Portuguese Grand Prix 2021 – Practice

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: It has been a good day overall and it has been enjoyable being back here in Portugal. The track surface has changed a bit since we were here last autumn, and we have spent a good deal of today understanding how this has influenced the tyre behaviour; we have collected some good data across the compound and fuel ranges and we will use this to finalise our plans for tomorrow.

In the calm conditions this morning, the car was performing well, especially for George. Nicholas was testing a few items and was generally less happy with his car this morning. With the tyres on the edge in the cool conditions of FP1, anything that prevented the drivers from pushing hard quickly led to a large loss of laptime, and this is what Nicholas suffered with.

In FP2 the wind was stronger and gustier, and this harmed our performance a little. However, Nicholas was happier with his car following some changes during the break and although there is still a lot to do overnight to get him fully happy, we have a direction to work with.

As always, there is a lot to do overnight, but we’re pleased with our start to the weekend and we look forward to pushing hard again in qualifying tomorrow.

George Russell: Naturally the car has moved forward and the team is looking in great shape. I think we are getting the most out of our package and I’m pleased with that. The wind really picked up in the afternoon and it is no secret that we struggle in those conditions.  I don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver, but if the wind dies down we will improve and I think P2 was the worst of it this weekend. This circuit is incredibly exposed and undulating, so if you do get a gust of wind you really do feel it. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think Q2 is the minimum for us and I hope we will be fighting for points on Sunday.

Nicholas Latifi: Overall I’m not very pleased with the day. We definitely have our work cut out for us tonight to try and claw back some of the pace that’s missing. Straight away in FP1 there was quite a contrast to how the car felt in Imola. There’s a lot of flat-out kinks on this track, corners that should be easy flat-out, that were borderline flat-out for me, especially in FP1. So it’s just really a lack of confidence in the car. We did try some things going into FP2 which made it marginally better, but still pretty much the exact same struggles as in FP1. So not how you want a Friday to go, but we’ll do some homework tonight, try to reset and find some pace tomorrow.

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