Teams and drivers report from day one of the British Grand Prix weekend, Round 10 of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship, at Silverstone.
Valtteri Bottas: “We’ve started the weekend really well. In the first session, the balance was not too far away, so a positive start. There is still work to do to get the car more driveable and to be able to trust it more in the high-speed corners. But overall I think it was a good start for the weekend. We just need to work as normal, try and make improvements for tomorrow. I’m impressed by the new cars on this track with its high-speed corners – they’re so much quicker than before. I’m definitely enjoying it and had a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. You feel more G in the corners and there’s a greater effect on your body, quite a big step up from last year. But luckily I’m well prepared for that.
Lewis Hamilton: “Today’s been a really good start to the weekend and it’s great to be back here at Silverstone. The track is absolutely incredible with these new cars. It was already one of the very best circuits in the world, but with this car and the speed we are able to carry through the corners, it’s just phenomenal, it’s like the greatest rollercoaster ride ever. We worked through all the sessions, fine-tuning the balance and I think we’re in a good position at this early stage of the weekend. We still need to build upon it, but it’s a great foundation moving forward. Each time I left the garage I gave the fans a wave and I could see them waving back. I just want them to know that I can see them and I really appreciate all the love and support.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “We’ve had a really promising start to the weekend, with both cars working well on the three different tyre compounds, as well as showing good pace on both low and high fuel. We worked through our programme successfully and now our focus turns to making sure we’re in the best possible place to compete on Saturday and Sunday. A good start though overall.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty decent day. A bit more straightforward session than on other occasions, and we had no issues. Since this morning the feeling had been ok, but obviously at the beginning there was a bit of guesswork with the conditions, as always when you first run at a track. It could have been a bit better, but it was not too bad either. Tomorrow will be a different day, we can only try to do our best and I’m sure we can improve. In qualifying and mainly on Sunday we’ll see if it is enough”.
Sebastian Vettel: “Today for us it was a bit mixed of ups and downs. This morning we had difficulties with the balance to start with, but overall I think we improved the car at the end of the session. On Friday you don’t seek much the performance and this new engine has a lot of miles to do, so we try to save it. It’s working well and we didn’t have problems. But we still have to do more and to improve. We have a lot of things to look at. Mercedes looks quick but it’s not a surprise. The track today was too slippery and tricky, but I think we can get better tomorrow. I tried the Shield cockpit protection. The vision is not very good and I think it’s because of the curvature that creates a bit of distortion. We had a run plan but I didn’t like it too much. I couldn’t see much, but at the end it was fun to drive.”
Max Verstappen: “It was good fun to drive today, the gusty conditions are typical here at Silverstone and it is the same for everyone so you just have to get on with it. This year’s new cars felt quicker through the fast corners and more enjoyable to drive, I knew it would be different but this is nice to see. The Ferraris went a bit quicker in the second session and I think we didn’t have a great one, we still have a bit of work to do as I think we can get closer to the guys ahead and also improve our race pace. We can find some improvement in car balance as I feel it changed for the worse between practice one and two, so we will go away and look into that now. There was a bit of a drop off on the supersoft but I think that was expected, the softs however seem to be holding up ok, even so I think a one stop race is optimistic. No issues so far, I’m happy about that.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “Today was an ok Friday. We learned a lot but there is certainly some time to find, judging by the performance last week we can definitely improve in the high speed and we haven’t quite optimized the car yet. The conditions were tricky with the low track temperature and the wind, I had quite a moment at Maggots and Becketts at one point and it felt like the wind blew me across the track. Tyre-wise, I think most people are happier with the soft at the moment and that’s the trend. The supersoft is a bit quicker but it doesn’t seem to last as long so I think most of the race will be run on the soft tyre. I’m still confident that we can fight for a podium on Sunday but we need to make a few improvements to make that happen. Mercedes are very fast but I think if we get everything right we can be challenging Ferrari tomorrow. Qualifying should be a good fight.”
