Both McLarens ventured out in the wet during Friday’s wet FP2 session at the Sochi Autodrom while the Red Bulls also got a few laps.
Fernando Alonso: “We had a couple of extra things to learn about today. We installed a new engine for FP1, then removed it and fitted an existing one for FP2. This was the engine that we ran at Suzuka a fortnight ago. So, regardless of the weather, we had to go out and calibrate the engine – the data we gathered showed that it was all working as expected. Unfortunately, I have a 35-place grid penalty due to those component changes, so we need to see how we can best manage the race. It looks like being a one-stopper for everybody, so there won’t be much we can do in terms of strategy. I’ll just try and enjoy the race regardless of the result – we have a good opportunity to learn about the car, so there’s lots we can still do this weekend. I’ll start 20th – so I’ll attack every corner and have fun on Sunday.”
Jenson Button: “Despite the weather and this morning’s track issues, we managed to get a fair amount of running under our belts today. FP1 was disappointing for everyone, but at least Fernando and I made the best of the conditions. There was very low grip out there – and the water settled strangely on the circuit. It didn’t run off anywhere, so I think a bit more drainage could be needed – especially at Turn One. We also struggled to get useful tyre temperatures when the track was at its wettest. This year’s car hasn’t been the best in wet conditions, but we’re getting to the bottom of those issues now. FP3 will be action-packed for everybody – I’m looking forward to it.”
Daniil Kvyat: “It was not a very useful Friday, it was quite quiet and I didn’t do so many laps. We did six laps in the wet, so nowhere near being able to draw any conclusions today. We have to be patient and see where we can be tomorrow compared to the other guys. I hope that we manage to put in some nice laps tomorrow morning, it’s going to be quite an important FP3 as I’m sure everyone will be trying to do as much as possible then. Because today was a very irrelevant day FP3 will define our qualifying really. In Japan my Saturday morning session was not great which had a significant effect on my qualifying, so we need to aim to have a good FP3 tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a shame about what happened to the track before the morning session, as it never really cleaned up, so we never got any useful running. Then this afternoon there was little point in doing many laps as it’s better to save mileage, especially as it’s not meant to rain for the rest of the weekend. Running for no reason made no sense and it was a pretty boring day. We can hope for better weather tomorrow. This is not our most competitive track, but we will do our best, aiming to get through to Q3 and then see what we can do. With the lack of track time today, we need to work efficiently tonight, choose a direction to go in and then stick with it.”
Nico Rosberg: “That wasn’t a very useful day. First there was the problem with the cleaning truck, which lost some fuel. In the afternoon we had heavy rain. So not much to learn. I only tried a few starts and some wet settings. But Saturday and Sunday will be dry, so it didn’t make any sense to run any longer. We have to squeeze it all in P3 and learn everything within this hour. This should be a bit more of a challenge this weekend as Ferrari will be a threat on this track.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Today we had to just sit and wait. We watch and hope that the rain stops. We did learn something today as we went out and tested a wing and got some information on the single lap run. But from my point of view, there is not much to learn from today. I don’t have any concern about today as everyone is in the same boat so I hope that tomorrow and Sunday is better weather-wise. We feel confident about the weekend and we will find out more tomorrow.”