Fri: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren

Date published: June 17 2016

The Red Bull drivers were joined by Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button inside the top ten in Friday’s practice for the European Grand Prix…

Red Bull:
Max Verstappen:
“It was a shame we didn’t really get to do a lot in FP1. If you don’t do that many laps in the first free practice you miss a little bit of car set-up and from a driver’s point of view you want more laps so you can get comfortable. The second practice session was not perfect for us – we definitely have some work to do but I’m not shocked, it’s ok, we still need to find a bit, but we have some very clever engineers up there to solve the problem. In general the track itself is quite fun to drive, although some kerbs were coming off so we need to have a discussion (with the FIA) about that, and the exit of the pit lane is also not ideal so maybe they can open it up a little bit. The track is quite slippery and you arrive from very high speeds and the braking is also not so easy, and in some areas it’s very tight so you have to be focused. You need to be careful in the runoff areas because it can be easy to get stuck in them. We knew we wouldn’t be the strongest on the straights, especially with such a long straight here, so we have to find a bit of a compromise in set-up and make the best of it.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “I think the circuit is pretty cool, it’s definitely as tight as it looks and has a lot of corners unlike any others on the calendar. There are a few interesting lines past the castle which adds to the toughness. It’s pretty unique and as I showed this morning some of the corners are pretty challenging and not that easy. I didn’t brake too late, I actually came off the brakes too quick and tried to carry too much speed across the corner, even at the apex I didn’t think there was a problem but then the rear kicked out and did quite a lot of damage. On a positive note the guys did a really awesome job to get me out there for second practice so a big thanks to them for allowing me to use the entire session. There is some time on the straight to think, which is nice as the corners are technical and you really need to concentrate. Being a street circuit if you want to be quick you need to find the limit and get close to the walls. In general we are chasing some grip and not really where we want to be. As we have found at new tracks before, getting the tyres to dig in isn’t easy, so when we improve that we will find some lap time.”

Ferrari:
Sebastian Vettel:
“In the end I don’t think we had a bad day. Obviously, it is not great that Kimi could not finish the session, but after all we did many laps. I got to know the track. It is quite interesting, and that was the main objective today. The car felt good, what is missing is some speed, but I am sure we can improve. We look at what we have done. The track is very difficult, you have quite a long straight leading into hard brakings. At the beginning to find the reference is quite tricky. Your own orientation is not enough and all the trees look the same. After a while you find the rhythm, you know the bumps and then it becomes a bit better. But at the beginning it took some time. Plus it was quite slippery to start, so it was definitely more fun this afternoon. However, it seems a nice track, quite challenging, especially the high speed sections. For us everything felt ok. We are too far away and this is our problem, we are not quick enough. I am sure we will find something for tomorrow. I am confident because I believe in the team, in the car and sometimes also believe in myself!”

Kimi Raikkonen: “The circuit layout is pretty ok, it’s different and fun to drive. Being a new track it was quite slippery to start with, but this is normal. The balance of the car was not too bad but the main issue today was to make the tires work, the challenge was to switch them on for one lap. With more laps it seems to get better and better, but to make a lap time was not easy. I don’t know what was the issue at the end of the session, for sure something happened, the car stopped but we still don’t know why. Once we’ll get the car back we’ll be able to understand. In the evening we’ll have to go through what we have done today and see what we can improve for tomorrow.”

McLaren:
Jenson Button:
“We started this morning a little bit better than we’d perhaps expected, but, once everyone had got to grips with the track, it moved us to our usual positions. Getting the right downforce level will be key for qualifying – we still need to work out what that will be, as our understanding isn’t quite there yet. We also need to better understand the tyres, too – the Soft seems to be a good tyre, but we need to improve our performance on the Supersoft. There are some good corners around here; Turn 14 is right on the edge – it’s mad, really – but the section past the castle is too slow. The car felt reasonably okay, but, on a slippery track, when you get a tiny bit of oversteer, you suddenly get a lot of oversteer, which makes things tough. We’re not quite there yet with the balance, but I hope we can get things into shape for Saturday and Sunday.”

Fernando Alonso: “Today was positive. We arrived to find a very fast track, as we expected, but also one with some challenging corners. Maybe we need to go through the data at some of the corners as there’s still areas where we can improve – tightening up our knowledge of the inside kerbs and the racing lines, for instance. That’s something I did in Singapore a few years ago, and it really helped. Looking at the data we had from the simulator, I reckon our level of competitiveness is possibly slightly better than we’d anticipated – we’re performing quite well, so that’s the positive news of today. Today’s positions don’t really show our full potential.”