2016 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix: Free Practice Report

 

Sunshine and showers were the story of the day in Austria as Sahara Force India made the most of Friday practice ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

 

Nico Hülkenberg       VJM09-03

FP1:     1:09.280            (P12)    43 laps

FP2:     1:08.580            (P3)      28 laps

 

Nico: “Definitely a solid day. The car feels okay, but we still have some homework to do tonight to improve the balance. It was quite a strange day with the changing weather, especially this afternoon when the big storm arrived, and the knock-on effect means we don’t have very much long-run data – but it’s the same for everybody. We were able to do some laps on the intermediate tyres, which is important because we don’t know what the weather will do tomorrow and whether the rain will return. Overall, I think we are in good shape heading into the weekend.”

 

Sergio Perez              VJM09-02

FP1:     Did not take part

FP2:     1:09.226            (P14)    32 laps

 

Sergio: “It was one of those days when the wet weather really limited our programme. I didn’t drive this morning so the wet session this afternoon was not ideal. I feel that I’m a little bit on the back foot and it’s going to be important to maximise what we can get out of final practice tomorrow. Nico has shown that the car is competitive here and hopefully I can find some more performance in the morning to be ready for qualifying.”

 

Alfonso Celis              VJM09-02

FP1:     1:10.860            (P22)    37 laps

FP2:     Did not take part

 

Alfonso: “It was a straightforward session for me and I’m pleased we had a smooth day. I only ran on the soft tyres, so there was definitely extra performance to be found on the supersoft or ultrasoft, but the team’s programme was to focus on understanding the soft. We also did a few test items and procedural checks, and everything went to plan.”

 

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“An encouraging day despite the changeable weather. We knew rain was expected this afternoon so we focussed on understanding the soft tyre this morning alongside some aero and mechanical tests. The storm arrived very early into the afternoon session and meant the track was constantly evolving and it was difficult to learn much, even when we switched to dry tyres. The drivers are relatively happy with the car, but there is room for improvement on a track where we typically see a very tight grid.”