It was a Mercedes 1-2 in both practice sessions on Friday, with Ferrari and Red Bull narrowing the gap in the afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton: “The team has done an amazing job with the upgrades and the car is working just as we expected. It’s been a much better start to the weekend for me than in Sochi so I’m very happy. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep working, we want to be number one.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Today was an important one for us with the new upgrade package on the car. Our target was to evaluate if the new upgrades are working well and it seems like they are. At this time it’s way too early to tell exactly where we are, but everything seems to be working well so far. It’s always nice to start the weekend in a positive way, but the main days are Saturday and Sunday. As always we will work hard to find any performance. I really enjoyed it out there today so I hope we can squeeze more performance out of the package.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was pretty windy and slippery out there today. I think it was the same for everybody; the first day you find out how the track is and you go from there. The lap times from today’s practice don’t tell a lot , we were able to follow our programme and try different things. Compared to winter testing, it’s pretty normal to find different conditions, because temperatures are higher and the track status changes. As on any other Friday, there is some work to be done, so we’ll see what we come up with for tomorrow."
Sebastian Vettel: "Today the conditions seemed to be quite challenging, but we can improve. I wasn’t totally happy as I think a lot was left in the track and I didn’t find it at the end. At the same time I feel the car is quick so I just need to get it right. Overall, the atmosphere is good, but obviously now I am more focused on what happened today. I think everybody struggled today. I don’t know who brought more updates but I think what really matters is who brings the best ones."
Max Verstappen: "It was a positive day. We are closer to Ferrari. It looks like Mercedes brought a good upgrade package. I think we are still the third team I'm a little bit happier than this morning but we still need to find a bit more pace in the car and the engine."
Daniel Ricciardo: "There were times where it felt pretty good and times when we're still trying to find our way. The medium tyre was a struggle but we found a good chunk on the softs. For now it's as expected. We've made some progress but we knew it wouldn't put us up with Mercedes. We can still find a few more tenths out of it."