Kevin spent the first half of the morning session conducting detailed aerodynamic studies, his car running with a large measuring rake behind each front wheel. He continued his progress into FP2, but never felt fully happy with the overall pace and feel of the car.
Jenson had a disappointing morning – his car suffered an early electrical failure that forced the team to spend the rest of the morning replacing his ERS pack. While they concluded the work minutes before the end of the session, unfortunately they still weren’t quite able to get him out of the garage in time.
He was thereby placed on the back foot for the afternoon session, so to speak, but nonetheless worked through some important development and set-up work.
FP1 1m14.136s (+1.372s) 30 laps 9th
FP2 1m13.479s (+1.356s) 33 laps 10th
“The car doesn’t feel too bad around here, but it’s been difficult to set competitive times because we’re lacking a bit of top speed compared with some of the others. We need to look at why that’s happening.
“In today’s high temperatures, we struggled with the tyres a bit more than we’d expected, too. If we experience similar conditions on Sunday, we might see a bit of degradation across the field. But it’ll be the same for everyone, so won’t be too much of a problem, and it may possibly rain anyway.
“If it’s dry on Saturday, I think we can still improve the set-up and make some progress. We should be able to find some more pace, in fact, and hopefully get a decent result in qualifying tomorrow.”
FP1 No time 1 lap 17th
FP2 1m14.209s (+2.086s) 31 laps 16th
“This morning was a bit problematic – I only managed to get an install lap under my belt just before I had a problem with the ERS unit. But things were better this afternoon.
“The new asphalt changed the character of the circuit quite a lot, which is a shame. What’s also strange is that our maximum speed is quite a way off that of the front-runners – our downforce levels don’t look too dissimilar, but we wouldn’t have been able to match the best top speeds without taking the wing off. There’s a lot of work to do overnight, but I think we understand where the issues lie.
“Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be colder and wetter – which will mix it up for everyone – so it’s important for us to find the right set-up, because the forecast says Sunday will probably be dry. Even if qualifying is wet, we really need a dry FP3 to refine the set-up.
“The car is definitely better than we showed today.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“A difficult day. Kevin was able to make the most of the morning session to carry out some important aerodynamic tests, but Jenson was sidelined almost immediately by an ERS failure. He was then forced to sit out the entire session while his mechanics and engineers rectified the problem.
“Jenson was able to get back on track this afternoon, but was running behind schedule, missing out on the important running that’s needed to familiarise oneself with the brand-new asphalt that’s been laid for this year’s race. The abundance of red-flag stoppages during the session didn’t help his progress, either.
“We need to understand why our straight-line speed is lacking compared to our rivals’. On such a short circuit – and one where the two long straights play a dominant role in determining lap-time – we are losing out significantly.
“With wet weather expected tomorrow, it could be a tricky weekend for us. But, with some hard work tonight, we should be able to make significant improvements.”