The undulating layout and the slippery surface of the 4.653km Algarve International Circuit did not fail to impress by posing a huge challenge to the drivers on the opening day of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc – FP1: 1:19.884, P4; FP2: 1:20.360, P7
“It was quite a good start to the weekend. It was fun to drive, the track was very slippery and especially with the wind it was tricky. It’s a real pleasure to drive in these conditions. You are always on the limit with the car and I really enjoy that.
“FP2 was a lot of fun, there were a lot of gusts of wind all around the track. We completed the whole programme we had planned and it looks like we are quite competitive. The short runs were good, the long-runs a little bit less so and I think that is the main weakness for me today so I still have to work on that. We are all very close and I think it will come down to who makes the least mistakes in qualifying and the race. I hope it will be a good weekend for us and that we can build on this positive first day.”
Carlos Sainz – FP1: 1:20.680, P9; FP2: 1:20.197, P4
“Another positive Friday, another day of building experience with the car. We are maintaining our positive learning curve, as this weekend the conditions and the tarmac are very different to the previous venues. Bahrain and Imola were high-grip tracks, while here in Portimao it was quite slippery and really windy today. I like the challenge of having to find the grip where there isn’t any! Last year, I really enjoyed racing here a lot.
“We are fully focused on tomorrow. We saw in Imola that Friday may be misleading when comparing our one lap pace to our competitors, so we are wary of that. I think the key to the weekend is going to be understanding the tyres, as we set similar times on Soft and Mediums. We need to master the car’s behaviour with the different compounds, understand how to warm up the tyres properly and then identify when is the right time to try and set the fastest lap. Looking forward to tomorrow. Vamos!”
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— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) April 30, 2021
George Russell – FP1: 1:20.529, P7; FP2: 1:20.976, P13
“Naturally the car has moved forward and the team is looking in great shape. I think we are getting the most out of our package and I’m pleased with that. The wind really picked up in the afternoon and it is no secret that we struggle in those conditions. I don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver, but if the wind dies down we will improve and I think P2 was the worst of it this weekend. This circuit is incredibly exposed and undulating, so if you do get a gust of wind you really do feel it. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think Q2 is the minimum for us and I hope we will be fighting for points on Sunday.”
Nicholas Latifi – FP1: 1:22.293, P19; FP2: 1:21.855, P19
“Overall I’m not very pleased with the day. We definitely have our work cut out for us tonight to try and claw back some of the pace that’s missing. Straight away in FP1 there was quite a contrast to how the car felt in Imola. There’s a lot of flat-out kinks on this track, corners that should be easy flat-out, that were borderline flat-out for me, especially in FP1. So it’s just really a lack of confidence in the car. We did try some things going into FP2 which made it marginally better, but still pretty much the exact same struggles as in FP1. So not how you want a Friday to go, but we’ll do some homework tonight, try to reset and find some pace tomorrow.”
Kimi Raikkonen – FP1: 1:21.381, P15; FP2: 1:21.225, P16
Callum Ilott – FP1: 1:21.806, P17
“I really enjoyed being in the car today. The team made it as easy as possible for me to hit the ground running and it was an excellent opportunity to gain experience, make the most of this hour and help the team gather data for the weekend. This is not an easy track, but I was able to build confidence with every run. The first run on hard tyres was good and I was able to get comfortable with the car; when I made the jump to softs I was a bit caught out at first as there was a big grip increase, but I was able to get more of a feeling for where to exploit the grip towards the end of the session. Having worked with the team in the past really helped: all in all, it was a successful day, running consistently and learning a lot.”
Antonio Giovinazzi – FP2: 1:21.238, P17
“Jumping in the car for the first time in the difficult conditions we had in FP2 is always hard: the wind gave a very inconsistent feeling, especially when the car is light, but we still have one night to look at the data and find something to improve. We’ll see tomorrow where we stand in qualifying, our aim remains the same – to get to Q2 and play it from there – and we know we can make the step forward needed.”
Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:19.967, P5; FP2: 1:19.837, P1
“It’s a little grippier here this year but it was very windy today so I think everybody was struggling with balance and sliding around. Not a massive amount of track evolution between the sessions – as it got hotter, the track got slower. This morning seemed to be a little bit better, then this afternoon it got warmer and windier so it seemed to make it harder for people to find time and work on their balance.
“I think it’ll be a close one this weekend. I don’t know what Max’s lap was like in FP2 but mine wasn’t perfect so we definitely have some time to come from the car and improvements to make. But I’m sure Red Bull have too. It was close, as it has been the last couple of races, so I’m sure it’ll be an exciting qualifying and race in store.”
Valtteri Bottas – FP1: 1:19.648, P1; FP2: 1:20.181, P3
“In terms of pace, it was not a bad start – I think we are there or thereabouts. It’s going to be close, no doubt. Quite similar feelings to last year here, it’s a slippery tarmac and the rear of the car is pretty loose in places, so it’s not easy to get clean laps. For me, the softer we went with the compounds, the more tricky the car became, and the Medium tyre looks to be working best.
“The track has improved from last year, slightly more grip and definitely a step in the right direction. Tomorrow it is going to be important to get the heat in the tyres in the right way – it’s going to make a big difference. It will be close between us and Red Bull and could swing either way. Whoever finds more lap time overnight gets pole.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 30, 2021
Max Verstappen – FP1: 1:19.673, P2; FP2: 1:19.980, P2
“It feels great to be back on track in Portimao, the circuit is amazing but the conditions are very similar to last year and the tarmac is super slippery. The tyres have of course changed and we all lost a bit of grip from the cars compared to last year. It’s very tricky out there and not easy to switch the tyres on which is a shame because it seems to be all about tyre preparation and temperature. It’s the same situation for everyone so we just need to make sure we are on top of the car so we can make the best out of it. It seems tight with Mercedes this weekend again and the car felt alright but we still have some work to do ahead of tomorrow, that’s for sure.”
Sergio Perez – FP1: 1:19.846, P3; FP2: 1:20.516, P10
“Today we had very similar track surface conditions to last year with limited grip on the new tarmac so it’s really hard to get the tyres to work. It’s not easy so the main focus is to understand what’s going on with the tyres. I think the pace on the mediums was good but when we went on to the soft compound we didn’t find any lap time so we’ll need to look into that and hopefully sort it out in time for qualifying. It’s hard to compare with the last round in Imola as it’s a very different track here and everywhere just has less grip overall due to the tarmac but I think we have pretty good pace in the car so hopefully we will be in the mix to fight for pole tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo – FP1: 1:20.995, P12; FP2: 1:20.418, P8
“It was a pretty good day in terms of my personal feeling in the car. I felt pretty comfortable from lap one this morning. The more laps I do, the better I feel, but it certainly felt like everything was more familiar when I hopped in the car today. I was ready to get on with it. I think we’re getting there.
“We were eighth this afternoon, so we’re definitely in the ballpark. I’ve still got a bit to find but we did make a small step forward for the afternoon session. We’ll try to make another step tonight and we should be right in the mix tomorrow.”
Lando Norris – FP1: 1:20.635, P8; FP2: 1:20.757, P12
“Not a perfect day, a couple of issues here and there which interrupted some of our running. It wasn’t too bad, it just meant we didn’t quite get through the run plan as easily as we wanted to. We definitely have some work to do overnight on some things. I think there’s some quite clear areas we can focus on that, if we improve them a little bit overnight, we can definitely find some performance. So, that’s our aim tonight, we’ll see if we can come back stronger tomorrow.”
