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In quotes - Friday in Russia

09 Oct 2015

Rain and a diesel spillage interrupted proceedings on the opening day at Sochi, with the difficult conditions in FP2 limiting the teams' programmes. Those involved report back on the action...

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat
FP1 - 16th, FP2 - 6th

"It was not a very useful Friday, it was quite quiet and I didn't do so many laps. We did six laps in the wet, so nowhere near being able to draw any conclusions today. We have to be patient and see where we can be tomorrow compared to the other guys. I hope that we manage to put in some nice laps tomorrow morning, it's going to be quite an important FP3 as I'm sure everyone will be trying to do as much as possible then. Because today was a very irrelevant day FP3 will define our qualifying really. In Japan my Saturday morning session was not great which had a significant effect on my qualifying, so we need to aim to have a good FP3 tomorrow."

Daniel Ricciardo
FP1 - 5th, FP2 - no time

"It was a shame about what happened to the track before the morning session, as it never really cleaned up, so we never got any useful running. Then this afternoon there was little point in doing many laps as it's better to save mileage, especially as it's not meant to rain for the rest of the weekend. Running for no reason made no sense and it was a pretty boring day. We can hope for better weather tomorrow. This is not our most competitive track, but we will do our best, aiming to get through to Q3 and then see what we can do. With the lack of track time today, we need to work efficiently tonight, choose a direction to go in and then stick with it."

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen
FP1 - 9th, FP2 - 4th

"It was not a very eventful day, as we didn't get a lot of track time unfortunately. This morning in FP1 we were not able to do a proper run because of the diesel on the track in Sector 2, which remained quite wet. This wasn't great for us, because we didn't learn as much as we wanted to. Then just before FP2 it started to rain heavily, so there was a lot of waiting as the track was very wet. But in the end we did some wet running and it was very positive. I think we can be happy with our afternoon!"

Carlos Sainz
FP1 - 6th, FP2 - 7th

"It hasn't been a very productive Friday as we didn't complete many laps – this morning's delay because of the diesel spill and this afternoon's rain didn't help. It's not the ideal situation, especially if you are a rookie arriving at a new track, but we had a bit of a similar situation in Japan and we still had a good weekend. Today it was so slippery out there! I'm looking forward to tomorrow's FP3, hopefully it will be dry and we can achieve all the information we need in a short amount of time and get ready for qualifying."

Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer)

"It's obviously a bit of a shame that because of this morning's diesel spill on track and this afternoon's rain we've not got as many laps in as we would've ideally wanted, but nonetheless our two young drivers settled in well to another track that is new to them. They both had one decent 12-lap run in the dry in the morning and were quite happy with the car. It was a bit tricky to get a measure of the perfect dry grip level because of the difficult track conditions at the time, so it leaves quite a few question marks for a dry Saturday and Sunday. On the engineering side, we had some new parts on both cars – some are more under the skin than obvious aero parts – but they all seem to work well today, which is a real positive. In this afternoon's FP2 we limited ourselves to one run on a set of extreme tyres in case it rains on Sunday and we need that set of tyres. Current forecasts predict a dry race day but there is some more rain lurking on Monday. In the wet conditions both drivers did fine and seem quite comfortable in the car."


Felipe Massa
FP1 - 12th, FP2 - 1st

"We weren't able to complete a lot of laps today with the wet weather in the afternoon and the spillage that disrupted the morning session. The laps we did complete gave us some understanding of the track and what it's like in wet conditions, but it's difficult to say where we are compared to other teams at this stage because there weren't many cars out on track. Tomorrow morning will be busy for everyone and we need to make sure we make the most of the final practice session."

Valtteri Bottas
FP1 - 8th, FP2 - 3rd

"The track conditions made today difficult to get a full testing programme complete but it was the same for everyone. We still tried to maximise both of the sessions and we managed to learn a few things about the tyres and how the car performs in wet conditions. We now need to make a good plan for FP3 because, like in Japan, it will be a very important session to get us ready for qualifying and the race."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"It was quite a stunted session today which stopped us from completing all of the work we wanted to. We had planned to run in the wet but we had a strange situation this afternoon in that half of the circuit was much wetter than the other half which made most of the tests null and void. We have been working on the wet set-up of the car and so wanted to get out at the end of FP2 to see the progress we have made. In a similar vein to our low speed corner work in Singapore, we seem to be making progress. We got through all of the bits and pieces we wanted to get through in terms of control systems and power unit set-up, and we have to go into tomorrow with a good plan for FP3 to get the car set-up for qualifying and the race."


Pastor Maldonado
FP1 - 15th, FP2 - no time

"In the morning the track was very slippery because of the spill and its clear-up, which was unfortunate. In the afternoon the track was very slippery because of the rain, again unfortunate. We've had a pretty relaxed day so we'll get on and do everything we can tomorrow when we expect better weather, with hopefully no spills on the circuit."

Jolyon Palmer
FP1 - 17th

"It was good to get a taste of the Sochi Autodrom in a Formula 1 car even if our session was disrupted. It was certainly pretty difficult conditions for the laps we did do but nevertheless it was valuable for me."

