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What the teams said – Friday in Hungary

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Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43.
Hungarian Grand Prix, Friday 17th July 2020. Budapest,

Mercedes

A solid if by their high standards unspectacular day for the Silver Arrows. Hamilton topped FP1 on the hard compound tyre which sent ominous waves throughout the paddock, especially given he finished ahead of his own team mate who was on the medium compound. He does have an exceptional record at the track and seemed focused from word go. In the wet second practice session though he only completed one installation lap on the intermediate tyre before calling it a day without setting a time. Bottas did complete more running and wound up second overall.

Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:16.003, P1; FP2: No time set, P16

"We got everything done that we needed to in the first session. The car felt good out there in FP1 although there was still some work to do, so we made some changes for the second session - then it rained, so we've still got learning to do tomorrow. The wet conditions in FP2 didn't really leave us with a lot to do, so we just completed an installation lap on the intermediate tyres. This is such a great track to drive in the dry, but it's very tricky in the wet and it felt quite low grip out there today. Looking ahead to qualifying tomorrow, I think it is going to be a lot closer as it's not such a power-dependent circuit. I'm hoping for a tighter pack, it'd be great to see the Renaults doing well, the McLarens are doing a fantastic job, as are the Racing Points, it's really exciting to see. We also expect Red Bull to be strong, so I anticipate a tough battle with them."

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:16.089, P2; FP2: 1:40.736, P2

"The car didn't feel too bad in the dry today in FP1. It seemed like we were in a good place balance-wise, although I was struggling with a bit of understeer but that can be fixed, and I think it wasn't a bad start. Obviously, it would have been nice to get some more practice laps in during the afternoon, fine-tuning the balance more, but the conditions were the same for everyone. The grip level was pretty low in FP2 in the wet. I got to get a feel for the balance in those conditions and I tried both the inter and wet tyres. They both felt pretty similar. It looks like we'll see more rain this weekend so I'm sure we can keep working on the car and doing a better job, before qualifying and the race."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"The first session was pretty good. We ran an unusual tyre order with the soft tyres first and the harder tyres second. That was driven by the fact we were most interested in the long-run information on medium and hard and with a wet second practice on our forecast, it seemed the best way to be sure of getting the data we needed. The car was working well; both drivers were happy with the balance on soft and it was quite easy to bring the tyres in. We thought we'd look quick on those runs by virtue of being on softer rubber than our competitors. However, it was a bit surprising how competitive we were on the second runs. With Lewis on the hard tyre and Valtteri on the medium, they were both able to beat their previous times and ended up first and second in the order. You never know fuel loads and power unit modes until qualifying, but we do look to have made a decent start. The long-run pace seemed fine and as we'd seen last year, the soft doesn't look like a great race tyre. The second session wasn't great for learning. With Valtteri we checked out the Wet tyre but didn't want to put many laps on it. Both cars then installed an intermediate towards the end of the session so that they can carry it into final practice tomorrow. The weather looks quite unsettled for the remainder of the event which is going to keep everyone on their toes."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Darko Bandic/Pool via Getty Images)

Ferrari

Seeing a Ferrari on top of the timing sheets has been a rare sight this year, but Vettel was quickest of all in the rain-affected second practice. He ran a decent number of laps on both the full wet and intermediate tyres and despite running wide, looked more confident in the SF1000 than he has in the dry. Leclerc had a quieter day and it will be interesting to see where Ferrari wind up in the pecking order tomorrow if it stays dry.

Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:17.238, P6; FP2: 1:40.464, P1

"I think this morning was ok. This track should be a bit better for us and let’s hope that’s the case tomorrow, but we won’t know until we hit qualifying.

"We did more laps than others in the wet, because after the weaknesses we showed last week, we need to understand the car a bit better. We need laps to gain confidence in the car. It’s not a secret that there’s still a lot of homework to do, but overall we seem to be a bit more competitive.

"The weather looks like being changeable in the next few days, but if it’s dry like Austria, it’ll be ok as we were also good this morning on a dry track. I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:17.404, P7; FP2: 1:43.725, P10

"Today things went better than we expected. We arrived here with basically the same car we had in Austria but it seems to suit this track better, which is good to see. There are fewer straights here compared to the last race venue and here, we are quick around the corners.

