The defending champions Red Bull Racing were at the hands of another disadvantage after the first of the Free Practice sessions today, as Sebastian Vettel was not able to carry out any running in FP2, as the German’s RB10 needing it’s chassis wiring loom to be replaced.
This in some ways has compromised the data that the engineers have had, as his teammate Daniel Ricciardo said that Mercedes have been able to keep their momentum, even with the improvements that have been made. “It’s nice not to have gone backwards during the short break,” said the Australian. “It’s not great that Seb wasn’t running, two cars means twice the amount of feedback for the team and you don’t learn so much from one when you are trying new parts – but at least we got some good data.“
The fact that Vettel’s misfortunes have continued for a lot longer than the team than they had hoped, it means that valuable data from both drivers is critical whenever new set ups are being trialled to ensure the best competitive package that the drivers are able to race with.
The 26-year-old admitted that the issue with the loom had put the team on the back foot for preparing for Sunday, but was happier that it happened during Practice than during the run-up to qualifying: “Unfortunately we lost the chance to prepare for Sunday with two cars, so I have to rely on what Daniel did today and get into the rhythm straight away tomorrow.”
Ricciardo’s data will help in some way, but with the ground already lost, this could prove to be another backward step for the champion that he simply does not need during a title race that is fast slipping away. But it is still early days as to what may happen on Sunday, so the fortunes could turn in his favour come race day.