Fri: Williams, Ferrari, Lotus, McLaren

Date published: June 22 2012

There were top ten times in Valencia practice for Bruno Senna, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean….

There were top ten times in Valencia practice for Bruno Senna, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean….

Williams:
Bruno Senna: “It was a good day and we managed to fulfil our test programme. It would have been useful to have done a few more miles but we have still gathered a lot of valuable data. We’re getting closer to where we need to be so I’m happy with how today went.”

Pastor Maldonado: “We completed our full test programme today. The track was so green at the start of the day, as expected, but the grip level has been increasing throughout each session. The car was consistent but we lost a bit of time on our shorter runs this afternoon. We need to understand the set-up of the car a bit better and to anticipate how the track conditions will change tomorrow. The car is working well but we still need to improve.”

Ferrari:
Fernando Alonso: “Overall, it’s been a positive day, during which we tried various updates on the car: some worked well, others need some modifying and then they might be used at Silverstone. Naturally, we also worked a lot on the tyres, which seem to degrade quite significantly here. On this topic, we have to take into account that conditions can change rapidly according to the cloud cover. With the sky completely clear, the track temperature can easily go up by four or five degrees and change the behaviour of the tyres. Now we need to analyse carefully all the data that Felipe and I have gathered and then put together the best combination of set-up and technical solutions for qualifying and the race. This year, pole position seems to be less important than in the past and I think that is the case even on a track like this: it is always important to be first away, obviously, but it doesn’t mean that if you start further back you have no chance of winning. The championship? I’m not here to do the score sheet, I’m only thinking of race by race. Today, Hamilton is ahead of me, so the objective is to leave Valencia ahead of him and then, maybe in Silverstone, Vettel will be first, so he will be the target.”

Felipe Massa: “We did a huge amount of work on development of the updates we brought here and now, with the data in our hands, we will try and choose those things that can give us an improvement in performance terms already right from this weekend. This morning I worked mainly on a series of aerodynamic comparisons, so I definitely did not use the tyres or the car in the best way possible. The afternoon went much better, when I was pleased with the balance and the car’s handling out on track. It’s a shame I made a mistake on my first timed lap on the Soft tyres, right at the start of the lap: my time, also taking into account I was one of the first to switch to the Option, could definitely have been better and I could have ended up significantly higher on the final time sheet, for what that’s worth on a Friday afternoon. There is still much work to be done, because I expect we will see some cars going very quickly tomorrow, but also over a distance, the situation is not too bad: there’s a bit of a performance drop from the tyres, but all in all, the times were good. The wind? It was a nuisance, especially at some points of the track where it made it very easy to lock the fronts.”

Lotus F1:
Romain Grosjean: “Today was not as hot as we expected, certainly after the weather we saw here yesterday, but the long run pace was there and the car felt good. We still have a few things to try with the setup, so there should be some more pace to come. Qualifying will be the big moment for us as we have seen that we need to find a little bit of improvement there. It’s not the end of the world, as we have seen that we can make good gains on Sunday with our race pace. The trick will be to find more speed in qualifying without disturbing this.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “The car feels okay and there were no issues. The wind was a bit of a factor in the morning but it was better in the afternoon. I was stuck in traffic for quite a bit of my long run in the second session, so I wasn’t able to go as fast as the car was capable of, but we don’t have any issues on that front. The E20’s strong point always seems to be its race pace but of course we are looking to make it quicker in qualifying. Let’s see how it is tomorrow morning and we’ll do whatever’s necessary. We’ll make a few changes to the car for sure, but I think we’re pretty okay.”

McLaren:
Jenson Button: “The car didn’t feel too bad today: we struggled a little with front locking, and the lap-time isn’t quite there yet, but we’ve made some changes that should start to improve that tomorrow. We did a lot of work to improve the front [wheel] locking, but we’re also going to go back on a few changes in order to get a car set-up that we know feels reasonably good. There are a couple of other changes we’re also considering for tomorrow which could be quite interesting. I think we’re quicker over a single lap than the time-sheets suggest, but the car is still a little tricky to drive on Option tyres. I’m confident that the changes we’re now making will make a difference – but whether that will be enough to challenge at the front is still an unknown, because the field is so extremely competitive right now.”

Lewis Hamilton: “We didn’t have a brilliant day today – it was a bit of a struggle to be honest – but I’m quite confident that we can make changes overnight and get back into the hunt tomorrow. I wasn’t totally happy with my car today, but, being realistic, you can’t always get it absolutely right, can you? This year, we’ve usually got the balance spot-on during practice, but we perhaps didn’t run precisely the correct set-up today. We think we know what the problems were though, and how to put them right, so we ought to be fine for tomorrow. I’m quite confident that we’ll have improved things for qualifying.”

Related Links
Vettel Edges Hulkenberg In Practice Two
Friday’s Pictures From Valencia