• British Grand Prix

Who said what after Friday practice

ESPN Staff
July 4, 2014

ESPN rounds up all the reaction from around the paddock after Friday practice for the British Grand Prix

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "I think it was interesting today, obviously we're not sure what the weather will do tomorrow and Sunday, but I think we learned a little bit today and will take that into the weekend. Overall I think it was OK but we can still improve from where we are. Ferrari was pretty quick as well today, obviously the first row is taken, or seems to be, but behind that I think it was fairly close. It was quite windy which didn't make life easy out there, so I think it was decent, but I want to improve."

Daniel Ricciardo: "Today hasn't been too bad. Mercedes were really strong this morning but we seem to have found some more speed this afternoon. With the Prime, it was really good but with the Option we didn't find enough time so, if we analyse tonight and get it right, then tomorrow we should be closer. The wind here is always really strong and today in particular we had really strong gusts coming through and it changes a lot between the corners, you know one corner you feel like the car is really sharp and then another corner you feel like it doesn't have any grip at all. So that's a bit complicated, but same for everyone and it makes it a little bit more interesting."


Lewis Hamilton: "The car felt pretty good here today but unfortunately I lost my most important run of the day this afternoon when I stopped out on track with an engine problem. We haven't identified what the issue was yet but it shouldn't impact the rest of my weekend. We will change my programme around tomorrow morning to try and recover the time that I lost and make sure that I can complete my race preparation with a long run. It's not ideal but we'll recover! Apart from that, Silverstone has been great so far. The atmosphere is incredible and the support is just amazing; I love seeing so many fans here enjoying themselves."

Nico Rosberg: "That was a very productive day and the car felt really great so I'm feeling quite confident for the weekend. We seem to be very quick here and my long run at the end of the afternoon was very good. The conditions were quite tricky out with a lot of tail wind which made it really difficult to find the right braking point at some of the corners. It's not good news for us that Lewis had some reliability issues and I hope we can sort this out for the weekend. Finally, it's great to be back at Silverstone. There are so many fans already and also many of the team Brackley and Brixworth are here. I hope we can give them a great show."

Toto Wolff, Executive Director, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: A mixed day for us here in Silverstone: the drivers looked competitive in both sessions but it was annoying that Lewis couldn't complete his programme this afternoon because of an engine problem. Nico was able to finish his programme in a normal way with some good long runs and, because the data is open between both drivers, Lewis and his engineers will be able to learn something from that. I want to say a word for the incredible fans here, too. It was only Friday but we could see full grandstands and huge support for Lewis and the team today. This is what makes Silverstone such a special race on the calendar and we will be working hard tonight to make sure we can deliver a competitive and reliable performance tomorrow and Sunday.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): "We managed to get a lot of useful homework done during first practice, despite the disruptions with yellow and red flags, and both drivers completed longer runs than normal on high fuel owing to the threat of rain later in the day. In second practice, we managed to do competitive runs on both the prime and option tyres with Lewis and Nico. Lewis then had an engine stoppage as he was beginning his long run on the option tyre - and we have yet to diagnose this precisely.

"That unfortunately cost him the high-fuel running in the session but our plan was always to change this unit overnight, so there should be no direct impact on tomorrow's programme. Nico managed to achieve our objectives for the session and the data from his runs with both option and prime tyres will assist both him and Lewis for the race. The pace seemed strong for both cars, although we have a lot more work to do tonight in order to find a perfect balance. Not only do the windy conditions make this challenging, but it is invariably difficult to get the tyres working at their best over a single lap through the wide variety of slow and high speed corners here at Silverstone."

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Fernando Alonso: "This Friday was much like any other and we followed our programme, testing some components and working on set-up in the morning, while evaluating both tyre compounds in the afternoon, looking at the Medium with both qualifying and the race in mind. There were no problems with wear or graining on the softer compound, while in order to correctly evaluate the Hard, we will have to wait for a long run test.

