Friday practice report from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: It’s still too early in the weekend to assess exactly how we are doing, but we feel we’ve had a decent day. The track has lived up to expectation and is fast and challenging. Unfortunately, there were some different tyre strategies amongst drivers today, which meant that there was heavy traffic at times, and therefore completing representative laps wasn’t always easy. However, we have made some good progress and can see opportunity for further improvement overnight. With all the sessions being late in the day, FP3 should be a useful session for working on the car set-up ahead of Qualifying.
It will be interesting to see how easy overtaking is on Sunday and how this will play into people’s view on strategy. The track is already in a good state and the tyres are working well, which should make for an interesting weekend.
George Russell: It was very fun out there today. It is an incredibly fast track and it punishes you heavily if you make a mistake. You must be very precise with where you are positioning the car and tomorrow in Qualifying it will be very tricky. It will require lots of commitment on those one or two flying laps, particularly through the high-speed corners, so I am excited for that as I am sure it will be very exhilarating. The car was feeling nice to drive today and it was quite close in the midfield with other teams such as Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo. I think a lot of people were struggling to get the tyres working on the first timed lap, particularly on the soft Pirelli compound, as preparation doesn’t seem so straightforward. If you get the tyres in the right window, I think there will be plenty of opportunity so we will be putting a lot of emphasis on trying to get that right overnight.
Nicholas Latifi: It is always nice to discover a new track, especially when it is a street circuit as you have to gauge the risk versus reward and find your marks, which means you really have to build it up lap-by-lap. There are some things to improve and clean up overnight, on both the driving side and with the car, to give me a bit more confidence heading into Qualifying tomorrow. Overall, however, we had two good sessions today and I think we can make some good steps for the race on Sunday.