"This afternoon, in the rain, we struggled a bit as we were trying out a few things and I wasn’t very happy as I was lacking a bit of confidence in the wet, but we’ve seen some positive signs this morning. In my first run on extreme wet tyres I only did two laps, which is not really representative, but looking at Seb’s lap time on the same tyre, he did a great job and there’s probably something positive to take from that.

"I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we can convert these positive signs in free practice into a positive result in quali and in the race but there’s still quite a lot of work to do on my side and I’ll try to be in a good place tomorrow."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen turned the airwaves blue in FP1 after being impeded by a Williams, and didn’t seem as collected as usual. He waited until late in the second session to test out the conditions, choosing the inters first before swapping to the full wet weather tyre and seemed far more comfortable on that compound. As for Albon, he remained in the garage for more of FP2 as the team tried to work out why his car had taken a step backwards since the last race.

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:17.435, P8; FP2: 1:42.820, P7

“FP1 was not what we wanted and we have a lot to look into. It’s a shame that it was raining this afternoon for FP2 because we already had a few things to change and we could have had a good comparison to work from. Luckily, we have overnight to look at the data and for sure we will make some changes and try to improve the overall balance for tomorrow. There are strong areas to our car but we still have work to do to match Mercedes. The weather looks like it could be a bit like today for the rest of the weekend and we don’t know how much rain will come yet, but that is the same for everyone. It’s still early days and we haven’t done much running, so there is no point in making any guesses about how the rest of the weekend will look yet.”

Alex Albon - FP1: 1:17.727, P13; FP2: No time set, P19

“The weather has been hurting us as we’re trying to understand the car at a new circuit after two weeks at the Red Bull Ring. FP1 wasn’t ideal and then with the downpour we couldn’t exactly try anything for FP2. We’ll have a look through the data from this morning and see what we can do for tomorrow. I think the car is lacking a bit of predictability, not so much in one corner or sector but just little bits everywhere. There have definitely been places where we’ve made improvements, like at R02 compared to R01, but it just hasn’t followed through to here like we would have expected. The weather looks mixed for the weekend but I’d prefer it to be dry so we’re able to learn and make progress.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images)

Racing Point

Racing Point picked up where they left off last Friday. Quick in the dry again, they completed some exploratory laps in the wet which had seemed to be a weakness in Austria. Not so here, with both drivers looking composed despite the difficult conditions. You’d imagine they’ll want a dry qualifying though, with their car seemingly the pick of the midfield on slicks.

Sergio Perez – FP1: 1:16.530, P3; FP2: 1:42.470, P5

“Today was a good opportunity to prove that we had found improvements in wet conditions compared to Austria. That gives me confidence for tomorrow - regardless of the conditions. I think we can target a place in Q3 and build from there. Everyone was on different programmes today and there was only the one practice session in ideal conditions, but I think we've made a good step in further understanding our car.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:16.967, P4; FP2: 1:42.380, P4

“The car felt good and we hit the ground running today. It was a shame there was rain this afternoon, but we worked to improve our understanding of the car in the wet. I think we've made a good step in those conditions compared to last weekend, which is a positive. There's the potential for mixed conditions this weekend and the important thing is that we look strong in the dry too. All in all, it was a useful day.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

McLaren

Sainz was the pick of the midfield in the wet last weekend and today he proved that was no fluke, coming home third behind the Ferrari and Mercedes in FP2. Norris didn’t push quite so hard and seemed more content to gather data. So far McLaren have elected to stay quiet on Fridays and unleash their pace come qualifying – but they are one team for whom it is hard to guess if they’d prefer it to be dry or wet tomorrow…

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:17.675, P11; FP2: 1:41.784, P3

“It’s been a challenging Friday for us here at the Hungaroring. In FP1 we struggled with the balance more than we wanted to, and putting good laps together was quite tricky compared to our performance in Austria. We’re finding different challenges and we need to make sure we adapt to these, just in case it’s dry tomorrow. In the wet we did very little running, but otherwise had a decent feeling with the car.

“We had a specific test programme for FP2 to try different set-ups and improve our performance in dry conditions, but we obviously couldn’t do it. So, if it’s dry tomorrow, we’ll need to work hard to pull it all together and get it right for quali.”

