Fri: Mercedes, Red Bull, Force India, Ferrari

Date published: August 26 2016

Red Bull claimed the 1-2 in Friday’s practice for the Belgian GP as Max Verstappen beat Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Hulkenberg was third.

Red Bull:
Max Verstappen:
“It has been a very positive Friday for us. We showed great pace today in comparison with other teams, though it’s hard to say what Mercedes is like. Of course I’m happy to be first in front of so many Dutch fans but it’s still not qualifying and not the race so let’s see. When I went up to first position in the second practice the fans were all cheering me on with their flags. It definitely gives me a boost and motivates me a lot. This track is very difficult for setting up the car balance so I also had some struggles but at the end it paid off with the last set up change we did. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m sure we can improve even more, but we have to wait and see what the others are doing. So far we had a very good start to the weekend.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a pretty good day today, not bad. I think on the time sheets we look good, both Red Bulls are first and second, but I don’t think Mercedes used the super soft (tyres) and Force India is quite close. I think we can still be quicker than what we showed today, but I feel like we definitely got into the right rhythm. No one is on holiday anymore and we’re back in work mode, the energy around the garage was good and everyone is ready to go. I think we can improve the set up tonight, as there are some things I’m not 100% happy with, but it’s nice to be back behind the wheel.”

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a good start after the summer break. We didn’t have any issues and we were able to work through our programme as planned. We collected the usual data and we made some very good steps between the sessions. I wasn’t too happy with the balance in the morning, but we were able to improve it for the afternoon: it’s still not perfect, so there’s a bit of work to do overnight, trying to use the information we got today, but it’s a decent starting point.”

Sergio Perez: “The first indications are positive, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on the car to solve a few little issues. We need to understand the car balance a bit more and develop our set-up from there. The weather is going to play a big role: it will affect tyre degradation strongly, but I am sure we will be able to make the changes we need for the race.”

Ferrari:
Sebastian Vettel: “Today it was a very tricky day. It is very hot for Spa, and so it’s very slippery out there. But I think in general, everybody was struggling to make the tyres last and sliding quite a lot. It doesn’t matter which tyre you have, it’s the same for everybody, so we need to try and work on that because the temperatures will be like this for the whole weekend. Also, I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car, but this is up to us. We need to improve the car. It is not yet where we want it to be. But I am sure we will be faster.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “In the morning the feeling with the car was pretty good, but then in the afternoon, when I put the Supersofts on, I struggled to put a good lap together and I kept running off the circuit. For the long run we changed some things but I was still struggling, for whatever reason. It was one of those days when you start well and then the feeling is not right anymore, but I’m sure we can find the right set up for tomorrow. It will be tricky with the tyres, but it’s the same for everybody. I haven’t had time to check what the others were doing, it’s too early to have an idea, but for sure there is some work to be done. We have to go through everything and take out the best.”

Mercedes:
Nico Rosberg: “The team have done a great job on the halo. It doesn’t disturb me when driving. I could go fast straight away and even set the best time of the session with it this morning, so I think that was a success. After that, car-wise we seem to be quick. The grid is a bit all over the place this afternoon with people doing different things with the tyres. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the race. Long run pace will be important, as you can overtake here. I don’t know how we’re looking yet – we’ll need to look into that. But there was a lot of tyre degradation, so managing that on Sunday will be important.”

Lewis Hamilton: “A straightforward day for me but a tough one for the guys in the garage with the engine change. Massive respect and a big thanks to them for all their hard work. It was actually quite tough to look after the tyres out there as the pressures are so high. But everyone is in the same position and it looks like we’re all experiencing the same thing. The important thing is that we got through our programme smoothly today and can start focusing on the rest of the weekend.”