What the teams said – Friday in Tuscany
Bottas might have been left disappointed that he couldn’t capitalise on Hamilton’s penalty last weekend to eat into his rival’s championship lead, but he has bounced back in emphatic style in Mugello. Top in both practice sessions on Friday, he nailed his laps and barely put a foot wrong. Hamilton couldn’t match his team mate’s speed today – but does tend to move up a gear on Saturdays.
Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:18.409, P4; FP2: 1:17.196, P2
"I have to say, this track is pretty intense – so fast and challenging, it’s amazing to experience. I love it! There’s no time to play around here and it’s one of the most physically demanding that I’ve driven for a while. I’ve been trying to push it to the limit today, but I think there are a few sections where I can improve. I’ve got the last sector pretty sorted, but there’s definitely more to come in the first and second sectors as Valtteri and Max were very quick through there. So, we’ve got some changes that need to be made and studying to do tonight. Hopefully we’ll improve it for tomorrow. The tyres have felt quite strong and have been behaving well, but it’s going to be difficult to look after them through those fast sections, particularly through 6, 7, 8 and 9."
Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:17.879, P1; FP2: 1:16.989, P1
"It’s been a lot of fun today and I’ve enjoyed every single lap. The whole opening section with the high-speed chicanes and the second sector is just amazing and the car felt pretty good out there. I struggled with quite a lot of understeer in the first session and still in places in the second session, but it felt better. I think there’s still quite a bit of lap time to unlock, both in the car and also as a driver. This track is definitely one of the most physically demanding. We’ll only properly get to see the effects of that in the race distance, but even today, I could feel it and it’s going to be tough for everyone on Sunday. It’s also quite unforgiving, with little margin for error and that’s how it should be."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"It’s great that F1 has created the opportunity to run here, it’s such a unique track and so well suited to the current cars. Our morning was fairly smooth, we’ve had to adjust the car a fair bit to get the balance right and the drivers were finding a lot of time in themselves, but everything seems to be working well. The second session was interrupted a bit by the red flag, so our long runs weren’t as long as we wanted. However, the tyres do seem to be holding up better than we expected. We seem a bit slow on the straights compared to some, but in terms of pace we look OK and degradation seemed competitive. There’s a lot to learn with a new track, so we’ll work hard overnight to make sure we’ve not missed anything. But it does look like we’ve had a solid start to the weekend."
After a difficult time at Monza, the Bulls both looked happier here. The car seemed less of a handful, meaning both drivers could complete plenty of laps and get to grips with this new track. Verstappen ran the Silver Arrows close in FP2, which was encouraging, but the team might be even happier that Albon was right behind in fourth, albeit some way off the pace of his team mate.
Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:17.927, P2; FP2: 1:17.235, P3
“We can be pretty pleased with how the car is behaving and I think it was a good first day at Mugello. We are not too far off Mercedes which is a good thing and also balance wise, there are always things that can be improved, but overall I was pretty pleased. This is a very cool track to drive in an F1 car with so many fast corners and to be able to take Arrabbiata 1 and 2 flat out easily is quite incredible and really enjoyable to drive. It is pretty physical and I felt alright today but of course 59 laps in a row in the heat is not going to be easy. I like a bit of a challenge and we shouldn’t complain as we train hard to sit in these cars and we should just enjoy it. In terms of tyres, I expected it to be worse so let’s see how they hold up over the rest of the weekend. The track is my type of track - really flowing with no slow corners, so I’m looking forward to doing more laps.”
Alex Albon - FP1: 1:19.068, P9; FP2: 1:17.971, P4
“It’s been a good day and this track is just so fun to drive. It’s super quick and there’s not much room for error, like we saw with Lando, which adds to the excitement as a driver. It’s a high energy circuit and from Turns 1 to 15, the car is completely different. It’s physical and you do feel it, especially through Turns 8 and 9, it’s just pure neck and it’s good fun. Performance-wise, I think we’re relatively happy, of course there are still some areas to find a bit more balance in the car but coming from Monza where we were struggling, today has been good. The tyres seem to be holding up in the heat and the softs are performing well so it’s looking reasonable out there but I think we’re going to see a few pit stops across the field come Sunday.”
