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FIA Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix 2017

Round 03: Bahrain Grand Prix

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Bahrain
Bahrain
April 14, 2017

“WE ARE MAXIMISING OUR POTENTIAL”

Under Friday's blazing desert sun and in 39 degrees, the team executed planned set-up changes on both cars between runs during the first practice session of the day. A floor change on Stoffel’s car and a rear wing change on Fernando’s car meant they completed 10 and 14 laps respectively.

Despite the stop-start nature of the session, both cars ran strongly – Fernando clocking the eighth-fastest time, and Stoffel the 13th. Unfortunately, Stoffel suffered an MGU-H issue at the end of the session, curtailing his running and, in the interests of time, necessitating a full PU change, in order to get Stoffel out on track for FP2.

In FP2, the team experienced contrasting fortunes. Fernando’s session ran smoothly and exactly to his run plan, and he completed 31 laps, which included high-fuel running in preparation for race day.

On Stoffel’s side of the garage, the team did a sterling job after FP1 to get Stoffel back on track – his MCL32 fitted with a new PU – 40 minutes into the second practice session. Unfortunately, after his second run, the engineers detected a problem with his MGU-H that put an end to his programme for the day. The team will now replace this element in time for tomorrow’s running.

During FP3, the air temperatures peaked at 35 degrees and track temperatures at 40. Both sides of the McLaren-Honda garage enjoyed a trouble-free session, completing runs on alternate set-up configurations and practising pitstops mid-session. Fernando completed 10 laps, clocking the 12th-fastest time, and Stoffel 15 laps, setting the 15th-fastest time.

FERNANDO ALONSO
#FA14 MCL32-03

FP1 1:34.372s (+1.675s) 14 laps 8th
FP2 1:32.897s (+1.587s) 31 laps 14th
FP3 1:33.922s (+1.728s) 10 laps 12th

“It was a good Friday for us, at least on my side of the garage, as Stoffel unfortunately had a lot of problems today. I was running OK and there was some positive news from today in terms of set-up and in terms of the directions to go with the car. We’re 1.5 seconds from the fastest car, which is by far the lowest gap so far. Also, we did 31 laps, which again is a lot of running.

“Considering what we have in our hands, I think we are maximising our potential.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction, but still we have a long way to go, and I hope tomorrow we can have a decent quali. We need to exploit every single lap we have on track tomorrow morning; we need to do a good qualifying and we need to attack in the race. We’re still not 100 per cent confident that we’re on top of our problems, so we need to keep working.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE
#SV2 MCL32-01

FP1 1:34.997s (+2.300s) 10 laps 13th
FP2 1:34.230s (+2.920s) 8 laps 20th
FP3 1:34.027s (+1.833s) 15 laps 15th

“It’s been another troublesome day for me, let’s say. In FP1 we had some engine problems and again in FP2, so very limited running for me today. It’s a shame to miss that much track time, especially in FP2 when the conditions are very similar to qualifying and the race. It’s not been ideal, but hopefully tomorrow we’ll have a smoother run and get on top of the issues.

“We’re going a bit blind into qualifying tomorrow, but Fernando did a lot of running today which was positive. We’ll have to start with a bit of a base of information from Fernando’s side of the garage, but I’m sure it’ll be useful for us as well. Our reliability issues have meant the start of the season hasn’t been ideal, as there hasn’t been a weekend yet where we haven’t had any issues.

“It’s a difficult situation at the moment, but this is how it is. We knew it would be another difficult weekend and hopefully tomorrow will be better for us. I don’t really have any idea what might be possible for tomorrow – we shouldn’t set ourselves any targets – I think we just need to make sure we have a smooth run, and we’ll see what’s possible.”


Eric Boullier

MCLAREN-HONDA RACING DIRECTOR

“On an extremely hot day here in Bahrain, the mercury nudging 40 degrees, Fernando got through his planned programme without interruption, garnering us a large amount of data to crunch this evening.

“For Stoffel, things were quite a lot more tricky. His car was beset with serial MGU-H issues, which we’re now investigating with Honda, and as a result he was unable to do anything like as much running as we’d have liked him to.

“But both our drivers enjoy the Bahrain International Circuit, and have indeed won here before, Fernando in Formula 1 and Stoffel in GP2, and they’ll do their best to qualify as well as they can tomorrow. Stoffel could obviously do with an uninterrupted FP3 in preparation for quali, so let’s hope it works out that way for him.”


Satoshi Nakamura

HONDA R&D CO. LTD PRINCIPAL ENGINEER

“After the cold and wet conditions in China, it was the complete opposite here in Bahrain today: hot and dry.

“Fernando showed consistent performance throughout FP1 and FP2, and we were able to go through our programmes on schedule in order to concentrate on finding the best set-up under varying conditions using different tyres and aero.

“It was a tough day for Stoffel as he wasn’t able to complete his running plan in either session due to issues with his MGU-H. These issues are currently under investigation, and meanwhile the team will work hard tonight to change his MGU-H ready for running in FP3 tomorrow.

“Despite Stoffel’s issues today, we are now looking ahead to tomorrow’s FP3 and qualifying. Fernando ran well today and we’re hoping he’ll continue to do so tomorrow, along with some better running for Stoffel.”

FIA Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix 2017
Round 03: Bahrain Grand Prix Practice1
Rank Driver Team
1Sebastian VettelFerrari
2Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
3Max VerstappenRed Bull
4Sergio PerezForce India
5Felipe MassaWilliams
6Lance StrollWilliams
7Esteban OconForce India
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda
9Romain GrosjeanHaas
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes
11Daniil KvyatToro Rosso
12Nico HulkenbergRenault
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda
14Valtteri BottasMercedes
15Jolyon PalmerRenault
16Kevin MagnussenHaas
17Marcus EricssonSauber
18Pascal WehrleinSauber
19Carlos SainzToro Rosso
20Kimi RäikkönenFerrari

Practice2
Rank Driver Team
1Sebastian VettelFerrari
2Valtteri BottasMercedes
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
4Kimi RäikkönenFerrari
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes
6Nico HulkenbergRenault
7Felipe MassaWilliams
8Max VerstappenRed Bull
9Romain GrosjeanHaas
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso
11Kevin MagnussenHaas
12Esteban OconForce India
13Jolyon PalmerRenault
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda
15Sergio PerezForce India
16Lance StrollWilliams
17Marcus EricssonSauber
18Carlos SainzToro Rosso
19Pascal WehrleinSauber
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda

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