Force India struggled to find the pace needed to challenge in FP2 at Sepang while McLaren and Manor finished at the bottom of the timesheets…
Sergio Perez: "We did a lot today and I think it’s been a positive start to our weekend. We completed our programme and we covered a good amount of laps, which gave us a lot of information, especially about the long runs. The heat will have a big impact on the tyres and my feeling is that it’s relatively easy to get performance over a single lap, but on the other hand the track temperatures impact heavily on degradation, so our focus is to find the right balance of how to manage the tyres. We know the task ahead won't be easy as the grid is very competitive, but we will do our best."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was a fairly straightforward day and we managed to almost maximise our time on track. The afternoon, in particular, was a good session in which we managed to do all the runs we were planning: we did some useful tests and I believe there is a lot we can learn from today, both for the rest of the weekend and for the future. The track conditions changed significantly between the morning and afternoon session, and this had a big influence on how the car felt, especially the tyre performance. We need to take all the information we learned today and work hard overnight to find some gains for tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso: "It feels great to be back in the car – I enjoyed driving so much today. Maybe I’m not quite 100 per cent fit after two weeks on the sofa and two weeks out of the car, but I’m fit enough to enjoy it out there. Today really feels like the second day of testing for me – I had one solid day’s running in Barcelona during the winter, when I did 63 laps, and I managed 45 today. Plus, we ran with zero problems – so that’s an important step, too. We are improving the aero package, gaining a greater understanding of the power unit, and we also have better interaction between everyone working on the car. Every lap is a learning curve for us. The car feels consistent and easy to drive, and it’s giving me the confidence to push it to the limit. We had some issues with braking consistency today, but we should be able to resolve those overnight. I feel great – I enjoyed today so much."
Jenson Button: "I think everyone found it tricky with today’s heat, and it’s been tough to find a consistent balance today. A lot of people made mistakes – there’s very low grip out there – so the feeling inside the car isn’t as good as it was in Melbourne, but our overall pace over a single lap and over a long run is a little closer to the cars ahead of us. That’s a step forward. We learned a lot today about the engine; we have a bit more power, although we’re still learning about driveability in some areas. I may have been wrong yesterday when I said that we might not be racing other cars on Sunday: it would be a massive step forward for us if tomorrow we’re able to get in among some of the runners currently ahead of us in the pecking order."
Will Stevens: "It’s really nice to be back in a Formula 1 car and to get down to the business of racing. The day ran very smoothly versus our planned programme and I’m particularly pleased that my times in both sessions were inside the 107%. Considering how little running we have done, today is a really good step and my thanks to the team for a tremendous effort. We’re not under any illusions about the challenges that lie ahead though and we have a busy night in front of us to work through the data to try to improve and set ourselves up for the best showing possible tomorrow."
Roberto Merhi: "It was good to get going for our first day of running the car and positive for the team to have a straightforward day. This morning we were able to get a decent run and therefore a feel for the balance and some direction as to where the car is. In FP2 we started to do some proper running but unfortunately I had a bit of a spin into Turn 12, which brought an end to my session. My apologies to the team for that as everything had been going well, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow and picking up where we left off."