It was the usual suspects in the midfield battle, with both Force Indias inside the top 10 and Carlos Sainz making his debut for Renault.
Fernando Alonso: “We lost the first session this morning because of an hydraulic issue, which was quite painful because we had several items to test, including for next year. We tried to catch up in the second session but it was difficult, so I think we’ll try them again in Mexico. I believe there’s still quite a bit to get out of the car – still some tenths to find, which I think probably everyone will find. We know Verstappen and Hulkenberg have penalties, so if we manage to get into Q3 tomorrow, we’ll be able to start from an even better position. But if we don’t make it into Q3, and we can start eighth or ninth on new tyres, it could be very good too. It’s nice to drive on this track with this year’s cars. It’s much more fun, especially through the fast corners in the first sector. There are many more bumps than last year, so we’re holding tight on the steering wheel and with the seatbelt tightly fastened. But it’s fun!”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Today was a reasonable Friday overall. This morning we faced tricky conditions to start with, but in the end it dried up and we had a really busy first practice session trying out some new aero parts. I feel that I put in a good performance, especially considering it was my first time driving on this circuit. FP2 was a bit more difficult for me. We struggled during the session with some traffic and I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with the car balance, but the long-run pace looked reasonable – I was a bit happier with our long-run pace than qualifying set-up. All in all, tomorrow we have a lot of margin to improve, but we know what we have to do and hopefully we should be lot closer.”
Felipe Massa: "It was a good Friday and it’s nice to be in the top 10. I feel the car is competitive so I’m happy. I was happy with the balance, and even in the wet conditions this morning the car felt okay. I really hope tomorrow we have a car as competitive as the one we had today so we can hopefully fight at the front and score some points."
Lance Stroll: "It was okay and the usual Friday, getting into it and figuring everything out for tomorrow. We had a couple of issues here and there with little things like the headrest coming loose on my best lap so I couldn't complete it, but all in all it was okay. Because of the problems in Japan, and again here with the headrest, I have never been able to feel the car with the new wing and the new configuration. That is a bit frustrating so we just have to start putting things together to finish the runs to show where we are. The car feels competitive so it is just about putting it all together tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: “We can be quite happy about today’s work. We gathered a lot of data and we’re in a good place for the rest of the weekend, even if I wasn’t overly convinced about the development tyres we tried this morning. It’s going to be tight to be best of the rest, but I am confident we can do that: the car has been feeling good, especially in hotter conditions, so we have a good base to build on.”
Esteban Ocon: “It was a positive day overall, testing different things on the car and working towards the ideal set-up. Finding the balance hasn’t been as immediate and easy as it was in Malaysia and Suzuka, so we still have a little bit of work to do, but we are getting closer to where I want it to be. I have no doubt it will be much better tomorrow. We still need to find something in the slow-speed corners and that’s where we will concentrate this evening.”
Carlos Sainz: “It’s been a busy week with everything other than driving the car so it was fantastic to get out and drive for the team for the first time today! There was a lot to learn so I’m happy we ran through everything required. We made good progress, but we’ve got work to do as you’d expect. Tomorrow will certainly be interesting for my first qualifying session with Renault.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It wasn’t an ideal Friday on my side of the garage, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. We need to get the car into its sweet spot. We know what we need to improve on the car. After a moist start to the day, the track was developing all the time. Of course, it’s always great to drive the Circuit of the Americas, and I’m sure we have more in hand for tomorrow.”