Esteban Ocon – FP1: 1:20.800, P10; FP2: 1:20.235, P6
“It was a pretty solid day for us, especially in terms of mileage. We completed a lot of laps and that was quite nice. We tested all the tyre compounds and we have a good read on that ahead of the race on Sunday. This circuit is certainly a tricky track in terms of grip, but I would say it has improved since last season. It’s still a challenge for us and we’re working hard to get a little bit more grip from the car for tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso – FP1: 1:21.303, P14; FP2: 1:20.220, P5
“It was a good practice day for me and the most comfortable I’ve had this season compared to Bahrain and Imola. I was happy with the setup of the car quite early in the day, so I concentrated mostly on becoming more acclimatised to the circuit and then evaluating the tyres over the two sessions. There is still lots of data for us to analyse, but it’s a good start to the weekend. I enjoyed driving the circuit for the first time in a Formula 1 session, but I think traffic could be a challenge tomorrow in qualifying. It’s an exciting track to drive, that’s for sure.”
Pierre Gasly – FP1: 1:20.444, P6; FP2: 1:20.558, P11
“It’s been quite a difficult day, the car doesn’t feel that good so tonight we need to analyse everything and see what we need to do to improve, as we’re not currently utilising our full potential. Compared to the last few races, we’re really struggling on braking in the low-speed areas, so we need to look at what we’ve changed. Obviously, the conditions and layout are very different here – it’s quite slippery – so we might need to make some different adjustments to usual.
“The midfield is so tight at the moment that we have to work on this a lot tonight to find the extra time for tomorrow – two or three tenths at the moment can lose you six or seven places, come qualifying, so it really is crucial. I think I’ve been in Q3 for the last five or six races so I really want to continue that train and I’m confident we can make some changes tonight so that can happen again tomorrow.”
Yuki Tsunoda – FP1: 1:21.090, P13; FP2: 1:21.053, P14
“Today was the first time that I’ve driven the track here in Portugal and I really enjoyed it – especially the up-and-down areas of the circuit – and I’ve learnt quite a bit in the two sessions today. There’s a lot of new elements to understand, there’s really low grip levels compared to Bahrain and Imola, so at first I struggled to adapt to that but I think I managed to learn fairly quickly and my progression through the day has been good. I’m continuing to build the pace in the car and tonight I’ll look through the data with my engineers, analysing the set up of the car, and then tomorrow I hope to put it altogether for qualifying.”
the start of FP2 has been delayed by 10 minutes…
Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:21.405, P16; FP2: 1:21.074, P15
“It was not easy to get the laps together out there because although the track surface has more grip than it did in last year’s race, it is still quite tricky. The windy conditions were also challenging, but it did not stop us completing plenty of laps and working through the programme. Every lap is important for understanding the car and making improvements, so it was positive in that sense. Getting the balance right for qualifying and making sure we hook up the laps tomorrow is the focus tonight.”
Lance Stroll – FP1: 1:20.894, P11; FP2: 1:20.427, P9
“It is great to be back in Portugal. The track is a lot of fun and the elevation changes are a real challenge inside the car. The conditions were not ideal today, which made it quite tricky to find the best balance – but I think everyone would say the same after today’s running. We will all be looking to make gains tomorrow. With just six tenths separating the top 10 cars, qualifying should be unpredictable and a great watch for the fans back home. I am excited to get going tomorrow.”
Mick Schumacher – FP1: 1:21.939, P18; FP2: 1:21.537, P18
“It was definitely a lot more slippery than I’m used to but it was fun. We had a very lively car out there, it brought back memories from F3 and go-karting. It was interesting. The track is quite impressive and quite intense. It wasn’t difficult to build confidence here, it’s just about getting a clean lap and that’s very difficult if the car is difficult to drive. I think we’re getting into a window where it’s more and more resilient. I’m also getting more comfortable with a lively car. If we do our jobs, which we always do, we should be in a good window tomorrow for qualifying.”
Nikita Mazepin – FP1: 1:24.224, P20; FP2: 1:22.638, P20
“On average, if you take all the circuits that we go to in F1 and F2, this is one of the least grippy tracks – which is a bit of a shame as the layout is really cool. If you could go a bit faster, and with a bit more confidence through it, it would be nice. We have what we have. The grip is building up with all the laps we’re doing so that’s good. There are fine lines here and, in that respect, I think we had a good Friday. There’s a lot still to be extracted and it’s tomorrow that matters.”
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