2014 German GP driver reaction - practice
The 22 drivers have their say on Friday's action at Hockenheim
By William Esler
Last Updated: 18/07/14 6:39pm
The 22 drivers have their say on Friday's action at Hockenheim in scorching temperatures.
Daniel Ricciardo: “I think tyres and weather will define the race on Sunday. Today we were happy with our progress and it seems to be one of the closer gaps for a while, but it’s tomorrow when we'll see how close we really are.
“I think we had a good car today and we extracted pretty much everything we could out of the practice today. Hopefully we can have more of a fight with the leaders this weekend.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think we can improve from there for tomorrow. I don’t think not having the FRIC suspension on the car made too much difference to us today, although I haven’t had a proper look at the other cars yet.
“I think it will be fairly close between the cars this weekend. It’s nice to be on track here near to where I grew up and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It was a pretty good day today. It was quite difficult to find the balance with the track being so hot and it is a tricky circuit to drive in general. The car is a bit different now as everyone made some setup changes in a different direction to what we've had in the past, but it's still fun to drive.
“As the temperatures were so high, it was difficult for the tyres and we're going to need to manage that carefully when we get to the race. The weather is beautiful and the heat was a challenge, particularly in the car, but that's how I like it. We need to analyse as much as we can tonight and drink plenty as it's going to be hot.”
Nico Rosberg: “It was a difficult day for us, because we had to work on some of the new settings as the car was running without the FRIC system. But it worked out quite well even in difficult conditions. It was very hot outside and the soft tyres don't last that long here, so this will be tricky for the race.
“We had a bit of a situation in the pit lane when my teammate came in suddenly just before I was called in too. But the boys reacted quickly and cooled my car and brought his tyres out. It's great to be back in Germany. I really hope for a big German support this weekend here. We will aim to put on a great show for them.”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s nice to be back racing at Hockenheim. I’ve got fantastic memories of the last race here and I like the track a lot. Today, we concentrated on set-up to try and adapt to the temperatures, which are going to be extremely high all weekend. I had no problems with either the Soft or Supersoft compounds and we just need to understand how they will behave in the race and what the weather could be like on Sunday.
“I don’t think going away with FRIC changed much in terms of driving style and in order to have a clear picture you’d have to do a comparison with and without it, but running without it, we just have to adapt and be as well prepared as possible with what we have.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Like every Friday, our programme covered set-up work in the first session, then evaluating the tyres and doing a race simulation in the afternoon. Unfortunately in the morning, because of a technical problem, I had to come back to the garage and was unable to do an additional run on the Soft tyres, but thanks to a great job from the team, I managed to quickly get back out on track.
“In the afternoon, we made up for lost time and managed to improve on all fronts. Overall, it’s been a reasonably positive day, but it’s still too early to make any predictions. We will have to wait until tomorrow to know more.”
Romain Grosjean: “It wasn’t the easiest of days; the performance was a bit down and I had a bit of a moment this morning when the DRS didn’t close into turn two – that was quite a special feeling I can tell you! The guys did a good job to sort the rear wing and we were able to carry on in the session. The car didn’t feel bad to drive today, but it’s a case of unlocking the pace with the different suspension configuration. Everyone is working hard and hopefully we will gain more understanding and pace tomorrow.”
Pastor Maldonado: “We didn’t have a great day as we have some work to do with the suspension changes. We spent a lot of our track time evaluating how the car behaves with this new configuration. And there is margin for improvement tomorrow. The conditions were extremely hot today and anything can happen over the course of the weekend. We’ll just keep a calm approach and ensure we get 100% from the car.”
Jenson Button: “Looking at the timesheets, you’d say we look quite good, but we’re finding it a little bit tougher over the long-runs. I think we’re overheating the tyres under traction. It’s so difficult to manage the tyres in these temperatures, and it’s especially hard to get the Supersoft tyre working correctly without overheating it.
“We were able to test lots of interesting things today – and, for me, there’s more to come tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll also have the new rear wing fitted to my car. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what the advantage it gives, especially when you only get a few laps on Saturday morning to try it, but it’ll be interesting to give it a go.
“The car didn’t feel any different without our FRIC system – it wouldn’t really make a massive difference around here anyway.
“As ever, we’ll just make the best out of what we’ve got – and I think we can push a bit harder tomorrow.”
Kevin Magnussen: The temperatures are very high, so the biggest challenge for us is to make the tyres work – it’s going to be tricky to understand, especially if the weather changes for Sunday, when it could be a bit cooler. But it’s the same for everyone.
“I can’t really explain the relatively close gap to the cars at the front, but everybody is running different programmes on different fuel-loads. The new rear wing that I tested today feels good; it doesn’t upset the car, so, hopefully, we can carry it forward.
“Without FRIC, our car still feels really good – which is a positive – I don’t know about any of the other drivers, but I think we’re pretty happy with the car at the moment.
