Reaction round-up: Spanish Grand Prix practice
The big story from practice one was the lack of running from Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion was forced to skip the second session due to a damaged wiring loom. Here is a round-up of the driver’s reactions following the first day of on-track action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“We had a simple failure in one of the looms this morning, which caused a short and meant the car stopped. We had to change the chassis loom, which is a big job so I wasn’t able to go out this afternoon. It’s a small failure, but a big consequence; there was nothing new on that part of the car, it was something new that happened in that area. Luckily it happened today (rather than tomorrow), but unfortunately we lost the chance to prepare for Sunday with two cars, so I have to rely on what Daniel did today and get into the rhythm straight away tomorrow.”
“It’s nice not to have gone backwards during the short break and I think we have shown improvement; we want to close the gap to Mercedes but they don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down! It’s not great that Seb wasn’t running, two cars means twice the amount of feedback for the team and you don’t learn so much from one when you are trying new parts – but at least we got some good data. The short runs and long runs were both okay today.”
“The team have done a great job during the short break that we have had since China. We have brought some new upgrade parts here to Barcelona this weekend and they are working quite well on the car. It looks like we are very quick again, however personally I didn’t feel very comfortable in the car today, especially as I had limited running in P1. We still have a lot of work to do tonight and I will be working closely with my engineers to find my perfect set-up for the weekend.”
“It’s been a great day today and I’m happy to be back in the car after what feels like quite a long break. I can feel the positive step forward that we’ve made with the car so a big thank you to everyone back at our factories for all of their hard work since China. Our two practice sessions today went very smoothly, in fact I’ve not had such a good Friday for a very long time.
“Barcelona is a difficult circuit in terms of the tyres so our running was all about trying to see how long the tyres would last and we were able to make some positive changes with that during P2 this afternoon. It’s very difficult to overtake here so we will do everything we can to qualify as high as possible tomorrow, but really it is all about the race and looking after those tyres is the most important thing. Just finally, it’s great to see so many fans here today enjoying the action in this beautiful weather.”
“There wasn’t much grip on track today and in general, we struggled a bit more, which was down to a series of factors, including the track being less rubbered-in than usual. On top of that, we have less aerodynamic downforce than in the past and also in my opinion, the tyre choice here is too conservative for this track. Now we face a lot of work to try and optimise the balance of the car and get the most out of it, even if the circumstances are not that favourable to us. We must be cleverer than the others in terms of making the changes we need and adapting to them in time for qualifying.”
We had a particularly busy time on track today, trying to do as many laps as possible to complete the planned programme over the two free practice sessions. In the morning, we tried various set-ups, alternating between two different rear wings, while in the second session, we concentrated on preparing for qualifying and the race and on analysing the behaviour of the two compounds Pirelli has brought here. This evening, we will carefully analyse all the data gathered, to decide which direction to go in.”
“The car felt good today and it feels like we’re really making progress. We completed more set-up work and it was great to have a day without any issues. With the programme we were running I didn’t set my fastest laps when the track was quickest, so there’s more to come from the car as it is, as well as from further set-up improvements. I have a good feeling about this weekend.”
“In this afternoon’s warmer temperatures, it was harder for us to get the car working properly. When you’re limited on downforce, the car seems to operate properly within a very narrow temperature range. This morning, I think we looked quicker than we actually were. We’re now trying to work on the balance to improve our long-run pace a little more – and I think we can make the car a bit stronger for tomorrow.
“There are a few upgrades on the car for this weekend that seem to have helped the balance, so hopefully they’ll help us compete in the tight midfield group in which we find ourselves. A good result here would be for us to get everything out of our package – but it’s still too early to say where that would put us.”
“It was generally a positive day and we got all the information we wanted from the two sessions. We still have some work to do to find some performance in the car as we have the potential to improve. The track here in Barcelona is very challenging and it is going to be key to find some extra grip, especially when working with the harder compound. Degradation is high here, last year was a four-stop race and I expect the demands for the tyres to remain high this year as well.”
“We definitely made a step forward today. In the morning it was not easy to evaluate things because we had to solve some minor issues. However, I had a good feeling about the potential of our car, and during the afternoon was able to witness this. My fast lap was ok, but I think we can improve in every corner. If we can implement everything tomorrow, we certainly have a good chance to finish tomorrow’s qualifying in the top ten. I am satisfied with today’s outcome. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are going in the right direction.”
“It was a productive Friday and I was quite happy with the balance. The car ran reliably on both the option and prime tyre, so we were able to collect a lot of useful data which we will study tonight. I have a good feeling and I hope we can come out strong in Qualifying tomorrow.”
“It has been a good day today with all upgrades working and improving performance as we had expected. It’s hard to see who we will be fighting with come the race as all the teams have made a step forward. There are still some rear grip issues, it has improved since the start of the season, but we are not there yet. The medium is the best tyre for the weekend as we were struggling for grip on the hard tyre, as is everyone else. It’s always good to see upgrades working as they have all done which is once again impressive.”
“It hasn’t been an entirely straightforward day for me today and that can be frustrating when we have so many important boxes to tick. The primary focus today was achieving a good comparison between the two different aero specifications. We made good progress this morning so I was able to make use of the developments myself this afternoon. We lost a bit of time early in FP2 because of an engine problem and the afternoon was a little bit stop-start generally. I’m looking forward to evaluating what the new developments can bring.”
“That was a tough day for us, with lack of grip stopping us get anything good out of the car in either session. We used most of FP1 for aero evaluations, looking at the new parts we’ve brought here and also starting work on the setup options we have for the weekend ahead, but with the grip issue I really couldn’t put a clean lap together in the whole session.
“It was the same in FP2. The track was a lot hotter than FP1 and it seemed to make the rear worse, but overall I couldn’t find a decent laptime on any of the runs. We obviously have a lot of work ahead of us tonight to find a setup direction that will allow us to get back to the performance levels we’re targeting, but we’ve had a few Fridays like this so far this year and we’ve always come back fighting on Saturday so I know we can be better tomorrow.”
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.