Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: We had two fairly busy sessions today with three red flags interrupting the running, but I’m optimistic for the weekend with the car responding well on low and high fuel loads. We found that the rear option tyres were graining but this is normal in these very high temperatures and seemed to affect everyone, with no such issues with the prime tyre. We expect the weather to be very different over the weekend so we need to take what we have learned today on board but be completely prepared for a very different track tomorrow. This was Felipe Nasr’s last FP1 session for us and he did another good job, providing very good feedback and completing the test programme diligently so a thank you to him for his hard work this year.
Valtteri Bottas: It was an interesting day; the track felt quite different with the new surface but it seemed to have a decent amount of grip and was cleaning up quickly. There was a bit of graining on the option tyres but not nothing major and they seemed to be lasting better than last year because of the smoother track surface. We still have work to do with the car balance but the initial feeling is pretty good. In dry conditions we seem competitive and on the pace, but the weather is looking very variable over the weekend so we need to be good at adapting to it.
Felipe Massa: Today was about understanding the car and its balance on the new asphalt. The grip was actually pretty good and felt better than it has been in recent years, but because it is brand new, quite dirty and the temperatures were very high, it was difficult to get a real understanding of the car’s balance on the long runs. The car is feeling pretty good so we are starting from a good base, and as the track keeps improving I hope we can follow that progression with the handling to make sure we are in the hunt for tomorrow’s qualifying.
Felipe Nasr: The track has a new surface so there was quite low grip available at the beginning of the session, but as normal it started to improve and on the whole I think the car is looking good around this circuit so the team should be optimistic that it can have a good weekend. The medium compound tyres were lasting fine, but the softer compound were not lasting very long and you could only get one big lap from them, so making sure you look after the tyres will be very important this weekend.