• Spanish Grand Prix - FP2

Who said what after Friday practice in Spain

ESPN Staff
May 11, 2012

Read what the drivers and teams had to say after Friday practice at the Spanish Grand Prix

A hot day in Barcelona saw track temperatures reach 44C © Sutton Images
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Caterham

Heikki Kovalainen FP2 - 19th
"A pretty standard Friday for us. We made a couple of set-up changes early on in FP2 that improved the balance and I think we've ended up closer to where we want to be today. As it's been all season, tyre management is going to be vital here, especially on Sunday, and from what we've seen from the tyre degradation patterns on both tyre choices I think we need to do more work on managing wear rates, but if we can do that I think we'll be ok tomorrow, and on Sunday."

Vitaly Petrov FP1 - 19th, FP2 - 20th
"I'm relatively pleased with today but it was a bit of an odd couple of sessions for us. This morning we did all the runs on the hard tyres and couldn't really find a balance I could push with, and then this afternoon we managed to dial out the understeer we had on both the hard and soft tyres, but suddenly found we had oversteer that hadn't been there before. I think this is something that's affecting quite a few of the teams, and it's not what we were expecting after the Bahrain race and the Mugello test, but we'll work on it tonight and I'm sure we'll find a solution for FP3 and qualifying."

Mark Smith, Technical Director:
"I think we have made good use of both sessions today. Alexander Rossi took part in his first FP1 session for us this morning and did a very good job, working through a programme that was looking at a number of rear wing options that gives us more information to work on in addition to the data we generated in Mugello last week. This afternoon Heikki was back in his normal car and he and Vitaly concentrated on tyre work, looking at degradation levels on the soft and hard compounds we have available to us this weekend. There is quite a big time difference between the two types of tyre which will make strategy in qualifying tomorrow very interesting, and will put the onus on Sunday on the drivers looking after the wear rates as much as possible."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso FP1 - 1st, FP2 - 14th
"It's nice to be back racing in front of my home crowd: from the moment I got here on Wednesday evening, I could already feel the warmth of the fans who are also now all Ferrari fans. We had a very busy programme, with a lot of new things to try and it was important to evaluate them very carefully. First impressions are positive: some parts worked as we expected, others less so, but broadly speaking, it confirms the tendency we had already seen in Mugello last week, which is that the data emerging form the wind tunnel has been been confirmed on track. Today, conditions were obviously very different to when we were here for the winter tests: it's much hotter and the track surface conditions have therefore changed, with temperatures approaching 45º C. We tried to adapt the car set-up to the track conditions, but we are not yet completely satisfied: there is still work to do. Actually, it was a rather different Friday to usual, with the times even more mixed up than we have seen at the first four races this year. The tyres? No surprises, we know them sufficiently well now after all the kilometres we have done this winter and in the first part of the championship. The Softs seem quicker, the Hards more consistent, so nothing new there."

Felipe Massa FP1 - 12th, FP2 - 11th
"It was very hot today, which put the tyres under a lot of strain. We worked a lot on the updates we have available as from this weekend and, at first sight, the results seem to be positive. This morning especially, we concentrated on comparing different configurations, while in the afternoon, we worked mainly on set-up and tyre behaviour. It's impossible to make a comparison with the results of winter testing, because the track surface conditions have completely changed as the temperature is so different to what we had in the winter. Now we must put together all the best elements to produce our maximum potential and prepare well for qualifying and the race. On Sunday, if it turns out as hot as this, it will be an even tougher race than usual, especially because of tyre degradation."

Pat Fry, technical director
"An even busier Friday than usual for the whole team, coming off the back of a run of equally busy days, both at the track, with three days testing in Mugello and at the factory, where everyone put in an extraordinary amount of effort to bring as many new parts as possible here. In the two sessions, we privileged the job of evaluating and comparing all the new elements available, rather than the more usual preparation for a race weekend. I am not in the habit of giving instant verdicts on new parts: some elements have fully matched our expectations, others less so. Now we must analyse everything calmly, to get the most out of what we have and put it on the car. Definitely, car balance seems to be better on the Hards than the Softs and that partly explains the fact that we did not manage to significantly improve our times moving from one compound to another, without however forgetting that Fernando was always in traffic when he was on a set of new Softs. However, we still have a lot to do to set up the car in a way that will allow us to make the most of these tyres. All in all, I think we can say we have made a step forward, but how big it is compared to our competitors is something we will only find out tomorrow."

