The Friday action in Singapore saw Sebastian Vettel set the pace in his Red Bull Renault while team-mate Mark Webber and Renault's Romain Grosjean both lost time after minor accidents. Red Bull, McLaren Mercedes and Brawn Mercedes seemed strong, while Fernando Alonso
and Nico Rosberg
are also right up there for Renault and Williams Toyota. Up and down the timesheets, the drivers all had a varying views on how they will fare over the remainder of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
1 . S. Vettel - Red Bull Renault RB5
“We can see from the times that the track is a little bit slower here than it was last year, which is a shame because some of the faster corners are now not so quick, but overall the character has remained the same. It’s a challenging track – quite stop and go – you don’t experience as much G-force here as on other circuits, but there are a lot of bumps, which don’t make your life easy, but I like the circuit a lot. Overall, it was a good day for us and we look better here than we did in Monza.”
2 . F. Alonso - Renault R29
“Today we completed a normal Friday programme for a street circuit. The track was very dirty and slippery in both the sessions, which always makes it difficult to learn about the car and improve the balance and I had a lot of oversteer. However, I think we made the most of the track time available and we are in reasonable shape for tomorrow.”
3 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
"I’m very happy. I didn’t have any problems today and I think we made some good progress between the sessions. Both tyre compounds seem to work okay, so that’s another reason to be optimistic. I’m confident we can find a bit more time overnight, too. However, the other teams are also looking quick here, so it’s not going to be easy. The main difference to the track this year is the change to the turn ten chicane: it’s slower and tighter, and the kerbs are bigger so you cannot attack there because you can’t afford to risk damaging the car.”
4 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09
"I really enjoy the track, it is great fun driving here, although it is still bumpy and was extremely dusty. I think our performance doesn’t look too bad, although we had several types of problems in the first session. Besides having to change the gearbox, there was also trouble with the floor and tyre pressures. But for the second session we got several things right. I did my fastest lap quite early on new tyres, and was leading for a long time until some of the other drivers did their runs on new tyres towards the end of the session."
5 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
"It’s great to be back in Singapore this weekend and everyone is really enjoying the challenge of the night race and adjusting to our different working hours. We had a pretty full-on evening with a busy programme of set-up evaluations and tyre testing. This venue is a tough one with the heat and humidity to contend with and the nature of the circuit and the closeness of the barriers demand your total concentration. The key is achieving consistently quick laps and that’s what we’ve been working on today. The car feels reasonable and with some more work later tonight, we should be ready for a good weekend.”
6 . M. Webber - Red Bull Renault RB5
“I was pushing a little bit too hard in the second practice, it was a bit slippery off line and I went off in the last corner and into the pit wall, which ended my session. The car was going well up until then; I was quick and both Sebastian and I had pretty good practice sessions. I would have liked to have done a bit more mileage, but in the end we still learned quite a bit and we’ll be back tomorrow. I think it should be a good race for us, it will be interesting as the tyres are not massively easy to handle here, so we’ll have to work on that tonight. But, overall, not too bad.”
7 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31
“The first session started off pretty poorly but we made some changes and began to find some direction. Although we knew we’d be back on the pace here, by the end of the day we had concluded a good tyre test and found some improved performance from set-up changes, so I am pleased that we had a good day. I had a bit of a moment towards the end of the second session and touched the wall a little bit but didn't damage the car - just scratched the front wing a bit - but as Frank says, ‘If you don’t touch the wall, you are not going fast enough!”
8 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109
"I am pretty pleased with how things have turned out today. The first practice session was a bit difficult to really analyse the car and I don't think the track conditions helped. The car didn't feel bad but the lap time just didn't seem to be there. But in second practice it was much better overall. The car felt more together, the track conditions improved a lot and we ran through our whole programme. I am quite happy with the car at the moment but obviously we want to get more performance out of it before qualifying and the race. We have to analyse some set-up changes to understand which direction to take then we will see how things go tomorrow."
9 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
“The sessions were a little up and down for me today – I didn’t have any major problems, but I wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped to be. Today’s not the important day though, and when the track gets a bit cleaner tomorrow, we’ll have a better understanding of the tyres. The track’s still very bumpy and all the traffic makes it quite difficult to get a clear lap, and the turn ten chicane is also worse than last year – a bit more dangerous – but nobody’s had any problems there so it should be okay. The main thing for us is to analyse the data, try and improve the car and find some more time for tomorrow.”
