FP1 & FP2 - Emilia-Romagna GP 2021 - Team quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

16 April 2021 - 16:50
FP1 & FP2 - Emilia-Romagna GP (...)

Red Bull

SERGIO PEREZ

“It was definitely good to get a decent amount of laps in the second session today and to get a feel for the car on a different track. The track conditions are obviously very different here compared to Bahrain so I’m just learning how the car behaves on different tracks. We’ve learnt a lot today as a Team and for every lap I do, I learn a few tricks here and there. The race pace seems to be strong and the car felt good, hopefully we can pull it all together in qualifying tomorrow. With the incident this morning, we didn’t have radio so I think there was a miscommunication through there and I think it was just bad timing.”

MAX VERSTAPPEN

“I like Italy. The food is good and I enjoy being here but we don’t seem to have been that lucky with the driving here recently, so hopefully that will change. I had a driveshaft issue so we had to stop the car in FP2 and it wasn’t the easiest to get the car back to the pits so I couldn’t get back out on track. The car felt alright in FP1 and it is difficult to say how the second session would have been but we will still be able to look at the data and see what we can do better for tomorrow in terms of balance. Of course it would have been better to have the session but I don’t think missing running in FP2 is the end of the world as we know what we need to do tomorrow. We just have to focus on ourselves and make sure we get the best out of our package.”

Alpine F1

Alpine F1 Team ran a productive Friday practice programme today on the opening day of the Pirelli Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend at Imola.

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were in the mix of the top 10 on the timesheets throughout the red-flag interrupted day.

Esteban was involved in an incident, which brought out the first red flag in FP1 after a coming together with Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez. After a brief trip to the stewards, no further action was taken between the former team-mates. Fernando ended the session in seventh.

Both drivers ran new aerodynamic parts on the A521 to compare and evaluate the planned upgrades to the package.

In FP2, Esteban’s 1min 16.817secs on Softs (C4) put him eleventh 0.080secs off the top 10 with Fernando 0.018secs behind the Frenchman in thirteenth. After a series of short runs both drivers focused on high fuel to round off the day.

Esteban Ocon

“We’ve made a positive start to the weekend even with this morning’s incident. Fortunately for Sergio [Perez] and I, we didn’t lose too much track time, which is important with the one-hour sessions. The incident was unfortunate, but we were able to put it behind us and move on to the afternoon. The mechanics did a great job in turning the car around on time, so thanks to them for their quick and solid work. I think we have a solid base to work from. There are still some things to tweak with the balance, but the car behaves quite well here and I’m looking forward to pushing on over the next two days.”

Fernando Alonso

“It was a good Friday and we completed our programme today with no issues. Apart from the red flags and other incidents that stopped the two sessions, I was happy with the test items we put on the car and I felt an improvement in the performance. Let’s see where we are tomorrow and hopefully there is a little more still to come. As we suspected it’s going to be very close again so qualifying should be interesting. It was great to drive again in Imola and feel the car in these high grip conditions.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director

“We did a good job today in Friday practice. This morning we had the small accident with Esteban. It wasn’t a big issue and there were no major concerns, meaning we could continue with our work for the second session. In the afternoon, we did some short runs and then long runs with different tyres on both cars and showed good pace. Both drivers are quite happy after today. Of course, we know qualifying will be important here. It’s a track where overtaking is difficult, so we have to put a lot of effort into tomorrow and aim to put both cars in a good starting position for the race.”

Haas F1

The second round of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship began with practice on Friday at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola as teams prepared for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Two 60-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 4.909-kilometer (3.050-mile), 19-turn circuit made up Friday’s track time with the weather conditions in Italy sunny but fresh – air temperature hovering around 11 degrees Celsius (51.8 degrees Fahrenheit) and track temperature at 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

FP1 saw Mazepin and Schumacher run identical tire strategies. Both commenced the session on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium rubber. With wake-up runs banked, Mazepin logging 14 laps to Schumacher on 9, next on the plan was a switch to new sets of the P Zero Red soft rubber. An ill-timed red flag stop, for the stricken cars of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, consumed valuable track time leaving Mazepin and Schumacher just one outing on the soft compound. Mazepin set a fastest lap of 1:18.823 – good for 18th overall, before a last lap spin exiting the final turn, and subsequent contact with the barrier, produced a second red flag in the final minute. Schumacher ended his morning outing 19th overall, his best lap of the session a 1:19.480 on his nine-lap run on the soft compound.

Schumacher was first out the garage in FP2 sampling the P Zero White hard tire. He followed that up with a stint on new softs – clocking his quickest lap of the session with a 1:17.350, which would place him 19th on the timesheet. The reigning F2 champion completed his run session with a short high-fuel stint on the medium compound. A precautionary gearbox change on Mazepin’s VF-21, following his off in FP1, meant the rookie joined FP2 with 20 minutes off the clock. A brief stint on medium tires was followed by a switch to softs for an eight-lap run. Mazepin’s best lap was a 1:17.857 for 20th overall. He ended Friday’s track running with a high-fuel outing on the hard tires.