For now, I can say it's hard to get them up to temperature. Now, as usual, we must analyse everything to understand which components to use tomorrow, although if as predicted, it rains tomorrow, then in reality the data we got today will be more useful for the race. Here, there's always a strong wind and in some corners it's a help, while in others it's a hindrance, but it's the same for everyone. Now, all we can do is wait and see how things turn out."

Kimi Raikkonen: "This morning in the first session things went reasonably well. We followed the standard programme, including analysing car behaviour on the Hard tyres and we just had a few problems with traction at some points on the track and a bit of understeer in the high speed corners. In the second session, we made some small changes which did not work and the handling of the car was not the same. Putting a good lap together was really difficult and so we went back to the morning settings, but unfortunately we had the same problems. Now we must find out what happened between the two sessions, even if I think it's partly down to the track conditions and the gusts of wind, which were very strong today. I'm sure that studying the data will give us the information we need to prepare as well as possible for tomorrow."

Pat Fry: ""At Silverstone, the weather is often unsettled and that can have a strong influence on the outcome of practice and the race. Therefore, it's vital for the drivers to do a lot of laps to get as confident as possible with the car. Today, despite a strong and inconsistent wind, we were able to work through our programme without encountering any particular problems. On both cars, we tried some new aerodynamic components and various electronic settings, while on the power unit front we continued to acquire data useful for our development programme.

"At the same time, we went through the usual set-up tests to find the most suitable one for this track, as well as paying attention to tyre behaviour over short and long runs. It wasn't easy to find the ideal balance as well as managing the degradation and while Fernando managed to complete a long run, with Kimi,we continued working on set-up to try and resolve some problems that cropped up on his car. Now we must find the best compromise to help both drivers to get the right stability for the rest of the weekend, taking into account that the weather is meant to get worse for tomorrow with a chance of rain."


Romain Grosjean: "There's still work to be done and in some ways I was happier with the car in the morning. We tried quite a lot of different set-ups to improve the aerodynamic platform in the afternoon, coming back to something we had earlier in the year. We've still got quite a bit to go through in the debrief with some hard work ahead to understand where the gains can be made."

Pastor Maldonado: "The start of the weekend hasn't been easy as we suffered from a Power Unit issue this morning which meant that our first session was over very early. Everyone has done a fantastic job replacing it with a new Unit and we were able to make good progress in the afternoon. There is plenty to work on with my engineers before tomorrow. I'm confident that we can get out more from the car so as always we will push as much as we can."

Alan Permane, trackside operations director: "The day didn't start well for us with a problem for Pastor's power unit and a struggle to get Romain's car the way we wanted it. We made quite a lot of changes for the afternoon and both drivers were able to report progress. We've still got quite a lot to refine so there's scope for improvement tomorrow."

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Kevin Magnussen: "This is a great racetrack - nice and fast. I think our car would probably be more competitive on a slower track, but, so far, it's not been looking too bad - we're not looking any less competitive than we did in Austria last month.

"After today, it's still difficult to judge the pace of Williams, but we'll probably be fighting the Force Indias. We could be up for some points this weekend, so getting the maximum of the car will be very important. Today's sessions showed that the Prime is a very hard tyre to keep alive - it's quite easy for it to lose temperature. At the moment, it looks like the Option tyre is the better race tyre for us.I love driving here, and I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of the weekend."

Jenson Button: ""It's fantastic to be out on the circuit for the first day of the Santander British Grand Prix. To be here on a sunny day, and with a full house, makes it even better, too. Our car felt okay today, but we're still trying to find the right balance in the high-speed sections. We're struggling with understeer, trying to get more front-end from the car.

"It's tough out there because it's so windy: this year's cars have less downforce than before, which makes the wings very important. When they're affected massively by the wind, it makes it difficult to get any productive back-to-back results during testing. It's proving tricky for us to get the Prime tyre up to temperature, too; as soon as we back off for a yellow flag or for traffic, we can't get it working again. It's very difficult. However, the Option tyre looks good and is able to last for a reasonably long time.Nevertheless, it's been a good day. Hopefully, we can put on a great show for all the fans this weekend."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "Firstly, it's great to be racing in Great Britain, at our home race - and on a beautiful, if slightly blustery, summer's day. Secondly, the track has never looked better. It's taken a couple of years for the new configuration to establish itself, but, today, you could really see the fruits of the circuit staff's labours - I think we're set for a fascinating and gripping Santander British Grand Prix on Sunday.

