Formula 1 – Massa Fastest On Day 1 At Indian Grand Prix

October 29, 2011

Formula 1

(c) jxpphotography.com

The time for pre-event simulations & talking was over, as the covers were pulled off the Buddh International Circuit and the first wheel was turned in anger.

Ferrari’s Felippe Massa, enjoying a return to form, pocketed a small piece of history by recording the fastest time of the day with a 1m 25.706s in P2.

Lewis Hamilton’s recent bad luck didn’t change though. After recently breaking up with his long term girlfriend, he set the fastest time in P1, only to receive a 3 grid place penalty for Sunday’s race for doing it while the race marshalls were clearing Pastor Maldonado’s wreck.

The track was surprisingly grippy, and all drivers reported that they enjoyed the experience and were excited to explore the possibilities on Saturday.

Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“It’s an interesting track, a good challenge. It was very dusty to start with, but the track seems fun, especially the wide entries which give a lot of options to all the drivers. It should be a good race on Sunday. It’s dusty off-line, which makes it tricky, so we’ll have to make sure we stay on the racing line. It’s a good circuit for overtaking I think, with long straights and wide entries. The long run seemed good today, so let’s see how we go tomorrow.”

Mark Webber

“It’s a good track with good Formula One corners, there are quick left-rights and you can take a lot of the corners in 5th gear. Turn 3 is a unique corner, it’s very slow, but it’s uphill and quite extreme on the elevation. Turn 4 is also not straightforward, so they’re both challenging and I like the two quick chicanes – they’re enjoyable. Even though the track is wide, it’s quite greasy off-line, so most people will follow the racing line. This morning went well; this afternoon less so, but we’ll get it back tomorrow.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

“The track is fantastic – the organisers here in India have done a great job. It’s very fast and flowing, the grip-level is fantastic, the run-off areas seem to be good, and the kerbs are probably the best of any circuit we visit: nice rumblestrips that you can drive on. Like any brand-new circuit, it’s been gripping-up throughout the day. We looked quick this morning. This afternoon, however, I had a problem with the driveshaft – it felt like it was causing some wear and tear so it prompted me to end the session a little early. We’ll fit a new gearbox for tomorrow, so the car will hopefully start behaving a bit better. That should make things closer at the front. Sunday’s race will be a long one. Nevertheless, there will be opportunities to overtake: it’s a high-downforce circuit and, although it’ll be very hard to follow other cars closely, the double-DRS zone should make it a bit easier. We’ll get a clearer idea tomorrow of just how quick we really are.”

Jenson Button

“I really like this circuit. It’s great fun to drive. There are some tough corners, like Turns Three and Five, but there’s also a lot of high-speed stuff and it feels a lot faster than we initially thought it would. What’s also been quite a surprise is the amount of grip out there, particularly in the faster corners where the downforce is really working for you. And, because the high-speed corners are pretty smooth, you can really carry a lot of speed through them. It’s difficult to get the tyres up to their optimal working temperature range, but, once they’re in the operating window, the high-speed grip is phenomenal. From Turn Five onwards, the track is actually very quick. We’ll have a lot of fun this weekend and we’re hopefully going to be fighting for the win on Sunday.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Fernando Alonso

“I lost almost the entire morning session because of an engine problem on my car, but fortunately I managed to make up for it in the afternoon, when I was able to run without any problems. Today’s priority was getting to know the circuit. Furthermore, given the condition of the track surface, I don’t think I lost out that much compared to the others. First impressions are positive: the car seems to behave well and we hope to continue down this route. I like the track, even if it is very dirty and if you go just the slightest bit off line it’s like driving on ice: this could create problems during overtaking moves on Sunday, but maybe by then the situation will have changed. It’s very nice that the track is wide in some corners and I think it will add to the spectacle, because it means you can take different lines and I think even qualifying should be very exciting, given the rather high average speed, especially through the final sector.”

Felipe Massa

“It’s always nice to be in first place at the end of a day’s work, however we know that Friday’s results are all relative. Sure, it would be nice to move through the weekend in the same position, but that will be very difficult to achieve. Today, we concentrated on finding the best set-up on the car and on tyre behaviour on this new circuit. I like the track, it is very interesting and there are corners where driving skill can make the difference. In some places the actual track surface is very wide and so it will therefore be possible to take various different lines in the race, which could make overtaking easier. The car seems competitive, but we must wait and see what McLaren and Red Bull can do tomorrow, as they are still very strong. The tyres? Probably the Hards are too hard for this track and it would have been possible to run the same compounds we had in Korea in two weeks ago, because the track surface is very smooth.”

Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team

Nico Rosberg

“The new track here in India is awesome. It has some very interesting corners, and that’s why it takes a bit longer to get used to the layout than at some of the other new circuits. Turn two for example is very different; you come from downhill, then go up looking into the sky and so you see the hairpin very late, just before you arrive. In general we had two good sessions and learned quite a few things today so I have a good feeling for this weekend. Hopefully that feeling will continue tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher

“This is a very interesting track with a challenging layout, and it’s certainly enjoyable to drive. As we expected, off-line it is extremely dusty but the racing line became quite grippy over the day. This morning, I was happy with the balance of the car, however this afternoon was more challenging for us. We weren’t really able to get into working properly for various reasons, including the red flag, and therefore tomorrow we need to work on the set-up for both qualifying and the race.”

Lotus Renault GP

Bruno Senna

“I enjoyed today. Both LRGP cars were in the positions they should be and the track looks like it could be an ally for our car. We need to develop and extract more from the set-up, but we definitely have potential here. The track is very good, that’s for sure. When I walked it yesterday it was clear it was going to be very dusty, and that was also the case this morning, but it is improving all the time. The corners are very fast and they encourage you to push, push, push so I think we can have a good weekend here. As the grip to improves and the racing line widens we should be able to push even harder!”

Vitaly Petrov

“The track was very dirty which makes it difficult to get the maximum from the car but it’s the same for everyone. We completed today’s programme without any mechanical problems which is always beneficial. I am feeling positive about the car and the set-up; we just need to improve a little but we have potential for a good weekend. The layout of the circuit is quite tricky. On some corners you can’t see the apex which makes it difficult to find your braking point and turning in point. But we’ve found more or less a good line and hopefully we’ll gain some more speed through P3 tomorrow morning before qualifying.”

AT&T Williams

Rubens Barrichello

“It was nice to get to know the Buddh circuit today. We obviously encountered the dirt, like everyone else, and quite normal for a new circuit. We don’t know where we stand at the moment because the track is evolving all the time, but hopefully we will have a good qualifying tomorrow.”

Pastor Maldonado

“I would like to thank the mechanics for working so hard to change engines in time for this afternoon’s session. The balance of the car seems ok and I am confident we will have a good race pace. Tyre degradation isn’t that high, but we will have to look at our strategy as the hard option tyre isn’t the best fit with our package.”

Force India Formula One Team

Adrian Sutil

“We had a good couple of sessions today. We ran an aero upgrade on the car this morning and I could feel the difference in stability straight away, so I think we are going to run it for the race. The circuit is good fun and very nicely done. It has some challenging corners and there seem to be plenty of opportunities to overtake. It should make for an interesting and exciting race on Sunday.”

Paul Di Resta

“It was a new experience today for everyone and we had a lot to get through with our programme. The track is quite exciting and the grip seems to be building nicely. It won’t be an easy race with the DRS zones being so effective and likely to result in lots of overtaking, but from our work today we are getting where we need to be in terms of the set-up. I still need to find a little bit of speed, but once we sit down and analyse the data I’m confident of more good runs tomorrow.”

Sauber F1 Team

Kamui Kobayashi

“The lay-out of the track is really nice, and I have a good feeling driving the circuit. Because it is new it was very dusty and slippery, especially in the morning. The first laps were like driving in the wet. Here we have the soft and the hard tyre compounds. With the hard ones you cannot really drive here, while with the soft tyres it was still not easy to heat them up and get them to work properly, but there is no comparison to the hard ones.”

Sergio Pérez

“The circuit is very nice, and I really enjoy driving here. Regarding the set-up work, it is quite challenging because you have many changes of direction and several fast corners as well as slow corners too. But we could complete our programme and have the feeling we are getting there. Of course the track conditions were improving during the course of the day. The hard tyre compound doesn’t work, so it won’t be easy to create a race strategy in which it makes really sense. However, everyone has to use it in a dry race.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi

“It’s always exciting to drive a new track for the first time and today I managed to do a lot of laps, with no issues on the car, so I could push myself to the limit, which is always a good thing. I think we have everything we need in terms of data and understanding to prepare ourselves for qualifying and the race. Therefore I am happy with the way today went overall, the car ran reliably and the team did a good job. Now it’s up to us to put everything together for qualifying. In terms of performance we hope we can continue the trend we saw in Korea a fortnight ago. The track is quite similar to what we saw on the simulator. It’s a beautiful circuit, I’m happy to be here and I hope we will have a lot of spectators on Saturday and Sunday.”

