FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Russian Grand Prix (Driver Interviews & Report)

FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Russian Grand Prix (Driver Interviews & Report)

Race Weekend: 2018 Russian Grand Prix

Another race weekend is upon us and following on from the Singapore Grand Prix, we’re now getting ready for the Russian Grand Prix where the championship battle will continue between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Today, we had FP1 and FP2 and below, you can read what drivers had to say – along with key team members about the sessions and the work preparation for the weekend ahead.

MERCEDES – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Russian Grand Prix


Free Practice 1: 1:34.818, P3

Free Practice 2: 1:33.385, P1


Lewis Hamilton: “Sochi has been one of the weaker circuits for me in the past, particularly last year.”

“So I’ve done a lot of work to understand the balance and see where I can improve to try and rectify this – today has been good in that sense. From every race we’re learning more and more and particularly the last few races have helped us to really gauge which foot we need to start on for the weekend.”

“We’ve brought more upgrades this weekend; there’s so much work going on at home and it’s just really encouraging when you come to a race and you get an upgrade, knowing that this late in the season we’re also already working on next year’s car – it motivates me to get the best out of everything.”

“It’s been a good day for us, so let’s hope that it continues tomorrow.”


Free Practice 1: 1:34.999, P4

Free Practice 2: 1:33.584, P2


Valtteri Bottas: “It was a good day for us; on paper it looks like we should be competitive, but it’s only Friday. The initial feeling of the car was good; however, there’s still work to do.”

“It’s so difficult to get a perfect set-up for each corner on this track, because the balance is so different throughout the lap. We brought some aerodynamic updates to the car that worked well and added more grip; we’ll see if that’s going to be enough for the weekend.”

“It seemed like Ferrari weren’t really showing everything they have, so they will probably be stronger tomorrow. I think it’s going to be very close, so we’ll have to keep pushing.”

James Allison – Technical Director

“It’s been a pretty decent day where both cars looked strong on all the tyres we ran. The HyperSoft is once again a very good, fast tyre for a single lap, but it is less obvious here than it was in Singapore whether it will be so strong in the race. The long-runs went well, we looked competitive on them and the car generally behaved itself – so far, so good. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how it all pans out once it starts to count.”

FERRARI – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Russian Grand Prix


Free Practice 1: 1:34.488, P1

Free Practice 2: 1:33.928, P5


Sebastian Vettel: “Some Fridays are good, some aren’t and this one hasn’t been great for us. We are not where we want to be yet and we’ve got some catching up to do.”

“Today it was difficult to put the laps together, we went through the tyres too fast, especially the front left, and struggled a bit with both the fast laps and with fuel on board.”

“There was also a lot of traffic and obviously this never helps. Now we have some work to do, as we need to find the reasons for that and come back stronger. However, I am positive as ever, as I think that tomorrow and on Sunday it will be better and we’ll find out the right things to apply.”

“We want to put both cars on the front row tomorrow; we don’t know yet what will happen, but we’ll try to do our best as pole is the best place to start from.”


Free Practice 1: 1:35.696, P7

Free Practice 2: 1:34.388, P6


Kimi Raikkonen: “Usually, on Friday, it is always tricky with the tyres; then the situation improves, the circuit cleans up and there’s more grip to be found. Today, the conditions we found were pretty much those we had expected.”

“Normally, we don’t look too much into the lap times on Friday; we try many things and learn from it. For sure there’s some work to be done and there are things to improve, but this is normal.”

“We’ll see what tomorrow brings in qualifying, when everybody is pushing to the maximum.”

MCLAREN – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Russian Grand Prix


Free Practice 2: 1:36.074, P17


Fernando Alonso: “We knew coming here that this weekend could be quite difficult for us, so today’s performance was pretty much expected. That’s also why we opted to change the engine components here and take a penalty.”

“After Monza and Spa, this track has the highest power sensitivity of the whole season – and we know that’s usually a bad sign for our performance. It’s something we’re trying to understand, so we’ve been trying different set-ups to reduce the drag on the car.”

