Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer:
It was a day of two halves! We had a great session this morning, the first practice session of Lance’s Formula One career. He did a great job of taking it step-by-step, doing some good laps whilst getting familiar with a circuit he has never driven on before. He made steady progress throughout the session. On Felipe’s side of the garage, there was also some good running on both high and low fuel, and different tyres with encouraging pace. In FP2, unfortunately it wasn’t so good on Felipe’s side. We had an electrical problem which stopped the car on the circuit and brought his session to an end very early. We know the issue so it will be resolved easily overnight. He did get one run on the supersoft tyres before stopping, but unfortunately we missed out on the long runs. Meanwhile, Lance had another good session and we got good data from him on high fuel and we’ll be working with all of that information overnight.
It’s not really the great day we were expecting and unfortunately I couldn’t finish the second session; I only did six laps. The track was still a little bit dirty and then suddenly we had this issue in the car. I went into neutral and couldn’t select any gears, which meant that I lost the opportunity to try the ultrasoft tyres and do any long runs. It’s a shame that we did thousands of kilometres in Barcelona and then had this issue here, but I don’t think it’s a serious thing, which is positive. We need to concentrate 100% tomorrow and I really hope things can go the right way.
For me it was a good day. I did some laps and was just learning the track. It feels good to just finally break the ice and do some driving, especially as it has been quite a long build-up as I got here early to acclimatise. It is not a track I have been to before, so I can’t just go out and push to the limit. I have to build up to it, which is what I was doing today, and still leaving a bit of a margin. There is not a lot of room for error on this track, but it is fun and so far I have really enjoyed driving it. FP2 was quite a scruffy session for me. The first run was alright, but then on the second one it was a shame as there was a yellow flag so I had to abort the lap, which meant we missed out on that one lap on the ultrasofts we wanted. However, today were just the first practice sessions. I think I can still improve as I am learning a lot, and there is still a lot to understand.