"For McLaren Mercedes, this was a relatively straightforward practice day. We spent time in both sessions attempting to find a satisfactory way forward with the Hard tyre. We're still not quite there, but the changes we made between sessions proved satisfactory, and we have a good base understanding to study tonight and take into tomorrow morning. Today didn't give us a clear read on the competitive order, but I think we've made a confident start to the weekend. With changeable weather on the horizon for both Saturday and Sunday, we've made a good start to what could well be an unpredictable weekend."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg: "Just the one session for me today and it was very windy out on track. That made things more difficult, although we know it's a common situation here at Silverstone. It was quite a normal session for me, but we need to analyse the situation better tonight to make the right conclusions for tomorrow. It's the usual challenge of understanding the tyres and improving the balance to put ourselves in a better position."

Sergio Perez: "It was quite a challenging day for us and we are a bit shy of where we would have wanted to be. We struggled with balance in both sessions and this meant we couldn't extract all the pace from the car. We knew this was going to be a hard track for us due to its layout and tonight we will need to review the set-up to find the extra couple of tenths that can get us back in the group where we belong. We have a pretty clear idea of what we need to do overnight and if we can achieve that, we should be looking much better tomorrow."

Daniel Juncadella, test driver: "It was good fun today and a great opportunity to drive my first free practice session on our home track. It's a track I know well and everything went smoothly with no problems. The main challenge was getting the tyres working, especially because of the harder compounds being used here. The priority today was to give the team some data and feedback to help prepare the car for Nico this afternoon."

Vijay Mallya, team principal and managing director: "The preparations for our local race saw a busy programme today with our reserve driver Daniel enjoying his first experience of driving in an official practice session. He acquitted himself very well and collected the data we needed. The windy conditions made it hard to carry out consistent testing today, making the car unstable, but in general we seem to be more comfortable with our high fuel runs compared with the low fuel balance. We still have some ideas to explore tonight and hopefully that will bring us more in line with the teams that were ahead of us on the timesheets today. The good news is that all our homework is done in terms of data collection so I think we are in reasonable shape heading into the weekend."

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Esteban Gutiérrez: "Overall, it was a positive day and I think we are going in a good direction. We were working aggressively on the set-up characteristics; this is the way to find something new and to explore opportunities. In the morning we were struggling with some set-up changes, but we are trying to find a compromise. Moreover, we still need to find stability when braking. Tomorrow is qualifying, so we need to keep pushing."

Adrian Sutil: "I could not run very much today, as I had to sit out the first practice session. It was difficult to feel comfortable with the car during the afternoon session. The set-up was not ideal, and that's why the car did not react in a way we hoped for. We changed something, but didn't get the reaction we wanted. We need to analyse the data to understand what the issue was."

Giedo van der Garde: "It was good to be back in the car. During the first stint I needed some time to get familiar with the car, because the last time I drove the C33 was quite some time ago. The car has improved in some areas, but there is still work to do. I had understeer when turning into the corner under braking. There we can improve. In total I completed 19 laps, which I am satisfied with. All in all it was a good session and a great warm-up for my upcoming test day on Wednesday."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering: "With Giedo we had a defined programme in the morning, which we went through. Esteban was pretty happy with the car. This gave us the chance to work on different set-ups, which was positive. We are quite satisfied with his car. With the other car we had a difficult day, because Adrian was not happy with the balance. As a consequence of this we skipped the long runs and just concentrated on working on the set-up of his car. This evening we have to work with Adrian to decide what's best set-up wise, and we will check the car to find out whether something is wrong."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: "Besides the incident towards the end of FP2, it was a good day. The performance on the short run is not where we want to be, but the long runs seem pretty good. If we can find out how we can go a little bit quicker on the short runs I think the rest of the weekend looks encouraging. It is not like last weekend in Austria where we looked very strong already on the Friday. So we have some work to do to find out how to go quicker. Hopefully tomorrow will go better than today."

