Paul Di Resta lost some running time in the first session due to the team changing the floor on his VJM06. He ended the session fifth fastest ahead of team-mate Sutil in seventh. The afternoon session was similarly promising with Di Resta again setting the fifth fastest time and Sutil still in the top 10 with ninth place.
Reflecting on the days running Di Resta said in a team statement “As Fridays go it’s been positive and we’ve achieved as much as we could realistically have hoped for. The car is working well and responding as we expected, and we’ve already got a reasonable idea of where we stand. There is still some optimising to do, as always, but if we can take another step forward tonight we should be in a strong position going into qualifying.”
Both drivers managed to get plenty of laps under their belt in the VJM06. The duo was both happy with their progress and look to be vying with Mercedes for the fourth fastest team status, seemingly ahead of McLaren too.
Sutil said after a largely untroubled day of running “Lots of laps and lots of things to evaluate today, but I’m still not totally comfortable with the car – either for short or long runs. It all feels very low grip at the moment so the set-up is not quite right for me yet. As for the tyres, there are no real concerns. My long runs looked competitive and both the medium and hard compounds seem to be working well for us in the high temperatures – as they did in Malaysia.”
The teams Chief Race Engineer Jakob Andreasen dubbed the day as “slick” and said it set both drivers up nicely for Qualifying and the Race.
He said “A very straightforward couple of sessions and overall we are feeling happy with how things have gone. The aero programme this morning helped to address some of the unanswered questions from China and allowed us to learn more about some of the new parts we have tried on the car recently. We also tested all our cooling solutions and don’t anticipate any issues during the race. As usual, we switched to tyre evaluation this afternoon and both cars managed to complete long runs on both tyre compounds. It was a slick session and sets us up nicely for tomorrow. With a few more tweaks overnight we should be able to keep up the momentum and get both cars in Q3 tomorrow afternoon.”
Both drivers look strong on both the short, low fuel and heavy, longer runs. Their end of session positions are no fluke and the VJM06 also looks good on its tyres, as does Lotus. They will certainly be hoping for some swift pit work and a double points finish by the race’s end.
Image courtesy of Sahara Force India F1 Team