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What the teams said - practice in Canada

09 Jun 2017

A round-up of the opening day's events from the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2017 in Montreal...
Ferrari

Ferrari had a very satisfactory day, apart from early spins by each driver when conditions were at their coldest at the start of FP1. The SF70Hs looked very composed, had great traction, and were at their best in the first two sectors. They look like being a major threat in qualifying and the race.

Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:14.230, P4; FP2: 1:12.935, P1

“It was a good day. Things worked out smoothly and the car felt ok both on high and low fuel; that’s the main thing. So far so good, but it’s still Friday and obviously there’s always things to improve. The nature of the circuit is quite tricky because of the low-downforce configuration; in some corners, like in the chicanes, you have to use the kerbs a lot to go fast, but because of the low downforce the car is bouncing and it always feels very slippery. But at this track, given the long straights, to achieve pure lap time you have to drive in that configuration. Today we started pretty well, we keep on doing our usual work, trying to improve for tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:14.007, P2; FP2: 1:13.200, P3

“Today I was fighting with the car at the beginning, but in the end I understood what we needed and what we had to do. Tomorrow should be a better day. It was an interesting session. The track was slippery and very dirty this morning. We try to do our best, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But in the end we found the right direction. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I am confident it will be better. We focus on what we have to do. We could have had a better session today, but hopefully we’ll have it tomorrow.”

Mercedes

Intensive analysis of Mercedes’ Monaco shortcomings resulted in some revised settings which seemed to have done the trick. Both drivers said they were happy that their cars were back on form, and see no reason why that won’t carry over into the rest of the weekend. The Silver Arrows were at their best in sector three.

Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:13.809, P1; FP2: 1:13.150, P2

“It’s been a pretty good first day for the team. The Ferraris are looking fast here and as the times show, it’s super close at the top right now. I feel like we are still just a little bit behind the red cars at this early stage of the weekend, but we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to close the gap ahead of qualifying on Saturday. After a tough weekend in Monaco, the main thing is that our car is already feeling a lot better around Montreal. It should be game on for the rest of the weekend.”

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:14.046, P3; FP2: 1:13.310, P4

“After Monaco it was really nice to start this weekend with a positive feeling from the car. I think that we are looking quite competitive here, but it’s only practice. After practice two, it’s clear we still have a bit more work to do with the ultrasoft tyre to get more lap time out of those. But the car felt good on the soft tyres that I tried. We’ll focus on finding that edge of extra performance from the ultrasoft and fine-tuning the set-up overnight. Otherwise I really enjoyed it and had good fun out there, but it’s the next two days that count.”

James Allison, Technical Director

“We had a trouble-free day with both cars which allowed us to get through our planned practice programme. As always on the first day in Canada, conditions were tricky owing to the low grip levels and the circuit seemed particularly dirty today. That factor, plus the number of cars on a short lap, made it difficult to put together consistent and meaningful running. Nevertheless, what we have seen so far suggests that we will have another ding-dong battle on our hands, like at the first six races – and it is very hard to predict who will come up with the goods on Sunday.”

Red Bull

Red Bull had a tough day, especially in FP2 when Ricciardo complained of power loss and sat out much of the session, and then Verstappen stopped with smoke coming out the rear of his RB13 towards the end. However, the Dutchman’s best lap of 1m 13.388s was impressively close to the second Mercedes.

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:14.861, P7; FP2: 1:13.388, P5

“It wasn’t the cleanest of days but in terms of performance I think we were OK. Before the stoppage in P2 it was a positive session, we felt like we had good pace and weren’t far off the top four. This is nice to see at this track as it usually is not one of our favourites, we can be pleased with that I guess. The short runs were good and the updates seem to have given us something a little extra, with such long straights here it is always going to be difficult for us. We are not yet fast enough to beat the top two teams so we do our best to finish fifth and optimise what we have. We still need to investigate what the issue with the car was but I’m sure the boys will have it ready to go again tomorrow.”

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:15.441, P9; FP2: 1:15.072, P15

“A bit of an uneventful day to be honest as I didn’t get a whole lot of running. We had a bit going on this morning and then had an engine issue this afternoon. The positive is that Max’s pace on the ultra softs looked pretty good, so hopefully we’ll learn a bit more from their set up tonight and then push on for tomorrow. I doubt we got a lot of long run data today but at least Max did some good short runs. For me, we’ll take a little bit from today but we obviously didn’t get too many uninterrupted flying laps. But that’s okay, because I’ve driven this track before so I’ll just get into it tomorrow morning.”

