With three weeks between the last round in Shanghai and Formula 1’s European, all teams in Spain had some new updates to try.
Montmelo – Mercedes, Red Bull, Scuderia Ferrari: could this represent the pecking order down pit lane for the weekend? It’s not an unlikely scenario and it’s the one suggested by this afternoon’s time sheet, after the 90 minutes of Free Practice 2. The winner of the past three races.
Lewis Hamilton, appears to be in a state of grace right now, quickest in both sessions and almost half a second faster than Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest, the only driver to fly the Red Bull flag at the Catalunya circuit this afternoon, as Sebastian Vettel had a wiring loom problem this morning that could not be fixed in time for FP2.
With three weeks between the last round in Shanghai and Formula 1’s European debut here in Spain, the garages were the scene of frantic activity over the whole length of pit lane, as all teams had some new updates to try, which involves not only doing plenty of laps, but also plenty of swapping over of components in order to run comparison tests.
The stopwatch says the engineers still need to find a bit more pace from the F14 T prior to tomorrow’s qualifying and the race, but the number of laps run today -108 between the two cars – shows the day went well and produced plenty of data.
Fernando Alonso: “There wasn’t much grip on track today and in general, we struggled a bit more, which was down to a series of factors, including the track being less rubbered-in than usual. On top of that, we have less aerodynamic downforce than in the past and also in my opinion, the tyre choice here is too conservative for this track. Now we face a lot of work to try and optimise the balance of the car and get the most out of it, even if the circumstances are not that favourable to us. We must be cleverer than the others in terms of making the changes we need and adapting to them in time for qualifying.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “We had a particularly busy time on track today, trying to do as many laps as possible to complete the planned programme over the two free practice sessions. In the morning, we tried various set-ups, alternating between two different rear wings, while in the second session, we concentrated on preparing for qualifying and the race and on analysing the behaviour of the two compounds Pirelli has brought here. This evening, we will carefully analyse all the data gathered, to decide which direction to go in.”
Pat Fry: “Today we had a particularly packed programme and despite the very poor track conditions complicating our task, mainly in the first session, we managed to get through it without any glitches. We tried various aero solutions in the morning and did a comparison between the two Pirelli compounds this afternoon. We have suffered with poor grip especially on the Hard tyres and this made controlling the car more difficult, but that was the case for most of the teams. The data gathered from the work we split between the two cars will be extremely useful to understand in which areas we can improve and, even if our rivals proved to be very strong, we will do our utmost to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race.”