FRENCH GP: FREE PRACTICE

An update from Free Practice at the French Grand Prix as the Bulls take to Circuit Paul Ricard.

The French Grand Prix has run on both a long and short version of the Paul Ricard Circuit. The returning race uses neither of the old configurations but instead uses a tweaked version of the full track with a chicane in the middle of the Mistral. Ricard is probably the world’s most configurable racing circuit. It is primarily a testing venue, and thus the circuit can be set-up to offer configurations to suit pretty much any sort of testing requirement. 

This weekend the circuit length stands at 5.842km and the first session of the weekend saw Max and Pierre take to the track, with sun-filled skies greeting them in the South of France for Friday morning's Free Practice One.

Max finished the session in P4 with a best time of 1:33.618 after 20 laps. Pierre was P6 putting in his quickest time of 1:34.091 from 20 laps.

The afternoon's Free Practice Two saw the Bulls put in longer runs on track, both putting in 29 laps. Max ended the session in P6, after his 1:32.049 and Pierre finished P8 with a time of 1:32.448.

Saturday's final practice session saw Max finish P5 with a 1:31.538 from his 11 laps. Pierre was P6 posting a 1:31.599 after 14 laps.

Following the day's action, Max said:

“We still have some work to do but we looked reasonably competitive against Ferrari. Mercedes are still too quick but we will look at the data and see what we can improve for tomorrow. The tyres are not that easy to predict and it seems that the softest compound is not a lot faster than the medium, which will make things quite interesting in qualifying. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day and we were able to make lots of changes, especially this morning, to fine tune our set-up for the rest of the weekend.”

Pierre added following FP2:

“Today was good. We tested a lot of new parts on the car and now I need to sit down and analyse with the guys what worked and what didn’t. Regarding the new Honda engine, it’s difficult to say much as I’ve just come out of the car but we will look at everything tonight and push it more tomorrow. The general feeling was good, the reliability was completely fine and in terms of performance, we need to see if it’s delivering what we expected. The conditions and also the tarmac made it difficult with the tyres and grip. In general it’s a bit different to what we expected coming into the weekend but it’s the same for everybody. In FP1, there was less grip initially but this afternoon it seemed a bit better so let’s see if it keeps increasing like this. The soft tyres seemed to fall away so we need to see what’s best in terms of strategy and what we can do for Sunday.”