What the teams said - Friday in Spain
The drivers and teams report back on all the action from Friday practice at the Formula 1 Emirates Gran Premio De Espana Grand Prix 2019...
Mercedes lagged behind their rivals here in pre-season testing, but their subsequent developments have worked a treat. Bottas finished top in both sessions, despite missing some running with an oil leak. Hamilton struggled to find the optimum set up for his W10 by comparison, especially on the hardest tyre compound. On the soft rubber, he looked more like his old self and pushed his team mate close on their flying runs in second practice.
Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:18.575, P4; FP2: 1:17.333, P2
"It was quite windy on track today and it was a bit tricky with the grip levels on the three different tyres, but we got through our programme and now have lots of data to analyse tonight and then fine tune the car for tomorrow. Everyone worked really hard to bring the new package here and a huge amount of effort has gone into it. It seems like it's working, but it's hard to feel it because this track is so different to the streets of Baku. We've got work to do with the balance, but it's been positive for us to be out there."
Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:17.951, P1; FP2: 1:17.284, P1
"It's always an interesting day when you're bringing new parts to the car to get a feel for it and see if they bring the performance they should. The car felt really good today, completely different to how it was in winter testing, and it seems like our cornering performance has improved. The balance around the lap is also better, so it looks like we've taken the right direction since the winter. Today was good, but it's only Friday and Ferrari are very close. It feels like we've made a good step forward, but we need to wait and see what tomorrow holds."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"It's no secret that we weren't very strong at the tests here in winter so we're happy to have shown reasonable pace on short and long runs today. Valtteri has found the car a bit easier to work with today than Lewis but on both, there's a few corners where it isn't as together as we'd like and it's making it a bit of a handful at time. We had an oil leak on Valtteri's car in the first session which stopped us before he could do the long run at the end of the session. Fortunately, it doesn't look to have caused any damage and we were able to get back out at the start of the second session. We also had quite a few new bits on the car here, so we'll also be checking the data from those this evening to confirm it's all functioning as expected."
After dominating pre-season testing here, the Scuderia might have expected more from their Friday, especially given they are running an updated spec engine and new aero parts. Nonetheless, they are there or thereabouts and more importantly, both drivers look on song, meaning they have double the chance of taking the fight to Mercedes in qualifying.
Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:18.066, P2; FP2: 1:17.673, P4
"As far as the aerodynamic and engine updates are concerned, I’d say we can be pleased with them, but it’s only Friday and the true order of the teams will be only be seen from tomorrow onwards. I’d say we are not yet where we’d want to be, especially in the slowest corner and so I think we still have quite a bit of work ahead of us to be ready for qualifying and the race."
Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:18.172, P3; FP2: 1:17.585, P3
“We focused on understanding our new package today and ran all of the tests we had planned. We have some more work to do to find the right balance, but this is normal when you put a car with new parts on track for the first time and it should be a quick fix. Overall, the potential is there and we are in good shape. We will push hard to challenge our competitors and have a positive qualifying result tomorrow.”
Verstappen missed some running in both practice sessions and complained about drop outs in power. On track, the Dutchman looked the pick of the drivers, finishing a few tenths back off Vettel in FP2. Red Bull need to get on top of his reliability concerns if they are to be a factor in the race. Gasly couldn’t quite match his team mate, but at least finished in the top 10 in both sessions.
Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:19.844, P12; FP2: 1:18.035, P5
“During the two practice sessions we tried to improve the car and understand the new updates, which I think we did. I have a good feeling about the upgrades, which work for sure, and the tyres seem to be working quite well, too. The long runs were okay and we still need to find a little bit of pace, but we have the whole night to find it. During FP1 we had an oil leak so we had to change the engine ahead of FP2, which put us a little on the back foot. I think that’s also a little bit of the reason why, in the second practice session, we were not exactly where we wanted to be set-up wise with the balance of the car, but we have enough data to understand and improve it for tomorrow. I enjoy being at this track, and especially this weekend, as we have our new Energy Station which is a great home for our Team.”
Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:19.285, P8; FP2: 1:18.238, P7
“Overall, today felt good and it was a pretty positive day. I think we’ve taken a step forward and the first feeling with the car is good. Of course, as a driver you always want more grip, but I think in terms of balance it was good and so I’m really happy. It’s only the first day of running so it’s too early to make any conclusions and we need to understand more about this package. It’s clear Mercedes and Ferrari have made a pretty big step, but we ran a lot of tests today, so now we need to analyse everything tonight and try to put everything together for tomorrow.”
