2014 Hungarian GP practice - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on Friday's running in Buadapest
By William Esler
Last Updated: 25/07/14 6:22pm
The 22 drivers have their say on Friday's running in Buadapest where Lewis Hamilton topped both sessions.
Sebastian Vettel: “I think we could be a little bit closer this weekend, at least today it looked a bit better, but then again we saw that people can make a big step from Friday to Saturday, particularly Williams, so we have to be careful. We hope we can do a big enough step to keep the pace of today (for tomorrow) and to be able to use a little bit more power, but we’ll have to wait and see where we are.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “To be honest we struggled quite a lot today trying to find the grip. This circuit does tend to ramp up a lot over the weekend, this morning’s session the grip was really low for everyone and we saw a lot of people sliding. We thought we would find some more this afternoon but we didn’t quite evolve with the track, so we’ve got a bit of work to do tonight to understand that, but that’s what Friday’s are for, you learn, you try things and hopefully you put it all together Friday night in the best way for qualifying.”
Lewis Hamilton: “We struggled with poor grip on track today. I don't know if that's down to the tyres or the track itself but it was quite bad throughout both sessions. It's going to be important to get a good grid position tomorrow as it will be difficult to follow cars on this track and it's always tough to overtake here.
“We have some work to do overnight to ensure we get the best setup for the weekend as we're not fully comfortable with the car just yet, but our race pace looked okay. We'll have to look through the data to really know where we stand.”
Nico Rosberg: “I was a bit surprised that we had the quickest car here today as I expected the Red Bulls to have gotten a bit closer again, so that's a really encouraging start to the weekend. The car feels great and is super quick in the corners, so overall I'm quite happy.
“I definitely still need to find some time and there is some setup work for me and my engineers to do tonight if we want to achieve that. But I'm confident that we can make it happen. Qualifying will be crucial here, as overtaking is not easy at this great track. We'll work hard as always during the evening and see what happens tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso: “Going from one race to the next doesn't usually involve many changes, but here, unlike what usually happens on a Friday, we had to work a lot on the set-up, to try and adapt the car to the circuit, the tyres and the high temperatures. So there was rather more work than usual, but it produced results and we improved run after run. Sure, there’s still a lot to do to be as competitive as we’d like, but I think we’re on the right road.
“There’s less grip here than in previous years, but it’s the same for everyone and now we have to try and prepare the car as well as possible for qualifying and the race. High temperatures like those we saw today are always challenging for the tyres, but the forecast is for cooler conditions from tomorrow and maybe rain on Sunday, so we have to be ready for every eventuality.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “In the first free practice session, we managed to do a good job, testing various solutions on the programme and I was feeling reasonably pleased with the handling of the car. Then, in the afternoon, I went out for a second run on the Medium tyres, because the behaviour of this compound seemed worse as the temperature went up and that affected the handling of the car, while on the Soft I had no problems.
“In the second part of the session I did a race simulation with both compounds: unfortunately when I fitted the Mediums I had a problem with the left rear and I had to pit earlier than planned. The telemetry didn't show any problem on the car, so I hope that the data will point us in the right direction for the next two days.”
Romain Grosjean: “The car feels pretty reasonable here even if we missed a lot of the afternoon session because of a problem with the cooling system. It’s a circuit I love so of course it was frustrating to miss track time as it’s what you want to improve the car. As always, we have a reasonable amount of work to do ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying, where we will be pushing all the way as grid position is so important here.”
Pastor Maldonado: “It was an okay day for me and we didn’t have any problems with my car which is always a positive. The car balance doesn’t feel bad but getting grip from the tyres is the biggest challenge here. It’s pretty hot and we expect that to be the same tomorrow, which should be good for tyre warm-up. I think we could perform better here than we have of late; that’s certainly the target.”
Kevin Magnussen: “We had a reasonable day, with no real problems. We also managed to get through the whole testing programme complete, which was a positive.
“The new components that we introduced in Germany still feel good – we’re still getting more from them – but there’s always further fine-tuning to do. We just need to keep up this impressive rate of development into the second half of the season.
“I may have ended FP2 fifth-fastest, but I think our job is going to be a little more difficult than it was last weekend. At Hockenheim, the car’s pace was good enough for the top five, but we’re probably a little bit further behind than that this weekend.”
Jenson Button: “I had a relatively good run on the soft tyre using high fuel, so I’m feeling happier about that, but the balance over a single lap is something we need to concentrate on tonight.
“It was quite difficult to be consistent; the car felt different from corner to corner, from lap to lap. I like a precise car, and we didn’t quite nail that today – but I think we know why that is and we’ll change it for tomorrow. I’m not too worried.
“Looking at the timesheets, it’s quite difficult to know where we stand – we’re not up there with the Mercedes or the Red Bulls, but the Williams cars seem a little less competitive compared to the last race.
“We still have a lot of work to do tonight.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “Today was fairly reasonable: it was a routine Friday and we did a lot of running with no big issues. We got through all the test items we had on our list, so from that point of view it was a very smooth day. We still have some work to do on our one lap pace, so we can find a little time there, but when we look at our long run pace we are in a good shape.
“The car felt okay, which is promising at this early stage in the weekend. The key factor come Sunday will be tyre management, as in almost every race. The weather is uncertain, but it will still be hot whatever happens and we will need to make the best of this situation.”
