Russian Grand Prix Practice
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: This is an interesting circuit and we’ve had a positive practice today. It’s very much a low speed track, with no real high speed corners and our primary focus was to get the set-up of the cars right and to get the drivers honed in to the right trajectory. We still have a bit more to find on this but that was always going to be the case given this is a new circuit. The car balance is looking good for the first day and the car performance has looked good on both low and high fuel runs. Valtteri had a problem with his tyre blankets this morning which hindered his run time in FP1 but this didn’t affect the overall run programme in the end. The compounds are looking very hard for this track but this is the same for everyone and we need to analyse how this will affect the race weekend. The tyre performance might change quickly so we need to be open minded with our strategy and react to this when needed.
Valtteri Bottas: I’m positively surprised by the track as it’s more challenging than I expected with quite a few technical sections, especially the final sector and I found it enjoyable to drive. The asphalt is quite smooth and combined with the hard compounds we saw little tyre degradation today, but this has corresponding challenges as it makes it harder to get the tyres to work on your opening laps. We therefore have work to do to make sure we get the most out of the tyres for qualifying tomorrow but overall a good start for us and this track seems to suit our car pretty well.
Felipe Massa: The first day is always about understanding each corner and finding out what lines you need to take and where you can push the car. My first impression is that the car seems to be performing well around here and I like the track layout. The track surface was very slippery this morning but the track improved a lot over the day and we will see it getting better as the weekend progresses. I’m pretty happy with the cars balance and it’s performing consistently so overall I’m happy with our days running.