Fri: Force India, McLaren, Williams, Toro Rosso

Date published: October 7 2016

Force India duo Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were lapping impressive times during FP2, while Fernando Alonso crashed into the barrier during the morning session.

Force India:
Sergio Perez:
“It’s looking like a promising weekend based on our performance today. Of course, the track conditions were very good and you never know what the rest of the weekend will bring, but today everything was working well. We looked quite competitive in most conditions – on high and low fuel – and on all the tyre compounds. The set-up of the car was very good from the start of the day and we’ve not moved far away from this.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “There’s not a huge amount to say really because it was a routine, standard day of practice. We just worked through the run plan with no dramas and collected all the information on the different tyre compounds. We looked competitive, but it’s only practice, so I would expect much tighter margins tomorrow when we get to qualifying. I’m feeling positive, though, because we’ve started well and I’m already pretty happy with the car balance.”

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso:
“It’s been a tough day, generally. Our most important objective for this afternoon was to understand the compounds across the length of a long-run, and we did that. Nonetheless, we’re not yet happy with the set-up and we need to do some more work this evening. We’re still investigating the cause of this morning’s spin – it looks like there were some aerodynamic issues with the rear wing. Luckily, we didn’t damage the car and could continue running until the end of FP1. We need to find something extra tonight – let’s just hope it doesn’t rain in FP3 tomorrow as we need to understand the changes we make tonight ahead of qualifying and the race. Getting into Q3 could be quite difficult now.”

Jenson Button: “On single-lap pace, the car doesn’t actually look too bad – I just didn’t get a great lap this afternoon. But if we can get a good lap together – which we’ll hopefully do tomorrow – we may be able to get into the top 10. However, our long-run pace is more of an issue – and that’s something we need to solve as it’s usually a forte of mine, and it wasn’t today. The degradation is significant, we’re some way off, and we’re looking into the reasons why. I think there’s something not quite right, as opposed to there being a set-up issue; but hopefully we can fix it by tomorrow. I’d love it to rain – that would help us have a chance of a good result here.”

Williams:
Valtteri Bottas:
“I think it was a pretty straightforward Friday. We got everything done that we had planned and there were no big issues. Balance-wise, I’m already pleased with the car but we still need to focus on tyre performance. I think getting more performance out of the soft tyre over one lap is the key, and then on the long runs we need to get both of the compounds working at 100 percent.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a normal Friday. We were mostly just trying to understand the tyres, the different aspects of the car and doing the long runs. I think we need to analyse where we are compared to our competitors tonight because this weekend is going to be another fight, but I hope we can have a good one.”

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz: “A challenging day – obviously a track like Suzuka is always defiant regarding the set-up and driver, but I’ve definitely enjoyed it a lot out there today. Driving here is one of the most exciting weekends of the year for me – I really enjoy every single lap, it doesn’t matter if it’s during a short run or a long run, it’s just fantastic! I’m happy with today. We’ve been able to complete plenty of laps without any problems and, from a performance point of view, I think it’s looking very similar to Malaysia: we look good on Friday, but we know it won’t be easy to do the same all weekend long – finishing today in the top ten is very nice and we’ll do our best to maximize the potential of the car during the rest of the weekend.”

Daniil Kvyat: “It was a decent Friday, we did a good job. My running was slightly compromised in FP2, but we know that in tomorrow’s FP3 we will be back to normal and we will see where we are compared to the others. We’ve collected plenty of data regarding the tyres, which is what we wanted, and we now have enough information to analyse tonight. Considering what happened today…I will definitely go for some octopus sushi for dinner tonight!”