Formula 1 – Webber Tops Alonso In Free Practice 2

August 27, 2011

Formula 1

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Red Bull Racing‘s Mark Webber topped the time sheets in a wet day at Spa.

Hear what all the drivers had to say:

Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“It was quite tricky because the weather changed all the time and it’s a shame that in wet conditions we only have one free set of intermediates for the rest of the weekend, as you want to save tyres for Saturday and Sunday. We had a little bit of running in the dry and tested some updates; I think we got a decent result on those. It was difficult to judge lap times and the overall pace today, but the car feels okay. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Mark Webber

“The weather was a little bit up and down today we got some dry running in, but only around four laps: two laps on the soft tyre and two on the medium. Otherwise we were just doing general housekeeping, looking at ride heights, brake balance and all that stuff before we get the car to the limit. We need to get out there and get the mileage in, but on the other side of the coin we need to save tyres for Saturday and Sunday. The kerbs are the hardest thing here when it’s wet, it makes the white lines like ice and it’s very easy to make a mistake.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button

“Despite the changeable weather, I think we learnt quite a bit today. We didn’t get quite as many laps’ running in the dry as we’d have liked, but we still made some reasonable progress. I tried a couple of different rear-wing combinations today – and each had their positives and negatives. The wet weather didn’t make it easy to draw many meaningful comparisons, and it’ll be a bit of a challenge to decide which way to take the car’s set-up direction, but I’m sure we’ll get there. Speaking personally, I think it might have been more fun to race with DRS through Eau Rouge – but on the other hand I suppose you’d have to say that, on balance, the FIA has made the right choice: you lose so much downforce by activating the DRS that it’s safer to keep it closed through the corner. I’d definitely prefer it to be dry on Sunday. I reckon we’d still do a very good job in the wet, but I think we’re looking very strong in the dry. The Red Bulls are very strong in the middle sector too, but we’re definitely in good shape overall.”

Lewis Hamilton

“We got a couple of laps in the dry during P2, but we didn’t do too much because of the changeable conditions. In fact, we spent most of the day running installation laps to test wings and to find out which downforce levels to use. We look pretty good in the wet, but I think the car is pretty solid in the dry too. It’s also difficult to get the car set up to be competitive both with and without DRS, so it’s going to be really close – although it looks as though the same cars as usual are going to be up at the front. I had a big moment on the approach to Blanchimont in P1. I drove across a small river on the track – I must have been doing around 150mph and I had a huge tank-slapper. I’m glad I was alert enough to correct it, otherwise we could have ended up with all four corners and both wings knocked off the car! The top three or four teams all look competitive; now our challenge is to make the right choices with the wings and downforce levels.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Fernando Alonso

“Even if I only managed a few laps in the dry, my initial feeling is positive: the car is well balanced and there are no major changes needed for the rest of the weekend. Sure, it’s always difficult to get a complete picture after a day like this, but as I said at the start, we have got off on the right foot. That is important because it’s never nice to have to make a major set-up change from Friday to Saturday, thus tackling the second day almost in the dark. Our main opponents were also very strong, from the little we could see: the Red Bull had a great top speed and was still quickest in the second sector, which shows good all-round performance and McLaren also looked good. Michael? I don’t know him well enough to be able to talk about him as a person, but he has left a significant mark at Maranello and this means a lot. As a river, he is a legend: maybe these days he comes in for criticism in the press, but wherever we go, he is still a major attraction and the people shout his name, which shows how popular he is.”

Felipe Massa

“It’s hard to make much sense of such a strange day: first it was dry, then wet and then it repeated itself. Luckily, at least we managed to try both types of slick tyre brought here by Pirelli, even if just for a few laps. Along with the engineers, we will have to try and interpret the data in the best way possible to make the right choices: in any case, first impressions, from what I can tell, are positive. We have some new parts and I think we will use them for the rest of the weekend, because they have allowed us to improve our performance. Where we are compared to the others, we will only know tomorrow in qualifying. I really like this track a lot: maybe it’s lost some of its excitement in some corners, such as Eau Rouge, which is now practically a straight, but it is still great to drive a Formula 1 car on a track like this.”

Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team

Michael Schumacher

“It was a special feeling to be out on track today for the first practice sessions of this anniversary weekend in Spa. A lot of things have changed here in the past twenty years, but the weather certainly hasn’t! Today was another typical Spa day, with mixed conditions and very little dry running. The conditions meant that we couldn’t do much work on the set-up, although we made the most of the limited time when the circuit was dry. Even so, it will be tricky to find the right set-up compromise for Sunday, because the weather here is always so unpredictable.”

Nico Rosberg

“It was quite difficult out there today in typical Spa conditions, but we still managed to have two good practice sessions. We learned a few things in both the dry and the wet, and managed to do some tests for both the race and qualifying, so I’m quite positive ahead of tomorrow.”

Lotus Renault GP

Bruno Senna

“Obviously it was disappointing for my first practice session to be cut short when I slipped off the track, but I was much happier to get a good amount of track time this afternoon. Despite the difficult conditions, it was much more productive in the second session. I managed to get some dry running too, which was crucial for understanding which direction to go with the car. We also managed to fit in a number of procedures such as pit stop practices and pull aways. I’m making up for all these sessions that I’ve missed in the past by getting more miles on the clock. One thing’s for sure – I’m excited about getting back in the car tomorrow.”

Vitaly Petrov

“FP1 was a difficult session with too much water on track, which meant it was difficult to understand how the car’s new parts were working. The grip from the intermediate tyres was okay, both when there was a lot of standing water early on in the session and when the track dried. All in all, it 2 was a normal morning at Spa and we had no problems. In the afternoon, we evaluated the setup for intermediate tyres and the car worked well in those conditions. I am happy with the handling of the car and would be quite happy driving it in the same conditions again. When I went out for my first afternoon run on the slick tyres, I felt a problem with the steering in the high speed corners on my first lap. As a result, I returned to the pits so the team could investigate it. The steering did not feel good, so it made sense for me to pit so the team could work on it.”

AT&T Williams

Rubens Barrichello

“It was good to be back in the car after what feels like a long time. The only problem I had today was the KERS not working in the afternoon session. Apart from that, it was a pretty straight forward day working through our development parts.”

Pastor Maldonado

“Conditions were quite difficult today because it wasn’t completely wet or completely dry. But I think it was a positive day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We need to improve more in the wet but in the dry the car felt well balanced. There is still much we can improve.”

Force India Formula One Team

Adrian Sutil

“We knew it was going to be wet today, but hoped the rain would not arrive until the afternoon, which is why I drove FP1 and Nico drove FP2. As it happened the morning was wet with quite a heavy shower early on, which made the track wet for nearly the whole session. I started on wets, but quickly changed to intermediates and worked on improving the balance. There was a lot of understeer to begin with so we addressed that and made some changes to the aero balance. The track dried up towards the end of the morning, but there was not enough time to do a run on dry tyres. We seemed quick in the rain and P6 is a clear sign of where we want to be this weekend.”

Paul Di Resta

“Despite not completing a massive number of laps, I don’t think we’re in bad shape because I’ve managed to do running in both the wet and the dry. In the morning session I did laps on the intermediates and just made a small mistake towards the end of the session. During the lunch hour we took some precautionary steps and changed some parts on the car, which meant we were a little delayed getting out for the start of FP2. But I don’t think it cost us too much because we were on track when we needed to be and did the dry running. So I’m reasonably happy going into tomorrow, but it looks like this unsettled weather could hang around and make things tricky for the weekend.”

Sauber F1 Team

Sergio Pérez

“It was a very difficult day for everyone with the changing weather conditions. Nevertheless I enjoyed driving a Formula One car here for the first time, and at least we managed to do some work with the soft tyre compound in the second session. Now we have to carefully analyse the data for both wet and dry conditions as it could rain tomorrow.”

