Bahrain International Circuit, Friday 6 April
FP1, although typically the most unrepresentative of the practice sessions in Bahrain given the daylight running hours, was a productive one for the team. The session was spent analysing various aerodynamic components brought to the track in alternate configurations across both cars. The session went smoothly for both drivers – Fernando finishing in 11th and Stoffel in 13th.
FP2 offered a chance for more comparative analysis, since the temperatures had dropped as darkness fell, the wind had subsided and the dust on the green track in the first session had been swept away by the running cars. Both Fernando and Stoffel enjoyed a trouble-free session, where they were able to do representative tyre tests and longer runs in preparation for the weekend ahead. The pair finished the session in ninth and 10th positions respectively.
FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren Driver
|FP1||1m33.223s (+2.163s)||24 laps||11th|
|FP2||1m31.282 (+1.465s)||29 laps||9th|
“Today was a case of ‘so far, so good’.
“The weekend has started in a positive way and there’s nothing in particular to worry about. There is a lot of analysis that we need to do concerning some of the new parts we have on our two cars, so I think we need to put everything together now and find the best compromise for tomorrow. Our aim for qualifying is to be in Q3 – a target we missed in Australia – and we need to deliver and do a perfect lap, so that we can beat some of the cars in front of us.
“It’s good that we completed our programme today. It’s always very important, especially in the evening session, to do as many laps as possible and understand the tyres, as we probably had higher degradation than we expected and we need to take this into account for Sunday.
“There’s a little bit more to extract from the car and hopefully we’ll do that tomorrow.”
STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren Driver
|FP1||1m33.364s (+2.304s)||25 laps||13th|
|FP2||1m31.422s (+1.605s)||35 laps||10th|
“Today has been a pretty good Friday for us. We have a few new bits on the car which we went through and evaluated in FP1 and FP2. FP2 is really the most valuable session for us in terms of preparing the car for qualifying tomorrow and for the race.
“The feeling was positive. Like in Australia, we are in this group where the lap-times are very close, and every tenth or hundredth we can find in the car will boost us further up the grid. Qualifying is always very tight and everyone puts their car at 100 per cent performance. We’re looking to do that as well tomorrow and we’ll see where we end up. The tyres are quite sensitive to this circuit and we know from the past few years that it’s quite harsh on degradation. There’s a lot of performance to be gained or lost in that area, so it’s an extra challenge, but the same for everyone.
“Despite our result in Australia, for us it’s just business as usual. We haven’t really changed our expectations, and we’ve put a lot of effort into preparing the car and making sure we maximise everything this weekend. Hopefully that will pay off and tomorrow will be a positive day for us. There’s a bit of work to do overnight but we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
ERIC BOULLIER, McLaren Racing Director
“Today was a valuable day of learning for us here in Bahrain. The two sessions went very smoothly on both sides of the garage, and Fernando and Stoffel provided constructive and positive feedback about the progress made throughout the day.
“We completed our programme with both cars, which included longer runs at the end of the day and has presented us with useful data in more representative conditions from the upgrades we have brought here. I’d also like to say thank you to everyone back at the factory who has been working hard to ensure we could come here with the remaining components we’d planned that we weren’t quite able to have ready in time for Australia.
“Qualifying is all-important tomorrow to decide our grid slots, and we’re under no illusion about the strength of our competition. We saw today that the midfield pack is very tight, so positions can be won or lost by the smallest of margins. We have work to do overnight to ensure we give ourselves the best opportunity for Sunday’s race, but we will surely put up a fight here tomorrow in front of our Bahraini friends and colleagues.”