2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Friday Practice
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Session: Friday Practice
Race Weekend: Formula 1 Socar Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019
A new race weekend is upon us and we’re getting ready for the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. As we all know, Friday practice might not provide as much entertainment for viewers however it’s a key element to a race weekend – giving teams (and drivers) the chance to start getting their cars as ready as possible for Qualifying and race day!
Today however, Friday practice didn’t go as planned with the first session being red-flagged (more info below) leaving a lot of teams on the back foot.
Ferrari however were the only team to set a time during FP1 – Charles Leclerc managing 5 laps (1,47.297) and Sebastian Vettel completing 4 laps with a time of 1,49.598.
FP2 went on as scheduled and below you can see what the drivers and team members have to say about the day and weekend so far….
MERCEDES – 2019 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been a bit of an odd day, but I still enjoyed it. FP2 went really well, I was feeling good out there and I was more comfortable in the car than I was last year. However, the Ferraris are clearly very quick and it looks like they’re quite a bit ahead of us, so we’ll need to investigate to see where we are losing time compared to them.”
“It’s unlikely that we will find seven tenths over night, but we’ll do everything we can to push the car in the right direction.”
“Our long run pace looked a little bit stronger than our short run pace, so we’ll need to try and find out why. It should be a good fight tomorrow; I’m always down for a fight and I think that’s what the fans want to see, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Valtteri Bottas: “It’s been a fairly disrupted day which made FP2 more important than usual. We tried to maximise the time on track, adding a few more laps to our original plan for the afternoon after FP1 was suspended.”
“I’m not really pleased with the laps I did, but it’s always a bit tricky to find the rhythm in Baku and it takes a bit of time. It wasn’t easy to get the Medium compound up to the right temperatures today, but corner speeds will increase due to track evolution, so we should be able to get a bit more energy into the tyres tomorrow.”
“Our long runs felt good and the pace didn’t look too bad either, but we are a bit behind on single lap pace. Ferrari looked really strong, particularly on the short runs, so it will be a tough fight tomorrow.”
FERRARI – 2019 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a rather complicated Friday, because we weren’t able to do much running and the track was slippery and dusty. But it was fun all the same. So it took a while to get into a rhythm but overall I feel comfortable with the car. Maybe tomorrow we should be able to get a better idea of where we stand, because while I felt good in the car, there’s definitely still room for improvement.”
“Tomorrow, we will continue working as it’s vital to get into a rhythm and have a good feel for the car and be totally confident about the track. I think qualifying will be very close, because I imagine our rivals will be very fast tomorrow.”
Charles Leclerc: “After a day like today, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of where we all stand, especially in terms of long run pace, when I think traffic was a factor.”
“In qualifying trim, I felt comfortable, but also in this aspect, we will have to wait until tomorrow to get a clearer picture. However, we still have quite a bit of work to do to get the maximum out of the SF90 and that’s what we will concentrate on in the final free practice session. If we manage that, then we can be competitive.”
RED BULL RACING – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Max Verstappen: “The lack of running this morning didn’t really hurt us as it was the same for everyone and FP2 is always the most important session on a Friday. The track is very slippery and as you could see it was very easy to lock up or run wide, so it was important to complete as many laps as possible and get used to the track conditions.”
“You have to drive to the limit of the car with the grip you have and you build up lap by lap, especially on a low grip street track like this, and you have to be ready to adapt. I’m satisfied with what we achieved today and now we will look into the data as there are always areas to improve, but it is mostly fine tuning.”
“We don’t really have expectations for tomorrow yet and with only one practice session everyone can still improve a lot, but the initial balance seems fine and we completed a good number of laps on both tyre compounds.”
Pierre Gasly: “In the short runs, the laps were a bit messy but I think we have good potential if we manage to put everything together. With the high fuel, I’m feeling better and I’m pretty happy with the long runs. Of course we would have liked to run in FP1 but I think we managed to do everything we wanted to in FP2.”
“We ran quite a lot of tests and we have a good direction for tomorrow. We know we have some performance so I’m pretty positive. With the braking, it was a bit tricky and I had to take the escape road a couple of times because I was finding the limit. “
“The car is getting better all the time and I’m happy with the feeling I’m getting from it. Ferrari seemed quite a lot faster today but we’ll see what we can do in qualifying tomorrow and like I say, we have a good race car so this is positive.”
MCLAREN – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Carlos Sainz: “It was a bit of a hectic session – as we all expected after missing FP1. I think everyone wanted to be out there for as much time as possible, including us. We tried to do as many laps as we could even though there were quite a lot of yellow flags, as always in Baku, and it was difficult to warm up the tyres.”
“A challenging session but we didn’t come out of it too disappointed. Still a lot of work to do tomorrow, I think. I’m far away from being comfortable here with the car, so we need to see what we can do.”
Lando Norris: “Overall it wasn’t as long a day, or as action-packed, as I was hoping but we still made the most of it. There was a lot of track development through the second session because it was pretty much FP1. Although the F2 cars had been running, the track was improving a lot – but still very dusty, very slippery and quite difficult to drive.”
“Given the lost time, we made good choices when prioritising the things we needed to test and it was a very busy session in terms of the amount of laps we fitted in. I think it was still a positive day for us, but tomorrow’s another day.”
WILLIAMS – FRIDAY PRACTICE
Robert Kubica: “It was not an ideal day losing FP1, I think everybody would have liked more track time, especially on a street circuit and for me this isn’t one I’ve raced on before. The track is very tricky. I spent time discovering it in FP2 but I don’t have much confidence, we are struggling overall with the grip and we cannot push the car as the tyres are not able to remain in the operating window. Additional time was lost during FP2 due to the red flags and it’s a shame we couldn’t drive both cars on the circuit.”
George Russell: “It has been a tough day, it’s a shame for the guys to spend yesterday preparing the car to only do a couple of laps. I was going down the straight and I felt a big bang through the chassis and everything turned off; it’s just unfortunate. The plan right now is to go into debrief, listen to Robert’s comments and see what the guys have planned for tomorrow. Overall, today has been a bit of a frustration, but we must make the most of the situation and I will remain positive for the weekend ahead.”
Lots more on the way – including features (and photos) from Qualifying!