Valtteri tops the timesheets on Friday evening, Lewis comes home in P4
Valtteri finished FP1 in P3 with Lewis in P4
Valtteri ended the evening session in P1 with Lewis two tenths behind in P4
F1 W09 EQ Power+/06
F1 W09 EQ Power+/05
FP2 was really good, the car felt like I could trust it and drive it the way I want. FP1 was less good, but I think that’s pretty usual here. The track is very green when we first go out and it’s much hotter during the day than it is in the evening session. So I’m glad we got the car to work well in the evening session as it is very difficult to try out set-up changes in FP3 because it is so hot. We definitely learned a lot from the runs we did today, especially in the evening, and there are plenty of things we can adjust overnight to find a good set-up for qualifying and the race. It’s nice to be on top of the timesheets, but we now need to build on that, we need to try and make the right set-up changes and I also need to find more performance from myself. My goal for the weekend is to repeat last year’s result, but there’s still plenty of work to do.
Overall, it’s been a good day; even though the first session was not great. The track was very green in the beginning, so there was a lot of sliding around and – just like everyone else – we were struggling with the tyres. There’s a big difference in track temperature between the two sessions; the conditions in FP2 are much more representative of qualifying and the race, so in that respect FP1 and FP3 don’t really tell you a whole lot. We made some really good changes over the break and I was much happier with the car in FP2, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Red Bull looked quick today, they’re usually fast in practice and in the race, so I have no doubts it will be the same this weekend.
We had a lot of 2019 test and development items on both cars in FP1 so that was a very busy session although we were still able to do a reasonable amount of the normal race preparation. We also ran through a number of checks on Lewis’s power unit and so far it all looks normal which is good news. You always struggle a bit more with overheating in FP1 but other than that, the car seemed to be working ok. In FP2 we had a more normal programme, the car seemed a bit more competitive, especially on a long run and it feels like we’ ve got a decent platform to work with. It’s nice coming here and not having to worry about the championships but the team and both drivers are wanting to finish the season in style, so we’ll be attacking the weekend with our normal focus and determination. This is a race where qualifying is very important and from the times today, it looks like it’s going to be quite tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and us. We’ve definitely not got everything out of the package today so we will work hard overnight as we’ll need every last bit if we want to get the cars on the front row for the race on Sunday.