FP1 & FP2 - 2018 Abu Dhabi GP team quotes

Team quotes


By Olivier Ferret

23 November 2018 - 16:59


Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer

It’s great to be back in Abu Dhabi and to be reaching the end of a very long season. Practice in Abu Dhabi is tricky because FP1 is in very hot, sunny conditions at 1pm whereas FP2 in the evening is far more representative of qualifying and the race. As usual, we did a lot of experimental work in FP1 with both Robert and Lance. Robert was in the car for his third FP1 of the season, which was planned from the outset, but is clearly beneficial given his confirmed drive for next year. Our performance in FP1 was unfortunately better than it ended up in FP2, which is the one that matters more. We have a lot of homework to do tonight to understand that issue and to be stronger for qualifying tomorrow.

Lance Stroll

We have nothing too different this weekend and we are still more or less in the same positions. We will see what tomorrow brings and we will try and break it down tonight and look for some more lap time. I don’t want to come to conclusions today, as tomorrow is a new day, anything is possible in qualifying and maybe there will be a surprise or two. It is great to be here in Abu Dhabi, I enjoy the track, which is unique, the infrastructure is great, it is a great destination to wrap up the season and it is certainly a party scene.

Sergey Sirotkin

It was a tough session, probably the most difficult FP2 in the season. It is a demanding track for the tyre and it’s difficult to put the car balance all together throughout the lap. We must analyse the data tonight, so we have a lot of work to do. Tomorrow is a new day, it’s the last race and I am looking forward to it.

Robert Kubica

We completed a productive FP1. The programme was orientated at evaluating next year and we collected some valuable data during the session. It was not easy as I hadn’t driven the car for nearly four months but from a test point of view it was good. I am looking forward to Tuesday and Wednesday as it’ll be an important test for everybody. It will be nice to be back in the car and working towards the goal of Australia.

Red Bull


“The car seems to be working really well again, better than expected just like we experienced in Brazil. I felt positive right from the start which usually results in a good Friday performance. It was mostly smooth apart from a little moment I had and bottomed out on the long kerb. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage so we carried on as usual. I don’t expect these kerbs to be an issue during the race as we should not be going that wide with our line. As we have seen already this season we are good at managing the tyres. I would expect this to be another circuit where tyre management is key to a good result, hopefully it plays into our hands again. Both long runs and short runs look good for the tyres so I’m pleased with how it has gone so far. A good final Friday of 2018, now time to focus on qualifying.”


“It was a pretty good Friday and it went well for both cars. Hopefully it will stay the same tomorrow as it’s all very close at the moment. The tyres are certainly degrading in the heat which I think will help us. The hypersoft shows a bit more wear on the fronts and the ultra and super has more on the rears. We’re normally in as good a shape as anyone, if not better, with the tyres so it will be important to stay on top of that and take advantage during the race. We looked strong on the long runs today and although there is still a bit to find on the short runs, the exciting thing is that there’s more to come from the car. Since Monaco I’ve been hoping for a strong weekend and now this is my last chance with the Team, I want it even more. It’s only Friday so I don’t know what’s possible in the race yet, but hopefully we can be somewhere on the podium if we perform well in qualifying.”

Toro Rosso

Pierre Gasly

“It was a positive Friday for us as I finished P11 in both sessions. The first feeling with the car is pretty good, but we need to put everything together because we are still lacking some performance to make it inside the top 10. It makes it a great challenge ahead of tomorrow, so we need to work hard tonight to find the best compromise to get our best performance for Qualifying and have a good race on Sunday.”

Brendon Hartley

“Overall it was a positive start to the weekend, a pretty good day for us! We’ve put a lot of focus on the long run high fuel tyre-life, which is an area we struggled with at the last race. I didn’t really have a clean low fuel run on the Hypersoft and I had a little issue with the car, but the real positive was the high fuel running. The race pace looked really strong for us and we’ll keep working overnight.”

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)

“After the last event, where we qualified well and our race pace wasn’t as expected, we put in a lot of effort into understanding our delta pace between short and long runs. The majority of the work today was to understand that further, based on the analysis from last week in order to gear the car up for race pace, but at the same time not compromise the short run pace. We were quite aggressive with our tyre choice here and we’ve predominately run on Hypersofts, with both cars running two Hypersofts in FP1. Brendon had a fairly productive session where we confirmed much of our analysis. Unfortunately for Pierre, he had an issue with the gearbox on his final run. We understood what the problem was, but to ensure there was no risk in FP2 we elected to change the gearbox. FP2 is probably one of the most important sessions of the weekend because it’s the only session prior to Qualifying and the Race where track conditions are relevant. The focus was then on trying to optimise the car over the short run but with the car setup for a high fuel run. The car is working well for Pierre, but Brendon didn’t quite get the lap together, so there’s definitely more to come from his side of the garage. The competitiveness over the short run is looking where we expect, and over the long runs I think it’s fair to say that it’s improved compared to recent events. We still need to complete a more detailed analysis tonight to make sure that is the case. The big issue that all teams are facing is the graining on the Hypersoft, it’s a particularly weak tyre on high fuel and it looks like there’s not much that can be done to manage it. This will make a big difference in the race between the drivers starting in P10 and P11 – the tyres will make for an interesting race for those at the tail end of the top 10.”

