Almost a whole Grand Prix distance for both of the Scuderia Ferrari drivers over the course of the first day of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Fernando was third fastest this morning and second in the afternoon, completing a total of 69 laps, four more than Felipe Massa, who finished sixth in both sessions.
“First of all thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes on my thirtieth, especially to Bernie, who came along to wish me the best along with you journalists during the press meeting! It’s nice to celebrate here with Ferrari, a team I will definitely be with at least until I am thirty five…We finished the planned work programme and that’s always a positive start to a race weekend. Now we will analyse all the data gathered and make the best choices for qualifying and the race.
I am pleased I was able to do so much running, especially from the point of view of studying the tyre degradation, which at this track is always a significant factor. The track is still very dirty, as is the norm for a Friday at the Hungaroring: however, we know it will improve each day and by Sunday afternoon, it will be much more rubbered in than today. We saw that McLaren looks very strong, as indeed it was last weekend. Now we must try and improve the car, especially in the third sector of the track, where we seem to be suffering more than most.”
“We got through a lot of work, especially in terms of comparing the two Pirelli tyres. The first signs are that degradation is significant, both on the Prime and the Option, which will be a decisive factor when it comes to strategy. I think we will witness a very close contest between the usual three teams, Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves. It will be not be easy to get a useful grid position, but it will be very important to do so, because I think that, despite everything, overtaking at this track will still be very difficult.
I was not able to do a quick time on my first lap with the Super Soft, because I ran wide at Turn 9, so today’s lap time is not totally representative of the potential at my disposal: the tyres degrade easily so you have to give it your best immediately. I told Fernando this morning, “you are getting old like me!” Joking apart, it’s an important day for him, so he gets all my best wishes again!”
“As usual we had a packed programme to get through, including an evaluation of various configurations both on the aerodynamic front and in terms of the management of the exhaust gases.
It’s very hard to say where we are compared to our closest rivals
We concentrated principally on the updates to the 150º Italia in the morning and then in the afternoon, we switched more towards finding the best set-up on the car and on a comparison between the two types of tyre Pirelli has brought for this race. As you can imagine, there is nothing new under the sun: really just a Friday like so many others.
The obvious consequence of that is it’s very hard to say where we are compared to our closest rivals. The only thing we can be sure of is that Red Bull and McLaren both seem very competitive, irrespective of the fuel levels they were running. Tyre degradation is more or less what we expected but we have to take into account that track conditions change a lot over the course of the weekend as the track rubbers in. Predictions? It will be a very close qualifying and even the race looks like being hard to read, especially as there could be various strategies implemented.”