Practice: Force India, Renault, McLaren, Williams
Force India's Sergio Perez tops the midfield in FP2 as Nico Hulkenberg gets above both McLaren and Williams.
Sergio Perez: “We had a lot of test items to try on the car today on top of the usual preparations for the weekend. First practice was not very representative of the conditions we will experience in qualifying and the race, but what we saw during second practice makes me feel optimistic. The balance of the car is where I need it and the long run pace is competitive. There is still a little bit of work to do, but we’re starting from a good baseline and if we can improve overnight we should be in a good position tomorrow.”
Esteban Ocon: “It’s fantastic to come here and drive under the lights again. I’m feeling pretty happy with my session in the car this evening. The performance is solid and the car feels good, but there is still room for improvement. If we do our homework well tonight I think we have the speed to be up in our usual position tomorrow.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “Quite a standard Friday to be honest. This morning we looked after the engine a bit more than usual and then reverted to a more normal programme in the afternoon. We do look quite competitive – I would say there is not much between us and the Force Indias and McLaren. I think it will be touch and go tomorrow and hopefully we can squeeze a bit more out of the car to get where we want to be and give us the best chance for Sunday’s race.”
Carlos Sainz: “Today’s sessions were quite positive. Our FP1 programme was focussed on evaluating some aero parts on the car. In the afternoon I was able to get up to speed and start pushing a lot more. Looking at our long and short run pace we are more competitive than we were in the last few races, even if the short run was disrupted by yellow flags. We are looking good for tomorrow and to score the points we need on Sunday.”
Fernando Alonso: “We had a productive day today. No matter how many points we might take on Sunday, the Constructors’ Championship positions seem to already be decided, so for the last couple of races our main priority on Fridays has been testing new items. We had a lot on our plate today, but everything went smoothly and the team did an amazing job to fit everything into the programme. For tomorrow, making it into Q3 and scoring points on Sunday remain the target, but it’s going to be challenging. We saw today that we’re in a very tight group in the middle of the pack with two Williams, two Renaults and two Force Indias.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “A pretty good day for us. Obviously FP1 is not the most important session here as it takes place in very hot conditions, so the focus is always more on FP2 because we see the same conditions and temperatures that we will face in qualifying and the race. It’s been quite a productive day. We felt quite comfortable in the car and as usual it looks very close in the midfield – we’re in a very tight battle with Force India, Renault and Williams. We tried a lot of stuff today and if we can put everything together tomorrow and pull out some good, clean laps, hopefully we should be in a reasonably strong position.”
Felipe Massa: "I think it was a normal Friday to be honest, I was trying to get a feel for the car and tyres. I did some good lap times too. I didn’t feel that anything was different or strange today compared with any other Friday, but maybe when we get to the first race of next season I will miss this, the competition, and everything else. I’m ready for that and I think it’s the right time. The only thing I can say is that I’m grateful for everything so let’s see how it’s going to be Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully we can have a good one and finish well."
Lance Stroll: "It was a productive day with a lot of running and a good amount of laps, so in general it was good. Tomorrow is when it counts and we want to score points on Sunday. Tonight, we have to look at a few things, but so far it has been a positive day with no big issues. I have a good feel for the car and we are heading in the right direction so everything is positive. I shall work on a few things tonight, especially the last sector, and we need to try and get into Q3, as it has been more difficult with the competitors gaining on us lately. As for the track, it is quite forgiving and I think it is pretty cool driving into the sunset and the night."