For the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team, it was a Friday to forget at the French Grand Prix, with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll ending the day fifteenth and sixteenth respectively.
For Vettel, who is coming into the weekend on the back of his unbelievable podium in Azerbaijan, it was the worst possible start to the day. The German span off during Free Practice One after being caught out in the windy conditions, the German was unable to keep his car out of the wall and suffered damage to the rear of his car.
The off resulted in Vettel missing valuable track time, leaving lots to do in the afternoon session. The team have a lot of time to find, with Vettel ending the day 1.6 seconds off the fastest lap. The German will be hoping to find something positive in Free Practice Three ahead of qualifying.
“The track conditions were hot and very windy, which caught me out this morning when I had a small off. It cost us some track time, but we recovered well in the afternoon. The long run was clean and we managed to get some consecutive laps together, which was important.”
“My performance run was not the best and I made a mistake, but today is about getting a feel for the car to make sure we perform in qualifying. I think we know where we can find gains and there are some things we can do better, which is where we will focus our energy tonight.”
“Small gains can certainly make a difference” – Stroll
For Canadian Stroll, it was a tricky opening day to the French Grand Prix. Stroll like Vettel struggled in the blustery conditions as he tried to find some rhythm in his car.
Stroll comes into the weekend on the back of his huge crash in Azerbaijan, where he suffered a rear-left tyre failure at almost 200mph. The Canadian believes the team have more pace to find, which when the midfield is as tight as it is this weekend, every tenth found could prove to be the difference between tenth, and thirteenth.
“It was really hot out there today, and very gusty at times, which made for some tricky conditions because it is a low-grip track surface. It was particularly windy early in the day, but we were able to get into a rhythm and work through our programme. We have learned some useful things about the car balance and done some important homework.”
“However, I think we are leaving some pace out there, so we will go away tonight, look over everything and try to come back stronger tomorrow. The midfield is already looking very close this weekend, so small gains can certainly make a difference; that is what we will be aiming to find for qualifying.”