Fri: Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, FIndia

Date published: October 28 2011

Felipe Massa was the man to beat in India on Friday, finishing practice ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso…

Felipe Massa was the man to beat in India on Friday, finishing practice ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso…

Ferrari:
Felipe Massa: “It’s always nice to be in first place at the end of a day’s work, however we know that Friday’s results are all relative. Sure, it would be nice to move through the weekend in the same position, but that will be very difficult to achieve. Today, we concentrated on finding the best set-up on the car and on tyre behaviour on this new circuit. I like the track, it is very interesting and there are corners where driving skill can make the difference. In some places the actual track surface is very wide and so it will therefore be possible to take various different lines in the race, which could make overtaking easier. The car seems competitive, but we must wait and see what McLaren and Red Bull can do tomorrow, as they are still very strong. The tyres? Probably the Hards are too hard for this track and it would have been possible to run the same compounds we had in Korea in two weeks ago, because the track surface is very smooth.”

Fernando Alonso: “I lost almost the entire morning session because of an engine problem on my car, but fortunately I managed to make up for it in the afternoon, when I was able to run without any problems. Today’s priority was getting to know the circuit. Furthermore, given the condition of the track surface, I don’t think I lost out that much compared to the others. First impressions are positive: the car seems to behave well and we hope to continue down this route. I like the track, even if it is very dirty and if you go just the slightest bit off line it’s like driving on ice: this could create problems during overtaking moves on Sunday, but maybe by then the situation will have changed. It’s very nice that the track is wide in some corners and I think it will add to the spectacle, because it means you can take different lines and I think even qualifying should be very exciting, given the rather high average speed, especially through the final sector.”

Red Bull:
Sebastian Vettel: “It’s an interesting track, a good challenge. It was very dusty to start with, but the track seems fun, especially the wide entries which give a lot of options to all the drivers. It should e be a good race on Sunday. It’s dusty off-line, which makes it tricky, so we’ll have to make sure we stay on the racing line. It’s a good circuit for overtaking I think, with long straights and wide entries. The long run seemed good today, so let’s see how we go tomorrow.”

Mark Webber: “It’s a good track with good Formula One corners, there are quick left-rights and you can take a lot of the corners in 5th gear. Turn 3 is a unique corner, it’s very slow, but it’s uphill and quite extreme on the elevation. Turn 4 is also not straightforward, so they’re both challenging and I like the two quick chicanes – they’re enjoyable. Even though the track is wide, it’s quite greasy off-line, so most people will follow the racing line. This morning went well; this afternoon less so, but we’ll get it back tomorrow.”

McLaren:
Lewis Hamilton: “The track is fantastic – the organisers here in India have done a great job. It’s very fast and flowing, the grip-level is fantastic, the run-off areas seem to be good, and the kerbs are probably the best of any circuit we visit: nice rumble-strips that you can drive on. Like any brand-new circuit, it’s been gripping-up throughout the day. We looked quick this morning. This afternoon, however, I had a problem with the driveshaft – it felt like it was causing some wear and tear so it prompted me to end the session a little early. We’ll fit a new gearbox for tomorrow, so the car will hopefully start behaving a bit better. That should make things closer at the front. Sunday’s race will be a long one. Nevertheless, there will be opportunities to overtake: it’s a high-downforce circuit and, although it’ll be very hard to follow other cars closely, the double-DRS zone should make it a bit easier. We’ll get a clearer idea tomorrow of just how quick we really are.”

Jenson Button: “I really like this circuit. It’s great fun to drive. There are some tough corners, like Turns Three and Five, but there’s also a lot of high-speed stuff and it feels a lot faster than we initially thought it would. What’s also been quite a surprise is the amount of grip out there, particularly in the faster corners where the downforce is really working for you. And, because the high-speed corners are pretty smooth, you can really carry a lot of speed through them. It’s difficult to get the tyres up to their optimal working temperature range, but, once they’re in the operating window, the high-speed grip is phenomenal. From Turn Five onwards, the track is actually very quick. We’ll have a lot of fun this weekend and we’re hopefully going to be fighting for the win on Sunday.”

Force India:
Adrian Sutil: “We had a good couple of sessions today. We ran an aero upgrade on the car this morning and I could feel the difference in stability straight away, so I think we are going to run it for the race. The circuit is good fun and very nicely done. It has some challenging corners and there seem to be plenty of opportunities to overtake. It should make for an interesting and exciting race on Sunday.”

Paul di Resta: “It was a new experience today for everyone and we had a lot to get through with our programme. The track is quite exciting and the grip seems to be building nicely. It won’t be an easy race with the DRS zones being so effective and likely to result in lots of overtaking, but from our work today we are getting where we need to be in terms of the set-up. I still need to find a little bit of speed, but once we sit down and analyse the data I’m confident of more good runs tomorrow.”