P1 programme 16 laps 1m43.369s (+0.609s) 2nd
P2 programme 25 laps 1m40.888s 1st
“We’ve been hoping for some time to improve our revised rear wing. It hasn’t really been working fully since we first tested it at Suzuka, so we’ve not been able to use it to its fullest extent. We knew that it had potential though – and to have it finally working properly is a huge plus for us.
“The car feels good, so I’m hopeful for a good qualifying result tomorrow afternoon. Of course, it will be tough, because the Red Bulls tend to pull out half a second in Q3, but our pace is closer to theirs than it’s ever been.
“Of all the weekends this year, this time I feel like we really do have the right package to challenge the fastest cars. I think we can fight for the front row.
“My visit to the stewards was just to explain what happened out on track with Bruno [Senna]. It was a bit of a misunderstanding: he was trying to start his lap, and I was trying to come into the pits. I’ll go and speak to Bruno to make sure everything’s cool.”
P1 programme 19 laps 1m43.785s (+1.025s) 3rd
P2 programme 28 laps 1m42.132s (+1.244s) 8th
“Today showed us there are a few areas where we need to improve my car. We changed a few things for the afternoon session, and I struggled with the balance – front locking is an issue, as it has been for the past few races. There’s not enough consistency, so I think we’re running a downforce level that’s too low for this circuit.
“So that’s probably not the way forward, but at least it’s shown us the reasons why the pace wasn’t there. It seems like Lewis’s car, which was in a different configuration to mine, is still very quick – so hopefully we can find that same sweet-spot with my car.
“I want to enjoy the rest of the weekend – and there are lots of reasons to feel optimistic for tomorrow.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“We come to this race determined to end an already successful season on a high, and to consolidate our second position in the constructors’ world championship. To that end, we’ve aggressively refined our rear wing design into its final iteration, and initial tests suggest it’s delivering the additional performance we’d anticipated.
“Lewis set a very strong pace in both practice sessions, ending the day fastest overall – a result that provides us with plenty of encouragement as we continue to refine our car overnight.
“Jenson was less satisfied with his car’s balance, once again encountering the front-locking issues that have affected him in recent races. However, he and his engineers are confident they can overcome these issues before practice resumes tomorrow.
“Last year, this race was ‘the one that got away’ from us following Lewis’s early mechanical retirement after leading the opening laps. Now, the whole team will be looking to make up for that with victory this weekend – that’s very much our aim.”