2008 Japanese Grand Prix practice: Driver quotes 

Written by David on October 10th, 2008 at 3:45 pmLast Update: October 10th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

2008 Japanese Grand PrixAdrian Sutil: “It’s been a good day as the car  worked well with no problems. The last run in the  afternoon was not great as I had some traffic on my quick  lap and couldn’t improve my time, but at least there is  more potential for tomorrow. It’s always an advantage if  you know the circuit well and I just feel good here. I was  quick here last year so I think it’s one of my good  tracks. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “It was quite a difficult day  for me, especially this morning. In the afternoon when we  were working on the longer runs we made a step forward  with the balance, but we still struggled with oversteer  and getting the tyres to work well. We still have a lot to  do here, but I’m hopeful we can improve here tomorrow.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “It was a pretty good day for me.  There wasn’t much grip at the start of the morning session  so I was struggling a bit with the car, but that was  possibly due to the amount of fuel we were carrying. The  car started to feel better towards the end of the morning  and then felt much better in the afternoon on new tyres. We’ve tried out various set-ups today, which proved  positive. The gap to the other cars is still very close  though so we need to be a bit careful and plan well for  qualifying. We’ll have to see how tomorrow goes, but it  looks like we’re on the right track.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s definitely going to be more  difficult here than it was in Singapore for us. It was  quite hard out there this morning in particular. We  struggled with a slight lack of grip on the rear of the  car and some oversteer, but we made good progress over the  course of the two sessions and we ended this afternoon in  a better position.”

Robert Kubica: “It was a normal Friday. We did some  set-up work in the morning, and concentrated on the tyre  evaluation in the afternoon. I really enjoyed driving on  this track, as it’s demanding and fun at the same time.  The balance of the car is quite okay, but we are lacking  overall grip.”

Nick Heidfeld: “My first day of practice didn’t go  too smoothly this time. I’m not happy with the balance of  the car yet, it is sliding too much. Because of this in  the first session I spun once, which seldom happens to me.  Also, which is exceptional for us, in the second session I  had minor technical problems. First the brake balance adjuster in the cockpit came  loose, and shortly before the end of the session we had a  hydraulic alarm and I came into the pit. There were only  three minutes left, so it wasn’t worth going out again.  However, I didn’t really loose track time and it’s only  Friday. I’m totally confident we shall improve for  tomorrow.”

Timo Glock: “That was a good day. This was the first  time I have driven at the Fuji Speedway so I had to learn  the track this morning. It didn’t take too long – two or  three laps, but it’s not an easy circuit. It’s especially  difficult to find the right compromise for the long high  speed straight and the last sector which is very  technical. But we sorted out a lot of stuff and we brought  everything together for the second practice, which went  well. I had a nice lap near the beginning of the session  and it’s great for the team to end up quickest on Friday  here in Japan. So far I’m happy and it would be nice to  keep the position like this for the whole weekend. That  will obviously be difficult but hopefully the local fans  will give us an extra boost.”

Jarno Trulli: “Today was a nice, smooth day. We  tested several things in order to improve the car’s  performance. Timo and I carried out different programmes  in order to collect data from all areas of the car and it  went well. This is Toyota’s home race so it is an  important event for us. There is no extra pressure but we  just really want to do well in front of our home fans. As a team we get a lot of support in Japan but the local  people have also been big fans of me personally down the  years. They always give me a great welcome and the support  gives extra motivation for me to get a good result for  them. We’ve been unlucky to miss out on points in recent  races so I hope that turns around this weekend.”

Mark Webber: “That was a good Friday for us. We  enjoyed some dry weather today, which is an improvement on  last year! It’s enjoyable to drive the track – it’s got  some technical and frustrating corners, but we just have  to get on with that. We’ve done our race preparation  today, we’ll work hard tonight and do the qualifying  tomorrow. All in all, not too bad.”

David Coulthard: “I had low grip through the last  sector, which meant the car had a lot of oversteer and was  sliding. There is a contrast in coming here from somewhere  like Singapore, which is a challenge and fun to drive.  This track includes blind apexes and off camber corners. It doesn’t matter if you’re a racing driver or a punter,  a nice corner is a nice corner, and they tend to be ones  where you see into them, or it’s banked and you ride the  corner. In contrast, you don’t normally see them here  before you’re on them, or it’s off camber so the car  slides at the rear. It looks good on TV, but these cars don’t generate high  levels of slip angle and go fast, so it means you lose  some lap time – but that’s the challenge of this circuit.”

