Fittipaldi pleased with recovery from FP1 mistake

Jamie Woodhouse

Pietro Fittipaldi pleased with recovery from FP1 lock-up at Sakhir GP.

Haas’ Pietro Fittipaldi was pleased with his ability to recover from a big lock-up during FP1 at the Sakhir GP.

Fittipaldi, who has been part of the Haas team since the start of 2019 as a test driver, is making his debut at the Sakhir Grand Prix in what is certainly not the most ideal of situations.

The opportunity came about following Romain Grosjean’s horror crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix which saw his Haas split in two and burst into flames as it speared into a barrier coming out of Turn 3.

Miraculously Grosjean escaped with only burns, though in particular the burns to his left hand meant he couldn’t take part in the Sakhir Grand Prix, while his place in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is also in doubt.

But in his first day in the VF-20 Fittipaldi gave a good account of himself, finishing FP2 within four tenths of team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

The Brazilian driver was particularly impressed with his ability to bounce back from a big lock-up in FP1 which destroyed his tyres and brought an end to his programme for that session.

“It’s been both fantastic and exciting today,” he told the Haas website.

“It’s been a year since I’ve driven a Formula 1 car, eight months since I’ve driven anything on track. I took the day step-by-step, I just kept my focus and kept calm. I was really happy with the day.

“The team have helped me with everything, the engineers did a great job talking me through things, and the mechanics have done a great job as well.

“The only set-back was in FP1, we had a lock-up that damaged my tyres, I couldn’t do any further running. I kept my cool and we just went into FP2 and got through our run plan. Tomorrow I’ll make another step, slowly turn up the volume, and push when it comes to qualifying then the race.”

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Haas principal Guenther Steiner was happy with what he saw from Fittipaldi, but is keen to see how he will cope with the “physical demands” of driving the Haas moving forward in the race weekend.

“The combination of the two sessions were very good. In FP1 Pietro (Fittipaldi) lost a few laps – he flat-spotted the tyres, so he couldn’t go out anymore,” Steiner explained.

“For sure though, FP2 was good because the most important thing for Pietro was getting laps in. I thought he did very well in FP2. I hope he’s not too worn out now because of the physical demands.”

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