23 NOVEMBER 2018
ABU DHABI GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
First Practice Session: 1:38.491 Position: 1, Laps: 27
Second Practice Session: 1:37.280 Position: 2, Laps: 32
“The car seems to be working really well again, better than expected just like we experienced in Brazil. I felt positive right from the start which usually results in a good Friday performance. It was mostly smooth apart from a little moment I had and bottomed out on the long kerb. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage so we carried on as usual. I don’t expect these kerbs to be an issue during the race as we should not be going that wide with our line. As we have seen already this season we are good at managing the tyres. I would expect this to be another circuit where tyre management is key to a good result, hopefully it plays into our hands again. Both long runs and short runs look good for the tyres so I’m pleased with how it has gone so far. A good final Friday of 2018, now time to focus on qualifying.”
First Practice Session: 1:38.945 Position: 2, Laps: 19
Second Practice Session: 1:37.428 Position: 3, Laps: 31
“It was a pretty good Friday and it went well for both cars. Hopefully it will stay the same tomorrow as it’s all very close at the moment. The tyres are certainly degrading in the heat which I think will help us. The hypersoft shows a bit more wear on the fronts and the ultra and super has more on the rears. We’re normally in as good a shape as anyone, if not better, with the tyres so it will be important to stay on top of that and take advantage during the race. We looked strong on the long runs today and although there is still a bit to find on the short runs, the exciting thing is that there’s more to come from the car. Since Monaco I’ve been hoping for a strong weekend and now this is my last chance with the Team, I want it even more. It’s only Friday so I don’t know what’s possible in the race yet, but hopefully we can be somewhere on the podium if we perform well in qualifying.”
Walk around the paddock and you’ll detect a distinct ‘school’s out’ feel to the mood here at Yas Marina – that slightly hysterical, giggly realisation that yes, the season is going to end. At least that’s how it is until your zen-like sense of inner calm is shattered by any of the following email headers no-one in Abu Dhabi ever wants to read…
1. So, about the post-season test? You busy?
2. Hello, third driver – I’m wetransferring you your simulator schedule as it’s too big to fit in an email.
3. Updated details regarding restricted factory shutdown from (24 Dec) and return to work (26 Dec).
4. Hello, F1 correspondent X, you wouldn’t mind rattling out a season review would you? Just 3,000 words?
5. Urgent: Please stop ignoring my mails about the post-season test.
6. Prize-Giving: Flight details to Russia attached.
7. Really urgent: I’m getting quite cross now, so I’m putting you down for the test and that show car run too. And no, I don’t care if you’ve never worked on it before.
8. I understand that your contract runs until Dec 31st. Let’s make the most of the time we have left!
9. Keep pushing! Those 75 wheel guns aren’t going to strip and rebuild themselves!
10. Christmas advent calendar: Just 24 shipping containers to get home by the big day!
11. Hi, HR here, yes, I know I don’t normally come to races, but would you have time for coffee and a quick chat…