It was a tough day on and off the track for the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team in Russia, with both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo believing the Sochi track is not best suited to their package this weekend.
Vettel was in a pensive mood after practice, with the events involving Jules Bianchi in Japan last weekend still fresh in his mind. He was able to get into the top ten in free practice two after ending up fourteenth in the first session, but feels the track is not suited to Red Bull.
“Does getting back in the car help us after what’s happened,” pondered Vettel. “It does and it doesn’t. It helps to get your head elsewhere and focus on the day job – looking after the best possible set up and comparing the tyres and learning the new track, it keeps you occupied.
“But on the other hand it’s only been a couple of days, so it’s quite fresh and difficult. It looks like we will struggle here; it’s a nice track, but maybe not made for us.”
Team-mate Ricciardo also found it hard to focus on track events in Russia after the happenings at Suzuka last weekend, but managed to finish twelfth and thirteenth on a track that the Australian believes does not suit their car too well. He was forced to stop on track towards the end of the second session due to his engine coming to the end of its cycle, but insists it will not affect his weekend.
“After what happened in Japan, you try and do the best you can,” reflected Ricciardo. “I would be lying if I said other things weren’t on my mind, but you do what you can to make sure you’re 100% committed to driving and that’s the best way for our job and our headspace. It’s the best way, but it was tricky and not as easy as I expected.
“It was our last Friday with that engine, so it’s not a worry that she turned off at the end there. We tried a few settings and we’re not so fast here, the straights are long and we’re suffering a bit.”