Lando Norris - FP1: 1:17.523, P9; FP2: 1:46.000, P12

“Today was quite tricky. We’re in a very different situation to Austria in terms of car balance and what we’re suffering with. This was a good track for us last year, but after the feeling this morning it wasn’t looking quite as good. We’ve got some work to do if it’s going to be dry tomorrow. I think the weather conditions tomorrow are still a bit unknown, so it’s all still to play for. I think we can probably make some progress and go again tomorrow.”

Andrea Stella, Racing Director

“This morning wasn’t the hot Hungaroring we’re used to seeing, but even though it was cold, we could work during FP1 like any normal practice session and go through the programme. We learned where car performance has its limitations, and what we have to work on. We also ran the Soft tyre on consecutive laps and discovered that it is quite fragile.

“We made changes to the car during the break and wanted to test them in FP2, but the session was consistently wet and all we could do was assess the level of grip for the intermediate and wet tyres. This year the grip in the wet seems to be very low, and we’ll have to adapt to this as well in case it’s wet in qualifying or Sunday’s race.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Darko Bandic/Pool via Getty Images)

Renault

Ocon was the first driver to brave the intermediate tyre in FP2 but he skated round on his installation lap before sensibly pulling back into the pits. Ricciardo likewise tried the green-marker compound a few moments later and found more grip than his team mate, but he too called it a day early. With no times on the board in FP2, it is difficult to say where Renault are in the pecking order as they keep their cards close to their chest.

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:17.615, P10; FP2: No time set, P14

“Practice one went well and we ran through the programme with no issues. We can see that the car is working quite well, but as normal for a Friday, there are a few things we can improve. We can see we have a fairly quick car, however, we’ll need to confirm that tomorrow when it counts. At the moment, it’s a good start to the weekend, I’m comfortable in all conditions and we’ll see what weather we have for tomorrow and Sunday.”

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:17.200, P5; FP2: No time set, P15

“The morning was pretty good and I felt we got into it right from the get-go. It was a bit like the first session in Austria, when we got into the track quite quickly and found a solid base set-up straight away. I’m happy with the start to the weekend and I’m feeling good. It was too wet in the afternoon, so we took it easy on the intermediates, meaning we save a set of wets for tomorrow. Otherwise, I’m feeling positive and content with our Friday’s work.”

Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer

“We had a very good morning session where both drivers ran the Hard and the Medium compounds, mainly on low fuel but with some high fuel running at the end. We’ve completed a lot of the homework that we need to do on a Friday. The afternoon session was pretty much washed out. The full wet tyre was fine to run, but it was too wet for the intermediate. With the possibility of a wet qualifying and race, a lot of teams are saving wet tyres in case they are required for the rest of the weekend. Despite the weather conditions, we’ve had a good day. We were comfortable when it rained last weekend in Austria and we’ll be ready to run in the wet this weekend if we need to.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 drives in the pit lane during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

AlphaTauri

Gasly missed the entirety of first practice with a lengthy power unit sensor issue that cost him any running in the dry. He understandably went out first in FP2 and kept his nose clean in the worst of the conditions despite complaining that his car smelt like a “barbeque”. Kvyat likewise managed some good laps in the wet, albeit with a couple of hairy moments thrown in for good measure.

Pierre Gasly - FP1: No time set, P20; FP2: 1:42.588, P6

“It wasn’t a very productive day for us. We got no running this morning due to an issue on the car which cost us quite a bit of time. The afternoon session was wet so we just did a few laps, which is obviously not ideal considering we couldn’t run in FP1. There is still another practice session tomorrow morning, which should be dry, so that we can set-up the car for quali. We’ll try to work with Dany’s data from this morning to try and have a better day tomorrow.”

Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:18.292, P16; FP2: 1:47.422, P13

“We had a few things to test this morning on dry tyres. We had the feeling there was room for improvement and we were looking forward to making some changes to improve for FP2 but then it became wet, so we could not proceed as planned. We did a few laps to check the car behaviour in wet conditions, when it’s very important to make the tyres work and it seems like we didn’t manage it, as I was sliding quite a lot. We will have to analyse all the data and get ready for tomorrow.”

Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance

“FP1 was a difficult one for us today as only Daniil could hit the track and run because of an issue on Pierre's car. The first baseline run was tricky in terms of balance as the car was suffering some understeer in most of the corners. The long run consistency looked quite ok but again, we had a significant level of understeer and some front tyre graining started to appear on the medium compound. As for competitiveness, we were not really where we wanted to be, but we didn't put a clean lap together when the tyres were at their peak. We have seen many cars having heavy front tyre graining on the soft tyre and this could play an interesting role going forward in the weekend and during the race if it's dry.

"During this afternoon’s second session, we had quite a lot of rain. We did an installation lap on car 10 to check that the repairs done over lunch were effective. It was a track for full wet tyres at all times and the running on intermediate tyres was only to get the set replaced for tomorrow. Both drivers struggled with grip and balance. To be able to have a proper read on balance and performance, we would have needed more laps, but this goes against saving the full wet tyres for qualifying and the race in case it rains again. We have a lot of homework to do tonight and we will do our best to improve our cars for tomorrow.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director

“We knew from the forecast earlier this week that we could expect bad weather for the weekend in Hungary and it was proved correct today. There was just light drizzle before FP1 so the cars were able to use slick tyres, however, for FP2 the conditions were much worse with heavy rain, therefore none of our cars did much running. We will therefore have to use our time very effectively in tomorrow morning’s FP3 to work on our PU settings for qualifying and the race. In FP1, we spotted an anomaly in the data from Gasly’s PU and, as a precaution, we changed some components and it ran trouble-free in FP2.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT01 Honda in the pit lane during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Haas

Grosjean had a solid day with plenty of laps in both sessions at a track that is expected to suit their car more than Austria. But Magnussen missed the majority of the FP2 session. Can he make up time tomorrow, or will the weather intervene?

Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:17.890, P14; FP2: 1:43.335, P8

“It was my first time in the wet this afternoon, as we didn’t get to compete in qualifying in Austria. I did a few laps and the car felt okay – which is good. I think the morning went okay as well. We were more competitive than we were in Austria. I haven’t run the soft tyres yet, so we don’t really know what’s going to come with that. Generally, we were happy with the car. There are some limitations, but we’ve made some set-up changes which should put us in a good direction. The whole team was quite positive, and the momentum was good after the session. There’s obviously a bit of a question mark on the weather for the rest of the weekend but I think we’re ready for most cases.”

Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1:17.713, P12; FP2: No time set, P20

“It did look positive this morning – the car felt good. This is a fun track to drive and I’d say we had a good start to the weekend. We didn’t get too much time in the wet. I did an installation lap on the intermediates just to see how it is, there’s not too much to say about that – it was very slippery. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what kind of weather we’re going to get. When it’s like this, mixed, it makes it tricky and exciting. It always shakes things up a little bit and potentially gives you a chance to do something special, or mess it up, but we’ll always go for something special.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“We didn’t have any issues in the morning session – which is progress from the last two races in Austria. It was a productive FP1. I think we found a little bit of speed in the car, so that looked a lot better than the last two races. Obviously, the afternoon was rained out. We sent Romain (Grosjean) out so he could get a few laps in on the full wet as he didn’t get any driving in last weekend when it rained in Austria. Then we just sent both guys out for a look on the intermediates. It was a very short afternoon. Overall it’s been a better Friday than we’ve had so far this year.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Romain Grosjean of France driving the (8) Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images,)

Alfa Romeo

Kubica sat in for Raikkonen for FP1 but blotted his copybook with a clumsy spin in the first corner on cold tyres. Other than that, he gathered plenty of crucial data for the team. Roll on FP2 and Raikkonen was amongst the first out, although he disagreed with his race engineer quite forcibly about the drivability of the C39. Giovinazzi had a quieter day and after his spin in qualifying last weekend, might be another hoping the rain clouds stay away tomorrow.

Kimi Raikkonen - FP2: 1:43.471, P9

“The conditions out there weren’t easy this afternoon, so it’s quite hard to get a good amount of information. We are obviously still a bit far off from where we’d like to be, which means we will need to work hard tonight, crunch all the data and hopefully come back with a better car for tomorrow. The weather could play a part in qualifying, but we won’t know it until we’re there, in the meantime we just have to figure out the best way forward with the setup.”

Robert Kubica – FP1: 1:19.150, P19

“It’s been a busy Friday in the car for me as we followed our test programme, trying different things to tackle this kind of weather. I think we did some useful work and hopefully it will reflect in a step forward in performance for tomorrow and Sunday. We continue to work on understanding how our car works in different conditions: running in the wet and on a cold track means we need to adapt to the circumstances, with the engineers relying on our feedback to make their decisions.”

Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:18.425, P17; FP2: 1:44.411, P11

“It hasn’t been the most straightforward Friday but there is still plenty of scope to improve. I did a fair bit of running in the wet, on top of the session in the dry in the morning: hopefully this means we have enough data for our engineers to work with to find the best balance for tomorrow. The rest of the weekend could still produce surprises when it comes to the weather, so we will need to take that into account when setting up the car for qualifying: we will also need to be ready for any opportunity, to seize the moment as you never know what can happen in a wet qualifying or race.”

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Williams

Williams opted to save the wet weather tyres for tomorrow with a great chance in qualifying of making Q2 again if conditions stay mixed. They did at least have a busy FP1 with Latifi earning the wrath of Verstappen after he was caught dawdling on the racing line.

George Russell – FP1: 1:18.574, P18; FP2: No time set, P18

"This morning during FP1 and in the dry conditions, the car was feeling alright, nothing special, but our focus was on trying some different set-up changes. We know where our baseline is and we know what we are going to get from the car, so we have gone in different directions to see if we can get more performance. Nothing we tried offered more performance, which suggests that we were in a good position from the off. Although I only did an out and an in lap due to the moist conditions in FP2, the car felt fine on those two laps. I am sure it will be a hectic session tomorrow if the conditions stay the same, but I think that is what we need to mix things up a bit. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and will be ready with the rest of the boys to try and pounce on that."

Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1:17.969, P15; FP2: No time set, P17

"I think we started off on a pretty good base line this morning, and we were ready for the first run on the qualifying tyre. We got into a good rhythm quite quickly and we set a relatively competitive time compared to everybody else, so I was pleased. For the rest of FP1 we tried a few different set-up options, to experiment a bit, which is what practice is for. I think we learnt some things, but obviously nothing could be carried over into FP2. We didn’t really do any proper running this afternoon, just a few install laps during that session, so I guess we just have to see what the weather does tomorrow."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"Off the back of two consecutive races in Austria, we were looking forward to testing out the car and drivers at a different circuit. However, the weather has made it difficult to conclude much today. In FP1, there was some light rain, which masked the track evolution, encouraged drivers to use different tyre compounds, and made conclusions on our relative pace almost impossible. Nonetheless, we completed the work that we set out to achieve, and we will be able to make conclusions tonight that will impact the set-up of the cars tomorrow.

"Following heavy rain between the sessions, and further steady rain throughout FP2, we chose to do very little this afternoon and instead to protect the cars. For much of FP2, the conditions were very poor, and it is unlikely that we would either qualify or race in such low grip, low visibility conditions.

"We are hoping for better weather tomorrow so that we can further our understanding of the FW43. However, given our relatively good pace during wet qualifying last weekend, if it remains wet then we’ll be happy, and we’ll once again do our very best to outperform the basic pace of the car.

"Overall, a bit of a washout of a day but both drivers got some useful experience of the Hungaroring circuit in FP1. Both showed decent pace and have provided us with some valuable feedback on the car and the tyre compounds."

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 17: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 17, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Darko Bandic/Pool via Getty Images)

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing

"It was an inconclusive day, which sets up an intriguing weekend. The weather is likely to be wet again tomorrow, and we could even see a wet race on Sunday. As a result, some drivers didn’t run extensively in FP2, in order to save tyres for the rest of the weekend and preserve their cars in these challenging conditions. We did see some running on the intermediate, even though it wasn’t ideally suited to the amount of water in the afternoon. This was mostly to take advantage of the regulations that provide an extra set of intermediates under these circumstances. With so many question marks around how the weekend will evolve, teams are understandably keeping all their options open despite the relatively small amount of useful data available."

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