Hamilton: Red Bull is up front
Let’s stay with Mercedes for a moment. Lewis Hamilton makes it clear that the car is still not where you want it to be. “It looks better this weekend, but it’s still not perfect,” said the world champion, who is not surprised by the result. “We thought Red Bull would be that fast – or even faster,” said Hamilton.
“We know that they are currently ahead,” says the Briton, who continues to want more stability from his car. “It’s about having a stable car and keeping the tires alive. That will be the key in these conditions and wind,” he explains. Especially the wind is a problem for Mercedes because of the “unstable” stern.
Wolff: “It could have been worse …”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff sounds even less euphoric with ‘Sky’. “It could have been worse. After the tests, we thought that we didn’t have the car in the ‘sweet spot’. Today the drivers were actually quite satisfied,” says Wolff, who also believes: “It’s going to be a real fight against Red Bull over the season. ”
“At the moment we can still see them a bit ahead,” he says, referring to the balance of power and explains: “At least the rear is no longer as nervous as it was. The car is still difficult to understand at the moment have to change the aero balance. That bit us in the long run too. It was better for one lap. “
Verstappen: “Good start to the weekend”
“It was okay,” said the fastest man of the day, cautiously, and explains: “Of course, the conditions were different from the test drives. It was okay, I felt good. Of course there are a few things that we look at , but in general I am satisfied. Tomorrow is a new day, it should be even windier. That is tricky with these cars. ”
“But it’s already a good start to the weekend,” said Verstappen. It’s not really the big euphoria.
The first crash of the season …
… is here again in the video. We did see other drivers off the track, but Kimi was the only one who really fired the car away today.
Marko: Fastest also in long runs
“Generally we are satisfied,” says the Austrian on ‘ServusTV’ and explains: “The car does what we expect. But it is of course very difficult to fine-tune it. The temperature differences, the wind differences. So far, that’s all for us Well done, and the long runs were also very promising – as far as I’ve seen, we were also the fastest. ”
“We need an absolutely competitive chassis. That seems to have succeeded. The car is very quiet, is no longer so sensitive to wind. But these aerodynamic improvements in particular are also due to the Honda engine, because it is extremely slim in the rear area. This enabled us to find a really optimal aerodynamic solution in the rear, “says Marko.
So much time …
… the teams lost in FT1 today compared to last year. Interesting: Red Bull seems to have mastered the rule change best. Even if the times do not give any final information about it, of course. Later we will also look at how much time the teams lost in FT2. Nobody was faster than last year.
Problem bei Tsunoda
The rookie had to end the session early because there was a problem with the car very late. But he didn’t lose much time, so it should be bearable. With 23 laps, the Japanese is fully on target. And with P7 he will surely be able to sleep very well too!
End of working day!
That’s it, Verstappen’s fastest time was no longer attacked. He finished the session ahead of Norris, Hamilton and Sainz. Make four different teams in the first four places! Small success for Schumacher: He lands on P18 and not only beats his teammate but also a Williams with Latifi. Vettel will be less satisfied on P14. But as a reminder: His fast lap wasn’t clean either.
Run for the last five minutes. As already announced, there are no more fast laps. Bottas has problems with the track limit in Turn 4, several times have now been canceled one after the other. Already the hint that the ticker will continue for a few hours after the session has ended. Then there are the votes for training day.
A Ferrari up front? Yes! Sainz was the fastest man in the first sector today. Then Verstappen was ahead in sectors two and three. Theoretically the fastest lap time would be 1: 30.607, which is around two and a half tenths faster than Verstappen’s real best time. By the way, P1 and P15 (!) Are separated by less than a second. Can we really expect such a tight Formula 1 in 2021?
Due to the new format, the FT2 program for the teams has of course also changed a bit. Nevertheless, there are now the well-known long runs that are always on the schedule at the end of FT2. Of course, that means that no more fast laps can be expected here for the time being.
Isn’t anyone playing with open cards yet?
At least that’s what Franz Tost says on ‘ServusTV’. “The only thing that is similar in qualifying is the tires. Otherwise there are still a few things that will be different in qualifying, that is, the amount of fuel, engine mappings. There is still a lot that is not shown,” says the AlphaTauri Team boss, who adds: “So far everything is going according to plan.”
Tsunoda is on P7, Gasly on P9.
Apropos Vettel …
Team boss Otmar Szafnauer explains on ‘Sky’: “We worked on the car between FT1 and FT2 to eliminate the understeer that we had in the car. Now we have to see whether the rear has become too loose as a result.” Vettel has now slipped to P14, team-mate Stroll is on P8.
There are currently a few drivers from whom we expect significantly more. These are, for example, Perez (P10), Leclerc (P12) and also Alonso (P15).
Best time Verstappen
The Dutchman takes the lead with a 1: 30.8. Also strong is Norris, who pushed himself up to P2 in front of Hamilton. After his attempt, Bottas is only on P5 behind Sainz. There is only a little more than three tenths between Verstappen and Bottas. You can keep it that tight! Vettel did not have a clean lap, he is on P13, Schumacher on P18 in front of Latifi and Masepin.
Hamilton follows up
1: 31.0 for the world champion on soft. He hasn’t improved that much. Behind them, somewhat surprisingly, are Sainz and Tsunoda. But we haven’t seen the Red Bulls on Soft either, they are only just beginning their round.