There were top ten positions on the Friday timesheets in Australia for both Toro Rosso drivers, Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg.
Carlos Sainz: "A positive way to start the first race weekend of the season here in Australia. We were able to follow our programme, without suffering any issues, which was the main target for today. We were able to keep learning and pick up from where we left in testing, so it was definitely a positive Friday. This doesn’t mean that we can now relax, as things usually get a bit more complicated on Saturdays, but it’s a good start. We now need to keep focused and finding lap time in the car. You can really feel that this new generation of car is much faster than last year. I’ve done the fastest lap of my life around Melbourne this afternoon, and it’s only the second practice session! We still have more margin for improvement, but it’s already been very exciting to drive our new STR12."
Daniil Kvyat: "It’s been a productive Friday. We were able to complete many laps and we easily got through our programme. It’s all still very new, as it’s the first time for us here with these cars, so everyone will be looking to progress overnight and we will do the same. There is always room for improvement and I’m confident we will make a step forward for tomorrow. It’s great to finally be back on track and get the first race weekend of the year underway – it feels like we’ve finally gone back to school!"
Romain Grosjean: "It was a pretty good day on my side of the garage. The car felt much nicer than in winter testing, which is great. It’s good to be here and put the right setup on the car and go out there and have some fun. We more or less did the program we expected to do today, which is surprising for a first day in Australia, though there was a bit of trouble on the other side of the garage. Hopefully we can share our data and get even faster for tomorrow. I’m sure there are plenty of areas where we can improve. Hopefully, tomorrow’s going to be a good day."
Kevin Magnussen: "It was a frustrating day. I didn’t really get much out of it. We’ll investigate and, hopefully, find the issue. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. We don’t know what the weather’s going to do. It might rain and everything will change anyway. Let’s see what happens.It’s good to see, though, that the car is competitive. That’s very exciting for the season. That’s the positive to take from today."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It's definitely already at a good point but [the team has] still got work to do – I'm not happy with the balance. I hope overnight we can tweak it, get more harmony and a better balance into the car, which will be tricky and a bit of a challenge. Friday doesn't mean that much but I'm happy with where I stand, the car and the feeling in the team. That is the most important thing for me today."
Jolyon Palmer: "I was feeling good with the car, that's the sad thing really about today. The few laps I did, I felt really comfortable and that we were in a good place.That's why in FP2 I felt the confidence to go and attack straight away and the lap I was doing was going to be pretty sensible as well. Losing a lot of time now puts me on the back foot. I think I can recover it, tomorrow I need to have a really good FP3.
"I just turned it in, had a bit of understeer and the car really let go on the rear. It caught me massively by surprise. I was on a tidy lap and attacking the last corner, didn't think too much of it, and the rear just went. I had no chance. It's the first time I've had that sort of problem in this car. It just let go."