What the teams said - Friday in the Netherlands
It was a good start to the weekend for the Silver Arrows, with Russell topping FP1 and Hamilton not too far behind. The seven-time world champion was struggling with his radio through, unable to hear his race engineer and thus not heeding any warnings about traffic. He was called to the stewards to explain blocking Sainz, and let off with a warning. Which is just as well as Mercedes don’t need anything to derail them at a track where they look genuinely quick.
READ MORE: Russell and Hamilton say Mercedes have found 'sweeter spot' with W13 after strong first day at Zandvoort
Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:12.695, P2; FP2: 1:12.417, P3
"This is a lot better than my Sunday last week and better than the Friday too. It's been a decent start to the weekend, we've landed in a much sweeter sport with the car, just being a very different track. It's still a work in progress, we aren't that far behind which is great to see and the car doesn't feel too bad so we've got to keep chipping away. This track is a lot more aggressive on the tyres and we could feel some bouncing here and there but if we can make some progress overnight, which we normally do, then let's see what's possible tomorrow."
George Russell - FP1: 1:12.455, P1; FP2: 1:12.655, P5
"The car's working better than this time last week and it's going to be close tomorrow, McLaren will be up there and Aston Martin too. We know qualifying is our weak point and the race will come towards us - our race pace is looking pretty strong - but you've got to be starting in the right position. It was tricky out there because the timing screens were down so we couldn't see where our long run pace was definitively but we know it's in a relatively good spot. We're closer on Friday than we've been in a while so that's promising for tomorrow. The DRS on the banking is pretty cool, it's incredible how much grip you get with this banking and on turn 3 here, you throw the car in and it just grips - it's a great feeling."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"The car has been a lot easier to balance here than in Spa and we look to be in a better place in terms of pace; we're still missing a bit on single lap and long run but the gaps are a lot better than last week. The sessions were a bit messy with a few red flags but we managed to tick off our test items and have a decent idea where we are going with the car spec for tomorrow. Neither driver has the balance where they want it yet and both felt the car was a little easier to drive in the morning. In the afternoon, we were understeering in some places and lacking stability in others. Not major issues but ones we are going to need to put right overnight if we plan on giving Red Bull and Ferrari any trouble tomorrow."
Ferrari had a good start to their weekend, with Sainz looking strong in the first session and then Leclerc coming home top in the second. With just 0.004s between the team mates, it looks like the Scuderia should have both cars up there and battling for pole tomorrow.
Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:13.127, P6; FP2: 1:12.345, P1
"We picked up the pace a little in FP2, but we were not quite there with the car balance on my side. There’s some work ahead of us and I’m confident we can make a step forward by tomorrow. We were all very close apart from Max and Checo, but I don’t think they had a clean day so it will be interesting."
Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:12.845, P3; FP2: 1:12.349, P2
"Overall it was a good Friday here in Zandvoort. It was great to be back at such a demanding and challenging track for drivers and cars, so I enjoyed it a lot. Performance-wise, it was a clean Friday and we completed the run plan without any issues, both for the long and short runs. It seems to be tight with our closest rivals, so any performance we can find overnight will definitely help us going into qualifying."
It was anything but the dream start to the weekend for Verstappen, who pulled over early on in FP1 with a gearbox issue, bringing out the red flags. That left all eyes on Perez for the rest of the session and the Mexican had a scrappy start to the weekend, running wide and narrowly missing the barriers. Roll on FP2 and it might have been expected that Red Bull would charge up the order. But neither driver managed to extract much pace from the RB18.
READ MORE: ‘We can do better than this’ says Verstappen after rocky start to home weekend at Zandvoort
Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:14.714, P19; FP2: 1:13.042, P8
“We missed out on valuable time in FP1 and then the balance wasn’t great in FP2. In an hour-long session you can’t really change much on the car, so we just had to deal with what we had. Today wasn’t great but we’ll have a look at everything overnight, for sure we can do better than this. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the time difference, there are a lot of things that we can improve on, we’ve got FP3 tomorrow morning to try out a few things ahead of qualifying.”
Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:13.416, P7; FP2: 1:13.493, P12
“Things are very marginal and Ferrari seem to be very strong around this circuit so, as I predicted, it is going to be an interesting weekend. It is a pretty challenging track and I think we are lacking speed throughout at the moment, we haven’t been quick in any of the sectors, so there is analysis to be done. We haven’t been as happy as we were in Belgium so there are things we need to look at to make sure we pick up on everything to be in the mix for quali. I got a lot of traffic today, I got one of the Ferraris on my fast lap and I couldn’t get a proper read on my soft tyre unfortunately, without causing an incident. Degradation seems to be pretty high on the long runs so it will be interesting to see what we are able to do with the strategy. We certainly need to improve for qualifying tomorrow.”
