What the teams said – Friday at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Red Bull

Verstappen started the weekend in style, topping FP1 comfortably – although he did skate over the gravel after the chequered flag fell so it wasn’t quite the perfect session. Perez wasn’t too far back from his team mate, and it was a similar pattern in FP2 as well. Verstappen didn’t nail his opening lap on the softs after running a fraction wide, but his second effort was good enough for P2, while Perez was a few tenths further back.

READ MORE: Verstappen says Red Bull still have things to ‘improve’ despite ‘pretty good’ first day in Zandvoort

Max Verstappen – FP1: 1:11.852, P1, P19; FP2: 1:11.353, P2

“Today was a good day, we tried a few different things on the car. There’s a couple of things we want to fine tune like the balance, but on the whole it was handling well, even on the long runs. The car has a lot of potential so hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow. I’m feeling confident that we can be ahead in qualifying. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow, it’s fantastic to see all the orange in the grandstands and around the track, I certainly feel the support.”

Sergio Perez – FP1: 1:12.323, P4; FP2: 1:11.817, P7

“It was a positive Friday, the grid is looking really tight out there once again. We got plenty of information and got to try all the different compounds on the high fuel which will help the Team. I think it is looking competitive so I’m looking forward to the weekend. We just have to keep the momentum into qualifying tomorrow and get the perfect lap together, qualify where we should and then show our race pace. Our Sunday will depend on how qualifying goes, we have a strong car and if we are where we should be we will be in a good place for the race.”

McLaren

After a quiet opening session, all eyes were on McLaren in FP2. That’s because Norris went quickest of all on a scorching lap on the softs, topping the field and beating the Red Bulls. That bodes well for a tight fight in qualifying tomorrow, with the Britain having previous over one lap and certainly not likely to be overawed. But Piastri had a much less productive session thanks to an early crash. The rookie just lost the rear into the banked Turn 3, hitting the barriers and damaging both his front and rear wing.

Norris ‘100%’ confident McLaren can stay in the fight at Zandvoort after table-topping Friday as Piastri reacts to crash

Lando Norris – FP1: 1:12.460, P6; FP2: 1:11.330, P1

“A reasonable day. A nice way to end, in terms of position. We did quite a bit of aero running this morning which cost us a little bit and we couldn’t quite focus on what we wanted to do from a pure performance perspective – but we knew that was going to happen, so we understood it. I think we got in a good rhythm and found a reasonable balance with the car. We’re looking good on low fuel, but we’ve got a bit of work to do on high fuel, so that’s our target tonight.”

Oscar Piastri – FP1: 1:12.658, P8; FP2: 1:12.901, P19

“A shame to end the day like that, I just went into Turn 3 a bit too quick and lost the rear. It’s a shame to have picked up the damage and give the team a long night but their hard work is appreciated. Otherwise, I think the pace looked quite good today. I was feeling pretty good with the car, so we’ll try to bounce back tomorrow and have a positive day.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“A trouble-free day on Lando’s side that meant we could go through the programme, which included some rake work, aerodynamic evaluations and then understanding of the tyres. On Oscar’s side, after a normal FP1 with some rake work too, we had to stop his session early in FP2 due to a spin in Turn 3 that led the car onto the barriers. Oscar missed some information in terms of preparation for qualifying and the race, but his pace was competitive until that point.

“Overall, we seem to be in a decent place, so we will do our best to be ready for qualifying and the race where we’ll try and score some good points.”

Mercedes

Hamilton’s flying lap in FP1 was disrupted by red flags but despite that, he still wound up third overall in an encouraging display. Russell couldn’t find a clean lap on the soft tyres and ran out of time, so his 11th place wasn’t truly representative. Second time around, Hamilton was again the pick of the two drivers, with fourth a decent effort and comfortably ahead of his team mate. The bouncing the team encountered at Spa also doesn’t seem to be in evidence, which is also good news.

Lewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:12.225, P3; FP2: 1:11.638, P4

“That was a great day for me. I woke up this morning so excited to get back in the car, and from the first lap it felt like we had a good starting point to work from. The first practice session was generally good; we made some changes for FP2, and I’m not sure if we progressed or not from them, so we will deep dive tonight to investigate. Overall, the car is feeling more competitive here, so we want to hold onto that and see if we can extract more for tomorrow.”

George Russell – FP1: 1:12.813, P11; FP2: 1:12.009, P14

“It felt good to be back in the car after several weeks out of the cockpit. Overall, it’s feeling good out there: the race pace was looking strong, and there is plenty of potential in there for qualifying as well, even if it didn’t quite show in the headline times for me today. Definitely this was one of our better Fridays and I’m optimistic for the rest of the weekend.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

“We’re all really excited to get back to racing after the break. We’ve been able to bring a few updates to this race which will hopefully help nudge us in the right direction; certainly, the car seems be working reasonably well. We had quite a few test items in the first session which meant we were running new tyres a bit later than normal, as a result the red flag was quite inconvenient to us as we were trying to use new tyres when most of the field was on race runs. The second session was quite clean, the medium tyre was working well but we’ve got room for improvement on the soft, neither driver felt that they got the best from it so that’s something for us to work on overnight. The long runs were okay, we need to find a bit of consistency but the pace looks to be there and the balance is reasonable. Overall, an encouraging day.”

