Driver quotes: Belgian GP practice




23 AUGUST 2013

Infiniti Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“We don’t know what happened when I got the puncture in P2. We lost the rear right, very suddenly, so

we need to have a look – Pirelli is working on finding out why it happened. Other than that, it was a

positive day. This morning was tricky with a few rain drops and the track was slippery; it’s a lot colder

here than Hungary, but that’s Spa and part of this circuit. This afternoon, we had stable conditions and

both of us seemed happy with what we had.”

Mark Webber

“It’s always tricky here to get the right set up for the whole lap, so we took the opportunity today to try

some different ones. We’ll go through it tonight. We had a pretty good run today but there’s still some

performance to find and we need to get the car a bit better balanced in certain conditions. Overall we

got good information and it was good to have stable conditions this afternoon.”

Scuderia Ferrari

Fernando Alonso

“This was a good day, even if in the morning we, and in fact everyone, lost time because of the rain and

so in the afternoon we found ourselves facing double the workload. Before drawing any conclusions,

we need to wait for the analysis of the data acquired this afternoon from both cars. Felipe and I tried

different aero configurations, with more and less downforce, which will be the real key to this race,

along with the weather. In terms of today’s times, we have got closer to the favourites, but I’m not sure

which weather forecast I would prefer. It’s true that in the rain, the cards on the table can be shuffled

up, but in the wet there are as many chances to benefit as there are to lose. It will be important to have

a good understanding of how the tyres are behaving in the dry, as well as finding out what happened to

the Caterham, to Vettel and also to me on my in-lap. I don’t think it’s a similar problem to what we saw

in Silverstone, maybe more of a random set of circumstances, but all the same, it needs careful


Felipe Massa

“Today, the changeable weather had a big effect on the way free practice was run, with minimal

running in the first session. But if we want to look at things in terms of a glass half full, then at least

the few laps we managed in the morning were important, to give us an idea of the behaviour of the

car in the wet, which is always useful here in Spa. In the afternoon, in the dry, we managed to get

through our programme, testing some new parts and both types of Pirelli tyre. The outcome of the

race simulation tells us that we have what we need to be on the pace and we will definitely do all we

can to fight with the leaders of the classification.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Sergio Perez

“Today we had a very good first session, but a more difficult second session. That was a bit of a

surprise for us, because this morning the car felt very strong and very fast, and I was very happy with

its balance. But this afternoon, as I say, it was a little less consistent. However, we’ve got a lot of

information to analyse now, so as to understand what’s going on with the car, in an effort to try to

improve it and hopefully do a good job for tomorrow and Sunday. Hopefully, the weather will help us,

because I personally would prefer there to be wet or variable conditions, which we know is always

possible here at Spa!”

Jenson Button

“For me, FP1 was very good, and I was very happy with the car. The balance was good and I think our

pace was good, too. I didn’t push very hard in the wet sectors, but in the dry as I say it felt very good.

This afternoon, however, it felt different. It’s obviously a result of the warmer temperatures, and perhaps

the wind also, so we’ve got a lot of work to do to understand why that is. Hopefully, we’ll work it all out

and things will be better for us by tomorrow. Having said all that, it’s great to be back at Spa – the circuit

is simply stunning! It’s one of the best circuits for a driver, so fast and flowing. You have true racing fans

here too, which is fantastic to see. Okay, the circuit is a bit unforgiving, but in a way I don’t mind that. I

think we’ve lost a bit of that element with some of the newer circuits we’ve seen arrive on the calendar

over the past few years. The old classics are the ones that really remind me why I love this sport so

much: here, Monza, Suzuka etc.”

Lotus F1 Team

Kimi Räikkönen

“I feel fine here today and the car was okay. It could have been a bit better, but it wasn’t a disaster

either so for sure we can improve a bit more for tomorrow. The weather wasn’t great this morning and

it’s certainly better for us when it’s dry. We had a little problem with the front wheel in the first session

which meant we didn’t run as much as we wanted to. The afternoon was pretty normal. For sure it looks

like it will be a difficult weekend to beat Red Bull but that’s what we must try to do if we want to catch

them in the Championship.”