Force India

Paul di Resta FP2 - 15th
"A fairly normal Friday afternoon session for me trying to get on top of the tyres quickly and fine-tune the balance of the car. I had the new parts on the car, which seem to be delivering, although it's too early to say where we stand because we don't know what everyone else was doing or their fuel loads. I think it's going to be another very close weekend, just as we have seen in the previous races, and we still have plenty of work to do before qualifying to find the sweet spot."

Nico Hulkenberg FP1 - 10th, FP2 - 10th
"We got through the programme pretty much as planned and the initial results seem quite encouraging. The main task was to continue understanding the new upgrades, which I ran for both sessions, and getting the car set-up nicely for the track. We made some changes during the lunch break and they improved things, so I'm happy about what we've done today. As always, there's still work to do, but the main tasks for today are complete."

Jules Bianchi: FP1 - 18th
"I was driving the same car we raced in Bahrain so that the team could run a back-to-back comparison with the new developments we have here. The session went well, I managed 21 laps on the hard compound tyre and the programme has given us a lot of data to analyse before qualifying."

Jakob Andreasen, chief engineer
"A productive Friday for us with excellent feedback from Nico, Paul and Jules as we continued to evaluate the developments we ran in Mugello last week. The driver comments are encouraging and the numbers also suggest the new parts are delivering what we expected. The rest of the programme was a fairly standard Friday job list, although Nico did use two sets of hard tyres this morning. Paul was back in the car for the afternoon and quickly got up to speed as he spent the majority of the session on the soft tyres. There's still room to improve overnight to maximise final practice and leave us in good shape going into qualifying."

HRT

Pedro de la Rosa FP1 - 23rd, FP2 - 23rd
"Today was the day to try out the aero package we've brought to Barcelona, so we completed various short stints to see how the car behaved with the changes. It was interesting because the car has effectively taken a step forwards, but we need an even bigger step, especially at such a tough circuit as this one where there are many quick turns and where you need to improve the balance of the car. There's still plenty to do and a lot of data to analyze to have a better understanding of how to get the most out of these upgrades."

Narain Karthikeyan FP2 - 24th
"I'm disappointed to have not got any laps under my belt today; it's certainly not how I was aiming to start my weekend in Barcelona. Tomorrow will be an uphill struggle as we've only got one hour in the morning to get the car ready for qualifying in the afternoon, so we're really going to have to get our heads down and work hard. Hopefully we can make up for the time lost today and turn things around tomorrow."

Dani Clos: FP1 - 24th
"I'm happy to have got into the car for the first time today, albeit for a short first encounter. The feeling I had when I left the pits and saw the Spanish crowd, whilst driving for a Spanish team alongside Pedro, was unbelievable. It was my first time in the new car and I wasn't 100% comfortable since the car is built for Narain, so I had to adapt. We were able to carry out some aerodynamic work and try out some different things on the car so I'm pleased to have completed my job for the team."

Luis Pérez-Sala, team principal

"Today was a day of mixed feelings. On one hand it was very nice to see Dani make his debut but on the other hand we suffered a lot of electrical issues on Narain's car. It's a new chassis and there's a lot of work to do with any new car so it's not that strange for things to not work out first time round. It looks like the upgrades we've brought have worked well, which makes us optimistic for the future. Now we have to fix our immediate problems and work so that the weekend turns out the best way possible."

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen FP1 - 9th, FP2 - 5th
"There were no problems with the car and everything felt good today. We tried a different front wing, but in the car you can't tell if it makes much difference; that is why the team's engineers are looking at the data. I felt comfortable and I think the work done at Mugello and in the Windshear test programme have made improvements. We'll have to see tomorrow how much pace everyone has when it comes to qualifying as that's when it matters. We've been fast everywhere else so far and there's nothing to suggest we won't be fast here again."

Romain Grosjean FP1 - 7th, FP2 - 6th
"It was a pretty good day today. The weather is fantastic, the car feels great and the lap times were promising; I'm a happy man. The balance felt strong on both tyres and we were able to complete long runs to give us valuable tyre data for Sunday. I'm happy with the performance of the car even when the tyres are nearer the end of their performance life which is a good sign for this weekend. It's very close of course, so qualifying will be interesting. I can't wait for tomorrow to come."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
"The car looks to be working very well and we're happy with progress. Our long runs on the softer tyres gave us good data for the race in terms of degradation and how many laps they can last before the performance drops away significantly. From this we've had an initial look at our pit stop strategy for Sunday. There were no problems from either car and both drivers were pretty happy with things. Some of work in Mugello concentrated on how we run the cars on lower fuel levels which is reflected by our better lap time performance on a Friday than we've seen at some other races."

