There were top ten times in Bahrain practice for Nico Hulkenbrerg, Pierre Gasly and both McLaren drivers.
Nico Hulkenberg: “A pretty routine Friday, where we made progress through the day, and hopefully learnt sufficient for us to find further pace overnight to take into tomorrow. I’m reasonably happy with the car but there’s definitely potential for improvement and that’s what we’re targeting.”
Carlos Sainz: “Quite a challenging Friday, as always in Bahrain, as we worked on our understanding of the car in both the sessions. We did gain a lot of grip over the day and it was tricky to handle the rear of the car with the right balance for all the different corner speeds, but overall I think we have a good starting point for the weekend.”
Pierre Gasly: “Today was a very productive Friday for us, it felt very comfortable in the car since the first lap in FP1. We showed some decent pace in both sessions with a 7th and 8th best time. It’s a good beginning but there are still things we can improve for tomorrow because it’s really tight between everyone, so I need to spend a lot of time tonight analysing everything we tested today. The first feeling with the car is really positive, so hopefully we can keep it and have a similar day tomorrow.”
Brendon Hartley: “It was a pretty productive day for the team today; Pierre and I ran very different setups across the cars as we had new bits to test and this was very useful because Pierre looked very quick for the whole day. Unfortunately, I didn’t do a representative lap on the supersofts in the afternoon, but we gathered some really important information on the long runs. We definitely seem a lot more competitive than in Melbourne and it looks positive for tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso: “Today was a case of ‘so far, so good’. The weekend has started in a positive way and there’s nothing in particular to worry about. There is a lot of analysis that we need to do concerning some of the new parts we have on our two cars, so I think we need to put everything together now and find the best compromise for tomorrow. Our aim for qualifying is to be in Q3 – a target we missed in Australia – and we need to deliver and do a perfect lap, so that we can beat some of the cars in front of us. It’s good that we completed our programme today. It’s always very important, especially in the evening session, to do as many laps as possible and understand the tyres, as we probably had higher degradation than we expected and we need to take this into account for Sunday. There’s a little bit more to extract from the car and hopefully we’ll do that tomorrow.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Today has been a pretty good Friday for us. We have a few new bits on the car which we went through and evaluated in FP1 and FP2. FP2 is really the most valuable session for us in terms of preparing the car for qualifying tomorrow and for the race. The feeling was positive. Like in Australia, we are in this group where the lap-times are very close, and every tenth or hundredth we can find in the car will boost us further up the grid. Qualifying is always very tight and everyone puts their car at 100 per cent performance. We’re looking to do that as well tomorrow and we’ll see where we end up. The tyres are quite sensitive to this circuit and we know from the past few years that it’s quite harsh on degradation. There’s a lot of performance to be gained or lost in that area, so it’s an extra challenge, but the same for everyone. Despite our result in Australia, for us it’s just business as usual. We haven’t really changed our expectations, and we’ve put a lot of effort into preparing the car and making sure we maximise everything this weekend. Hopefully that will pay off and tomorrow will be a positive day for us. There’s a bit of work to do overnight but we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”