It was a good day today. The afternoon session wasn’t very useful as the conditions are so hot and really quite different to what we see in the evening – which is of course when qualifying and the race will be held. That makes the second session very valuable and we learned a lot – for example that Ferrari are very good on the long runs. On qualifying laps we look quicker but on race pace they are really strong so we will have to do a lot of work tonight to find the perfect setup. Tyre wise it’s all been pretty straightforward. Both compounds are robust – it’s just their absolute pace that should be a factor. Qualifying will be important as we saw in the last few races. But I’m feeling good about my pace on one lap and the long runs too so confidence is high.
We’ve had a good day in terms of getting the long runs in and understanding the tyres. Working on race runs was the priority – although we did also show strong single lap pace. On my fastest lap I locked up into Turn 8 so lost out a bit there and there’s a few areas I need to work on to find a bit more time. It’s difficult to say how long each compound will go but the option feels great. From what I can see it shouldn’t be as tough as it was in Malaysia from a tyre perspective and we’re definitely in a better position this weekend than at the same stage in Sepang. Despite that, I’m sure it will still be very close with Ferrari, who look very good on the long runs. Generally, though, it’s been a positive start.
We did a lot of laps today, got through our planned work and did a number of important experiments, especially during FP1. The track conditions between FP1 and FP2 were very different, with only the second session really relevant for Qualifying and the Race, and you need to understand properly how the big change in track temperatures affects the cars. We saw some very strong long runs from a number of teams today during FP2? and Ferrari looked the quickest car during the session, with some very stable and quick lap times. So our boys are at the top of the timesheets, yes, but we have a lot of work to do tonight to analyse and understand the data. But like always, this is only Friday and it's Sunday that counts.
The afternoon session started with a power failure in the garage that disrupted our programme slightly. But after that we cracked on with long run analysis on the prime tyre. The hot conditions meant it was not the ideal scenario for setup work but we managed to gather some very useful data. In Practice Two we ran our normal programme in a trouble-free session. Our pace looks very close with Ferrari so, as usual, we will have plenty of work to do tonight to ensure we are optimised for qualifying and the race.