Posts Tagged ‘jerez’

Lewis Hamilton 

Lewis Hamilton has been testing the McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 in the damp conditions in Spain this week and like team-mate Heikki Kovalainen and many of his rivals, the Brit has so far found the experience of driving a modern F1 car on the limit without driver aids an enjoyable experience.  Here is what he thought below.

How did testing go today?
“I am quite happy with it. I think today was a bit of a difficult day, the weather wasn’t great, which is a bit unusual for Spain. But despite that, we had a good day.”

What about the traction control, do you find it dangerous in the wet without it?
“No, its just fun.”

Who are the people to beat this year?
“I think it will be the same as last year. It is difficult to say who is quick and who is not right now. We don’t know what everyone is doing, light runs, heavy runs. As always we won’t see until we get to the first race.”

What have the you been working on today?
“I am getting used to having no traction control, and also managing the tyres and developing the car.”

How do you think the start of the races will be without electronics?
“I think from the look of the practice starts we are doing at the moment, we seem to get off the line quite well. It is the second part of the process where you can have some wheel spin, but I don’t see it slowing us down. ”

How is your relationship with Heikki?
“It is good, we have had a friendship for maybe four or five years already, so it couldn’t be better.”

How did you feel about the wet conditions this morning?
“It was the first time I have driven in these conditions without traction control and you have to just take it step by step and try to build up to it, because it is slippery. It is even harder without traction control, it really does make it a little bit nervous on corner entry and you just have to deal with it. You have a lot less engine braking, which makes a difference to how you brake and approach the corners. I think times will be similar, but it is a lot more tricky and probably easier to make mistakes.”

Is it the lack of traction control or engine braking that has the greatest impact?
“Probably traction control, without it driving is more natural but there is so much power. We as a team, and actually I am sure all the teams, are working hard to understand how to use the power better.”

We have had about a week since the launch, how are things progressing?
“I’ve had two and a half days in the car and we got off to a really good start. Compared to last year the first few tests have been a big improvement, to see the reliability of the car already. It is great for the team and shows how hard they have been working. We are moving in the right direction, we just need to keep chipping away.”

Is the MP4-23 a big improvement on last year?
“It will be. The car is an evolution of the MP4-22, so it feels very similar. Already different bits feel better and I am sure over the next few weeks it will just get better and better and keep improving.”

Compared to this time last year, do you feel better prepared for the season?
“A lot, I know what I need, I know how much I have to train, how many days of testing I need to do. I am fitter now than I was this time last year. Going into the races, I know the tracks and it makes it a little bit easier. It is still a big, big challenge for me and the team.”

From last year, are you leading the team more in testing?
“I think we share the responsibility quite equally throughout the team, between Heikki, Pedro, Gary and myself. Although our driving styles are not all the same, we all have our own input and it seems to be working quite well.”

You had a spin this morning, what happened there?
“It was just wet and I touched the kerb, I just went onto the edge of the gravel. I locked the rears, without the controls, the engine braking, there is a lot more locking of the rear wheels at the corner entry. When you are on the limit and pushing, that kind of thing happens.”


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The final day of testing this week at Jerez saw Timo Glock head the timesheets after a relatively steady performance on Tuesday.
After overnight rain no one was able to get particularly close to the lap times recorded earlier in the week until later in the afternoon.
Toyota’s new recruit, again at the wheel of the new TF108, set the pace with a best lap of 1:19.799s, exactly three-tenths of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton in the new McLaren MP4-23. Heikki Kovalainen was sixth fastest in the sister McLaren.
Fernando Alonso was back in action for the Renault team, recording the third fastest time just a fraction ahead of Sebastien Bourdais in the leading Toro Rosso Ferrari.
Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen were fifth and eighth fastest for Ferrari, both less than a second off the ultimate pace. New Toyota test driver Kamui Kobayashi picked up the pace today, recording the seventh best time in the older TF107.
Kazuki Nakajima rounded out the top ten for Williams Toyota while Nico Hulkenberg tested for the first time this year in the sister FW29 and was 13th fastest.
Over at Red Bull Renault  Mark Webber posted the 11th best time, three-tenths ahead of David Coulthard who ran the new RB4 for the first time.
Sebastian Vettel brought up the rear of the timesheets in the second Toro Rosso while Super Aguri Honda did not run once again.

Test resumes next week for a majority of the teams in Valencia.

Jerez* – 16/01/2008
1 . T. Glock – Toyota TF108 – 1:19.779 (+ 0.000 ) – 96 laps
2 . L. Hamilton – McLaren MP4-23 – 1:20.099 (+ 0.320 ) – 73 laps
3 . F. Alonso – Renault R27 – 1:20.363 (+ 0.584 ) – 49 laps
4 . S. Bourdais – Toro Rosso Ferrari STR2 – 1:20.407 (+ 0.628 ) – 61 laps
5 . F. Massa – Ferrari F2008 – 1:20.500 (+ 0.721 ) – 85 laps
6 . H. Kovalainen – McLaren MP4-23 – 1:20.535 (+ 0.756 ) – 79 laps
7 . K. Kobayashi – Toyota TF107 – 1:20.577 (+ 0.798 ) – 53 laps
8 . K. Raikkonen – Ferrari F2008 – 1:20.646 (+ 0.867 ) – 88 laps
9 . K. Nakajima – Williams Toyota FW29 – 1:20.758 (+ 0.979 ) – 57 laps
10 . A. Sutil – Force India Ferrari F8-VII – 1:21.705 (+ 1.926 ) – 71 laps
11 . M. Webber – Red Bull Renault RB3 – 1:22.275 (+ 2.496 ) – 53 laps
12 . D. Coulthard – Red Bull Renault RB4 – 1:22.581 (+ 2.802 ) – 54 laps
13 . N. Hulkenberg – Williams FW29 – 1:24.023 (+ 4.244 ) – 65 laps
14 . S. Vettel – Toro Rosso Ferrari STR2 – 1:24.873 (+ 5.094 ) – 50 laps.

