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Friday Reports – McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes GP

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McLaren:
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s a great feeling to start the weekend on a high. We had a much smoother Friday here than we did at the Nurburgring, so I’m pretty happy. The car looks reasonably competitive, given the balance and the fuel load that we had. It’s important not to read too much into Fridays, though. The track may be different tomorrow, as may the temperatures. Having said that, I think we’ve probably got about the same pace as we had in Germany, which is encouraging. The guys have been pushing very, very hard back at the factory. We’ve got a couple of upgrades here this weekend and it’s a great achievement by everyone to have got them here in such a short space of time.”

Jenson Button: “A trouble-free day, which is nice. We managed a lot of good runs and did a lot of useful set-up work, so it was a good day. I’m very happy with the direction we’ve taken with the car. We’re strong in the first and last sectors. I’m quickest in the first sector and Lewis is fastest in the last. If we can put it all together, we’ll be looking pretty good. I enjoy driving at the Hungaroring. With a few more set-up tweaks, I think we can be competitive. I hope to challenge for victory, but I’m not the only driver thinking that. Ferrari and Red Bull will also be looking to have good weekends, but that’s great for Formula 1.”

Red Bull:
Mark Webber: “I made a mistake this morning when I got on the damp kerb. I’ve seen a few of those over the last few years, but drivers still don’t learn – we still go out there and push! I clipped the ‘turf and hit the barrier, e but fortunately only the front wing was damaged. We recovered pretty well this afternoon and got a lot of mileage in. The car ran well and we have lots of info to go through tonight. The tricky thing is the tyres. Ferrari and McLaren are certainly performing well, as they have done at the last few races – it’s no big surprise that they are doing decent lap times and it’s a race between all of us.”

Sebastian Vettel: “I felt a little bit better in the car, but it’s not like last year, it seems very tight and McLaren and Ferrari are quick. I think we need to raise our game if we want to be at the front. I am not sure if KERS and DRS will have such a big effect this weekend, but I think the new tyres will be a major factor. I’ve just stepped out of the car, so haven’t seen what the others did – I think they will be the most important thing to look out for, in terms of managing the tyres for one lap, but equally for getting the most out of them for a whole stint. It will be a tough one. The bandage on my hand? It’s just a little thing, but you know how it goes with us men, we like to make a big fuss!”

Ferrari:
Fernando Alonso: “First of all thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes on my thirtieth, especially to Bernie, who came along to wish me the best along with you journalists during the press meeting! It’s nice to celebrate here with Ferrari, a team I will definitely be with at least until I am thirty five…We finished the planned work programme and that’s always a positive start to a race weekend. Now we will analyse all the data gathered and make the best choices for qualifying and the race. I am pleased I was able to do so much running, especially from the point of view of studying the tyre degradation, which at this track is always a significant factor. The track is still very dirty, as is the norm for a Friday at the Hungaroring: however, we know it will improve each day and by Sunday afternoon, it will be much more rubbered in than today. We saw that McLaren looks very strong, as indeed it was last weekend. Now we must try and improve the car, especially in the third sector of the track, where we seem to be suffering more than most.”

Felipe Massa: “We got through a lot of work, especially in terms of comparing the two Pirelli tyres. The first signs are that degradation is significant, both on the Prime and the Option, which will be a decisive factor when it comes to strategy. I think we will witness a very close contest between the usual three teams, Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves. It will be not be easy to get a useful grid position, but it will be very important to do so, because I think that, despite everything, overtaking at this track will still be very difficult. I was not able to do a quick time on my first lap with the Super Soft, because I ran wide at Turn 9, so today’s lap time is not totally representative of the potential at my disposal: the tyres degrade easily so you have to give it your best immediately. I told Fernando this morning, “you are getting old like me!” Joking apart, it’s an important day for him, so he gets all my best wishes again!”

Mercedes GP:Nico Rosberg: “This circuit is really challenging, and it’s very satisfying when you get your laps together cleanly around here. We had two decent sessions and the short and the long runs on the super softs were reasonable. However there is still a lot of work to do to improve our package for qualifying and look at how to manage the tyre degradation. It’s interesting to see how the top six positions are changing from race to race, and we’ll keep pushing to get even closer to, and maybe into, that group.”

Michael Schumacher: “Coming to the second race of a back-to-back series means that you are not able to do a great deal to the car between the two weekends so the practice sessions today went pretty much according to our expectations. We do have the developments from the last couple of races to work with but they obviously do not mean we can make up some positions. We will certainly try to make the best of what we have in our hands for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.”


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