Kamui Kobayashi

“Due to the mixed track conditions it was obviously difficult. For quite a while I stuck to the medium compound when it was dry in the second session, but then unfortunately I only got one lap on the soft compound, and at the end of that the rain started again. Overall there is a lack of clear information, but this will be the same for everybody and it doesn’t come as a surprise here in Spa.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari

“It’s always nice to come to Spa, a track that all the drivers like as it’s a great feeling pushing the car to the limit here. Of course the changeable weather made life difficult, but we still got through a lot of work and acquired plenty of data to look at tonight. The car feels fast and I am sure there is more to come, as we did not run the softer, faster tyre in the dry today. I enjoy driving in the wet, even if it can make life complicated in the race. But, for ourselves, these types of unpredictable race can often be the ones where we get a good result. I am optimistic for the rest of the weekend and my aim will be to push hard and get in the points again on Sunday.”

Sebastien Buemi

“I think this was a good day overall, as we were able to run in the wet, which is actually nearly always the case in Spa and also got a bit of dry track time. We ran the Medium slick which will be important for the race, although I did not drive on the Soft. As for some new elements we had on the car here, of course it is always difficult to assess on a wet track. So we still have a lot to do before tomorrow and the engineers will have to do their best overnight to analyse the data and decide which parts worked well. The forecast for tomorrow is for more rain, but with a dry Sunday predicted, choosing the right car set-up for tomorrow will not be an easy choice. Whatever the weather, driving at Spa is always a great experience and at least we got a little bit of time in the dry, which is always better in terms of getting a feeling for how the car is behaving.”

Team Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen

“It’s always difficult in weather like this to get anything meaningful done, but we did get out on both the mediums and the softs and have a bit of data from those runs that’ll be useful for Sunday. Tomorrow should be interesting – it looks like rain but we’ve always done pretty well in qualifying in the changeable conditions so let’s see what we can do with strategy tomorrow afternoon – whatever happens I’m sure it’ll be a good session for the fans!”

Jarno Trulli

“Despite it being a typical Spa day it was still pretty positive for me. We obviously knew what the conditions would be and had a plan to work around that, so we managed to get through most of what we wanted on the tyres, engine and setup and I think we’re ok for quali when it looks like it’ll be similar weather. One good point is that we were trouble-free in all the runs today so I think it’s important we keep that up all weekend and give ourselves a chance to be in the mix if anything happens in qualifying or the race.”

Hispania F1 Racing

Narain Karthikeyan

“The first day here at Spa had the typical weather, what it usually produces. We were expecting it to be a bit wet but it would have been nice if it was either wet or dry, not in between. At least we were able to complete runs in the afternoon with soft, intermediate and extreme wet tyres, which was quite positive although they were very short runs. When we wanted to do a change to the set-up the weather always changed too, so that was a bit frustrating. But it wasn’t a bad first day and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow”.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

“It is good to be back although we haven’t had the sessions we were hoping for. Today was a typical day at Spa with unpredictable weather and it is a shame that we couldn’t test as much as we wanted. We understood a few things about the car under wet conditions but, of course, we would have liked to have a lot more information on the dry. We were only able to do five laps in these conditions but I am sure we could have gone quicker with a few more. We have some ideas about which direction to go and we appear to be quite strong in wet conditions. We have to be ready for any conditions but tomorrow and Sunday could be the same”.

Marussia Virgin Racing

Timo Glock

“It’s been a typical Friday in Spa and we could say that the weather dictated the day today. We were able to drive in wet and dry conditions and the car felt good. The morning session was not too bad and in the afternoon we tried to do some running in dry conditions, which was okay. The tyres are not perfect at the moment so we still have some work to do.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio

“It’s great to finally drive here at my home track and in front of all my Belgian fans. I had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Unfortunately, the typically Belgian weather made it a difficult first day as we would have liked to have completed some more laps in dry conditions. We have to continue working hard but I feel good in the car – it’s great to be at home.”

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