The European Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, but our two drivers have already rattled off a high mileage after just one day of action on the Valencia street circuit.
Daniel Ricciardo did 60 laps, three more than Sunday’s race and Jean Eric Vergne did 56, one less than the distance of the eighth round of the World Championship. To run reliably for three hours in hot conditions is already a good starting point, even if we won’t hide the fact that we need to find some more performance from somewhere if we want to have a profitable weekend. So it was a tough but profitable day’s work, with everyone in the team pulling their weight to get through a very long job list.
It’s the usual story now, that ever since in-season testing is all but banned, all new ideas have to be tried out on Friday at the races and today, the team was evaluating various updates as well as continuing to develop the new exhaust configuration that our Australian driver tried for the first time in Montreal a fortnight ago. Today, it was run on both cars. Then there’s the usual task of tyre evaluation, made difficult here as the street circuit is always dirty and dusty on its first day of use. There was debris to contend with as a strong wind did its best to upset the behaviour of the cars under braking at some corners, when a strong tailwind would be trying to push them deeper into the turns. Now the engineers are studying the data to see where they can find the speed and the tenths of a second needed in time for tomorrow’s free practice, followed by what looks like once again being an incredibly close qualifying session. At least Jean-Eric has something else to distract him, as he takes part in a fashion shoot for Vogue magazine, when he finishes his work for the day.
Back to business and it was world champion Sebastian Vettel who was fastest today for Red Bull Racing, followed by Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India and Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber.