Paddy Lowe insists a lot work will need to be done during Fridays second Free Practice session around the Bahrain International Circuit, as it will be the only session that will offer any kind of representative data for Saturday’s Qualifying session and Sunday’s race.
The Bahrain Grand Prix will run under lights on Sunday evening in Bahrain, with Qualifying running at a similar time on the Saturday, meaning Friday’s second practice session, which also takes place under the floodlights is extremely important to get a good feel on the set-up of the car, particularly as the other two practice sessions during the weekend are run in daylight hours.
“Bahrain is a great track with a unique atmosphere under the lights as darkness falls in the desert,” said Williams Martini Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Lowe.
“It is a tricky race for car setup, as FP1 and FP3 occur in the afternoon with very high track temperatures and do not represent the cooler conditions seen in the twilight sessions for qualifying and the race. Therefore, FP2 is extremely important for our preparation.”
Lowe feels Bahrain will give the first true indication of where teams are in relation to one another, and he hopes for a vastly improved performance from his team in the desert than what was shown in Australia.
Lance Stroll was Williams’ sole finisher in the season-opener in fourteenth, while Sergey Sirotkin’s debut Grand Prix ended after just four laps after an errant plastic bag caused a brake failure on his FW41.
“It will be interesting to see how the 2018 tyres perform in Bahrain and if they throw up more variety in race strategies,” said Lowe. “It is the first normal race track of the 2018 season with more predictable weather, so we should get a more representative comparison of the underlying performance of each team.
“After Sergey’s unfortunate DNF in Australia from a freak plastic bag, we hope to get him to complete his first race distance and that Lance can show well at his second year at this circuit.”