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Friday quotes – McLaren, Sauber, Mercedes – 2012 British GP

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P1 – 1:57.174, 3rd; P2 – 1:56.345, 1st
“I had some fun out there today! I got to do a good few laps too, which was good, because I was concerned that the fans wouldn’t get to see much action. There were so many of them out there today. I can’t remember seeing so many people at a racetrack on a Friday before – it was incredible. British Formula One fans are the best in the world! I would like to have gone out and done even more laps – but we simply didn’t have enough tyres to do that.

Perhaps that’s something we can look at for the future. There was a lot of standing water out there, and tons of aquaplaning. That’s to be expected when there’s heavy rain, of course, but I have to say that there doesn’t seem to be that much drainage around the circuit. You’re aquaplaning almost all the time, to be honest, so you need to be very in tune with your senses or you’re very likely to lose control. I think the drivers can probably make more of a difference in the wet than we can in the dry, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend, which looks likely to stay chilly and wet.”

Jenson Button, P1 – 2:01.834, 17th; P2 – 1:57.948, 6th
“We learned a few things today – but mainly that it’s often wet at Silverstone and the fans always come out in force even when it’s chucking it down! Seriously, though, I’m glad we were finally able to do some running as it hasn’t been the nicest of days for them. It was very tricky out there – there was lots of standing water. You wouldn’t want to be racing wheel-to-wheel in those conditions, as you wouldn’t see the puddles until it was too late. I think we learned throughout the day where the biggest rivers on the circuit were situated – one of the biggest is along the Hangar Straight just before Stowe. You’re travelling at 290km/h [180mph] and you hit a river that gives you wheelspin – at that speed – and when that happens your car can snap out of control very easily. When you’re driving alone, it’s not so bad, because you can pick your way around and lift off whenever necessary, but in the race you can’t do that. So, pretty obviously, I hope there won’t be as much standing water around on Sunday.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“At the end of a free practice day on which it barely stopped raining even for a minute, it’s a relief to be able to point to two fully intact Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One cars, with all their wings and appendages still attached! It was extremely slippery out there today; nonetheless, despite our having to limit our running in order to conserve enough wet-weather tyres for the rest of the weekend, both our drivers did an excellent job in the appalling conditions, getting through some useful wet-weather development work without mishap. Moreover, with wet weather forecast for much of tomorrow and Sunday, today’s successful research represents an important baseline from which we can focus our developmental strategy with a view to competing for ultimate honours in the 2012 Santander British Grand Prix.”


Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 – 1:58.483, 7th; P2 – 1:56.474, 2nd
“In wet conditions our car is quite okay, but it is difficult if not impossible to guess how it would be on a dry track here. However, the conditions are the same for everybody, so we can’t complain about that. Obviously we couldn’t evaluate the new parts as we had planned. In the end I took a set of intermediate tyres, but only to get a feeling for them. It was definitely too wet for them. Generally the circuit tends to develop little rivers here and there, and even on the straights you have to be very careful not to lose the car by aquaplaning. It seems we will be having a wet weekend and this might not be the worst thing for us.”

Sergio Perez, P1 – 1:57.664, 4th; P2 – 1:57.493, 5th
“I found the day very boring. There wasn’t much we could do and it was impossible to complete our test programme. However, we did some running on the wet track and our car seems to be good in these conditions.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
“This is not the Friday we were hoping for definitely from the weather side, although the forecast proved reliable! We had to adapt our programme a little bit. Nevertheless we decided to run because it looks like the weekend is going to be pretty unsettled, so it is good to prepare for qualifying and racing in these conditions. The cars were okay, with no major problems, and we are quite happy so far. The biggest challenge from now on is what the weather will do. For the weekend we have three sets of full wet tyres per car. We used one of those today, but the lack of running was not related to the tyres themselves as in these conditions they do not deteriorate. The biggest problem was at some points it was not safe to stay on the track because there was just too much water.”


Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, P1 – 1:58.493, 8th; P2 – 1:56.545, 3rd
“There are still things to be learned on days like these and the positive about today’s rain was that it is also forecast for tomorrow and Sunday. This meant that we were able to use today to prepare for the race, primarily on the wet tyres. We also tried the intermediates briefly but they were no faster in these conditions. The rain was constant, which allowed us to at least complete some parts of our programme. There was a lot of standing water, but it was hard to spot from the cockpit, which meant that the drivers had to be very vigilant. Today’s sessions went okay and, in any case, we know that at this circuit, with its particular characteristics, rain offers us good chances and opportunities.”

Nico Rosberg, P1 – 1:58.942, 9th; P2 – 1:56.567, 4th
“In general, it was a good and productive day for us. We improved the set-up during the break which helped as we were quicker in the afternoon. It’s very unusual that the weather forecast for the whole weekend is wet, and we didn’t run that much to save our limited wet tyres. The conditions were really quite tricky out there with all the puddles, and it was very difficult to find the right limit. I hope we can continue to make progress tomorrow.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“A very British ‘summer’ day here at Silverstone, and we must say a big thank you to the fans who have braved the unpleasant conditions to be here for their fantastic support today. In such poor track conditions, often we won’t persevere with trying to achieve much running, but it was important for us to find a good balance and set-up on the wet tyres today as these conditions are expected to remain for the weekend. From that perspective it was a reasonable day, and the cars seem to be well-balanced. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“First of all I have to say that the heroes of today were the spectators. It was impressive to see them sitting out there in the pouring rain and lots of them cheering instead of letting the weather get them down. Especially because it was quite a challenge for everybody to reach the circuit after huge traffic jams this morning – this was like Silverstone in the good old days! On track, we did not see a lot of running in the wet conditions. Some aquaplaning accidents showed how treacherous the conditions were so it was a very good job from Michael and Nico to bring their cars back in one piece after the sessions. Performance-wise it is difficult to judge our level of competitiveness after barely 20 laps for both cars during the two sessions in changing conditions. Our lap times did not look too bad, so it was a positive result on a difficult Friday, which most likely will not be followed by better conditions tomorrow or on Sunday. But that’s Silverstone, just the way we all know it.”


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