2012 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE
“We’re on the right path, but we’ve still got a bit of work to do”
Hungaroring, Friday July 27
FP1 1m22.821s 30 laps 1st
FP2 1m21.995s 20 laps 1st
“It’s been a really positive day. I’m very happy. During the sessions we made some useful changes to the car to get it dialled-in, and we’re on the right path, but we’ve still got a bit of work to do. The guys did a fantastic job. We’re going to keep pushing, though.
“I’m on it. I’ve been on it all year. I feel a lot of support from the fans, here and everywhere, and I think things are looking pretty good this weekend. I’ll be focusing on maximising every lap and every opportunity I get out there.
“Overtaking here is difficult, so qualifying and track positioning will be of paramount importance. Some drivers may do longer runs, some may do shorter runs [in the race]. Either way, Jenson and I will be looking to qualify well and start at or near the front.
“I love this track, even if overtaking here is a challenge. It’s a drivers’ circuit, with real character to it – lovely off-camber corners, nice ups and downs – and those elements combine to make it great fun to drive. It just flows.
“I’m happy with my day’s work and I think the guys in the garage will be happy with their day’s work too. They certainly should be. Well done, guys!”
FP1 1m22.922s (+0.101s) 24 laps 2nd
FP2 1m22.747s (+0.752s) 17 laps 6th
“FP1 was reasonably good for us – we were competitive straight out of the box, in fact.
“This afternoon, in FP2, we tried a few things to improve our car’s balance, and I think we made some decent progress in the end.
“So I’m pretty happy with the car, all in all, and I think we’re pretty competitive around here, but in FP2 we learned that a lot other teams are pretty competitive around here too. As ever, though, it’ll be about getting the perfect balance.
“I reckon we’re going to see a fierce battle for victory this weekend. Having said that, we had a good car at Hockenheim, and we should have a good car here too, so we should be up there. As I say, it’s much too close to call, though.
“This circuit is known as a difficult one on which to overtake, but I think it’ll be possible to do so in the DRS zone down the pitstraight. Elsewhere it’ll probably be tricky to make passing moves stick.
“But it’s a fun circuit to drive on, and of course I scored my maiden Grand Prix victory here, which is always special.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“As FP1 began this morning, the track surface was already pretty hot, but, even so, it was a little difficult to get the tyres to switch on in the first instance, and as a result we struggled to achieve optimal balance, excess understeer being the principal problem.
“Nonetheless, our car appears to be competitive enough, and both drivers reported themselves happy enough with it.
“Fridays are now test days really, though, so we aren’t going to get carried away. Besides, the Hungaroring is relatively lightly used in the run-up to the Grand Prix weekend, so the track surface is always rather ‘green’ for initial running. Inevitably, therefore, it’ll rubber-in significantly over the course of tomorrow and Sunday.
“Today we saw a light sprinkling of rain, but our forecasters tell us that we’ll probably experience dry conditions for qualifying and the race. We hope they’re correct, and that the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix will be a entertaining and exciting motor race, contested on a dry track, and that Jenson and Lewis will be in the thick of it by the time the chequered flag is waved on Sunday afternoon.”