• German Grand Prix

Who said what after Friday practice

ESPN Staff
July 18, 2014 « Raikkonen cautious about apparent progress | Rosberg: Hamilton crash does not change focus »

ESPN rounds up all the reaction from around the paddock after Friday practice for the German Grand Prix

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "I think we can improve from there for tomorrow. I don't think not having the FRIC suspension on the car made too much difference to us today, although I haven't had a proper look at the other cars yet. I think it will be fairly close between the cars this weekend. It's nice to be on track here near to where I grew up and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Daniel Ricciardo: "I think tyres and weather will define the race on Sunday. Today we were happy with our progress and it seems to be one of the closer gaps for a while, but it's tomorrow when we'll see how close we really are. I think we had a good car today and we extracted pretty much everything we could out of the practice today. Hopefully we can have more of a fight with the leaders this weekend."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: "It was a pretty good day today. It was quite difficult to find the balance with the track being so hot and it is a tricky circuit to drive in general. The car is a bit different now as everyone made some setup changes in a different direction to what we've had in the past, but it's still fun to drive. As the temperatures were so high, it was difficult for the tyres and we're going to need to manage that carefully when we get to the race. The weather is beautiful and the heat was a challenge, particularly in the car, but that's how I like it. We need to analyse as much as we can tonight and drink plenty as it's going to be hot."

Nico Rosberg : "It was a difficult day for us, because we had to work on some of the new settings as the car was running without the FRIC system. But it worked out quite well even in difficult conditions. It was very hot outside and the soft tyres don't last that long here, so this will be tricky for the race. We had a bit of a situation in the pit lane when my teammate came in suddenly just before I was called in too. But the boys reacted quickly and cooled my car and brought his tyres out. It's great to be back in Germany. I really hope for a big German support this weekend here. We will aim to put on a great show for them."

Toto Wolff, Executive Director, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "This is a tough circuit in terms of performance and reliability - and the conditions couldn't be any tougher, with track temperatures up over 50 degrees this afternoon. We know that we need to be both quick and reliable this weekend in order to deliver on our potential. At first sight, the performance levels looked closer during practice than they were in Silverstone, and both cars ran reliably today on tough conditions. But there is a lot still to do and everybody knows this is a big weekend for us at the home race for Mercedes-Benz. The team has done a great job so far and now we need to carry on in the same way tomorrow and Sunday."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): "It was great to get running today at the home race for Mercedes-Benz here in Hockenheim. One of the big items to focus on today was to get the car optimised to run without FRIC and I'm satisfied we've done a pretty good job. We ran our normal programme this afternoon, running the prime then the option tyres on low fuel, followed by high fuel long runs on option then prime. It was important to do the right homework today as Pirelli have brought a very aggressive choice of compounds this weekend, so we needed to dial the car into using the tyres properly, especially in the high temperatures today. The drivers were reasonably happy but we also saw that some management was necessary in order to maintain tyre performance over the long runs. I also want to say well done to the team and especially the guys in the garage, who delivered two busy sessions in very demanding conditions without any issues."

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Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: "It's nice to be back racing at Hockenheim. I've got fantastic memories of the last race here and I like the track a lot. Today, we concentrated on set-up to try and adapt to the temperatures, which are going to be extremely high all weekend. I had no problems with either the Soft or Supersoft compounds and we just need to understand how they will behave in the race and what the weather could be like on Sunday. I don't think going away with FRIC changed much in terms of driving style and in order to have a clear picture you'd have to do a comparison with and without it, but running without it, we just have to adapt and be as well prepared as possible with what we have."

Kimi Raikkonen: "Like every Friday, our programme covered set-up work in the first session, then evaluating the tyres and doing a race simulation in the afternoon. Unfortunately in the morning, because of a technical problem, I had to come back to the garage and was unable to do an additional run on the Soft tyres, but thanks to a great job from the team, I managed to quickly get back out on track. In the afternoon, we made up for lost time and managed to improve on all fronts. Overall, it's been a reasonably positive day, but it's still to early to make any predictions. We will have to wait until tomorrow to know more."

