today's rain complicated our programme a bit, but overall, it was a positive Friday. As we saw in Australia, here again the key factor will be understanding tyre behaviour. Usually at this track, you need one more stop, but it's still too early to say. This evening we will tackle the complex task of analysing the data because the rain arrived at the least opportune moment, just as Fernando and Felipe were doing a comparison of the two compounds. In the morning we managed to complete our planned programme, making the most of the better conditions to find the ideal set-up on both cars. Having tried various combinations, we think we know what direction to take for tomorrow's qualifying".

Force India

Paul di Resta - FP1: 8th, FP2: 8th
"I think we've had a reasonable day. We've got some tyre data and first impressions suggest that our performance level is pretty similar to where it was in Melbourne last week. Hopefully we can continue the progress overnight. Generally I'm fairly happy but, as always, there's some work to do tonight to make sure we're comfortable on both the compounds going into the race."

Adrian Sutil - FP1: 6th, FP2: 10th
"The morning went OK and the balance was quite good. We made a change during the lunch hour to cure some oversteer and my general feeling with the car is good. I missed out on some running this afternoon, but I think the rain interrupted things for everybody so I didn't miss too much dry track time. I still managed a run on the hard and the medium this afternoon so I've got a feel for both the tyre compounds."

Jakob Andreasen, chief engineer
"A fairly typical day in Malaysia with dry running this morning and a light shower in the afternoon session. On the whole we got through the bulk of the programme and both Paul and Adrian seemed pretty content with the handling of their cars from the start of running. Adrian's afternoon session was cut short as a precaution, but it did not cost him too much dry track time relative to the others. Paul clocked up 30 laps this afternoon, running both the hard and medium compounds, and is in good shape heading into tomorrow. We don't have as much long run data as we would ideally like, but we have enough information to make some sensible predictions."

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 2nd, FP2: 1st
"It was a pretty good day. We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine. We ran pretty heavy today so I don't know how we'll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I'm happy with where we are and expect we'll be reasonable tomorrow."

Romain Grosjean - FP1: 10th, FP2: 6th
: "We're still working on the setup of the car as it's not quite right for me and it's difficult to understand why exactly. The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps. Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there's more pace to come in that area, but there are still things we can do with the current specification once I get everything working for me. It was pretty hot out there - quite a contrast to Melbourne - but I felt comfortable and I'm looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying."

James Allison, technical director
: "I'm happy with our day's work. We came here this week seeking reassurance that our car would be equally as competitive in a very different set of conditions to what we saw in Australia, and the early indications are that it looks reasonably useful. The upgrades we've trialled today also appear to be working well. Although both drivers ran the new front wing, Romain was at somewhat of a disadvantage in not having the latest exhaust variation and related bodywork on his car, so he can take heart from a healthy position on the time sheets. The only slight interruption to proceedings was a compromise to our long run programme once the rain arrived, but this actually proved to be pretty useful in itself as we now have a better understanding of the crossover point for the intermediate tyres. Overall it's been a very productive day."

Marussia

Jules Bianchi - FP1: 20th, FP2: 18th
"I'm happy with the work we have been able to complete today, but it's always difficult to end Friday without a clear picture of where we stand and where there are still so many variables to consider. I am pleased with my performance today though and we seem to be making progress on the set-up we need here. This is just one of those races and circuits and it's the same for every team. It's my first time racing here and I am happy with the way I have acclimatised to the track. Now we have to see what the rest of the weekend holds. It could be frustrating, it could be exciting. We will see."

Max Chilton - FP1: 22nd, FP2: 22nd
"Today hasn't been the most straightforward of days but I know from experience that this circuit presents a variety of challenges, so not entirely unexpected. We have had our frustrations in a few areas but we've made some progress and completed some good runs - unfortunately not my new option run. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend will shape up now. The rain looks sets to play its part - that much looks clear. The rest is a little open right now so I think we will see an interesting qualifying and race."

