Lewis Hamilton, P1 – 1:41.560, 8th; P2 – 1:38.315, 1st
“It was quite a difficult day today as we missed some of this morning’s session which put us on the back foot slightly, but we were glad to get some laps in the second session at least. We’re not too happy with the balance of the car at the moment, so we need to go and work on that. This circuit is particularly hard on tyres, as it has been every year, so we need to be prepared for that. A few of the other teams look to have improved in terms of pace, which is great as it means we will have a fight. There’s a lot of work to do and the guys are already here early and working late, but I’m confident that we can make some improvements going into tomorrow.”
Nico Rosberg, P1 1:40.181, 2nd; P2 – 1:38.726, 3rd
“It’s a unique weekend here in China; normally we struggle with rear tyre wear but here it seems to be the front tyres that I struggle with. You have so many long corners; you are just waiting and waiting and waiting to finish the corners. There is a lot of energy spent adapting to this situation. There is a need to be creative and look at the set-up, because graining can be very bad. We are still looking good performance wise, in terms of one-lap pace and on the long runs. But other teams were watching us and pushing a lot as we saw with Fernando today. I guess that my main rival for a win will again be my teammate, so I’m looking forward to the next in-house battle.”
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“This is a circuit where the performance is limited by the front tyres, which was limiting our overall performance. Nico ran a solid programme but Lewis lost some of the morning and afternoon sessions with a suspension problem, which put him behind the curve. In spite of this, I am still pleased with our level of performance but we certainly saw a more closed up field today because of the graining factor.”
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
“On Lewis’ side of the garage, we experienced a mechanical problem with the rear suspension in first practice. Once we had diagnosed this, we decided to end his session early because it required us to remove the gearbox. The guys did a great job over lunch to make the necessary changes and get him back out with minimal loss of track time. Nico completed his programme without any major issues today and P2 ran to plan with both cars, completing our information gathering with both types of tyre for qualifying and the race. However, both drivers are finding it tricky to get a good balance around this circuit, which has some challenging characteristics, so we have some more work to do overnight in order to improve further.”
Fernando Alonso, P1 – 1:39.783, 1st; P2 – 1:38.456, 2nd
“All Fridays are the same, a day when you especially need to test the tyres to adapt to the circuit and on this front, maybe it was less useful than usual, because the forecast for tomorrow suggests rain is on the way. We have brought some small updates here, which we already tried at the Bahrain test. Everything worked well and that’s good news. Leaving aside the performance of the others, I am happy with what we have done today. At every race, all the teams bring something new and we must try and make an additional step forward if we want to be competitive. This track is particularly tough on tyres, with the Softs especially suffering from graining over a long run, so it will be important to work out the tyre plan for Sunday. If it rains tomorrow, we will definitely have less information for the race and we will have to rely on guesswork. Let’s hope we make the right choices.”
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 – no time; P2 – 1:39.283, 7th
“It was a difficult day that began with a technical problem in the morning session, which meant I only did an installation lap. Once that was sorted out, in the afternoon, we tried to make up for lost time, concentrating mainly on getting the set-up suited to this track, sacrificing some of our race simulation. It’s difficult to give an overall assessment and I definitely missed out a bit because of the lack of track time. This evening we will concentrate on analysing the data we have gathered and tomorrow, we will try and make the very most of the final free practice session to get the car as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race.”
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
“It’s been a particularly demanding Friday, both for the drivers on track and for the guys in the garage. In the first session, Kimi’s car stayed in the garage throughout the session after completing his installation lap. With Fernando we managed to complete several aerodynamic tests and carry out some checks on the power unit. The afternoon ran more smoothly and with both cars we worked on balance and power delivery. Even if we are making progress on all fronts, we are well aware that it’s always hard to know where you stand on a Friday. Today’s low temperatures affected tyre performance and even if we can expect the track surface to be in better condition tomorrow, the rain expected for qualifying could turn the session into a real lottery. But more important than making predictions is to stay concentrated on our work.”
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 – 1:40.772, 3rd; P2 – 1:38.811, 4th
“That wasn’t too bad today. I think tyres are always a bit of a challenge around this track, particularly with the softs, they seem to wear on the front left. Turn one is quite bad and turn 13, coming onto the back straight; you do see marbles around the lap, but I think that’s just the nature of the circuit. Our long run looked pretty good and we did more laps than we thought we would, so let’s see how we go tomorrow and Sunday.”