Williams

Massa said he was very happy with the feel of his FW40 on all of the tyres, as he tested some new aerodynamic and mechanical components. Stroll, who curiously had never raced here despite being Canadian, spent his day learning the track and did not run on the ultrasoft tyre. Altogether, a productive day for the Grove team.

Felipe Massa - FP1: 1:15.106, P8; FP2: 1:36.261, P7

“I think we’ve had a very good day. The car felt good on both new and used tyres. I was very happy with the feeling I had in the car. Everything we tried on set-up seemed to improve it even more. We just need to keep everything under control for tomorrow, and hopefully we can be as competitive as we were today.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:16.313, P13; FP2: 1:37.747, P19

“It’s a great track, I really like the rhythm and it’s just good to be home. It was a good day getting used to the track, but I have to treat it as just another race at the end of the day as everything stays the same. However, it’s great to have those Canadian flags in the grandstands. On the out lap I looked at the fans and saw them waving and cheering and that is really cool. I didn’t get a chance to put on the ultrasofts, so we will see what they are like tomorrow. We were focused on some other things, so it was just part of the plan. It’s still quite close in the midfield, as it has been all year, and everyone has been doing different programmes, so we will see how it is in qualifying.”

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer

“It was a good day. We did all of the things that we wanted to do and we had no problems with either car. We have some new aerodynamic and mechanical parts here, and we were able to do all of the relevant testing for those, while completing our tyre programmes with Felipe and Lance. Felipe did a solid job all day, and showed really competitive pace on both high and low fuel. Lance’s main job, having never driven here before, was to learn the circuit; which he’s done very quickly. He’s shown reasonable pace for this stage of the weekend, and he hasn’t used the ultrasoft yet. There’s still a lot of work to do overnight to keep finding extra performance, but we’re hopeful we can have a good day tomorrow and score some points on Sunday.”

McLaren

Alonso lost much of the first session when his car developed a gearbox problem and he was told not to nurse it back to the pits. That also led to the loss of much of the second, but he got going with 20 minutes left, and right at the end boosted morale hugely with seventh fastest time on a power track that should not have suited the MCL32, whose promised Honda engine upgrade had not materialised. Vandoorne had a troubled day, spinning before completing his qualifying simulation on the afternoon.

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:16.521, P16; FP2: 1:14.245, P7

“It’s not been an easy Friday. We lost FP1 and most of FP2 owing to a hydraulic leak issue. Due to the lack of track time, the car isn’t yet perfectly ‘tuned’ and there’s certainly room for improvement with regard to the set-up.

“Nevertheless, I think we know this circuit, we’ve raced here for many years, and we should understand how to attack qualifying and the race, so our time loss should hopefully not translate into too much of a handicap.

“Our expectations here are probably to be on the fringes of the top 10, but I’m glad we managed to put in some good laps at the end of the session, as we did in Barcelona, and we duly made it to P7 at the end. Tomorrow our priority is to push to get into Q3, but for that we need to do a good job.”

Stoffel Vandoorne - FP1: 1:15.943, P11; FP2: 1:15.624, P19

“Today has been a bit of a tricky day for the team. On my side, the first practice session went pretty well, and I was able to spend time getting to grips with the track as it’s my first time driving here. First off, the asphalt was quite dusty, but it improved quite a lot through the session. In the end, I was feeling quite positive and had a reasonable feeling in the car.

“In FP2 I started well and felt that the set-up changes we’d made between the sessions had gone in the right direction. Unfortunately, on the ultrasoft I had a spin towards the end – and then, shortly after, we discovered an issue with the MGU-H, which finished our afternoon’s running.

“All in all, it hasn’t been a trouble-free day, which is a shame, but hopefully tomorrow everything will fall into place again and we should be able to improve our position.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director

“Today was yet another frustrating day for us, marred by a hydraulic failure for Fernando and an MGU-H problem for Stoffel.

“Nonetheless, both drivers were happy enough with the balance and feel of their cars, Fernando posting a particularly impressive lap towards the end of FP2.