John Booth, team principal
"It has been an interesting day up and down the pitlane, with tyre wear and weather playing a part in both sessions. In FP1 we had a good session looking at some aerodynamic measurements and exhaust parts, which went well, and we were able to run in FP2 with new developments on both cars. It was clear after the first session that rear tyre wear was pretty significant, however we effected some set-up changes over the break to deal with this and in FP2 the situation seems to have eased. Max experienced a delamination on one of his rear tyres during his running, which hindered his session significantly, unfortunately meaning he didn't make it out again in the dry period with the option tyre. We made the best use of the wet conditions at the end in order to give both drivers more experience of race running from the wet to the dry and the tyre crossover which this necessitates. In short, a day where the timesheets don't really speak a great deal about where we stand, but a lot of very useful information in hand for what lies ahead this weekend."

The McLaren was surprisingly quick on the intermediate tyre © Sutton Images
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McLaren

Jenson Button - FP1: 11th, FP2 12th:
"Today we got through a decent amount of satisfactory work, and we duly gathered some more useful info about MP4-28. On a dry track it feels better than it did in Melbourne, but even then its pace still isn't there compared with that of the front-running cars. We've identified some further improvements that we can make before tomorrow, though, which is encouraging, and it's been a good day in terms of learning. Back at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking [Surrey, UK] the guys are working as hard as they possibly can to find extra performance - and here in Sepang, too, every single member of our race team is doing a truly awesome job. It's a lot easier to work on a car that's winning races than it is to work on a car that's not fully competitive, so fair play to everyone for getting their heads down and battling through."

Sergio Perez - FP1: 13th, FP2: 11th
"Today was a very busy day, during which both Jenson and I tried a number of options in an effort to decide which spec to go with tomorrow and Sunday. Our car has improved since Melbourne - which is quite cheering when you consider that we raced there only four days ago - and it felt better in both dry and wet conditions today. Having said that, although as I say it felt better on a dry track today than it did in Melbourne, it would still probably qualify and race a bit better on a wet track than on a dry track, relative to our opposition, so we won't be upset if it rains quite a bit over the next couple of days."

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal
"Today we ran through our planned FP1/FP2 programme, successfully applying the upgrades we'd developed for this weekend, and continuing our investigative work with a view to improving our understanding of MP4-28. FP1 was dry, but there was quite a bit of rain towards the end of FP2, in which conditions we were reasonably competitive. Overall, then, it's been a satisfactory day, and we've acquired quite a bit more data which we'll now number-crunch in an effort to optimise our car's spec for the rest of the race weekend. Everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is working incredibly hard, in very challenging circumstances, and I'm both grateful for and impressed by my colleagues' indefatigable esprit de corps."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 9th FP2: 9th
"We made some positive steps with the set-up over the two sessions today. I had a good long run in the dry which has given us a lot of information to look at tonight. We didn't learn too much in the wet this afternoon however as the conditions were quite mixed when I went out. We focused mainly on longer runs today so I haven't done a quick lap yet on either set of tyres; that will come tomorrow. I'm happy with the direction that we're going and let's see what the weekend brings."

Nico Rosberg - FP1: 5th, FP2: 7rd
"We worked a lot on our long run pace today, rather than being quick over one lap. As we saw in Melbourne, tyre management will be the key to success, so that's our focus for the practice sessions. The conditions were tough out there and the heat is unbelievable. Generally we learnt a lot today but we still have some homework to do tonight and tomorrow."

Ross Brawn, team principal
"We've had a good first day in Sepang. The programme focused on understanding the performance and consistency of the tyres and we learnt a lot today which will be relevant for the race on Sunday. The running was a little compromised by the conditions this afternoon but we had anticipated that and managed to get most of our work done before the rain came. Overall, I'm reasonably happy with the work that we achieved today."

Toto Wolff, executive director
"We ran through a solid programme today where we focused most of all on race preparation on high fuel. We did two good long runs with Nico and Lewis, which has given us lots of data to compare. Well done to the guys for managing the programme so we could get the maximum from the dry track conditions. Tomorrow, we will concentrate more on one-lap pace and see where we stand. But we saw last weekend that, more than ever, this season is about being quick on Sunday, not just Saturday."

