FP1 & FP2 - Dutch GP 2021 - Team quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

3 September 2021 - 18:48
FP1 & FP2 - Dutch GP 2021 - (...)

Mercedes F1

Mixed fortunes for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team on Friday at Zandvoort

 It was a disrupted day of running at the Dutch Grand Prix, with several red flags limiting lap counts and changing run plans across Friday.
 Lewis topped the timesheets in the first session, with Valtteri in P5. This session included a lengthy stoppage after Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin suffered a power unit failure.
 It was P4 for Valtteri and P11 for Lewis in FP2. Lewis brought out the red flag after five minutes of the session, after he was forced to stop out on track.
 The reason for Lewis’ early exit from the session was because of abnormal oil system behaviour, which limited him to only three laps in FP2.
 In between the red flags, our focus was on completing low and high fuel running on the different tyre compounds.

Valtteri Bottas

Overall, it was a good day for me, and I enjoyed it out on track. It’s an exciting track to drive, with all the banked corners and high-speed sections. It’s got a nice flow and it’s fairly easy to settle into a rhythm. I’m sure tomorrow in Qualifying will be even more fun. It was quite a disrupted day with a lot of red flags, but even so, I got quite a lot of laps in, particularly in FP2 where we did some proper running on both single lap and long runs. I’m sure we have plenty of data to go through. The margins look small, which is nice to see, so everything is possible.

Lewis Hamilton

This track is epic. It brought back so many memories when I first got out there, from when I drove here before. I knew it was great when I was in Formula 3, but in a Formula One car it is just something else. It’s a shame I couldn’t complete more running, but the loss of power cut my FP2 short quite early on. I’ve got some catching up to do and we need to investigate the issue in more detail, but it’s not the end of the world. The car wasn’t feeling too bad, in the limited running I had, and Valtteri had a productive FP2, so we’ll have plenty of learnings to take from that. It was amazing to see the crowd here today, there were so many people out there and the Dutch fans bring so much energy. I hope it’s a great weekend for everyone.

Andrew Shovlin

We’ve had a tricky day with red flags costing us a lot of running time in the first session and then Lewis had an issue with his car, so we had to stop on track. Everyone has struggled with a lack of running so there isn’t masses of data to work with and many had low fuel runs that were compromised with traffic, so we have to expect many teams to move forward tomorrow. We’re struggling a bit with Turn 2-3, we seem to be losing there on both low and high fuel but we’ve got a bit of time tonight to understand that. There are a few other places we can improve the balance but overall, it doesn’t seem too far off. We have to recover a bit of running with Lewis but there is time to do that in the morning session.

Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari’s Dutch Grand Prix weekend has got off to a positive start. The Zandvoort track appears well suited to the characteristics of the SF21, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz topping the time sheet at the end of the day, the Monegasque being the only driver to get under the 1’11” barrier. On a track where qualifying will be more important than usual, today’s result is a reasonable starting point to work from, even if obviously there are many variables to consider, such as the various fuel levels being run and when the best times were set.

FP1. The first practice session was stopped for a long time to recover a car parked on the track. Despite the time lost, Charles and Carlos were able to get to grips with the Zandvoort track surface, even though it was still very dirty, running first on the Hard Pirellis and then the Softs towards the end, when running resumed. On this compound, Sainz, who did 19 laps, set the third fastest time of 1’11”601, 22 thousandths faster than his team-mate who did 18 laps and was fourth quickest.

FP2. Once again, the second hour of practice was also interrupted a few times because of technical problems or mistakes, which come at a high price at Zandvoort because of its gravel run-off areas. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers began the session on Medium compound tyres to round off the evaluation of all three compounds on offer, before switching to the Softs for a qualifying simulation during which they set the quickest times. Charles was fastest in 1’10”902, while Carlos was right behind with a 1’11”056. Both men then switched to race configuration, Charles doing 29 laps and Carlos 28.

Wonderful atmosphere. This is the first Dutch Grand Prix in 36 years and the first impressions are very encouraging. The old style track is thrilling and spectacular and the Dutch fans, who already packed out the grandstands as from this morning, are in festive and boisterous mood. It shows how eagerly anticipated was this round, without a doubt the biggest sports event of the year in this country. It’s a nice foretaste of what Formula 1 will find in Monza next week.

