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Friday analysis - Ferrari lament 'difficult' and 'confusing' day

13 Nov 2015

Ferrari ended the first day of running in Interlagos as Mercedes’ closest challengers, but tellingly neither Sebastian Vettel nor Kimi Raikkonen expressed themselves as particularly satisfied with how things went. On a day when the rain held off enough to enable everyone to get their tyre comparison work done, we assess the Scuderia’s Friday form - and that of their rivals…

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, 1m 14.062s, P2/1m 12.385s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 13.543s, P1/1m 12.843s, P2

Hamilton was half a second faster than an understeering Rosberg in FP1, but the German responded by going four-tenths quicker than the world champion in FP2, despite some problems with his car’s upshift which persisted even after he’d performed a reset. The FP2 lap times weren’t as comparable as they seemed, as Hamilton was running different engine modes to Rosberg. All in all though, it looks like it’ll be a very close battle between the two this weekend.

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, 1m 14.168s, P3/1m 13.345s, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 14.549s, P5/1m 13.500s, P4

Vettel said it was a difficult day, not helped by the slipperiness of the track and a failure to get the best timing for their quick run. Raikkonen said both his sessions were confusing. He tried to do an aero run in the morning but then spun because of a small issue with the car, and then he had clutch problems in the afternoon. All in all, a bitty day for the reds.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 14.449s, P4/1m 13.585s, P5
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 14.696s, P6/1m 13.848s, P9

Ricciardo used the latest version of Renault’s powertrain, while Kvyat stuck to the old one to facilitate a valid comparison. The team will be comparing the telemetry on the two engines very carefully tonight, not just to inform themselves of any key performance differences, but to determine whether they will continue to run it for the rest of the weekend and, if so, whether Kvyat will get one too.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 1m 14.886s, P7/1m 13.603s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 15.469s, P17/1m 13.870s, P10

Massa struggled a lot with lack of rear-end grip in FP1, but a lot of work by Williams gave them good balance, a good understanding of both the medium and soft tyres, and good performance on high fuel, so they came away confident that they will be competitive with their immediate rivals here.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean (FP2 only), 1m 13.634s, P7
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 15.192s, P10/1m 14.124s, P12
Jolyon Palmer (FP1 only), 1m 15.352s, P12

Lotus did the highest number of laps in FP2, after working through the usual things such as brake bleeding on Grosjean’s car, and the E23 seemed to work well in all conditions so it was a good first day. The only blight was when Palmer was unsafely released into Button’s path in FP1, which resulted in a 1,000 euro fine.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 15.174s, P9/1m 13.710s, P8
Sergio Perez, 1m 15.408s, P15/1m 14.056s, P11

Hulkenberg said he wasn’t yet happy with the balance of his car, and both drivers agreed there’s work to be done tonight to find the performance that will be critical to good grid positions on a track with such a notably short lap.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, 1m 15.381s, P14/1m 14.134s, P13
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 15.798s, P18/1m 13.772s, P17

Sauber generally felt they had a productive day, especially as for the first time since Monza the weather facilitated valid aero tests in FP1 and FP2.

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 1m 14.960s, P8/1m 14.226s, P14
Carlos Sainz, 1m 15.314s, P11/1m 14.326s, P15

Verstappen said his wasn’t a great day, as he struggled for grip and had a spin in FP1 and another in FP2. Sainz was happier, and both said they achieved one of the day’s goals which was to rack up the laps. But both said they have a lot of set-up work to get through tonight.

McLaren

Jenson Button, 1m 15.379s, P13/1m 14.644s, P16
Fernando Alonso, 1m 15.413s, P16/1m 15.129s, P18

McLaren had another tough day, with Alonso bringing out the red flag briefly in FP2 when his car appeared to suffer another powertrain failure and had to be coasted to a stop in Turn 4. Button struggled with the expected power deficit on the long climb back to the pits, and the general lack of grip.

Marussia

Will Stevens, 1m 18.090s, P20/1m 16.510s, P19
Alexander Rossi, 1m 17.860s, P19/1m 16.787s, P20

Marussia got all their programmed work done, despite a few niggling problems on Stevens’ car in FP1, and reckon they have a good direction to optimise tyre performance tomorrow.