Romain Grosjean
FP2 - no time

"I learnt very little today, except that it's nice to have a warm and well catered hospitality building. For the morning I was a spectator, then in the afternoon the weather meant I was a spectator too. Our workload tomorrow will be much higher than usual, so we'll be kept busy. I'm certainly looking forward to getting some laps in."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"Today was pretty much a write-off except for being able to shakedown the cars and get a handful of laps in the morning. It's the same circumstances for everyone, so we can expect pretty full workloads for FP3 ahead of Saturday's qualifying."


Kimi Raikkonen
FP1 - 10th, FP2 - no time

"Today the weather conditions were not very nice, we could not get much running and we learned pretty much nothing. The first practice was dry, but at the beginning of the session there was an issue with the tarmac surface and they had to wash it away. So we lost time and when we got to the track some parts were still wet. In the second session, the weather turned out to be a bit tricky and it rained most of the time. It's one of those days you do absolutely nothing but that's how it goes. It was not ideal today but it was the same for everybody. Hopefully tomorrow it will be dry, and we'll see how the tires work. We'll do our normal program and try to make the best out of it."

Sebastian Vettel
FP1 - 3rd, FP2 - 2nd

"Today we did learn a few things, but nothing that we can really use for the weekend. The first impression of the car is good, but I can't really say a lot more as we really didn't get enough track action today. This morning we couldn't drive much as some of the corners were covered with Diesel fuel, and it took a while to clean it all up. In the afternoon it started raining, but tomorrow and Sunday it is supposed to be dry! In general, it won't be easy to get into the right rhythm, as the track tomorrow will feel the same like… yesterday. That is, green and with poor grip. Usually, you use the Friday to lay some rubber down, but that was not possible today."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg
FP1 - 1st, FP2 - no time

"It has not been the most adventurous day in the car. It's always frustrating when you have a big work plan and you can't go out, but it's the same set of conditions for everyone. Like in Suzuka two weeks ago, we finish Friday without having done much running, but that generally makes it more interesting and unpredictable for the rest of the weekend. The next two days are likely to be dry, so tomorrow morning's final practice will be crucial: we will need to learn and adapt quickly ahead of qualifying. We will need to squeeze a long run in during FP3 and do the necessary car and tyre set-up exploration. It will be a busy session, but at the same time it could generate an opportunity for us. It's going to be a big challenge for everyone."

Sergio Perez
FP1 - 4th, FP2 - no time

"The work we have done today is limited. The track conditions this morning were very poor so we ran a reduced programme. It wasn't easy to evaluate the set-up changes so we could not learn very much. Then, the rain arrived this afternoon and we only did a few laps. It means final practice tomorrow morning is going to be the most important practice session of all – just as it was in Japan. I still feel optimistic for the weekend and I think we have the potential to be competitive here."

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer

"The spillage of diesel on the track this morning and the wet afternoon session leave all the teams with limited knowledge ahead of what is expected to be a dry weekend. Despite the lack of mileage, both Nico and Sergio were quite happy with the baseline set-up of their cars, even though track conditions were less than ideal. The main focus now is to make sure we maximise our learning during final practice with a combination of short and longer runs, especially on the supersoft tyres, which we didn't manage to use today. On days like today we also have to make good use of our simulation tools because it's a circuit for which we have minimal information with only one previous event here."


Marcus Ericsson
FP1 - 19th, FP2 - no time

"Obviously a day that was very compromised. In the morning I did some laps in half-dry conditions. As there was diesel on the track, I had to go quite slowly in these corners. At the end of FP1 I had an issue with the clutch, so I could not run at that time when the track was in its best condition. For FP2 we were able to solve that issue. Later in FP2 it was just wet. As the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend seems to be dry, we preferred to save mileage for tomorrow."

Felipe Nasr
FP1 - 13th, FP2 - no time

"Unfortunately, the track and weather conditions in both practice sessions compromised the programme we had planned for today. Nevertheless, we were able to get a few laps in this morning in order to do system checks on the car. I am sure we will have a busy FP3 tomorrow collecting information on short and long runs, as well as working on the set-up of the car."


Paul Hembery, motorsport director

“It was a largely inconclusive day in Russia. However, that’s just part of racing and we’ve seen before that less practice time can often lead to a more unpredictable qualifying and race. The surface of the track has not evolved considerably since last year, with the newness of the asphalt meaning that it’s not as porous as more established venues, so the water remained on the track for a while. It’s a shame for the fans that they didn’t get to see more running at this fantastic circuit, but with better weather expected over the rest of the weekend, we should be in for an exciting couple of days ahead. Tomorrow, the teams will be left with a very big workload in FP3 as they prepare for qualifying and the race in just one hour of what we expect to be dry running.”


Nico Rosberg
FP1 - 2nd, FP2 - no time

"That wasn't a very useful day. First there was the problem with the cleaning truck, which lost some fuel. In the afternoon we had heavy rain. So not much to learn. I only tried a few starts and some wet settings. But Saturday and Sunday will be dry, so it didn't make any sense to run any longer. We have to squeeze it all in P3 and learn everything within this hour. This should be a bit more of a challenge this weekend as Ferrari will be a threat on this track."

