The first day of practice at Baku circuit is always interesting, with drivers using a lot of the run-off areas and trying out their reverse gear. The compromise between the fast and the twisty section means that, in the latter, drivers must rely heavily on mechanical grip – which is questionable on Friday.
Different choices of set-up though, meant the times were very close. Raikkonen ended up fourth quickest with a 1min 43.489 seconds, while Vettel recorded a best personal lap time of 1min 43.615s. The long runs were even more encouraging for the Scuderia Ferrari drivers, ahead of a long preparation for tomorrow’s P3 and Qualifying sessions.
“The most challenging part of the day was to make the tires work”, said Raikkonen “to get them hot enough. And obviously, when they are not performing 100%, it’s a bit tricky out there on the track. The car feels ok, but we still have to work on that. If you manage to do that, then everything is a lot easier”.
Vettel’s comments reflect what was basically a day of learning: “We tried something in the afternoon, but I think it is difficult to find the rhythm here as the track is not easy. I believe I was not the only one to go down the escape roads. However, tomorrow is another day. I think we are close.”
“Red Bull is very fast and today it was not just for one lap but throughout both sessions. However, I was pretty happy with our overall job. The straight here is very long, so you have to make sure you are quick enough there. Maybe we may still want to try a couple of things even tomorrow”.