2008 Italian Grand Prix, practice: Driver quotes 

Written by David on September 12th, 2008 at 8:31 pmLast Update: September 12th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

2008 Belgian Grand Prix, SPASebastian Vettel: “Because of the rain, we did not get all of our programme completed in the way we would have wished, but that’s the same for everyone. All in all, it was a good day in tricky conditions, as we finished with both cars in one piece! Our test here before Spa has helped us a lot, even though the track has obviously changed with the weather, so in these conditions, today it was mainly a case of getting a feel for the tyres and the circuit. Overall, we can be fairly happy. Like last weekend it seems the big unknown will be the weather.”

Nelson Piquet: “I did not do as much running as I would have ideally liked today. It’s a shame but it’s not too much of a problem because we made good progress in the test here three weeks ago and everybody had to cope with the same track conditions. I’m now focussed on making the most of the final free practice session tomorrow morning so that we can approach qualifying in the best shape possible.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “I am pleased with how today went. Step by step, the car finally seems to respond well and I think we can be very quick here. The set-up is good and I don’t think that any rain that might fall will represent a handicap. I will try and do my best, as always. The contract? I am happy to be part of this team, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed! There’s a good atmosphere between us all and I continue to enjoy the driving. So it was definitely not a difficult choice to stay for one more year. Even in the most difficult moments, we have continued to work hard and now we are moving in the right direction. I am sure the results will also come soon.”

Timo Glock: “It was difficult today. In the wet conditions this morning we were okay but in the dry the car just is not working the tyre hard enough. So the car is out of the right set-up window to have confidence. It feels different from corner to corner and it is not easy to feel what it is doing. The conditions were tricky in Spa last week and they are likely to be similar here. That will make it another difficult weekend for us because we have struggled in cooler conditions, particularly with hard tyres and low downforce. Still, I have never raced here in wet conditions before so that could be quite interesting for us.”

Felipe Massa: “I’m not 100% happy with the way things went today. I struggled a bit to find the right grip level on the first timed lap, unlike the others. So, this means we still have to work to get it right, but I am still confident. It all looks very close and we must always take into account the unknown regarding how much fuel everyone has run. I am happy that Kimi has extended his contract: we have a good relationship and it is important for a team to have stability.”

Jarno Trulli: “That was not a good Friday because the track was always changing and we didn’t learn much out of it. In general we have a competitive car but we had a difficult weekend in Spa and this could be another hard race. The cool conditions make warming up the tyres a problem and so far this year we have been more competitive at high downforce levels than at low downforce. So it’s not the best type of circuit for us but we will obviously push for the best result we can. For sure this is not the ideal place to have a wet race but obviously we will have to deal with it. We just hope we can improve over the next two days.”

Fernando Alonso: “Today we concentrated on building on the work that we did here during the test. The weather affected our programme, but we have still been able to make some progress. I am still confident and we should be able to improve further tomorrow morning before qualifying.”

Lewis Hamilton: “Obviously, it was very wet this morning so we only did the bare minimum of running – namely one installation lap. The afternoon’s session started in slightly mixed conditions, the circuit was drying, but with damp patches, so there was little to gain from going out early. However, by the end of the session we got some useful mileage under our belts, and I’m happy with our progress.”

Nico Rosberg: “I think we have started the weekend well. In the morning session in the wet, we were pretty quick and I felt very comfortable in the car, so even if it rains in the race, we can be pretty strong here. We weren’t too bad this afternoon in the drier conditions either, and despite the weather over the day, we managed to fit everything in, so practice was really well managed by the team. The car has good balance, but of course we still need to fine tune this a little bit. In terms of performance, we are definitely looking better than we have done of late. The Toyota engine is making a good contribution and because the car is performing well for this one-off low downforce race, we need to make the best of it.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “I’m happy that we managed to get some dry running in before the end of the session. The weather this morning was unbelievable – it’s usually so bright and sunny at Monza. The rain meant that, like everyone, we didn’t get to finish our run programme so we have a little bit more work to do tomorrow morning. Nonetheless, I’m happy with the progress we’ve made.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “The conditions have been quite tricky today, but thankfully we found time to do some dry running towards the end of the afternoon practice. The overall feeling from the car is not at all bad and the lap time was coming, but I never really had enough clear track to get my times down. Tomorrow’s last practice before qualifying will be important for me to continue the progress we made today.”

Robert Kubica: “We could not run our programme as planned due to the bad weather conditions – especially in the morning. The conditions improved in the afternoon, although the drying track was still damp. With the conditions changing on every lap over the course of the session, evaluating the results is quite difficult. I hope we have better weather tomorrow.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “The track was very tricky this afternoon as there were still some damp patches. This morning in the wet, I would say we looked quite competitive and I was reasonably happy with the car. However, in the in-between and dry track conditions, I felt less comfortable and the rear of the car was moving around a lot and I was struggling a little bit. But there should be more rubber down tomorrow which will help. We tried a few set-up changes but I am not yet sure if they were a step in the right direction.”

Adrian Sutil: “The first session was very difficult, even in the better conditions in the first 30 minutes. There were some dry and some wet patches and it was very difficult to see where you could go . Even in the second practice there were still some damp parts and it wasn’t until the last minute that you could push hard. I am quite happy with the car and didn’t really change anything from the set up we developed at the test. We also concentrated on getting the tyres to work. We had a good day and I feel quite confident, so let’s see if we can have a good day tomorrow.”

Nick Heidfeld: “The laptimes don’t look too bad, which was also the case when we were here for testing. But the balance of my car isn’t as good yet as it was at the test. Certainly this has something to do with the lack of rubber on the tarmac after today’s heavy rain. What happens with the weather over the weekend will prove crucial.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “It was a fairly good day, but I think there is still more to come tomorrow. Unfortunately I was just behind Adrian, who was on his out lap, when I was on my fastest lap so I couldn’t do the optimum time. I am not 100% happy with the balance as I had a lot of graining on the medium tyres but it wasn’t too bad with the hard tyres. We still have to find a compromise with the downforce, but I think we could improve again tomorrow.”

Jenson Button: “The car feels very different today to the test here at the end of August. I have a lot more confidence in the braking stability and we have made other positive changes to the mechanical balance. Considering that we were not able to complete many laps today, we have certainly made a step in the right direction since the test. However there is still a great deal of work required this evening to look at how we can progress from here over the rest of the weekend.”

Mark Webber: “The track dried out to an extent in the afternoon, which allowed everyone to do some dry race preparation. We know there’s a bit of unsettled weather around this weekend. The track dries out differently in certain areas, so once we learned about that we were able to work more on our set-up towards the end of the afternoon session. We got something out of today, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Rubens Barrichello: “We have changed the car dramatically since the Monza test as we were simply not competitive then. It’s good that the car had a different reaction to the track today and I can feel that the balance has improved. We can’t read too much into the levels of our performance as the track conditions were not ideal and it depends what our competitors were doing. So we need to continue our analysis overnight and plan our approach for qualifying tomorrow carefully.”

David Coulthard: “Bad weather, like we had this morning, condenses the practice sessions and running in changeable conditions is not ideal for analysing tyres, but it’s the same for everyone so we just get on with it.”

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