Rubens Barrichello
: “Just like last year, we have  had a dry first day of practice and by the end of the  afternoon we were able to achieve a reasonable balance  with the car on new tyres. The weather forecast for the  weekend looks interesting so we need to take a close look  at that. However if it stays dry, then I believe we have a  chance to progress to the second qualifying session.”

Jenson Button: “We were able to make progress on  the balance of the car on older tyres by the end of the  afternoon session, however achieving a good balance was  our main problem throughout the day. On new tyres at the  end of the second session, I just had very little grip and  it felt like the tyres were graining immediately. We will  have to look at the reasons for this ahead of qualifying  tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso: “It was a trouble-free day. We  covered lots of laps, which was the priority and that  allowed us to advance with our programme. The first signs  are therefore encouraging and we will now review our data  and work on our settings ahead of the final free practice  session tomorrow morning to be ready for qualifying.”

Nelson Piquet: “The circuit is interesting, not  particularly difficult, and I was able to get comfortable  with it quite quickly. We have made good progress with our  technical programme today and although we still have a lot  to do from now until tomorrow, it’s definitely a good  start and a sound basis to work from for the rest of the  weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel: “Last year we ran mainly in the  wet, so it was good to have a dry day today. I think this  is one of the most difficult circuits when it comes down  to setting up the car. It is tricky because of the mix of  a long straight, some high speed corners and then some  difficult low speed winding corners. Unfortunately, this afternoon, we had a hydraulic problem  which meant I didn’t manage to do the long runs I wanted.  But the car seems well balanced, which I was able to check  at the very end of the session after the boys had worked  very hard to get me out on track before the flag. I think  we should be fine for qualifying, but for race set up I  would have preferred more time to do some long runs. Tyre  wise I think we are sorted though.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “It’s my first time at this  track and also my first visit to Japan. The track is not  the most exciting but it’s nicely done with a good  bump-free surface and it’s a great facility. It’s not a  difficult to track to learn as there only eight real  corners. But after that, it can become quite tricky,  because at the final complex, if you are too aggressive on  the entry you pay the price on the exit, losing time for  the straight, so you have to be careful not to be your own  worst enemy. So, it’s not easy setting up the car as you want minimum  downforce for the long straight and you want quite a bit  of downforce for the complex and the two quick corners,  which requires a compromise. I think we have got it about  right so far and in terms of tyres, there seems to be  quite high degradation, which is normal for a first day as  the track began to pick up grip this afternoon.”

Lewis Hamilton: “Fuji is a place I really enjoy:  it’s not the easiest of tracks because it requires a good  set-up to get the best from the car, but I had no  complaints today. We were immediately on the pace and  found a very good balance straight away. In the afternoon,  I did a promising longer run with no major problems and I  feel confident about our pace for the rest of the  weekend.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “Today was a pretty  straightforward practice day with no major problems. We  successfully went through our tyre comparison programme,  which went well. We made some good progress with the  set-up into the afternoon and that also made me feel a lot  more confident about attacking this place. I don’t think  today’s times are totally representative, but we’re  certainly in good shape for the rest of the weekend.”

Felipe Massa: “I am pleased with this first day in  Japan. The balance of the car is very good, both on the  first timed lap and over a distance. The times are very  close and maybe I could have been a bit further up the  order in the afternoon session if I had not encountered  traffic on my last run on the soft tyres. These seem to be very quick, which is no surprise, but  also very consistent. I really want to do well this  weekend and we will try and win and bring home the best  result possible for the two championships.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “It seems very finely balanced with  the lap times all very close. This means it will be very  important to have a good qualifying otherwise you run the  risk of being a long way back on the grid. I think our car  is going well on this track and even if there is still  some work to do to improve the handling, I am reasonably  satisfied. The harder tyres are very consistent, while the softer  ones seem to lose a bit of performance over a distance.  They’re not bad on the first lap and it’s a shame that on  my last run, I locked the wheel and was unable to do a  good time. My weekend? I will try to do the best I can for  myself and for the team.”

No comments yet. Be the first.

Leave a Reply