Fri: Force India, Williams, Toro Rosso, McLaren

Date published: October 28 2016

In his home race, Force India Sergio Perez finished outside the top ten and placed 15, while Nico Hulkenberg split the two Red Bulls drivers.

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg:
“The main focus on Friday is to complete your programme without issues, and from this perspective we had a good day. Most of the challenges we are facing are the same as last year – the altitude makes a big difference to the feel of the car with a loss of downforce – so we need to adapt to the conditions to find the ideal balance for the car. The rest of the day was quite standard, mostly learning about the tyre compounds, and I feel we did a good job with it. The morning session didn’t tell us much: the track was very cold and very dirty, so getting good information was difficult. We were able to assess the tyres in the afternoon and there wasn’t any particular surprise. In terms of car balance, we have made a good start but I am not completely happy yet: there is still a good margin for improvement and I hope we can dial our car in to find it overnight.”

Sergio Perez:  “Racing at home is a very emotional moment, but when I get in the car it’s important that I treat this weekend like any other race. The morning went very well and I had a good feeling with the car. I struggled more in the afternoon, but we know where we need to focus and the direction we need to take to improve for tomorrow. The conditions today were not what we anticipated, but the rest of the weekend should be warmer: we will need to set the car up for what we think we are going to find on race day, but I think the data we collected today will allow us to do so.”

Williams:
Valterri Bottas:
“I think it was a good day for us. We definitely still have a lot of work to do with the balance; the track was obviously improving a lot so the feeling of the car gets better and better with every single lap. The long runs seemed to be competitive with the supersoft and the medium, so hopefully we’re looking at a good weekend ahead for us. We still need to make sure that we work hard tonight to make the changes we need to get more performance.”

Felipe Massa: “It was very difficult to understand the tyres today. The track is just very low grip, but it’s improving every time we go out. You can go out and have no grip, but then suddenly at the end of the run the grip improves. So, I think understanding the tyres this weekend will be very important for the result at the end of the race. I wasn’t happy with the result on the new tyres, but I was happy on the longer runs. We just need to work on understanding everything.”

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz:
“I’d say it’s been an interesting Friday. In particular, with the supersoft tyre being introduced here this year and the fact that the track temperatures have been super low today, I think it’s been a very challenging day – not only for us but for the whole grid. Hopefully this will create some opportunities for us on Sunday. At the moment we’ve performed well – inside the top ten – but we can’t forget that it’s only Friday, we know that things can change quickly on Saturdays. The good thing is that we’ve started the weekend positively and we will remain calm, work hard, extract the maximum out of the car and see where we end up!”

Daniil Kvyat:  “I think it was a good day. We’ve ticked most of the boxes on our programme and I’m happy with how both practice sessions went – my race engineer Pierre is happy too, so that’s good! We now have to analyse all the data collected and get ready for the rest of the weekend. I’m feeling good in the car, even if the conditions out there today were a bit tricky because it’s very cold – therefore, like all the other teams, we will also need to find a good approach for this kind of conditions. We will work hard tonight and tomorrow we will see who’s done the best job.”

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso:
“It has been a demanding day for everyone, with a very dirty and slippery track, like last year. In the first session, we tried a few things on the car, then in the second session we tested different tyre compounds, but the degradation was quite significant. The situation will surely improve tomorrow and on Sunday, when the track will clean up and we will have much more grip. At the end of the second session we saw an anomaly in the braking system so we stopped, as a precaution, to do some checks. Tomorrow we’ll be working more on finding performance, but, even so, making it into Q3 may not be easy.”

Jenson Button: “We started off this morning doing quite a lot of general testing work, so FP1 wasn’t so useful for this weekend. In FP2 we could do a lot more Mexico-specific testing – we worked a lot on the balance – and we finally found something that’s a bit more interesting. I don’t think it’s ever going to feel good here, with such low grip because of the thin air, but hopefully we’ve found something we can work with tomorrow. There’s quite a bit of graining on the Supersoft tyre, but the degradation got better throughout the session. The long runs were tricky though, and I think everyone found that on the Supersoft, but we’ve just got to try to make the best of what we have. At the start of the race I think a lot of cars on the Supersoft will be pitting four or five laps in, but that’ll mix it up and I think it’ll add a bit of excitement. The Medium tyre is working better than the other two: it lasts the longest and we haven’t seen any graining on it so far, but there’s correspondingly less grip on it. I think we’re on the edge of the top 10. It might be a little bit more difficult than at the last race, but it’s not such a bad thing to be just outside the top 10 because that way you get a choice on tyre strategy. Obviously we’ll try our best to get into Q3, even so, but the race strategy is more important than the kudos of Q3, and the goal is to score points. Finally, it’s really nice to see so many people here already on a Friday. The fans are fantastic here and there’s a lot of support for Formula 1. There’s a great atmosphere – I’m looking forward to the weekend.”