Jaime Alguersuari

“The track looks really nice and it’s a pleasure to drive it. The lap time makes it look like a short lap, because it is so quick, but from a driver’s point of view, it is very interesting. We tried a set-up today that did not suit me and I found it quite difficult to keep the car in a straight line out there. I did not feel comfortable and I felt I was on the edge. In the morning, I went over it, losing control and hitting the barrier with the rear of the car at Turn 9. The guys did a good job to get it all repaired for the start of the second session. I am sure we can have a better feeling for the car tomorrow and improve our position.”

Team Lotus

Karun Chandhok

“It felt great to finally be able to drive an F1 car here at the Buddh International Circuit, and it was a real honour to be the first car to set a timed lap in front of the fans. I want to thank the team for giving me that chance, and everyone at the Jaypee Group and all the people involved in helping create the first ever Indian Grand Prix for doing such a great job on the whole event. In the car I was pretty pleased with how it went today. We completed most of the morning programme and without the yellow flags at the end of the session I’m pretty sure there was another second in hand on my final lap time. The track itself is really enjoyable to drive, particularly the middle section which is very quick, and as it evolves and the times keep coming down I think we’ll see some very good racing here all weekend.”

Heikki Kovalainen

“I’m reasonably pleased with how it went this afternoon but think I suffered a bit from not running this morning. Still, you have to deal with what you have in front of you so we worked hard in the afternoon session to get used to the track and find a balance that gave me the confidence to push. There’s definitely quite a lot more to come from the car and as the track evolves I think we’ll see that the fact we’re pretty kind to the soft tyres should help us, probably more on Sunday than tomorrow, but we’ll see.”

Jarno Trulli

“That was a very smooth Friday and we made good progress in both sessions, both on learning the track and on the best setup here in India. The track is not too hard to learn but it’s interesting – there are a few different lines you can take and I think that will encourage overtaking, so Sunday’s definitely going to be fun. The track surface developed quickly today and I hope it continues to do so – off line it’s still very dusty and that could catch out a few people, so let’s see how it evolves over the weekend. On the tyre side I think we’ve seen some interesting results today. The softs seem to hang on very well over the long runs but the hard tyres have almost no grip and it seems pretty tough to get them up to temperature. We’ll have to see if that’s the same tomorrow as it could change as the track keeps developing.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Narain Karthikeyan

“The first lap was very special; I felt so many emotions driving in India. I just couldn’t believe it and there were so many things running through my head. In the first practice we were just trying to get into the swing of things and the second one went much better and we have a lot of things to try for tomorrow. Overall it was a good session for me, considering I haven’t driven a full race distance since July, so the body needs to wake up a bit. The track evolved a lot and so times were improving too. We have a few things to try ahead of tomorrow so I’m quite excited to see how qualifying goes.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“It was our first day here and I can say that it is quite a fun circuit, I’m happy with the layout and I think that most drivers will enjoy it. This morning the track was cleaning all the time so we just did as many laps as we could which is the most important thing. This afternoon we started to work a bit with both compounds. I’m not as happy as in the morning since we made some changes which didn’t work as well as we thought they could do. We’ll analyse that and work on it for tomorrow. I think we can compete with our main competitors here and give them a good run for their money.”

Marussia Virgin Racing

Timo Glock

“It’s been a good first day here in India. The track is just awesome and really good fun to drive. It’s been an enjoyable day without any problems. The car felt okay, it has a reasonable balance to it and we were able to get through the entire programme and achieve good set-up work. Now we just have to analyse the data overnight and see what we can do for tomorrow. I can’t wait to get back in the car again here!”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio

“The afternoon session ended quite early for me as I made a mistake out of turn 11 and hit the wall, damaging the rear wing and right rear corner a bit. But apart from that I think I was running fine until then. We have lost some track time but we still have tomorrow’s FP3 to make up for it, so that will be the plan.”

 

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