Daniil Kvyat: "It was a normal Friday where we tried to work through our programme. Conditions out there were quite tricky. It was windy and the track slippery. Regarding the balance of the car, I wasn't completely satisfied today, so as usual, we will look at all the data tonight and find a way to improve for tomorrow."

James Key, technical director: "In general the day went ok even though we had a problem on Jean-Eric's car, which we are looking into now. We lost a bit of balance as the track temperature increased, so we were slightly less competitive in FP2. Having said this the race pace seemed encouraging, so far so good. But as always, with all the variables, it is very tight. For tomorrow's Qualifying we will target the top ten of course, which is where we hope to be at most events, even though this track does not suit our car as much as the Austrian track did. But we are still hopeful we can get to the top ten."

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Valtteri Bottas: : "FP2 was ok from our side; it was quite a good session. The main thing was the set-up work. We were fine tuning the set-up and managed to improve it quite a bit during the session. There's still a lot of work to do tomorrow, in these windy conditions it's not easy to set up the car. Anything we can do to improve it is going to be a big help because qualifying is going to be close tomorrow."

Felipe Massa: "This morning wasn't the best as I put a wheel on the artificial grass and that was it, the session was over. As a result I lost some time in FP2 and we struggled with the balance but we made some progress. Tomorrow should be a better day but we are behind on our run plan. I have to say a big thank you to the team as they worked very hard to get the car ready for the second session. We have a lot to do to get the set-up right for tomorrow and the weather may not help us either."

Susie Wolff, test driver: "A huge thank you to all the support and help that I have had to get me ready for today. It was a great feeling driving out of the garage. When I had my helmet on, it was just me and the car. I knew what I had to do and the car felt great. It was only one and a half flying laps but these things happen, I have another session in Hockenheim that I now have to work towards. Every time I step in the car, there is something to learn, so there are a few positives to take from today."

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "It was an eventful day. We started off in FP1 with Susie stopping on the track. We all really felt for her as she was just starting to get into our morning programme. I'm glad she's going to be back in the car at Hockenheim though to show us what we all know she can do. In FP1, Felipe also had an accident so both crews were extremely busy between the sessions to get both cars back out on track this afternoon. They did a really good job and the second session was slightly less eventful.

"The potential of the car is very much there. It was very windy, very low grip conditions, and the tyres are quite hard for this circuit as we knew they would be. The car is performing more or less where we expected. The long runs were not consistent for anybody, but our long run pace looks quite good, especially against the teams we're fighting in the championship, so we're pleased with that. There are a lot of positives from the day and a lot of potential, but we do have a good amount of work to do to put it all together.


Max Chilton: "We got a lot of running today, which is positive, because we lost time on the other side of the garage. There are still things we know we can improve on, so we'll be making maximum use of the data we gathered to try to understand how we can gain more lap time. It's great to be back here in front of my home crowd, who have been incredibly supportive as usual. It's only Friday so I know the atmosphere is only going to get better over the next two days and that's a great boost for myself and the team."

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Jules Bianchi: "It has not been a very smooth start to our weekend for me, with problems this morning and this afternoon. Despite the issues we have experienced, and the resulting loss of track time, I am very pleased that we did end the day by making it out at the end of the FP2 session and with very little set-up work we seem to have got to a good starting place with the car. There is a lot that we need to do to improve for the rest of the weekend, but we have some good data from Max's track time. We will have a busy FP3 tomorrow to prepare for qualifying but also confirming a set-up direction. The track has been quite windy today and this has unsettled many of the cars, plus we need to understand how the tyres are working here. We will keep pushing."

