Driver Qutoes: Abu Dhabi Practice

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Infiniti Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“It’s difficult to say today how we compare to the others, we know the Lotus is quick here, but we also had decent pace today. It’s not always so easy at this circuit with the conditions changing throughout the day; we start in the sun and finish at night and the track temperature changes during that time. But, no big issues, so I’m pretty happy.”

Mark Webber

“The second session today was more representative of the race and qualifying than the first, due to the time of day and temperatures. It was a lot about the tyres today; I think the soft tyre will hold out better here than it did last week. It wasn’t a bad feeling for the first day, we got the information we needed, so let’s see how we get on tomorrow. We’ll go through everything tonight and try to understand the car on both tyre compounds.”

Scuderia Ferrari

Fernando Alonso

“Compared to other Fridays, today we were a bit less competitive than usual and now we need to work out if that is down to the fact that the track characteristics do not suit our car, or if it’s a question of set- up. The tyres work better here than in India, where they suffered a lot from blistering in the fast corners, while here they are better, especially at night when the temperaturedrops. Unfortunately, in performance terms, we are behind our rivals for second place in the Constructors’ classification. Compared to the start of the year, they have improved and will be difficult to beat, but tomorrow we will make some changes and will do our utmost because we absolutely don’t want to give up the fight.”

Felipe Massa

“Today we got through the entire programme we had planned for this day, concentrating on set-up and the behaviour of the two Pirelli compounds. At the moment, I am not very pleased with the car’s behaviour, as we are not as competitive as I’d expected to be. On this track, we found ourselves running in daytime in the sunshine, with very high temperatures, with the conditions changing completely in the evening and in this situation, it’s not easy to understand which direction to go in. Now we will try and work out how to improve the car’s performance for tomorrow’s qualifying, which we know won’t be easy, but we’ll give it our best shot.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Sergio Perez

“This was a productive day for the whole team – I felt really comfortable with the car in both sessions, and really enjoyed my time on the track today. I feel happy with my car, and I don’t expect to change too much. Normally, we change quite a lot on the car between Friday and Saturday in order to refine the balance and set-up, but I don’t think we’ll be doing too much of that tonight. The Option tyre is performing quite a lot better than it was in India. While I think we feel more comfortable with the softer tyre, it’ll still be difficult to make a one-stop strategy work on Sunday. Tomorrow, I’d like to see us get into Q3.”

Jenson Button

“It was a pretty good day in terms of understanding the car. Our direction with the set-up looks reasonably good, too. I also think both tyres are working reasonably well around here. I got my fastest lap on my first attempt on the Option tyre, which most people didn’t, so I’m quite happy about that. My long runs proved quite tricky, however – first, because of traffic, and, second, because I was delayed by an issue that we initially thought was a puncture but that actually turned out to be a sensor failure. As a result, I had to drive slowly back to the pits, after which I lost a lot of track time because we had to replace some parts on the car that had got a bit warm during that slow lap. Still, all in all, I think we’re in reasonable shape here.”

Lotus F1 Team

Kimi Räikkönen

“The car feels okay and we had a pretty normal Friday. The shorter chassis feels okay here, but I didn’t drive it back to back with the longer one so it’s difficult to say which is better. We’re still trying to get rid of some understeer, but on this circuit it feels better so far. As always, there are some improvements we can make to the car so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean

“It’s been a pretty good day even if we missed time in the later session whilst the brakes were worked on. We also had a little vibration that needed looking at, but it wasn’t the end of the world. The car feels pretty good as we saw with the fastest time in the first session, so I’m sure we’ll get on top of everything we need to for tomorrow.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Lewis Hamilton

“Today was a fairly standard Friday programme for us, although the second session is always more valuable here as it’s so much more reflective of the race conditions. As the temperatures cool down, the characteristics of the car change and you get an increase in understeer, so the main challenge is to try and pre-empt the set-up that you’re going to need. Physically it gets easier when the sun goes down but you don’t even notice the visibility change as they do such a good job of lighting the track.
A decent start today but there’s a lot of work ahead of us over the weekend and we’ll give it everything we can as always.”

Nico Rosberg

“We didn’t learn a great deal during the first practice session today as it was so hot and we won’t have those conditions in qualifying or the race. I struggled a little on the option tyres but was able to find a better rhythm when we switched to the primes. It should be an interesting race from a strategy perspective as the tyres seem to be right on the limit of one or two stops. Our aim is to be the best of the rest again which I’m quite confident we can achieve and score some important points.”

Sauber F1 Team

Nico Hülkenberg

“It was a normal Friday. We worked through the programme we had planned and learned quite a lot about the car and the tyres today. I am confident that we will be able to show a strong performance. There is still room for improvement in the set-up of the car, but overall I’m happy.”

Esteban Gutiérrez

“Today was a very productive one. We tested different set-ups on the car and evaluated how the tyres behave here. In the morning we were testing different balances, and it’s always a matter of finding the right set-up for qualifying and then the right set up for the race. Now we need to find the right compromise for tomorrow. Here the track changes a lot from the morning to the afternoon, as track temperatures vary significantly, so it is challenging to judge the car. This will be the same for qualifying and the race.”

Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team

Paul Di Resta

“It’s been quite a positive day. The general balance is not too bad, although there’s still work to do to improve the car through the high-speed part of the lap. The main issue of the afternoon was the brake failure on the front left, which caused me to run wide at turn eight. The team chose to change the brake material, which cost us about 15 minutes of track time, but we were able to do a long run on the soft tyre at the end of the session.”

