Fri: Merc, Red Bull, Ferrari

Date published: October 21 2016

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg topped the times in the second practice session, while Lewis Hamilton out-paced him in the first, also, Daniel Ricciardo managed to split the two Silver Arrows in FP2.

Mercedes:
Nico Rosberg:
“The running of the car was different between P1 and P2 because of the temperature; it was very cold when we ran this morning. The weather also had a bearing on the balance of the car as it altered as a consequence of the changing wind direction around the track. It should be different tomorrow because the weather is going to change again, as it does frequently here in Austin, and it means what we learn today might not necessarily help us for Saturday.”

Lewis Hamilton: “This circuit remains special for me as I won my third World Championship here last year. It’s great to see so many fans enjoying F1 in the US and coming out to show their support. On track it’s been a great day for reliability and getting our programme done. Given the wet weather conditions here last year and the lack of reference points for each tyre compound Nico and I had to cover as much ground as possible to help with our understanding. We’ve still got to go away and analyse the data overnight to make sure we’re ready for P3 and qualifying tomorrow.”

Red Bull:
Daniel Ricciardo:
“I’m happy with today. This morning was solid and the long run pace was good. We made a few changes in between the two sessions and look pretty good for now so hopefully we’ll stay like that. On our long run pace we look like we’re able to match Mercedes, possibly quicker, so if we get the pace we had today against Mercedes on Sunday it’s going to be a fun race. It is only Friday though so let’s see what they’re doing tomorrow but it’s nice to start the weekend on the right foot. I don’t think we’ve got hours and hours of work ahead of us. Just a little bit of fine tuning as always but we don’t have to search for too much at the moment.”

Max Verstappen: “We tried some different setups from FP1 and FP2 to try and find a strong feeling with the car. In the end we found a good one for the long runs on soft tyres but we still need to improve the short run pace. I’m quite confident we can do that tomorrow. We got some good data from the short runs but struggled to find a clean lap. We changed the setup during FP2 in order to improve some issues, which is why my car was worked on for a while. The supersoft seemed to lose grip every lap and get slower, so I think for the race it will be interesting. The long run pace seemed good, I had a Ferrari in front of me and I was catching it so I think that is a positive sign.”

Ferrari:
Sebastian Vettel:
“To be fair, it was a tough day. This morning we had some problems with a little wing that failed and came off, so we lost some track time, which was a bit costly for the afternoon because we couldn’t re-balance the car. We are a bit on the back-foot today and I am not entirely happy with the car balance yet; it is a little bit too nervous, but I think for tomorrow we can improve. On Friday usually you don’t see the full picture, so hopefully tomorrow we will be a lot stronger. Today the Red Bulls were very quick, there is no doubt, but I still think we have a chance. It’s Friday and I wouldn’t worry too much. You never know what the others are doing, we knew about ourselves, but we didn’t have the best day. For sure it will be very close with them and it will be difficult to match them tomorrow with the speed that they showed today, but I think the Ferrari you saw today is not the Ferrari you will see tomorrow.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a tricky day: in the first session, we struggled to find the right set up, and in the second practice I went off with new tyres and couldn’t set a lap time. Apart from that it was a normal Friday, it looks worse than it is. We did a normal set up work and sometimes it goes like this. We did not have any major issue, we just tried to make a sense out of it and get the car exactly where we wanted. Now we have some work to do on the set up and make it correct for tomorrow. The Mercedes look very strong as they have been all year, but we’ll do our best.”