Sebastian Vettel, P1 1:41.629, 9th; P2 – 1:39.015, 5th
“We didn’t have any major issues today, so it was good in terms of testing. The track was very green; I think Formula One were the only cars running on the circuit today. There’s a lot for us to do, for me especially as I’m not yet where I want to be, but we made some progress. Tyre graining was average today, but I think it was the same for the others also; I’m sure it will get better as the weekend goes on. If it’s dry then the circuit ramps up and if it’s wet then it resets every time.”
Daniil Kvyat, P1 – 1:41.977, 11th; P2 – 1:39.648, 10th
“It was a good Friday and it didn’t take me long to learn the track. I found it quite straight forward and we were able to start work on our basic set-up straight away. We managed to get through our programme and collect a lot of data for us to study tonight. So hopefully we will find a good compromise for tomorrow.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 – 1:41.505, 7th; P2 – 1:39.759, 13th
“I think it was a normal Friday. Today we needed to work on the long runs, in which we look pretty good. After today’s sessions we feel confident we can have a good car for Sunday. As for tomorrow, I think we still have some work to do. The weather forecast is clearly predicting rain so it’s difficult to say what to expect.”
Phil Charles, Toro Rosso chief race engineer
“Overall a pretty good day for us. We worked through our programme with both cars, including a tyre test at the end, so we were able to collect lots of interesting data. It’s another new track for Daniil and he’s done a very good job settling in. Jev has also done a good job but he is not particularly happy with his car balance, so we’ve got a little bit of work to do there. Tonight we’ll have a close look at all the data and prepare ourselves for the remainder of the weekend, which should be quite interesting with rain expected tomorrow.”
Jules Bianchi, P1 – 1:44.270, 19th; P2 – 1:42.327, 19th
“I keep saying that my objective is to have some better luck, but this morning I had barely completed my installation lap when we experienced a fuel system problem on my side and I had to sit out much of the session. The team worked really well to get me some track time at the end of the morning and to ensure that we were on top of the problem for the afternoon. I completed seven laps in FP1, which were still quite important and I was pleased with the balance of the car at this stage. The afternoon session was better for me and I’m pleased that I ended up ahead of my nearest competitors. We still need to work on the performance of the car here but with all the information we have I’m sure we can make good progress overnight.”
Max Chilton, P1 – 1:44.782, 20th; P2 – 1:43.473, 20th
“The conditions we are experiencing here are very different to Bahrain, so while we completed a lot of the preparation work for this race in Bahrain, we have needed to make adjustments to suit the specific nature of this track. We’ve made some good progress but our efforts have been hampered a little by some problems with the DRS, and this has prevented us from getting a good rhythm. Generally though, I’m quite happy with the way the race runs went and I’m feeling positive for the weekend ahead.”
John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Off the back of what was a very positive test last week, it is unfortunate that we have arrived here with a couple of issues, which have hampered the programme slightly today. From the very start of FP1, unfortunately we experienced a fuel system issue with Jules, although this was quickly rectified and he was able to get some baseline running completed at the end of FP1. Throughout the day, we have seen problems with our DRS system on both cars, and this has proved difficult to fix during running. The problem affected both drivers, but perhaps more so Max. On the positive side, the car seems to be behaving well in terms of balance and although there are some improvements to be made overnight we are reasonably happy with where we are. Tonight we will focus on a permanent fix for our DRS issues along with working through the data to try to improve the balance of the car ready for tomorrow. Looking at the weather we may have to deal with different conditions, so I’m sure it will be another interesting day.”
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 – 1:44.038, 17th; P2 – 1:43.530, 21st
FP1 started with the coldest track temperatures we’ve had this year so we had to work a lot on bringing the tyres up to the right operating temperatures. The car balance felt fine but we were having some issues with front locking and on the third run I had a flat spot on the front left that was right down to the carcass so, after speaking with Pirelli, we decided to end the session after 16 laps as it wouldn’t have been safe to run again on that set.
