Fri: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Merc

Friday 16th November 2012

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Fri: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Merc

Fri: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Merc

Sebastian Vettel set the pace in Friday's practice for the US GP, edging ahead of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso by 0.7s...

Red Bull:
Sebastian Vettel: "It was slippery this morning and a bit like driving on ice. It wasn't so easy, but we managed to get into a rhythm. We had a bit of a problem this afternoon and so couldn't run as much as we wanted, but we got two good runs which is important for tomorrow and Sunday. I think there were a couple of surprises today in terms of pace, so we'll see tomorrow. The track will constantly improve - it's good that we are amongst the guys at the top, now we'll try to improve the car to make sure we stay there."

Mark Webber: "It's a pretty good track, it's quick, especially the first sector which is quite full on, although sectors two and three are more traditional and similar to other tracks. It was very slippery to start with, which was quite frustrating probably for all of us, but in the end the track rubbered in pretty well and we got into a good rhythm. As with all new circuits, you've got to work out where you can prioritise your time and where to compromise. It's got a bit of everything really, so it's good."

Ferrari:
Fernando Alonso: "It's no surprise to see the two Red Bulls ahead of the field: in the last few races they have had the best package, therefore today's result is logical. We know what are our strengths - team work and reliability - and we will make the most of them in the fight. The updates we have brought here seem to work, but we still need to look more closely at the data before having a definite answer. I am happy about this, but it's also true that while we are making small steps forward with each passing race, so too are the others, so the distance between us remains unchanged. Would I be happy to be third again tomorrow afternoon? Sure, but this is only Friday and we have been in this position before and then on Saturday other cars have got ahead of us. The circuit? A nice surprise, even if we had an idea of what to expect from the simulator: it's very demanding, especially the first sector which is very fast and where you can really feel the acceleration of a Formula 1 car. The track is very smooth and not at all porous: it reminds me a lot of Portimao in Portugal, so if it was to rain, it could be like driving on glass."

Felipe Massa: "Today was given over above all to getting to know this new track: we did a lot of laps, mainly with this in mind. In the morning, the track was dirty and very slippery: I can't remember ever driving on a surface that offered so little grip! Then the situation improved and we began to get a bit more confidence and find the right lines. I like the track a lot: it's fun driving here and I think we will see a great show over the weekend. The tyres? Definitely hard! It will be important to work out how to get them up to temperature, especially as far as qualifying is concerned."

McLaren:
Lewis Hamilton: "What a great turn-out for a Friday! I never expected to see so many people in the grandstands - it makes me feel even more excited for Saturday and Sunday. This is a great drivers' track - it's very tough to pull together three perfect sectors. Personally, I find the final two sectors easier than the first; those high-speed changes of direction need a good set-up, and balancing that requirement against the demands of the slow-speed stuff is tricky. Turn One probably looks more exciting from the outside than it does from inside the cockpit - it's certainly not easy, though. You can get oversteer, or lock up, and it's tricky to get a perfect line through there. Overall, we've had a good day. Our main difficulty this morning was switching on the tyres in the cooler conditions. But we'll make some changes overnight - there are definitely some improvements we can make."

Jenson Button: "The circuit was very slippery this morning - as all new track surfaces are, particularly as it was also very cold. But this afternoon's warmer temperatures meant we could get a better feel for the circuit in FP2. Turn One to Turn Nine is a brilliant and free-flowing section - particularly if the car is working well. Turn One is a strange corner though - with a very wide entry rather like Turn Three in India. Turn Three here - the start of the esses - is fantastic though. It's quicker than Becketts at Silverstone. It's very unsuual to find a section of corners like this on a modern Formula 1 track. I love it. Nevertheless, I don't think overtaking is going to be easy here, because it'll be so tricky to stay close to the car in front of you. But the circuit is great fun to drive, and I hope we can put on a great race."

Mercedes:
Nico Rosberg: "I like the new track here at the Circuit of the Americas very much and they have done a great job with the layout. We've also had a really nice welcome for Formula One in the US as you can see how many fans are at the circuit already on a Friday. The grandstands looked really packed. We had a good start to our programme today, and the car felt better than at the last race. The conditions were tricky, particularly this morning, as it was very cold which meant that the tyres were really on the edge."

Michael Schumacher: "I have to say it is nice being back in the US, and I hope that the fans appreciate Formula One being back too. The circuit will certainly help to showcase how attractive our sport can be. It has a very nice layout, and the good thing is that it is very challenging. Yesterday I went out to explore the track on a scooter, and it was very different from today when the low seating position of our cars compromises your vision a lot. But then, it takes just a bit of time to understand what you have to do and where the biggest challenges are. The track is still very green, especially offline, but it delivers lots of potential for a good show. As for our programme today, we had some tyre issues in the second session with a puncture which affected our plan a little. However, I will just try to do my best tomorrow and in the race on Sunday."

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