Sergio Perez: “It’s been a positive day for us, despite the windy conditions that added a bit of difficulty. We have a good understanding of what the car is doing and of what we can improve for both qualifying and the race. Driving the 2017 cars on this track is impressive. The amount of downforce you carry in the high-speed corners is incredible. Of all the tracks we have raced this season, this is probably the one on which I have experienced the biggest difference compared to last year. All the reference points you have built up in the past change and this can put you at a disadvantage: it took me a bit of time to get used to the amounts of grip we have, but I am feeling comfortable now.”
Esteban Ocon: “It’s been a solid Friday overall. Our pace was promising from the start of practie and we kept improving every time we went out. We didn’t make any mistake on a day of tricky conditions and I generally felt the car was pretty good. This is not an easy track on which to drive – it’s fast and demanding, but also very enjoyable to drive. We have work ahead of us and we’ll need to wait until tomorrow to see where we stand, but I think we have a strong base. Something that really struck me on this track is the performance of the cars: they are so fast and the cornering speeds are impressive. You really feel it in your neck through the fast corners – I think I’ll need a really good massage tonight!”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: “It has been a pretty straightforward Friday with a lot of work to get through. We have been able to evaluate the new parts we brought here and made progress with the car set-up. Both drivers are reasonably happy about the balance of the car but there is obviously still more performance we can find. We expect the battle in the midfield to be extremely tight and it will be crucial to maximise what we can extract from our qualifying performance. The weather forecast for the next few days keeps changing, so we will need to ensure we adapt to the conditions quickly.”
Fernando Alonso: “I’m pretty happy with how my day went. We’ve got several options we need to look at now, to choose the best one for tomorrow, but we’ve mainly been concentrating on race pace because we know that we’ll start from the back [with a 5-place ESS penalty]. As we know, the lap-times are not that significant on a Friday. For the last couple of races we’ve been between 8th and 12th position, so we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. The main issue here is choosing what level of downforce you want to have. Depending on how much power you have, you take some wing off to be fast in the corners and defend yourself on the straights, or if you have little power and you want to be reasonably okay on the straights you have to use the smallest wing you have. It’s difficult to judge.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Today has actually been a pretty good start to our weekend. Given that this is a long circuit, with a lot of high-speed corners, I think our car has been performing well – I felt pretty comfortable out there. As usual, the times in the midfield are very close, so it’ll be the tiniest details that will make a difference during qualifying tomorrow. At the moment, we’re still exploring the car’s limits – particularly in the Becketts section of the lap. I think both Fernando and I had a moment during that part of the lap – just losing the rear on the entry of the final section. Fernando and I have been trying a lot of different downforce configurations throughout today’s sessions. Now I think we have a very good idea of what we should run tomorrow – we’ve done a lot of learning on that front.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director: “First and foremost, it’s fantastic to see Formula 1 performing in front of another packed British crowd. After the successful event in London on Wednesday, it’s incredibly uplifting to see tens of thousands of supporters in the grandstands and at the side of the track watching today’s sessions. I think we can feel pretty satisfied with what we achieved today. The entire team has done a fantastic job to make sure that our car is well balanced and comfortable to drive around this extremely demanding and tricky circuit. It’s still going to be a tough weekend for us – it’s a power-limited track, and we have to contend with a grid penalty on Fernando’s side of the garage, but it’s been a positive start. I hope we can achieve something this weekend to justify the spirit and enthusiasm of our tireless fans and supporters.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: “The British Grand Prix weekend kicked off today in front of a great crowd of knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans – despite the chilly British weather! We were able to finish the first day without any major issues and both drivers completed their programmes. Although this is only the first day, we have a good feeling after the sessions and I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow’s qualifying. Of course, we have the notoriously unpredictable weather to contend with, but we will prepare as best we can to give the drivers a good package. Silverstone is also the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren Honda team this season, and so I’m sure our drivers will do their best for the crowd in qualifying tomorrow.”
Carlos Sainz: “Quite a tricky Friday here at Silverstone. During this morning’s FP1 session we assessed the balance of the car and also managed to make some good progress for FP2. Unfortunately, at the beginning of this afternoon’s session, I was caught by the changeable conditions and the wind during my first run and had a little moment off track, which meant I couldn’t complete many laps before putting the supersoft tyre on. Having said that, I think I managed to do a decent lap time which leaves us quite close to the top ten – we are not there yet and we still need to improve for tomorrow, but it’s all coming together little by little.”