A solid day for Sainz, who was in the top 10 in both sessions in front of his home fans. The Spaniard ran aero-vis paint for much of the first one, gathering crucial data for the team. Norris was quieter, although he ran the soft tyre earlier on when the track conditions were less favourable and thus isn’t as far back from his team mate as the timing sheets might suggest.
Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:19.155, P6; FP2: 1:18.658, P9
“That was a pretty smooth Friday for us, doing a comparison across the upgrades that we’ve brought to this race. I didn’t use the new package in FP1 and then ran it in FP2 to try to feel the reaction of the car.
“We now need to compare the data to understand the differences, but I felt good in the car this afternoon, even though the track was not in the best condition. I’m sure we can extract the maximum out of our package tomorrow and we’ll fight for the best position in quali.”
Lando Norris - FP1: 1:20.066, P16; FP2: 1:19.041, P16
“It’s been a good Friday but not amazing. I could have driven better, especially in FP1, but I think we introduced our small upgrades reasonably well. They worked as intended so we’re happy about that.
“There’s still more pace we need to find, to be as strong as we want to be, but it hasn’t been a bad Friday. It’s been productive, we just need to find that pace. The long run work looked reasonably good. If we can find a bit more pace on lower fuel, I think we could be reasonably happy going into qualifying tomorrow.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“It was good to finally be with the race team and see some on-track action. The team did a great job to get two clean sessions in with a lot of laps, completing the programme as planned. With Barcelona being a well-known track from winter testing, we could start with our test programme straight away in the morning.
“The morning session focused on Lando’s car to evaluate all the small updates we brought to Barcelona. They worked as expected and we took them over to Carlos’ car in the afternoon. Our focus after lunch was to get a better understanding of the different tyres.
“It’s been a good start to the weekend, however it's still very tight with our main competitors. We have a good base for the rest of the weekend. Now we will try to make the right conclusions from today’s data and explore our extra potential tomorrow.”
Grosjean was the man handed the responsibility of running the updated package, and his VF-19 looked quick, although the Frenchman still managed a couple of trips through the gravel for good measure. Magnussen gets the upgrade for tomorrow, but as for today, wasn’t too far back using the older spec car. He did, however, run into plenty of traffic, with Leclerc in particular earning his wrath.
Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:18.943, P5; FP2: 1:18.153, P6
“It was good today, I think both our cars behaved really well. We got the tyres working, had some pace, so it was much more fun in the car. We’re still evaluating everything with the package, we can probably find a bit more from it. It’s always tricky when you get a new one to find the right set-up around it. I think the biggest thing today was getting the tyres to work, it just wasn’t the same car. I could actually enjoy driving it, I knew what I was going to get. The tyres were gripping, they weren’t sliding and going away and destroying themselves. It was a big difference. It’s a bit of a shame we’ve got to put in so much effort for a piece of rubber, but clearly it shows where we need to improve. We need to do more, especially for Monaco and Canada, but coming back here and being able to enjoy two good sessions, it shows that the problem has not been our chassis, it’s related to tyre usage. It’s been a positive day, I’ve enjoyed driving the car. I’m sure there’s going to be more to come from it.”
Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1:19.180, P7; FP2: 1:18.355, P8
“They were good practice sessions. The car felt good – but it’s not like the car hasn’t felt good in other practice sessions this year. We’re still cautious in our expectations I guess. Our long runs seemed better than in previous races, so I guess there’s reason to be slightly more positive. We’ve just got to keep working. We need to try and understand why it’s better today, to see what we can learn and take with us for the future. Romain (Grosjean) ran the upgrades today, and I ran what we’ve been using all season – so we could have a direct comparison and get the data in the same conditions at the same time. I think that was all positive, there’s stuff to fine tune on that. We’re seeing what we expected, so that’s good.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Well, obviously it’s been a better Friday than in Baku, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do to understand our new aero package. It looks like we’ve got some of the speed back into the car from the beginning of the season. The obvious thing I’m going to say now is that it’s all in the tyres, but that’s what it is. If we get the tyres to work, if we get them in their temperature range, they work, and it seems we’re fine. We’ll keep focused for qualifying and the race and try to get the best from this opportunity.”
