Charles Pic: – 21st/21st: “Everything was ok with the car after the installation lap, track conditions weren’t great to start with but we expected that. After the usual checks were done we went out for the first full run and the car was performing OK right from the start. There was a bit of understeer, especially in the high speed turns and a bit less in the low-speed, but not really too bad.
“We had a small data logging issue at the start of run two and run three so I came straight back in for the guys to fix it. We didn’t lose too much time as it was sorted out quickly and we were able to complete the program with a final eight lap run.
“Over the lunch break we made a couple of mechanical changes and the car’s straightline performance felt better but we still didn’t have enough front grip overall and needed to improve braking stability to really start being able to push. Run two was on the options but they weren’t really working at all. Honestly, it was a bit strange as there really wasn’t any grip on the softs – there was less understeer in the low-speed turns, not in the medium or highs, so we’ll have to look at that tonight with the data to really understand what’s going on.
“For the last half hour of the session we went back onto the mediums for the long run. The pace was ok and deg levels weren’t too bad, but as the options hadn’t performed well on run two so we ran most of the rest of the session on them, stopping for options with a couple of minutes left as we’re already pretty clear on how they’ll behave on Saturday and Sunday.
“We have some work to do tonight to find the pace that’s in the car here – throughout the season we’ve come back well in FP3 and quali so the aim is for more of the same tomorrow, and to carry that through to Sunday.”
Giedo van der Garde – 19th/19th: “This has been one of my best Fridays of the year so far – I drove in FP1 here in India last year so the circuit was familiar right from the installation lap and the car balance was immediately good from the first run. There was a bit of understeer in the high speed section through 10 and 11 but it was a positive start to the session.
“It felt the same on run two – still well balanced and as the track kept getting faster I could really start to push around the whole lap. It’s a good feeling when the car’s like that straight from the start of Friday and even though we had a small issue with the rear brake temps getting a bit higher than we’d have liked, it was all good. We continued with the plan and made a couple more changes to improve the aero balance for the last run and at the end of the session I think we’d made some good progress.
“FP2 started off the same – the car felt like it kept improving and on my first run in the afternoon I found almost another half second. There was still a bit of understeer in turn 10 but the wind had changed since the morning and that had actually helped the entry into that corner, but overall I was feeling comfortable. We went onto the softs for the second run of the afternoon but I had some traffic on my first lap and wasn’t really getting the most out of them on that run, particularly through turns eight and nine.
“We ran a normal FP2 plan so finished with the long run, starting on the mediums. They were consistent for the whole run which looks good for Sunday, but the options really aren’t performing here for anything more than a few laps. Now it’s the normal late Friday, getting everything ready for tomorrow and Sunday and after a good day like this I think this can be a good weekend for us.”