Charles Leclerc

I think there is still quite a bit of potential for us to improve. It is looking good for now, but we shouldn’t get carried away because it’s just Friday and I feel our competitors have a bit of performance still to reveal.
I really enjoyed driving on the new Zandvoort. The banking feels very special on the first timed lap and it’s just overall a fun track to drive on. Then for the race, I don’t think there will be much overtaking so it will be important to secure a good grid position tomorrow.
Our race pace was not as good as the single lap performance so we will be focusing on that.

Carlos Sainz

It’s an impressive and different track compared to what we are used to. It was fun to try different lines in FP1 around the banking corners and to push a bit more in FP2. I enjoyed myself out there today and the atmosphere with the fans close to the track is great!
In terms of performance, we felt confident straightaway with the car balance and with the car performance. We managed to do some decent running on soft tyres, whereas other competitive cars were caught out by the flags, so that’s maybe why we look so good on the time sheet. For sure we have room to improve, but still the car felt good and it was a positive Friday for us.

Red Bull

MAX VERSTAPPEN

“It’s been a good day and it was really enjoyable to see everyone in orange having fun in the grandstands. Of course the track is also very fun to drive with a lot of fast corners so it was good to finally get out there. From our side I don’t think the lap times are very representative today as I did my fastest lap on a used set of tyres. I was improving on another push lap and then Mazepin had a spin otherwise I think we would be higher up but it’s only Friday and we’re still looking at all the details of where we can do better and improve. The long runs looked competitive which is positive but we also know that the start position is very important here so we’ll see what we can do to get more pace out of the car overnight.”

SERGIO PEREZ

“It was awesome to get out there and drive this old school circuit. It’s very different to the other tracks we go to and with so many consecutive right-hand corners it’s a pretty unique and physical challenge. I’ve never driven here before so it’s completely new and with so many red flags it was difficult to get into a rhythm. You really need the confidence going into the session to trust the car in order to push it and I wasn’t quite there or fully comfortable today so there are a couple of things on my side that we need to look at and make some decisions on in order to get the most out of the package. It’s amazing to see so many fans enjoying themselves and cheering in the grandstands so I expect the energy around the track to only get better and better over the weekend.”

Haas F1

Round 13 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship began with practice on Friday at Circuit Zandvoort as teams prepared for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix.

Friday’s track action consisted of two 60-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 4.259-kilometer (2.646-mile), 14-turn circuit – the Dutch sunshine welcomed by all after the rain that dogged last weekend’s Belgian excursion.

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were quick to get going in FP1, Formula 1 cars returning to the seaside track for the first time since 1985. The Haas pair opened their accounts with a handful of exploratory laps on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires. Progress was short lived however after a lengthy red flag stop due to the recovery of Sebastian Vettel’s sidelined Aston Martin. With just six minutes remaining Schumacher and Mazepin were finally unleashed back on track – this time on the Red soft compound. Mazepin subsequently set a 1:13.516 to place 17th with Schumacher directly behind in 18th on a 1:13.847.

FP2 saw both VF-21s exit the garage on the medium rubber prior to a switch to softs for their qualifying simulations. Mazepin duly banked a 1:12.835 before an off at turn 11 beached the Russian in the gravel – his session ending abruptly bringing out a brief red flag stoppage. Schumacher recorded a best lap of 1:12.607 on the softs. The German ended his Friday with a high-fuel long run sampling both the medium and soft compounds. At the checkered flag Schumacher placed 17th with Mazepin 19th on the timesheets.

Uralkali Haas F1 Team ran a total of 74 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 – 48 by Schumacher and 26 by Mazepin.

Nikita Mazepin

“It was a lot more fun than I expected. The first time I passed the banking in the last corner I experienced something very different with my body – it felt quite cool! A new feeling for me, for sure, in Formula 1. Overall, it was quite a challenging day. I was very happy with the car in FP1 and then we made some changes which didn’t quite do what we expected given the track has improved. Loads learned and looking forward to getting out there in FP3.”

