Williams Racing have had a “productive” day in Friday practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit this weekend, as the 2019 Formula 1 season draws to a close.
Drivers Robert Kubica and George Russell had contrasting feelings about how the weekend had gone, with Russell feeling the second session was better due to the cooler track conditions.
“The car was feeling nice to drive, probably one of the best of the year, but the pace was quite slow,” said the Briton.
“It was tricky around the circuit, because it changes a lot from Free Practice 1 to Free Practice 2 as the conditions get cooler and it turns from day to night. I was enjoying it and it was good fun to drive.
“I felt that I learnt something from Free Practice 2 in the long runs, especially after the red flag as our pace was stronger in relative terms.
“I have not been feeling great, but the session was good for me and I feel fine to drive, which is the most important thing.”
In contrast, Kubica struggled with the lower track temperature and cooler conditions in the second session, which he said would usually be an advantage.
“Today was quite a mixture. The first session was surprisingly good for the conditions we had on the track.
“I was pretty happy with the balance and with the things we were trying, which were more for next year.
“Normally Free Practice 2 is a better session in the cooler conditions and with lower track temperatures, but for us it was the opposite.”
The Pole added that the team were going to see what they could do in order to get the car to perform as it had during the first session.
“We need to try and get back to having the behaviour and feeling of the car I had in Free Practice 1, so, as always, we will try our best, and hopefully it will work better tomorrow than it did this afternoon,” he concluded.
Senior race engineer, Dave Robson, appeared to be overall pleased with the team’s performance in the practice sessions, although noted there are still issues to be investigated and areas to improve on.
“We enjoyed a productive Friday as we conducted testing in the hot conditions of Free Practice 1 before turning our attention to qualifying and race preparation in Free Practice 2.
“The red flags in both sessions disrupted the flow a little, but, nonetheless, we adapted well and completed everything that we had planned,” said Robson.
He went on to say that the soft tyre compounds available, coupled with the cooler track conditions, worked well for Russell, but caused Kubica problems.
“The cooler conditions in Free Practice 2, and the relatively soft compounds available at this event, helped improve the handling of the car, and this was particularly to George’s liking.
Unfortunately, Robert was less happy in Free Practice 2 than he had been in Free Practice 1, and this is something that we will be looking at overnight.”
Robson said that conditions on Saturday will also be mixed, and as such they will not pay too much attention to the final practice session, turning their attention to qualifying instead.
“Tomorrow will be another day of two halves, with the track hot in FP3 before again cooling down before, and during qualifying. We will not pay too much attention to Free Practice 3 and instead will try to build on our Free Practice 2 findings as we seek the best balance for qualifying.”