2010 Japanese GP, practice: Driver quotes 

Written by David on October 08th, 2010 at 10:54 amLast Update: October 08th, 2010 at 10:54 am

Sebastien Buemi: “I had an impressive spin at a high speed corner, but apart from that there were no technical problems. I managed to do quite a good lap time on the Option tyres and I feel I have a clear picture of what the car is doing. But we need to work hard now with the engineers to improve the car, although tomorrow will be a different picture if it rains. We do not appear to be as competitive as we were in Singapore and Monza and it is difficult to say exactly why. It is hard to tell how much we can improve, but the situation is still open for us to increase our performance level.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “This morning, I tested various new components which made the session more complicated than usual, as I found the car quite difficult to drive. I made a couple of mistakes and there were times when I found it hard to keep the car on track. This afternoon went much better, even if we lack a bit of speed compared to Singapore. We can analyse the data tonight and improve for tomorrow and I would be happy if it is wet for qualifying, as I think we can be more competitive in the rain than in the dry.”

Robert Kubica: “It’s nice to be in P3 in both sessions, but we have to remember that this is only free practice. We need to wait and see what the weather will bring us tomorrow and try to do our best in all conditions. The forecast is saying there will be quite a lot of rain, so it was important to do a lot of running today and complete all our evaluation ahead of the race, which looks like it might be dry. If it is wet tomorrow, then today will have been our only chance to drive on dry tyres before the race.”

Vitaly Petrov: “I was quite satisfied with my day because we found a good balance with the car and this is really important for this circuit. In the morning we tried not to take too many risks and do normal runs to help me learn the circuit. In the second free practice we just tried to push a bit more to understand the car and the set-up. We changed a lot and the car feels much better so the team did a good job. But let’s wait and see what happens tomorrow because I think it will be a very tough day.”

Sebastian Vettel: “We had a trouble free Friday, which is the most important thing, especially on a track like this where you need to get into a rhythm with all the quick corners following each other. The car was reliable and I had a good feeling, the pace looks okay too. The forecast suggests rain, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive in the wet. The conditions have been quite inconsistent during all the wet races that we’ve had so far this year, so it’s hard to know what everyone’s pace will be.”

Mark Webber: “A good day, we couldn’t have asked for much more – we had faultless running and got a lot of mileage. The team put the cars together well and we had a smooth day. The balance of the car feels good although it’s a circuit with lots of different types of corners, so you can’t have everything – you need to work out what the priorities are for the best lap times. We‘re not sure what the weather’s going to do tomorrow, it looks as though it may be a bit wet, but we’ve got good info in the bank, so we’re ready for what happens.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “I am very happy to be in Suzuka, and I enjoy driving here a lot. But nevertheless it was a tough day for me. I wasn’t happy with the balance of the car because I have too much understeer. We definitely have to improve the balance by doing the right set-up changes. I found both tyre compounds difficult because they dropped off so quickly. After just one lap I had problems. In the morning I also had some aero parts to evaluate.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Driving on the Suzuka Circuit always gives me a lot of enjoyment! I found the car really not too bad on the harder Prime compound, but then it was a surprise when we fitted the softer option tyres. The car behaved a lot differently and the lap time actually didn’t improve. This is something we have to sort out before qualifying. In the first session this morning I did runs comparing different front wings.”

Michael Schumacher: “It’s a great feeling to be driving this track again. It’s really fun and a great challenge. I have always loved Suzuka and particularly the first sector which is cool and demanding at the same time. If you get it right, you enjoy it big time. I’m pleased with our practice today as the car looks better than I had expected here and I didn’t face any real issues. So now we hope for a clean qualifying tomorrow where we will try to achieve as much as we can.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s been quite a challenging Friday for me. Unfortunately my morning was hampered by a gearbox issue which cost me some running time at the end of the session which wasn’t ideal. From then on, I just haven’t been as happy with the car here. I had a lot of understeer which we haven’t established the reason for, so we need to look into that overnight. Things started to come together more on the option tyre which gives me hope that we can build on that progress tomorrow. It should be an interesting weekend with the rain so we will try to make the best of that.”

Jenson Button: “This morning was pretty tricky; I couldn’t get a balance with the car at all, and was really struggling with understeer through the first sector. You give away so much time when you’ve got understeer through the esses because it’s tougher to get the car to change direction. For the afternoon, we made a few changes and the car felt a lot more responsive. We’re quite a bit off the pace of the Red Bulls, but we’ve got to look at getting the best out of the new package that we’ve got. And that requires extensive testing, which can take a couple of runs. I don’t think we got the best out of our new parts, but we’ve made some good steps forward. We did a good job today of improving the car, but there’s still more to come. That’s encouraging, we’re just not there yet.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I damaged the car in the early laps of the first session. I was only on my second fast lap, and was probably pushing too hard too soon. I didn’t go that wide – it wasn’t that big an off – but the gravel was very slippery at that point. A couple of other drivers had moments there and got away with it. But that’s life. The guys in the garage did an incredible job to rebuild the car – they really had to work hard, and they got me out for the last 10 minutes of the second session. They are so supportive in this team: if one person is down, they’ll do their best to lift that person up. That’s what we do as a team. I had to run the older rear wing in the afternoon, so I didn’t really get a proper feel for where the car is. And, hopefully, we’ll have a second new rear wing for qualifying and the race. Tomorrow’s another day – and it looks like it’s going to rain, so everybody will have to start again. They say bad things come in threes – so after Monza, Singapore and today, I hope this run of bad luck is over and done with.”