Marussia

Timo Glock FP1 - 20th, FP2 - 21st
"To be honest we've had two pretty difficult sessions today as we've struggled with the balance of the car. It's been very nervous on both sets of tyres so a little disappointing that we seem to still have this problem. We'll just have to take a good look at the data and see what we can find to improve the situation for tomorrow."

Charles Pic FP1 - 22nd, FP2 - 22nd
"I am quite happy with the way today has been. We made good progress across the two sessions and I feel the benefit of the new update. I think there is more we can find overnight to prepare us for qualifying, but generally it feels like we can have a good rest of the weekend. A good start I think."

John Booth, team principal
"We always said that whilst we were pleased with our test in Mugello, a better barometer of how much our updates would improve our car's performance would be once we got to a more representative circuit such as this one. We don't feel that we have made the best start today and there is a slight air of disappointment as a result, however we must stay focused as it will only be after qualifying tomorrow that we will be able to make a full assessment of our the step. Overall we can be pleased that the reliability of the car has been good and allowed us to complete our set-up and aero programmes today. The results of our aerodynamic tests in FP1 can now be applied across both cars for FP3 tomorrow. Neither driver is 100% happy with the balance so far, however I'm sure that time spent looking at the data tonight will allow for improved set-ups in the morning."

McLaren

Lewis Hamilton FP1 - 8th, FP2 - 4th
"The car already feels better than it did at the last race - there's a good series of improvements within the car. My long run this afternoon was very satisfying and there are positives to take from that, but there's still more time in the car, as Jenson showed. I struggled a little with set-up today. It's a little bit inconsistent, so it's very difficult to pinpoint exactly what's needed to make it better. But we'll be looking at the data to find out where the most significant issues are, and I'm confident we can make improvements overnight. Nevertheless, the upgrades we brought to this race seem to be working well and we've got good pace on the longer runs. The guys back at the factory did a fantastic job. It's been a positive day and we're in the fight."

Jenson Button FP1 - 4th, FP2 - 1st
"It was a positive afternoon. I did a good lap on the Option tyre, the car is running well, and our upgrades seem to be working. But there are still some improvements to be made. The Option seems to be a bit easier for everyone as it's softer and therefore more receptive to generating temperature. In P2, we also started to find a way to get the Prime to work, but then, later in the session, we couldn't quite get back to that sweet-spot. If we can solve these issues with the Prime and get it into its correct working range, I think we can be quite competitive this weekend. There are a lot of quick cars out there, but, aerodynamically, I think we've got a strong car. We've just got to make sure that we make sure that the four things touching the road are working properly for us too."

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal
"It's pleasing to hear both drivers express their initial satisfaction with the suite of upgrades we've brought to the circuit this weekend. It's now time for the engineers to sit down and look in detail at the data to determine what's working and in what areas we can make further improvements. The Circuit de Catalunya is always a very stern test of machinery, so it's gratifying to see Vodafone McLaren Mercedes assume the top spot on the timesheets at this early stage of the weekend. It was a very strong lap from Jenson. Looking deeper at the timesheets, it's clear that, once again, we're set for an extremely finely pitched and closely fought race - it's going to be a fascinating weekend."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg FP1 - 14th, FP2 - 3rd
"Generally all worked well today, but there are also a few question marks after the two sessions. Tyre management will be a big challenge again this weekend, and that will be the key for success. We have got plenty of options to work though this evening to find the right set-up for the conditions out there tomorrow and on Sunday."

Michael Schumacher FP1 - 6th, FP2 - 8th
"The way it worked out for us today demonstrated that the testing we did in Mugello was worth it, so again I'm happy we had the chance to do that. Of course it was very warm today and therefore the track was quite slippery, but that was according to our expectations. Our feeling for the weekend is pretty okay after everything we have learned in the two sessions, so we will now analyse the data carefully in order to work out exactly how to approach qualifying and the race from everything we have learned in the two sessions today."

Norbert Haug, head of Mercedes motorsport
"A challenging first day with changing track conditions. We worked through an intensive programme with lots of laps to evaluate the two tyre compounds available. Our team learned a lot today and the plan is to make a further step tomorrow as we did today from the first to the second practice session."

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel FP1 - 2nd, FP2 - 2nd
"It wasn't too bad today - there's a lot of stuff for us to go through. We had a few new parts to try, which is not that unusual for Barcelona. I'm pretty happy; we did a lot of laps and got through the programme well. The wind played a role today, you could see some cars going off the track and the asphalt temperatures can go high here which makes the car slide. It's similar here to last year and it's likely we will see a few stops on Sunday during the race."

