FP1 & FP2 - Austrian GP report: Force India Mercedes
Sahara Force India made a productive start to its Austrian Grand Prix preparations with both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez ending the day inside the top ten.
“Our afternoon session was a big improvement over the morning: we made some changes to the car that turned out to be positive and allowed us to make the most of the soft tyres, which continue to suit our car well. It was a straightforward Friday, especially as the rain that everyone expected didn’t come. I am satisfied with my pace over the long runs, even though I don’t have any reference against our rivals just yet: it is something I will need to look at with my engineers tonight. This is a short track so all gaps will be very small in qualifying: one or two tenths can mean a difference of three or four places. It will be crucial to optimise our set-up in final practice to get tomorrow afternoon right.”
“I’m feeling positive about today’s work. We showed good pace in both sessions, even though Nico and I went in different directions when it came to set-up. The track keeps evolving and there was quite a big track improvement between the morning and the afternoon. The main priority was to get good tyre data and with the high number of laps today we have all the information we need.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“Starting a race weekend on a damp track is never ideal and it meant track evolution was magnified compared to the norm. In fact, the threat of rain was present for most of the day, but fortunately it stayed away in the afternoon. We covered a lot of laps today – 168 between the two cars – which has given us all the necessary information heading into the weekend. We made some good progress with the set-up and, despite the low track temperatures, both drivers appear happy with the balance. As a lap, this is short and intense: the margins between drivers will be very small in qualifying and it will be important to make every lap count. The weather remains a big question mark as it could go either way on both Saturday and Sunday, but we will be prepared whatever the circumstances.”