Over lunch we made a couple of changes to the car but in the first FP2 run it was a lot more snappy than it had been in the morning session so we made some more mechanical changes for the second run and there was an improvement, still a bit too much oversteer but definitely a step in the right direction. We followed our usual Friday plan and went onto the option tyres before finishing with the long runs, but I didn’t have a clean performance run due to a couple of issues in the cockpit so we’ll fix those for tomorrow. The final long run was ok – the deg levels on both compounds look reasonable and we have a lot of data to work through tonight before making more progress tomorrow.
Marcus Ericsson, P1 – 1:44.835, 21st; P2 – 1:43.679, 22nd
Twenty two laps in FP1 was a solid start to the weekend and meant we got through most of the planned program. Traction was the main issue for me throughout most of the session – with the cold track temperatures and hard tyres we used in FP1 there was very low grip out there and that meant I had to be especially careful in the braking zones, not being able to attack them as I’d like, but as the weekend progresses and the track rubbers in more that’ll obviously improve.
At the start of FP2 the car was oversteering too much, especially in the high speed corners, so we introduced a bit more understeer to help counteract that and it worked well on run two which we used to do some aero evaluation. Before going back onto the mediums for the last half hour, to do the long run, we tried the softs for the first time on the performance run but I didn’t have a clear lap and my final quickest time was nowhere near what the car is capable of. We have a couple of new procedures here which didn’t really work so we’ll change them for tomorrow and I’m sure there’s a considerable amount of time to come in both FP3 and qualifying.”
Esteban Gutierrez, P1 – 1:44.162, 18th; P2 – 1:40.359, 16th
“The clutch problem was not an ideal start to FP1, but the team did a great job fixing the issue quickly. I was able to get out on the track in the middle of the session, which was quite important. Unfortunately, we had another unexpected problem with the ERS. We did not have the full power and this issue effected the lap times enormously. However, we kept running to get a better feeling for the balance of the car. In the afternoon we were able to do the long runs. Obviously, we are not where we want to be at the moment. We will keep pushing to get things sorted out and try to make another step tomorrow.”
Adrian Sutil, P2 – 1:40.395, 17th
“I only ran in the second practice session. At the beginning it took a while to get going. The driveability of the car is still not easy. I am struggling with the tyres to get them to work. There is still a lot of work ahead of us. In comparison to Bahrain, I think we had more straight line top speed, which brings us closer to the teams in front of us. The mid-field is quite tight together. In terms of lap times, we are closer to our direct competitors, but we are obviously not there where we want to be.”
Giedo van der Garde, P1 – 1:42.615, 14th
“It was a good session. It made quite a big difference that I had been in the car for a whole day at the test in Bahrain. I think we did some good work today. The track was quite cold, so it was not easy to get the tyres to work. Other than that, it was positive that we could work on some set-up changes during the session. We also worked on the pedal and brake mapping, so all in all I am happy with the outcome of FP1. It is good to be back in the car again.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
“Esteban lost a lot of time in FP1 due to a clutch problem. Once this was fixed he was able to go out, but he was then hindered by an issue with the Energy Recovery System, which cost him good lap times. The afternoon was trouble free for both drivers and enabled us to work on our planned programme. We were able to find some improvements on the C33 which brought us closer to our direct competitors in low fuel conditions. This is positive, but in race conditions we are not yet where we should be. With these settings we are losing speed on the straights. This is something we have to look into.”
Jenson Button, P1 1:40.970, 4th; P2 – 1:39.491, 8th
“In terms of driveability, I think we’ve improved the car in a number of areas since Bahrain. There are a few more things we can do overnight, and there are some positive steps we can take to move a little closer to the front. After all, two weeks ago, in Bahrain, we also struggled during our long runs in FP2, so perhaps we’ll be better in the race here.
“Today, both my front tyres were graining – but then this place is very tough on front tyres, especially when you’re in traffic. There are a few things we can do with the set-up to ease the graining – and there are also a few things we want to do that will improve the car’s overall balance – so hopefully we’ll get a clearer picture tomorrow of where we stand – if it stays dry.”
Kevin Magnussen, P1 – 1:41.366, 6th; P2 – 1:39.744, 12th
“The first corner here is very tricky, and that’s where you do the damage to the front tyres.
