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CHINESE GRAND PRIX
SHANGHAI
FRIDAY DRIVER QUOTES
12 APRIL 2013
Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Mark Webber
“It was good today and we achieved a lot of mileage. There are obviously some pretty quick cars out
there – we saw that in Malaysia before it rained in qualifying. We’re getting a lot of information, but
we’re still in this early phase of learning about the tyres. I think that we have a bit of work to do, but the
car doesn’t feel too bad, we just have to keep working on understanding the tyres. It’s nice to have a
stable weekend in terms of weather, which is unusual in Shanghai.”

Sebastian Vettel
“Today was a tricky day for us. I struggled a bit this afternoon and the gap to the guys at the top is a
little bit bigger than I’d like. There are two or three things that we need to work on and then we should
be in a better shape for tomorrow. I think we know what we need to do. It looks like the soft tyre is the
one for qualifying, but it seems that we won’t see that many stints on the soft tyre during the race.”

Scuderia Ferrari
Fernando Alonso
“By the end of the day, the overall feeling is positive. We worked well and on top of that, it’s always
great fun driving the Shanghai track which has some really unique features, such as the first corner.
From one session to the next the track conditions improved significantly, because the other categories
that ran after our morning session cleaned the surface. The increase in temperature means the
conditions were very similar to those predicted for tomorrow. Once again, tyres will play a key role in
this Grand Prix because of the high level of degradation over a long run. We will have to ensure we pick
the right strategy for Sunday, as well as deciding on which of the new parts we tried this morning to fit
to the car. As usual, we can expect a long evening studying the data.”

Felipe Massa
“Today, I immediately had a good feeling in the car and even if, at the start, I was not completely
happy with the performance of the Medium compound and we were not as quick as our rivals, the
times were good all the same. When I fitted the Softs, the car improved a lot and this meant I was
able to set the fastest time of the day. It was impressive, like driving two completely different cars.
Our race pace looks competitive, the car is handling well on both types of tyre and degradation was
not excessive, even if the higher wear rate of the Soft compared to the Medium compound will be an
important factor when it comes to choosing the right strategy. I feel confident and hope that the
whole weekend can keep moving in this direction”.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button
“We can’t yet conclusively tell if the upgrades we brought to this race have improved the car. They’re
perhaps not as big a step forward as we’d expected – the issues with the car are still there – but the car
does feel a little bit better. We’ve worked very hard over the last few weeks to bring the new parts here
– which is great. Today’s been all about putting mileage on those parts; now we need to sit down and
look at the data this evening – there’s a lot to look through. I feel we’ll be using the Prime tyre quite a lot
in the race. The Option tyre transforms the car completely; over one lap, there’s a lot more grip, but
then you start to lose time over each successive lap. My puncture happened after I’d already decided to
pit. I got to the braking zone at Turn 14, locked up the front left and the tyre just punctured – there was
a hole through it. It’s a good job that corner is just before the pits. I don’t think we’ll be fighting at the
front this weekend, but we’ll definitely be fighting someone.”

Sergio Perez
“Today was a difficult day for me, but an important one for the team. I had two offs – in the morning, I
was running on cold, worn tyres, locked the wheels and just touched the barrier. went into the barrier. In
FP2, we don’t really understand what happened because I wasn’t really pushing at the time. Still, I’m
sure we will improve tomorrow. I’ll effectively be starting from zero because I’ll adopt a completely new
set-up. That won’t make things easier, but I think we’ve gathered some useful data today and that will
ensure we make good progress for the future. The target for tomorrow is to get into Q3. For Sunday,
the tyres will play a big role; it’ll be essential to manage the degradation and plot the perfect strategy,
but I know the team is very good in these areas, so I’m optimistic. I think we can have a good result on
Sunday.”

Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen
“If you look at the lap time it looks to have been a pretty okay day. For sure there are things we have to
improve and you never know what will happen tomorrow but it’s a reasonable start to the weekend. We
seem to be happy with the soft tyres and maybe not as happy with the harder ones. We’ve still got time
to improve and we’re certainly not struggling so it could be a good weekend.”

Romain Grosjean
“Today was not so easy for me and I’m still looking for the right setup. I ran with the new exhaust
package in the morning and the older one in the afternoon to try to help find where improvements can
be made. We now have a lot of data to help find the extra performance we want. The new front wing
helps, so that’s a step in the right direction. In Malaysia we developed the car as the weekend
continued and there are of course a few things we can change overnight. It’s a new day tomorrow and
we’ll hopefully be able to have the car as I’d like it for a strong result this weekend.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team
Nico Rosberg
“It was good to be back on the track here in Shanghai where I have experienced some really good
moments in my career. I felt very comfortable in the car and it was a productive day for us, we
definitely learnt a lot. We looked good on one lap, but there is some work still to do on the longer
runs. Tyre degradation was particularly high on the option tyre out there today. So we need to
analyse this and decide what is best to do in the race.”

