Lando Norris had a fairly successful opening day at the Russian Grand Prix, whereas Mclaren F1 Team team-mate and Italian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo crashed back to earth with day to forget at the Sochi Autodrom.
It was a solid opening day in Sochi for Norris, the British driver found himself in fourth place come the end of Free Practice Two, four places higher than his eighth place in Free Practice One. By the end of the day Norris was half a second behind fastest man Valtteri Bottas but crucially ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari’s.
Despite the predominantly positive day, the morning did end in embarrassing style for Norris. The British driver managed to spin when entering the pit-lane at the end of the opening session, brushing the wall in the process. Thankfully no real damage was done to his Mclaren.
Norris doesn’t believe the team are as competitive as they were in Monza but is still confident that they have a good package to fight those around them.
“Today was a bit up and down – we struggled quite a bit in P1, but we made quite a few changes on the car for the second session which improved things. That progress has made me feel a bit more confident in the car this afternoon and given us a more positive feeling going into tomorrow.
“Some of our strengths from Monza aren’t as obvious at this track, and there’s more of the types of corners here where we’re not as strong. But it can still feel relatively good, it just doesn’t always translate into actual lap-time.
“We’re not as competitive as we were in Monza, but we still have a decent feeling and we can still be competitive compared to the teams we’re really racing against. There are a lot of things to take into account for tomorrow with the weather forecast, so there’s a lot to think about overnight to prepare ourselves for tomorrow.”
“Not the most inspiring day” – Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo’s Russian Grand Prix hasn’t started the way he would’ve liked, the Australian ended the day in seventeenth place after missing the majority of the afternoon session. Ricciardo’s engine could be seen to have a problem by the team in the data, as a precaution the Mclaren mechanics reverted to an old power unit to fix the issue. This lost the Australian valuable track time, which he needed after ending the morning in fourteenth.
Ricciardo struggled to find pace on the opening day but is hopefully he can find something in Norris’s data, as he prepares for hopefully a better Saturday.
“This morning, we struggled quite a bit to get comfortable and there wasn’t that much pace. We made some changes with swapping the PU for FP2, but then we had a delay getting out, and then we had yellows, red flags and then people around us on high fuel. It was a bit of a lost session really, so we have some homework tonight.
“Fortunately, Lando looked more comfortable and quicker in FP2, so we’ll try to learn from that. For us, not the most inspiring day, but still a lot we can work on to improve ahead of qualifying.”