Esteban Gutierrez felt it was a positive day at the Sepang International Circuit as the Mexican experimented with the set-up of his VF16 to learn how the new front wing faired on track.
The Haas F1 Team driver joined team-mate Romain Grosjean in trying out the new development front wing in Malaysia and ended the day quicker than the Frenchman, with Gutierrez ending fourteenth fastest in both sessions.
“It was a very productive day for us,” said Gutierrez. “The track is very interesting. It’s extremely smooth, which is changing the way the tyres are working and the set-up of the car.
“We’ve been experimenting a little today to learn everything we can about how the car is performing here. We’re progressing well and, hopefully, we’ll be able to extract the maximum from our set-up, which is the most important thing we’re focusing on.
“Tonight we’ll be going through all the data to see which direction we need to take to perform the best we can during qualifying.”
Grosjean finished ahead of Gutierrez in the opening session but fell to twentieth in the quicker afternoon session as he struggled for balance on his own car, and is hoping a solution can be found overnight to improve his chances of a good weekend.
“It was a difficult practice this afternoon,” admitted Grosjean. “We just couldn’t find a balance in the car. It’s frustrating.
“I wasn’t happy with the car, but we just need to put our heads down and come up with a solution before tomorrow. If there’s a positive, it’s that we got some laps in this Friday, but there’s a lot of work to do to improve the weekend.”