Objectives: Set-up work, tyre runs, and aero evaluations.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: In FP1 we did a number of different aerodynamic tests across the two cars including front wing comparisons and tested some development floor and front brake duct components. Following this we picked the best configuration for FP2 when we switched our focus to tyre work. Valtteri was concentrating on a number of performance and long run comparisons; however we didn’t complete our programme with Pastor as he ran wide hitting the barrier during his first run. We also had to cut his FP1 session slightly short after he lost his left-rear wheel out on track. The team are currently investigating this. There is still work to do ahead of tomorrow to improve our overall pace and consistency.
Valtteri Bottas: There are still some balance issues with the car and the strong winds today made it feel more inconsistent. We are struggling to get the most out of the soft tyres when the track conditions are improving, and relative to the other cars I would say that our pace is similar to where we were in Korea. Nevertheless I managed to get a good number of laps in today, more than any other driver, so we have a lot of data available to us to try and improve the car’s performance and find a few extra tenths ahead of qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado: It was a frustrating day today as I didn’t get the amount of time on track that I would have liked. My FP1 session ended early after a problem with my left-rear tyre, and at the beginning of FP2 I was struggling for grip and lost the back end of the car and went off the circuit which ended my running. Tomorrow is another day though and FP3 will give us a chance to improve the set-up based on what we learnt today and get some low fuel running in to optimise our car for qualifying, which will be important as overtaking here can be difficult.