Nico Rosberg hits back as he edges Lewis Hamilton in FP2 while Sergio Perez was third fastest for Force India on Friday.
Nico Rosberg: “It’s been a good start here in Abu Dhabi – but it will be a tough weekend for me as I have quite a high mileage engine in my car. After the Monza problem, we have had to stretch the engine life more than we had planned over the 19 races, so I definitely have a small lack of power on the straights and therefore need to make up extra time in the corners. It will be a big battle with Lewis here. He didn’t really bring together his quick laps, so it will be even closer tomorrow I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it and I definitely want to win this race and give the boys in the garage a reason to celebrate at the end of the season.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a pretty normal Friday. The track is behaving very similarly to how it did last year so there’s not much new to learn there. I didn’t get the best out of the tyres but they’re actually really strong here – especially the super soft. I made some changes to the car between the sessions and so far it’s felt relatively good. The long run pace doesn’t feel quite as strong so that’s something I need to work on. I’ll probably make some more tweaks tonight and hopefully tomorrow it will be better. It’s very hard to overtake here, so of course it’s better to be up on pole. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to win from further back.”
Sergio Perez: “Today has been a good start to our race weekend, despite the brake issue we experienced in the evening session. The first session is not very representative of race conditions here, because the track temperatures are much higher than you would have in the evening, so we took the opportunity to try a few test parts that will help us in the development of next year’s car. FP2 was a very positive session: I felt comfortable in the car from the start and the changes we made worked well. Our long run programme was interrupted by the brake issue, but we have plenty of data from Nico’s runs that we can analyse tonight. The baseline set-up we worked on is already quite good, so we’re in good shape for tomorrow.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “I’m feeling pretty happy with a successful day and lots of laps under our belt. In the morning we had a busy programme with several test items and future development work, which went to plan and gave us a lot of information. The afternoon was straightforward with no issues and our one-lap performance looks quite competitive. There is still room to improve with our long runs so we need to do our homework tonight and understand what we can change for tomorrow. Overall I’m feeling positive about our performance today.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “Today was a good day for us. This afternoon we made some adjustments with the set-up from this morning and the evening session is the one that reflects the conditions we will see in qualifying and the race. I was happy with the balance and think we were more or less where we want to be. As always, there’s some fine tuning to do but I’m pleased with where we ended today. Force India were quick and surprisingly strong here. I’m happy with the car. We are pretty much 95% to where we want to be so that’s good for a Friday. As always on Saturday, Ferrari and Williams seem to make a bit more of a step. Hopefully the others don’t close the gap too much but let’s see what happens tomorrow. Sure we can find a little bit more but probably not a whole lot. If we qualify top 5, we’ll be happy.”
Daniil Kvyat: “It didn’t look too bad today. Overall, the balance wasn’t so great so we have plenty of work to do tonight, to try and find some more stability in the car and try to make it a bit more driveable for me, but it think this is usual on a Friday. It looks very tight from P3 onwards, so I think P3 is an open battle at the moment, but you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Obviously we are aiming to fight for those positions, that would be nice and I’m hoping that the P3 spot will stay as open as it was today and we are able correct the little things we need to correct from today and we will be in the right place tomorrow.”