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director)

“On the PU front, we had a trouble-free day and night, in the first two sessions of the final race of the season. The team opted to change the gearbox on Gasly’s car after the first session, following the incident in FP1, but fortunately this did not affect the PU in any way.”


Despite facing some challenges today, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team is confident of its chances of moving forwards in the midfield this weekend, as the results of the Friday practice sessions do not reflect the full potential.

Marcus Ericsson headed into FP1 alongside Antonio Giovinazzi, where both drivers experienced some difficulties with the overall grip. Giovinazzi completed his final free practice session of the season, doing a solid job and giving his feedback ahead of FP2.

Charles Leclerc was back in his cockpit for the second free practice session, which Marcus Ericsson and he approached with different configurations on their cars. Testing various set-ups, the team has collected the data needed to achieve the progress they aim to make tomorrow.

Antonio Giovinazzi

“I am pleased to have concluded my final free practice session for the team in a positive way. We completed the planned programme and I gave my feedback for the team to be able to make some good steps forward for the upcoming sessions this weekend. It has been a great opportunity to get to know the team better, and I look forward to continuing on this path.”

Marcus Ericsson

“The sessions today were quite tricky, and I am still not completely satisfied with the feeling in the car. We have some work ahead of us to understand what is missing for us to unlock our full potential as we have done in the past weekends. We will work hard tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc

“We have some work ahead of us to understand why we are so competitive in certain conditions and a bit less in others. We have an idea of how we can maximise our potential for the weekend, so we will work on this with the goal of being up to speed for qualifying tomorrow.”

Racing Point Force India


“It wasn’t the easiest day for me. The car had some issues this morning and I couldn’t get comfortable with the balance. We think there could have been some damage. The afternoon was a bit better, but we had to work really hard to get on top of the balance issues I had with the car. I still think we can be in the top ten tomorrow because we normally pick up some speed between Friday and Saturday when we’ve gone through all the data. ”


“It was a solid day and being fifth in the first session shows that we are in good shape. The car was strong this evening too. We know where we can improve and I think we can find some more performance tonight before qualifying. The midfield is really close, but I think we can target Q3. The race pace looks competitive as well and I think we can end the season on a high note.”


“It was a bit of a mixed day. We had two routine sessions on Esteban’s side of the garage, where everything ran to plan, gathering set-up information and understanding the tyre compounds. We struggled a little more with the balance on Sergio’s car at first, but we were able to improve it for FP2. There is plenty of work to do ahead of qualifying. The conditions varied significantly between FP1 and FP2 here, with the track 15 degrees cooler in the evening. FP2 focused our minds on understanding the conditions for qualifying and the race, but we’ll need to offset all our data for FP3 when the track will be hot again. That’s the same for everyone and we’ll need to do our best to be ahead of a very tight midfield.”

Renault F1

Renault Sport Formula One Team’s preparations for the final race of the 2018 season got underway today at the stunning Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Over the two sessions Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz worked through a standard plan of tyre comparisons and qualifying and race trim runs.

Nico finished the day with the eighth quickest time, 1:38.230, with Carlos just three tenths behind in twelfth.

Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes

- Our programme was largely concentrated into the later practice session, which took place in the more representative temperature conditions seen in the race.
- In FP1 Nico conducted some aero tests before looking at the performance of the Ultrasoft tyres. Carlos also ran the Ultrasoft tyres.
- In FP2 Nico compared the Pirelli Ultrasoft and Hypersoft tyres, while Carlos ran the Supersoft and Hypersoft tyres. Both conducted high and low fuel runs to assess performance in race and qualifying trim.
- Both drivers finished the day satisfied with the programme and we go into Saturday in reasonable shape.
- We have a few areas to work on, but largely we have a well-balanced car that is competitive around this track.

Nico Hülkenberg

“It’s been a relatively good Friday as we were able to get our work completed. It is a little bit hard to judge where we stand as the track, and therefore the car, felt quite different between FP1 and FP2. It’s always the case in Abu Dhabi as the conditions change a lot between the afternoon and evening. There’s still some work to do on the speed, but overall I think we are in good shape for the rest of the weekend.”

