Objectives: Aero evaluations, set-up and tyre work
FP1: Felipe Massa 1:11.756 (4th), Valtteri Bottas 1:12.114 (8th)
FP2: Valtteri Bottas 1:10.519 (4th), Felipe Massa 1:10.521 (5th)
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: We got through most of the work on the schedule today, and the team did a good job. We had set some fairly stringent priorities in terms of what tasks we wanted to achieve today, as we are treating this as a completely new track due to the length of time since we were last here racing. The car is reasonable on both new and scrubbed tyres and we are where we thought we would be in terms of pace. It’s very close from the second quickest car backwards so we are going to work hard to make sure we go through the smallest details in order to improve further. I am really happy as everyone has done a great job and the drivers are also happy.
Valtteri Bottas: It’s a really nice track; I think it will become one of my favourites. It’s an old-school track with some high speed sections and no room for mistakes. With long straights it should also make racing here interesting too. It’s not an easy track to set the car up for as you face different issues with each corner, Turn One is an uphill right-hander and Turn Three is a downhill right-hander, both at different speeds, so we will have to analyse the data to find what works best for us. Qualifying will be very tight so it will come down to who can put the lap together best.
Felipe Massa: It has been a good Friday. To return here and be where we are is encouraging. The balance of the car was good and the car behaviour was positive so we will be there fighting. It’s not an easy track and so many things can happen as we have learnt today, so we have to be consistent. It’s great to be up there with Ferrari but you can’t ignore any of the teams behind you and we will be ready for anything.