Red Bull

Mark Webber - FP1: 1st, FP2: 5th
"It was a pretty smooth run for us today, but we need to improve and keep finding pace. The slicks were not too bad in those conditions and the crossover point looks quite interesting. The tyres are still the most important thing at the moment - it's all about those! It's pretty warm in the car, but if I'm warm, then so is everyone else and in general it's not as bad as previous years."

Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 3rd, FP2: 2nd
"I think it was unusual today as in the second session one part of the track was pretty wet and the other was dry - but it all dried out quite fast, as it was so hot. This afternoon we couldn't do so much due to the weather, but this morning it looked okay, although the tyres don't last very long! We need to try a couple of things now overnight to improve and take a step forwards."

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez - FP1: 15th, FP2: 14th
"From a set-up point of view it was a very productive today. We were able to improve the car from free practice one to free practice two in terms of its balance. Then unfortunately we had several issues, but we managed to get back on track to use the time we had. I didn't have time for a proper run with the medium tyres, but getting some laps in the wet and then changing back to dry conditions was very positive. Tomorrow we have to catch up on the time we missed out on today."

Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 14th, FP2: 13th
"All in all it was a difficult Friday. I don't know what to make of it yet. I think we still have a lot to do until the next session tomorrow. It's a tough call, because I was not able to get a proper long run due to the weather. I think we still have potential in terms of the balance of the car and we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow."

Tom McCullough, head of track engineering
"It was a pretty typical practice day here in Malaysia. Rain in P2 was not ideal, but it was the same for everybody. We also had a few technical problems. On Esteban's car the fire extinguisher seems to have gone off. We also had a cracked exhaust, and we are investigating both those now. With the improvement of the track between P1 and P2 and the set-up changes we made the drivers were happier, but we still have a lot of work to do before tomorrow's qualifying and the race."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne - FP1: 17th, FP2: 15th
"I think this was a positive day, including the reliability front which is important. We concentrated on our long run work and we got some good answers from that, which is the most important thing, rather than looking for quick lap times. Consistent times over a distance are more important. For tomorrow, we can now look at finding more pace. Tyre degradation is quite high, but we expected that and it's the same for everybody. If it's dry for the whole race, tyre management will be quite tricky. I didn't learn much on the Inters, except that driving the car in the wet on a heavy fuel load is difficult! The heat? I'm fine with it."

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 18th, FP2: 17th
"We learned a lot about the tyres today. In the morning, they seemed to struggle in the heat and we made some changes to help deal with that in between the two sessions. We managed to improve the balance of the car to prolong tyre life and I think we succeeded to a certain extent in doing that. We still have more work to do on that. The heat doesn't affect the brakes much as there's time to cool them down, but you have to watch the engine temps and also the body temperatures, because looking in the garage the guys seemed to have just come out of the shower! This is a more physical race than others and it is definitely warm, but having come here a few times, I'm prepared for it and enjoying it."

Laurent Mekies, head of vehicle performance
"It was a constructive day, as we got through a lot of laps with both cars in all sorts of track conditions, so that Daniel and Jean-Eric ran three types of tyre - the Hard, Medium and Intermediates. That was useful, because past experience tells us we have to be prepared for anything in qualifying and the race. Once again, this weekend is going to be all about tyre management, so we are working hard on getting the most out of the compounds we have here. We have explored different directions in terms of set-up across both cars, so overall, we got the data we wanted. Now we must work on that tonight with the aim of getting as much performance as possible out of our package."

Williams

Pastor Maldonado - FP1: 12th, FP2: 16th
"We didn't have the pace today unfortunately. We need to analyse the data tonight to see what we can do. We have a lot of work to do but we'll be pushing hard to see what we can achieve tomorrow."

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 16th, FP2: 19th
"We had a number of parts to test today following the race in Melbourne and we were evaluating different things between the two cars. We will analyse the data to see what worked well and make some decisions for qualifying tomorrow. We hope to find some improvements, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to close the gap."

Mike Coughlan, technical director
"We haven't made the progress we had hoped for today. We need to look at the data we have from both sessions to maximise the package we have. We will then head straight back to the factory to work on some improvements ahead of Shanghai."

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