Carlos Sainz

“The conditions between FP1 and FP2 were very different as always. The first session wasn’t very representative with poor car balance and grip, but when night fell we were able to pick up more grip and improve the balance. We have some work to do as it looks like it won’t be a straightforward race strategy, so preparing for good tyre management is very important. We are positive going into tomorrow.”

Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director

“Yas Marina is a great place to hold a race, but it’s not an easy circuit by any means. There are several tight sections but the long back straight requires some trade-offs in set-up. Added into the mix are very different track and ambient conditions between the afternoon and evening sessions, which makes FP1 somehow unrepresentative. We were however able to have a straightforward day, with no major issues, apart from a small off-track excursion for Carlos. We did however manage to repair the car in time for FP2. We improved the balance of the cars over the day and both drivers felt we went in the right direction. We collected valuable data on the tyres, which will be helpful in finalising our strategy for the race.”

Haas F1

The final round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi as teams prepared for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday.

Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track were run under clear conditions, with Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen navigating the counter-clockwise layout that boasts a top speed of 335 kph (208 mph) and an average speed of 195 kph (121 mph).

While the top speeds are high, the track’s array of corners forces teams to compromise on their cars’ setup, employing medium levels of downforce. The layout emphasizes traction and braking and, with the Yas Marina surface being relatively smooth, Pirelli’s softest tire compounds are used since the demand on tires is minimal in comparison to other circuits. This means a return to the Pink hypersoft tire – the grippiest compound in Pirelli’s lineup – which actually debuted at Abu Dhabi last year during testing following the grand prix.

Both Grosjean and Magnussen began FP1 on the Purple ultrasoft tire before transitioning to the Pink hypersofts, commenting rear grip was a challenge on the initial compound but the overall balance of their racecars improved considerably on the latter compound. Magnussen’s quick time of 1:40.235 came on his 13th lap shod on hypersofts. He ran 21 laps and was the sixth-fastest driver. Grosjean’s best time was a 1:40.663 on his 15th lap, also set on hypersofts. He ran 24 laps and posted the 10th-quickest time.

Leading the way in FP1 was Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, whose fast lap of 1:38.491 was .454 of a second better than the next quickest driver, his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

As day turned to night in FP2, speeds picked up and lap times dropped. Grosjean wrapped FP2 as the seventh-quickest driver with a time of 1:38.060, which was 2.603 seconds better than his best lap in FP1. His quick time came on the 11th of his 30 laps on a set of hypersofts, which he called “quite resilient.” Magnussen shaved 1.917 seconds off his FP1 time with a lap of 1:38.318 to finish the session ninth fastest. His fast lap came on his 13th tour, also while utilizing the hypersoft tire after switching from ultrasofts. He also completed 30 laps.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas topped FP2 with a mark of 1:37.236, which was .044 of a second better than Verstappen, his nearest pursuer. The Yas Marina track record of 1:36.231, set last year by Bottas in the final round of knockout qualifying, remained intact.

Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 105 laps – 54 by Grosjean and 51 by Magnussen.

Romain Grosjean

“It was a pretty good Friday. I think it was a good improvement from the afternoon into the evening. I was pretty happy with the way the evening session went, which is most important for the weekend, so that was quite positive. FP1 and FP3 aren’t representative, whereas FP2 is, so I’m glad the car worked well there. We have a few things to look into to make sure we get the best of the car tomorrow and prepare for the race the best way we can. Generally, we’re happy with where we are.”

Kevin Magnussen

“I guess it was a pretty good Friday. It’s always tricky here with FP1 in bright daylight and the track being so hot, then for FP2 it cools down a lot in the evening. It’s not that easy to learn too much between the two sessions because of the temperature difference. The car seemed to be OK in both sessions, so that’s good news. It’s more the long run on the hypersoft tire, which was the tricky one. It’s difficult to make those tires last more than five laps. The front tires take a big hit. Overall though, I’m happy about how today went.”

Günther Steiner

“Practice went pretty well today. We didn’t have any big issues. We successfully ran through all of our programs. Let’s hope we continue on that path in qualifying tomorrow and have a good final race on Sunday.”


Valtteri tops the timesheets on Friday evening, Lewis comes home in P4

- Valtteri finished FP1 in P3 with Lewis in P4
- Valtteri ended the evening session in P1 with Lewis two tenths behind in P4

Valtteri Bottas

FP2 was really good, the car felt like I could trust it and drive it the way I want. FP1 was less good, but I think that’s pretty usual here. The track is very green when we first go out and it’s much hotter during the day than it is in the evening session. So I’m glad we got the car to work well in the evening session as it is very difficult to try out set-up changes in FP3 because it is so hot. We definitely learned a lot from the runs we did today, especially in the evening, and there are plenty of things we can adjust overnight to find a good set-up for qualifying and the race. It’s nice to be on top of the timesheets, but we now need to build on that, we need to try and make the right set-up changes and I also need to find more performance from myself. My goal for the weekend is to repeat last year’s result, but there’s still plenty of work to do.

