INDIAN GRAND PRIX FRIDAY PRACTICE DRIVE QUOTES…
“Friday’s are always difficult with so many things changing. The track improvement was quite big today, it was dusty to start and improved lap by lap, so I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow the order is different, but we’ve had worse Fridays, so I am happy. We need to keep working and improve a little bit overnight.”
“That went pretty well. I had a lock-up in Turn 1, which I could have done without, but it wasn’t the end of the world. We got on with the important stuff, which is understanding the soft tyre on short and long runs. We’ll have a look where we can improve the car, you can always improve. The team is incredibly motivated and the drivers also.”
Pedro de la Rosa
“I loved the circuit. It’s really nice and also very challenging. You have to use the kerbs a lot and the car really suffers, so we have to drive carefully. Overall I had good sensations with the balance of the car, especially in the afternoon when I was able to do more laps. But we’ve still got a lot of room for improvement and if we’re able to improve the balance of the car we’ll be able to run better. Especially in changes of direction because we lose too much time on quick corners and we can correct that. Now we must continue working on the set-up of the car to have a good qualifying session tomorrow”.
“It was a great feeling racing in India once again, at home. The first session went pretty well and in the afternoon we decided to change the balance of the car to improve certain aspects. We’d just set the soft tyres when, unfortunately, we suffered a hydraulic failure which impeded us from improving our times. But the problem should be fixed for tomorrow so I hope to have a good qualifying session”.
Giedo van der Garde (in Heikki Kovalainen’s car for FP1):
“It was another good session for me today and one I want to dedicate to my Grandpa who sadly passed away last week. I know he’s always been very proud of me and he told me to enjoy myself whenever I’m driving, so I made sure I did today. The circuit is pretty technical but I was up to speed quickly and didn’t have any problems getting through the plan we were running today. One thing that was really obvious was just how much the track evolves – even on my first run I could feel the grip levels improving with every lap, so by Sunday it will probably feel very different, but for me in FP1 it was fine.
“I’ll be back in the car again next week in Abu Dhabi at a track I know well, and then I have two full days at the Yas Marina Circuit in the young driver test. It’s good to keep adding to the mileage I’ve already done this year and I’m really pleased with how much progress I’m making with the car and the team in general.”
“Having sat out FP1 the key for me was getting through as many laps as possible and I’m pleased with what we achieved in FP2. The balance has been pretty good all afternoon on both tyre compounds – we did have some understeer in the high speed corners on the first run on the soft tyres but we dialled that out for the long run and the car felt good as the grip levels kept improving. It’s good to see clear air between us and the cars behind and maybe we can play with the tyre strategy tomorrow to push closer to the cars ahead – that has to be the aim.”
“FP1 went well for me. Even though there wasn’t a lot of grip early on the car felt pretty good and we got through a lot of aero work that gives us data to work on tonight. In FP2 we were again running well but on my second run on the soft tyres it looked like we might have had a problem with the engine so we ended the session a little early to let the Renault Sport F1 guys take a look and make sure we prevented any damage. Until that point the car had again felt good and we’d found a balance where deg levels on the tyres were very manageable. I think we’re in quite good shape for tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully we can have a strong weekend here in India.”
“The circuit is nice. For me it was easier to learn than the Korean track ; it’s not as technical but it’s good. It’s always nice to come to a new place like this – I’ve been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places so it’s good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve on one lap but I think we are not far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren. Our car was working well, especially on soft tyres but with the hard tyres it was more difficult to find grip.”
“It’s been very hard to set-up the car as the track has been evolving a lot through the day ; from zero grip in the morning to much better in the afternoon. However, we’ve made good progress today and we’re working on improving further overnight. There are a few blind corners, and some quick places where you don’t want to make mistakes either. Hopefully we find the car we want for qualifying and get what we want tomorrow.”
Paul Di Resta
“It was not an easy session for me. The balance is still not perfect and we need to work hard tonight to try and improve that before final practice. The main issue of the day was the puncture I picked up half-way through FP2 because I missed out on my high-fuel run on the soft tyres. Also, it was hard to get a clean lap during my low fuel run because the track was so busy. We’ve got data with the other car but it would have been helpful to have run more laps and got a proper feel for the soft.”
“It was my first experience of the Buddh circuit today and I have to say they have done a really nice job. There’s a good flow to the lap and the second sector is very technical and challenging. The programme for me today was quite straightforward because we managed to do everything we wanted. I completed a decent long run on the soft tyres this afternoon and I think we are quite well prepared going into tomorrow.”
We were working hard to get the optimum car set-up today so we had to try a number of things to get the right balance during the second session. On the whole we have had a very productive day and completed what we had set out to do. Now we need to work on improving our set-up ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying.
Today the pace wasn’t quite where we want it to be for qualifying so we will have to work hard and analyse where we can improve to give us the sort of one-lap pace that will get us into Q3. Our long runs continue to be strong though, like they have been all season, so that’s encouraging for the race itself.
It was a good first practice today because we managed to complete a busy programme. We completed some good aero evaluations and managed to get a good amount of data. This was my first time driving this circuit and I can tell that it will become one of my favourites because it has a nice flow to it and the surface is very smooth which means that tyre wear is lower so you can push the car a bit more.