“Still, we need to stay focused: it’s only practice, so it’s difficult to assess the pace of the other teams, but we’ve hopefully made a little bit of a step.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It was not the smoothest day, but from the team’s perspective everyone is happy that we managed to get the main jobs done. It’s hard to really know our absolute pace because my short run on the supersoft tyre was compromised by a couple of yellow flags.
“So I feel there is more performance and laptime available with a clean lap. I also think we can still find a bit of pace overnight with some balance changes.”
Sergio Perez: “I’m feeling pretty happy about today because we finished the programme and we learned a lot. The car performed well in the afternoon, especially for the long runs, so I’m really looking forward to Sunday. We also worked hard on the qualifying pace, but I think wherever we qualify we can move forward and be in the fight for points.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “In the afternoon I was trying to catch up on the programme as I missed FP1. I mainly focused on getting a feeling for the car. We are experimenting and trying different things and the two cars have different set-ups. During my last stint I improved quite a lot. Now, we are going to analyse the data and decide in which direction we should go tomorrow.”
Adrian Sutil: “It was a difficult day. Because of the high temperatures it was not easy to find a good set-up. However, this was the same situation for everyone. Due to the extremely high track temperatures, it was tough to manage the tyres. Besides that, I also had a lot of understeer. I think it is positive that we are close to the top ten. The objective for tomorrow is to keep up today’s performance.”
Danil Kvyat: “Another normal Friday where we worked through our programme as much as possible. We will have a look at all the data tonight and prepare ourselves for tomorrow, where I think we can do well. The heat? Well it just means we need to be careful in looking after our tyres but it’s the same for everyone, so we will just need to do our job.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “I wouldn't say we had a perfect Friday today. I wasn't really happy with the car balance during both sessions and this means we have now a lot of work to do. We will have a look at all the data we collected to improve the car and aim for a good Qualifying session.
“Especially here on this track, it's important to have the highest possible starting position. It's possible, we have done it in the past so I remain confident for tomorrow.”
Felipe Massa: “We have had a good day today. We have done a lot of work on the set-up especially after the suspension changes we have had to make. I hope we can carry on the improvements throughout the weekend. We made a good step-up between the first and second sessions which is good. We will have to be cautious about the rain on Sunday and we will be thinking ahead with a view to prepare the car for that.”
Valtteri Bottas: “The track was very hot today which affected the tyres a lot. It wasn't easy on the supersoft on the long runs and that's a point we have highlighted needs more work. It has been interesting to work on the mechanical changes we have made in the suspension, and that has given a lot of data to analyse. We still have room for improvement and will work hard to make sure that improvement happens.”
Jules Bianchi: “It has taken a bit of work today to get the setup closer to where it needs to be. The changes we have made to the car upset the balance so we had to go back to square one a little bit.
“After the break I could immediately feel that the car was better and we are heading in a good direction again, but there is still quite a lot of work to do with the information we have. It has been very hot here today, which is tough for everybody but thankfully no issues with the car so far.”
Max Chilton: “We have struggled with the balance slightly more here than we did at the Silverstone test and this has required us to make quite a few set-up changes. We did expect this to be the case and I think we have made a lot of progress already. I think this is going to be an interesting weekend.”
Marcus Ericsson: “I was running a different setup to Kamui in FP1 and I have to say the overall balance was ok right from the first run. I was losing quite a bit of time in the last sector with the car switching from oversteer to understeer but we improved the aero balance and mechanical setup and by the final run it was more consistent.
“In FP2 I went out straight away and was into my second flying lap when I was told there was an oil pressure issue and I had to stop the car. I was back in the pit quickly, as was my car, and the guys did a really good job to get me back out again with about 35 minutes left in the session. We managed to complete a performance run and then go onto the long run so even though we lost time we still managed to get quite a bit of the plan done.
“Obviously we wanted more laps but overall the car felt like it had improved since Silverstone. I think some of the changes we’ve made here suit my driving style better - we’ll find out more tonight with the data and tomorrow on track in FP3, but right now I can’t wait to get back in the car tomorrow and start again as I think we may make a bit of progress this weekend, something we’ve all been waiting for.”
Kamui Kobayashi: “FP1 was a good session for me, certainly better than I’ve had for a few races and with good reliability we were able to complete the whole program. The car was understeering too much so we tried a couple of different setup options to help deal with that, but it was definitely improving by the end of the session.
“In FP2 we went out for the first run early and completed ten laps. The car balance felt much better with the changes we made over lunch but it immediately felt like it was down on power, it just felt strange. We made a couple more mechanical changes and went back out for run two but at the end of the second lap I lost any braking power and could smell burning. I pulled over in turn 16 as the rear of the car was by then on fire and ran to grab and extinguisher so I could help to put the fire out, but that was obviously the end of the session. It looks like it was a fuel leak that started the fire but we need more time tonight to find out exactly why that happened and then fix it.
“Despite how FP2 went I’m still pleased with how the car felt today, especially in the first run I did in the afternoon. If we can have more solid reliability I think we could have a better weekend than we’ve had for a while – now everyone will work as hard as possible tonight to help us do just that.”