2018 FRENCH GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Circuit: Paul Ricard Circuit
Race Weekend: 2018 French Grand Prix
Session: Friday Practice
The Formula 1 Girl is back and this time – we’re in France for the return of the French Grand Prix and today, we had free practice which saw Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets in both of the sessions today.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas introduced new spec Power Unit components at Paul Ricard following the tough weekend in Canada.
An unfortunate day for Valtteri Bottas who even though setting good lap times and being in P2 – his session ended early due to a water leak on his car.
Their closest rivals Ferrari were “reasonable happy” in P4 and P5 however they feel there’s potential to unlock for tomorrow.
All the details and driver interviews can be seen below.
MERCEDES – 2018 FRENCH GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Lewis Hamilton – P1
Lewis Hamilton: “This place is beautiful, it’s really stunning down here. It’s always a challenge when you come to a new circuit, but you’re constantly learning new things and I love the challenge of trying to get into the swing of it before everyone else.”
“There’s a lot of different lines you can take and it’s tricky to find reference points out on the track. Apart from the colourful lines, it’s difficult to tell where you are.”
“There’s a couple of places for example on the back straight where you’re trying to find out where the corner is – it’s really hard to see. The new engine feels clean and fresh, but we won’t really know its full potential until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up.”
“I’m grateful for the hard work that everyone put into it back in Brixworth. They’ve been pushing so hard to get this engine and do it in the right way, so a big thank you to everyone back at the factory – I hope that we can do something great with it!”
“Overall, it was a good session today – now we need to carry on this performance through the weekend.”
Valtteri Bottas – P2 (FP1) – P7 (FP2)
Valtteri Bottas: “I enjoy being back in France for a race; I’ve only been racing here in junior formulae, so it’s cool to have a Grand Prix here. “
“I like the circuit, but it’s a difficult and very technical track, especially going into the back straight around Turns 6 and 7. FP1 was decent for us, but FP2 was a little tricky.”
“I only got a few laps in, then we had a water leak which we’re currently investigating. Unfortunately, that meant that I didn’t really get a lot of long runs in.”
“We were running the new spec engine today which felt fresh and good, but we didn’t run it yet in full power, so there’s more to discover. “
“We need to identify the cause of the water leak, but we’re confident that we continue to run the new engine. We looked competitive in both sessions today, but we know that Ferrari has performance in hand on Fridays, so let’s wait and see what tomorrow and Sunday hold for us.”
MCLAREN – 2018 FRENCH GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Fernando Alonso – P16 (FP1) – P8 (FP2)
Fernando Alonso: “Conditions were a bit tricky today – the wind played a big role in FP1, then changed direction this afternoon. The track is close to the seas, so we’ll get changeable winds all the time.”
“It was a fairly regular Friday, spent trying to understand and learn the circuit and develop a good base set-up. The track is good; very smooth, the new asphalt is very grippy, which is always a help for a driver.”
“I quite like the last sector, Turns 11 and 12 are quite challenging, so we may well see some action there on Sunday. There might also be a possibility to alter your racing line to follow the car ahead a little bit more closely. Let’s see if that results in some overtaking during the race.”
“Due to the VSC at the end of FP2, we’re still missing a little bit of long-run info about the tyres – but we’ll try to recover that in tomorrow’s practice.”
“There are a couple of set-up possibilities still to explore tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll be a bit more competitive.”
Stoffel Vandoorne – P19 (FP1) – P13 (FP2)
Stoffel Vandoorne: “To be honest, the first day back at Ricard was a bit of a mixed bag for us. The winds made it tricky for everyone – we saw a lot of cars spinning off – but we also weren’t very competitive in FP1.
“Then I had a much better feeling with the car this afternoon – the wind direction changed, and everything came together a little bit more for us.”
” Our tyre degradation also looked okay; there was a lot of track evolution during FP2, which was probably related to the temperatures and the cars being able to put a bit of rubber down on the track. That’s something I think we’ll see continue to develop across the weekend.”
“More than anything this weekend, we want to make some progress with the car. The last few races have been a bit tricky for us, so hopefully we can show something this weekend.”
FERRARI – 2018 FRENCH GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Sebastian Vettel – P5
Sebastian Vettel: “The long-runs felt pretty OK – quite consistent although I haven’t seen much of what the other teams did.”
“I think the car has more potential here, especially on the fast laps which we need to unlock for tomorrow and then we’ll be fine.”
“The wind was quite an issue at the beginning of the session but then it calmed down and it all started to come together and in the end, I was reasonably happy with today’s run.”
Kimi Raikkonen – P4
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a good day and it’s fun to be in a new place, I enjoyed it as it’s something different.”
“In the afternoon session, the weather conditions made the track quite tricky. It was not the easiest situation on the track out there but overall, it was ok.”
“From the tyre point of view – I think it was also pretty ok.”
“Obviously we cannot compare what we saw today with the past as this is a new track for everyone but I think that we had no particular issues.”