Williams Racing test and reserve driver Jack Aitkin says Friday was pretty cool as he took part in his first official Formula One practice session for the Grove team as he will drive in place of George Russell who is driving in place of Lewis Hamilton at the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team.
Speaking about his time in the car, Aitkin commented saying:
Today was pretty cool and I got lots of laps under my belt. We spent the first few laps in FP1 refreshing what I did during FP1 in Austria, so it was all pretty familiar, and I got up to speed quickly. There is some work to be done on our one lap pace, but the race form was encouraging so I am pretty happy. We built some solid foundations today, so I am looking forward to getting into qualifying. It will be tough tomorrow in qualifying; keeping your wits about you and being aware and hopefully we can be on the right side of things.
Nicholas Latifi commented saying:
It was a different kind of day, and a different kind of track to what we are used to. It was pretty hectic out there, 20 cars sharing this short track made it difficult to focus on your own programme, get clean laps in and try to not disturb anyone else. We have some work to do on both low and high fuel, but we are thereabouts with our competitors Haas and Alfa, which is always the target. The new section is very bumpy, it will create something different for sure which I think is what F1 wanted to achieve. I hope it makes it exciting and brings opportunities that we are all hoping for. It has definitely created a challenge to set up the car, so we will try and nail that down tomorrow.
Head of Vehicle Performance with the Williams Racing Team Dave Robson commented saying:
It has been a fun evening getting to grips with the new Sakhir layout. The new corners are a bit bumpy in places, but they add to the character of the circuit and give the drivers a new challenge. The wind direction was quite different to last week and so even the corners that are shared with the traditional Grand Prix circuit were a little different today. However, both drivers settled down to the job very well and, following a tricky FP1 session, had very productive FP2 sessions.
Jack has driven very well and although he damaged his second set of tyres in FP1, he was still able to complete some useful operational practice at the end of the session. His FP2 session was very good as he completed his qualifying programme before getting stuck into the high fuel race runs. He was able to get a good idea of what will be required in the race on Sunday and his rate of learning was excellent. Nicholas meanwhile has happily and competently taken on the role of team leader and completed some very good running during the night session. He was able to consolidate his experience of the tyres from last weekend and quickly adapt it to the nuances of driving the Outer Loop at night. As always, we have a lot to get through tonight but we’re sure that we can improve the car further ready for qualifying tomorrow.
We also understand that George Russell had a good day and we wish him well for the rest of the weekend.