A reasonably positive day for the Scuderia after a couple of torrid race weekends. Leclerc was right up there in FP1 which gave the fans something to cheer, although he did drop back in FP2. Both drivers also spun in the afternoon sun and were lucky to keep the SF1000 out of the walls, and worse was to come when reliability woes struck Vettel after the chequered flag. The German ended his day parked up on track with no power – but hopefully that can be solved overnight as Ferrari seek more positives at a track they know very well.
Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:19.267, P13; FP2: 1:18.498, P12
"It was an interesting day. Mugello is a very nice track which is very enjoyable for the driver, even if it is quite brutal on tyres. I’m still not happy with the balance of the car.
"We are working on it and there’s still plenty to do, but it is Friday, and this is what Fridays are for. I think that there’s the potential to find a better set-up on the car and that we will find some small things. I’m confident we can improve it for qualifying."
Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:18.196, P3; FP2: 1:18.400, P10
"Driving an F1 car around this circuit is unbelievable. In all the fast sections it’s pretty impressive. I think it’s going to be quite a tough race, physically, as already in the long run we’ve done in FP2 the neck starts to feel it! The lack of run-off areas will also make it difficult, but I guess this is what we like as well. The first session went well but maybe where we ended up in the second one is a more realistic picture, when we struggled a bit on the hard tyre.
"We also need to work on the balance, as we are not really there yet. It’s all very close but I think we can make a positive step tomorrow. I am optimistic."
It was a solid day for Renault at a track that they weren’t sure would suit their car as much as the last two circuits have. Ricciardo was one of a number of drivers to relish the opportunity of driving here, and he looked quick in both practice sessions. Ocon likewise had a solid day, and based on these results, those two should both be confident of a Q3 berth tomorrow.
Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:18.805, P6; FP2: 1:18.115, P6
“It was a decent day for the team. It’s a new track for everyone, and it’s my first time here as well. It’s a fantastic feeling to drive at Mugello and it didn’t disappoint from expectation! When we walked the track yesterday, I just thought it’s going to be awesome to drive. It’s a great challenge for us drivers, quite physical, and it’s also going to be particularly tough on the tyres. We have plenty of performance to unlock for tomorrow. For me, it’s been probably one of the best Fridays of the year so far.”
Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:19.140, P10; FP2: 1:18.039, P5
“It’s so good to drive at Mugello. On one lap it’s fun but even on the long runs, which are normally a lot slower, there’s no holding back as it’s all high-speed. Turns 8 and 9 are nearly flat out on high fuel, so it’s quick and keeps you on your toes. I felt we picked it up today quite well. There were a couple of things to improve on in the morning, but we managed that well into the afternoon session. It looks like both cars are in decent shape. The timesheets look okay and, if we put ourselves in that position in qualifying, we’d be very happy.”
Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer
“We try not to read too much into the times on a Friday, but it’s been a good day generally. It’s great to come to what is effectively a new circuit for us, but it doesn’t really change what we do on a Friday, and we just put our heads down and got through what we needed to do. The short runs were okay, and the long runs also seemed to be good. We had a couple of interruptions with red flags in the afternoon session, but fortunately for us they came at times where it didn’t affect out plans too much. As always, we’ve got a bit of work to do, but we don’t have any major concerns; we just need to do our normal Friday homework and come in ready and prepared for Saturday.”
After a busy week, the race winner from Monza had to come back down to earth today and it was back to business for Gasly. That AlphaTauri still looks quick, although the Frenchman wasn’t happy with the balance and will hope that he can find even more speed tomorrow. As for Kvyat, he had a quiet day but managed a full programme and so is well set going into tomorrow.
Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:18.676, P5; FP2: 1:18.244, P8
“Overall, it was a strong Friday as we finished both sessions in the top 10. It was quite impressive and very enjoyable to drive these F1 cars on such a track with so many high-speed corners, it was very cool! I didn’t feel fully comfortable in the car, so we’ll make some changes for tomorrow to find a bit more performance and get more out of our package.”
Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:18.839, P7; FP2: 1:18.736, P15
“It was okay today. We’re at a new circuit and it’s definitely a cool track and it was great fun to drive. We were able to learn a lot and put a good number of laps in, trying to discover what’s best for the car here, as you need a good car balance in order to have confidence. I think we have some room for improvement for tomorrow and we’ll do our best to achieve it.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“We’re at the third race of the triple-header which is hard on the team, although everyone received a massive boost with the fantastic result at the last event. The celebrations were fairly short-lived as we come to a new track in Formula 1 racing. We’ve never been to this track in this era of F1, so there was a lot of preparation to do in a short time between Monza and Mugello.
"We continued the AT01 development here, so compared to the car we had in Monza, we’ve got new components both on the aero and mechanical side. As this a new track, we aimed to give the drivers as much running as possible but that, combined with trying to evaluate our new components, made FP1 a busy session. We found a good compromise to gather all the data we needed, as well as giving the engineers time to find the optimum balance. FP1 was positive, we were fairly happy and everything appeared to be working as expected.
"FP2 was a bit more of a conventional session, ultimately it was about understanding qualifying performance, but also evaluating the tyres over the long runs. Pierre had a positive session and showed good performance, while Dany struggled a little bit more with the balance and grip on his car, particularly on the option tyre. He wasn’t able to extract the maximum potential neither over the short nor the long run, so we have a bit more work to do on his car to understand why he was struggling with the handling. We have a good amount of work to do tonight to give him a car that can be competitive and fight to get into Q3 tomorrow. We will also be focusing on tyre behaviour to allow us to make the best choice for the race strategy on Sunday.”
Perez was in the thick of the action in the second practice session, as he got tangled up with Raikkonen’s Alfa on his way out of the pits. Perez lost a chunk of front wing for good measure as he locked up into Turn 1, with both drivers meeting on the apex of the corner. The stewards had a look at that one and handed the Mexican a one-place grid drop for the race. As for Stroll, the Canadian had a quieter day as he kept out of trouble and looked there or thereabouts in FP2 after running an alternate strategy in FP1.
Sergio Perez – FP1: 1:19.840, P19; FP2: 1:18.198, P7
“I’ve enjoyed driving around this track: there is no room for mistakes and that’s really fun. The run-off here is very close to the track, so the pressure is on the drivers – and that’s how it should be! The car is feeling good and we focused a bit more on our race pace today. It was a shame to have had the collision with Kimi though. It’s very tough to see another car when you're coming out of the pit lane and the angle to re-join the track is difficult too. I knew he was close, but it's very difficult to judge the distance between cars and I couldn’t avoid him sadly. It just shows that it’s going to be tricky on this narrow circuit this weekend and we know that track position is going to be very important here. We need to aim for a good result in qualifying first of all – to make sure we’re in a position to fight for good points on Sunday.”
Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:19.836, P18; FP2: 1:18.462, P11
“It was a positive day out there for us and the car is feeling good, so I'm happy with today's work. Mugello is such an impressive circuit in a Formula 1 car and the speed in some of the high-speed corners is amazing. I can’t wait to tackle the circuit in qualifying on low fuel when we can really push hard. Qualifying is going to be so important here as I think the race will be largely dependent on track position because overtaking will be very difficult. We’ll focus overnight on making sure we come back tomorrow ready to fight for a good starting spot and go from there. The long-run pace is looking positive, so now we need to show our one-lap pace.”
A very mixed day for McLaren as they spent much of the opening session testing their new nose, with flow-vis paint smeared on that front wing. Roll on FP2 and speed was supposed to be the name of the game, with Norris looking quick on the medium compound tyres. But he made a mistake on his flying lap on the softs, crashing into the wall and ripping off his front wing to end his day early. Sainz did manage a clean session but was well outside the top 10.
Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:19.457, P15; FP2: 1:18.651, P13
“It’s been a challenging Friday. We haven’t quite managed to get the car in the sweet-spot and we’ve spent the whole day trying things and trying to achieve a better balance. At the moment we’re struggling quite a lot with the changes of direction at the rear and being able to lean on it.
“We’re braced for a challenging weekend, but if we manage to achieve a better balance tomorrow morning, our performance can improve considerably. We’re going to work hard tonight and try to get it better.”
Lando Norris - FP1: 1:18.981, P8; FP2: 1:18.658, P14
“Tricky day. Obviously, I didn’t end it in the best way – over-pushing it a little bit. It’s one of the first proper costly mistakes that I’ve made, almost since I started in F1. It’s a bit frustrating, but at the same time it happens – it happens to everyone. Not ideal but everything until then was going reasonably well.
“We made some improvements from FP1 to FP2 but we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s not been as straightforward as we were hoping for, and we’re struggling a little bit more than we were expecting coming into the weekend. Rough start, but I’m confident we can make up for it tomorrow.”
Andrea Stella, Racing Director
“It’s really interesting being back at Mugello with Formula 1 cars again – and in particular with these super-quick cars. It’s a fantastic track and a truly spectacular venue.
“The day wasn’t as smooth as the Fridays we’ve enjoyed on previous weekends this year because we lost some time with Lando when he went off track and tagged the wall. On a more positive note, I think we’ve developed a good understanding of the tyres in preparation for the race, and we also understand where we have to focus to improve the car. There is some work to do, but we know the areas in which we should concentrate our efforts.”
Raikkonen wound up in the gravel after colliding with Perez in FP2. The Finn was on a flying lap as Perez exited the pits, and didn’t expect to find the Mexican on his inside into Turn 1. Luckily his session wasn’t too disrupted and he was able to continue, winding up an impressive ninth. As for Giovinazzi, he was somewhat slower than his team mate but managed plenty of laps so should be more confident to push the limit tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:19.219, P11; FP2: 1:18.385, P9
“It’s nice to be back driving at Mugello, the track where I made my first laps in an F1 car, 20 years ago. Surely my neck feels a lot better now than it did at the end of my first day of testing! The track has the same feel, it’s not much different with the exception of some kerbs. It’s a difficult circuit, so finding a setup can be challenging, especially being here for the first time and with no data to use as a reference. It’s quite a unique layout in many ways and it needs a different approach, which is why we need to keep working on the setup, both tonight and in FP3. You never run out of things to improve but we looked promising today, so let’s see where we end up tomorrow.”
Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:19.322, P14; FP2: 1:18.944, P17
“It’s nice to be on track in Italy again, and seeing some fans in the stands. We missed having spectators and hopefully they’ll watch a nice race on Sunday. The track here in Mugello is amazing, especially with modern Formula 1 cars: it’s just so fast, with many high-speed corners that really feel great in an F1 car – even if the neck will really feel it on Sunday! The car felt really good from the start today, on both qualifying and race trim, so we can be happy about our first day. Unfortunately, I did a small mistake during my fast lap in FP2 so the times don’t reflect how we really did, but tomorrow is when we really need to put together a good lap. I think we can do a good job; getting to Q2 is the target, then we can assess our chances. We saw already that following cars will be quite difficult, so it will be important to qualify as far high as we can, get a good start and build our race from there.”
Grosjean’s reliability woes returned, as he complained of a loss of power in FP1, before parking up early in the afternoon session after just five laps. A suspected electronics issue was the cause, and has left the Frenchman short of laps heading into final practice. As for Magnussen, he did at least manage a decent amount of track time but looks short of pace here today.
Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:19.224, P12; FP2: 1:19.257, P20
“I actually think we’re in a decent place, there’s potential in the car. We just need to work on three corners – Turns 1, 12 and 15, that’s where we weren’t so happy, but the rest of the lap was pretty good. It was the same with the only lap I did in the afternoon, it was fast. It’s obviously not ideal at a new circuit not to be able to do a long run or a quali sim though. I don’t have much information for tomorrow. The circuit is good, really good in fact. It’s very fast, flowing and for us as drivers, it’s a pure pleasure. From a racing aspect, it could be trickier, but for now we don’t care – we’re just going out there driving fast. I think we’re something like five seconds faster than the last time I drove here. Every kind of corner you’d like to have on a circuit – you have them here at Mugello.”
Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1:19.551, P17; FP2: 1:19.113, P19
“This is a really cool track. It’s extremely fast with lots of high-speed corners - it’s really a pleasure to drive this track. Obviously, looking at the lap times, it could have been a better day, but at least I enjoyed driving the track. We just didn’t seem to have great pace today. It’s pretty physical here, pretty tough on the neck with all the high-speed corners. They’re not totally straightforward so you can’t just rest your head on the side like a lot of other fast corners at other tracks. It’s going to be tough, but I’ll manage. It’s an old school track and that’s a positive. There’s no tarmac run-off anywhere, there are big consequences if you make a mistake. I think that adds to why this track is cool.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Our Friday started pretty well today. We did our program and we seemed to be in a better place than we’ve been on a Friday in the last two races – we seemed to be a little more competitive. Then in FP2 the gremlins struck again. We had to stop Romain’s car after he used his first set of tyres because we had some issues with the electronics of the PU (Power Unit) – we couldn’t go out again. Kevin’s just trying to get a handle on going around here. I’m sure tomorrow it will be better. It’s a very fast track and he just needs to get the confidence and build on that one.”
Latifi was the first to fall foul of the Mugello circuit, spinning towards the end of FP1. He kept his head down in second practice and certainly seems to be growing in confidence. As for Russell, he looked in decent form in both sessions and will be hopeful of another Q2 appearance at a track that seems to suit the FW43 much more than Monza did.
George Russell – FP1: 1:19.478, P16; FP2: 1:18.843, P16
"It was awesome out there today. It is always fun to come to a proper great circuit with lots of character, it’s undulating and punishes you if you make a mistake. The speeds are very high, so it was good fun out there. The tyres are taking a pounding, so we have a bit of work to do to get on top of that. The race is going to be difficult yet exciting, as nobody knows how it will pan out. We have a good idea of how we need to get the car set up, so we shall see."
Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1:20.034, P20; FP2: 1:18.983, P18
"It was a pretty fun day. It is a very intense track with high speeds, which is what we expected. FP1 was tricky, the tyres were not working as expected and the car was sliding a lot. We managed to improve this for FP2, and the performance runs were not so bad. It will be hot over the weekend, and it is a very rough track with a lot of corners so I think tyre management will be key. It will be about weighing up how much you want to set the car up to preserve the tyres for all the high speed corners, but at the same time still have a car that you can race with if you have the opportunity to pass, which we know will be difficult at this track."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"Today was very enjoyable as we came to grips with the circuit here in Mugello. The car behaved well and both drivers did a very good job, gathering the data we wanted whilst also understanding how to get the most out of the car on this demanding circuit.
"Although there were a few interruptions during the sessions, we still completed a good number of laps and generated a lot of data. We have numerous things to go through and optimise ahead of tomorrow, but following a strong team performance today, we are in a good position to improve the car in both qualifying and race trim. The top teams have already started to move ahead, but the midfield is very congested, with a couple of tenths potentially accounting for numerous grid positions."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"The drivers all enjoyed their first taste of Mugello, with the unofficial track record that was set back in 2004 already comprehensively broken in FP1 and then lowered even further in FP2, on both occasions with the Red soft tyre. We expected tyre wear to be relatively high over the long runs, with high degradation also on the soft and the data we saw in free practice proved that this was the case. Performance-wise we noted a slightly bigger time gap between medium and soft than expected. This will obviously be a crucial factor when it comes to calculating the qualifying and race strategy, together with the data accumulated tomorrow in FP3. The 'green' track we experienced today meant that there was plenty of track evolution, which should continue tomorrow."