Valtteri Bottas sets the fastest time on Friday in Shanghai
The day ended up ok, we made it to the top of the timesheets, but it is always very difficult to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track. We got there step by step and the car was feeling ok in the end, but it’s only Friday and it’s the next two days that count. Ferrari still seem to be quicker than us on the straights, whereas we were better in most corners in FP2. We still have room for improvement, but we know the others are going to work hard on their cars as well, so we’re going to have to wait and how much we can improve in relation to them. The wind is forecasted to change direction over the next two days which can make things really tricky as we saw in Bahrain two weeks ago, so that’s going to make things interesting.
It was a relatively straightforward day, we got through our programme ok. It was quite cold out there, which makes it difficult for the tyres. I was struggling with the car today, so we’ve got work to do, particularly on my side as Valtteri looked much more comfortable in the car. We’re going to work hard tonight to find some tweaks and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow; the car has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up. It is nice to see how close it is between us, Red Bull and Ferrari. As we expected, the Ferraris still look quicker on the straights, but overall it’s very close between the top cars and I anticipate that it is going to be the same tomorrow.
We’ve had a fairly straightforward day as far as the programme was concerned. The first session was quite busy as we were looking at various set-up items but we covered everything we wanted to. It’s always a difficult circuit to balance as the long corners and the sequences cause overheating on one axle or the other so you are often left trying to tackle a number of different issues around the lap. Valtteri has been fairly happy with the car all day, just trying to put a bit more front end into it over the sessions. Lewis hasn’t found the car as easy to work with and we need to do some investigation overnight to understand why. Ferrari and Red Bull are all doing decent times on long runs and short runs so it looks like it will be tight but we have some scope to improve things overnight.