Perez was unable to hook up a clean flying lap and finished disappointingly off the pace in both sessions. He did at least keep his RP19 in one piece though – the same not being said for his team mate. Stroll found the grass in the closing moments of FP1, losing control and ploughing into the barriers. His team did a good job of repairing the Canadian’s car and getting him out in second practice, but had to revert back to older spec parts and are awaiting a delivery tonight before they can upgrade his car to the newer spec once again.
Sergio Perez – FP1: 1:20.459, P17; FP2: 1:19.448, P18
“It was quite a tricky day and difficult to know how we will perform for the rest of the weekend. We completed lots of laps and collected the data, but we are not yet happy with the performance so we need to understand where we can unlock more potential tonight. We were a bit up and down today – at times we seemed more competitive and then at other times we seemed further away. So the work we will do over the coming hours – looking through the data – will be really important to get us in better shape for qualifying. It’s early days to give a definite decision on the new parts we tried today and we need more time to really understand them.”
Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:19.855, P13; FP2: 1:18.839, P13
“I feel that we have made some progress today. The car is feeling better than it has at the previous races so that’s a positive. Unfortunately I put a wheel on the grass in the morning session at the entry of turn nine. We missed a bit of running in the afternoon as a result, but the team did a great job to get the car repaired and we still got our programme done. We have some parts being delivered tonight so we should be in good shape for the rest of the weekend. My feelings on the updates were generally positive, but let’s wait and see what the data says.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“We worked through a big job list today and learned a lot about some of the new developments we introduced here in Spain. On the whole I would say we need a bit more time to optimise things. In terms of mileage and data, we ticked the boxes and have enough information to guide our decision making tonight. I’m confident we can find some steps forward to improve for tomorrow. Some of the new parts on Lance’s car were damaged at the end of this morning’s session, but we are working hard to get everything back to the new spec for tomorrow.”
Renault were off the pace in Baku and if Friday is to be believed, are struggling once again here in Spain. With one-lap speed not their specialty, they need to find some race pace if they are to turn around their weekend. With Ricciardo also carrying a three-place grip drop earned for his collision with Kvyat last time out, it could be a case of damage limitation for the team who are lagging behind in the midfield battle.
Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 1:19.450, P10; FP2: 1:18.861, P14
“Today was quite a standard Friday with nothing too special to report. We did the usual mix of short and long runs across both sessions as well as some tyre assessment. As always around here, we were chasing the balance of the car and we have some work to do in that area. The car didn’t feel perfect today and we have some room for improvement looking ahead to tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:19.511, P11; FP2: 1:18.934, P15
“There was a lot learned today. I felt the car was pretty good to start the day and better than what we showed on the timesheets. There is more potential and we have some work to do to identify why we couldn’t demonstrate that pace over one lap. That said, it seemed better on the high-fuel runs. Tomorrow, we’ll look to extract better qualifying pace."
Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director
“In FP1, we evaluated some new aero components. In FP2 we completed our usual short and long run comparisons of tyre compounds. Our short run pace and car balance wasn’t where we wanted to be, so that’s an area for assessment overnight. However, our long runs, especially on the Medium tyre, looked better. We have some pace to find on short runs ahead of FP3 and qualifying tomorrow.”
Raikkonen suffered from over-heating brakes, with debris the likely cause. Before that, the Finn had looked on decent form in FP2, solidly quicker than his team mate. Giovinazzi repeatedly ran wide over the kerbs, struggling to perfect the racing line but has one more practice session to get it right ahead of qualifying – can the Italian make Q3 for the second straight race?
Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:20.591, P18; FP2: 1:18.727, P11
“That was a difficult day for us, with lots of issues here and there. At the end of FP2 we understood the car a bit better, but we still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:20.021, P14; FP2: 1:19.427, P17
"It was very nice to finally have a Friday without issues and I hope it is a sign of things to come for the rest of the weekend. I was able to get some good mileage under my belt in both sessions, which was crucial. Barcelona is a track we know very well but it’s interesting to see how much the cars have progressed since testing and in these temperatures. As always, understanding the tyres was a big part of our programme today and I feel we have a good understanding of how they work. Hopefully we can progress a bit more tonight and we will be in the battle for Q3 tomorrow."