Pat Fry: "This was a very busy day of testing, affected by the particularly high temperatures and the new element of FRIC being banned. The absence of this system did not change our programmes, only requiring a bit of time for our drivers to adapt. Fernando had a trouble free morning, while on Kimi's car there was a problem with the water pump, which cost him a run. However, the team sorted the problem quickly, so that Kimi was back on track in a short space of time. In the afternoon, we continued to work on set-up, also trying the Supersofts. As emerged on the long runs also, if the air and track temperatures stay this high, managing the tyre degradation, on the two softest compounds in the range, will become of even greater importance for the race."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean: "Today hasn't been easy. We had various issues during the race to add to our struggle for overall performance so it was quite a challenge! We stopped very early for soft tyres but unfortunately we soon experienced graining from these which made it difficult for the rest of the race. Looking at the past, the team has always managed to make a great comeback. It might be a bit of a big build-up this time, but I know that we will work hard and do all we can to fight back to where we want to be."

Pastor Maldonado: "We didn't have a great day as we have some work to do with the suspension changes. We spent a lot of our track time evaluating how the car behaves with this new configuration. And there is margin for improvement tomorrow. The conditions were extremely hot today and anything can happen over the course of the weekend. We'll just keep a calm approach and ensure we get 100% from the car."

Alan Permane, trackside operations director: "It was quite a straightforward day for us with no major issues aside for a rear wing change on Romain's car. As well as our normal assessments we have been evaluating how the car handles when running without the suspension being connected from front to rear, which means a greater amount of attention to ride heights, aero balance and a number of other elements. Aside from the rear wing change, we achieved good mileage from both cars so we have plenty of data to digest ahead of tomorrow's practice and qualifying."

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McLaren

Kevin Magnussen: "The temperatures are very high, so the biggest challenge for us is to make the tyres work - it's going to be tricky to understand, especially if the weather changes for Sunday, when it could be a bit cooler. But it's the same for everyone. I can't really explain the relatively close gap to the cars at the front, but everybody is running different programmes on different fuel-loads. The new rear wing that I tested today feels good; it doesn't upset the car, so, hopefully, we can carry it forward.

"Without FRIC, our car still feels really good - which is a positive - I don't know about any of the other drivers, but I think we're pretty happy with the car at the moment. Still, we need to stay focused: it's only practice, so it's difficult to assess the pace of the other teams, but we've hopefully made a little bit of a step."

Jenson Button: "Looking at the timesheets, you'd say we look quite good, but we're finding it a little bit tougher over the long-runs. I think we're overheating the tyres under traction. It's so difficult to manage the tyres in these temperatures, and it's especially hard to get the Supersoft tyre working correctly without overheating it.

"We were able to test lots of interesting things today - and, for me, there's more to come tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll also have the new rear wing fitted to my car. Sometimes, it's difficult to know what the advantage it gives, especially when you only get a few laps on Saturday morning to try it, but it'll be interesting to give it a go. The car didn't feel any different without our FRIC system - it wouldn't really make a massive difference around here anyway. As ever, we'll just make the best out of what we've got - and I think we can push a bit harder tomorrow."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "The incredible track and ambient conditions that all teams faced today meant that we had to prioritise our understanding of the different tyres' behaviour at such high temperatures.

"It's been very much a day of learning: not only was our workload increased by our learning about the tyres, but we also undertook a fairly intense programme of aero development, which included work to understand and evaluate a relatively unusual-looking new rear-wing on Kevin's car. Fortunately, the initial findings seem positive, and the plan is to run it on both cars tomorrow.

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"A quick look at the timesheets would indicate that we've made progress - we have, but I don't think you should read too much into today's results. We still need to stay humble, and do a lot of work to improve our long-run pace, but it's nonetheless encouraging for everybody that the months of hard work are starting to show some results."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg: "It was not the smoothest day, but from the team's perspective everyone is happy that we managed to get the main jobs done. It's hard to really know our absolute pace because my short run on the supersoft tyre was compromised by a couple of yellow flags. So I feel there is more performance and laptime available with a clean lap. I also think we can still find a bit of pace overnight with some balance changes."

Sergio Perez: "I'm feeling pretty happy about today because we finished the programme and we learned a lot. The car performed well in the afternoon, especially for the long runs, so I'm really looking forward to Sunday. We also worked hard on the qualifying pace, but I think wherever we qualify we can move forward and be in the fight for points."

