Fri: McLaren, Ferrari, Merc, Lotus

Friday 7th September 2012

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Fri: McLaren, Ferrari, Merc, Lotus

Fri: McLaren, Ferrari, Merc, Lotus

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Friday's practice in Italy, edging Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso...

McLaren:
Lewis Hamilton: "Monza is a beautiful circuit and the whole place has such great history - you really feel it as soon as you drive through the gates. And, of course, it's an absolutely stunning place on which to drive - the speeds are incredible and, when you get the flow right, it feels simply amazing. It's very, very quick. It's somewhat deceptive, too: a map of the track makes it look quite simple, but it's actually incredibly technical. It's also bumpy, which means it's incredibly difficult to nail those final thousandths on a quick lap. And that's really what today has been all about: we're trying to fine-tune the balance and find the tiniest amounts of time. It's extremely tight. Overall, today has been quite productive, and everything has gone smoothly. Hopefully, we're not in a bad position, although there are still things we can improve on the car for tomorrow."

Jenson Button: "Monza is so different from anywhere else we drive. The straightline speeds are incredibly high - in fact there are four points around the track where we hit 200mph [322km/h]. It's been satisfying to get some dry running under our belts today, because we were able to gather a lot of useful information. We tried a few different directions with set-up this afternoon - and some were better than others - but we'll decide what works best before FP3 tomorrow and we'll make the necessary tweaks to get the balance right. I'm pretty comfortable with the car; you always want more, but we've done a reasonably good job today. Looking at the data, there are quite a few teams out there that look quick too: it's very close and that's going to make it an interesting race."

Ferrari:
Fernando Alonso: "Today almost everything happened, with various mechanical problems and we did not manage to test everything we wanted, but all the parts that failed can be changed and thanks to Felipe we have all the information we need to do well in qualifying and the race. Even if today was complicated, it was still positive: it's good that everything happened today, because we must try and avoid any problems tomorrow and Sunday. I am optimistic about the car balance, which we did not have to change between FP1 and 2. I expect we will see different strategies in qualifying because there seems to be very little difference between the Medium and Hard tyres. In the race we will have to use both and so in the end it balances out. Compared to Spa, here we are on the pace, maybe we have a bit more downforce and make up a bit of time at the two Lesmos and the second chicane, while we are losing out in the first sector with the two long straights. We will analyse these details this evening and tomorrow we will try and improve also in terms of top speed, which was probably our weak point today."

Felipe Massa: "A very positive day because I managed to make the most of the track time, completing all the programme we had planned for this Friday. I did a lot of laps on both types of tyre, in the morning and the afternoon, including a long run to evaluate the handling as well as possible. At the moment, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the two compounds in terms of performance, as we could also see from the other drivers' times, but we will have to see how it goes tomorrow, because the difference could become greater as the track conditions improve, which will be an important factor for qualifying and the race. I am also pleased with my lap times, as I was always up there with the quickest cars in both sessions. We will be trying to improve the car set-up still further tomorrow, but I am confident for the rest of the weekend. I am very pleased to be here in Monza in front of our fans and I really hope that this positive day is the right start to get a great result for them!"

Mercedes:
Nico Rosberg: "That was definitely a better start for us than in Spa. We were able to complete a lot of laps today and it seems that we have a good pace on high and low fuel levels. As always, it's difficult to say where we are compared to the others but I hope we can score some good points this weekend. It was great fun to drive on this amazing track, and I always like the special atmosphere here. Yesterday I went out on the old Monza track with a scooter which is great to see."

Michael Schumacher: "I am quite happy with the practice sessions as we achieved a lot of reasonable work with regards to long runs which was our main focus today. We have a different aero package for Monza which seems to work well so it seems to be looking better than in the last races. During the sessions, we made progress as well so I am curious to have a look at the data we collected and learn the full picture. It's always nice to be back in Monza as I am still so warmly welcomed by all the tifosi. As I said earlier, I would like to say thank you for that and hope we can put on a good show tomorrow and in the race on Sunday."

Lotus F1:
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was an okay day. We tried a few different things with no issues and I'm happy with the car. Our long run pace was not too bad and we weren't too far away from the fastest lap set today either. There aren't many corners here, but running with low downforce means the grip is not as good under braking and cornering through the chicanes. It's not easy to get the perfect lap here but maybe we can improve tomorrow ; we shall see."

Jerome D'Ambrosio: "Today went pretty well overall and it feels good to be back in the car. It's not an easy task stepping in at the last minute ; there's a lot to take in and with a low downforce track like Monza it can be quite tricky to find the limit, but we completed a busy schedule and put in a lot of laps which is a good start. It's difficult to say where we are right now, but we made steady progress between the two sessions and my aim for tomorrow is to take another step forwards and see where we go from there. So far so good."

Related Links
Prac Two: Hamilton leads McLaren 1-2
Friday's pictures from Monza

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