McLaren had both cars in the top five in FP1 in a very promising opening to the weekend. Norris was once again right on the pace of the front-runners in FP2, but while Ricciardo on paper had dropped off the pace, in reality he wasn’t able to complete his programme thanks to an oil leak that limited the Australian to just 10 laps. But of course, it wasn’t McLaren’s pace that garnered headlines on Friday…
READ MORE: McLaren boss Seidl reveals key factors behind Piastri signing – and says CRB ruling ‘not really any surprise’
Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:13.077, P5; FP2: 1:13.362, P10
“I’m looking forward to Zandvoort. It’s an awesome circuit and has such a fun, almost festival-like atmosphere which is great for your mood going into the weekend. It’s more of an old-school circuit with interesting features like Tarzan and the ability to overtake there, so I’m excited to get on track and see how different it is from last year in the new cars.
“I’ve spent the last couple of days in Amsterdam resetting, eating stroopwafels, and looking at how we can improve for the coming weekend. Last weekend was not what we wanted it to be, but we’ve bounced back before so we can definitely do the same this time around. We’ve got some good learnings from Spa which we can use for this weekend so hopefully we come out a bit better and can properly battle with the Alpines.”
Lando Norris - FP1: 1:12.929, P4; FP2: 1:12.448, P4
“Zandvoort, let's go! I really enjoy driving the circuit and I’ve had some decent results there coming through the junior catagories. The undulation and turns make it feel like a rollercoaster ride so I’m excited to get out there and give it all we’ve got. It also always has an incredible atmosphere and I like to think that most of the orange is there to support McLaren...
“Last weekend made it clear that we’ve still got a lot of work to do to keep in the fight with the Alpines. I have full faith in the team and know we will do everything we can to push through and be as prepared as we can to keep battling. The next two races are key so let’s keep focused and keep up the hard work.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Zandvoort is an incredibly quick circuit and has had some memorable moments over the years. With F1 trialing DRS through the final banked corner for FP1, it should be interesting to see how the new iteration of cars perform and what impact it has on our ability to overtake, especially as the cars can run side by side there. The undulation and swooping sections are also a good feature of the circuit and provide a nice challenge for the drivers.
“We’ve spent the last few days analyzing the past weekend and ensuring we learn as much as possible from it. The result in Spa was not what we hoped but we can take these learnings and use them to maximize our package. We need to keep our full focus on making every small gain and pushing the car to get as much as we possibly can out of it. Let’s keep our heads down and get back to it.”
It was a steady start by Alpine, with Alonso running a slightly contrary strategy to much of the field. But with both cars in the top 10 in both sessions, it is a solid platform from which to build. Alonso seems to have a slight edge on his team mate as it stands, but whether that holds up come qualifying remains to be seen.
Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:13.963, P9; FP2: 1:13.305, P9
“It’s good to be back in Zandvoort at a track I enjoy driving at with its unique undulation and layout. Our Friday ended with both cars in the top ten in both practice sessions and that’s a decent start to our weekend. Tonight we’ll need to look at and try to find the areas where we can improve. We’ll also approach tomorrow with good understanding on how the tyres are behaving, especially since we have tested the hardest compound today and it’s not something we usually do on Fridays. There’s plenty of work to do with the team to be ready for an all-important qualifying session tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:13.633, P8; FP2: 1:12.848, P7
“It was a decent Friday for us. It is a very different circuit to what we experienced last weekend in Spa. It’s a fun place to drive Formula 1 cars around, it’s like a rollercoaster with all of the bumps. The car feels good so far and I think we’ve seen a lot of track evolution today as it was quite dusty across the circuit this morning. We’re going to evaluate everything now, but we are pleased with our progress so far.”
Matt Harman, Technical Director
“Today was a trouble-free day of practice and we completed everything we intended to do with both cars. We’ve brought a couple of small upgrades here, which performed in line with our pre-race simulations, and that’s brought a bit of extra performance. It’s fantastic that we continue to bring upgrades to every race and there’s more to come at the next couple of races as well. We’re looking forward to the rest of the weekend in Zandvoort – there have been no surprises so far – and we’re happy with our work. This weekend, we aim to continue our momentum in the Constructors’ Championship relative to our main on-track rivals.”