Sergio Perez: “It's been a difficult day, especially during running with the prime tyres. We need to go through all the data we have gathered, every single lap, and analyse it to solve the few issues we have been having. On a more positive note, we seem to be more competitive when it comes to race pace.
“We just need to address a few set-up options to make the most of the very tight battle in the midfield. Grid position is crucial here in Hungary because it is very difficult to overtake, so it will be important to qualify well, and this will give us a good chance on Sunday, especially with the really hot temperatures we're expecting.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “It was a good day. We worked on different set-ups and tried to find out more about the car. The morning session was a bit better than second free practice. We made some changes to the set-up in the afternoon to see which one works better. We collected a lot of data and are going to analyse it in order to find a compromise for tomorrow. Everybody is doing their best to find the right balance. We should keep on going in this direction.”
Adrian Sutil: “Today we worked through our usual Friday programme. We tried the soft and medium tyres, and it was clear that the softer compound worked better for me. The track is quite slippery, and the driveability of the car is still difficult. We have less downforce than last year, which makes it difficult to keep the car under control. However, the team did a good job and from that point of view we had two positive sessions.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “There is some good and bad today. This morning I was quite happy with the car’s behaviour but in the afternoon the balance got worse, making it difficult to drive. We need to understand why we lost performance in FP2 to get the best out of the car tomorrow but I still believe we have the potential to improve.”
Daniil Kvyat: “It was a busy Friday as usual where we tried to get as many things done as possible. I enjoy driving this track but I wasn’t too happy with the car balance in FP1, but we made a step forward during the afternoon’s session. Hopefully we can make another step forward tomorrow.”
Valtteri Bottas: “It was an interesting Friday, we went through all the updates and I'm really happy that they have worked as we expected, so we've made steps forward with the car. This circuit is tighter and it's going to be more difficult for us than the last three grands prix. It's going to be really close tomorrow so we need to work hard to find every tenth and maybe even every hundredth of a second we can gain with the set-up.”
Felipe Massa: “It was not an easy day for me. I didn't have the most clean day to do long runs, but there is still tomorrow to come. It's not a perfect track for us but we'll try everything we can for qualifying tomorrow to be as competitive as possible. We have run both cars with the new rear wing and it's very positive so far.”
Jules Bianchi: “We’ve struggled a little with the balance of the car today, which has made it very difficult to arrive at a good set-up. This morning was very problematic but we seem to have improved a little for this afternoon, just not quite enough to be back ahead of Kobayashi. So, we will continue to push to find something more from the car in time for qualifying tomorrow, as we need to ensure a good position relative to the cars behind for the race.”
Max Chilton: “It was another difficult start to the day with the small fire we experienced at the start of FP1. This lost me most of the session, as we had to change the gearbox, but credit to the Team for achieving such a quick turnaround and enabling me to get even five laps of running as a benchmark.
“This was enough to tell me that this afternoon the car was very different at the beginning of FP2, maybe in part down to the temperature increase and an overall lack of grip. We’ve made some good progress but we’re not where we want to be yet, which is ahead of the Caterhams.”
Kamui Kobayashi: “Overall, it’s been a better Friday than we’ve had for a while. We made good progress on nearly every run and it looks like from our times today that we may be quite a bit more competitive with our nearest rivals than for quite a few races. Good reliability has been one of the keys to that, from us and Renault, so we should be pretty pleased with how Friday’s gone for us in Hungary.
“Similar to my teammate, on my first run in FP1 there was almost no grip at all, plus I had some issues with front and rear brake locking so we made quite a few changes to the car for the second run and found a small improvement next time I went out. The grip was still so low I couldn’t really judge how the balance actually was – it was switching from oversteer to understeer in each corner so we made more mechanical and aero changes for the next run and we definitely started to find some time. By the end of the session the grip was improving and I was finally starting to find a balance that was working, but also important was that we had a clean session with no reliability issues so we could make sure we ran through the whole program.
“In FP2 we went straight out on a set of mediums for the first run and I immediately had quite a lot of understeer pretty much everywhere. We tried another mechanical change and the balance did improve a little, but on my quickest lap on the second run I had a small spin so we boxed to go onto the soft tyres for the first time. The car definitely felt better on the softs than the mediums, and on the long run they held up pretty well, so that gives us some good strategy options for Sunday. Now we have to continue this performance through to tomorrow and Sunday and aim to fight as hard as we can in quali and the race.”
Marcus Ericsson: “At the start of FP1 the grip level was just so low – the car was sliding around everywhere and I couldn’t push anywhere around the track. I know the Hungaroring is always pretty green at the start of the weekend, but it was worse than I’d expected. You can go chasing the track when it’s like this, trying to find setups that work, but we have to let the track come to us as the grip level improves overall, so for the next run we continued with the plan and were improving, little by little as the session went on.
“The track temps had gone up a lot in FP2 and for me the car was behaving quite strangely on the first run. It was switching from understeer to oversteer through most of the corners and, honestly, it was quite hard not to make a mistake. Towards the end of that opening run the balance did start improving a little, but it was still pretty hard to push as much as I’d have liked.
“On the options the balance improved quite a bit and as the track was rubbering in the grip levels finally started improving. On my performance run on the softs I didn’t really have a clean lap so there was quite a bit more time to come, but with the time left in the session we went onto the long run and our race pace looked ok.
“It’s good to see we’ve made progress here from setup, it gives us a chance to be much more competitive with Marussia than we’ve been for a while, so after we’ve been through all the data from today we want to continue to improve tomorrow, and again on Sunday.”