Scuderia Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly ended the opening Free Practice session at the Portimao circuit in Portugal on Friday setting a fastest time of 01:20.124s ending the session in tenth place and in the second session he finished the session in seventh with a time of 01:19.178s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
It wasn’t an ideal Friday in Portimao. I discovered the track this morning in FP1 and I have to say it’s quite cool to drive, the elevation makes it really enjoyable. Unfortunately, in FP2 we had an issue where the car caught fire, so we are still analysing to understand the reason why this happened. This meant we didn’t have time to do a run on soft tyres, which would have been good to see where we sit compared to the others in the short runs. Our performance seems quite decent so far, but on my side, I still do not feel fully happy with the car and I hope we can improve for tomorrow. It will be important to have a clean FP3 to be prepared for Qualifying and to be able to put ourselves in a good starting position for Sunday.
Daniil Kvyat ended the opening session 13th with a time of 01:20.278s and in the second session he ended the day in 17th with a 01:20.729s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“It was very hard to get into a rhythm in FP2 so there are a few things that are still unclear and will just have to analyse what we have. At the moment nothing feels really good, but that’s normal because the track is still very slippery, so we have to work on a few things before tomorrow to understand what works best for these conditions. It wasn’t as enjoyable driving today because there’s so little grip out there, the car slides quite a bit so it’s going to be a different challenge for us. We will have to tweak a few things on the car to understand the right balance for this track.”
Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls commented saying:
“Although Formula 1 tested here back in 2009, effectively, Portimao is a new track for us. The surface has been completely resurfaced recently and, as we have seen in the past with fresh tarmac, it generally starts very slippery and low grip. This, combined with a more conservative tyre compound choice than other events of the season, and the wind intensity, meant it was hard for the drivers to get into a good rhythm during the session. All teams ran the Base tyre at the start of FP1 to remove this additional set from their allocation. The priority of the session for us was to give Pierre and Daniil a lot of track time to learn the circuit, complete some aero tests and characterisation, and begin setup optimisation for the track. The balance was hard to read in the low grip conditions, but the competitiveness was promising. We had a slow puncture on Pierre’s second set so he couldn’t complete the long run at the end of the session, which was unfortunate as we now miss the tyre data on that compound. For FP2, we made various changes to the car to improve the balance and overall grip. The first 30 minutes were dedicated to Pirelli tyre testing, which is effectively blind for us but helps with their 2021 development. After that, we started our planned performance runs, but unfortunately for Pierre, during the first new tyre lap his car had a ‘blackout’ and subsequent fire, so we need to review the issue when the car is back in the garage. After the Red Flag period to clear Pierre’s car, Daniil went for his new Option tyre run but had to abort due to the second Red Flag for the incident in Turn 1. Upon restarting the session, the temperatures were not ready and others were on high fuel, which made it difficult for Daniil to set a good lap. This means the classification today is not fully representative. We have a lot to look through tonight and are lacking long run tyre data, so it could make for an interesting race on Sunday.