Mick Schumacher

“I think the word rollercoaster really fits for here! It was a decent day, still lots to learn about this new track but I’m sure it’s the same for everyone. I still think we need to tweak it a little bit to get everything we can out of it, but I think we’re on a good road. We still have some margin but I’m sure we will find it. Things might look different tomorrow but for today we can be very happy.”

Günther Steiner

“A very good track – I think it’s very interesting and everyone’s very excited about it because it’s all new and it’s different to the other tracks. In FP1 there was the issue of Vettel being stuck out there, so we didn’t do too many laps but the laps we did, all went well. FP2 started well. Except for the spin and ending up in the gravel for Nikita, we had a good session. We’re getting a lot of data and drivers are getting used to the racetrack. We just try and learn as much as possible.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly

“I must say it was really fun today, it’s an amazing track to drive on and very unique, especially turn 3 – it’s like sliding in a toboggan, with the banking. Obviously, the sessions were interrupted quite a lot with the red flags, so it was difficult to make it through our whole programme, but we still managed to complete a lot of it. I think we’re not looking as good as we would’ve liked but hopefully, we can work tonight to find a bit more performance for tomorrow. I’m confident we can do that. I think traffic in Q1 tomorrow could be an issue and I need to try to avoid this mess. Then I think looking towards the race it will be very difficult to overtake, so the priority is getting a good starting position.”

Yuki Tsunoda

“In the morning we were testing some aero components, but we had a minor PU issue that we had to investigate and weren’t able to go back out. For the rest of the session, I watched a lot of on-board videos from other cars and tried to learn as much as possible before the afternoon. In FP2 I completed my first push-lap, I tried to take it easy at first as there’s not a lot of run-off areas on this track. At the end I managed a lap I was quite happy with, I obviously need to do a lot more work tonight, but I felt quite confident in the car and it was important for the team to get this data, so we can prepare for Qualifying tomorrow. I think Quali will be really important, as it seems that it’ll be difficult to overtake here during the race, so hopefully I can put it altogether when it counts tomorrow.”

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)

“We had quite a complicated day, having some issues with the car as well as a number of red flags, which had an impact on our test plans. Pierre had a busy programme in FP1, completing a number of aero tests before the red flag. Following this it was just a case of fitting the Softs and getting a lap in but, of course, everyone had the same idea, so there was a large amount of traffic on his fastest lap. Unfortunately, Yuki had some reliability issues during FP1, which meant he was unable to complete a single timed lap during the session, which somewhat put him on the back foot, given this is a brand-new track. This was traced to a minor PU issue, which we were able to resolve, and the mechanics did a great job getting the car ready to run in FP2.

We worked to a typical plan for both cars in the afternoon, with short runs on new tyres before the longer run at the end of the session. Yuki spent the session building up the pace and in the end on the soft tyre he set a respectable lap. Pierre continued with the aero test plan, gathering further data for us to analyse tonight. We seem to be lacking a bit of pace on the short run, so we have some work to do tonight to understand how to improve the car. Also, given it’s a new track and many of the corners are linked, driver lines can be quite different, so we will spend some time analysing all of the GPS and video data, which we have at our disposal. It looks very tight in the midfield, but of course our aim is Q3 tomorrow.”

Aston Martin F1

Sebastian Vettel

“I think overall that was a decent afternoon session. We had some catching up to do because of the power unit issue this morning. So I had to find the rhythm quickly and it helped that I have driven here before many years ago. They did not change too much on the track [layout], but I think the changes they have made are for the better. It is an exciting lap because of the banking and corners with camber are always good fun to drive. We need more circuits with these types of corners. The crowd was great, too, and I am enjoying the atmosphere. There is more to come from me and the car so it will be interesting to see what we can find overnight.”

Lance Stroll

“It was a positive day to start the weekend and I really enjoyed the experience of driving at Zandvoort once again. Track time was limited in FP1, we finished ninth, and we looked strong in FP2 until we were caught out by the red flag when I was on a quick lap. I felt comfortable in the car and I think we have a good baseline. We know that qualifying is going to be key to success here because overtaking will be so difficult, but there is some degradation, which might make strategy a bit more of a factor. We have got plenty of data to look at tonight and we will aim to take another step forward tomorrow.”

