|Hamilton on his hot lap|
Lewis Hamilton topped the practice 2 timesheets at Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix Formula 1 race on Sunday. Hamilton's time in the Mercedes of 1m37.583s was a full 7/10ths of a second faster than Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari but it appears Ferrari is still sandbagging.
Nico Rosberg was third in the 2nd Mercedes ahead of the 2nd Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
It's good to be back in the car after what's felt like a pretty long wait since China. It's been a constructive day to start the weekend, too. We got through most of our program except one last little bit at the end as some of my tires were flat-spotted but no big drama there. I think we're looking strong here – but we need to keep working hard if we are to try and stay ahead of the Ferraris. They look like they might be another step closer this weekend. We've got a few things to look at to make sure we perfect the setup for qualifying, so we shall see how it goes…
It's been a solid start to the weekend. It's difficult to get it right at this track, as there's only a small window where the tires work perfectly and a lot of places where you can easily make mistakes. I didn't manage to hook up a full quick lap on the SuperSoft in FP2. But, aside from that, it was a good day. The car felt good on a quick lap this morning and again on the longer runs this afternoon, so that's very encouraging. It's great to back here in Russia and I very much look forward to the rest of the weekend.
|Some nearby houses in Sochi|
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
We ran a fairly regular program today. There are two main challenges of this circuit. The first is to get a clean lap, as there are a number of tricky braking zones – particularly at Turn Two. The second is to understand how to get the best from the tires. As a relatively new circuit, the tarmac is still very smooth, making it difficult to generate temperature in the rubber – particularly in cooler conditions like we've seen today. Nevertheless, we end the day reasonably happy, with all of our Friday homework complete and both drivers satisfied with setup thus far. We've brought some minor upgrades to the Power Unit this weekend, including a new engine oil from PETRONAS. The main test item of the day was to make sure that this package was all working correctly for the rest of the weekend, which seems to be the case. Tomorrow will be all about understanding how to get the best single lap pace out of the car for what will undoubtedly be a close qualifying battle with Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel (2nd, 1:38.235): "Looks like we had an electric problem, but I am sure we can fix it. Still, it is a shame, because now we are lacking some laps, especially in the long runs on race trims, which would have allowed us to see how competitive we are. But Kimi did the homework for the team, so it is not too bad. Also, here in Russia we know roughly what to expect. I think we can still learn a lot from what other people did. In Qualifying trim we still have some stuff to improve. I think the car was getting better though. The track was quite dirty in the morning and then during the day it came more towards us. I felt happier as the day continued, it's true that for the race we are lacking a bit of information, but we will see tomorrow morning, when we have another practice session."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:38.793): "It was not an ideal day, one of those days you struggle to make the tires work and get the car where you want. I wasn't doing any proper lap, but today it's only practice, I'm sure we can improve for tomorrow. Overall I think we just have to work on the set up to make it as we want and then it should be ok. We have a new engine and new parts on the car, so far it has been working well. We wouldn't use any new thing if we did not expect it to be good."
Valtteri Bottas (6th, 1:39.185): It was a good Friday – we managed to test everything we had planned to, including a number of new aero parts. The results from these tests are looking good which is positive. Tyre behaviour is the key at this track and that will be our focus tonight. We will be trying to get a bit more out of the shorter runs and maybe we can also still improve on the longer runs, although our long run pace is looking good at the moment so I’m hopeful that we can do well over the weekend.
Felipe Massa (9th, 1:39.289): I think it was a positive day. I’m happy with how the car shows its performance in the short runs and the long runs with the tyres. Maybe this is a better track for us than other tracks, I hope. But we just need to wait and see and try to do the best we can.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: We’ve had a very complex test programme today. We looked at various different suspension and set-up options, we’ve been looking at aerodynamic configurations with the front wing and we’ve been doing our homework on the tyres so it’s been really busy. We’ve collected all of the data that we need to but we have a long night ahead to make sure we have the car optimised for tomorrow. The team’s done a good job in getting through the programme after the clutch actuation problem we had with Felipe’s car this morning, which put us on the back foot but we managed to recover and get through everything that we needed to. The car looks reasonably competitive on low and especially high fuel, which is what we’re always working towards. So for this stage of the weekend we are where we need to be, maybe even a little further up the road.
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Daniel Ricciardo (5th, 1:39.084): It was different this morning running with the aeroscreen, not having the wind rolling on me and the engine sound was different as well. The visibility was pretty good, so first impressions were fine, it was driveable. Where we have the structure in place is pretty much where the mirrors are so I wouldn’t say it hindered any more than we are now in terms of visibility. Peripheral vision was fine as well. The talk about open cockpits has been going on for a while and that’s fair enough. It would be great to keep it as it is but obviously with accidents that have happened, especially more recently, I think not exploring this seems a bit disrespectful. The plan is to probably try it again on a different circuit with different scenery, a bit more undulation or something like that or maybe a night circuit. The lights could be interesting how they reflect off the screen so we’ll give it a bit more running.
