A positive start in changing conditions
The weather was the main player today and why would it be any different given where we are? The rain meant there were only a couple of dry interludes at the start of each of the two sessions. Therefore, it is even harder than usual, if not impossible, to draw any conclusion as to the hierarchy on track. Alonso and Massa completed a total of 56 laps (31 for the Spaniard, 25 for the Brazilian,) but only half of these were done on dry tyres.
“Even if I only managed a few laps in the dry, my initial feeling is positive: the car is well balanced and there are no major changes needed for the rest of the weekend. Sure, it’s always difficult to get a complete picture after a day like this, but as I said at the start, we have got off on the right foot. That is important because it’s never nice to have to make a major set-up change from Friday to Saturday, thus tackling the second day almost in the dark. Our main opponents were also very strong, from the little we could see: the Red Bull had a great top speed and was still quickest in the second sector, which shows good all-round performance and McLaren also looked good. Michael? I don’t know him well enough to be able to talk about him as a person, but he has left a significant mark at Maranello and this means a lot. As a driver, he is a legend: maybe these days he comes in for criticism in the press, but wherever we go, he is still a major attraction and the people shout his name, which shows how popular he is.”
“It’s hard to make much sense of such a strange day: first it was dry, then wet and then it repeated itself. Luckily, at least we managed to try both types of slick tyre brought here by Pirelli, even if just for a few laps. Along with the engineers, we will have to try and interpret the data in the best way possible to make the right choices: in any case, first impressions, from what I can tell, are positive. We have some new parts and I think we will use them for the rest of the weekend, because they have allowed us to improve our performance. Where we are compared to the others, we will only know tomorrow in qualifying. I really like this track a lot: maybe it’s lost some of its excitement in some corners, such as Eau Rouge, which is now practically a straight, but it is still great to drive a Formula 1 car on a track like this.”
We still managed to gather a substantial amount of data which we can now work through calmly
“We had a lot on our plate, in the form of a packed work schedule, evaluating new components and we tried to get through it as efficiently as possible, even though we were up against less than ideal weather conditions. Obviously, if the track had been dry it would have been better, however we still managed to gather a substantial amount of data which we can now work through calmly. But this is Spa, so we were hardly expecting stable weather! Some of the solutions we brought here seem to deliver positive results, while we need to look at others in more detail and that’s what we will do between now and tomorrow morning, when we will make our final choices for this race weekend. At the moment, it’s difficult to give a verdict on the tyres, because we managed so few laps in the dry.”