Fernando Alonso: “It is only Friday, so the times today do not really mean much. What we must always keep in mind is that the pecking order between the cars can change significantly in terms of which track we are at: you only have to look at McLaren who were very strong in Spa and Monza, but definitely less so in Budapest and Singapore. So I would say it is best to wait until the end of tomorrow before giving a definite judgement on the situation here in Suzuka. In theory, Red Bull look unbeatable here, as they always have done, except in Monza and also there were various races where come Sunday, they were beaten, so again that’s a reason to wait before drawing any conclusions. Today, we did not put together a perfect lap, so there is some room for improvement. We have to analyse the data to see how to do that, but of course the others will be doing the same. The forecast is for rain tomorrow: if that happens, we must concentrate and avoid making any mistakes, which can cost you a lot in the wet. Then it will be down to luck, as to who finds themselves in the right place at the right time on the right tyre. The aim in qualifying is to be in the top five, then we can see how things go in the race. I wish to welcome Sergio Perez to the Ferrari Driver Academy. I am sure that, like me, he will feel at home in the Ferrari family alongside the other guys in the FDA. I know them all and I can say that the communal Latin culture will help him as it helped me in this my first year in Maranello.”

Felipe Massa: “I thought Red Bull would be very strong and maybe they are even more so than I had expected. Having said that, it’s likely we will have a wet qualifying tomorrow, so anything could happen: we must try and be ready to make the most of whatever situation presents itself. The aim is still the same, whether the track is dry or if it rains, which means to qualify as well as possible. The track is pretty hard on tyres because of the many high speed corners, therefore managing them properly will be important during the race. We will use the blown rear wing, as on this track it definitely brings an advantage in performance terms. There is still room to improve the handling of our car, but we can’t really expect any sort of change in terms of performance.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “I think we’ve got to be pretty pleased with today. We ran through the whole programme and even though we can’t find the same grip levels as the guys ahead, I think we achieved what we set out to today. The battle with the guys around us is now really tight, and that’s excellent, for us in the team as it keeps us focused, and for the fans as they have something to keep them on the edge of their seats. Obviously nearly all the effort back at the factory is on next year, so it’s good that we can keep ahead of Timo and Lucas, and I think for the rest of the weekend it will be a really good fight between us.”

Jarno Trulli: “It’s always good being in Japan. I have some fantastic support here, and it’s great to be here for the first time with Lotus Racing. It’s easy to see what we mean to the fans, and next year will be even better for them, in so many ways for the whole team. Today we completed a good number of laps but I haven’t been particularly happy with the grip levels and balance, in either session. I think there’s a lot more to come from the car tomorrow, and with some more work tonight we should be able to find more time and more performance tomorrow.”

Sakon Yamamoto: “It was good to be back racing in Suzuka in front of my home crowd with the team at this challenging circuit. Today was quite successful and we managed to do many laps. Now we have to analyze the data and work on improving for tomorrow. It is going to be exciting to run here under wet conditions, something which I really like to do.”

Bruno Senna: “It was a good day for us and we went through some changes to get a good feedback from the car. We have some ideas of what to do in preparation for the next sessions. Apparently, the weather is going to be wet so we won’t be able to carry on with our setup. We hope to do a good job tomorrow and we will see what happens.”

Adrian Sutil: “I feel today went quite well. In the morning session I did just one run on the hard tyres as we had a small issue that kept us in the garage for longer than we hoped for, but we fixed it between sessions and got on with a very busy programme in the afternoon. We made a lot of runs to test the fuel levels, the wing settings and run through our normal changes. The car felt good the whole day so there wasn’t really very much to change. We also didn’t have any major problems so overall we can be quite pleased with the progress we’ve made. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, there’s a threat of rain and it should make it a very interesting and exciting qualifying session.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi: “It was generally quite a decent day as we did a lot of work, particularly in the afternoon when we did over 30 laps. We are struggling with the balance at the moment with a lack of overall grip and we couldn’t get the best out of the soft tyres when we ran them in FP2. We should be better tomorrow when we’ve looked through all the data and gone a bit deeper into why we haven’t got the ideal set up just yet. The predicted weather will add another dimension so I’m looking forward to getting back on track to have a better day tomorrow.”

Lucas di Grassi: “For me this is easily the most technically challenging track of the season. There is no margin for any mistakes as the track is very fast and narrow and if you push too hard you’re definitely going to go off. It was a real pleasure to drive the track for the first time. A lot of work has been done with the car today. We are still far from where we need to be but there is more to come from the car and myself over the next two days. Things are getting better all the time so I think we can make a good improvement for tomorrow.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio: “It was something very special to be running here at Suzuka today. The track has a lot of history and is very interesting – a kind of ‘Asian Spa’ with a great blend of technical challenge mixed with some very fast corners. This was really my first proper run in dry conditions because the track was wet when I ran in Singapore. It is never possible to get a lot of laps because of the tyre allocation, but I still get to learn a lot in a very short time and I’m very happy about the way everything went today.”

Timo Glock: “Today has been a fairly routine day and we kept to our normal programme. This afternoon the car wasn’t feeling too bad at the start of the second session but when we switched to Option tyres we weren’t able to find any time in them, which is a bit strange. I think we will need to review our set-up direction but as the weather is starting to change towards the cloud and rain forecast for the weekend, this will be the case for everybody. I think we will see rain tomorrow so we will see what those conditions bring for the car.”

Rubens Barrichello: “I obviously had a problem with my car during the second session. That was disappointing, but the car seems to be well balanced and should take us through to Q3 again tomorrow.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “We had some technical problems during today’s second session which prevented us from going out exactly when we wanted to, but they didn’t really cost us anything and today went ok overall. It’s looking really competitive out there. We aren’t looking too bad; we just need to get everything right tomorrow. The circuit is living up to expectation and I’m loving driving it.”

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