The usual suspects are the slowest starters at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend; Robert Kubica marks official return after eight-year absence.
Pierre Gasly: “Today was quite an interesting first day in Barcelona. I think this morning was a really good beginning in FP1 as we had the 10th fastest time. In the afternoon session we struggled with the car – it’s really hot and windy and it looks like we suffer a bit in these kinds of conditions. It’s still very tight between everyone, so we need to find some more performance for tomorrow when it’s going to be even closer between the midfield. I think that If we find a few tenths we can be in the fight around P10, so we’ll work hard tonight to try and get there.”
Brendon Hartley: “It was a pretty clean day, even if I lost some time in the first session after I had a trip to the gravel. For the second session we made some big changes which didn’t really work, but sometimes you just have to try different thigs to figure out the right direction. We weren’t very quick in the afternoon but let’s keep positive, I’m sure we can pick up the pace tomorrow.”
Marcus Ericsson: “It was a positive day for us today. We tested some new aerodynamics parts on our cars, and worked with different tyre compounds. We were quite competitive on the soft tyres, and were running within the top ten. After changing to the softer compound, we struggled a bit to improve the lap times. We have some work ahead of us here in terms of tyre management. If we find a way to make a jump with the softer tyres, we should be doing well tomorrow and on Sunday.”
Charles Leclerc: “It was a good day overall. We completed different tests, and set up the car to suit the the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya layout. Our performance is better than expected for this type of track, which is a good sign. It shows us that we have made good progress since the winter tests at beginning of season. We have to continue to work hard now and continue making improvements throughout the weekend. I look forward to tomorrow’s sessions.”
Robert Kubica: “It is a good feeling – not so much from being in the car but from before that, because I’m back driving in an official session, even if it’s only FP1. It’s the first time since the end of 2010 so there’s some emotion, but this disappeared very soon as we have quite a difficult car to drive. The balance was quite off, but somehow we have to stick to what we’ve got to complete our aero tests and evaluations. It wasn’t an easy session, but we managed in difficult conditions and I was able to give some good feedback. When you’re struggling so much it’s difficult to enjoy it, but still I’m happy because I think the most difficult car we’ve had was in this session and I managed to stay cool, and somehow extract what I thought was a reasonable level of performance. I think I can be happy as I did what I was asked to do.”
Lance Stroll: “I didn’t really run this morning, as I went off on my second push lap so it was not the morning I was hoping for. It was very difficult to understand the balance as it’s definitely not the balance a racing driver wants to feel. This afternoon we tried to sort out a few things and the car improved a little bit, but still there is so much to understand and figure out. There is a lot of work to be done tonight and we have got to understand what to do so we can be better.”
Sergey Sirotkin: “The car is difficult to drive, and mentally it makes you concentrate 200% on everything because it’s so tricky. You saw this morning how difficult it was with cars going off. It takes a lot of energy from you just to drive. We didn’t expect it to be easy and I’m waiting for the chance to test most of the new bits on our car. Yes, that was a bad session, but we have a long-term plan with a lot of effort from all of us, so I don’t want one bad session or event to affect it. Everyone is working flat out and it will take time, but we will get there.”