F1 DRIVERS ON THE UPCOMING INDIAN GRAND PRIX
Mark Webber: “It’s a challenging venue and I really enjoy the track, it’s a nice circuit to drive. There was a massive crowd there last year and it was a good atmosphere. The track is similar to Korea with mainly long straights in sector 1 followed by a very busy sector 2 and 3, so we need to get the balance right between downforce and top speed. It should be reasonably straightforward weather-wise and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race. With an average speed of 235kph, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza. There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun, from as much as 8% downhill and up to 10% uphill; it’s like a roller coaster! It really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers.”
Pastor Maldonado: India is enjoyable because it’s so different and the track is one of my favourites. It’s still a new track but it has a good combination of medium and high speed corners, chicanes and good changes in direction. Coming to the final few races, making the most of our cars potential is going to be important, so hopefully we can score points here and put ourselves in a strong position for the final three races.
Bruno Senna: I’m looking forward to this weekend because India has a different atmosphere to many other Grand Prix and it’s always a unique place to visit. As a new track the surface is very smooth and the layout is fast and flows well with some high speed corners which will suit our car. We should therefore be looking to improve on our performance in Korea.
NICO HULKENBERG REFLECTS ON HIS PERFORMANCE IN KOREA AND LOOKS AHEAD TO THE INDIAN GRAND PRIX.
Nico, after two strong results in Japan and Korea, you must be feeling pretty confident coming into the team’s home race…
The last two races were a lot of fun and probably two of my best races of the year. Korea was pretty much a perfect weekend. I said at the start of the weekend that we needed things to be perfect and that’s what we had: no mistakes, a smooth qualifying and a clean race
Since the summer break you’ve scored 26 points – it seems you’ve found the sweet spot with the VJM05…
I feel comfortable and confident in the car and the team is doing a good job. We’ve just got a good rhythm and momentum, and that’s so important in Formula One. I’ve still had some tough weekends, like Monza and Singapore, but on the whole things have been going well. We just need to make sure we can repeat what we did in Korea during the final four races. We really need to stretch ourselves to get everything we can from the remaining races.
This is your first Indian Grand Prix and you’re driving an Indian car – how excited are you ahead of the weekend?
I was at the first Indian race last year, but obviously I didn’t get a chance to drive. I’ve been around the track in a road car and tried it on the simulator, but I still have a bit to learn on Friday. As a race it’s as big as they come for this team. We will be in Delhi at the start of the week to meet the local media and fans and they always show lots of enthusiasm for us. I hope that we will see their support at the track with lots of fans cheering us on.
PAUL DI RESTA LOOKS AHEAD TO THE TEAM’S HOME RACE.
Paul, tell us your thoughts heading into such an important weekend for the team…
It’s obviously our home Grand Prix and a special weekend. There’s pressure on us to perform and clearly we need to go there ready to keep the momentum going. It’s a busy week for everyone involved with the team and there’s a lot going on in terms of media work and extra events, but it won’t distract from our focus to come away with the best result we can.
What targets do you have in mind?
We’ve got to go there and qualify in the top ten. That will get us in contention and allow us to concentrate on the race. All year we’ve shown that we have a car capable of reaching Q3, but the grid is very close and we don’t have any margin so we need everything to come together perfectly. Also, based on our performance last year, we looked quite competitive at this track so you’ve got to hope that will carry over for this year.
What are your thoughts on the Buddh International Circuit?
It’s one of those new-style Herman Tilke circuits so there’s a good mixture of corners, plenty of run-off and a few areas where overtaking is possible. We found last year that the grip built up quite quickly and the track was exciting to drive with some satisfying corners. I remember that tyre wear was quite high last year and I had to stop three times during the race, so understanding the tyres on Friday will be the priority.
Giedo van der Garde (driving FP1 in Heikki Kovalainen’s car): “With each session I’m doing I’m getting more comfortable with the car and the team and the feedback I’m getting from the engineers is good, so India’s another chance to build on that. It’s another new track for me but one that looks cool on my simulator, and the other drivers have told me it’s better than quite a few of the stop / start type of tracks so I’m looking forward to getting back out on track.
“I’m also really looking forward to going to India. I’ve never been before and I’ve always wanted to go to India, plus I’m a big fan of spicy food so it’ll be a chance to have a completely new experience, on and off track.”
Heikki Kovalainen,: “It’s our second time racing in India and I’m excited about getting back there. Last year I think we were all impressed with what they did with the circuit – the layout was really good, an interesting mix of elevation changes and different types of corners, not what we’ve seen at a lot of the newer circuits so one I think we all enjoyed.
“Performance-wise I think we’re all realistic about what we can do in India, but that doesn’t mean we’re not working as hard as we can to keep progressing. The guys behind us are putting up a good fight and, while we have clear air between us on track, we need to make sure we keep that gap, and, where possible, take advantage of anything that happens ahead.”
Vitaly Petrov,: “The Indian track is one of the good ones. It’s pretty smooth, nice and wide, so you can take different lines into some of the corners, and it has a couple of really good corners like the double left turns five and six which you come into quickly, and then braking for the chicane through seven, eight and nine. The track surface itself is pretty similar to Korea. It will evolve a lot over the weekend and you’ll see times coming down as the grip levels improve but, as with the whole year, managing the tyres is going to be really important. In Korea we didn’t have as much track time in the practice sessions as we’d have liked, so one of the main objectives will be making sure we get as many laps done as possible so we go into Sunday knowing as much as we can about the tyre behaviour over a race distance.”