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Friday analysis - upgraded Ferrari carry fight to Mercedes

06 Jun 2015

Having had to get to grips with a decidedly slippery circuit on Friday morning, the drivers then faced a race against time to rack up laps in FP2 before the rain arrived. As a result, it was no surprise that uncertainty ruled at the end of day one. We take a team-by-team look at progress in Montreal...

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 16.212s, P1/1m 15.988s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 16.627s, P2/1m 16.440s, P4

Hamilton was fastest in both sessions, despite complaining of lazy upshifts in FP1. But the world champion had an adventurous day overall. He spun in the hairpin in the morning, clattered over the kerbs in the final corner in the afternoon, and then aquaplaned off in the torrential rain when Mercedes decided they needed information on the behaviour of the Pirelli intermediates. Rosberg had a less dramatic time, and generally the feeling is quite good in the camp, though they are watching Ferrari very carefully.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 17.905s, P5/1m 16.304s, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 18.439s, P12/1m 16.310s, P3

Ferrari used their new engine, and Raikkonen and Vettel topped the speed traps in the afternoon as testament to its effectiveness. They both said that the car felt good, and their race pace was also pretty decent, so they are expecting to be a threat to Mercedes for the rest of the weekend. No wonder the Silver Arrows are keeping a close eye on their progress…

Lotus
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 18.026s, P8/1m 16.600s, P5
Romain Grosjean, 1m 17.721s, P3/1m 16.864s,
P7

Lotus had a much-needed boost with strong performances from both drivers in both sessions. Each said that they got a good feeling from the E23, so tails are up higher than they have been for some time.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 18.325s, P11/m 16.849s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 17.985s, P6/1m 17.041s, P8

Williams were happy that their set-up configuration for the weekend looked strong in both sessions, and are confident that they are going to be back to their usual performance levels after an uncharacteristic dip in Monaco.

Red Bull
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 18.021s, P7/1m 17.092s, P9
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 18.775s, P14/1m 17.111s, P10

Red Bull weren’t quite on the pace they’d expected, but Kvyat and Ricciardo worked through four different set-up configurations and felt that the rain in FP2 prevented them from showing their full hand.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 17.871s, P4/1m 17.120s, P11
Sergio Perez, 1m 18.503s, P13/1m 17.367s, P14

Hulkenberg was very happy with his day, especially the balance and general behaviour of his VJM08. Perez was a little more circumspect, and indicated that his set-up hadn’t optimised the compromise of drag and downforce quite as well as his team mate’s.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 19.165s, P18/1m 17.261s, P12
Felipe Nasr, 1m 18.948s, P16/1m 17.751s, P17

Neither driver was happy with the set-up used in FP1, but said things had improved in the afternoon and that they were heading in a better direction before the rain hit.

Toro Rosso
Carlos Sainz Jnr, 1m 19.065s, P17/1m 17.318s, P13
Max Verstappen, 1m 18.257s, P10/1m 17.657s, P16

Sainz had a spin at Turn 1 and some electronics problems in the morning which prevented his STR09 from disengaging first gear and obliged the team to push him back down the pit lane for repairs. Verstappen had a decent morning, but both feel that they are on their back foot on a track less suited to the car than Monaco.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso, 1m 18.128s, P9/1m 17.627s, P15
Jenson Button, 1m 18.786s, P15/1m 18.135s, P18

Button had a problem initially in FP1 when his car stuck in second gear and lost half of the session before it was sorted. Alonso was cautiously optimistic about the way he car performed, but admitted that the circuit doesn’t particularly suit McLaren’s package.

Marussia
Roberto Merhi, 1m 20.616s, P19/1m 19.531s, P19
Will Stevens, 1m 20.624s, P20/1m 19.734s, P20

Both drivers had to learn the track, so were disappointed to lose crucial track time in the afternoon. However, Stevens was able to conduct some development work in the morning, so overall the team felt they had a positive first day.