Daniil Kvyat (7th, 1:39.193): I think all in all it was quite successful running today. We did a useful amount of laps, and did short runs and long runs. The tyres will be very challenging here – to understand which one works better for which conditions and so on, so it will be interesting tomorrow to understand the strategy for qualifying. We have plenty of data to analyse tonight, we have to really see what the options are and what the best things to do are for Saturday and Sunday. This track has always been quite interesting in terms of tyre behaviour, so we really have to make that work. It’s quite close between us and Williams at the moment, it’s one of the tracks which should suit them the best this year. If we can take the fight to them and maybe get ahead of them, that’s our goal, that would be good.
Nico Hulkenberg (13th, 1:39.795): "The track conditions were not great this afternoon and the wind made it a bit tricky, but it was the same for everyone and this is what you expect on a track so close to the sea. I still think we have a lot of information to help us make the right tweaks to improve our performance for tomorrow. I am feeling good about the weekend: the track is very enjoyable to drive and it throws quite a few challenges your way."
Sergio Perez (14th, 1:39.867): "It's still quite early in the weekend, but the first feeling is positive. We completed a busy programme with several long runs, so we already have a good understanding of the tyres. There's still a bit of work to do in terms of balance, but we should be competitive and fighting for a place in the top ten in qualifying tomorrow."
Alfonso Celis: "I am happy about the work I did today and also about writing a page of Mexican motorsport history together with Sergio and Esteban – with three Mexicans on track. My main priority was to avoid mistakes and complete the programme the team had planned for me. I wanted to take a few more risks compared to Bahrain, but the track conditions were quite tricky and in these circumstances you can't be selfish – you need to focus and ensure you keep your nose clean. We had a busy programme of aero evaluation and I am happy I was able to deliver the information the team needed."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "All in all, a routine Friday, even though the overcast conditions this morning made the air a bit colder than what is forecast for qualifying and the race. The afternoon was a bit better and we collected all the data we need to analyse this evening. Sergio's plan focussed more on long run performance, while Nico had a slightly different programme to account for him sitting out FP1. I feel we can get more out of the car in qualifying trim, so that will be our main focus tonight and during FP3. We are happy with the indications we are getting from our long run data, but choosing the right strategy will be crucial because it's not easy to overtake here and track position counts for a lot."
Kevin Magnussen (15th, 1:40.193):
Jolyon Palmer (18th, 1:40.688):
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
Nick Chester, Technical Director:
Carlos Sainz (11th, 1:39.465): "It feels good to be back here in Russia. As I said before arriving here, this is a track that I enjoy and today we were able to cover all of our run plan with no issues, so I'm happy with that. I'm pleased with the car so far and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend. As we've seen during the first three races, the midfield is extremely tight so we need to keep working because it's not going to be easy."
Max Verstappen (12th, 1:39.501): "Quite a difficult start to the weekend. I experienced a lot of oversteer and we haven't found the right solution for this yet. It felt very tricky out there today – it's difficult to enter the corner in the right way because when you try to go a bit faster you easily end up off track. Fortunately though, it's only Friday, so we still have some time to work on this – it will be a long night but I'm confident we will be ready for tomorrow."
Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a bit of a mixed bag for us today. The track was quite low grip and we found the last sector in particular quite hard to master for a lot of the running. Overall Carlos was a bit happier: he hit on a balance he was quite happy with in the long-run on soft tyres, but we didn't really get a clean lap in with him on the shorter runs. For Max it was a bit of a different story; we clearly have a bit of work to do tonight because we didn't really hit a sweet spot with him today, so we will put the hard work in tonight to get him happy and back to where he normally is."
Felipe Nasr (19th, 1:40.740): "I was able to complete the programme as planned today. I covered a decent mileage, which was important in order to understand how the tyres behave compared to last year. The car is a lot more together compared to the previous race weekends. I was satisfied with the pace on soft tyres, but we have to work more on the supersoft compound. We tried some set-up work for the run on supersoft tyres, which did not work out as we wanted it to. We have to analyse this, but I think there is room for improvement."
