Fri: McLaren, Williams, Haas, Force India

Date published: September 2 2016 - Editor

Fernando Alonso surprised many across the grid when he found the pace to finish FP2 seventh fastest.

Fernando Alonso:
“We didn’t have perfect reliability today – there are still some concerns here and there – but it wasn’t anything really significant, which is good news. Nonetheless, we need to take care of every last detail because we don’t want to lose out on scoring some points when it matters most. It was a positive day. We need to go away and look at what we’ve tested today – we ran some interesting prototype parts that are being evaluated for the future – but we’re reasonably happy. We didn’t expect to get both cars into the top 10 at a high-speed track like this, but we need to keep our feet on the ground as we know that we tend to slip back a little on Saturday afternoons. We wouldn’t realistically expect to get into Q3 tomorrow; so, if we do, it’ll be a nice surprise.”

Jenson Button: “The halo trial this morning was okay – there were no major issues with it. Perhaps it could be a little more difficult to see the lights on the start-line and in the pit-stops, but there are still so many possibilities to move things around. It feels a little strange: at 200mph, instead of focusing on the next corner, you’re focusing on something dead ahead of your eyes – which can make you a little cross-eyed. It could be possible to get into Q3 tomorrow: we didn’t do anything different today to what we normally do on a Friday, so it’s definitely possible. The car’s working reasonably well – I’m pretty happy. Long-run pace still needs some work if we’re to fight for points, but if we can get on top of it, we should be looking all right.”

Valtteri Bottas:
“Today went well. It’s always nice to drive here in Monza and we got everything that was planned done so we have plenty of information on downforce levels and how the tyres are performing in short and long runs. For sure we have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, but overall it was a good day. I think it’s going to be very close here and, looking at today and the long run pace we had, we definitely can have a good week. It’s too early to speculate much more than that, but I think we have an opportunity to be in reasonable positions this weekend.”

Felipe Massa: “It wasn’t a fantastic Friday for me personally as we had a couple of issues in FP1 and FP2 that limited my track time and what I could learn about the car. I’m in a very relaxed place after announcing my retirement plans yesterday, so my focus now is on having a competitive final eight races. I’ll be working hard overnight with the team to keep improving the car so that we can have another good result for Williams at what is a very special track for me.”

Romain Grosjean:
“It was a pretty good day at the office. The car felt good this morning straightaway. It was the same again in the afternoon, with higher track temperatures. The guys did a good job. It’s a very good car for Monza. We tried different (tyre) compounds. I did a high-fuel, low-fuel outing. There were no major issues. There are a few small things we can improve but, generally, I’m very happy with the car.”

Esteban Gutierrez: “We completed our program working a lot on understanding the tyre’s behaviour, because here we require a lot of traction and the tyre’s temperature directly affects that. We’re trying our best to find the maximum traction without compromising the overall balance of the car. I think we’ll have some interesting data to analyse so we can fine tune everything for tomorrow. The pack is very tight, so it’ll be important to get everything spot on throughout each sector, which will be a challenge, but that’s competition and it’s what we love doing.”

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg:
“It’s been a relatively short Friday for me, being in the car for FP2 only; but the afternoon went to plan and it was interesting to see our pace during the long runs. We managed some good runs and the team should have plenty of data to work with tonight. At this stage, I am not as happy as I would like to be with the car: I am still struggling a bit with the balance, so we need to improve things. We need to find some more harmony in the car to get us in better shape for tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez: “I don’t think today went as well as we thought it would. The balance of the car is still not where I want it to be so we need to understand why that is the case. There are still a couple of tenths we can find and that should be a good starting point. The times show the battle in the midfield is even closer than usual, so we need to keep pushing to come out on top. In the morning session I had a chance to try the Halo for the first time. It was just an installation lap, but I didn’t feel it gave me any problems with visibility. Getting out of the car is a bit more of a struggle, but it will be interesting to see how this technology develops over time.”