Aston Martin opted for a different strategy to the rest in FP1, running just the medium and hard compounds. As such, Stroll’s P12 was actually a fairly decent result. The Canadian seems to like it here and continued his fine form in FP2 where he ended up solidly in the top 10. Vettel couldn’t replicate that, but still has one session left to hone his set up before tackling what has been the team’s Achilles’ heel of late – qualifying.
Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:14.500, P15; FP2: 1:13.611, P14
“It was a bit of a tricky day for us today. FP1 was pretty busy, and there was plenty of traffic, but I never really felt on top of the car in either session. Looking at the times, I think our long-run pace looks pretty good, but we still need to focus on our single-lap pace. I am not really happy with today’s result – I think there is more pace in the car that we can find – but hopefully we can take a step forward overnight and hit the ground running in FP3.”
Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:14.257, P12; FP2: 1:12.746, P6
“We had a strong day today around a track I really like. This place is quite different to Spa – which is much faster – and we were strong there as well during Friday practice. It is a case of having to wait and see whether we can carry this momentum into qualifying tomorrow. If we can maintain our strong progress, then we should be in a good position to fight for points in the race.”
After a quiet start to the weekend, AlphaTauri found themselves much busier in FP2. Gasly had a delayed entry to that session after an issue was detected that required his seat to be removed from the car, which cost the Frenchman valuable lap time. As for Tsunoda, his day was going swimmingly until he came a cropper late on and beached himself in the gravel at Turn 11, bringing out the red flags in the process.
Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:14.474, P14; FP2: 1:13.666, P16
“It’s not been a great day for me really, I’ve not felt that happy with the car in either session. We also had to make some changes to the car at the start of FP2, which unfortunately cost us quite a lot of track time. So far, it’s been quite challenging, so we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us tonight and tomorrow, but I’m sure we’ll find some solutions and feel more confident heading into quali.”
Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:14.630, P17; FP2: 1:13.419, P11
“I think we’ve had an ok day, up until that last stint in FP2. I was struggling with a lack of grip during my long run in FP2 and then unfortunately, I hit a gust of wind and lost the car, going into the gravel trap. Overall, I’ve not felt that comfortable with the car today, but we’ve gained a lot of good data across both sessions, so we’ll go away tonight and look at this to try and put it altogether for tomorrow.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“Coming to Zandvoort, the circuit characteristics are very different compared to the last race in Spa. So, we go from the lowest downforce run this season to the highest. The track always starts quite green here, especially with the sand on track, so putting the drivers out on the Hards for the first run was challenging for them, particularly with the mild temperatures. We struggled to make that tyre work well so shifted focus quickly to the Mediums, however we were still lacking overall grip. Therefore, we made big changes to the setup of both cars for FP2. Unfortunately, we lost some time on Pierre’s car with one of the changes, so he lost the first part of the session, but across the two cars we managed to gather good short-run data to piece together the best bits of each setup for tomorrow. During the long run, Yuki lost the car when he was hit by a sudden gust of wind whilst on power in the exit of T10, so sadly he beached it and that was the end of our session. Yuki was able to put in a competitive lap on the Soft tyre, which is positive, but generally for the team the performance was not aligned with our expectation, so we have a lot of work ahead of us tonight.”
Magnussen was one of the drivers baulked by an unsuspecting Hamilton in FP1, while in FP2 he couldn’t extract as much pace from his VF-22 as his team mate. Schumacher had a much more decent day as he continues to try and impress in order to secure his seat with the team – or elsewhere – for next season. Both did manage a trip through the gravel, but emerged unscathed.
Mick Schumacher – FP1: 1:14.163, P11; FP2: 1:13.604, P13
“I’d call it a clean day. The car felt good from the get-go, and it was definitely nicer to drive compared to Spa plus it’s a bit more competitive which is nice. I love coming here, it’s such a pure, old school racing track and you really have to drive the car around here, instead of the car driving you around. It’s definitely a good, fun place to drive a lap but maybe in the race it’s going to be a bit more tough as overtaking is still a bit difficult it seems, but for sure we’ll have a lot of action compared to last year.”
