The Force India duo of Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg had a relatively uneventful day of free practice today in Monte Carlo, with only the afternoon rain disrupting their programmes.
“The morning session was quite straightforward and the baseline set-up was not too far away,” said Di Resta, who finished the day twelfth fastest. “The track was quite green to begin with, but it was starting to rubber in nicely during the final half hour. We worked a bit on the set-up, changing the aero balance and collected the data we needed on the soft tyres.
“The rain arrived quite early in the afternoon and, although we got out on the supersoft tyres, I didn't get a completely dry run on them. It's good to have done some miles on the intermediate tyres because, as we saw today, it's quite hard to predict what the weather will do on Saturday and Sunday.”
Team-mate Hulkenberg finished the day in P14, but he did not have the luxury of racing here last season. “The first session in Monaco is always a time to acclimatise and get used to the circuit again, especially because I didn't race here last year,” said the German.
“The morning session was busy on track, but we got through our programme and I did several runs on the soft tyres. The afternoon was affected by the weather and that made it difficult to get in the rhythm or complete our tyre programme. We didn't think it would rain today, but the conditions can change so quickly here and we need to be ready for that over the weekend.”
Chief Engineer Jakob Andreasen explained how the team went about their Thursday in Monte Carlo:
“A day of varied weather in Monaco kept us on our toes and forced us to adapt our plans for the afternoon session,” he said. “Having run extensively on the soft tyres this morning, we switched early to the supersofts for the afternoon session, but with rain in the air we only managed limited running.
“The rain was not that heavy, but it was persistent and made for a very damp track, so we opted to do some running on the intermediates with both Paul and Nico. This should leave us well prepared in case we get some damp weather over the weekend. Set-up wise we made some good improvements this morning and the drivers' feedback is positive. With a free day tomorrow we have plenty of time to analyse the data and make more improvements before final practice on Saturday morning.”