Sebastian Vettel was the driver to beat in Friday's second practice in Austria, finishing 0.011s up on Nico Rosberg…
Sebastian Vettel: "In the afternoon session we had a problem with the gearbox as one of the sensors went to the alert mode and we had to slow down. Obviously now we’ll have to take a close look at it: we don’t know what’s the problem yet, but it seems to be unrelated to the one we had this morning. It’s always better if it happens in free practice rather than in qualifying or in the race, but we have to look into it and make sure it’s not happening again. In terms of feeling with the track, the lap is short and you just need to get into the rhythm. Unfortunately we didn’t get as many laps as we wanted, but that’s what it is. Overall the pace looks fine, we’ve taken a lot of information from this session, which is good. We know that we have a good car and we think we are competitive, let’s see what’s happening overnight. We have to make sure that we stay with Mercedes as much as we can, it should be an interesting qualifying tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It has been a good day of work, but it’s only Friday and it’s difficult to know where we are compared to our opponents: because of the layout of the track here all the cars are closer to each other. Unfortunately I could only run one lap with the Supersoft: I was going a bit fast and I ran wide, then I destroyed the right front tyre by locking it. It was a pity, I would have preferred to do the long run with this compound. I did it with the Soft compound and even if I was a bit stuck in traffic it was more or less ok. Now we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. We have to make sure that everything works well, then start from there and do a good job over the weekend."
Nico Rosberg: "In general it was a decent practice day for me. It´s a challenge to nail the setup for this track – but I felt comfortable in the car. The red cars are very strong here. They had very impressive pace – on higher fuel levels as well as low. They are our closest rivals, I think, but on this short track the lap times are quicker and all the cars are closer together. We will definitely need to work hard to find a few tenths for tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton: "It’s been an ok start – not the best but not the worst either. I had a bit of oversteer here and there but generally the car feels great and we definitely made improvements from P1 to P2. There’s just not a lot of grip out there on track and I didn’t put a full lap together. I had some good sectors and was a few tenths up on a couple of laps, so the pace is there. I was pushing hard and learning with every lap. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying hard enough. With the tyres, the option was one step faster than the primes as usual – but other than that the difference between them wasn’t spectacular in terms of feeling. I’m not sure how our pace looks relative to the others. I haven’t seen the data but Ferrari looked quick and it’s definitely closer here than at other circuits. We’re always aware of the threat from our rivals and we take it seriously every race. Hopefully it’ll all come together tomorrow."
Pastor Maldonado: "I had a positive day and it’s enjoyable to drive the E23 around this circuit. The day was pretty straight-forward actually. We had no dramas so we were able to work through our programme and make good progress. I think there is still some potential for more pace from the car and then we should go well tomorrow and in the race. I’m looking forward to it."
Romain Grosjean: "The car felt good, but we’ve still got some work to do ahead of the race and qualifying. The balance wasn’t quite where I wanted for my fastest run on the super soft so we’ve got some progress to make for qualifying. Pastor went well in the same conditions, so we can see there’s pace to be found. For the race we’ve got to work on some of the set-up but there is good potential for the weekend ahead."