Jean-Eric Vergne believes tyre management will be a “tricky” task in Sunday’s Malaysia Grand Prix if Friday Practice is anything to go. The Frenchman didn’t get much chance to try the Pirellis out on a long run in FP2 due to rain but learnt enough in the morning to give him an idea of how the race will pan out.
“I think this was a positive day, including the reliability front which is important. We concentrated on our long run work and we got some good answers from that, which is the most important thing, rather than looking for quick lap times. Consistent times over a distance are more important. For tomorrow, we can now look at finding more pace. Tyre degradation is quite high, but we expected that and it’s the same for everybody. If it’s dry for the whole race, tyre management will be quite tricky. I didn’t learn much on the Inters, except that driving the car in the wet on a heavy fuel load is difficult! The heat? I’m fine with it.”
Toro Rosso teammate Daniel Ricciardo agrees that tyre wear will be critical but feels the team made good progress in terms of minimising it throughout the day.
“We learned a lot about the tyres today. In the morning, they seemed to struggle in the heat and we made some changes to help deal with that in between the two sessions. We managed to improve the balance of the car to prolong tyre life and I think we succeeded to a certain extent in doing that. We still have more work to do on that. The heat doesn’t affect the brakes much as there’s time to cool them down, but you have to watch the engine temps and also the body temperatures, because looking in the garage the guys seemed to have just come out of the shower! This is a more physical race than others and it is definitely warm, but having come here a few times, I’m prepared for it and enjoying it.”