McLaren missed out on a spot in the top ten in FP2 but at least Fernando Alonso's P12 was an improvement for the Woking team…
Fernando Alonso: "Today I had a very smooth day, and I was happy with the car in every condition, so tomorrow we just need to make sure we optimise the performance of the car and try to get a good result. Still, today is only Friday, and we saw in Shanghai that we had a decent performance on the Friday but then not so good on the Saturday – due to the fact other people were running more fuel than us on the Friday. Even so, we can see that we’re getting closer and closer to the mid-pack with every race. Definitely we’re moving in the right direction, we just need to do it that bit quicker! We don’t have any ‘magic bullets’ here, since we’re only four days after the last race, but we have some little tweaks that are putting some performance in the car. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same for Jenson today, so we’re missing some information, but we’ll try to recover tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "I guess it wasn’t a great day, but at least we got a lot of useful data on the car. The slightly frustrating thing, though, is that both cars were set up quite differently today, to get comparative aero info, and we weren’t really able to benefit from that on my car. Hopefully, we won’t have further issues; that way, I can get some decent running tomorrow so as to see what the car is doing. Whatever happens, though, it’s not going to be an easy weekend. We knew that already. And qualifying will undoubtedly be tricky again!"
Carlos Sainz: "Even if we didn’t have much track time this morning in FP1 and had to face some brake issues during FP2, in general it’s been a decent Friday. The car feels nice to drive and we don’t have any major problems, so we just need to keep working hard. It’s my first time driving here and I like the track very much, I’m enjoying it, especially during the night, the circuit looked stunning."
Max Verstappen: "It was a bit of an up-and-down day. I think the first practice in general was quite alright and I used it to get used to the track and didn’t take too many risks. Everything felt good and I like the track, so that’s important. Not being very happy with the set of brakes, during FP2 we decided to change it and luckily it all felt better towards the end of the session, but I carried on taking it easy. It was a bit of a scrappy practice but now we have all night to prepare for tomorrow and that’s what we’ll do."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was quite a straightforward Friday. This morning we did a few aero tests to continue our process of understanding the car and learning about it, exploring different ways to optimise our performance. Our mileage was good, so we should have plenty of data to analyse tonight. The afternoon session went quite smoothly as well: we were able to use both tyre compounds and completed short and long runs. We got all we needed from the session, so that we could skip the final run and save a bit of engine life. We have a fairly clear idea of where we stand and of our performance level, so tonight it will be a matter of tweaking our set-up to improve the balance and be more competitive tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: "It's been a good day for us, despite the final incident with Vettel. I was trying to overtake Nasr and, when I got to the apex of turn one, the gap I had on Sebastian was gone, as he had a car problem, and he made light contact with my right rear. After the session he came to see me and said he had an issue with the brakes. It was an unfortunate incident but nothing more than that. Before that moment, we had done a good job throughout the sessions and I feel we have made another step forward. We tried some different set-up options and we had the opportunity to make some big changes between the two sessions. We seem to be a bit more competitive compared to the previous couple of races, especially over the longer runs, but it’s too early to make any predictions."
Will Stevens: "I’m pleased to say we’ve had another predominantly smooth day of running and that has been important in reaching a good baseline set-up and getting to grips with the track conditions. We’re really starting to get into the swing of things in terms of our run plan and the improved pace is coming off the back of that, so I feel well prepared for tomorrow."
Roberto Merhi: "It has been a very good and straightforward opening day and as this is another new circuit for me, we’ve been able to get into a good rhythm to help with acclimatisation. We made good progress through our set programme and now the focus tomorrow is on extracting a little more of the pace. A good day for the team."