It’s been a good start here in Abu Dhabi – but it will be a tough weekend for me as I have quite a high mileage engine in my car. After the Monza problem, we have had to stretch the engine life more than we had planned over the 19 races, so I definitely have a small lack of power on the straights and therefore need to make up extra time in the corners. It will be a big battle with Lewis here. He didn’t really bring together his quick laps, so it will be even closer tomorrow I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it and I definitely want to win this race and give the boys in the garage a reason to celebrate at the end of the season.
It’s been a pretty normal Friday. The track is behaving very similarly to how it did last year so there’s not much new to learn there. I didn’t get the best out of the tyres but they’re actually really strong here – especially the super soft. I made some changes to the car between the sessions and so far it’s felt relatively good. The long run pace doesn’t feel quite as strong so that’s something I need to work on. I’ll probably make some more tweaks tonight and hopefully tomorrow it will be better. It’s very hard to overtake here, so of course it’s better to be up on pole. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to win from further back.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
It’s a funny feeling, running through the final sessions with this great car. Although, I’m sure it will come as some relief to everyone having the final late-night car build of the season tonight! We had a very full programme in P1. Track temperatures are very high in the afternoon here and not really representative of the competitive sessions – i.e. qualifying and the race. So, this was a session with a bit more bias towards R&D than race preparation. We had quite a few different programmes spread across the two cars, which all ran fairly well and provided a lot of good data. In P2 we then moved into our regular Friday routine of low and high fuel running on the prime and option tyre. Our pace on low fuel looked to be quite strong – but the long runs were harder to distinguish with different fuel loads and run plans. Degradation is quite high here – particularly on the option. We have some work to do overnight, as the setup isn’t quite where we want it to be on either car.