Uralkali Haas F1 Team ran a total of 84 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 – 38 by Mazepin and 46 by Schumacher.

Nikita Mazzepin

“I think we had a positive day – I really learned a lot about the car. I think I made another very good step forward with the team in terms of understanding what car I want to drive. I had a good lap time in FP1, it was a good quali simulation, I was happy with it. I then made a mistake which there was no coming back from, but overall, it was a positive FP1 and then FP2. I’m not leaving anything on the table out there. I wouldn’t want to go to sleep thinking I’ve left some time out there. There’s a balance of course, which I haven’t mastered yet, but we have time. All eyes are on FP3 now – the weekend progresses and I have to keep progressing with it as well.”

Mick Schumacher

“It was fun, it felt great out there today. The track didn’t change much from 2016, so that was a positive. In terms of feeling and in terms of fun, it was definitely similar to my last visit here back then. The colder conditions today meant we could push a lot more consecutively, which has positives and also negatives. The negative just being it’s a cold temperature and it takes ages to warm up the tires. Sometimes even in the long runs its hard to get the temperatures in there and to keep them there is even harder. As a positive it means a lot of laps so I can try a lot of things straight away, especially on the C2 tire. I was really able to find out the limit especially in FP2 and improve with each lap on the C4. The first lap was a warm-up then we went through the run and improved with each lap. For now, we’re quite happy but it only really counts in qualifying.”

Günther Steiner

“Not an unsuccessful FP1 and FP2. We had a few small bumps during the sessions but overall, I think our learning process with the drivers continues – we’re making steps forward. We’re getting faster, it’s not consistent faster, but improvements are being made. Obviously, Nikita (Mazepin) had a spin on his last lap, and it was on a pretty quick lap – a very fast lap, but he went off on the last corner. It was not ideal, and we lost some time in FP2 with him as we changed his gearbox just as a precaution and to check it out. When you do that you’re out of sync with other cars in FP2 and then your tires get cold and it’s a downhill spiral. So, that’s why his FP2 wasn’t ideal. Mick (Schumacher) overall did a good job to get the most out of his laps during the two hours of running he had today.”

McLaren

Lando Norris

"Tricky day, just because it was quite messy – not from our side necessarily, but because of the yellow flags, red flags and things like that. There were also a few problems with radio and things which again weren’t our fault, but made it a hectic session. Many things to work on going into tomorrow. I wouldn’t say we’re as confident as we were a couple of weeks ago, but I think we can make some good improvements going into tomorrow to make the car a bit nicer to drive, a bit more comfortable and give myself a bit more confidence as well. I don’t think we’re in a bad position, but we definitely have some work to do."

Daniel Ricciardo

“It’s really cool to be back on this track. It’s pretty awesome. The day itself was a bit difficult. We’ve definitely got a few things to work on overnight to get some more out of the car. It was a challenging day, but we’ve got a session in the morning tomorrow to figure it out ahead of quali. We’ll try to address the issues today and put ourselves in a good place for tomorrow.”

Andrea Stella - Executive Director, Racing

“The new format of shorter sessions on Friday means we need to be very efficient to get through the programme and do all of the laps in the plan. Today we almost achieved that, but missed out because of red flags, yellow flags and VSC interruptions. There were also problems with radio and video comms that affected the entire paddock. Despite these issues, it was a productive day. It’s pretty clear that there are some areas in which we have to improve before qualifying. The midfield pack seems to be very tight, and it will be interesting to see how the competitive position evolves. As usual, we’ve got to be at our best to do well in qualifying and put ourselves in a good position to score good points on Sunday.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly

“I think this has been one of our best Fridays as a team, P4 this morning and P3 this afternoon, and I was so close to the top guys. I’ve felt good in the car since the first lap and I managed to push pretty hard, as well as drive the way I wanted, so I think it’s been a successful day. We focused on short runs initially with the Softs, which looked strong pace wise and then completed some high-fuel laps in preparation for the race on Sunday. We’ve continued to work hard to improve against our main rivals in the midfield and I think, so far, we’ve shown that the pace is good. We’ll analyse the data that we’ve collected again tonight and hopefully we can find a little bit more again in Qualifying tomorrow.”

Yuki Tsunoda

“I didn’t manage to complete many laps during FP1, due to an issue, and only managed four push laps in total but the car felt good whilst I was out. The team fixed the issue during the break and I was able to build-up my pace in FP2 as I continued to push more – hopefully I’ll be able to improve again in tomorrow’s practice session ahead of Qualifying. I’ve completed a lot of laps here pre-season, but I think I still managed to gain a lot from the sessions today. I particularly learnt about tyre management around this circuit and have a lot of interesting data from the Softs that I can now go and analyse.”