Daniil Kvyat: “We did everything we had to do for today. FP1 was better than FP2, so there’s still a bit of things to work on for tomorrow. The windy conditions don’t make our job any easier but, overall, the car doesn’t feel too bad even if it’s not exactly where I’d like it to be. We think we know what to do to improve the car for FP3 and qualifying, so let’s go for it at an always challenging Silverstone.”
James Key, Technical Director: “A very different circuit here at Silverstone to where we’ve been recently; it’s really the first proper high-speed corner dominated circuit of the year, so very interesting with these 2017 cars. It’s also interesting regarding the tyre compounds, one step softer than what we had in Barcelona, which is traditionally not the case, but I think it’s a good move from Pirelli and, after today’s running, it proved to work well. In FP1 we had a few things to try and had our fair share of little problems to deal with too but, overall, we began to get into a rhythm of work with both drivers. Daniil felt a little bit more comfortable than Carlos with the balance of his car and put in some reasonable laps together. There’s a balance between the low and the high speed performance here which needs to be struck right and that was one of the challenges for FP1. We then did some experimental changes in between sessions to see how certain directions could work out, splitting the cars’ programmes a bit in FP2 to look at alternative ideas. This has given us some very valuable information for tomorrow, combined with what we learned in FP1. Carlos got caught out in Turns 12 to 13 on his first run on his soft set of tyres in FP2 – he was putting a good lap together at the time but it has proved to be a tricky corner for several drivers today and, unfortunately, he lost the car there. He did a good job of saving it without any major issues, but it meant that we lost the soft tyre set, so he ran a little bit less than planned in FP2. For Daniil, he went through his full programme and got some good high-fuel load data from both tyre compounds. There’s now a bit of work to do and certainly a bit more performance to come. We’ve learned some good and important lessons today and we’ll employ all of this into our set-up work overnight. It’s a similar approach to that used in Austria, we go step by step and learn what we can from each run. We hope to put it all together tomorrow.”
Felipe Massa: It was a normal Friday, with no problems related to what we had in Austria. Everything was working in the normal way and I was happy with the balance of the car. With the tyres, we were able to get them working on the first lap, and everything with the car felt normal. The car feels competitive in the way it should be, so, on the whole, it was a good Friday.
Lance Stroll: This is a great track to drive, the grip is high and the car is a lot of fun around here. It was not a bad day, but there are a few things to improve on from my side. We were just testing the limits, as, with the high grip, when the car goes it goes quite aggressively. The car feels more competitive than in Austria, and we have improved the balance since then, which is positive looking at what Felipe did. All in all it seems like a positive day. I think it’s going to be quite tight in the mid group tomorrow, so I am going to have to improve on a few things overnight. However, I am confident we have a good car so am looking forward to tomorrow.
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: It’s great to be back at Silverstone, and it’s good to have some dry weather to complete our programme. In FP1 we did some tests with some different aerodynamic configurations. Unfortunately, we damaged some parts on both cars because of hitting the kerb at Turn 9, so that lost us a few laps with both Felipe and Lance. In FP2 we were able to complete all of our running on the different tyres. The pace looks encouraging on both low and high fuel. For Lance, Silverstone is one of the more difficult circuits to learn. But we’re pleased with the progress that he’s been able to make throughout the day. Qualifying is what matters though, so we’ll see what more we can do overnight.