Adrian Sutil

“It’s hard to say too much about today because we had to change the brake material in the middle of the second session. That had quite a big impact on the car and it was difficult to make a comparison with the set-up changes. There is quite a big difference between the two tyre compounds and at the moment I’m struggling more with the medium tyres. The general balance of the car felt okay so I’m still positive we can be in good shape tomorrow.”

Williams F1 Team

Pastor Maldonado

“It was a good day for us today. We completed our planned programme and the car felt quicker with the new updates. There are still some balance issues we need to work on, but overall there seems to be more potential in this package. We now need to check the data and thoroughly analyse today’s sessions to make further progress tomorrow, but I think we can find a bit more speed than we had today.”

Valtteri Bottas

“We tried some interesting things on Pastor’s car today with a view to 2014 and we saw some interesting results and noticeable differences in the way the car performed. We will have a busy night tonight analysing the data we have and now it is about maximising what we have and trying to get every tenth out of the car. I’m confident we can still gain some more speed for tomorrow’s qualifying and the car seems to suit this track a little better than it has the last few circuits.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Jean-Éric Vergne

“If we ignore the lap times, I think this was a reasonably productive day. Our overall performance is good and I felt the car was working well. It’s true we need to find a bit more lap time for tomorrow, but I am fairly confident. We just need to work well overnight to iron out the small details that were not quite right today and I believe we can then run competitively. As for the tyres, I did a long run on the Soft tyre and it definitely works much better and lasts longer with better degradation than we saw in India a few days ago. So, everyone should be able to make better use of it in the race on Sunday. This is an enjoyable track to drive and the setting, as well as the timing of the sessions is truly unique.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“Our first day in Abu Dhabi was not the best, as we struggled to find the right balance on the car. Leaving lap times aside, it was quite difficult to understand exactly what was going on with the car underneath us. That makes life harder, as it robs you of confidence. However, we did make some progress between the morning and the afternoon, but there is still much more to do. I think we understand what we need to achieve, so some effective work this evening with the engineers figuring it out will see us do much better tomorrow. The Soft tyre seemed to behave much better here than in India, which is what you’d expect, even if I didn’t do so many laps on it with a high fuel load. I’ve always enjoyed the experience of driving here, as it goes from twilight to dark so quickly, which involves a helmet swap during the session, which is fun.”

Caterham F1 Team

Heikki Kovalainen (FP1)

“Generally the car was a bit on the nose to start with. Under braking and turning in it was on a bit of a knife edge and the tyres started going off quite early so that contributed to the handling issue, but we made a few changes and by the third run of the day we’d made some good progress with the balance. It was pretty neutral by the end of the session but the tyres had completely gone by then so we weren’t learning too much more, but overall a decent session and good to contribute again this weekend to help the team in Abu Dhabi.”

Charles Pic (FP1+FP2)

“FP1 was all about trying to turn down how strong the front of the car was, particularly on turn-in to the corners. The aero balance was pretty good but the car was too pointy for me on each run and even though we improved the rear I didn’t have a balance I was really happy with for the whole session. In FP2 the temperatures were obviously lower than FP1 and the balance wasn’t as good as it had been in FP1. I was also struggling to get temperature into the front tyres so we had a look at that on the performance run as the conditions are obviously much more like they will be in quali in FP2. On the run on options they came up to temperature much faster, the fronts were actually easy to warm up but the balance overall was still a bit on the understeer side, especially on entry and mid-corner. We added more front wing for the long run but I still had issues with the front warm up. Overall the car was understeering and I had some issues with braking stability so we’ll look at that in detail tonight and aim to fix it for tomorrow.”

Giedo van der Garde (FP2)

“I was back in the car for FP2 and it felt pretty good right from the first run. The rears were locking a bit too much and the car wasn’t planted in the high speeds but overall it was ok. I did a couple of runs on the mediums to begin with, then onto the softs for the performance run and I have to say the car felt pretty generally stable. We did have a bit of rear locking under braking and I would have like a bit more front end, but we made a few changes for the run on the softs and it was feeling good – my quickest lap was ok but I know there’s more to come for quali, especially if we can improve the front end.

“On the long run I stayed on the options. The front tyres were cooling a lot which created understeer, but by the end of the run they were starting to come back. The rears were very consistent throughout the run so that gives us some interesting strategy options for the race. I haven’t tried the primes on a long run yet but Charles has so we’ll see what his data says tonight and then we can progress tomorrow.”

Marussia F1 Team

Jules Bianchi

“I’m quite pleased with how today has gone for me. We seemed strong from the start with the new aero development we had this morning and we have done some more good work with the new suspension components. This afternoon the conditions were pretty much as we expect them to be for qualy and the race – the same light and temperatures – so it is quite good to find ourselves where we are in terms of the competition. I think it will be very close so we are taking nothing for granted, just pushing all the way for the best result on Sunday.”

Max Chilton

“A shorter day for me having made way for Rodolfo’s planned Free Practice session this morning. I’ve driven here before so I am pretty familiar with the track and the acclimatisation was short. Just as I was getting into my run I felt something wrong with my car. It seems that I had a damaged brake duct, but we’re not quite sure how it happened. The guys worked well to replace the duct and turn the car around and I was pleased to get quite a few laps in after that. We are finding our way with the car balance a
little but now is a good time to do that as these are the conditions we expect in qualifying and the race. Not a bad start but quite a lot of thinking to do in preparation for FP3.”

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