Lewis Hamilton
“We’ve made a good start today but there is a lot of work to do overnight. The car feels reasonable
although I’m still finding myself a little uncomfortable so we made a change for the afternoon session
which was a really positive step. I’m hoping that we can continue to improve as I spend more time in
the car. The tyres are going to be challenging this weekend, particularly the option compound. Our
pace looked good and although I had some traffic on my quick lap, there was enough to give me a
good feeling. We’ll find out in qualifying where we really are.”

Sauber F1 Team
Nico Hülkenberg
“I think overall the day wasn’t too bad. We got quite a lot of testing done and pretty much got through all
that we wanted to try. It is quite interesting with the tyres, and it will be a challenge on Sunday with the
soft compound. It is much quicker on a single lap. The modified rear wing we have here is a step
forward, and the car definitely feels a bit better with it. How much of a step this is, is difficult to say, so
we have to look a little bit deeper into the data and wait until tomorrow. Overall, it was a positive day,
but there is still some work ahead of us.”

Esteban Gutiérrez
“Generally the sessions were positive and helped us to understand what our issues are and to find a
step forward. This is something that keeps us going and pointing us in the right direction. I think there is
still a lot of room for improvement. Unfortunately, at the end of the second session we had an oil leak,
which, of course, is not what you want to have. However it is good it happened now and not later in the
weekend, so hopefully we will have two trouble-free days from now on.”

Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team
Adrian Sutil
“I’m feeling happy with how things went today. There were no major issues and we managed to test a
lot of different things on the car, especially on the aero side. The important thing now is to understand
which are the right parts and the best settings to use for the rest of the weekend. In terms of the tyres
there is a big difference between the compounds, with the medium performing better than the soft. I
think we look quite competitive, but it’s too early to say exactly where we stand.”

Paul Di Resta
“I think the story of the day was mainly about tyres and trying to understand how to get the most out of
them. We’ve done as much as we could, but I think everybody found quite a big difference between the
two compounds. Also, this is a track with characteristics that are always quite demanding on the tyres.
We worked through the programme, tried a lot of different settings with the car and need to study the
data carefully tonight to make the right decisions for the rest of the weekend.”

Williams F1 Team
Valtteri Bottas
“We tried lots of things in FP1 and saw some positive results. In FP2 I had a problem at the start but
the team did a great job to fix it in time for me to still complete three runs. I feel we have moved a
little bit forward since Malaysia, but we’ll see tomorrow where we are compared to the others in
qualifying set-up. We need to work hard to maximise what we have here.”

Pastor Maldonado
“We will see tomorrow in qualifying what steps we have made as it’s too early to say. The car felt like
we had made some improvements during FP1, but we struggled this afternoon so we need to
analyse the data to see how best to move forward.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso
Jean-Éric Vergne
“Last year, the Chinese weekend did not go so well for us and I can say we have made a better start
this time round. Daniel and I ran slightly different programmes today as we had a lot of items on our job
sheet to work through, so it made sense to split the workload between us. We will look at the data from
both cars in order to find the best set-up to move forward tomorrow, so that we can have a better car. I
am quite confident we can be quicker. As expected, it looks as though the tyres will have a tough time
here, especially the Softs, but it’s the same for everyone, so no real concern there.”

Daniel Ricciardo
“We were a little bit pessimistic coming here after how we performed in this race last year. But after
today, I am feeling happier, because we definitely look to be in better shape this time. Another good
point is that we made progress between FP1 and FP2 today. It’s still not enough if we want to catch our
closest rivals, but we are moving in the right direction. As for the tyres, the Soft was very good over a
single flying lap and I was quite happy with the performance advantage it produced compared to the
Prime. On the longer runs the tyres suffer a bit more and there are already plenty of marbles on the
track, but we always expected to see quite high degradation here.”

