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

2018-belgian-grand-prix-friday-practice

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

Race Weekend: 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Circuit: Spa-Francorchamps

The summer break is finally over and we’re resuming with our race weekends. In this post, you can see all the latest from Friday practice at one of the most-loved tracks, the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.

As we all know, Friday Practice doesn’t count too much in terms of the overall race weekend however it does give teams and drivers a chance to evaluate things ahead of Qualifying and of course, race day.

Let’s take a look and see what the drivers and team members had to say following the session.

FERRARI – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel: “Overall, I think it’s going the right way. Today it was a bit difficult to figure out where we are and I think we’ll have to wait for tomorrow to have a better idea.”

“The new engine has done what it was supposed to do. Today everything was working well. Now we’ll see about tomorrow: rain shouldn’t give us any more problems and, should we have wet conditions, it would be quite nice to have confirmation that we found the right things to do.”

“On this track everything seems to happen faster, so it should be a lot of fun and if we have dry conditions tomorrow for qualifying, we should be ok.”

“There are still some special tracks on the calendar and for sure this one in Spa is very exciting in terms of cornering speeds. We still need to do some work, but we have time to do it.”

Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen: “That was our first day of practice after the break; we did our pretty usual job to get a feeling for the car once again.”

“I enjoy driving on this track, it has a good flow and this generation of cars are pretty nice to drive here. I think Spa is a great circuit, but obviously this doesn’t make you faster or slower.”

“We always say that Friday is Friday and times don’t really matter today; it was ok, but for sure we still have some work ahead of us. Tomorrow we’ll try to do our best and see where we end up.”

“We expected some rain today but it did not come. But the weather can still be a key point this weekend, as it changes very quickly here.”

MERECEDES – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton: “It’s good to be back. The break is never really long enough but there is a point when you miss driving so I’m happy to be back in the car again. These are the fastest F1 cars we’ve ever had and you really feel it as this track.”

“You go almost flat through Pouhon – it’s crazy. We’ve brought a new engine today and everything was running smoothly. It’s really close between us and Ferrari and it seems like we’ve both been bringing new updates at a similar rate.”

“For the middle sector, you want to have a good amount of downforce but you want less in the other sectors to gain speed down the straights. The challenge is to find the right balance and thankfully, I have a great team working on that. Coming into the weekend, I heard that it was going to be raining all weekend.”

“There were some spits of rain on certain parts of the track during FP1 but in FP2, it was nice and dry – I hope it stays that way as this is a track which is awesome to drive in the dry.”

Valtteri Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas: “In general, the car felt pretty good today. The balance was slightly off in the beginning of the day but we managed to correct that so the car felt pretty much nice all through the track.”

“The lower speed sectors were a little more challenging for us as we struggled with traction coming out of the corners. Ferrari looked a little bit quicker in some combinations like Turn 5 to Turn 7 but I don’t think that we were too far off.”

“It’s always difficult to make race predictions on Friday but in terms of set-up, it is usually compromise between Qualifying and the race. Given my grid penalty this weekend, the focus for me will obviously be the race. Fortunately, the long-run pace felt good and I am confident that this is possible to come through the field here in Spa.”

“The new engine also felt good today so I’m looking forward to the race – it should be fun.”

James Allison

“It was a curate’s egg of a day. The good part of it was that we ran through the programme we planned without any mechanical dramas to the car and we picked up the information we need to have from the tyres.”

“The other good parts of it were that both drivers at various points of both sessions looked quick and that the new engines ran reliably and showed a promising performance. The area where we need to do work is that the long runs were poor and scrappy affairs with both drivers.”

“A mixture of traffic and more flat-spoofing meant that we didn’t establish the rhythm that gives you a warm feeling going into Sunday. So it wasn’t a bad day – it could have been better but we will do our traditional job of tucking-in overnight to see what we can improve to make sure that the cars have got a good combination of single lap pace and long-run speed.”

RED BULL RACING – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo

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Daniel Ricciardo: “This morning I had some issues and the mechanics had to take the back off the car, which was time consuming, so I only completed one timed lap. Maybe they thought I needed an extended summer break (laughs) but I was definitely ready to drive.”

“This afternoon we made lots of changes and went back and forth on set-up. We learnt quite a lot but I felt that maybe as we improved one thing we created a problem with something else.”

“With the limited running we haven’t found the optimum balance yet and need to improve on both short and long runs. We will do a bit of homework tonight to find the best compromise and some more pace.”

Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen: “It is always difficult to judge how you compare after day one as not everyone is pushing 100%. Today we mostly concentrated on setting up the car with very low downforce.”

