It was a sluggish start for Toro Rosso who joined Force India and Manor as the only teams not to get a driver inside the top ten in Chinese practice…
Max Verstappen: "It was a bit of a difficult day today, to be honest. I wasn’t really happy with the balance of the car in FP1, so we tried to improve it for FP2. It was better but we still need to find a bit more pace. Of course, we were also not able to complete the ideal lap this afternoon because when we went out the red flag came out. There’s definitely room for improvement and hopefully we can do a better job tomorrow. I like driving here, it’s a technical track and quite challenging, but that’s what I like."
Carlos Sainz Jr: "We managed to go through today’s plan with no issues, so I’m happy with that. FP1 was all about learning the track. I felt quite comfortable from the very beginning and was able to build-up on that. It’s a nice track, I like driving here, it’s challenging and different to other circuits, which is good. FP2 was more focussed on tyre life and performance. Unfortunately, during the Option run the red flag spoiled our short run, but when we went back out to complete the long run I felt good. Everything is very close here, it’s going to be a tight fight this weekend, but we are ready for it."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was a straightforward Friday in which we were able to get through our programme as planned. The majority of our work was on the tyres and on car balance, which should offer us a base to work from for the rest of the weekend. We were able to run with some test items in the morning and hopefully this will give the team plenty of data to process and analyse. I definitely think there is some interesting stuff going forward. We obviously have some work to do in order to extract some more performance from the car, especially as we switch between the different tyre compounds, but that should be the main focus for us tonight."
Sergio Perez: "Today was not the easiest of days for me, especially the afternoon session, but at least the conditions out on track were quite consistent. We had to abort my first run on the option tyres and, when we went to resume it, there was a lot of traffic, which made it difficult to learn about our single-lap performance. It is something we will need to focus on tomorrow morning ahead of qualifying. On the other hand, we were able to fit in a longer run on the prime tyres, which gives us useful information for Sunday."
Roberto Merhi: "It has been a good day for me and I’m certainly feeling more at home in the car and more able to push. I’m pleased with the way the pace is developing as we work through set-up options and I look forward to continuing the work from today in FP3 tomorrow to prepare for qualifying."
Will Stevens: "Overall, a positive first day out on track for the team, which makes the electronics issue we experienced this afternoon all the more frustrating as we had been getting into a nice rhythm. Well done to the team for quickly diagnosing it and getting me back out on track, as it is important to go into tomorrow knowing that we have resolved it. It was disappointing not to get a run on the option tyre but there are some good signs, particularly in terms of the pace, so we’ll look to build on that progress tomorrow."