“I don’t know why we’re not as competitive as we’ve been in the previous races, but we have a lot of front tyre degradation – and we need to investigate why. In fact, I’ve never had this much front tyre graining – it’s very difficult to deal with, so we’ll adjust the set-up and my driving style to compensate. It’s a new track for me, too, so I need to adapt to that.
“We’ll try to solve things overnight – but, if it rains tomorrow, at least we won’t have any front tyre graining!
“Let’s hope we can improve things for the race.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
“This circuit places some unique demands on the cars – not least, the graining that the front tyres experience, particularly through Turns One and Two, and the long corner that leads onto the back straight.
“It’s clear that there’s a division between the cars that can make the tyres work, and those that can’t – it’s a difficult balancing act, and we’re not quite there yet, but there’s plenty of potential to make improvements to the set-up overnight.
“The radar suggests that there will be rain at the circuit tomorrow – that’ll be interesting, as it means that, not only will qualifying become more of a lottery, but also many teams will go into the race on Sunday without a clear idea on set-up, strategy and performance. And that always makes for very interesting and unpredictable races.
“So, while today has been a difficult day, we’ve got plenty of lines of investigation to pursue tonight, and, as ever, I’m sure our engineers can do their usual excellent job to help push our cars closer to the front in time for Sunday’s race.”
Felipe Massa, P1 – 1:41.699, 10th; P2 – 1:39.118, 6th
“All of the upgrades we brought here have improved performance which is really positive. Having new parts that we will use is good news as we have made some good steps forward. The balance and feeling of the car is better, however we know that most other teams have also made improvements. The low track temperatures made it slippery, and if it rains tomorrow it will be the same in the race. We also suffered some graining on the front but we can make some changes to sort this problem. Today has been a good day and the long runs gave us some good data to work on.”
Valtteri Bottas, P2 – 1:39.830, 14th
“Conditions made it hard today, but we had some really good information from the new parts. It took time for me to get used to the track this afternoon after missing this morning, made harder by the fact that there are some difficult corner combinations, but once in the rhythm it was clear we have a better package than in Bahrain. The weather could play its part tomorrow if it rains, this will also mean the track stays slippery for the race which is always interesting. Overall I am feeling positive and I know I can offer a lot more for qualifying and the race.”
Felipe Nasr, P1 – 1:42.265, 13th
“It was a bit of a challenge as I have never driven this circuit before. So as well as testing new parts I was also learning the track, which compromised how much I could push. We had some new parts to test so I was focusing on that. The track was cold and so grip was low, but we had to work around that. The positive factor is that it’s another circuit learnt and more time in the car which is really valuable for me.”
Rob Smedley, head of vehicle performance
“It has been a good day. We had a complicated and involved programme which we completed, so well done to the guys for that. The morning consisted of aero testing of a number of new components, most of which were positive. This afternoon we looked at mechanical and power unit set-up and completed that programme as well, which means it has been a really busy day. The guys did really well, but we now need to spend tonight analysing all the data to make sure that we are prepared for tomorrow.”
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 – 1:41.175, 5th; P2 – 1:39.736, 11th
“It was quite a smooth day in terms of completing our programme and working through the job list. There is still work to do on the set-up and some things we can try to optimise the car ahead of tomorrow, but on the whole I’m satisfied with what we learnt today. The tyre work went okay and we have all the data that we need on the soft and the medium tyres to prepare for the rest of the weekend.”
Sergio Perez, P1 – 1:42.733, 15th; P2 – 1:40.124, 15th
“I had an issue with the DRS this morning, but the afternoon was much better and we completed our lap target. The tyre work went to plan and, as we expected, the degradation was high on the soft tyre. I’m still not completely happy with the balance so there are some areas to work on overnight.”
Robert Fernley, deputy team principal
“It’s been a fairly normal Friday for us with both cars getting through their respective programmes. Sergio lost some track time with a DRS issue this morning, but the afternoon was much more straightforward. There are a few aero developments on the car this weekend, which we ran during the Bahrain test, and we continued to evaluate them here. It’s difficult to judge our competitiveness based on today’s performance, but it’s fair to say that we have some work to do this evening to optimise things. There’s also a good chance of rain tomorrow, which could impact on qualifying and make things interesting.”