Mark Webber FP1 - 13th, FP2 - 7th
"It takes a while to get in to the groove here with the balance. We saw at the end of P2 that you have to get everything together to get the lap time here. We'll have more chances tomorrow to work on the short runs. We were trying a few things in those practice sessions and we'll see what Adrian and the guys come up with for us tomorrow. I'm not sure how many pitstops there will be on Sunday, but it will be quite a few. The soft tyre is a nicer tyre to run on - but tyre strategy will be very important here."

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi FP1 - 3rd, FP2 - 9th
"It was a good first day here for us. I think my fastest lap time on soft tyres should have been a little bit better, but I wasn't pushing enough on that lap. The long runs looked okay with both the hard and the soft tyre compounds. However, I think for qualifying we should improve the balance of the car. We have had a smooth day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Sergio Pérez FP1 - 15th, FP2 - 12th
"In the morning the car's balance wasn't good and we had to change quite a lot for the afternoon session. We worked in the right direction, as it was an improvement and therefore it really was a productive day. I found on long runs both tyre compounds were degrading quite a lot, but we will see what we can do to help in this respect."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering "Overall we had a good Friday. We were able to cover the programme with both cars and both tyre compounds. Sergio's last run was somewhat hampered after a previous off which had resulted in some damage of the floor. What we can see from measurements the new aero package, which was introduced in Mugello, works as expected. So also in that regard we are quite happy. We have done good mileage and now have a lot of data to look at."

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo FP1 - 16th, FP2 - 17th
"We tried a few different downforce settings in the morning and we were not too convinced by our pace. So we decided to make a few changes to the car for the afternoon session in terms of how to run our aero package. It gave me a slightly better feeling from the car, but we still need to work hard on set-up to try and find something extra there, if we want to be in contention for Q3 on Saturday. I have a few ideas of what we want to do and the engineers, who are probably a bit smarter than me, have definitely got some ideas up their sleeves."

Jean-Eric Vergne FP1 - 11th, FP2 - 16th
"This morning we continued with some aero evaluation that we had started at the Mugello test. In the afternoon, we worked mainly towards the race and I feel we found some good solutions. Now, we must start to think about qualifying and how to improve the car balance, but so far it does not look too bad. I tried both types of tyre and, as you would expect the Option brings a big advantage in terms of lap time on low fuel and the Prime has a longer life, but all the same it will be interesting to see what will be the best tyre strategy for Sunday. The new parts? It's hard to say what improvement they have brought, as the other teams have been developing their cars too."

Laurent Mekies, chief engineer
"Both our cars ran trouble-free all day which is the first element you need if you are to have a good weekend. It means we completed a lot of laps and were able to work through all the programme we had planned for these three hours. In the morning, we dedicated most of the time to evaluating a couple of components we had not managed to fit into our Mugello programme. Then, in the afternoon, we concentrated on the normal race weekend tasks of trying to find the best set-up in both qualifying and race trim. The interesting challenge here is to balance the car for the different characteristics of various parts of the track. Now we still have quite a lot of work tonight to be where we want to be, but overall this was a reasonable day's work."

Williams

Bruno Senna FP2 - 18th
"Today was a day of mixed feelings. On one hand it was very nice to see Dani make his debut but on the other hand we suffered a lot of electrical issues on Narain's car. It's a new chassis and there's a lot of work to do with any new car so it's not that strange for things to not work out first time round. It looks like the upgrades we've brought have worked well, which makes us optimistic for the future. Now we have to fix our immediate problems and work so that the weekend turns out the best way possible."

Pastor MaldonadoFP2 - 13th:
"We completed our programme today and the tyres were working well this afternoon. It helps that we have done quite a lot of testing here, but the track conditions are quite different to over the winter so we now need to spend some time analysing the data. I am feeling confident though as this is a circuit that I like."

Valtteri Bottas FP1 - 5th
"This was the first track of the season that I already know so it was nice for me to be able to focus purely on the driving from the start. The car felt good but there are still some things we will continue to work on this afternoon. Overall, we gathered a lot of data and had a productive session which I really enjoyed."

Mark Gillan, chief operations engineer
"We had a very busy Friday with Pastor running both sessions and Valtteri testing in the morning, changing over to Bruno for the afternoon session. We concentrated primarily on aerodynamic development items in the morning followed by tyre testing in the afternoon. We had some downtime in the morning with Pastor's car due to a faulty DRS system, but this was rectified between sessions. We now need to analyse the prodigious amount of data collected in more detail in order to maximise our performance for qualifying and the race."

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