Only 11 drivers set a time during the first session which took place under grey skies and on a wet track. However feeder series running on track and increasing temperatures saw the track dry out for FP2, giving both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde useful running on slick tyres.
Speaking in a team statement after Friday practice, Pic discussed his late crash in first practice and felt that they are looking “okay” but with plenty of improvements to be made: “We knew from the forecasts that FP1 would be affected by the weather but it made the whole session pretty worthless. The installation lap was fine but then we waited until about ten minutes to go when there were quite a few other cars on track and unfortunately I went off in the last corner. We obviously didn’t lose much time relative to the other cars as everybody had stayed in the garage.
“FP2 was dry, still colder than it looks like it’ll be on Saturday or Sunday, but we completed a good number of laps and have a lot to work on tonight. We’ve found a balance I’m happy with and the grip levels are good from the out-lap – we need to work on the low-speed traction as we’re lacking a bit in that area, but deg levels look manageable, especially with the prime, so overall I think we’re going okay here.”
Giedo van der Garde felt that he found a good balance during FP2 and was happy with his days running: “The morning session was obviously affected by the rain which is a shame, both for the fans who packed out the stands, and for us with the plan we’d set for FP1. We wanted to run through a few aero evaluations, particularly as we have a couple of new updates to the floor here, but with the track as wet as it was, and no sign of the rain stopping, we played it safe in the morning.
“In the afternoon it was much better weather and we had a pretty good session. We had to try to make up some of the time we lost in FP1 and, while we couldn’t run the full aero tests, we were still able to make some decent progress throughout the session. The GP2 cars had helped dry the track a bit so we were able to push from the first run and we ended up with a fairly good balance on both compounds. We’re seeing a bit too much oversteer on the mediums, especially in the low speed corners, but not in the high speeds – there the car feels balanced and that’s positive, something for us to work on tonight.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic