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Friday analysis - drivers lament loss of track time

09 Oct 2015

After FP1 was severely delayed (and subsequently affected) by a pre-session diesel spillage, the last thing the teams and drivers needed in FP2 was rain - but that’s exactly what they got, and lots of it too. The end result was extremely limited running and a frustrating sense that little had been learned that was relevant to either qualifying or the race. We take a team-by-team look at the opening day of action in Sochi…


Felipe Massa, 1m 46.333s, P12/2m 00.458s, P1
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 45.746s, P8/2m 00.688s, P3

Williams said they got through a lot of work setting up the engine and felt they have made progress with their wet weather set-up, though that may not pay dividends immediately as the rest of the weekend is likely to be dry. P1 and P3 looks promising, but the dearth of cars on track in FP2 meant that they’re true speed could not fully be assessed.


Sebastian Vettel, 1m 44.986s, P3/2m 00.659s, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 46.215s, P10/No time

Ferrari felt that they learned very little of real value, given the forecast for dry weather for the rest of the weekend. Raikkonen had a spin in FP1 and then opted to stay in the garage during the wet FP2, but team mate Vettel chose to venture out in both sessions and came very close to snatching the top spot in the second.

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 1m 46.233s, P9/2m 00.806s, P4
Carlos Sainz Jnr, 1m 44.488s, P6/2m 02.805s, P7

The Toro Rosso drivers were stars in both sessions, with both rookies attacking the course with their usual verve and belying their relative lack of experience. Verstappen was gung-ho at the end of the second to reclaim his fastest time from Massa, Vettel and Bottas, but he was told that the team needed to save tyres. Despite the limited running, the Italian squad were happy that some new parts beneath the STR10’s skin seemed to work well, but it remains to be seen how competitive they’ll be in qualifying.


Fernando Alonso, 1m 47.443s, P14/2m 01.077s, P5
Jenson Button, 1m 46.231s, P11/2m 02.845s, P8

At one stage in the morning Button and Alonso made it a McLaren 1-2, the Englishman running his Suzuka-spec Honda engine, the Spaniard the latest upgrade that will earn him a back-row start. Alonso – the days lap leader on just 28 tours - reverted to a Suzuka-spec engine for FP2, so that the new one could be benchmarked, and reported that the data said the new one had performed as expected. The new engine will go back in for tomorrow.

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 48.096s, P16/2m 01.418s, P6
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 45.233s, P5/No time

Ricciardo looked good in FP1 as he bounced up to fifth late in the session, but saved mileage in what he described as a ‘boring’ FP2. Kvyat too did limited running, but whilst he professed he didn’t learn much, he did at least give the sodden home fans something to cheer in FP2.


Nico Rosberg, 1m 44.407s, P2/No time
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 45.691s, P7/No time

Rosberg ran well enough in the morning, but Hamilton spoiled his best lap when, just moments after avoided a spinning Massa, he had a rotation of his own. In the afternoon, neither recorded any times. Despite Niki Lauda’s fears of a repeat of Singapore on Pirellis supersoft tyres, Hamilton said his engineers are confident that they have got to the bottom of that problem. Both drivers, however, expect Ferrari to be a strong threat this weekend.


Marcus Ericsson, 1m 54.272s, P19/No time
Felipe Nasr, 1m 46.747s, P13/No time

Ericsson tried hard in FP1 but struggled on the slippery surface before a clutch problem which caused the engine to keep stalling stopped him. In FP2 neither driver recorded a time, with Nasr not even attempting an installation lap.

Force India

Sergio Perez, 1m 45.146s, P4/No time
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 44.355s, P1/No time

Both drivers were fast in FP1, and Hulkenberg snatched fastest honours from Rosberg in the dying moments as Perez was fourth quickest. In FP2 neither driver recorded a time, though both did a handful of tentative reconnaissance laps.


Romain Grosjean (pm only), No time
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 48.006s, P15/No time
Jolyon Palmer (am only) 1m 49.094s, P17

It was another disappointing Friday for Jolyon Palmer as he occupied Romain Grosjean’s ciockpit in FP1. The Briton, whose last run in Suzuka was rained off, managed only nine laps - but on the plus side that was nine more that Grosjean managed in FP2… Maldonado equalled Palmer’s tally in FP1, but didn’t record a time in the second session.


Will Stevens, 1m 58.254s, P20/No time
Roberto Merhi, 1m 52.994s, P18/No time

Back in the MR03B, Merhi squeezed in 12 laps in FP1 on a track he knows reasonably well. Stevens, meanwhile, tried to learn it in the six laps that he did. Neither recorded a time in FP2, meaning they’ll be chomping at the bit to get some track time in FP3.