Practice: Force India, Renault, Haas, McLaren

Date published: October 6 2017

Force India's Esteban Ocon showed good opening pace before the rain clouds gathered at Suzuka.

Force India

Esteban Ocon: “The morning session went well and we did a lot of work because we were expecting the rain later in the day. During FP2, we went out to experience the conditions and the car felt strong, so I’m not worried if the rain comes back tomorrow. If it’s wet or dry, we have a well-balanced car and we can be competitive. In the dry the car was not far away from where I wanted it to be – similar to how the car felt in Malaysia, so that’s a good sign. We didn’t have much time to work on the set-up adjustments, but I have a good feeling and we know where we need to focus tonight.”

Sergio Perez: “We knew it would be a difficult day because of the weather, so we chose to maximise the morning session to complete as much dry running as we could. We did some aero testing and we need to analyse the data to make sure we choose the right direction for tomorrow. The car was working well in the dry, but we need to make some changes tonight to make sure I am totally comfortable. When the rain arrived this afternoon, I went out to do a few laps just to get a feel for the balance in the wet conditions. There was a lot of standing water so we didn’t do many laps, but at least we have run on the wet tyres in case it rains again tomorrow.”

Renault

Nico Hulkenberg: “FP1 was good. With the threat of rain expected in the afternoon, FP1 was a serious session, we ran quite a bit and did the testing we wanted to do. Everything felt ok, the balance was good so I wasn’t too unhappy. There isn’t much to say about the afternoon session, it was pretty wet and we wanted to conserve our tyres as there might be some rain again tomorrow.”

Jolyon Palmer: “There was a lot of traffic during FP1, but we were able to try different set-ups and I think we found a good direction. It was nice to get some dry running because we expect it to be wet again in FP3. In FP2 the grip level actually felt quite good despite the water, but we just decided to save the tyres because it could be wet again on Saturday, so we will keep them for qualifying.”

Haas

Romain Grosjean: “FP1 was a solid session in between the drops of rain. We managed to do everything we wanted, more or less. It would’ve been nice to get a few more laps on the long run on high fuel before the rain came, but we saw how fast the car is anyway. The car’s doing OK for now, so we need to keep on that trend. We need to keep improving and making sure we don’t lose our way. The weather can determine a lot. We’ll see what happens between FP2 and FP3. I think we have some ideas what to do to get the car better.”

Kevin Magnussen: “The car was feeling good straight away, so we were happy about that. I think we need to try and find some more speed, for sure, because other people are going to be doing that. If we’re aiming to score points this weekend we need to get it right. I had the issues with the water leak and I could only do one lap per run. So, I didn’t get that much running, but hopefully we can catch up.”

McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne: “So far, it’s quite difficult to know what to expect, especially as today’s running was very limited. FP1 was quite normal, without any trouble, but we only got to do an installation lap in the rain during FP2. The weather will be key tomorrow – it looks like it’ll be a dry race on Sunday, so qualifying will be super-important. Looking at the weather radar for tomorrow, it's still a bit difficult to predict, it should potentially be dry in quali tomorrow. The car felt nice around here. Suzuka’s a high-speed circuit with lots of direction changes and, especially with with the downforce and wider tyres we have this year, they’re very impressive in the first sector;very exciting to drive. Whatever happens, we’ll make the best of it this weekend.”

Fernando Alonso: “As predicted, we had a Friday with only one dry session, so we tried different things in the first session, and did as many laps as we could. In FP2, it was raining too hard so we couldn’t do much. We did a few laps at the end of the session, when it had stopped raining, but there wasn’t much purpose in running in the wet as it looks like it’ll be dry in the race, and probably qualifying too. The car was behaving well on a circuit where performance is mainly expressed in the fast corners of the first sector. It feels special because there’s so much grip out there.”