West McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen celebrated his 33rd birthday in style by setting the fastest time in today's practice session for the SAP United States Grand Prix. David Coulthard was fourth quickest with a time of 1:13.656 and...
West McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen celebrated his 33rd birthday in style by setting the fastest time in today's practice session for the SAP United States Grand Prix. David Coulthard was fourth quickest with a time of 1:13.656 and completed 41 laps. Mika's time was 1:13.387 and he managed 30 laps after missing most of the first session following a problem with the pneumatic control system.
'Today has been a great day -- and not only because it's my birthday. Things didn't start too well when I had a problem with the pneumatic control system on my installation lap. However the mechanics did a great job and managed to fit a new engine in 45 minutes. In the second session we found a good balance and it was quite easy to find the racing line. I'm coming here to win -- that is what motivates me. I feel good and confident with the car and we have done a good job so far. I like this race and the organisation and facilities are excellent.'
'We are reasonable happy with the behaviour of the car on the fuel levels we are running and I believe we are at the right end, but as always we will only know for sure after tomorrow's qualifying. The circuit is quite straight forward with the banking and low speed corners and we have been trying to find a good balance, but we have a bit of oversteer at the moment. You have to concentrate when you go around the banking but it doesn't really require any special set-up -- it only gets tricky if it's damp. Its nice to be back in America and in order to have a World Championship, we need a race in the USA. We have arrived in the aftermath of some terrible events which have taken some of the edge but we are here to race and win.'
'An encouraging first day.'
'A good beginning to the weekend for us and a very good performance by Mika on his birthday. David is in good shape too -- 15 cars within one second promises an exciting close race.'
Spare (Coulthard): MP4/16-05