*Times courtesy of Circuito de Jerez

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Timo Glock 

Yesterday Timo Glock completed his first laps in Toyota’s brand new TF108. After a roll-out and one day of testing in the hands of Jarno Trulli, Toyota newcomer Timo Glock took the wheel and continued where Trulli left off.

Glock’s task in Jerez was to continue systems checks and gather information on how the car responds to set-up changes. He was joined by third driver Kamui Kobayashi, who tested the 2008 gearbox and electronics on the TF107.

Glock said about his first run in the TF108: “It was an exciting experience to drive the TF108 for the first time and I think it went well. We did a lot of laps and got a lot of data which was our main target today so I am pleased with that.

“My first impression of the car is generally positive but at this stage of the year it is too early to truly know how competitive it will be. We carried out some set-up work today and I must say we achieved quite a lot, although there is still a lot of work to do. Now I hope the car will continue to be reliable for the final day of this test so we can continue to make good progress.”

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The first laps of the BMW Sauber’s new car went off according to plan. The doors of the pit garage opened at 12.00, and seven minutes later Robert Kubica emerged with the BMW Sauber F1.08 for its first installation lap on the Valencia circuit.
It was the first time that Kubica had been given the honour of taking a Formula One car out on its maiden drive. The Pole enjoyed the task, commenting: “It was a good start. I’ve only driven a few laps so far, but I have the impression that everything is heading in the right direction. The car feels more stable than its predecessor and it builds up more grip. I’m looking forward to the test days to come.”
Team-mate Nick Heidfeld had already taken the car out on a few demonstration laps at BMW Welt, the company’s futuristic-looking delivery centre in Munich.
In Valencia he drove the F1.07 on Tuesday, and Thursday will see him at the wheel of the F1.08. “I really enjoyed driving the old car as well,” said Heidfeld. “During the winter break there were a few weeks when I hadn’t been in the car. The F1.08 is the most beautiful vehicle I have seen in my F1 career. It has a lot of interesting details. I’m really excited about getting inside it on Thursday!”

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Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari and McLaren both ran their new cars on the first official day of testing for 2008 following their unveiling last week.

And it was World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, who clinched the title in dramatic circumstances last year, and team-mate Felipe Massa who topped the timesheets at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain. After rain in the morning, the track dried out in the afternoon, with Raikkonen completing 59 laps overall with a best unofficial time of one minute 19.845 seconds. Massa was just under 0.3secs adrift, with McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa another 0.4secs off the pace in third place ahead of the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel.

The second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen was fifth overall, just over a second down on Raikkonen, while Sebastien Bourdais gave Toro Rosso a strong showing with sixth.

Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli completed the top eight.

“We can be pleased with our progress so far with the TF108,” said Toyota’s general manager Pascal Vasselon. “The roll-out yesterday went well and we ran through several system checks with no significant problems. Today we started to look more at set-up and I believe we made a promising start but at this stage it is still too early to be comparing lap times. The main target today was to get information and data about the new car, how it behaves and how it reacts to changes, and we achieved that in both wet and dry conditions.”

New Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr set the ninth best time. The Brazilian was at wheel of the R27-06 as the team worked on engine mapping and understanding new electronic regulations, which include that all teams use a standard electronic control unit. However, he completed just 41 laps.

“I would certainly have liked the chance to get more time in the car today,” Piquet said. “But the conditions this morning were not ideal for either wet or dry tyres and so we had to wait for the weather to improve. “I’m still happy to get back on track for the first time this year and get my preparartions under way. I am aware that there are lots of things that need to be done, and there is a lot of hard work ahead. But that is why we are here.”

His team-mate Fernando Alonso will take over the driver duties on Tuesday 

Overall, nine teams tested, with only BMW missing out as they launched their new car in Munich today, along with Honda.

01 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 01:19.846 59 laps
02 F. Massa Ferrari 01:20.123 42 laps
03 P. de la Rosa McLaren 01:20.548 54 laps
04 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:20.732 40 laps
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren 01:20.936 48 laps
06 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:20.997 47 laps
07 N. Rosberg Williams 01:21.143 47 laps
08 J. Trulli Toyota 01:21.314 84 laps
09 N. Piquet jr. Renault 01:21.696 41 laps
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull 01:21.746 49 laps
11 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 01:23.035 44 laps
12 K. Nakajima Williams 01:23.134 42 laps
13 T. Glock Toyota 01:24.351 56 laps
14 J. Rossiter Super Aguri 01:34.862 10 laps

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