Force India: Drivers happy with the baseline set-up
Sahara Force India topped the timesheets in Sochi this morning during a disrupted practice session ahead of Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix. The rain-affected afternoon session saw all the teams complete limited mileage in anticipation of dry weather over the weekend.
Nico Hülkenberg: “It has not been the most adventurous day in the car. It’s always frustrating when you have a big work plan and you can’t go out, but it’s the same set of conditions for everyone. Like in Suzuka two weeks ago, we finish Friday without having done much running, but that generally makes it more interesting and unpredictable for the rest of the weekend. The next two days are likely to be dry, so tomorrow morning’s final practice will be crucial: we will need to learn and adapt quickly ahead of qualifying. We will need to squeeze a long run in during FP3 and do the necessary car and tyre set-up exploration. It will be a busy session, but at the same time it could generate an opportunity for us. It’s going to be a big challenge for everyone.”
Sergio Perez: “The work we have done today is limited. The track conditions this morning were very poor so we ran a reduced programme. It wasn’t easy to evaluate the set-up changes so we could not learn very much. Then, the rain arrived this afternoon and we only did a few laps. It means final practice tomorrow morning is going to be the most important practice session of all – just as it was in Japan. I still feel optimistic for the weekend and I think we have the potential to be competitive here.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: “The spillage of diesel on the track this morning and the wet afternoon session leave all the teams with limited knowledge ahead of what is expected to be a dry weekend. Despite the lack of mileage, both Nico and Sergio were quite happy with the baseline set-up of their cars, even though track conditions were less than ideal. The main focus now is to make sure we maximise our learning during final practice with a combination of short and longer runs, especially on the supersoft tyres, which we didn’t manage to use today. On days like today we also have to make good use of our simulation tools because it’s a circuit for which we have minimal information with only one previous event here.”