Circuit de Catalunya
2011 SANTANDER SPANISH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE
“ALL IN ALL, A POSITIVE DAY.”
Circuit de Catalunya, Friday May 20
LEWIS HAMILTON - MP4-26A-03
P1 programme 19 laps 1m26.988s (+1.846s) 6th
P2 programme 27 laps 1m22.509s (+0.039s) 2nd
“It’s difficult to get an accurate read on pace: we stuck to our programme today and didn’t appear to be too far off, but you never know what fuel-loads or engine levels the other teams are running. Still, we got some good data and made some positive improvements so, in all likelihood, we look as competitive today as we have in the past.
“We have taken some small steps forward – we put a new front-wing on and it naturally appeared to be a little bit better. Globally, it’s not too bad. It didn’t feel too good this morning on the harder tyre, which was difficult to switch on and difficult to make last, but this afternoon’s running was very positive.
“There’s a big difference between the two Pirelli compounds – and that will hopefully have a positive impact on the show this weekend!”
JENSON BUTTON - MP4-26A-04
P1 programme 22 laps 1m27.138s (+1.996s) 9th
P2 programme 32 laps 1m23.188s (+0.718s) 4th
“This morning was spent running through the new systems on the car; this afternoon was the time to push a bit harder and get a proper feel for things. I’m not particularly happy with the balance – I’m struggling with the rear-end, which isn’t something I like – but I’m going to work to improve that overnight.
“There is more pace in the car, we’ve just got to unleash it and find a balance that I like. The longer run was reasonable, even if we got a slightly different result than we expected. But it’s all good information and I think we can get a good balance for the race – now I need to focus on sorting out the rear-end for qualifying.”
MARTIN WHITMARSH, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“For this morning’s session, we deliberately followed separate programmes on each car to ensure we could log as much data as possible with our planned upgrades. We limited running to the same fuel-load and the same tyres for the entirety of the session, and also ran without DRS; that meant that our times throughout P1 were not particularly representative.
We logged a significant amount of positive data
“However, we logged a significant amount of positive data and were able to merge our two divergent development paths into a singular programme for this afternoon – with encouraging results.
“While neither Lewis nor Jenson were completely happy with the balance of their cars, it seems as if we’ve made some positive progress. Inevitably, we still have a significant amount of data to sift through this evening, but we feel confident that we can take a further step in the right direction for tomorrow.
“All in all, a positive day.”