Driver Quotes: Belgian GP practice


22 AUGUST 2014


#1 Sebastian Vettel
“Hopefully the engine we had a problem with today is not damaged, we have to check it properly. If it is then obviously we have to get another one out, not necessarily for this weekend but some weekends in the future so we’ll have to wait and see. Obviously I didn’t drive much except for a few laps this morning. There’s a lot of boxes to be ticked in general, and it’s important around here to get your eye in, every year’s different. It’s a long lap, there’s a lot of high speed corners and therefore it’s important to have a rhythm, whereas at a slower track maybe it’s a little bit easier.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo
“I think we knew it would be difficult to break away from the mid field here – we see Force India, McLaren and Toro Rosso and a few of the others are strong. Hopefully tomorrow we can find a bit more speed and get ahead of them. Our long run is better than our short run pace, so that’s not bad, if we have a good race car then Sundays are always more fun. If the track keeps rubbering in, and we’ll see what the weather does tomorrow, then it should come a bit more into our hands. Eau
rouge is still flat out, but you have to concentrate a bit more, it’s not a Sunday drive through there anymore!”


#44 Lewis Hamilton
“It’s great to be back in the car and it was feeling good out there today. The morning wasn’t as strong, but it definitely improved in the afternoon. As always, we still have work to do tonight, but overall today was ok. It stayed dry throughout both sessions but the forecast is wet for tomorrow, so it was important to maximise track time as this may be our last dry running before the race. We’ve seen rain so often here in the past and that can really mix things up – particularly when it’s wet in
places and dry in others. Your visor is almost level with the ground, so it’s not like looking from above where you can see the different patches. That makes it really hard to pick out the areas where you
can find grip, but it’s also a lot of fun. The only bad part of today was that I had my suit on when I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It was pretty cold but I didn’t feel it that much, so I think I’ll need to do it again to make up for it!”

#6 Nico Rosberg
“It’s really great to be back at Spa. It’s a fantastic track, the flow of the circuit is great and driving Eau
Rouge is tricky this year with less downforce. You need to be really precise, and with worn tyres it
was tough to take this unique corner flat out. It looks like we have the quickest car again, but it’s a bit different here than at some other tracks. It seems that some of the other teams are closer and we need to work a bit on our speed down the straights. As normal, it will be a long night analysing everything that we learned today to really nail it tomorrow. The interesting challenge for this weekend is to find the right compromise between being quick over one lap and over a long
distance in the race – especially if it’s wet tomorrow, with the predictions currently saying we will have mixed conditions.”


#14 Fernando Alonso
“Compared to the other race weekends, the story is a bit different here, because Spa is a high speed circuit and, after a month off, getting back to racing at a fantastic track like this is a real pleasure. It was nice to be able to run in the dry today. The weather is always changeable here and in fact, the possibility of rain is forecast for tomorrow, therefore, as usual, we will ensure we are ready for whatever comes our way. At this track and at Monza, engine performance counts for a lot. We know there is no magic solution but we will nevertheless try to optimise everything. The car behaved as we expected from our simulations and that is definitely something positive.”

#7 Kimi Raikkonen
“A difficult day, complicated by a series of setbacks which cost us valuable track time. In the morning, I had a brake problem, but once it was sorted, we were able to get through our planned programme for the first session. The new components we brought for this race seem to be working, but only
after we have cross-referenced all the data will we be able to work out what is the best package to use for the rest of the weekend. In the afternoon, an electrical problem complicated our work, preventing us from carrying out the race simulation. Tomorrow, we can expect a busy free practice session, in which we will do our best to prepare the car for qualifying and the race.”


#8 Roman Grosjean
“The first practice session went well today. We had a little bit more of a challenge in FP2 with a small technical issue on the rear of the car early on in the run and there was some loss in performance as a result. Given that this is a track which we knew would be a challenge, we focused mostly on finding the right downforce level and getting the set-up where we want it to be. It’s likely to be quite a tough weekend but we’re optimising every part of the package. You never know what can happen
at Spa.”

#13 Pastor Maldonado
“I lost the car at the exit of turn nine so that was my afternoon finished. There was a quick hello to the medical centre on the way back to the garage, but I’m fine and the damage to the car is not so much. I’d already been able to determine from the morning that we have a reasonable car here. Certainly, we have potential to fight for a good qualifying session and a good race. We do struggle with our power for the long straights, but it is better than we expected so that’s a plus point. We’re compensating with the set-up for the second sector so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”


#22 Jenson Button
“We found a decent balance here today, but, as always on a Grand Prix Friday, we’re never completely happy. On the Option tyre, I’m very happy; on the Prime, Kevin is happier than I am, so we’ve got to work out the reasons for that this evening. In the first sector we’re quickest, in the third sector we’re a tenth or so off the pace, but in the middle sector we’re almost a second down. So we’ll have to work on getting the balance a bit better, and hopefully we can improve in the areas we’re already strong in, too. Overall, I’d say our car feels reasonably nice to drive around here, but the
circuit demands a low-downforce aero configuration, and that’s given us some areas to work on, especially with the Prime tyre, on which we’re struggling a little as I say. But there’s definitely room for improvement, and hopefully we’ll have a good weekend from here on in. Having said that, we don’t really know what’s going to happen with the weather; I think there’s a good chance of rain tomorrow, which will change everything of course. Finally, I just want to say something about Eau Rouge. With our low-downforce set-up, it’s, er, interesting. You’ve got oversteer at more than
300km/h, and I admit I let out a few screams inside my crash helmet through there on a couple of laps, especially on high fuel. But this is a track on which you always have moments – and, as ever at Spa, it’s a great experience, and I’m really looking forward to the next two days.”

