Practice quotes: McLaren, Force India, Renault, Haas

Date published: April 27 2018

Fernando Alonso enjoyed a solid start in Baku; Force India show signs of improvement.

McLaren

Fernando Alonso: “Ours was a comfortable car to drive today – that’s always important on a street circuit, where you have to attack the corners and feel confident in the car. Today, we had a that car performed well in all three sectors, each of which is fairly unique. This weekend’s updates were introduced in order to help deal with the circuit’s characteristics, and seem to be working as we expected. It feels like we’ve found a little bit of speed compared to the last few races, so I’m fairly happy, as we weren’t compromised in either the corners or the slow speed sector. I was also a little lucky on my fast lap, running behind Nico [Hulkenberg] as he began his quick-lap, so I gained a couple of tenths in the final sector. It’s going to be as tough as ever to make it into Q3 tomorrow, but this is actually one of those races where you don’t really know if starting ninth or 10th is actually better than starting 11th or 12th, and getting a free choice of fresh tyre.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s been a positive day: we tried a few new bits on the car, so our main focus was on understanding and exploiting them. There’s a lot of learning still to be done, and a lot of improvements still to be made, but I think the progress we made today shows we are headed in the right direction. From my side, it feels much better than it looks on the time-sheets. We didn’t get a proper run on the Ultrasoft tyre, encountering some traffic, and I had a little brush against the wall, too, so I wasn’t able to improve over the time I set on the Supersoft. There’s definitely more to come. Hopefully, we can put all the pieces together and have a positive result tomorrow.”

Force India

Esteban Ocon: “I think we are in good shape. It’s been a solid day working our way through the job list and improving the car. There is more speed to find tonight and tomorrow, but we have done our homework. I’ve been building my confidence during the day – which you have to do on a street circuit – and we have the potential for a strong weekend. The track conditions didn’t really improve as much as I was expecting today. It was still quite dusty and slippery this evening and it was pretty low grip in the cooler conditions.”

Sergio Perez:  “It’s been a positive day and I think it’s going to be a very interesting weekend. It’s a track I really enjoy and with any street circuit it’s all about finding the limits and pushing them as much as you can. The fight in the middle of the grid is going to be very close, but I think we can be competitive. The work we have done today gives me encouragement and I have a good feeling with the car. The main priority tomorrow is to make sure we deliver a perfect qualifying session so we can be high up the grid for the race. The track conditions at the end of the day saw the temperatures drop quite a lot and that’s why we saw drivers making mistakes and running wide. It’s going to be tricky during qualifying tomorrow.”

Renault

Carlos Sainz: “This morning was a challenging session. We were trying to understand some new parts on a very green track and braking got tricky at times. But we understood everything quite quickly and completed our run plan in FP2 without issues and with better performance. There is still margin to improve so we’ll work hard to get there.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a pretty standard Friday for us. This morning I had a nasty front lock up that happened very suddenly and cost us a run and a half, but the afternoon was fine. Now it’s about chasing the balance and optimising the car. We are getting there with everything and will look to further improve overnight.”

Haas

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s been an interesting day. There was a big difference in car behavior between FP1 and FP2. We made a good step between the two sessions. I was much happier with the car in FP2. Hopefully, we can carry that into tomorrow. It looks like it’s going to be a lot windier on Saturday, so once again the track’s going to change. We’ll try and hit the target and adapt to that if those are the conditions.”

Romain Grosjean: “It was a pretty good day. We’ve learned quite a bit. It’s been interesting to find out the right aero level, and finding the right top speed against the others. There are a few things we can do to get better. It seems that a small thing here can make a big difference on the time sheets. I’m confident we’re going to get on top of it for tomorrow. I feel good in the car – there are just a few things we need to adapt, and tomorrow should be a better day in terms of lap times. The feeling is good.”