John Booth, Team Principal: "A very frustrating day in terms of quite a few niggling reliability issues, particularly with Jules, however the engineers and mechanics worked calmly to maximise the amount of track time possible. Clearly we have missed quite a big part of our programme today, which was not part of the plan! Looking forward to tomorrow it seems that the weather might also hamper our programme, so the limited information we have gathered today will require much more scrutiny tonight. In the main, even with our limited running, our pace looks much where we expected but with the potential for us to gain some improvement overnight."


Robin Frijns, test driver: "I did the installation lap and, except for a very minor issue with the radio, there weren't any problems with the car. However, whilst waiting for the post-installation lap checks to be completed we found an electrical issue that was causing a misfire in the Power Unit. We had to take the floor off to fix it but the guys did a great job and with about 15 minutes left in the session I was back out for the baseline run.

"While it would obviously have been good to have the whole session, we did at least complete a few laps - sometimes it's like this in motor racing. Hopefully that's our bad luck out of the way for this weekend!"

Kamui Kobayashi: "I didn't have a great start but then recovered and passed my teammate and Bianchi and was running well for the first stint. We'd started on supersofts and they held up well, right until we boxed on lap 14 for a set of softs. Our original plan was for a two stops and with our race focused on the Marussias, as soon as it became clear Bianchi was stopping once, we decided to switch the strategy during the second stint which meant I had to manage that set of softs for 55 laps to the flag. Unfortunately that didn't work as with about ten laps to go I couldn't hold him back as he was on supersofts and had the pace to pass. We tried something and this time it didn't work, but ultimately we probably didn't lose anything as we were really only fighting him.

"Despite that I think we have to take quite a few positives from this weekend as our performance relative to our nearest competitors improved quite a bit. Our reliability has been much better this weekend and the setup change we made on Friday night paid dividends again today as I was pretty easily able to pass the lead Marussia and pull away early in the race. From where we were on Friday, and in the last couple of races, that's a good sign and we know we can improve again at Silverstone so I'm already hungry to get back and fight again there."

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Marcus Ericsson: : "FP1 went ok. We started with the usual installation lap and the first thing that was clear was just how low the grip levels were, even for an install. That continued on the baseline run where the front tyres were really struggling to come up to temperature - overall the car balance was ok, but for run two we worked more on generating higher initial tyre temps which meant we could start looking in more detail at setup options. My second run was a bit better but on the final lap I span around turns 12 / 13 and couldn't get the car back out of the gravel. That cost us quite a bit of time but as soon as we had the car back it was turned around quickly and we were back out for a final couple of laps.

"In the afternoon we started with a car that felt like we'd maybe gone the wrong way on setup so we made a few changes at the end of the first run and it was definitely better for the second run. We then went onto the mediums and they were working pretty well - the grip levels were much better and the tyres came up to temperature more quickly, but then on the third run I had a mechanical issue which meant I lost power and had to pull over in the old pits. We'll need to make a proper assessment of what happened and to go through all the data tonight and then aim to keep improving tomorrow ahead of quali and the race."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 Track Support Leader: "Having sat out FP1 it was important to get as many laps done in FP2 as possible and having done that with 31 laps I think we made some good progress in the session. Overall the balance wasn't too bad at the start of FP2 - the car was quite snappy and there was too much understeer, especially in the high speed corners, but by the end of the session it was improving. We did a couple of runs on the hard tyres, then onto the mediums for our first assessment of the softer compound and it was a definite improvement, both on the short and long runs, so that's quite positive for the rest of the weekend."


Paul Hembery, motorsport director: "The weekend has got off to a good start, with the teams working through their tyre programmes and the hard and the medium tyres performing perfectly in line with expectations. Obviously the one big question mark is the weather, so it remains to be seen how relevant that preparation work will be, but all information is useful and there is still a good chance of a dry race. This is a situation that the teams have been in before at Silverstone and yet another intriguing aspect of Formula One. There's been a fantastic amount of support here, as has always been the case in Britain, and it's great to be represented in front of some of the most enthusiastic fans in the world."