Lewis Hamilton
FP1 - 7th, FP2 - no time

"Today we had to just sit and wait. We watch and hope that the rain stops. We did learn something today as we went out and tested a wing and got some information on the single lap run. But from my point of view, there is not much to learn from today. I don't have any concern about today as everyone is in the same boat so I hope that tomorrow and Sunday is better weather-wise. We feel confident about the weekend and we will find out more tomorrow."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"It was frustrating today with the loss of FP1 owing to the diesel spillage and with FP2 being very wet. Since it almost certainly won't rain for the rest of the weekend, we chose not to do a lot of practice in the wet with the risk it gives to the cars. It's disappointing for the spectators today. We did get a short run in on the prime tyres at the end of FP1, so we have some preliminary data to work from, but as in Japan, all our homework will need to be done in the hour of FP3 tomorrow."


Fernando Alonso
FP1 - 14th, FP2 - 5th

"We had a couple of extra things to learn about today. We installed a new engine for FP1, then removed it and fitted an existing one for FP2. This was the engine that we ran at Suzuka a fortnight ago. So, regardless of the weather, we had to go out and calibrate the engine – the data we gathered showed that it was all working as expected.

"Unfortunately, I have a 35-place grid penalty due to those component changes, so we need to see how we can best manage the race. It looks like being a one-stopper for everybody, so there won't be much we can do in terms of strategy. I'll just try and enjoy the race regardless of the result – we have a good opportunity to learn about the car, so there's lots we can still do this weekend. I'll start 20th – so I'll attack every corner and have fun on Sunday."

Jenson Button
FP1 - 11th, FP2 - 8th

"Despite the weather and this morning's track issues, we managed to get a fair amount of running under our belts today. FP1 was disappointing for everyone, but at least Fernando and I made the best of the conditions.

"There was very low grip out there – and the water settled strangely on the circuit. It didn't run off anywhere, so I think a bit more drainage could be needed – especially at Turn One. We also struggled to get useful tyre temperatures when the track was at its wettest. This year's car hasn't been the best in wet conditions, but we're getting to the bottom of those issues now. FP3 will be action-packed for everybody – I'm looking forward to it."

Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda

"It's been an unusual and inconclusive day. This morning's diesel spillage, and subsequent delay, meant there was little effective running during this morning's FP1 session; then the afternoon rain shower, which affected only half the circuit, made it impossible to learn anything conclusively this afternoon either.

"These sorts of unpredictable occasions definitely put the team on their mettle, however, and mean that we go into tomorrow's sessions – which we anticipate will be dry – with much potentially to gain.

"Nonetheless, for the fans who arrived in high spirits hoping to see a few hours of thrilling action, it's been a somewhat lacklustre day. The fans are the ones who make this great sport what it is, and, after sitting in the rain for much of today, I hope we can give them lots to cheer about on Saturday and Sunday.

"Both drivers did a good job to keep plugging away in the wet, and we've got some useful information to analyse ahead of Saturday. For Fernando, this is a special weekend – it's his 250th grand prix, an achievement that establishes him as the sixth most experienced racer in Formula 1 history. Bravo, Fernando!"

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"With the tricky track conditions during both FP1 and FP2 sessions, we made the best of the time allotted today. During FP1, we applied our new spec-four ICE to Fernando's car, and confirmed the fundamental performance of the engine on the track. Unfortunately, the session was cut short to 60 minutes, so we had less time than we would have liked, but we were able to get good feedback from the engine for the races to come.

"Jenson ran solidly today, setting up the car during FP1, but his track time was also cut short owing to the heavy rain in FP2. Hopefully, the weather conditions will improve for the rest weekend, and we can prepare to run in the dry."


Roberto Merhi
FP1 - 18th, FP2 - no time

"It's good to be back in the car, and in Sochi, but less good perhaps to be confined to the garage for most of the day. It was very slippery on the track this morning and a little too wet to gain anything this afternoon, so better not to risk the car at what is a very tight street circuit with little margin for error. It's good that I have some experience of this track from my FP1 running here last year and I'm looking forward to more mileage tomorrow."

Will Stevens
FP1 - 20th, FP2 - no time

"It's my first time out here in Sochi, so these haven't been the best circumstances for track familiarisation today. Having said that, we're all in the same boat, so to some extent I think every team will start the weekend afresh tomorrow. It's a very technical track, with the added challenge of a tight and twisty street circuit layout, so I'm looking forward to getting to grips with it in FP3."

John Booth, Team Principal

"It's nice to welcome Roberto back here in Sochi, for one of his two remaining race weekends in the driving seat. There isn't much to report today, following the sum total of 18 laps between Will and Roberto. After the diesel spill this morning and then a very wet afternoon, there was very little to learn from the track today and more to be lost than gained by venturing out. We expect the weather to be dry for the remaining two days of the weekend, so better to focus our efforts on tomorrow. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Alexander the very best of luck in this weekend's GP2 Series rounds, as he continues to push the championship leader hard for the title. We'll be cheering him on in his two races."