“I’m savouring every moment”
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Friday November 23
FP1 1m14.131s 33 laps 1st
FP2 1m14.026s 35 laps 1st
“It’s been a positive first day – I hope we can maintain our form or even progress it tomorrow. We’re certainly looking strong, but this place can be so tough on tyres that it’s hard to make any accurate predictions at this stage.
“The track and ambient temperatures were so high today that it felt almost as though I was sliding around the track with the tyres melting! Having said that, our long runs are usually tougher on the tyres [than shorter runs], but our long runs still looked quite good today.
“It’s great to have such a positive final Friday with the team – it’s been one of the best Fridays we’ve had for a long, long time, in fact. I’m savouring every moment of this weekend, and I’ll be taking photographs of my engineers and mechanics through each day.
“The car feels really good – thanks, guys – and it would be the perfect Saturday if I could take pole tomorrow.”
FP1 1m14.217s (+0.086s) 31 laps 4th
FP2 1m14.863s (+0.837s) 40 laps 8th
“We were running a lower downforce set-up package to Lewis this afternoon. It was quite an interesting comparison, but, in the hot weather, lower downforce makes things trickier because the car slides more, which hurts the tyres.
“Still, it was a useful test, because we needed to see how well the smaller rear wing works. Obviously, it operates in a different way [from the higher-downforce set-up package], so we wanted to be able to understand that.
“Using the smaller rear wing, our long-run pace was surprisingly good. However, our single-lap pace wasn’t as strong – probably because we weren’t able to use DRS as fully as we could with the bigger wing.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Topping the time-sheets in both today’s sessions was a nice fillip for the whole team, and it gives us great motivation to carry that momentum forward with us for the rest of the weekend. Indeed, our car appears to be competitive on both low- and high-fuel loads, and, as ever, I’m sure our hard-working engineers will once again mine the data this evening, further to refine our package ahead of FP3 and qualifying tomorrow.
“For Lewis, it must have been an emotional final Friday with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. But, as ever, he performed faultlessly. Jenson, too, has worked diligently with his engineers, following a divergent set-up route from Lewis’s, and has given us plenty of useful data to work through this evneing.
“Finally, the decision to provide each team with 2013-spec Pirelli rubber was extremely useful. Many teams, ourselves included, took full advantage of the opportunity to measure and understand the new tyres’ behaviour ahead of their introduction next year. It was an extremely productive day in terms of strengthening our understanding of a key performance variable.
“Now, though, our focus narrows towards qualifying: we expect strong competition from our key rivals, but we’re in a good position to fight for pole, and victory, this weekend.”