“Equally, we know we can’t perform miracles from one weekend to the next, so it’s going to be tough.”

“The degradation looks quite high, so we need to choose a good strategy for Sunday: qualifying isn’t too meaningful for us this weekend, but I still hope we’ll be in the points at the chequered flag.”

“A big thanks to Lando for waiting in the pit-lane for 20 minutes for the FP1 green light. I’ll have a better starting position on Sunday because of him – so I’m very happy with the job he did today!”


Free Practice 1: 1:37.187, P16

Free Practice 2: 1:36.617, P18


Stoffel Vandoorne: “We’ve been trying quite a few different things across both cars during practice today – trying to learn about the tyres, which are looking quite interesting.”

“I think everybody has been surprised by just how big the degradation is on the longer runs. Typically, this has been a one-stop race without too much degradation, so the key today was to understand just how the tyres are working.”

“I think a two-stopper will still be tricky to make work as overtaking is so difficult around here. But let’s see how the degradation pans out – it’s usually a little less critical on a Sunday, so probably still a one-stop – but hopefully with the race being a bit more interesting…”

“Fernando and I experimented with the tow today: any lap-time we can gain is important, but it’s too early to say what we’ll do in qualifying tomorrow.”

Gil de Ferran – Sporting Director

“For this race weekend, we elected to change power unit components and take a penalty on Fernando’s car. One of the knock-ons of that was ensuring Fernando’s was the first car out of the pit-lane this morning – correspondingly becoming the first of several cars to earn a penalty, and consequently ensuring he will start ahead of the other penalty-affected drivers. Kudos to everyone in the garage this morning for accomplishing that small but important task.

“The rest of the day’s running was primarily focused on race preparation: neither driver encountered any issues throughout the day, which was a positive.

“In FP1 this morning, Lando enjoyed another a smooth and trouble-free session, very quickly getting down to business and immediately setting representative times.

“Clearly, we’ve got some work to do to improve our competitiveness at a circuit that doesn’t seem to suit our car’s handling characteristics. We evaluated several new developments and set-up options and made a good start to our weekend.”



Free Practice 1: 1:35.524, P5

Free Practice 2: 1:33.844, P4

Daniel Ricciardo: “The car felt good today and I really enjoyed driving. The circuit was actually good fun and we had pretty good pace. Because you don’t have any banking to give you extra grip on the corners, coming here with the Hypersoft gives you the grip you need, which made it more enjoyable.”

“We got some traffic on the long runs this afternoon which gave us some feeling of how it will be in the race. It’s not the easiest track to overtake on, but we eventually got it done, so I think the race should be pretty entertaining.”

“I’m happy to see there is some tyre degradation, if it’s an easy one-stop race it could be a bit predictable, so I’m hoping it could be a two-stop to make it more exciting.”

“There isn’t much use in us doing the full qualifying tomorrow due to the penalties, but we will see how we go after FP3 and decide what to do then.”

“We did plenty of running this afternoon and I know we have some good data from that. It will be important to do another long run in FP3 and prepare fully for the race. Russia has never been our strongest circuit but today there are some good signs.”


Free Practice 1: 1:34.538, P2

Free Practice 2: 1:33.827, P3

Max Verstappen: “It was a good Friday for us. It’s better than expected to be third in FP2. Straight away the car was working well, the long runs were good and we seem to be in good shape.”

“Overall, the performance of the car is pleasing, we just need to understand the tyres better and work out the plan for the race. The information we received today was very good and we have the evening ahead to analyse everything. It was good to be in the mix with Ferrari and so far we can’t really complain.”

“I don’t know what the strategy for qualifying tomorrow will be, but we probably won’t do the full session. I also expect Ferrari to find something overnight, so it’s going to be close tomorrow.”

“Taking the penalties here is not so bad because it’s not our strongest track, so it’s best to get it out of the way. Starting from the back of the grid should be fun.”

“I mean, moving forward and passing people is never easy, but we’ll see how far we can get.”

There’s lots more on the way this weekend so make sure you check back for all the latest!

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

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