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)

“It’s great to be back here racing at the team’s home circuit, it’s such an amazing track – I know the drivers love it and we certainly do too from an engineering side. FP1 was a slightly more difficult session than normal due to some of the systems being down – which obviously was the same for everyone – but it shows how reliant we are on these, particularly the timings, GPS and TV feed. It definitely made it more of a challenge for us engineers. During the morning session we completed some aero testing on Yuki’s car, as we’ve brought some new components here this weekend and want to sign these off ahead of the race. Unfortunately, we had a PU issue on Yuki’s car so only managed limited running in FP1, which meant he wasn’t able to get up to speed quite so quickly. We made some changes to his car ahead of FP2 and everything seems to be back to normal now, which is positive. Pierre completed a standard run plan in FP1; we mostly tried to understand how to operate the tyres in these unusually cold temperatures – concentrating on how to maximise them during the short runs and how to limit the graining during the longer runs. Overall, I think it’s looking positive so far this weekend – the performance over the shorter runs is there and we’ve now got to work with the data tonight to ensure that the pace is there for Qualifying tomorrow.”

Alfa Romeo

Friday practice at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix wasn’t a straightforward affair, with the unforgiving nature of the Imola circuit contributing to bringing out red flags that interrupted both the morning and afternoon sessions.

The disruption to the flow of the day, however, didn’t appear to faze the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team, which had a positive first day of action. Both cars were on track for considerable amounts of time, meaning both sides of the garage finished the day with all boxes ticked off in their respective programmes.

A productive day of work is what the doctor prescribed ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session: with the Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari a notoriously difficult place for overtakes, the grid-setting Saturday showdown will be even more important than usual as claiming a good grid position makes Sunday’s job all that much easier.

After a good day, hopefully comes a good night: time to crunch the data, then. Some positive indications from today leave us confident in being in a good shape when qualifying comes calling…

Kimi Räikkönen

“It wasn’t a bad day for us, even though the timesheets don’t really show it. We couldn’t put a lap together in the short runs, so I am not too worried: let’s see what we can do tomorrow. There are things we can improve a bit tonight, as always, so hopefully we can get a bit more performance out of the car. The objective is the same – to clear Q1 and fight for a spot as high on the grid as we can.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“We had a good start of the weekend. FP1 was a good session, a bit compromised with the radio and data issue – but that applies to everyone. I was very happy with the car in FP2, both in the short and long runs. We need to adjust a few things to make the car even better for qualifying as we know it will be tight – even more than it was in Bahrain. It’s hard to say where we expect to be, as a tiny difference between a lap and the other can make a big difference: we need to put together a perfect lap in qualifying.”

Williams

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

It was good to run the FW43B in cooler conditions and at a circuit that is quite different to Bahrain. Although the tyre compounds are the same as we had at the first race, their behaviour is understandably quite different, and we have spent time today understanding how we can optimise their performance in both qualifying and the race. The day has gone well and has been very busy. Both drivers enjoyed trouble-free sessions and were generally happy with their cars. Although we only had two one-hour sessions, we still completed a lot of laps and collected a lot of data. We have some further changes to make overnight, but we are pleased with our start to the weekend and are looking forward to tomorrow.

Nicholas Latifi

I think it was a very positive day. For the most part we ran without hitches and we were able to get through the run plan quite smoothly. I was expecting the car to feel much better than it did in Bahrain, and it was better than expected. We still have some work to do, you don’t get anything for having a strong Friday. Tomorrow afternoon is when it counts, but we are setting ourselves up nicely to have a strong Saturday and Sunday.

George Russell

As a team we are looking relatively fast, but personally I am a bit off the pace. Nicholas is driving really well, probably the best I have seen him drive. I need to improve quite a bit to close the gap to our competitors, and to Nicholas. As a team we are in a good position, we have a lot of data to review but I’m sure that my engineers and I can figure it out.

Mercedes F1

Productive practice day for the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team at Imola

 Valtteri topped the timings charts in both the morning and afternoon sessions, with Lewis close behind in P2.
 The team used today’s sessions to explore set-up changes and better understand the balance characteristics of the W12.

Valtteri Bottas

The car is feeling much better than on the first day in Bahrain. As I said yesterday, it is a different track and type of circuit with different grip levels and surface. The weekend has started in a positive way, I’m much happier with the balance of the car.

