Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado completed their and the team’s first laps of the Sochi Autodrom under glorious blue skies for the inaugural day of the Russian Grand Prix. The layout and surface provided the expected challenge of a new track as drivers and team learnt the 5.848km over the course of 114 laps today.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
• The first session was predominantly dedicated to aerodynamic assessments as well as learning the track. Both cars ran with additional aerodynamic evaluation devices with 51 laps completed. Pirelli’s medium (white) tyre was used.
• The second session focused on tyre assessments and further set-up work with 63 laps completed using the medium and soft (yellow) compound tyres.
What we learned today:
• The Sochi Autodrom is a challenging circuit.
Romain Grosjean, E22-03
Free practice 1: P18, 1:45.190, 25 laps
Free practice 2: P16, 1:42.892, 30 laps
Romain: “It was pretty difficult today as we really had to chase the set-up of the car as the track evolved, which always gives you a lot to do behind the wheel. The layout of the circuit is really good and I think it will mean an enjoyable race here. We have quite a bit of work to do to get the most out of the car and the tyres, which is normal for a new circuit. The track is fun to drive and certainly gives you a lot to think about. I’m looking forward to unlocking more pace tomorrow.”
Pastor Maldonado, E22-02
Free practice 1: P16, 1:44.876, 26 laps
Free practice 2: P17, 1.42.905, 33 laps
Pastor: “It’s great to learn a new circuit and we ran well today. We made good progress with the car through the two sessions as well as the track improving over the course of the day. As expected, there wasn’t too much grip to start with and I think there is still quite a lot of improvement to come in this area tomorrow and even on Sunday too. It was good first day and I think we can expect more progress on Saturday.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Today we had the added challenge of learning a new track to add to our programme. This means as well as the drivers getting on top of the layout and grip levels, we spend a reasonable amount of time refining the set-up of the cars. We completed some valuable aerodynamic assessments in the morning before being tyre-focused in the afternoon. We ran reliably through the day to give us plenty of data to analyse. The Sochi Autodrom is an impressive facility with the track constructed to a very high standard which gave our engineers and drivers plenty of work to do today.”