2018 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE (Includes Driver Interviews)



Location: Spielberg, Austria

Circuit: Red Bull Ring


It’s a back-to-back race weekend and it’s the first time that we’ve got three races in a row, making it an exciting weekend for fans of the sport.

Today, we had the Friday Practice ahead of the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix this weekend and it looked like another positive weekend for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team with Lewis Hamilton topping both timesheets.

Below, you can see what teams and drivers had to say following the practice sessions.


Lewis Hamilton

Free Practice 1: 1:04.839 – P1

Free Practice 2: 1:04.579 – P1


Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a good day so far – pretty straightforward with no real issues. There are not many corners here in Austria; it’s a very fast track and it’s very close between all the tyres.”

“The harder tyre seems to be the better for me. It’s really great to see the updates; the guys at the factory have been working so hard to bring quality components.”

“The car feels better in certain areas around the track which is already a step forward from last week. The car felt immediately better coming out of the garage in FP1 and also at the start at FP2.”

“It got a little worse during the afternoon session and we will try to figure out why in the debrief. But the car does feel good overall, so I’m sure we can rectify it.”

“I’m going to keep pushing, trying to maximise a bit more out of it.”

Valtteri Bottas

Free Practice 1: 1:04.966 – P2

Free Practice 2: 1:04.755 – P2


Valtteri Bottas: “It’s been a good start to the weekend; we tried our new updates today and the initial feeling is that they work well.”

“The team has done a really good job delivering the updates; every single person in the team has worked really hard on them.”

“It worked exactly as expected which is down to all the hard work behind the scenes. Especially the rear end of the car was really stable today.”

“Last year I had severe blistering on the rear left tyre which could potentially be an issue again as it is going to be warmer again this Sunday.”

“So it’s good that the rear felt stable today; however, we do still have a bit of balance work to do to get the most out of the car. Qualifying is really exciting around this track.”

“There are not a lot of corners, so you need to nail every single one of them in order to make it to the front row.”

Andrew Shovlin – Trackside Engineering Director – Mercedes-AMG Petronas

“We have come here with a fairly comprehensive aero kit and happily that all seems to be working as expected. Both drivers were quite happy with the car from the early runs of FP1 and we haven’t had to make big changes to get it in the window.”

“FP2 was more tricky, the balance wasn’t quite as good and it didn’t feel like we got the most out of the UltraSoft tyre on a single lap, Lewis even set his fastest lap on the Soft.”

“Valtteri was happy with his car on the long run and his pace is encouraging. Lewis wasn’t comfortable on the UltraSoft on the long run, but the Soft tyre looked strong.”

“We normally see Ferrari take a big step forward from Friday to Saturday so we are not paying a lot of attention to the lap times from today, rather we will try and work on the issues that both drivers have highlighted and see if we can find a bit of pace for tomorrow.”

“It’s always a close grid at this track so getting every little detail right will be important.”


Sebastian Vettel

Free Practice 1: 1:05.180 – P4

Free Practice 2: 1:04.815 – P3


Sebastian Vettel: “We can always improve, but today I’m happy. The car was pretty good, so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

“On this track it is true that the kerbs can be “aggressive” somehow, but today we didn’t have any issues and hopefully we won’t have problems tomorrow and in the race.”

“We did a lot of laps, which is good, and usually on Saturday we can make a good step forward, so we should be well prepared for tomorrow and for Sunday.”

Kimi Raikkonen

Free Practice 1: 1:05.776 – P6

Free Practice 2: 1:05.265 – P6


Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a normal Friday session. Obviously, we have some work to do to find the right set-up for tomorrow, like at any other race.”

“It’s hard to judge our performance compared to other teams, because we don’t know what the others were doing, but in general it was not too bad.”

“Tomorrow we’ll see where we are.”


Daniel Ricciardo

Free Practice 1: 1:05.483 – P5

Free Practice 2: 1:05.031 – P4


Daniel Ricciardo: “It was pretty fun out there. It’s a quick lap round here but enjoyable for the minute and few seconds it lasts. The short lap also makes the times very close.”

“I think this morning we may have been a little stronger than this afternoon and we still have a bit of time to find. We changed a few things between sessions but I think we can find a happy medium between the two set-ups.”

“This morning I felt better on the soft tyre than the ultra and this afternoon I did a better time on the supersoft than the ultrasoft.”

“I understand Lewis was quickest on the soft. It’s surprising but the tyres are all very close, so it’s going to be really interesting to see which strategy people go with tomorrow in Qualifying.”

