View Full Version : Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes

28th March 2014, 11:20
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg on the 'crazy' conditions; Sebastian Vettel on Red Bull's teething issues; Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen on McLaren's tyre degradation worries. The drivers and senior team personnel report back on a busy first day of action in Kuala Lumpur...
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:41.028, 3rd; P2 - 1:39.909, 1st
"It was crazy conditions out there. In the very, very warm temperatures, it's a huge challenge to get everything right. The cars are on the edge and the tyre degradation was higher than expected today - we are sliding a bit more this year, perhaps because of the reduced downforce levels. We are still having some small issues and therefore we were not able to maximise everything today. The quickest teams seem to be closer together than in Australia, so we still have work to do overnight to improve our level of performance."
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:40.691, 1st; P2 - 1:40.051, 4th
"I'm happy with our progress over the two sessions today and we were able to complete our programme. The car feels good and our focus was on trying to understand the tyres and make sure the balance is right for the weekend. There are areas where we can improve so we're keeping focused on our own work, rather than being distracted by what the others are doing. It was pretty tough with the temperature and humidity and it's so important to keep hydrated here. We would love a good result this weekend, particularly as it is the home race for Petronas, but it's impossible to predict what will happen at this stage. It's one of the trickiest races of the year so we just have to make sure we tick all the boxes and that it all comes together for us."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
"We had an incident-free day but not an easy one, as we worked hard to adapt to the challenging conditions here in Sepang. The high temperatures mean we have to adapt both the cooling package and the set-up of the car to cope and we worked through that programme diligently today. It's not easy to draw any firm conclusions yet about performance; we will keep working hard overnight and see how we compare tomorrow when it counts."
Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:41.523, 7th; P2 - 1:39.970, 3rd
"I think we had a good day, obviously Friday timings are not the most important thing in the world but it's good to be up there and in range of the top guys. I think we had a decent day, not a completely smooth day for both of us, there are still some things to solve on the software side and the programming, but that's the way it is. I think we have to learn a lot but all in all, I'm quite happy."
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:42.117, 12th; P2 - 1:40.276, 7th
"I think we learned quite a lot about the short run pace this morning. We were pretty pleased with the progress we made, but it could have been better with the long runs. I think we've got some room for improvement, but that's what tonight's for. Reliability was good today, so I think we're pretty pleased with that. It's always warm here, the humidity is probably the biggest challenge about this place, but it's all good, you know, it toughens us up a little bit!"
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:41.111, 4th; P2 - 1:40.628, 8th
"We're finding it tough out there today - especially in the heat. We're not as strong as we'd like to be in high-speed corners - and, when you have downforce issues, they're further amplified by the hot weather. So our long runs were tricky, in terms of both tyre degradation and outright pace.
"We're now going through the data, but the upgrades we brought here seem to be giving us something - so that's encouraging - but there's a lot of work still to be done. I'm sure people are getting excited about individual lap-times, but they don't count for too much around here because you can usually overtake. It's the long runs that you need to analyse, and that's where we're finding it a bit more difficult."
Kevin Magnussen, P1 - 1:41.274, 5th; P2 - 1:41.014, 12th
"I've never driven a car in these sorts of temperatures, so I learned a lot today. As I say, the track temperatures are so hot here that the tyres are really suffering, but it's the same for everyone, so we need to try and get on top of things before tomorrow's sessions. I'm going to try and set the car up in order to protect the rears.
"There's always something you can improve, and we've currently got a lot to think about and a lot of data to sift through tonight. For me, overheating the rears is my biggest problem - the tyres are behaving very differently from how they did in Australia - so that'll be my focus. Still, I'm convinced we can make some useful changes to the car overnight."
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
"This morning's session was an important one for us, because it gave us the first opportunity to carry out on-track correlation of our new nose-box. Initial impressions were positive. Both Jenson and Kevin were immediately able to put in competitive lap-times this morning, and both guys also reported that our car felt good in high-speed and low-speed corners alike.
"This afternoon was a little trickier. The changes we'd introduced between the two sessions didn't make the improvements we'd been hoping for, and we're aware that we've still got a lot of work ahead of us tonight to get our cars into a stronger position for tomorrow. Still, today is only the first of three days of running. Moreover, I know how hard our engineers will be pushing tonight, and consequently I think we can make up some ground in terms of competitiveness relative to our nearest rivals before qualifying."
Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:42.365, 13th; P2 - 1:41.257, 13th
"In comparison to Melbourne, we made a few steps forward. The things we had on our plan partly worked out. However, the car is difficult to control and it is not easy to drive. We have a lot work ahead of us. We made steps in the right direction and it is working better than in Melbourne."
