Drivers and team report on the first day of free practice of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Round 4 of the Formula 1 world championship, at Sakhir.
Jean-Eric Vergne (STR8-03) First Practice Session Best lap: 1:36.014, pos. 14th, 19 laps Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:35.506, pos. 12th, 36 laps “A hot day in the office, but it’s fine because you get to breathe some cooler fresh air going down the straights. It seems our pace is similar to that in China, at the end of a day when everything worked well. It’s all looking quite positive and I got a good feeling from the car. As for the tyres, the lap time difference between the Prime and Option is not as great as in China, but the heat means there is quite a lot of thermal degradation which will make life quite tricky in the race.”
Daniel Ricciardo (STR8-01) First Practice Session Best lap: 1:36.485, pos. 15th, 20 laps Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:35.761, pos. 14th, 33 laps “The first day here is quite complicated as the track is always dusty in the morning and that makes setting the car up rather tricky as the track is always improving. You are obliged therefore not to get too carried away in terms of making lots of changes. In the afternoon, we were tempted to make some changes and I’m not sure they were an improvement. So tonight, we must look at the data and decide which direction to go in tomorrow. We did a lot of laps, so we have plenty of data to study and I believe we have a good platform to work from. The Option which I tried this afternoon is obviously going to be quicker for qualifying, but the gap is not as great as last weekend. It pays not to push the tyres too hard I think. The weather? I come from Perth, so I’ve been looking forward to some sun for a while now.”
Laurent Mekies (Head of Vehicle Performance):“This was another satisfactory Friday for us, with our programme completed on both cars. The main task for everyone here is to find the right balance for the cars, which is very different to the way we ran in China, both because of the track layout and the atmospheric conditions. We have worked hard to find as good a balance as we had last week and at the moment, I would estimate we are about halfway to where we want to be, so we have work to do tonight. Overall though, a very positive day and no surprise that the key challenge revolves around tyre management with such high temperatures. In terms of our pace, it seems we are fighting with the same guys as last week.”