Romain Grosjean

“It has been a busy day. We had planned to focus on evaluating our Device this morning, but with the

changing atmospheric conditions we weren’t able to 100% complete all the tests so with more rain

forecast we decided to take it off for the afternoon to concentrate on a more normal programme with

long runs. It wasn’t that easy as we found it quite hard to make the tyres work the way we would like

them to which meant that in the car the feeling might not have been so good, but timing-wise it was

actually okay. The car felt pretty good and we’ll work on this baseline to continue to improve. We’ll wait

to see what the weather will have in store for us.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Nico Rosberg

“It’s great to be back at the Spa circuit, particularly as our car is more competitive this year, and it

feels such an improvement to drive through the quick corners here. I’m not entirely sure where we

are compared to the others but it looks like it will be quite a tough challenge and, of course, it is a

completely different track here to at the last race. Today went pretty well for us though and it could

be an interesting weekend, particularly with the mixed weather conditions that are predicted.”

Lewis Hamilton

“We have some work ahead of us this evening to get the car feeling just right but overall today was a

reasonable start to the weekend. The car feels very different here with the low downforce set-up,

compared to at the last race, and we need to refine a few areas to get the balance sorted. We were

able to get some good long run work done today and that’s the most important thing for the race.

We’ve got time to make the changes required so I’m optimistic that tomorrow will see an


Sauber F1 Team

Nico Hülkenberg

“It was quite a tricky day with the mixed weather conditions this morning. We couldn’t really get a full

run on slicks. Sectors two and three were dry, but sector one was wet. I think there is still room for

improvement. We still have some work to do on the set-up, as things can and have to be improved. I

wasn’t happy with the balance of the car. The tyres are behaving as usual: the medium compound is

definitely quicker over one lap, as it provides more grip, but then we have to find out how long it will last

during the race.”

Esteban Gutiérrez

“In the morning we had some running on a track that was wet and damp. We were able to run some

aero tests, but, unfortunately, we didn’t get through the whole programme. The qualifying simulation in

the afternoon was not good. I lost part of the diffusor at the beginning of FP2, which impacted on

performance. I’m not feeling very comfortable with the car. It’s tricky driving the car on relatively low

downforce, and the balance is not quite right. Now we have to analyse the data and see how we can

improve that.”

Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team

Adrian Sutil

“Quite an interesting day getting back in the car for the first time in almost a month. We were near the

top of the times this morning in the damp session, but I had some balance issues to solve with the car

so we made quite a few adjustments for this afternoon. When the sun came out the track conditions

were very different so we tried some different downforce levels and need to choose the best approach

for tomorrow. For the final few laps of the afternoon we made some progress and got the car closer to

where we want it to be.”

Paul Di Resta

“Conditions were mixed this morning, but it was much better this afternoon. It’s safe to say that we

seem to be further forward compared to where we were in Budapest and we always thought the car

would be more suited to this track. At the moment it looks like we are in the mix for making the top ten,

but we need to carry a bit more speed into qualifying. We know that the rain might come tomorrow, so

we have to be ready to maximise the conditions.”

Williams F1 Team

Pastor Maldonado

“Today I was struggling to get the right balance in the car and there is still a lot of work we need to do

to get us to where we want to be. We are not very far from unlocking more speed, but the others

around us are also making gains which makes it difficult to close the gap. Nevertheless we will try to

optimise what we have and adjust the set-up to find improvements in the balance ahead of the


Valtteri Bottas

“It was difficult to test anything in the first session because of the variable weather, with the track wet

on one part of the circuit but dry on the other. The dry second session was more productive and we

conducted some interesting tests so we will now be analysing the data from those to make

improvements to the set-up for tomorrow. My car is currently more competitive on the prime tyre, and

we still have work to do to improve the overall balance on the option tyre.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Jean-Éric Vergne