Vijay Mallya, team principal and managing director: "Today we saw the hottest track conditions of the year with a peak of 55 degrees this afternoon. Despite the heat, both tyre compounds performed well and we collected a lot of important data. The hot weather also makes car cooling even more of a challenge and so determining our cooling levels for the weekend was one of the main tasks of the day. Performance-wise I think we can feel reasonably satisfied with the outcome of the two sessions. The long-run pace appears to be competitive, more so than in previous races, and the drivers spoke positively about the long-run balance. Tonight will be a case of ironing out the final issues and trying to optimise our one lap pace with the aim of qualifying well tomorrow."

Sauber

Esteban Gutiérrez: "In the afternoon I was trying to catch up on the programme as I missed FP1. I mainly focused on getting a feeling for the car. We are experimenting and trying different things and the two cars have different set-ups. During my last stint I improved quite a lot. Now, we are going to analyse the data and decide in which direction we should go tomorrow."

Adrian Sutil: "It was a difficult day. Because of the high temperatures it was not easy to find a good set-up. However, this was the same situation for everyone. Due to the extremely high track temperatures, it was tough to manage the tyres. Besides that, I also had a lot of understeer. I think it is positive that we are close to the top ten. The objective for tomorrow is to keep up today's performance."

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Monisha Kaltenborn, team principal: "It was a good session. I was able to run through our programme this morning. I was doing some set-up work. We tried a few things, some of them were positive and some did not work. Now we are going to analyse the data. I think the team was happy with my feedback and the direction we are going in. All in all, I was not focusing on fast laps, rather on consistent running, working on tyre management and doing set-up work."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering: "The day went according to plan, and we were able to complete our planned programme with Adrian, Esteban and Giedo. The morning was quite good in terms of making progress with the car's set-up and the preparation for the weekend. In the afternoon Esteban needed a little bit of time to find the rhythm after sitting out FP1. Due to the high temperatures, it was very difficult to manage the tyres correctly. With the low fuel performance we can be pretty satisfied. On the long runs we are not yet where we want to be, so we will look into that this evening. However, overall it was a good start to the weekend."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: "I wouldn't say we had a perfect Friday today. I wasn't really happy with the car balance during both sessions and this means we have now a lot of work to do. We will have a look at all the data we collected to improve the car and aim for a good Qualifying session. Especially here on this track, it's important to have the highest possible starting position. It's possible, we have done it in the past so I remain confident for tomorrow."

Daniil Kvyat: "Another normal Friday where we worked through our programme as much as possible. We will have a look at all the data tonight and prepare ourselves for tomorrow, where I think we can do well. The heat? Well it just means we need to be careful in looking after our tyres but it's the same for everyone, so we will just need to do our job."

Phil Charles, chief race engineer: "We worked through a lot of our programme today. We had some tests to do across the two cars, some small new aero bits that we've compared. Even though we managed to get through our programme, it's clear to say that we had quite a tricky day and neither driver is particularly happy with their balance. We've also struggled a little bit with general lack of rear grip, so we've got a little bit of homework to do tonight. We just need to understand where our happiness needs to be with the car in terms of our set up and try to improve on the rear grip. We are not where we normally are or where we want to be on a Friday, so there's some work to do tonight."

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Williams

Valtteri Bottas: : "The track was very hot today which affected the tyres a lot. It wasn't easy on the supersoft on the long runs and that's a point we have highlighted needs more work. It has been interesting to work on the mechanical changes we have made in the suspension, and that has given a lot of data to analyse. We still have room for improvement and will work hard to make sure that improvement happens."

Felipe Massa: "We have had a good day today. We have done a lot of work on the set-up especially after the suspension changes we have had to make. I hope we can carry on the improvements throughout the weekend. We made a good step-up between the first and second sessions which is good. We will have to be cautious about the rain on Sunday and we will be thinking ahead with a view to prepare the car for that."

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "We are no longer running our interconnected suspension, so one of the main focuses of today was to optimise the car as much as possible around this, as all teams will have had to do. Susie was driving this morning and did a really good job, worked well and drove sensibly. The feedback we got helped us get used to the car without our interconnected suspension which was valuable.

"Valtteri and Felipe focused more on tyre work during FP2. We have some work to do with tyre conditioning for the first timed lap, but we are certainly not far from getting that right. The set-up and tyre work has helped long run pace a lot. The team have had a tough day as they have been awake since 3am due to a fire in our hotel last night, so well done to them for not letting it affect the work they had to do. It once again shows the true spirit of the team to have both cars working well to complete our planned programmes today."