#20 Kevin Magnussen
“I really enjoyed today. Coming back to Spa is always a pleasure, because it’s such a fantastic racetrack. Our car feels pretty good here, and I was able to push it today. Even so, we can still improve it, or fine-tune it anyway. Personally, I hope it’ll be dry tomorrow, because that’ll give us developmental continuity – and anyway it’s always more fun driving at Spa on dry asphalt. Oh, and by the way, Eau Rouge is still flat, even on high fuel. So, in summary, I reckon we’re looking okay, and I’m pretty happy with what we’ve achieved so far.”


#27 Nico Hulkenberg
“Today was a solid day and we achieved all we wanted from our programme, which is a great way to start the weekend. Fortunately the weather was stable and dry and we could use our time in the most effective way. The car performed at a good level straight away from the start of the day and we collected a lot of useful data. It will be interesting to see the conditions tomorrow – the weather can change very quickly here so you can’t really rely on the forecasts.”

#11 Sergio Perez
“It was a good day and we learnt a lot about the tyres and the balance. The long run pace looks good so I think we can look forward to a promising weekend. Hopefully we can get into the top ten tomorrow, putting us in a strong position to get big points on Sunday.”


#99 Adrian Sutil
“It was a good day and I had a lot of fun driving on my favorite circuit. I am quite satisfied with our programme today, as we did not have any issues in the morning or in the afternoon. The balance of the car was ok, but there are still some areas which we need to optimise.”

#21 Esteban Gutierrez
“It was a very short Friday for me. I did not drive in the morning, then in the afternoon we had a problem with the MGUK, which cost me the second free practice. At least I was able to run some laps. We have to investigate what caused the incident. Now I am going to focus on tomorrow. We have to work a lot and get things ready for qualifying.”


#25 Jean-Eric Vergne
“This morning we had some Power Unit related issues, which compromised our programme a bit
but nevertheless our performance didn’t look too bad. In the afternoon, while trying different things, we probably didn’t go in the right direction but we have a clear picture now on what we have to do for tomorrow. On the positive side, we seem competitive on the long runs, which is definitely an encouraging aspect for the rest of the weekend. Overall I’m happy, as we have a good car and we know what steps to take next.”

#26 Daniil Kvyat
“I really enjoyed driving this track today and I’m quite happy with the car and how we managed to get through our programme. We improved the car balance between the two sessions and I have to say that I feel confident for tomorrow, where I hope we will continue on this strong trend and improve even further.”


#19 Felipe Massa
“It was a good Friday for us with no issues and we were able to continue learning about the car. We saw some tyre degradation so that will make tyre strategy crucial and it will be important to be on the right tyre at the right time in the race. Mercedes are still looking very strong and seem to have an advantage over everyone else, but we should have a good opportunity to fight for the podium and we need to make sure that we continue improving the car over the course of the weekend.”

#77 Valtteri Bottas
“We did a lot of set-up tests today with some good results and we will be aiming for a strong result in qualifying and the race because this is a track that is suited to our car. The car balance felt good from the beginning and we managed to improve it as the sessions went on, but there is still more performance I think we can unlock before Sunday. I didn’t have a particularly good lap on the option tyres, but the time I set was still competitive so that is encouraging.”


#17 Jules Bianchi
“I’m pleased to finish P16 after a good start to the weekend. It’s always nice to be racing here in Spa, and of course this track has special associations for me, so it’s nice to get back down to the racing here and see positive signs for the days ahead. I am happy with where I finished the day, particularly with respect to the cars around me.”

#4 Max Chilton
“It has been good to get back in the car again and to focus on the weekend ahead. It was a positive afternoon session for me, picking up the programme from Alex, who ran this morning and did a good job. The car feels better with the changes we have made and I’m sure we can continue to improve the package into tomorrow and have a good race on Sunday, hopefully achieving a strong two-car finish for the Team.”

#42 Alexander Rossi
“The main point for me today is to reiterate my thanks to the Marussia F1 Team for the chance to drive the MR03 for the first time. Obviously it’s disappointing not to race, but then I was not aware of the opportunity prior to coming here anyway, so it went away almost as quickly as it arrived. I’m a racing driver, so obviously opportunities to race are welcome, but equally I am part of this Team now and I’m here to do whatever is required of me, and that means taking the rough with the smooth. So switching to the positives, I really enjoyed my first free practice session. I felt very comfortable in the car and I’m pleased with my performance considering I have never driven the MR03 prior to today. I got up to speed quite quickly and although this is early days, I hope I have demonstrated to the
Team what I can contribute. They seem pleased with my progress and feedback and I look forward to my next FP1 opportunity.”


#45 André Lotterer
“I’m very pleased with today. This morning’s first practice was a good session for me; I got used to the car quite quickly and now I just need to optimise everything in terms of driving style.
Considering it was my first time out, it all went according to plan and I was able to get a good feel of what it’s like to drive the car. Now we need to keep working like this and continue improving the car.”

#10 Marcus Ericsson
“It’s good to be back racing – I’ve been training hard during the summer break and I feel in very good shape. We didn’t have the best of starts, as this morning I had issues with the brakes and a few other technical problems, which is not what we needed. Nevertheless, we were able to complete quite a few laps and gather useful information for the weekend.”


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