“It’s really nice to be racing again after the break, especially at this fantastic track. Friday went very

smoothly for us. The morning conditions were not ideal, as it was too wet for dry tyres and too dry for

the rain tyres, but we still learnt something which could be useful later in the weekend, even if the tyres

never got up to temperature. Then, we had a good FP2, with the car showing excellent pace over a

single lap. The long run was a bit more difficult, but all the same, I feel we have a good car this

weekend, whether we run in the dry or the wet. Probably one of the best first days I’ve had: there were

no problems and the car seems to be working well.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“Conditions this morning were the ones no one really likes, with part of the track dry and part wet. We

ran on Intermediates, but the dry bits of the circuit meant the tyres got a bit chewed up. In the

afternoon, we split the workload between the two cars. We tried a direction on my car that we believed

would work, but unfortunately it didn’t. However, the good news is that Jev seemed to be on the pace,

so we can look at his data and get a useful compromise for both cars. I’m not happy to be down the

bottom of the timesheet, but it’s not a reason to be discouraged, because I feel we can deliver

tomorrow and aim to get both cars well up the grid.”

Caterham F1 Team

Heikki Kovalainen (FP1)

“It felt good to be back in the car and I’m pleased to see how it’s developed since I last drove it in

Barcelona. The whole package feels better balanced and generally it’s a good overall improvement

behind the wheel. There’s a few things I could tell right away that are better – in general the ride has

improved, there’s much less pitching and the front in particular feels stronger. Against that, the braking

stability doesn’t feel great today, but that’s something that can be worked on pretty simply in FP2.

Overall I’m pleased I had more time in the car and can continue to help the team progress.”

Charles Pic (FP2)

“We went straight out in FP2 on the hard tyres and the car was ok but the main issue on run

one was mid-to exit oversteer. We made a couple of mechanical changes for the second run but

still had the oversteer issue but with more changes it had improved slightly for run three when

we put the medium tyres on for the first time. The car was more calm on mid-to-exit but we

found we had some issues on entry into the corners so for the long run we put on a bit more

front wing and it did feel like we made some progress. We still need to make more

improvements to the stability of the car on entry into the corners, but we can look at that more

tonight, as well as keeping an eye on the weather forecast for tomorrow and even more for


Giedo van der Garde

“FP1 was a good start to the weekend. We did the installation lap on wets but for run one we

went onto inters but the track was drying out pretty quickly so they didn’t last too long at all. It

looks like quali and the race could both have similar weather conditions to FP1 so it’s good to

have that information logged, but then we went onto the hard dry tyres for run two, giving us

more information that the engineers can work on tonight. In FP2 the weather had improved from

the morning session but the car didn’t feel great on the first run. We had a lot of oversteer on

run one and not great traction so we made a change and went out for run two on the medium

tyres. The first run on those was ok but we weren’t really able to get everything out of the softer

rubber so there’s definitely more to come from the softer rubber. On the long run on the

mediums the car felt pretty good, deg levels were ok but then in turn 15 the back end got loose

and I unfortunately made contact with the barrier ending the session. We’re not sure why that

happened yet but we’ll have a look at the data and investigate more tonight. Hopefully there’s a

lot more to come, so a usual busy Friday night and I think we can make progress tomorrow.”

Marussia F1 Team

Jules Bianchi

“The summer break seemed like an eternity for me so, on the whole, it is good to be back in the car and

to get the second half of the season underway. It has been a little bit of a frustrating day today though,

firstly with the weather making it difficult to get into the swing of things, although the experience in the

wet may be useful later in the weekend. There is some work to do yet to get the car working better here

but on paper this should be a circuit that suits us better than the last few races before the break.”

Max Chilton

“I’m pleased with the way things started out for me today and with the progress we were making in FP1.

The car was feeling good and the programme was working well. Things were looking promising for FP2

also but unfortunately we lost the last 30 minutes of the session because of a steering rack change.

The guys worked hard to ensure I could get out at the end and so let’s hope for a more straightforward

day tomorrow to pick up on the positives from this morning.”

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