Lance Stroll stayed out of trouble on the first day of his home grand prix, while Fernando Alonso was P7 in FP2 after more McLaren-Honda woe.
Felipe Massa: “I think we’ve had a very good day. The car felt good on both new and used tyres. I was very happy with the feeling I had in the car. Everything we tried on set-up seemed to improve it even more. We just need to keep everything under control for tomorrow, and hopefully we can be as competitive as we were today.”
Lance Stroll: “It’s a great track, I really like the rhythm and it’s just good to be home. It was a good day getting used to the track, but I have to treat it as just another race at the end of the day as everything stays the same. However, it’s great to have those Canadian flags in the grandstands. On the out lap I looked at the fans and saw them waving and cheering and that is really cool. I didn’t get a chance to put on the ultrasofts, so we will see what they are like tomorrow. We were focused on some other things, so it was just part of the plan. It’s still quite close in the midfield, as it has been all year, and everyone has been doing different programmes, so we will see how it is in qualifying.”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s not been an easy Friday. We lost FP1 and most of FP2 owing to a hydraulic leak issue. Due to the lack of track time, the car isn’t yet perfectly ‘tuned’ and there’s certainly room for improvement with regard to the set-up. Nevertheless, I think we know this circuit, we’ve raced here for many years, and we should understand how to attack qualifying and the race, so our time loss should hopefully not translate into too much of a handicap. Our expectations here are probably to be on the fringes of the top 10, but I’m glad we managed to put in some good laps at the end of the session, as we did in Barcelona, and we duly made it to P7 at the end. Tomorrow our priority is to push to get into Q3, but for that we need to do a good job.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Today has been a bit of a tricky day for the team. On my side, the first practice session went pretty well, and I was able to spend time getting to grips with the track as it’s my first time driving here. First off, the asphalt was quite dusty, but it improved quite a lot through the session. In the end, I was feeling quite positive and had a reasonable feeling in the car. In FP2 I started well and felt that the set-up changes we’d made between the sessions had gone in the right direction. Unfortunately, on the Ultrasoft I had a spin towards the end – and then, shortly after, we discovered an issue with the MGU-H, which finished our afternoon’s running. All in all, it hasn’t been a trouble-free day, which is a shame, but hopefully tomorrow everything will fall into place again and we should be able to improve our position.”
Sergio Perez: “A positive day. We are right up there where we expect to be in the top ten and I’m feeling comfortable with the balance and set-up changes we made during the day. We saw a lot of cars spinning, but that’s what happens with these cars and tyre compounds when you push to the limit. Also, the track was quite dirty and the windy conditions made things more difficult. A strong qualifying performance tomorrow is going to be very important because overtaking here is not easy and I think the strategy options on Sunday will be quite limited.”
Esteban Ocon: “I’m feeling pretty happy after my first experience of this circuit. The first job was to learn the track and that was pretty straightforward with no real dramas for me. I stayed out of trouble and away from the walls with just a little spin in the first session. The team is happy with what we learned today because we evaluated all the different test items and collected a huge amount of information. The car feels good at the moment, but I know there are some areas we can improve this evening.”