Alpine F1

Alpine F1 Team finished with both cars comfortably inside the top ten at Circuit Zandvoort today as preparations began for this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, the first F1 race in the Netherlands since 1985.

Esteban Ocon was the third fastest driver of the day, putting in a strong lap in the afternoon’s session, with Fernando Alonso two tenths adrift in sixth.

Free Practice 1 began with the grandstands awash with fans around the packed 4.259km Grand Prix venue. Both drivers managed a number of laps early on, before Sebastian Vettel’s stricken Aston Martin halted proceedings for a lengthy delay. The session resumed with only six minutes left on the clock, ending with Fernando - driving in Zandvoort for the first time – sixth and Esteban less than a tenth behind in seventh, both on the Soft tyres.

Despite some further incidents in Free Practice 2, both drivers completed some solid running early on with Fernando on the Hard tyres and Esteban opting for the Medium compound.

Esteban and Fernando then switched to some low fuel running on the Softs. The Frenchman’s time of 1min 11.074secs placed him third and Fernando’s 1min 11.280secs was enough for sixth on the timesheets.

The pair finished their day on some high fuel runs on the Medium and Soft tyres and remained third and sixth at the chequered flag.

Esteban Ocon

“It’s been a fun Friday and learning this track in a Formula 1 car has been awesome. It’s been high grip, a lot of Gs, undulation and taking on the banked corners, which, overall, has been mega fun. As a team, it’s been a good day and we look quite competitive, but we know qualifying is when that counts. I experienced that in FP1 with the close call with Lando [Norris]. It was a little close for comfort but in the end nothing happened and we move on. The car handled really well today and I’m sure there’s more for us to find. It’s a small track, narrow in places, and managing traffic in qualifying will be a challenge.”

Fernando Alonso

“It was another challenging day for us but it was the same for everybody with all of the small incidents and red flags throughout the day. We have to analyse everything now and make sure we’re in the best shape tomorrow. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy weekend and the traffic in qualifying will be difficult to manage. I do like the track, it’s quite different in a few places and the banked corners are fun. The atmosphere is amazing too. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director

“It was interesting to discover a new track, but unfortunately we lost a lot of time with the stoppages and had to slightly change our schedule to recover. In the afternoon we did a good job, completing long and short runs and pick up as much information as possible. In terms of performance, so far we are in a good position. On the Medium tyres, Esteban did a good run and had decent pace. Both drivers also looked strong on the Soft tyre from the initial data; we have to go through all the analysis tonight, but it was a positive day, all things considered.”

Williams F1

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

It has been fantastic to run the cars on this tricky circuit. The whole track is demanding with very little opportunity for the cars or drivers to get a rest. The profiling of the circuit makes several of the corners quite difficult and places different demands on the car and the tyres, with several drivers finding the limit during the day. The regular red flags hampered some of our work, but we still got a lot of our programme done, including some useful high fuel running late in FP2.

With a short track and hard tyre compounds, track position is going to be at a premium in Q1 as it was regularly today. Whilst we thought that Zandvoort might be less favourable for the FW43B than Spa, the times today don’t really tell the full story as we didn’t get to do representative laps. There is a lot to do tonight to improve the car, but we are happy that there is more to come tomorrow.

George Russell

It was a great experience driving this circuit today. I think it’s definitely a driver’s favourite, it’s very undulating and all the banking is great to drive. It’s fast, flowing and you can’t put a wheel wrong and that is what we all want from a race track. It wasn’t easy out there though and it was a very interrupted day with all the red flags. There’s therefore not a huge amount to take away from today but the pace isn’t quite as we’d like. Nevertheless, a few improvements overnight and I think we will be able to make some good steps. The traffic is also really difficult to manage with this short lap and I think that it is going to be key to get a clear run tomorrow, particularly in Q1.