“I keep being asked about the kerbs; I actually damaged a bit of the front wing this morning on a kerb, but I think they are a good thing. It’s our job to stay off them and at least it’s a track limit.”

“Some of these modern circuits that don’t have walls don’t really have a limit, I don’t think this is a bad alternative and at least it has an impact.”

“It’s going to be really interesting to see which strategy people go with tomorrow in Qualifying.”

Max Verstappen

Free Practice 1: 1:05.072 – P3

Free Practice 2: 1:05.125 – P5


Max Verstappen: “Today was a bit average. I sustained a bit of damage to the floor in FP2, running most of the session with that wasn’t ideal.”

“I think it was sustained from vibration from the inside kerbs, not the big sausage ones. This compromised the feel of the car so resulted in a bit of a flat day.”

“We need to work on the set-up as I feel we lacked a bit of speed through the corners, we know we are down on the straights so we need to make up for it where we can.”

“This may have been a result of the balance not feeling quite right, we will look into the data this evening because at the moment I am not overly happy.”

“The addition of a third DRS zone should help us come race day so if I can get the car where I want it then we should have fun. If the feeling is there with the car I think the tyres will work and everything should come easier.”

“The kerbs are quite aggressive but they have been like that for the last few years so it’s not a surprise, they are the same for everyone so you need to avoid them.”

“Of course they can damage the front wing but if a wall was there you would be in it, so you need to stay off them.”


Fernando Alonso

Free Practice 1: 1:06.612 – P17

Free Practice 2: 1:06.429 – P19


Fernando Alonso: “This was a pretty intense day as we had a lot of items to test on the car, especially aero parts. We completed the programme, now we just need to analyse the data and make sure we put the best parts on the car tomorrow to find a little more performance.”

“Having an additional DRS zone is a good step: it will be difficult to get close to the car in front, especially in the middle sector, so three DRS zones will help to keep the group together and hopefully it should provide more overtaking in the race.”

“We expected rain today, but none came; it’s now on the forecast for tomorrow, so we need to be ready to maximise every opportunity that comes our way if the weather proves to be unpredictable.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

Free Practice 1: 1:06.698 – P18

Free Practice 2: 1:05.930 – P10


Stoffel Vandoorne: “It was a pretty busy day today. The morning was spent evaluating a number of new parts and ideas, which meant that the real focus was on getting some consistent laps and some good, clean data.”

“In the afternoon, I was able to get into more of a rhythm with the car, and, while we didn’t really manage to get the balance right, the times weren’t too bad.”

“We still need to work hard, as we’ve seen before that we can look reasonably competitive on a Friday only to drop down the order on Saturdays.”

“The most important thing is that we got some good learning done during the sessions, but it’s still too early to say where we are in the competitive order…”


Nico Hulkenberg

Free Practice 1: 1:06.479 – P15

Free Practice 2: 1:06.273 – P15


Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s been a fairly typical Friday. The balance isn’t quite there with the car so we’ve been tackling that as a priority.”

“We didn’t make as much progress as we’d like between FP1 and FP2 and understeer has been our enemy here so far. Fortunately, it’s an enemy we know well so we have some good solutions to apply before we head out for qualifying tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz

Free Practice 1: 1:06.427 – P13

Free Practice 2: 1:05.999 – P11


Carlos Sainz: “We’ve been working hard today on getting the right set-up with the car and you could see we’re not quite there yet.”

“Nevertheless, we have a decent number of laps on the board and we know what we need to improve to get a faster and more balanced car.”

“I think we have the potential so I look forward to tomorrow.”


Marcus Ericsson

Free Practice 1: 1:06.400 – P11

Free Practice 2: 1:06.199 – P14


Marcus Ericsson: “We completed a good number of laps and ran on all of the three tyre compounds for the weekend.”

“We built on what we learned in France last weekend, with a set-up that suits my driving style well. We were in the midfield today, which is positive.”

“Tonight, we will work on optimising everything, so that we can have a strong performance tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc

Free Practice 1: 1:06.215 – P9

Free Practice 2: 1:06.096 – P12


Charles Leclerc: “In general, it was a positive day for us.”

“Our pace is quite good and we completed the programme we had planned. It was productive for us to test the different tyres we have for the weekend.”

“I really enjoy driving on this track, and it is a good experience to complete my first laps in a Formula 1 car here.”

“We are looking at our data and making sure we can have a strong performance during tomorrow’s sessions. Let’s see what will be possible.”

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

x x