Marussia

Max Chilton: "We have struggled with the balance slightly more here than we did at the Silverstone test and this has required us to make quite a few set-up changes. We did expect this to be the case and I think we have made a lot of progress already. I think this is going to be an interesting weekend."

Jules Bianchi: "It has taken a bit of work today to get the setup closer to where it needs to be. The changes we have made to the car upset the balance so we had to go back to square one a little bit. After the break I could immediately feel that the car was better and we are heading in a good direction again, but there is still quite a lot of work to do with the information we have. It has been very hot here today, which is tough for everybody but thankfully no issues with the car so far."

John Booth, Team Principal: "We had a very full programme planned for today on the back of the recent clarification on suspension systems, which we have been able to complete. In terms of balance, this morning the car was very different to what we have been used to and was not as good as it had been in the test, when Max ran with the set-up now required. Over lunch both cars did large set-up changes and also we split the programme to allow us to explore directions on each car.

"By the time of the option run we had again improved the car and the balance was better for the option runs of both drivers. In the end there is still a lot of work to do as we are not where we want to be on pace, however we do now at least have a drivable platform to work from. Today has been a tough day for all the guys at the track with a lot of changes on the car and some pretty high temperatures for the drivers to deal with also. However, as ever, they have taken it in their stride and I am sure after further work tonight we can make up some of the ground we have lost."

Caterham

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Kamui Kobayashi: "FP1 was a good session for me, certainly better than I've had for a few races and with good reliability we were able to complete the whole program. The car was understeering too much so we tried a couple of different setup options to help deal with that, but it was definitely improving by the end of the session.

"In FP2 we went out for the first run early and completed ten laps. The car balance felt much better with the changes we made over lunch but it immediately felt like it was down on power, it just felt strange. We made a couple more mechanical changes and went back out for run two but at the end of the second lap I lost any braking power and could smell burning. I pulled over in turn 16 as the rear of the car was by then on fire and ran to grab and extinguisher so I could help to put the fire out, but that was obviously the end of the session. It looks like it was a fuel leak that started the fire but we need more time tonight to find out exactly why that happened and then fix it.

"Despite how FP2 went I'm still pleased with how the car felt today, especially in the first run I did in the afternoon. If we can have more solid reliability I think we could have a better weekend than we've had for a while - now everyone will work as hard as possible tonight to help us do just that."

Marcus Ericsson: "I was running a different setup to Kamui in FP1 and I have to say the overall balance was ok right from the first run. I was losing quite a bit of time in the last sector with the car switching from oversteer to understeer but we improved the aero balance and mechanical setup and by the final run it was more consistent.

"In FP2 I went out straight away and was into my second flying lap when I was told there was an oil pressure issue and I had to stop the car. I was back in the pit quickly, as was my car, and the guys did a really good job to get me back out again with about 35 minutes left in the session. We managed to complete a performance run and then go onto the long run so even though we lost time we still managed to get quite a bit of the plan done.

"Obviously we wanted more laps but overall the car felt like it had improved since Silverstone. I think some of the changes we've made here suit my driving style better - we'll find out more tonight with the data and tomorrow on track in FP3, but right now I can't wait to get back in the car tomorrow and start again as I think we may make a bit of progress this weekend, something we've all been waiting for."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 Track Support Leader: "A difficult day for us. We had to manage some settings in FP1 that cost a bit of performance, but by the end of the session we were on top of everything and ready to tackle FP2. Unfortunately we then had two issues in the afternoon. The oil pressure was drifting on Marcus' car and we stopped him on track to prevent any damage. When we recovered the car we checked everything over and it looked OK so he could go out again and run through most of his programme. On Kamui's car there was a fuel leak that caught fire, but for now we don't know its origin. Clearly we have a lot of work for tomorrow but we're confident we'll be back on form."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director: "We're seeing a time difference of about a second per lap between the two compounds at the moment, but we wouldn't imagine track evolution to be a particularly key factor here. Instead, the weather is going to be the biggest question mark, with changeable conditions expected from here on. There's also been a lot of debate about the removal of FRIC suspension but from what we can see so far, it is difficult to say what kind of impact it will have on the tyre behaviour. Despite these very high track temperatures, the two softest compounds in the range have performed as we expected."

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