Kvyat had a slightly precarious trip through the gravel in FP2, but kept his STR14 out of the barriers to the team’s relief. On track, the Toro Rosso looked quick again and could be knocking on the door of the top 10. Albon had a quieter time, but improved as the day wore on and could be a dark horse for tomorrow.
Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:19.364, P9; FP2: 1:18.722, P10
"It was a productive Friday. We completed many laps today without any big issues and we were able to gather some useful data, which we will analyse tonight to find the best setup for tomorrow. I’m positive that we’ll make a step, which is very important in such a tight midfield where every tenth matters."
Alex Albon - FP1: 1:20.030, P15; FP2: 1:18.779, P12
"Bringing updates means that it might take some time to understand how to make them work in the best possible way, and this is exactly what happened today in FP1. We analysed all the data before starting today’s second session and FP2 was much more productive – we made a good step. It’s progress but there’s still some more work to do tomorrow. We’re in the ballpark and the pace still looks quite strong."
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“It was a fairly standard trouble-free Friday. We’ve brought some updates to Spain and spent a good part of FP1 evaluating them to see if they were behaving as expected. In FP1 we struggled a bit to find the best balance as we were still learning about the behaviour of the car. It took some time to understand which made the first session a bit tricky, especially for Alex. Between sessions, we studied all the data and we could see how to maximise the potential of the new parts, so we made some fairly big changes heading into FP2 looking to optimise the car, which sent us in the right direction. In FP2 we completed some further tests, then made small changes to get the car well balanced for the option tyre. In the long runs, we did a prime/base compare – the prime tyre looked to perform pretty well and the base was robust, but we still have to go through the data tonight to find the best strategy for the race.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director
"Our day did not go entirely according to plan. Everything went smoothly on the PU side at Scuderia Toro Rosso today however, with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, we had an oil leak on Verstappen’s PU towards the end of FP1. We decided it was easier to switch the PU considering the time remaining before the start of FP2. I want to thank the Red Bull and Honda mechanics for doing a very good job of completing the change in time for Max to take part in FP2. All four of our cars were running Spec 1 PUs today and it was planned to change all of them for Spec 2 tonight for the rest of the weekend. Therefore, while it is a shame we experienced this problem on Max’s car, we will just carry on with our usual tasks, working on set-up for qualifying and the race."
Williams remain off the pace of the rest of the pack, with their drivers renewing their intra-team rivalry and trading fastest times. Kubica did get on the kerbs through the final corner, losing control and spinning across the track, blaming “cold tyres” for the incident. That confined the Pole to the pits for much of FP2, so he will be looking to make up lost time tomorrow.
Robert Kubica – FP1: 1:20.889, P19; FP2: 1:20.781, P20
"The feeling wasn’t too bad in FP1 and we worked through our programme. The feeling wasn’t so great in FP2, so we now need to understand the reason for this, but it was still okay. We also had to, for precautionary reasons, stop running for about 30 minutes to change one part so were unable to complete our long run programme."
George Russell - FP1: 1:20.990, P20; FP2: 1:20.191, P19
"It is good to return to Barcelona, we have done a lot of laps here, and all our simulator work, so I know the place well. It was a relatively positive Friday, I think we are slightly closer to the rest of the field compared to what we were expecting. We learnt some good things from what we did test, which has given us a good understanding on what to work on tonight."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
"We were able to complete some useful testing during FP1 and FP2 today as we made up for the time lost in Baku two weeks ago. Conditions were good all day and the track seemed to offer decent grip throughout the day. Robert had a small issue on his car during FP2, which cost us some high fuel running on his side but otherwise we had a productive day.
"The factory has worked hard since Baku to repair the chassis, rebuild our spares stock, and to produce some new test components for us to try today and next week. We will now look over the data we have collected and select the best options for the remainder of this weekend before turning our attention to the items which offer the longer-term learning during next week’s test."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
“There was nothing special to report from the first day of free practice in Spain, which is to be expected as this is a very familiar venue for the teams and drivers. The gap between the top two teams is very close, and Haas has also shown pace that gets close to them on occasions. As always in Barcelona, it’s about marginal gains – so preparing well for qualifying is particularly important, as this is not a track where it’s particularly easy to overtake. We’re happy with the tyre performance here so far, with the only unexpected factor being a slightly bigger gap between hard and medium than we anticipated.”