Nicholas Latifi

It was definitely challenging out there today. It’s a tight and twisty circuit with very few straights, so having 20 cars on track made it difficult to get some space. I spent a lot of time looking in my mirrors which can be quite difficult to manage on a hot lap. It’s also a very fun track to drive though; it’s high speed and narrow, so a proper old school track that will punish you if you make a mistake!

I think we have some work to do tonight as it’s not quite where we wanted to be ending FP2. Whilst I felt like I got up to speed quite quickly, the red flags caused a lot of disruption, so it would have been great to get some more data from the team’s perspective. I think there’s some improvements we can make in both low and high fuel runs, so we’ll see what we can do and go again tomorrow.

Alfa Romeo

Dunes, banked corners, old-school feeling and a massive party on the grandstands: Zandvoort is fun, we can all agree on that. The first impact of modern Formula One with the Dutch circuit has left drivers happy, fans thrilled and teams excited about the challenge of this modern classic.

In a celebration atmosphere, with grandstands filled to the brim with orange-clad fans, music blasting through the air, Formula One returned to the Netherlands and it was a good day. The sun shone warmly, a far cry from the deluge of Belgium, and the cars tackled the circuit, eager to bring home data about the vast unknown.

It was not an easy task: red flags wiped out most of the morning session and interruptions hampered progress in FP2 as well: but in the end, it was a positive day with decent mileage, given the circumstances, and even some encouraging feedback from the stopwatch.

Much remains to be done, of course, and tomorrow is when things really start to matter: but it’s a good start nonetheless, something we aim to build on for the rest of the weekend.

The atmosphere on the grandstands reminded us of just how great a Formula One race weekend can be: what we know, is that we need to keep this party going.

Kimi Räikkönen

“We did a good job today, despite all the interruptions with the red flags. It’s quite a different track from what we usually drive on, but it’s nice: it’s not an easy one to put a lap together but driving on something new is a good challenge, and the crowd really makes an atmosphere.. As always on a Friday, we still have to find a few improvements here and there: it’s normal and we can make a step forward for qualifying. The objective remains the same, to have a place in Q2 – we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“It’s been a positive Friday, this track is really cool to drive, especially with these cars. From the moment we arrive, it feels like a party and it’s a huge credit to the Dutch fans, they really welcomed Formula One back. The track is enjoyable but it’s not an easy one on which to put everything together: still, we did a good job and we’re satisfied with where we are, both in the race runs and on the single lap. Tomorrow, of course, is another day, but we had a good start and we can build on it: hopefully we can have a good qualifying as overtaking is not easy here, so Saturday’s result will be crucial. We will give it our best.”

McLaren

Lando Norris

“A tough first day. It was tricky with the traffic and difficult to get laps in with the red flags and stoppages. It began with a good feeling with the car, and we weren’t too bad, but we’ve got some work to do to be able to consistently get good laps in during qualifying, which I’m sure we can do. A decent day but work to do overnight.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“This track’s cool, it’s a lot of fun! I definitely enjoyed that. This morning I was relatively comfortable, this afternoon not so. We tried some things on the car that, in hindsight, I don’t think were the right direction. But, that’s what free practice is for. It made FP2 a little more tricky, but we’ll go back and learn from that. I think we’ll still be in good shape tomorrow, but today we were just a little bit off in FP2. There are some quick cars out there, so we’ve got our work cut out for us, but it’s a fun track and I’m really enjoying it.”

Andrea Stella - Executive Director, Racing

“It’s very nice to be here in Zandvoort for the first time with modern F1 cars. We’ve discovered a very interesting circuit with some special features – the banking is like nothing we experience elsewhere on the current calendar and presents interesting challenges for the drivers who can adopt a variety of lines. We expect qualifying tomorrow to prove crucial because overtaking on Sunday is going to be difficult.

“Today’s sessions were disrupted by red flags, which meant we acquired less data than we ideally would’ve liked in order to prepare for tomorrow. We did, however, gain enough knowledge of the circuit to ensure we have a very busy evening studying what we’ve learned, putting in place everything we need for a competitive performance in qualifying and for the race, which may be eventful at this ‘old school’ track.”

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