I think we’re a little nearer to the front than we’ve been in the past – the times are very close – but it’ll be the usual front-running cars who set the pace this weekend. We needed everything to be reliable today, but I only managed three laps on my high-fuel run before I had a problem with the gearbox. That was a pity because it meant we didn’t get the long-run information we were after. In fact, we had a similar issue last year, when I also had a gearbox problem on the Friday. In 2012, I had a difficult race with rear graining. Nonetheless, the positive from today is that each car was running a very different set-up, so at least we gathered lots of good information. We’ll go away and study that tonight ahead of tomorrow’s sessions. I’m hoping the conditions will stay mixed for tomorrow – if they do, I think we’ll be able to make the best of it.
We encountered some very tricky conditions out there today. This morning’s session, when it started damp and slowly dried, was particularly difficult. The rain that fell during this afternoon’s long-run didn’t help, either. We’re still lacking overall performance to the frontrunners; but anything can happen here, especially in the conditions we saw today, which were extremely varied. If tomorrow is as wet as today, everyone will go into Sunday without any proper long-running under their belts – that could make the race a big surprise for everybody.”
It’s been a tricky day. It was a little bit frustrating for both the drivers and the engineers that they weren’t able to perform all the tests they wanted today. We had a lot of work, and a variety of tests, to do, but the conditions made that difficult. We got as much done as possible, but we’ve still only got a limited data-set to analyse ahead of tomorrow. Still, the weather equally disadvantaged everyone hoping to get some meaningful running on a dry track. We’re not as strong as we want to be – we’ve got bits and pieces of data to study – but we’ll still do the best job we can. (Mercedes)