The newly formed Racing Point Force India F1 Team had a solid opening day of practice at the Spa Francorchamps circuit ahead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix as Formula One returned from their summer break.
It was time for the Silverstone based outfit to get back to on track action with Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez ending the day in seventh place with a fastest time of 1:44.662s and speaking following the session he said:
I love this track and I’ve really enjoyed getting back in the car today. When you spend a few weeks off, there is nowhere better than Spa to return to action. The car felt very good today and I’m happy with the balance. It’s probably the best balance we have had all year. So there is the potential for a strong weekend, regardless of what the weather does.
Esteban Ocon finished the day just outside the top ten in 13th place with a time 1:45.935s and speaking following the session he said:
It’s great to be racing again. The car is performing well and I felt very comfortable in the first session. We tried a different direction in the afternoon, which didn’t really work and I also had a puncture which meant I had to do most of the session on one set of supersoft tyres. Even so, we have made some good progress today and I think we can fight for a place in Q3 tomorrow.
Racing Point Force India F1 Team Principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer commented saying:
The conditions remained pretty consistent throughout the day, which is always a bonus here in Spa, and this helped us evaluate the different tyre compounds and rear wing levels. The first practice session was pretty straightforward, but in the afternoon we had a puncture on the out lap of our baseline run with Esteban. This means he only had one set of tyres available and put him on the back foot. Sergio, on the other hand, was able to carry on with the standard programme. We still have some work to do, especially on our long run pace, but overall it was a reasonable day and we were able to collect a lot of data for our engineers to analyse tonight.