“Of course we know this won’t be our strongest track so we are focusing on getting as close as we can on the short runs. Our long run pace doesn’t look bad at the moment either so I’m quite happy with that, with a bit more grip it should be even better.”

“We have to be realistic, fifth and sixth is about where we expect to be around here due to our power deficit but we are trying to optimise everything on the car to be as close as we can. Over the last few days the chance of rain has decreased which is a bit of a shame as this helps us close the gap.”

“Already the orange flares have been lit which is great to see – it’s nice to see so many fans out here supporting me on a Friday.”

MCLAREN – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso

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Fernando Alonso: “I missed FP1 today but it was not a big loss, as straight away I felt comfortable with the car and the circuit, which I know pretty well, so it was fine on that side.”

“I’m happy that we tried both tyres and did some interesting tests, especially on Stoffel’s car, so let’s see what we can do to improve for tomorrow. It seems like it was difficult to find the right rhythm in the first session.”

“We’re lacking a little bit of performance so far this weekend, so we definitely need to work out where we can find a couple of tenths for tomorrow if we want to be in the fight.”

“We don’t seem to be lacking in one sector or one area in particular, as all of them seem to be quite similar. It’s not just on one part of the circuit, which makes it even more difficult, but we have a couple of ideas to improve for tomorrow and Sunday.

“The target remains to be in the points on Sunday, and for that we know how important tomorrow’s qualifying is.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

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Stoffel Vandoorne: “I had a day full of problems again today and it’s not been the best start to the weekend. I had some brake problems at the start of FP1 and then some engine-related problems, so I didn’t really manage to get any proper laps in and it didn’t really feel like I’ve been working today. “

“I started off with some problems again in FP2, so I had maybe one run that was more or less representative. It’s been a very frustrating day for me, especially in front of my home crowd.”

“I came here very optimistic, looking forward to racing here, with a lot of positive energy and a lot of support from the fans, and to start off the weekend like this was definitely not ideal. It feels like we’ve had so many problems lately and I’m really hoping to get some normal running. It’s obviously very frustrating.”

“The performance today was definitely not there. We’re still lacking a lot of pace and competitiveness and there’s still a lot of work to be done. I think we need a bit of a miracle this weekend to be able to extract some kind of good result.”

“The only thing that could maybe push us up a bit higher is some rain or some tricky conditions. Maybe the rain will come – we’ll see – but there’s still a long way to go and it’s hard to see us progress a lot this weekend.”

I think the team is definitely expecting me to perform and I think I’ve performed quite well over the last couple of races. We’ve had our issues, but we’ve showed some very good performance in Hungary.”

“Obviously they want to see how we compare, but I think first of all the team should give me a car that is able to run on track before we can be compared.”

Lando Norris

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Lando Norris: “It was a very busy day today, juggling between F2 and F1. I had to get on my bike to get up to the F1 paddock in time for FP1. It was a bit stressful but it was worth it!”

“It’s been a good day, anyway. I was a bit nervous this morning as it’s obviously very exciting to be back in the car, especially in Spa, which is probably one of my favourite tracks. We got through our programme nicely and I got in a good amount of laps.”

“I’ve driven here in the past in F4, Formula Renault, Formula 3, Formula 2 and F1 now, so I know how every car goes around here! We did some aero tests and none of my runs was a proper performance run, which was a nice thing to do, so it was not about speed but more about consistency and feedback.”

“It’s very different to drive in Formula 1, mainly because of the pressure. There are a lot more people here. I think it’s a good thing that I get to see first-hand what it’s like to drive in a race weekend, and to have a rough idea of where I stand compared to Stoffel and Fernando.”

“After doing the Budapest test I feel pretty ready for any opportunity to jump in the car, and I’m getting more and more comfortable with everything I do, so it doesn’t take me a while to build up.”

“With so few opportunities in F1 in general to be in the car, I think you need to make the most of any chance to drive, to learn and to prove yourself, be consistent, be fast, be reliable and give good feedback, which I feel like I did today.”

SAUBER – FRIDAY PRACTICE – 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Marcus Ericsson

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Marcus Ericsson: “It’s nice to be back after the summer break – especially on a track like this. The day was trouble-free for us and we went through the planned programme. The car felt good and we tried some different set-ups and will analyse the data tonight.”

“We are competitive and feeling confident, we will be in the fight tomorrow and on Sunday.”

Charles Leclerc

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Charles Leclerc: “It was a positive day for us, the car feels good and I am happy with our performance as we have finished the two practice sessions in the midfield.”

“We still have work to do ahead of tomorrow and we will work tonight to make sure that we step forward, which is what we usually do from a Friday to Saturday.”

“Its good to get back to racing after the break, I look forward to being in the car again!”

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

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