Kevin Magnussen – FP1: 1:14.405, P13; FP2: 1:14.282, P19
“It was great. It’s a really cool track and it’s really challenging as well, so it’s nice that we go to places like Zandvoort where you really feel exhilarated, and that’s certainly the case. I’m looking forward to getting some more laps in tomorrow, I’ll sleep on the laps I got today, and get more out of it tomorrow.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Maybe a slightly more positive Friday than we had last weekend. FP1 was productive for both Kevin and Mick with lots of laps – good for Kevin especially given it’s his first time driving a Formula 1 car around Zandvoort. Our times were more competitive on the soft tyres which was inline with our expectations coming here. We didn’t quite replicate that form in FP2 later in the day, at least not with both cars, but we got to complete our run through of all the tyre compounds by running the mediums before our quali sims. Work to do based on what we’ve learned, as always, but we’re on a solid footing heading into Saturday.”
Zhou was stuck in the garage with an issue for a large chunk of FP1, which left him running out of sync with the rest of the field for his fast laps. But other than that, it was a quiet day for the team who seem to have dropped back from the midfield. Whether they can find some set-up tweaks to make themselves more competitive come qualifying remains to be seen.
Valtteri Bottas - FP1: I:14.695, P18; FP2: 1:14.167, P18
“We got some clean running, which is always a positive, but it was quite a tricky day. It was quite windy and this may have contributed to making the balance of the car feels a bit inconsistent: whatever the cause is, we have to figure out how to improve tonight so to find a bit more for qualifying. Grid position will be important on this tight track and I expect everyone’s setup to be a bit skewed towards single-lap performance: in the end, the challenge is the same for everyone so we’ll see how tomorrow goes.”
Zhou Guanyu - FP1: 1:14.534, P16; FP2: 1:13.624, P15
“Of course, today was quite a change from the last time I raced here; the track layout back then, for starters, was the old school one, while now there’s a lot of banking, and it’s overall different driving on it in a Formula One car. In terms of learning the track, I think today was a really smooth day: we didn’t have any issues and, while we still haven’t got the best balance for the car yet, we will make sure to find it ahead of tomorrow. Zandvoort is a high-downforce track, and it’s always quite dirty due to the gravel and being next to the beach. Once again it will be super tight in the midfield, but we’re still there: we just need to find a few tenths ahead of qualifying and we’ll be through.”
Latifi struggled to get to grips with this tricky track, propping up the timing sheets in both sessions. Albon though showed some of the same pace that was evident in Spa in FP1, coming home in the top 10. He couldn’t duplicate that in FP2, but is carrying plenty of confidence and momentum into this weekend as he chases another points finish.
Nicholas Latifi – FP1: 1:15.122, P20; FP2: 1:14.797, P20
"Today was a really tough day for the team and especially for me. Obviously FP1 is difficult to judge as the track is completely different going into the weekend. It’s very windy out there and some corners are more affected than others. All in all, I struggled with a lot of different things and need to work on finding the right rhythm with driving and balancing the car. This is a track that requires a lot of commitment and you need to feel everything so I have a lot of homework to do tonight so that I can push the car more confidently the rest of the weekend."
Alex Albon - FP1: 1:14.063, P10; FP2: 1:13.837, P17
"Whilst it wasn’t great today, it felt okay out there, despite being quite windy with a high downforce circuit. The cars that are quick is opposite to last weekend, so it’s really different in terms of requirements for us. Ultimately, the track is just not suiting us today so it’s not easy, however I think we know where we need to improve so it’s all about trying to get it done for tomorrow, knowing how important qualifying is. Hopefully we can make some changes that will improve our overall pace across the weekend, so that’s the goal."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"It has been a slightly challenging day in Zandvoort with both drivers struggling to find a comfortable balance. The track grip was low today and didn’t improve as quickly as we hoped. The tyres have also been tricky to manage as they get very little rest during a lap here, especially the front left.
"We have got some useful low fuel data from today, but we are going to need to study this hard overnight to help guide the setup changes for tomorrow. We would’ve liked to have got some more high fuel running done but red flags prevented this, which makes the race strategy a little difficult to judge at this stage. We will need to be flexible and agile on Sunday, but we are confident that this style of racing suits us."
Simone Berra, Chief Engineer
"The performance of all three compounds was in line with expectations today, with the gap between the hard and the medium actually a little lower than we had estimated, which is one of the reasons why we believe that the hard could be a valid race tyre too, with a number of different strategies possible. Degradation seems manageable, even on the soft tyre, and we saw no graining of any description. Track evolution was quite high today, with a sandy track initially, and there were gusting winds, which affected the balance of the cars. One talking point today was the ‘glued gravel’ on the outside of Turns 11 and 12: this seemed to work well and we saw no negative effects on the tyres."