Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna were both content with their performances in Friday practice ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. Maldonado didn’t feature near the top of the timesheets, ending the day in fifteenth, but was encouraged by the consistency of the car in a race simulation.
“We completed our programme today but we still have a lot of work to do. The car is looking consistent and our longer run pace was good. We still need to find some more performance ahead of qualifying so we’ll now work through all the data we have gathered.”
Despite stepping aside for Valtteri Bottas in FP1, Senna went eighth quickest overall, a second behind pacesetter Mark Webber, and the Brazilian was pleased with the progress made in his relatively short track time.
“It was an interesting day as we learnt a lot of things about the testing we’ve been doing. Missing the morning session was difficult as we were fine tuning the car set-up to suit my driving style, but we had a clean session completing plenty of laps and so overall it was good experience.”
Today was Bottas’ first experience of Suzuka and the Finn has already described it as his “new favourite track” after just 24 laps of it.
“Suzuka is a new track for me so it wasn’t an easy session and it took quite a few laps to get into the rhythm. In the first run, the car balance wasn’t ideal but we managed to improve the car for the second and third runs. I was also improving myself throughout the session. I think I have a new favourite track as Suzuka is fantastic to drive. It’s challenging and very quick which makes it great fun.”