Daniil Kvyat had the better Friday in Brazil by finishing third and eighth in the two practice sessions at Interlagos, but Jean-Eric Vergne’s running was limited, first by Max Verstappen taking over his Scuderia Toro Rosso for first practice and then by an ERS failure after just five laps of second practice.
Kvyat was an impressive third during the morning session, but was disappointed with his eighth place in the second, with the Russian finding it difficult to get his tyres to work properly. He remains confident however the issues can be resolved overnight, and is looking for a strong Saturday.
“Mixed feelings today,” reflected Kvyat. “In the morning we looked quite competitive, while in the afternoon our performance was not that good. The track conditions between the two sessions changed a lot, making it difficult the get the best out of the tyres. It looks like conditions are going to be changeable this weekend, so we have to be ready for everything.
“The positive is that we know in which direction we have to move. We have some homework to do overnight, but I’m confident we can improve for tomorrow.”
After sitting out the first session, Vergne was back in the car for the second session but saw his car stop on track with an ERS issue, but the Frenchman still believes he will have a good weekend in Brazil.
“After just a few laps in this session, I suddenly suffered a loss of power,” said Vergne. “[It was] a complete black out on the electrical side, which we will have to investigate now. Unfortunately it was not possible to get the car back to the garage to have a look and see if we could fix it in time and go out again.
“Not driving on Friday doesn’t help us to set up the car properly but this won’t stop me from having a good weekend.”
Verstappen took part in his third free practice session, and despite a couple of errors showed strong pace once more, ending up sixth fastest, and the seventeen year old Dutchman admitting to feeling more comfortable in the car as his confidence grew.
“At the beginning the track was quite slippery, especially when you went off the racing line, so I think the tyres will be a key factor this weekend,” said Verstappen. “I enjoyed today as always and this track is very nice to drive. Every time I get in the car I feel more comfortable, lap-by-lap I get a better understanding of its behaviour.
“We have made a few changes from Austin to here, for example in the steering, which I now feel is more to my liking. This meant I could try and find the limit a bit more than in the past weekends. I’m quite satisfied with my job and I like working with this team very much. We are starting to know each other better and they understand better what I want from the car, my driving style, and the set up becomes easier. I think I had a good practice session and it’s great to see that both our cars were very competitive.”