Fri: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams


Lewis Hamilton once again proved why he is the World Champion as no other driver on the grid could match his pace throughout Friday’s practice session.

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been an awesome day. This has always been a strong circuit for me and I’m really enjoying being back here again. I’ve generally been really happy with the car so far. The focus today has been on working hard to make sure we have a good understanding of the tyres. I’m enjoying myself and hoping the weather stays like this over the weekend for all the fans out there in the grandstands.”

Nico Rosberg: “Generally I feel good in the car. But getting the tyres working is not so straightforward here, so that needs some further analysis tonight. I lost most of my time in the first sector – possibly because of tyre temperatures. So, that part of the lap is the main area to work on and find some improvement for qualifying. The long runs have looked good so far, though. It’s been great to see so many spectators out there already today and I’m sure there will be an awesome atmosphere over the weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel: “The car felt ok today, but it was quite nervous, which is normal around this track with all the curbs and the bumps. But overall it was a good day, all the things we brought seem to work, even if I am not yet entirely happy. But then show me one driver that is entirely happy with the car on Friday…you always have the feeling you can improve.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “It was not an easy day, one of those days when you keep making changes and nothing seems to work exactly as you hoped. We struggled to make the car handling better but we did not manage to do it. It’s difficult to talk about the updates in the car, we are in a different place and in different conditions, but as I said before we wouldn’t use new parts if they didn’t improve the car. Today we tried many different things, now we have to go through them, analyse all data and pick the right things for tomorrow.”

Red Bull:
Max Verstappen:
“Not a bad first day at the track, good day, good weather. I’m more or less happy with the balance we have, now it’s down to fine tuning little bits and getting some lap time out of that. It’s always very challenging here, you ride the curbs and get a bit of a go kart feel so I always enjoy it. The first feeling with the new engine was very positive, you’re always happy when you get more power. We understood the car setup and the engine felt good which is important. We did some good lap times and a long run which was promising. Ferrari look to have a bit better pace here so we still need to do some work and improve but overall it’s been a positive day. Looking at tomorrow, in qualifying you always want the softest tyres so we’ll put them on but on Sunday there is a chance of rain so we will have to wait and see what to do.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “Obviously nice to be driving again for sure, and it’s a nice circuit – I enjoy it here. I think the day was ok; we can still find some more speed so we’ll work hard tonight to hopefully find some good solutions which can put us towards the top four tomorrow and close to Ferrari. Mercedes looked strong today, their long run pace was probably more impressive than their short run pace so that’s where I think we need to improve. Our long runs can be better for both me and Max, so that’s what we’ll look at tonight. On Sunday the weather looks like it could change, so we will wait and see as it will affect things. I expect the gap to Lewis to be less than a second tomorrow, how much less I’m not sure but I think we can close the gap quite a lot from today.”

Valtteri Bottas: “
It’s always really good fun to drive on this track – so I really enjoyed today. We managed to get the car balanced pretty quickly and to get good drivability, so I’m quite happy with the car already, but I’m sure we can make it better. Overall it’s been a positive Friday and I think tomorrow is going to be very close so anything we can find overnight is going to be very useful.”

Felipe Massa: “It wasn’t really a positive day after what happened in the first session. We lost a lot of time and a lot of pieces of the car. It’s never nice to crash, especially not straight away in the first session. On a positive note, the car was very good this afternoon. There’s still room for improvement to make the car perfect for tomorrow after what happened in the first session. But, we’ll make the most of FP3 and make sure we have everything right for qualifying. For sure, the car seems to be much more competitive straight away compared to Monaco. I hope that carries into tomorrow and Sunday. “