Williams Martini Racing Team quotes following the Friday practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: It was a fairly normal Friday apart from the fact that we lost some time with Felipe on his set of hard tyres which, in the end, we couldn’t run due to an issue on the rim. Apart from that, we got the low fuel work done on the soft tyre which was important, and some running on high fuel for the soft and the medium compounds. Between the two drivers, I think we’re quite consistent. Clearly the track has changed a lot with the new asphalt. It’s a lot smoother, less bumpy and generates more grip. There’s definitely less degradation, which is good – but it’s the same for everyone. We need a little more understanding of where the tyre temperatures need to be on this new asphalt as the requirements on the front and the rear are quite different. We’ve done all the work we needed to do today and we now just need to look at what we’re going to do to get a bit more pace out of the car. We’re not far away from where we should be. We’re expecting the same weather and temperatures for the start of the race, so today is pretty representative of that. It should be a little cooler for qualifying with that being later in the day. It was 60C at the start of FP2 today. That obviously makes it quite difficult to manage the tyres. Our main focus tonight has to be to get the cars balanced to protect the rear tyres and to get reasonable balance for the race.
Valtteri Bottas: Today was a pretty standard Friday. We got plenty of data and it was interesting to understand how the new tarmac would affect this year’s car. It definitely provided more grip. The tyres were also behaving more consistently than in previous years. The long runs were especially interesting today but the feeling was positive and we got some good data from them. We still need to improve our one lap pace, but the overall feeling is OK.
Felipe Massa: Unfortunately, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do today. I had to abort a few laps as we had an issue which lost us some time, so it wasn’t a straightforward afternoon. The pace also wasn’t fantastic compared to others, so we have work to do tonight to hopefully have a better Saturday.