The afternoon session started with very high air and track temperatures and this made it harder to set good lap times.
Interlagos, 7 November – The Scuderia Ferrari drivers finished third and seventh in the second free practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The afternoon session started with very high air and track temperatures and this made it harder to set good lap times. In the second part of the 90 minutes, the track temperature actually dropped and, even on the Soft tyres, the times got faster again.
The Scuderia drivers continued to work on set-up and a comparison of the Medium and Soft compounds brought here by Pirelli. In the afternoon, Kimi did 32 laps the quickest in 1.12.696 to secure third place on the time sheet. Fernando Alonso covered 20 laps, stopping the clocks in 1.13.122 to go seventh.
With a new surface, what effect the rain will have is always an unknown factor, so it’s impossible to make predictions.
In the last third of the session, as usual, the team began working on long runs and with just over 20 minutes left, Fernando parked the car at the side of the track as the engine caught fire. His power unit, which had completed a high mileage, had failed and the incident brought out the red flags. When the session resumed, Esteban Gutierrez also parked on track in the Sauber.
This compromised almost everyone’s long runs. Alonso’s power unit change does not involve a penalty. Once again, Nico Rosberg was fastest for Mercedes in 1.12.123, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. In between the two Ferraris came Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
Fernando Alonso: “Today we knew that the power unit had reached the end of its cycle. So there was a risk we wouldn’t finish the second session, but this was part of the programme we have been on for a few races now. It’s always a shame not being able to use all the time available, even though I don’t think it affected our work too much.
The new track surface produced a lot of grip and it was extremely difficult to put together a good lap, because tyre behaviour changed from corner to corner. With a new surface, what effect the rain will have is always an unknown factor, so it’s impossible to make predictions. That would have been the case at Sochi too, but it didn’t rain there, so it means we have to be ready for every eventuality.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This was a better Friday than past ones and thanks to the work we did on the car, we got a good response from the changes we made in both sessions. In the first session we concentrated on set-up work and aerodynamic measurements. Because of my usual problems with the front end, we tried to eliminate anything that might have been causing them.
In the afternoon, on the Soft tyres, the lap times were good and I’m sure that, without traffic, I could have done even better. Because of the red flags, we were unable to do a race simulation, but everything can change over the next days, because the weather forecast is very uncertain. In the dry, the car is going quite well, but we know that, if it rains, the track conditions could change things around.”
Pat Fry: “The new track surface meant that understanding tyre behaviour was immediately the main focus of our attention and so, in both sessions we tried to do as many laps as possible. In the first session, the weather gave us a lot of room to manoeuvre and the times came down lap after lap as the track improved.
In the morning we did some testing and worked on car balance, then in the afternoon, evaluating the consistency of the two compounds was complicated by the rising temperatures, with the asphalt almost 20 degrees higher than in the morning.
On the one hand, we got a reasonably clear picture of where we stand in these conditions. Now we have to bear in mind that, if it rains, we would have to start again from zero, but in dry conditions it will also be very important to understand to what extent graining will affect performance. Fernando’s power unit had done a very high mileage and we were well aware that this would have been its last Friday on track, although it’s a shame to have lost the final 20 minutes of track time.”