Friday: McLaren, Force India, Renault, Williams

Date published: October 27 2017 - Editor

There were top ten times in practice at for the Mexican Grand Prix for Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon.

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso:
 “I would say that today has been a very positive and productive Friday. We did a lot of laps, a lot of tests, and most of them gave us good feedback. We were only seven tenths away from the fastest time and two tenths from Bottas, so surprisingly competitive in both sessions on such a complicated circuit. We know it’s going to be a difficult race anyway, starting from the back, and with little chance of overtaking because of our top speed. In some ways we have to sacrifice this race in order to have a fresh engine in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. We also don’t yet know which way to go for qualifying – we need to decide on a few things in terms of tyres, and see which decision gives us the least painful result. The stadium section is such an incredible view! It’s so nice to see so many people in the grandstands here already, on a Friday.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “I had an engine problem in FP1 which obviously limited our mileage. In FP2 too it was difficult for us to get out of the box at the beginning of the session due to a loose wheel, but we managed to complete our programme for that session and gather the data we needed. I hope tomorrow we will have a trouble-free day and continue our weekend as normal. I’m pleased we’ve managed to find the root of the PU problem we had in the first session, and hopefully we can get as much mileage as we can in FP3 tomorrow before qualifying. On a new track, mileage is always the most important thing to achieve, especially when you’re trying to dial in the car to the circuit in tricky conditions like the high altitude we experience here. I feel positive that we can find a better feeling in the car tomorrow provided we can get the track time, and collect as much information as possible ahead of qualifying and the race.”

Force India:
Sergio Perez:
“I’m feeling happy with how things have gone today – it’s been a positive start to our Mexican Grand Prix weekend. We looked strong from the start of morning practice and we’ve taken some important steps to improve the car across the two sessions. It’s never easy finding the right balance here because the high altitude has a big impact on the car: you slide around more with the lack of downforce and it makes things quite tricky. It was important to cover so many laps today and we have a big job tonight to understand the tyres, the car balance and where we can improve ahead of qualifying.”

Esteban Ocon: “It’s never ideal to miss a session because you always improve with every lap. For this reason, it was crucial I had as much track time as I could in FP2 and I have to say thank you to our crew. It wasn’t an easy job to get the car repaired in two hours but we managed it: their work gave me even more motivation to go out and do a good job. In terms of balance, the car still needs a bit of work: the feeling I have is not perfect yet, but there is plenty more to come ahead of qualifying tomorrow.”

Renault:
Nico Hulkenberg:
“Overall it was a pretty standard Friday, we missed out on a bit of running but we will manage. The car seems competitive balance-wise but we still have room for improvement. I think we can still optimize the package tomorrow morning but overall, a good start.”

Carlos Sainz Jr: “We had a good start in FP1, we were feeling quite comfortable with the car. However, in FP2, we were struggling a little bit to find the right balance. We will work hard on finding the answers for tomorrow and hope to be back in a comfortable spot with the car. I’m sure we can put together a strong Saturday here in Mexico to have good options to help the team on Sunday.”

Williams:
Felipe Massa: “
Austin was maybe a slightly better Friday in terms of laptime. I didn’t have the perfect lap on my first run on the soft tyre, which is really hard for here. I wasn’t 100% ready for the ultrasoft but the long run wasn’t bad, so I think we are there in the fight. We just need to try and score points. We know that Renault are looking competitive. With the altitude here, even if you have the maximum downforce, you still have a lot less than at Monza, so it’s easy to make mistakes. I didn’t, so I hope I can carry on like that all weekend. Tomorrow, I hope we can have a good qualifying and a good race.”

Lance Stroll: “It has been a decent day and I like the track. It is my first time here in Mexico, so I am just learning the track and getting into it. It is definitely challenging due to the high altitude and the car is very nervous, but it is the same for everyone. I have been pushing to try and understand the limits of the car. It is not easy to get the tyre working on one lap. I have no expectations for qualifying and we will just do what we have to do to get everything right.”