Lewis Hamilton

Overall, it’s been a good day; even though the first session was not great. The track was very green in the beginning, so there was a lot of sliding around and – just like everyone else – we were struggling with the tyres. There’s a big difference in track temperature between the two sessions; the conditions in FP2 are much more representative of qualifying and the race, so in that respect FP1 and FP3 don’t really tell you a whole lot. We made some really good changes over the break and I was much happier with the car in FP2, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Red Bull looked quick today, they’re usually fast in practice and in the race, so I have no doubts it will be the same this weekend.

Andrew Shovlin

We had a lot of 2019 test and development items on both cars in FP1 so that was a very busy session although we were still able to do a reasonable amount of the normal race preparation. We also ran through a number of checks on Lewis’s power unit and so far it all looks normal which is good news. You always struggle a bit more with overheating in FP1 but other than that, the car seemed to be working ok. In FP2 we had a more normal programme, the car seemed a bit more competitive, especially on a long run and it feels like we’ ve got a decent platform to work with. It’s nice coming here and not having to worry about the championships but the team and both drivers are wanting to finish the season in style, so we’ll be attacking the weekend with our normal focus and determination. This is a race where qualifying is very important and from the times today, it looks like it’s going to be quite tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and us. We’ve definitely not got everything out of the package today so we will work hard overnight as we’ll need every last bit if we want to get the cars on the front row for the race on Sunday.


Sebastian Vettel

“I think today has been ok; obviously we are not quick enough yet, but we did improve between the two sessions, track conditions came towards us and hopefully tomorrow we will be better placed and we’ll try to do our best. I think on Sunday a lot will depend on the tyres. We tried to work a bit on the car today and we still have some margin in terms of performance, but we need to find another extra bit of pace. However, I think we should be able to improve for the race. I was surprised by the fact that the tyres allow you a second attempt on a fast lap today. This is the last race of the season and I remain focused on this year. There’s still a few months to the beginning of a new Championship, so I think we can still learn something from the car we have now”.

Kimi Raikkonen

“Today, the first session of free practice was a bit tricky in the hotter conditions. However, in the second session after sunset, we were able to improve our pace and the feeling with the car was pretty OK. Twilight conditions do not affect driving at all, only the tyres get a little bit cooler. If you look at the time sheet, you will see that everybody is pretty close, with six drivers within three tenths of a second, so we see where we can end up tomorrow”


The first free practice session in bright sunshine and hot temperatures was spent dialling the car in to the Yas Marina Circuit, while also planning ahead for the considerable change in conditions before FP2, which takes place under darkness and on a much cooler track.

Neither Fernando or Stoffel were particularly happy with the balance of the car in the first session but nevertheless spent the time wisely, evaluating a number of set-up parameters and completing aero tests. Stoffel finished 18th and Fernando 19th.

Greater mileage was planned for the second session in more representative track conditions. While Fernando maximised his track-time without any problems and was more satisfied with the progress made throughout the day, Stoffel had a small issue on his car which prevented him from fully completing his run plan. They finished 13th and 18th respectively.

Fernando Alonso

“In such hot conditions FP1 wasn’t very representative, so it gave us a little time to experiment with some stuff for next year’s concept in terms of car development. In FP2 we concentrated more on this weekend, testing two types of tyres and got some useful information. We’ll be more ready for tomorrow and we’ll see where we are.

“If the track is going to be that hot again tomorrow for FP3, we’ll do some more tests for next year, and hopefully gather some good information for the team.

“This weekend is going to be tough for us. We need to be realistic. Friday is normally a little bit better as people are hiding, and we expect qualifying to be difficult.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

“It wasn’t a great final Friday for me! We had quite a few problems to go through and lost a lot of time in FP2 in the garage, so I didn’t really get a feel for the high-fuel running.

“It wasn’t the optimal day, but I hope tomorrow we can put all the bits together and have a clean day, which would be nice to finish off with.

“I’ve had a pretty good run of races over the past few weeks, so hopefully if we manage to put everything together we can do that again. It looks like the tyres are a little bit tricky again, so there’s going to be a bit of a question mark for me going into the race, but I’m here to enjoy it, have fun and make the best of it.

“There’s always a bit of pressure to maximise everything, and even though it’s my last race I still want to do the best I can.”

Gil de Ferran

“We have mixed feelings about today.

“Unfortunately, we had a small issue on Stoffel’s car in FP2, which curtailed his run-plan. On Fernando’s side of the garage, we had a trouble-free day and made consistent progress from free practice one to the end of the day.

“It’s obviously hard to make predictions about tomorrow, since the midfield is very tight. Nevertheless, we feel encouraged by our performance today on both high and low fuel.”

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