Esteban Gutierrez, P1 - 1:42.904, 15th; P2 - 1:41.407, 15th
"I think it was a positive day. We managed to have no problems during the entire day. From that point of view, it is positive. Besides that, we managed to do our planned programme with both cars, so we collected interesting information which we can use to make the right decisions for tomorrow. In comparison to Melbourne, we made a step forward as the braking stability is better. We still have further things to develop and to improve. We have to evaluate the high fuel and find the best compromise for the race."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara , Sauber head of track engineering
"Today went well. We were able to work through the planned programme without any issues. The measures we took to move forward appear to work well and brought the expected improvements. However, we are not where we want to be and we still have some work to do. A positive thing is that this track seems to suit our car better than Melbourne did, which is useful. For tomorrow I think Q2 is a sensible target, but here in Malaysia you never know as it might rain and things can get exciting."
Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 - 1:41.402, 6th; P2 - 1:40.777, 11th
"A really good day in general. I think we have done a nearly perfect Friday and I'm really happy with the performance of the car. We still have to find the best solution for a few little issues that can definitely make us quicker. We look quite strong so far and working hard tonight I'm sure we will have a good car for tomorrow and maybe fight again for Q3. It's a happy day."
Daniil Kvyat, P1 - 1:42.869, 14th; P2 - 1:41.325, 14th
"Even though I have raced at Sepang before in a junior formula, I have to say this was definitely one of the hottest days I have experienced, but I can't say I found it a problem to deal with. Today, we had a busy programme, looking at improving performance, doing some long runs and also trying the medium and hard tyres for the first time at a race weekend. I'm not completely satisfied yet with the set-up of the car. So tonight we'll look at all the data with the engineers with the aim of getting as much performance as possible out of our package for the rest of the weekend."
Phil Charles, Toro Rosso chief race engineer
"A pretty good day. We worked through the programme on both cars. Jev has done a good job right from the start, also thanks to his experience here. Daniil had a lot to learn with the tricky track and he is taking that really well. We have done some testing on his car so for tomorrow we can put together all the bits and I'm sure we can make him faster. We are quite positive and look forward to tomorrow. I think there's a little bit more to come."
Force India
Sergio Perez, P1 - no time; P2 - 1:41.671, 16th
"Not an easy day because I missed most of the morning session and that has limited my running on the hard compound. In the afternoon we tried to improve the car, as well as learning about the tyres, but I still feel we need to make a big step tonight to be ready for qualifying. The tyre performance gap between the hard and the medium compound is not that big, but we suffered with high degradation on both tyres."
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:41.642, 8th; P2 - 1:40.691, 10th
"I think we can be satisfied with what we learned today. We worked through the programme and there were no big issues on my side. Of course, the hot weather here means conditions are tough and we found that tyre management during the long run was quite challenging. It's even more difficult this year because there is more wheelspin with these engines and the rear degradation is quite high. We collected the usual data for the tyres and the set-up, and I think there is still room for improvement. I need some more grip and we need to tweak the balance before final practice."
Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer
"Apart from some lost track time for Sergio this morning, which resulted from a fuel system issue, our preparation for the Malaysian Grand Prix has gone largely to plan. We met our mileage target for the tyres and signed off the cooling solutions we have in place for this weekend. The long run performance looks competitive, although coping with the high tyre degradation will be critical come Sunday afternoon."
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:40.843, 2nd; P2 - 1:39.944, 2nd
"This was definitely a positive day and I had a better feeling compared to Friday in Melbourne. I was more comfortable with the F14 T today and even if we had no problems whatsoever, we know there's still a long way to go and a lot to do. Our programme concentrated on car set-up and on testing the compounds that Pirelli has brought here. The handling seemed to be good even if, as we found on the race simulation, we will have to pay very close attention to degradation, which is particularly high here. Now we will spend the evening carefully analysing all the data we gathered over the day, to try and work out how to improve."
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:41.923, 11th; P2 - 1:40.103, 5th
"We are on a learning curve, which is not unusual for the start of a championship and, to find out how competitive we are, as usual we will have to wait until Saturday and Sunday. Usually, Friday is a very confusing day, because everyone is working on their own programmes, but this year it's even more the case because of all the new elements. Everything went well, with no reliability problems and we managed to do a fair number of laps, enough to get a good understanding of the tyres, which will be a very important factor here because of the high temperatures. The hard compound seems to stand up better over a long run, but it's still too early to talk about qualifying and race strategy. For now, the only thing one can be sure of is the need to do everything to perfection."

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
"Although the Friday work hasn

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