Marcus Ericsson (22nd, 1:41.652): "It was not the ideal Friday for me. Nevertheless, I ran many laps today gathering a lot of information on the car-side. This track has a unique asphalt, which makes it challenging to get the tyres to work. We saw it last year, and again today, and I have been struggling to get the tyres in the right window. We have tried different set-ups, but we are not going in the right direction yet. We have to look into the data and see what we can make better for the rest of the weekend."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:39.196): "It's been a positive day, overall. We've been quick on Fridays before, and we know that we face the prospect of having to save some fuel in the race, but hopefully we'll be able to knock on the door of Q3 tomorrow and be capable of scoring some points on Sunday. If we can qualify inside the top 10 tomorrow, we'll be somewhat limited on tyre choice, but it'll be possible to race well from there; you're with the quicker cars, able to run in the DRS and can let them pull you along. This circuit tends to be quite easy on tyres – we're able to do a lot of laps on them. I think people are still thinking about one or two stops in the race – most probably one. I think it'll be an interesting weekend."
Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:39.400): "Getting at least one car into Q3 tomorrow would be good news for us. I think that's possible. I know in the past that our results on a Friday make us perhaps a little over-optimistic about our chances for Saturday, but the car felt good today. We're not 100 per cent there yet – there's still a little bit more to come from McLaren. Let's see if that's enough to get us into the top 10 in qualifying. The car was a little unbalanced in certain corners, and we maximise the power, and make the tyre work – at the right temperature, then we can improve on 12th position. I hope tomorrow we can maximise our potential."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "The Sochi track is deceptively challenging – and today's sessions underlined the fact that finding a perfect balance around here is tricky. In the morning, we undertook a significant amount of aero and set-up development work. That made it difficult to get an accurate read on the balance, both drivers complaining that the car felt unpredictable and difficult to drive with confidence. Fortunately, we made a good deal of progress over the lunchbreak, with the result that Jenson and Fernando reported that the car felt much better in this afternoon's session. It's encouraging that we managed to get both cars into the top 10 this afternoon. While qualifying inside the top 10 brings additional strategic challenges on race day, it's our aim to get both cars into Q3 tomorrow. Such a result will certainly prove motivational for the entire team, and a good indicator of the solid progress we continue to make."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "As both drivers have carried over their power units from the Chinese Grand Prix, Honda's key focus during today's free practice sessions was to provide stable running, which in turn enabled the team to concentrate on Sunday's race set-up. It's too early to tell how representative Jenson's and Fernando's practice results are, because all of the teams ran different fuel-loads and settings, but overall our longer stints on the soft tyres have been solid and with decent pace. We know that fuel economy will be tough here, so our main focus now is to manage this in the best way possible for Sunday's race."
Rio Haryanto (20th, 1:41.080):
Pascal Wehrlein (21st, 1:41.148):
Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
Romain Grosjean (16th, 1:40.260): "It was good to be back in the car. Sochi's a track I quite like. We didn't have a very easy day trying to assess how to work our tires and how to work the car. We can improve and make the car better. Hopefully, we can find those answers for tomorrow, as our performance is not exactly where we want it to be right now. Again, it's all about working and learning everything. We're struggling a little bit today, but I'm sure the guys are going to react well."
Esteban Gutierrez (17th, 1:40.508): "I'm pretty happy how the day went overall, as we managed to complete a lot of laps. We're not as competitive as I would have hoped, but we gathered a lot of data today. We'll be looking over that to try and optimize our setup as much as we can. In FP1 we had a small interruption this morning, and then this afternoon we looked to be heading in the right direction. We're still working on our setup with the supersoft tires, so I think FP3 will be important for us to get a good reference for qualifying."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "FP1 we had a small issue with Esteban's car, which took us about 50 minutes to fix. Then we had to recharge his batteries, but it was no big issue. Between the two practice sessions we had good runs. We did quite a lot of laps – more than we've done before in two free practice sessions. We are still chasing our setup for here. We need to get the tires in the window where they work properly. Otherwise, we got a lot of running in and we'll see what we can come out with for tomorrow morning in FP3."
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 37.583s
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 38.235s
3. Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 38.450s
4. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 38.793s
5. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-Renault 1m 39.084s
6. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m 39.185s
7. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull-Renault 1m 39.193s
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda 1m 39.196s
9. Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1m 39.289s
10. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1m 39.400s
11. Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 39.465s
12. Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 39.501s
13. Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1m 39.795s
14. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1m 39.867s
15. Kevin Magnussen DEN Renault-Renault 1m 40.193s
16. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari 1m 40.260s
17. Esteban Gutierrez MEX Haas-Ferrari 1m 40.508s
18. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault-Renault 1m 40.688s
19. Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber-Ferrari 1m 40.740s
20. Rio Haryanto INA Manor-Mercedes 1m 41.080s
21. Pascal Wehrlein GER Manor-Mercedes 1m 41.148s
22. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 1m 41.652s