Driver quotes from the first day of #F1 testing in Abu Dhabi (order is fastest to slowest)

  1. Valtteri Bottas, Williams: It was a good day overall and I really enjoyed it. Everything went to plan and we completed the programme we had planned. It was interesting to try the new Pirelli tires against the old, we felt a few differences and that is knowledge that we will take forward for next year.The tire degradation is a lot more consistent so Pirelli has done a good job with the new compound. We got some positive results from the systems we are testing for next year as well. It was a fun way to end the season. The FW36 has been a great car and a really good platform to build next year’s car from. I have a lot of faith that we can continue to move forward and improve, I am looking forward to getting next season underway now.
  2. Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari : “It was a normal day of testing. With more running time and more tires to work with, we managed to try various solutions without having any problems. Testing next season’s tires produced positive results, but will have to wait to try them on the new car in winter testing, to get an in depth understanding of their behaviour.
  3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes : Today was good; we were looking at the tires for next year mainly. That was a useful experience, looking at a lot of the set up for the new tires as it could be quite different. It’s always interesting to test the car here in such great conditions so that worked well.It was great to get back into the car again today and to do as many laps as we did is positive. You can see we’re already testing parts for 2015, so I’m already looking forward to it. I will go away and reflect on a great season for the team with this incredible car and aim to come back even stronger for next year.
  4. Jolyon Palmer, Force India : I really enjoyed my first experience at the wheel of a Formula One car. I always had the ambition to drive a Formula One car: it was surreal when I first got out of the pits, but after the first moment I was just focusing on getting the job done for the team and doing my best.Despite a few technical issues early on, in the end we managed to get back on track and have a solid hour of running, getting up to speed fairly quickly. What really stood out for me is the power delivery of a Formula One car, compared to what I am used to in GP2: I heard lots about it all year, but to actually experience it first hand, feeling it as I drove was impressive. Knowing the track in advance helps only a little as you get to the various corners and drive through them at completely different speeds to what you are used to; but not having to get to know the layout made it possible to just concentrate on our testing programme. I have learnt a lot working with the team, seeing how everyone operates, and I am really happy about today’s experience. Sahara Force India is a team that gives young drivers good chances and I would love to get a role with them. They developed Paul Di Resta into a good racer, created a meaningful FP1 programme for Jules Bianchi and generally do a really good work with their reserve drivers.
  5. Carlos Sainz Jr., Red Bull Racing : For me it was an incredible day, a day that I’ve been thinking about since I started the Formula Renault 3.5 season, knowing that this was the prize. So it was always in my mind and to finally make it happen was an incredible feeling.It felt really good to be honest. Obviously I had a reference from the test at Silverstone last year in the RB9 and I could build up little by little, as it was a long day and I think I did 100 laps. From the first lap I felt comfortable and felt at home, so I was able to push. There were no problems at all even though it was an extensive programme. The morning was all about data gathering but in the afternoon I was able to push a bit more, so it was fun.
  6. Will Stevens, Caterham : Today’s been a really good day, I’m very pleased with myself. We got through everything we needed to do and we completed more than 100 laps, which is excellent not only for me to get more mileage under my belt but also to show that the car is reliable.Overall we got close to the pace we had in qualifying at the weekend. My last run got compromised a bit because of the red flag, but it’s been a very good day. I feel completely different in the car now – every time I leave the garage I know exactly what I need to do, where everything is and I’m much more confident than at the beginning of the race weekend. I feel very comfortable and I can now focus 100% on the driving side of things. It’s been a very useful day for me and the team and I can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow.
  7. Charles Pic, Lotus: Of course it’s always fantastic to get back into a Formula 1 car and it was a good day today. We ran through the programme required and I could definitely feel the difference in the car compared to when I last drove it at Silverstone.It was interesting to get a taste of the 2015 tires. They don’t feel massively different from this year’s, but I did feel an improvement in terms of traction. I’m glad I was able to complete so many laps reliably and carry out the team’s planned programme fully.
  8. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber : It was a great day. I did a lot of laps which was the main thing to get used to the car and get to start to work with the team.I am really happy with that. It was a good first day. We focused mainly on aero work for 2015 and also on tire comparisons. I think everyone is satisfied, and I am also happy about my first laps in the C33.
  9. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso : Unfortunately we didn’t get much running in the morning, but in the afternoon we carried out very useful long runs, which helped me with my understanding of how to manage the tires.To be able to run the car for a longer period than just an hour and a half, which is all I had done so far when running in the FP1 sessions, was definitely a good experience and lap by lap, I got more used to the car. I’m looking forward to getting another day in the car tomorrow, to go on with the programme we started today.
  10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren : Firstly, I want to say that wearing Honda’s famous ‘H’ logo on the chest of my overalls and team kit makes me feel extremely proud.Before today, McLaren Honda had only existed to me as a chapter in F1 history – to actually become part of it is very exciting. We’d hoped to get a few more laps under our belts today, but we had a fuel data-logging issue that stopped the car a couple of times; however, the team are already analysing the situation and we’ll hopefully cure it ahead of tomorrow. Nevertheless, it’s been a very positive day for us. At this stage of development, any lap we complete has a benefit – and it’s better to be solving these initial teething problems in November rather than in Jerez next February. I’ve already given the team some useful feedback. The purpose of this test is to enable the engineers to deepen their knowledge of the McLaren and Honda collaboration. This is their first time working together at the track, and – operationally – it’s all a bit different. We’re still building up the power – we haven’t run the engine at full power yet – so it’s difficult to get a feeling for it, but it sounds absolutely fantastic! People often say that if an engine sounds good, then it usually has lots of power – so let’s hope that’s the case.

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