McLaren duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were pleased with their cars pace today while Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen disappointed.
Jenson Button: “It’s been a positive day, overall. We’ve been quick on Fridays before, and we know that we face the prospect of having to save some fuel in the race, but hopefully we’ll be able to knock on the door of Q3 tomorrow and be capable of scoring some points on Sunday. If we can qualify inside the top 10 tomorrow, we’ll be somewhat limited on tyre choice, but it’ll be possible to race well from there; you’re with the quicker cars, able to run in the DRS and can let them pull you along. This circuit tends to be quite easy on tyres – we’re able to do a lot of laps on them. I think people are still thinking about one or two stops in the race – most probably one. I think it’ll be an interesting weekend.”
Fernando Alonso: “Getting at least one car into Q3 tomorrow would be good news for us. I think that’s possible. I know in the past that our results on a Friday make us perhaps a little over-optimistic about our chances for Saturday, but the car felt good today. We’re not 100 percent there yet – there’s still a little bit more to come from McLaren. Let’s see if that’s enough to get us into the top 10 in qualifying. The car was a little unbalanced in certain corners, and we maximise the power, and make the tyre work – at the right temperature, then we can improve on 12th position. I hope tomorrow we can maximise our potential.”
Carlos Sainz: “It feels good to be back here in Russia. As I said before arriving here, this is a track that I enjoy and today we were able to cover all of our run plan with no issues, so I’m happy with that. I’m pleased with the car so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend. As we’ve seen during the first three races, the midfield is extremely tight so we need to keep working because it’s not going to be easy.”
Max Verstappen: “Quite a difficult start to the weekend. I experienced a lot of oversteer and we haven’t found the right solution for this yet. It felt very tricky out there today – it’s difficult to enter the corner in the right way because when you try to go a bit faster you easily end up off track. Fortunately though, it’s only Friday, so we still have some time to work on this – it will be a long night but I’m confident we will be ready for tomorrow.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “The track conditions were not great this afternoon and the wind made it a bit tricky, but it was the same for everyone and this is what you expect on a track so close to the sea. I still think we have a lot of information to help us make the right tweaks to improve our performance for tomorrow. I am feeling good about the weekend: the track is very enjoyable to drive and it throws quite a few challenges your way.”
Sergio Perez: “It’s still quite early in the weekend, but the first feeling is positive. We completed a busy programme with several long runs, so we already have a good understanding of the tyres. There’s still a bit of work to do in terms of balance, but we should be competitive and fighting for a place in the top ten in qualifying tomorrow.”