Mercedes dominated Friday’s running at the Interlagos circuit with Lewis Hamilton quickest in both sessions ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a good day. It was pretty exciting to come to the track with the cars being so much faster this year. It’s physically more demanding than before which is great and it’s obviously quite warm out there today. We got through the long runs and the short runs; unfortunately, the tyres don’t really last very long, so you only get one or two laps on the short runs. Overall, we got through what we needed to do. We’re in a decent position but I think it could be quite close.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Initially in FP1 we did some aero tests, looking at some things we can improve for next year, and we now have some data to analyse from that. Otherwise, I think both the short runs and the long runs in both sessions looked positive for us as a team, so we have a good starting point for the weekend. Still, we were a little bit struggling to get the set-up right for each corner of the circuit. However, I was really enjoying this track and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I’m pretty happy with Friday. For what we’ve got here we looked competitive. The long runs looked okay but the Mercs looked really strong. We can definitely find a little bit more for tomorrow but I don’t think we’re far off and we don’t have to make many changes tonight. It’s never a circuit where we have dominated in the past so to be close to Ferrari and at least in the fight with them seems positive. I’d like some rain for Qualifying tomorrow and I can try and fight for pole. I know if I get it I won’t start there because of my penalty, but anyway it would be good to start 11th for the race. That’s my target.”
Max Verstappen: “My Friday has been ok. It could have been a bit better and we still need to improve the balance, but in general it was a decent practice day. I was struggling for grip this morning and we managed to improve that a bit this afternoon but there is still more work to be done. On the short run it was not ideal on the Supersoft but we are not too far off on the long runs. Of course I always want to go faster and Mercedes are quicker than us at the moment. We need to make improvements before tomorrow because we know that in Qualifying they will step up their engine. I think we need to be at least the same speed or faster than Mercedes in the final practice to have a chance of getting on the front row of the grid.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think that in the end we ran more than what we expected as it didn’t rain. It was nice to be able to do a lot of laps today. We need to find the right balance and this should help us get the pace for the qualifying session and the race, but I still think it won’t be easy to defeat our main competitors. We’ll see where we get tomorrow.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It’s only a Friday and as always, we keep trying different things to learn from them. The tires will play a key role here as usual, the performance will depend on how they work and how long they will last. I felt some vibrations at the beginning of my stint, but that’s quite normal to have sometimes in the car: usually it comes from tires and different sets. We don’t know what the temperatures will be over the rest of the weekend, but we cannot change them anyway and it will be the same for everybody.”