Caterham F1 Team
Ma Qing Hua (First Practice)
“It was a very proud moment for me to be the first Chinese driver to take part in an F1 session in my
home country, but to be honest I was focusing on doing my job and I’m pleased with how it went. I
want to thane Caterham for this chance and for helping make me so comfortable in the car and all
weekend. We did 20 laps and my times kept coming down as I was more and more comfortable with
the car. It felt like we had a slight issue towards the end of the session that cut the fourth run short
but after a few checks it looked like a sensor problem so I was able to finish the session with a car
that felt good with the final changes we made. I’ve learnt a lot this weekend already and that was the
main thing in FP1 – make sure I completed the runplan and don’t push too hard so I could learn as
much as possible. Cyril Abiteboul told me he was happy with my performance at the end of the
session so I’m really pleased with how it went.”

Charles Pic (Second Practice)
“I sat out FP1 for Ma and was then back in for FP2. It didn’t start all that well as it felt like I had a
hydraulics problem early on the first run but we took a look at it in the garage and managed to sort it
out pretty quickly. However, that problem did mean we lost enough time to miss one of the runs and
that was important for giving us enough options on car setup. Despite that we got on with the normal
program, running a couple of setup options on the medium tyres, then onto the performance run on
the softs and finishing with a long run on the softs to see how they hold up over a longer distance.
The quickest laptimes seem to be on the first lap on the softs but I didn’t have a clean lap on my
fastest run and that hit my time, but we’ve completed a lot of mileage today and have a couple of
setup options to look at for tomorrow so we’ll look for areas to improve tonight and hopefully we can
push on tomorrow.“

Giedo van der Garde
“Both practice sessions for me were ok but we’ve had issues all day that have held us back a bit.
This morning we had a KERS issue that meant we were running without KERS for the whole
session, and that obviously didn’t help, and then in the afternoon I overcooked it going into turn one
on one of the medium sets and that meant we had to cut short the FP2 plan so we didn’t use up
another set of tyres. Despite that we have a lot of good data on the medium tyres from both sessions
and the performance run on the softs went ok. Degradation levels are going to be big here,
particularly on the softs which had pretty much gone by the end of the long run we did on them, so
we’ll have to look closely at how we deal with that on Sunday. We know this isn’t going to be a
particularly easy weekend for us but I still think we can fight tomorrow and on Sunday. The
atmosphere in the team is good and if we can repeat the sort of race performance we had on Sunday
in Malaysia we’ll be ok.”

Marussia F1 Team
Jules Bianchi
“It has been a good day today and it is very pleasing to see clear progress since the first two races, not
just in terms of the results, but the way we have revised our working methods to ensure we get the best
out of the package. It seemed a long time since I was last in the car but straight away I can feel the
benefit of the development work which has been carried out in the break, so this is a nice feeling as we
know we have to keep pushing hard in the early part of the season in particular. This morning the track
was very dirty and it was quite difficult in places, but it wasn’t so long before I was up to speed and by
the end of the day the conditions were improving. Generally a good day and I am happy so far.”

Max Chilton
“For a day that started so positively this morning, it is disappointing to have suffered such a setback in
the afternoon session. This morning I was really pleased with the car balance and I could feel the
benefit of the updates we have here. I was less than a tenth from Jules after FP1 and feeling that we
had a nice rhythm going for FP2. Unfortunately that was short-lived as I’d completed just four laps
before the engine cut to protect itself and I had to pull over on track. I have to pay credit to the guys for
turning the car around so quickly to try to get me out again. Clearly we hadn’t quite got the full measure
of the problem, but it was a great effort nonetheless. Tomorrow will be quite a challenge so a big night
ahead with the engineers comparing data and doing everything we can to hit the ground running for
FP3 ready for qualifying.”

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • KevinW

    As it seems to be the order of the day in the saga of the Pirelli Race Series, it is all about tires, tires, tires. One day I hope to see F1 will return, but for now we have this limited spec-tire farse. What a complete bore. I’m losing interest in 2013 already – it’s just the same story repeated over and over and over – splattered with the inane idiocy about the morals of team order compliance. Makes one gag… I’m skipping attending any F1 events this year, MotoGP is shaping up to be a much more interesting waste of time than this – Rossi back on a Yamaha – now that’s going to be drama worth paying for!

  • Abe345

    As a new fan that found it after watching WSBK on Beinsports, I have become a big fan and consume all of the podcasts, including this excellent one.

    I actually find the tires fascinating as it makes it one more thing the teams and drivers have to deal with, while they all want to win and may have to take risks. It seems like just one more variable in the equation. The teams look like they are adjusting to them, but I am not sure I want to see a simple drag race where the fastest car wins (unless they are driving the same car and it becomes about skill). They have the same tires so it is making these races strategic as well as ridiculously fast and great driving. So far I have not been disappointed as a first time race fan. NASCAR holds no interest whatsoever. MotoGP was fascinating especially Rossi’s skill.