22 JUNE 2018
FRENCH GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
First Practice Session: 1:32.527 Position: 3, Laps: 25
Second Practice Session: 1:33.243 Position: 2, Laps: 31
“This track is quite fun, normally when you come to such an open circuit it loses some character but actually the layout here is fun and fast so I’m enjoying it more than I thought. It is always going to feel different coming here from tracks like Monaco and Canada where the walls are so close, but I’ve enjoyed it. Turn 1 and 2 are good, it’s the start of the lap so obviously important to get right but I enjoyed those especially. We were relatively fast today, in the long runs we looked a bit up and down so definitely a bit of work to do tonight, but not a bad Friday. We got a lot of information today, the downforce is a question mark so maybe we can change that and hopefully we can keep improving and be strong all weekend. Between the two cars we went in different directions today which I think is really good to help learn how the car will work and get the best possible setup direction for tomorrow.”
First Practice session: 1:33.331 Position: 7, Laps: 15
Second Practice Session: 1:33.271 Position: 3, Laps: 24
“The first practice was a bit compromised because after a few laps I sustained some damage to my wheel. As it is a new track you want to be out there as much as possible so missing so much time wasn’t ideal. After a tricky first session we changed a lot on the car and it felt good. We still have a lot to improve setup wise but I would say it has been a good start to the weekend. I enjoyed my first experience of the track, I wouldn’t say it is my favourite track but it’s definitely not my worst. I do not know yet how this circuit will be for overtaking, in practice you obviously try to give yourself as much room as possible, so I haven’t followed anyone yet so we will wait to find that out during the race but there are a lot of long corners which means it will be hard to follow. The tyres are very sensitive to the heat, with it being so warm here it is going to be important to get them switched on before Qualifying to extract the most out of the car. Tonight I’ll go away and look into the lines a bit more and think about the tyres and hopefully comeback with some improvements for tomorrow.”
So far we’re loving being here in the south of France and for the past two days as we’ve gazed past the cypress trees out across vineyard bedecked hills and into perfect blue skies, we’re wondering why we ever left France. The answer of course is location. The good vibes are all down to the fact that we’re here at the Circuit Paul Ricard. If only other circuits could be named after tasty drinks, such as….
Belgium – Spa-Francorchamps sits in the middle of one of the most intensely productive beer brewing regions in the world, and a surprising number seem to be owned, operated or named after religious orders. So in honour of all those heavenly brews perhaps we should rename Spa as Circuit des Petites Soeurs Ivres. It sounds unassuming but its kick is sassier than Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act.
Brazil – Interlagos is a fine venue that has given us some spectacular races but how about combining it with the best of golden age Brazilian races in Rio and creating a newly named track that incorporates a traditional Brazilian beverage? Wouldn’t racing at Jacarecaiparinha be a lot more fun – at least until the following morning when you wake up naked and tied to a lamp post with only a sticker reading ‘Mail me to Guam’ preserving your modesty.
Britain – Silverstone. It evokes… well, old airfields and horizontal rain. So how about a new, more apposite name, in the shape of the beery-sounding Northamptonshire’s Old Peculiar. It’s slightly flat, sort of brown-ish and just like an English summer is normally served tepid.
Mexico – There’s a ton of heritage in racing at a track named after two of F1’s great legends – Ricardo and Pedro Rodríguez. But it doesn’t do much to describe the true nature of one of F1’s most colourful venues. So how about the Circuito de Fin de Semana Perdido in honour of the country’s greatest export, tequila. Yes, it’s not a proper Mexican race unless you end up running down the paddock, in an oversized sombrero, wearing a lizard-faced wrestling mask, shouting ‘Viva El Chupacabra!”
Austria – Wait that one’s already been done. Once we’ve enjoyed Ricard, we can’t wait to head to the Red Bull Ring for the first of our two home races.