Renault DP World F1 Team completed a productive Friday practice programme for this weekend’s VTB Russian Grand Prix with both Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon running inside the top ten throughout the day at a scorching Sochi Autodrom.
Daniel finished second in Free Practice 1 and third in Free Practice 2 with Esteban ending sixth in the first session and ninth in the second session.
Both drivers ran a series of aero evaluations to compare various parts across both sessions. In addition, Pirelli have brought a softer range of compounds for this year’s race at the Olympic Park based track, with the C5 (Soft) tyre in use for the first time this season. Learning about the C5 was also a key assessment area through both sessions and understanding its behaviour on both low and high fuel.
Conditions are hot in Sochi this weekend with today’s temperatures peaking at 27C and set to rise over the next two days.
What we learned today:
It’s been a good day with lots of data gathered and a couple of options on set-up to explore.
Daniel Ricciardo, #3, R.S.20-01
Free Practice 1: P2, 1:35.430, 22 laps
Free Practice 2: P3, 1:34.577, 27 laps
Daniel: “We keep on setting the time sheets alight on Friday, so it’s nice to see us high up again today. It’s a circuit I’ve not had too much success or confidence on before, so it definitely gives me a boost. I learnt a lot and showed strong pace in every run. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think it’ll be a lot closer especially between us and the teams that are about two to three tenths behind, so I think qualifying will be tightly contested. But I draw a lot of confidence from today and we’ll look to string it all together for the rest of the weekend.”
Esteban Ocon, #31, R.S.20-04
Free Practice 1: P6, 1:36.061, 23 laps
Free Practice 2: P9, 1:35.139, 28 laps
Esteban: “I think it was a pretty decent Friday. We tested a lot of things that now we have to put together tomorrow, so I think we’re in a good position. We didn’t quite find the sweet spot with the car so there’s more to come from us. We can see the performance is there. That’s positive and up to us now to do the magic tomorrow. There’s not one sector that stands out as all the corners here are quite similar and we’re looking consistent. We know what to do tomorrow.”
Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer:
“It was a good day here in Sochi. The morning session was a bit disrupted with the red flag stoppage and a couple of yellow flags, but the afternoon session was clear, and we got through everything we had planned to do. Our pace looks okay on both short runs and long runs and we’ll remain realistic for tomorrow and Sunday. We’ll do our usual Friday evening homework and come back tomorrow looking to put both cars in a good position on the grid. We’ve tried a few things on set-up on both cars and we’ll aim to put together the best bits we’ve learnt today onto tomorrow’s set-up.”