“Tomorrow is a new day – and, as long as we have PU reliability, we should be in a position to make satisfactory preparations for qualifying.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

“We faced a challenging opening day to the Canadian Grand Prix.

“Despite the smooth start we had with both drivers, Fernando had to stop the car during the final part of FP1 due to a hydraulic issue. Although the issue itself was not a big one, it was disappointing Fernando lost some of his session time in FP2 to fix the issue.

“Stoffel went through the session plan almost as scheduled this morning, but this afternoon we made a call to stop his car as we detected an issue with his MGU-H at the end of the FP2 session.

“Although we had a tough start today, we expect higher temperatures in tomorrow's qualifying. That means we’ll have different conditions to today, which could level out the playing field from FP3, and we think that will give us greater opportunity to catch up to our rivals in terms of set-up despite the loss of time this afternoon.

“We'll fully utilise our time in FP3 to prepare for qualifying, and we hope to have a smooth session.”

Force India

The Silverstone-based pink cars were back on the pace here, with Ocon in particular looking very impressive on his first acquaintance with the track. Their chances of getting back on the points-scoring trail look promising.

Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:14.578, P5; FP2: 1:14.501, P10

“A positive day. We are right up there where we expect to be in the top ten and I’m feeling comfortable with the balance and set-up changes we made during the day. We saw a lot of cars spinning, but that’s what happens with these cars and tyre compounds when you push to the limit. Also, the track was quite dirty and the windy conditions made things more difficult. A strong qualifying performance tomorrow is going to be very important because overtaking here is not easy and I think the strategy options on Sunday will be quite limited.”

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:14.785, P6; FP2: 1:14.299, P8

“I’m feeling pretty happy after my first experience of this circuit. The first job was to learn the track and that was pretty straightforward with no real dramas for me. I stayed out of trouble and away from the walls with just a little spin in the first session. The team is happy with what we learned today because we evaluated all the different test items and collected a huge amount of information. The car feels good at the moment, but I know there are some areas we can improve this evening.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“A straightforward day of practice, which allowed us to evaluate all our updates and adapt the car to this pretty unique track layout. Both drivers were happy with the baseline balance and worked through a busy programme of set-up changes and tyre data collection. We split the job list between the two cars so it’s now a case of understanding which direction to take for tomorrow. There’s definitely more performance to come ahead of qualifying and we must make sure we deliver clean and tidy laps because the margins between the teams are small and we expect a tight grid. There’s a chance of hotter weather conditions tomorrow and if that’s the case we need to make sure we can adapt quickly to higher track temperatures.”

Toro Rosso

There was good and bad news for Toro Rosso. The engine in Sainz’s car developed a problem immediately FP1 began, compromising his day. But Kvyat was on the pace in both sessions, putting them in the hunt for more points. Sainz was also reprimanded by the stewards for impeding Magnussen.

Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:15.658, P10; FP2: 1:14.461, P9

“I’m happy because we were able to complete many useful laps today and we will now try to learn from it all overnight in order to make further steps forward. Overall, I think both of today’s practice sessions were beneficial for us and hopefully we can capitalise on all of this tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz - FP1: No time, P20; FP2: 1:14.621, P19

“FP2 was all about catching up after unfortunately missing out on FP1 – obviously, this isn’t the ideal track for this to happen, so we needed to do a lot of laps and build it up nicely this afternoon. The catch-up will continue tomorrow in FP3 because one session is not enough to fully recover. We will now keep pushing and get ready for tomorrow!”

Jody Egginton, Head of Vehicle Performance

“Overall, we can be pleased with what we’ve achieved today. We completed the programmes with Daniil and the engineers and mechanics have done a good job to help Carlos catch-up after suffering a hydraulic issue this morning, which meant he couldn’t run in FP1. We’ve ticked all the boxes regarding the tyres and the car balance seems reasonable, so we feel that we’re not in a bad position for tomorrow. We now have a lot of work to do overnight to make sure we’re prepared for qualifying in what could be slightly warmer conditions. We’re on the edge of Q3 and will be fighting for those positions.”

Haas

Grosjean was extremely unhappy in FP2, spinning twice in Turn 6 and once in Turn 1, but he eventually pulled out a decent lap just ahead of Magnussen, who was impeded by Sainz.

Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:16.345, P14; FP2: 1:14.566, P11

“It was a decent day. We’ve tried a few set-up items. It was good that it stayed dry. I enjoy driving the track here. It’s always a big challenge, but pretty good fun. We’re working on the set-up of the cars – trying to get a bit more performance. It looks like there are some pretty tight lap times, not at the front, but from, I would say, Force India, ourselves, Toro Rosso and Renault are up there. It’s going to be key to find the last few tenths. I’m happy with the car. The long run wasn’t too bad. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1:16.233, P12; FP2: 1:14.676, P14

“It was a good day for us. I really enjoyed driving on the track. The car felt good, initially. There are a few places we can improve, which we’re working on for tomorrow, so let’s see how we go. It should be warmer tomorrow, with less clouds, so the track should be warmer and the tires easier to get working. I’m happy with the day.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“Not a bad FP1 and FP2 for us. We struggled a little bit with a new set of brakes in the second part of FP1, but the guys got it back on track for FP2. There we got a good session in. We did all our testing. The car is where it always is – in the midfield. It’s a very tight midfield again. It seems to be quite slippery out there. Everybody’s a little bit spinning around between the wind and the dirty track. I think we’re in a good place and ready for tomorrow.”

Renault

Hulkenberg spun in Turn 6/7 in FP1, and brushed the wall in Turn 9 in FP2, but was reasonably happy with his R.S.17’s progress. Palmer, however, continued his struggles with his car.

Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 1:16.473, P15; FP2: 1:14.604, P12

“That was a standard Friday for us and we did everything we needed to do. As ever, I think we can make some more improvements to the car ahead of qualifying tomorrow and I’m confident there’s a bit more pace to come from me too. It was great to get out on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in this car, as it’s one of my very favourite circuits.”

Jolyon Palmer - FP1: 1:17.004, P18; FP2: 1:15.127, P16

“We had to chase balance a bit at the start of the day, but that’s normal on a green, temporary circuit. We made good progress through the sessions and we learnt a decent amount about both set-up and the tyres. There’s certainly a better feeling from the ultrasoft tyres, which you’d expect. There’s more to come and I’m really looking forward to qualifying.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director

“We completed full programs with both cars covering set-up and aerodynamic comparisons. As expected, the track was dirty at the start of the day, which meant a struggle for grip and balance. We made progress on set-up for the afternoon and these, in conjunction with the track improvement, leave us reasonably happy with our day’s work. There’s a bit more to come in terms of pace from both car and drivers, so the top ten is certainly our target for tomorrow.”

Sauber

Both drivers struggled to get the best out of their cars on the ultrasoft tyres, and Wehrlein in particular wasn’t happy with the balance of his. Ericsson clipped the Wall of Champions with his right rear.

Marcus Ericsson - FP1: 1:16.805, P17; FP2: 1:15.611, P18

“We had a decent day, especially on the supersoft tryes in both FP1 and FP2. We weren’t able to reach our full potential on the ultrasofts, so we have to work on understanding the reasons for that. In the afternoon we focused on race preparation on supersoft tyres.”

Pascal Wehrlein - FP1: 1:17.606, P19; FP2: 1:16.308, P20

“Today was a challenging day – we collected lots of data on the soft tyres in FP1, but in my opinion they were just a bit too hard for this track. In the afternoon we focused on short-runs and a long-run on ultrasoft tyres. We made a change to the aerodynamic configurations, which was not ideal because I did not feel comfortable with the balance of the car. I am confident that we can sort this out for tomorrow.”

Pirelli

The initial dirtiness of the Circuit Gilles-Villleneuve led to a high degree of track evolution as the day progressed. The top FP2 times were close to last year’s pole position time, despite this. And on a circuit normally noted for it, there we no sign of any graining on the 2017 rubber. The soft tyre was less than a second slower than the supersoft, making it a viable race option tyre, while the ultrasoft was just over a second faster than the supersoft.

Mario Isola, Head Of Car Racing

“Free practice today went as expected, with the soft tyre also proving to be very close in performance to the supersoft, making the soft a viable alternative from what we can see so far. Both of these compounds are just under a second faster than the ultrasoft as far as we can tell at the moment, although there has been an even higher degree of track evolution than usual during FP1 in Montreal due to a particularly dirty track. This is a circuit that is normally known for graining, but we’ve not seen any of that with the latest 2017 tyres – as has also been the case at all the other circuits this season.”