The car feels better, we still have the same type of issues as in Bahrain but less so. Still not perfect but we are only on event two out of 23 this season so hopefully we have time to fix it. I feel like we’ve made steps forward so that’s really good. The whole grid from midfield to the front looks very close. We didn’t see the best from Red Bull today but we’ll see that in Q3 tomorrow. No doubt they are going to be fast. We still don’t think we are the fastest car and we really need to improve on that on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton

The team worked very hard to understand what happened in the last race where we were weak and to see if we can try to tweak the car for a better set-up. I also think the track has come a little bit more in our direction. We started off with a really good set-up today, a few tweaks here and there but no major issues. So far, good pace from us this weekend.

We haven’t seen the best from the Red Bulls yet. It looks like they had messy sessions with traffic but it will be interesting to see just how quick they are tomorrow. Positioning is important here - it’s hard to follow around this track so nailing the set-up and maximising tomorrow is going to be so important.

Andrew Shovlin

We brought a few aerodynamic updates here and our early work today confirmed that they were performing correctly. The car has also had a reasonable balance from the start which has made working through the programme relatively easy. Generating tyre temperature isn’t especially easy here - the air and track are cold - but at least we’re not suffering from poor rear grip like we were in Bahrain.

The traffic has been a bit of a challenge, both drivers struggled to find clear track at times but today is about understanding the car rather than setting quick laps and I think we have done some good work in that regard. We’ve still not managed to get the grip out of the soft tyre on lap one so that’s something we need to work on overnight. We also can’t say where we stand in terms of pace as we’ve not seen Verstappen on a single lap or long run but both drivers are reasonably happy with how the car is working and the issues we need to solve are all within the realms of normal setup tuning.

Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow had a busy Friday at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, home to the Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. It was clear that both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz seemed to be at ease on the Italian track and the SF21 appeared well suited to it too, even if the real pecking order will only emerge tomorrow.

FP1. In the first free practice session in the morning, Charles was fourth fastest and Carlos was sixth. Between them, they completed 39 laps of the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, 26 for the Spaniard and 13 for the Monegasque, the latter having to spend a few additional minutes in the garage while checks were carried out on his car. Towards the end, both SF21s went out on Soft tyres to set their fastest times: 1’16”796 for Charles and 1’16”888 for Carlos.

FP2. In the second hour, both drivers started the session on the Medium tyre before switching to the Softs for the qualifying simulation. It was in this configuration that they set their quickest times, the Spaniard stopping the clocks in 1’15”834, while the Monegasque posted a 1’16”371. Earlier, Leclerc had done a 1’15”367, which would have been the fastest time overall but the time was disallowed as he had exceeded track limits by just a few centimetres at the Piratella corner. Towards the end of the session, as usual, both men ran in race trim. Carlos completed a total of 30 laps, while with just two minutes of the session remaining and having completed 28 laps, Charles went off into the barriers at Rivazza 2, damaging the front right suspension on his SF21.

Programme. Qualifying starts tomorrow at 14 CET, preceded at 11 by the final free practice session. On Sunday, the Grand Prix gets underway at 15.

Carlos Sainz

“It was an important day for me as I was looking forward to driving the car for the first time somewhere other than Bahrain. The different corners, tarmac, temperatures, etc. made it an interesting day for sure. It seems we could be a bit more competitive this weekend and, in general, the feeling with the car was positive as the conditions suits us better.

You can feel some more grip and I am enjoying it out there, building up the confidence lap by lap trying to find the limit around the entire track. I’m not quite there yet, but today was a good start to the weekend and we still have FP3 to fine tune everything ahead of Qualifying tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc

“This was definitely a good day, despite the time lost in the first session and the incident just at the end of the second one. The car is quick, the balance is good and I felt at ease immediately. Of course, it’s only tomorrow that we will find out the pecking order, because maybe someone hasn’t shown their full potential.

This afternoon, I made a mistake while pushing flat out in race trim. I’m sorry for the guys but at least there were only two minutes to go. I was pleased with my quick lap: the time that was cancelled because of a couple of centimetres would have been quickest overall and even over a long run I think we have found a good balance. The track is really great and I can’t wait to get back in the car tomorrow for qualifying, when I think a good result can be within our grasp."

Aston Martin F1

Lance Stroll

“It is great to be back in Imola because it is such an awesome circuit. It is really satisfying to drive, especially the way you can attack the circuit and use the kerbs. It reminds me of my karting days. I would call it an old school circuit; it punishes errors, and I think that’s why the drivers enjoy it so much. It is quite different from the open layout of Bahrain and the car naturally feels different as a result, but I felt good today and we completed some important work. We now have plenty of information to analyse this evening, but it has been a promising start to the weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel

“Part of today’s programme involved testing some new aero parts and the early signs are encouraging – especially in terms of my feeling in the car. That should help us take a step forward this weekend. I believe we can be more competitive than in Bahrain. We learned a huge amount from the first race and the work over the last few weeks – in the factory and here at the track – has certainly helped us make some improvements ahead of this weekend. I think the data we have from today’s sessions will help us take some more steps forward ahead of qualifying.”

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