Red Bull got the best lap times on Friday practice in Austin

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Sebastian Vettel: "Ferrari looked quick this morning and McLaren could be a surprise here, and Lotus and Mercedes will be strong as normal."

Sebastian Vettel (First Practice Session: Position: 18, Best Time: 1:40.662, Laps: 21 / Second Practice Session: Position: 1, Best Time: 1:37.305, Laps: 35): “The circuit was quite slippery today; I was happy with the car, but you always know you can improve here and there.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 running flow-vis paint on the rear diffuser
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9 running flow-vis paint on the rear diffuser

Photo by: XPB Images

I think we got through the programme we were able to test some things, some were good and some not so good, but we will see.

Ferrari looked quick this morning and McLaren could be a surprise here, and Lotus and Mercedes will be strong as normal.

The track will improve now unless it rains, the car worked well on the tyres, so we’ll see what we can do on Sunday.”

Mark Webber (First Practice Session: Position: 8, Best Time: 1:39.083, Laps: 17 / Second Practice Session: Position: 2, Best Time: 1:37.420, Laps: 37): “Today was all about tyres again; getting info on them and working out how they work best.

It’s nice to drive the car on fresh tyres and it was good to be out there on the circuit on what was a clear day in the end. We were working on both long and short runs today. The car doesn’t feel mega yet, there’s still some work to do, but we’ll work on that overnight.”

Pressure Points

From the outside it might seem that all the stress of a race weekend funnels towards the race start, but the truth is that moments of intense pressure strike different team members at different times. Here in Austin, Race Team Co-Ordinator Gerrard O’Reilly explains why, for him, the pressure starts when the chequered flag falls…

“For me, Sunday after the race is the busiest time, particularly on a back-to-back like this, we always have tight deadlines to meet so that we get to the next event on time. As soon as the race finishes we start packing. We don’t dismantle anything before the race finishes. We could start before the chequered flag, but we’re here for a race and I don’t think it looks professional, so as soon as the cars cross the line, we get changed, crack on and start packing up.

Taking this race as an example, if it finishes at 3pm, I’d like to think we’ll be gone by 10pm and that means packing 30-plus tonnes of air freight and 15 tonnes of sea freight. The whole team gets involved. The engineers will pack down their office, the marketing and comms people will sort their stuff out, everybody mucks in – even Seb occasionally. He was surprisingly good in India: many hands make light work.

There is a rhythm to what we do, particularly by this stage of the season. On flyaways like this all the containers are configured the same so everybody knows where everything goes. It’s pressure but there is a routine, so I try to not get too stressed.

We have a plan that specifies how things will happen, such as networks being switched off, so that everyone is aware of the timeline on a Sunday. Even though it is a busy time and everything needs to happen quickly, it happens quite smoothly. Put it this way, we’ve never missed a deadline or a flight yet!”

Red Bull Racing

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About this article
Series F1
Article type Practice report
Tags austin, circuit of the americas, cota, red bull, vettel, webber

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