Nico Hülkenberg: “We had two okay Friday sessions with no major issues today. Amongst the work accomplished was the running of a new floor this afternoon. We now need to analyse and see what it has done for us. Regarding the pace, we need to do some work to find a bit more balance and performance overall, especially in the long runs. This means a bit of preparation work for us between now and tomorrow’s qualifying, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Jolyon Palmer: “I missed half the morning with an MGU-K shaft that needed replacing, but when I did get some running in I was pretty happy with the car. The afternoon started okay and I was happy with the car on the Soft tyres, but when I put on the Supersoft tyres I found there wasn’t any grip. I had a spin and then struggled to get them working correctly. Unfortunately then we had to stop the car on a long run with a clutch problem. We will hope for better luck tomorrow!”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “In FP1, Jolyon used Pirelli’s Medium (white) and Supersoft (red) tyres, while Nico ran all three compounds available this weekend, Medium, Soft (yellow) and Supersoft. In FP2 both drivers used the Soft and Supersoft tyres. We ran through a standard Friday programme with tyre evaluation over long and short runs, plus a qualifying simulation in the afternoon. Additionally we evaluated a new floor and conducted lots of starts. Jolyon was unfortunate to lose some running in the morning. He also ended his afternoon session early with a clutch problem. It’s wild and windy down the straights, which can make finding the right balance tricky.”
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer: “A slightly mixed afternoon for us. Nico got in the running he needed to do and we got the information we needed on the tyres for the race. He set a good time on low fuel, which we hope we can reproduce in qualifying. We’re pleased with that and the progress we’ve made. Jo had a slightly less fortunate day with his clutch problem in the afternoon, on top of the mechanical issue in the morning, and never got a fair crack at a time. Overall for the team, I think we have had a productive day and look forward to qualifying tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean: “It’s been a working day. We’re not as fast as we were in Austria at this time of the weekend. We’re struggling a little bit with getting the tires in the window, possibly with the cooler temperatures, but I don’t know for sure. We changed brakes over lunch from Brembo to Carbon Industrie, which doesn’t make our life very easy. There’s a lot of mapping and all that had to be done behind the scenes. That was a big job. We’ve also been evaluating low fuel and high fuel. I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent happy with the car, but we’ve got some idea of what to do for tomorrow.”
Kevn Magnussen: “Initially, it was just about getting used to the car and the track as quickly as possible after sitting out FP1. I got into it fairly quickly. The wind wasn’t too bad today, but even then it still has an effect – that’s always the case here at Silverstone where it’s very flat and open. I don’t know what it’s going to do tomorrow, but if there is wind it will have an effect. Regardless, it was amazing driving these cars here and it lived up to expectations. It was amazing just how fast we go through the corners, especially the high-speed bits. We have a few things we need to dial in for tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
Antonio Giovinazzi: “First of all, I want to say thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for this opportunity. It was a really good session. My last test was Bahrain with Ferrari a long time ago, so to be back in a car was really nice. It was a session to just get as many laps as we could. We didn’t make any mistakes, we tried quite a few things, and I was confident in the car. I was really happy with our performance. It’s nice to see how different teams work. I’m looking forward to my remaining six FP1 performances with Haas F1 Team. It’s a fantastic team, so I’m really happy to join them and I’ll do my best. I started this FP1 session at one of the hardest tracks with a lot of downforce and a lot of fast corners. I think to be four-tenths from Romain is strong. He, of course, has a lot of experience and laps to start. I can’t wait to jump in the car again in Hungary. It will also be hard as it’s a difficult track, but I’ve already got some confidence from the car so it’ll be a little easier.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “A very workmanlike day. Antonio drove one of the cars in FP1 and he did a good job. We had some issues on the first outings with both cars – some electronic issues – which we sorted and were okay with on the second set of tires. The whole day was relatively uneventful. The drivers still need to adjust to the new brakes, which they used in FP2. We now need to analyze our long run – which was a solid one. We need to look at the data and see where we are, get ready for FP3, and get a good qualifying setup together and qualify well.”
Marcus Ericsson: “Overall, it has been a relatively productive day of testing for me. We were able to complete the planned programme without having any issues, tested different downforce levels and did other set-up work. I had a lot of fun driving, especially in the high-speed corners. On the other hand, our performance is surely not satisfying, so I hope that we can find more performance for the rest of the weekend.”
Pascal Wehrlein: “I had issues with the engine today, as was the case in Spielberg last week. We still managed to run through our programme and tried out various car set-ups. In the afternoon we focused on short runs and a long run. I hope that things will go better tomorrow and on Sunday.”