Jean-Eric Vergne (First Practice Session: 1:46.114, pos. 16th, 22 laps / Second Practice Session: 1:43.271, pos. 17th, 36 laps): “If we ignore the lap times, I think this was a reasonably productive day. Our overall performance is good and I felt the car was working well. It’s true we need to find a bit more lap time for tomorrow, but I am fairly confident.
So, everyone should be able to make better use of it in the race on Sunday. This is an enjoyable track to drive and the setting, as well as the timing of the sessions is truly unique.”
Daniel Ricciardo (First Practice Session: 1:46.126, pos. 18th, 21 laps / Second Practice Session: 1:43.152, pos. 16th, 29 laps): “Our first day in Abu Dhabi was not the best, as we struggled to find the right balance on the car. Leaving lap times aside, it was quite difficult to understand exactly what was going on with the car underneath us. That makes life harder, as it robs you of confidence.
However, we did make some progress between the morning and the afternoon, but there is still much more to do. I think we understand what we need to achieve, so some effective work this evening with the engineers figuring it out will see us do much better tomorrow.
The Soft tyre seemed to behave much better here than in India, which is what you’d expect, even if I didn’t do so many laps on it with a high fuel load. I’ve always enjoyed the experience of driving here, as it goes from twilight to dark so quickly, which involves a helmet swap during the session, which is fun.”
Laurent Mekies (Head of Vehicle Performance): “A challenging day, because we were never completely happy with the balance on either car. When that happens, you soon find the lap times disappear and that’s why we are a bit further down the order than we should be. Our priority tonight therefore is to try and give both drivers the consistent balance they found in recent races.
Assuming we do that, on Saturday we will be back in the fight with our usual midfield group. Although we have the same Pirelli tyre choice as in India, the very different conditions, atmospheric and track, mean the Soft is functioning very consistently, so we will have different strategy equations to play with here.
On top of that and unique to Abu Dhabi, is the fact the temperature actually drops by a large amount during the sessions and the race. It means we have to set up the car to work well at both ends of this temperature range.”