Carlos Sainz (STR11-01, Car 55)
First Practice Session
Best lap: 1:38.055, pos. 15th, 25 laps
Second Practice Session
Best lap: 1:36.836, pos. 11th, 30 laps

Carlos Sainz:

“I think it’s been a very interesting day for us here today. The fact that the track has been resurfaced means it’s like being at a new track – we’ve been around three seconds quicker already compared to last year and it’s still only free practice. It’s definitely being a new challenge, with faster lap times, and I have to say that the car feels amazing to drive as there’s a lot of grip out there, so I’m enjoying it! Now we need to work towards tomorrow. As expected, we are not as strong as in Singapore, but also not as bad as in Monza or Spa, so I look forward to the rest of the weekend – it’s nice to be battling with the rest of the midfield… We will keep fighting!”

Daniil Kvyat (STR11-03, Car 26)
First Practice Session
Best lap: 1:37.847, pos. 11th, 29 laps
Second Practice Session
Best lap: 1:37.297, pos. 16th, 29 laps

Daniil Kvyat:

“It was a good day today, we were able to complete plenty of laps on a track that’s been resurfaced, so it was important to get a lot done. I have to say that it’s a pleasure to drive on such a smooth surface! We’ve collected a lot of useful data which will help us improve for tomorrow. We now need to find a few steps forward overnight, try to make them work and then see where we end up.”

Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer):

“An interesting day today, with the new track surface changing things quite a bit compared to previous years. Most significantly, the drivers felt less bumps and a step more grip in traction. It took us a few runs to optimise the balance around the new tarmac and in fact I think we have probably ended up with the drivers just either side of an ideal balance. Carlos was a bit too neutral and Daniil probably a bit on the understeer side. Daniil has had some floor damage today and so we will need to look into correcting for that tonight. He also had some very slow traffic on his short run so in general he has had a bit of a scrappy day and I think he will look relatively stronger on the time sheets tomorrow. Carlos has had a much smoother day and I think is a fair gauge of our performance: It is a very tight battle in the mid field with the usual suspects, plus Palmer looks quite strong in the Renault as well. In terms of our ranking, we have come back to a track with some long straights so our top speed deficit has dropped us down a bit compared to Singapore. Nonetheless, I think if we can make some good conclusions on how best to make use of the tyres, so I think we can have a decent weekend.”