Fri: Force India, McLaren, Toro Rosso, Renault

Date published: October 21 2016

In the midfield, McLaren and Force India were quite close to each other during the final practice session, previewing a much anticipated United States Grand Prix ahead of Sunday.

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg: “
It was a straightforward Friday – the way you want to start a weekend, really. We didn’t have any major issues with the car and we were able to do a good amount of mileage. We tried a few different things with our set-up this afternoon, so the job tonight is to try and understand the best direction to take going forward. I am reasonably happy with the balance of the car, but I know we can make some improvements tonight. So we’re in a good place to start and I am optimistic for tomorrow and Sunday.”

Sergio Perez: “I was only in the car this afternoon, but I got up to speed very quickly and I am quite happy with my laps – I think we’re in a promising position. The car feels okay and I think we found the set-up window quite early. Nico tried a different approach to me and it should have helped the team get all the information we need to make a good decision for tomorrow.”

McLaren:
Jenson Button: 
“Today wasn’t too bad. I really enjoy driving around here but there’s definitely still some more work to do. This track is always tough on tyres as there’s high degradation, but it’s the same for all of us, so I think we’ll be okay. The mid- and high-speed corners are always a challenge for us and the long Turn 17 is tough, especially on tyre wear. A few cars have been hitting the orange kerb in Turns Three, Four and Five, and it’s been breaking off parts of the floor, but luckily we haven’t had any issues on our car. When we bring a Supersoft compound to a circuit where we’re not used to running it, there’s degradation, but it’s pretty normal and we haven’t found it too bad. There’s degradation on all the compounds – even the Medium tyre overheats pretty quickly and isn’t as consistent as you would like it – so this circuit is definitely tough on tyres, but that’s part of what makes it interesting.”

Fernando Alonso: “It was a good day in the office. We completed our programme and were able to put a good number of laps under our belt, which was very helpful. In the second session we also tried the different compounds and we will need to choose carefully, because the Supersoft seems to have quite a lot of degradation, as we expected. We’ll make our decision once we have gone through all the data we gathered today. We tested several items, aero parts and mechanical settings, and some things went better in FP1 and some in FP2, so we have some work ahead of us to be ready for tomorrow.”

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz:
“It was definitely good fun out there today and a positive Friday overall – last year we didn’t get to do many laps here in the dry, so it was a pretty new track for me this time round. I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the day: this is a special and charismatic track which is exciting to drive! From a performance point of view, we are exactly where we expected to be, but we will keep on working hard and see where we end up at the end of the weekend.”

Daniil Kvyat: “I tried the halo during this morning’s FP1 session and I think there’s no big visibility implications. Of course, it’s a valid item but in my opinion there’s enough safety in Formula 1 and we don’t need it, but it’s not my decision. Regarding today, I think it was a decent Friday for us. We’ve completed a good amount of laps, ticking most of the boxes on our programme for today. The track conditions were not easy, as there was quite a bit of wind, but in general it was a good day. We will now do our usual job tonight and try to fine-tune everything to my liking in the attempt to be stronger tomorrow.”

Renault:
Kevin Magnussen:
“It’s great to drive around the Circuit Of The Americas even if we did have a couple of small issues today. I think we’ve got scope to be further up the order, which means we should be fighting for points come race day. That’s what we all want.”

Jolyon Palmer: “My first impressions of COTA are what an awesome track! I did have a couple of moments learning the limits here and we’ve got a bit of work on the set-up, but nothing other than the usual work you do between Friday and Saturday.”