10 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09
"The track today was very dirty and the grip was poor. There was a lot of dust off the racing line especially at the start of the day, but it was also the same in the second session. The track surface is better than last year but it is still quite bumpy. We had a small problem in the beginning of the second session with a gearbox sensor, but it was fixed quickly and we were able to finish our programme.
11 . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
“The car is feeling pretty good here after the first practice sessions and we’re pleased with the work that we achieved. It was really busy out there today with traffic affecting our programme a little, particularly in the second session, but that was the same for everyone really. We’ve been focusing on our pace for Sunday and that’s the most important consideration as we need the car well balanced to be quick in the race. I’m feeling positive and we should be able to achieve the right set-up ready for the weekend. It’s so different to the rest of the year to be racing here at night and it’s been a lot of fun so far.”
12 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"I was quite pleased with the car but it is difficult to judge the rear grip as we are still having some problems with graining, particularly on the soft tyre compound. We still have a lot of work to do but it's only Friday. I think we can do much better and get a bit closer to the front. I feel I could definitely have done a quicker lap time as the traffic was really bad and I always lost my first and second laps. I still believe we can get into the points and we would still like to be in the top ten in qualifying; that's obviously our goal for the weekend."
13 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF109
"It was a standard Friday session for me where I worked to evaluate the tyres and set-up. We still have to improve the handling and the set-up because the car didn't feel perfect for me. There was very little grip from the track, especially in the first session when the surface was extremely dusty. That made it hard to get good traction and I had some oversteering. But the conditions will improve as the weekend goes on and we have to make changes to get the most out of our car here. We will study all the information and try to make the right adjustments."
14 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari F60
“It was a Friday like any other. We had a number of little problems with the car, but overall, we were able to get through the programme we had set ourselves. As for the times, there is always a question mark over the various fuel loads: we will see tomorrow what we can do in qualifying. Today is too soon to say if we can be in a position to fight for a podium finish as we have done in recent races. The softer tyres degrade more quickly, at least from what we could see today. It’s hardly surprising and usually, bit by bit, as the track rubbers in, the situation improves.”
15 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31
“It is physically very tough out there and they were two hard sessions today. However, I believe I have prepared well and the conditions should not be too much of a problem. We still have some work to do on the tyres, but our long run pace was positive today and hopefully we continue our engineering progress tomorrow.”
16 . G. Fisichella - Ferrari F60
"It was a rather difficult day. The car is very nervous and I have yet to find the ideal set-up. Now, I must sit down with the team to try and prepare as well as possible for qualifying and the race. My aim is to improve on my result from Monza, but I know that won’t be easy. The track was very slippery and sometimes I had a bit of graining on the tyres. Unfortunately, I never managed to do a long run with the soft tyres, because of the red flags following Webber’s accident: this compound is definitely quicker by three to four tenths, but there is a question mark over the consistency of its performance.”
17 . S. Buemi - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
“It has been more or less what I expected from my first time driving here at night, with no problems in terms of visibility, although you have to be very careful in judging your braking points. The track is more like Monaco than Valencia, with some bumps and tight corners. It is a difficult circuit, made more complicated by the heat. The track offered very little grip today, but it will improve as it rubbers in. I felt more comfortable in the second session, having learned the track in the morning. The last few races have not been too good for us, so I hope we can make a step forward here.”
18 . V. Liuzzi - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"It was quite okay today. The most important thing for me was to learn the circuit and get used to the track, the bumps and the kerbs and I think we are going in the right direction. We struggled a little with the balance, which didn't help, but we did a lot of tests and tried to understand the tyres. I think we were on a good learning curve and tomorrow will be much, much better. We have a lot of work to do as we are not spot on with the balance just yet, but we have all night to think about it."
19 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29
“Today was my first experience of the Singapore circuit. Unfortunately I made a small error in the first session which cost me a lot of time. Then in the afternoon we had several mechanical problems, which limited my running. Despite all this, I tried to learn the circuit, which is particularly difficult. We still have a lot of work to do but it will be possible to find some more speed for tomorrow. I also hope that the practice starts we did today will help us for the race.”
20 . J. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
“Today was doubly difficult for me, as this is a street circuit and it is also new to me. Tyre degradation was my main problem, caused by the high temperatures, so I would find myself going from understeer to oversteer. It’s been tough, as the easiest thing to do here is to crash and I’ve worked hard to stay on the track. Every run I get a bit better, so I hope I can make good progress before the race. As for it being my first time driving under floodlights, it was no problem.”