Friday team by team: Part 1

Autosport.com's Formula 1 editor Jonathan Noble gives a rundown of what was happening up and down the pit-lane during Friday practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix

Friday team by team: Part 1



Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher appeared to be in trouble during first practice as they both suffered from handling problems on the still dusty track, but it was business as usual in the afternoon as they headed the timesheets.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO: "I am very pleased and listening to the reaction of the crowd brought a smile to my face. More than that, the car has been behaving quite well throughout today's sessions. It is well balanced and the team has done a good job. Now, we just have to keep our cool and try and improve the car even more and I am sure we will be competitive for the rest of the weekend. The track surface has more grip than last year, but there are still some bumps."

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: "It was a complicated day as I seemed to run into a lot of traffic out on the track. It made it quite difficult to push to the end of the programme we had set ourselves, but I guess it is the same for everyone here and we have enough data to know which way to go on set-up. I am not sure where we are in terms of consistency of performance, but over a single lap, we look very strong. The track is very bumpy which adds to the difficulty, but all in all, we are looking good and should be in the fight for the win. Being first and second is a wonderful start to the weekend."




Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher served notice of the team's improving form with the fastest and third quickest times in the morning session, but in the afternoon the pair slipped down the order as they focused on race set-ups runs - made complicated by the bumpy track surface. Montoya ended up 11th, with Schumacher just one place ahead.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "We did our homework today and the car seems to respond reasonably well. The track is maybe more bumpy than before, but the tyres seem to compensate for the bumps which is good. It won't be easy to get the right balance and we have still quite a lot of work to do in view of tomorrow's qualifying."

RALF SCHUMACHER: "The track seems to be massively bumpy. It is therefore not easy to find the right set-up nor will it be easy to make the right tyre choice. That said, all in all we had a trouble free day."




Kimi Raikkonen served notice of his intention to end McLaren's season on a high with the third quickest time of the day, despite a spin early in the second session after he put two wheels across the kerbs. David Coulthard looked strong in the morning but could not find a clear lap in the afternoon as he ended the day 15th overall.

KIMI RAIKKONEN: "I was quite pleased with the set-up of the car from the very beginning, which always makes Friday's practice much more productive. I had one set of tyres which were not too good and that was one of the reasons why I had a little spin at the start of the second session at Turn Eight. It's going to be an interesting weekend, but it's important to make a perfect lap in qualifying, as we are all so close. There is no doubt that Ferrari will be strong here, but I believe we will be able to battle with them."

DAVID COULTHARD: "We went through our tyre evaluation programme, but unfortunately I couldn't show the full potential of the car as I got stuck in traffic which is often the case on this short circuit - on my fast lap I had to overtake three cars. Anyway I like this track because of its natural flow and have always performed well here, and hopefully I will do so again this weekend."




Renault is facing the near impossible challenge of out-scoring BAR by 16 points this weekend to grab second place in the constructors' championship, but it looks unlikely to have the form needed to get that result. Fernando Alonso was seventh overall while Jacques Villeneuve had another difficult day to end up 12th.

FERNANDO ALONSO: "The circuit was very dirty this morning so it was quite difficult to start work and in fact I only did a dozen laps in the first session. In the afternoon, though, the circuit was improving lap by lap and we managed to make some pretty positive set-up changes as well as testing both types of tyre. The car feels quite light to drive here because of the low levels of downforce and it also took some time to get used to the bumpy track surface again. But overall, I am pleased with how today went."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: "We improved the car a lot today. It was very difficult to drive over the bumps this morning but after some changes to the set-up, it was a lot more comfortable and also faster. We are still missing some performance on the first timed lap on new tyres but the car seems quick and consistent on the longer runs."




Another strong result from BAR, as Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato took the fourth, fifth and sixth fastest times on the timesheet. There were no dramas at all as the team completed its race preparations and tyre comparisons.

JENSON BUTTON: "It's been a reasonably good first day in preparation for what is a crucial race for us. We achieved everything we planned in terms of tyre comparisons and set-up. The circuit was very dirty this morning but it had cleaned up an awful lot by this afternoon, so we were able to achieve some good testing. The circuit is still pretty bumpy despite the resurfacing work they've done here - particularly at turns one and six. Generally I'm happy with the start we've made to the weekend and I look forward to us getting stronger as we continue working towards the race."

TAKUMA SATO: "Today was a good start to the weekend. We did not suffer any problems at all and the car was competitive and comfortable straight away, so it was an encouraging session. We tried different set-ups and tyres, collecting all of the information we needed. If the car keeps working the way it has been today and remains consistent, we will be looking good for tomorrow's qualifying and for the race on Sunday."

ANTHONY DAVIDSON: "Today went pretty well. We had a very good tyre test and I feel pretty confident in our tyre choice for the race. It is my first time here and it is quite a bumpy track but I got to grips with it quickly as the laps are short, which enabled me to do more and learn the track quicker. We seem to be quick enough and I am fairly optimistic that Jenson and Taku can have a strong race on Sunday."

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