2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix: Free Practice Report

Sahara Force India had a productive first day of practice for the Russian Grand Prix with Sergio Perez, Nico Hülkenberg and Alfonso Celis sharing time behind the wheel in Sochi.

Nico Hülkenberg       VJM09-01

FP1:     Did not take part

FP2:     1:39.795        (P13)      31 laps


Nico: “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              VJM09-02

FP1:     1:40.287            (P9)        22 laps

FP2:     1:39.867            (P14)      38 laps


Sergio: “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       VJM09-01

FP1:     1:43.432           (P22)     23 laps

FP2:     Did not take part


Alfonso: “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.”