2018 Formula One Honda Japanese Grand Prix – Practice – Friday
Weather: FP1: sunny/cloudy and dry, 22-23°C air, 25-29°C track; FP2: sunny/cloudy and dry, 24-25°C air, 28-31°C track
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team took to the spectacular and technically challenging Suzuka Circuit today, with rookie Charles Leclerc discovering the iconic track for the first time in his career. For Marcus Ericsson it was a nice welcome back to his favourite circuit.
Following the positive race weekend in Russia, the team headed into the first two free practice sessions feeling confident. Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson gave strong performances during FP1, finishing in P9 and P10 respectively. Both drivers reported feeling comfortable in the car after testing the soft and supersoft tyre compounds. FP2 brought bigger challenges, with Charles Leclerc encountering a mechanical issue at the beginning of the session, which was quickly resolved. After heading back onto the track, he did a good job in getting up to speed despite the traffic ahead of him, finishing the session in P15 while running on supersoft and medium tyres. Marcus Ericsson showed a strong and consistent pace on the soft and supersoft compounds, and finished FP2 in P9.
The team is confident of its potential at the Suzuka Circuit, and looks forward to tomorrow’s FP3 and qualifying ahead of the 2018 Formula One Honda Japanese Grand Prix.
Marcus Ericsson (car number 9):
C37 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
1st practice: 10th / 1:31.073 min (29 laps) / 2nd practice: 9th / 1:30.478 (33 laps)
“It was another good Friday. It is very nice to be back at Suzuka, driving on my favourite circuit. The car felt good today and overall we had two positive sessions. We seem to be quite competitive here and have a good foundation to build on for the rest of the weekend.”
Charles Leclerc (car number 16):
C37 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
1st practice: 9th / 1:30.929 min (27 laps) / 2nd practice: 15th / 1:30.906 min (26 laps)
“The day was alright, with FP1 having been positive on my side and FP2 on Marcus’ side. This shows us that we can be competitive here, and that our car is quite strong. It is a shame that the second session did not run as smoothly for me as the first one did. We had a small mechanical issue at the beginning, and a lot of traffic ahead of us after that. We are now working on improvements to make the step forward that we usually do between Friday and Saturday. The track itself is very interesting and challenging, and I enjoyed driving here for the first time. It is all about timing and rhythm, and I look forward to being back in the car tomorrow to fight for a good result.”