Aitken: One-lap pace needs work

Date published: December 4 2020 - Jamie Woodhouse

Jack Aitken

Jack Aitken feels he still has work to do heading into his debut Formula 1 qualifying session at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

After Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 Mercedes struck a deal with Williams to release George Russell from his “loan” deal in order to replace his compatriot in the W11 for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Aitken would finish both practice sessions slowest of those to set a lap time with a deficit of almost half a second to team-mate Nicholas Latifi come the end of FP2.

So, heading into qualifying it’s one-lap pace which Aitken really wants to nail, though the Briton thought his race pace was encouraging.

“Today was pretty cool and I got lots of laps under my belt,” he told the Williams website.

“We spent the first few laps in FP1 refreshing what I did during FP1 in Austria, so it was all pretty familiar, and I got up to speed quickly.

“There is some work to be done on our one-lap pace, but the race form was encouraging so I am pretty happy.

“We built some solid foundations today, so I am looking forward to getting into qualifying. It will be tough tomorrow in qualifying; keeping your wits about you and being aware and hopefully we can be on the right side of things.”

Jack Aitken

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Latifi seemed to shine with the absence of Russell at the other side of the garage, finishing FP2 in P15.

And the Canadian believes Williams are up there with rivals Alfa Romeo and Haas.

“It was a different kind of day, and a different kind of track to what we are used to,” he explained.

“It was pretty hectic out there, 20 cars sharing this short track made it difficult to focus on your own programme, get clean laps in and try to not disturb anyone else.

“We have some work to do on both low and high fuel, but we are thereabouts with our competitors Haas and Alfa, which is always the target.

“The new section is very bumpy, it will create something different for sure which I think is what F1 wanted to achieve. I hope it makes it exciting and brings opportunities that we are all hoping for. It has definitely created a challenge to set up the car, so we will try and nail that down tomorrow.”

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