Aston Martin

It was a tricky opening session for Aston Martin, with Stroll only managing two laps before he was called back with an issue. That issue was with the engine, and it wasn’t a quick fix so he missed the rest of the session. Alonso came out late on the softs though, and managed a very decent P2 to show that there was some good pace in the car. Stroll was out early on in FP2 and managed a very good haul of laps, but the team dropped back slightly as others improved.

READ MORE: From Hungary 2003 to Spain 2013 – Ranking Alonso’s best wins from 10 to 1

Fernando Alonso – FP1: 1:12.130, P2; FP2: 1:11.863, P10

“The upgrades to the AMR23 feel good, although we didn’t complete the programme that we were hoping to – there were a couple of red flags. There was nothing too dramatic on my side and we got good information on Friday, but we still need to analyse everything and put everything together for tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll – FP1: No time set, P20; FP2: 1:11.835, P8

“I feel okay after the opening day of practice. We had limited running in FP1 because of the power unit issue, which is a shame as Zandvoort is a great track and a lot of fun, but the issue was quickly resolved by the team so I could return for the second session. We have to look into the data overnight to evaluate the upgrades overnight and come back tomorrow to continue our programme.”

AlphaTauri

Tsunoda spent the early part of the first session with large aero rakes fixed to his car as he gathered data for the team on their new parts. The Japanese racer looked quick when those rakes come off, both in FP1 and later on in FP2. But Ricciardo had a bad day at the office. He was late to react to Piastri’s crash in FP2, by the time he saw the stricken McLaren he didn’t have time to avoid the incident and instead hit the barriers himself. He injured his hand in doing so – and it was later revealed that it was broken, ruling him out of the rest of the weekend.

READ MORE: Ricciardo to be replaced by Lawson for remainder of Dutch GP weekend after breaking hand

Daniel Ricciardo – FP1: 1:12.990, P13; FP2: 1:13.096, P20

“I was very excited to be back after the break. The day was going pretty well. We made some changes for FP2 and the few laps I did on the hard tyre before the crash felt good; we were building up and improving. At that time, we were pretty competitive, and I was feeling positive.

“I remember coming into Turn 3. I had already gotten into the corner and then saw Piastri, so it was either hit him or the wall. When I hit the wall, I didn’t have enough time to take my hands off the steering wheel, so the wheel came and hit my hand. It’s really unfortunate and frustrating, but I’ll try to recover as quickly as I can. Obviously, I’d love to get back soon, but I also want to ensure we do things the right way, so I come back strong and competitive. I wish the team well, and I’m sorry for the change in plans again. It’s a chance for Liam to have a go, and I wish him and the team a strong weekend.”

Yuki Tsunoda – FP1: 1:12.749, P9; FP2: 1:11.720, P5

“I was obviously in the car when Daniel crashed, but he was competitive and doing really well. I saw him after he got back, and he still had a smile on his face. He is such a positive and strong guy, I hope he recovers quickly and is back in the car soon!

“I finished high on the leaderboard after practice today, and Daniel also showed good performance. I didn’t expect that much pace from the car, to be honest, I think we’re in good shape and just have to put it all together. Daniel on the hard compound tyre was immediately strong, and I was comfortable on the soft tyres too, so I’m really optimistic. The car feels good, especially in the short runs, but I found more limitations during the long run, so we’ll have to look into why. The inconsistent wind makes things trickier, but so far, it’s been okay. Other than that, it was a positive Friday on my side of the garage.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“The summer break was a great opportunity for the team to recharge the batteries in preparation for the busy second half of the season. During that time, we had devised a busy test plan for Zandvoort. With Spa having been a Sprint, there was little opportunity for testing on Friday, so the test matrix had built up. Today, we ran with rakes on Yuki’s car in FP1 for aero correlation and completed several other aerodynamic test items across the two cars. Being surrounded by sand, the track always starts very dusty and has high evolution, so the lap times continue to improve through the session, and with it, the balance changes. Overall, both drivers were happy with the balance in FP1, with just minor tuning for FP2.

“We ran the hard compound tyre at the start of FP2, and Daniel was looking very competitive but, unfortunately, had to avoid Piastri, who crashed just ahead. In doing so, he also hit the barrier and, as a result, hurt his hand. Daniel was taken to the hospital for further checks, which confirmed he had broken a metacarpal on his left hand. The whole team wishes him a quick recovery. Yuki’s short run on the soft compound looked competitive, and we hope to be able to fight for a place towards the front of Q2 in tomorrow’s qualifying.

“With Daniel recovering, we welcome Liam back to the team to drive his car, but this time in a much more competitive situation. It has all happened very quickly, but Liam has shown he is more than ready to step up to the challenge, and he has the whole team behind him.”

Alpine

Ocon wasn’t overly popular in FP1 when he managed to get in the way of both Zhou and Verstappen, and then the Frenchman encountered throttle issues to boot. He had a quieter second session, with Gasly looking the more settled of the two drivers. Gasly wound up sixth – but he knows it will be tough to stay there tomorrow with such a congested group of drivers separated by very, very little.

Esteban Ocon – FP1: 1:12.802, P10; FP2: 1:12.001, P13

“It’s nice to be back behind the wheel after the summer break. I’ve definitely missed driving a Formula 1 car. Zandvoort is always enjoyable with the amazing atmosphere and it was no different here today. On track, it’s been a pretty straightforward Friday where we’ve just focused on our programme, tried some different things and collected valuable data for tomorrow and Sunday. The car felt good and we have plenty to review tonight to be in better shape for Qualifying. We’re focusing on ourselves and what we need to do to come away with a positive result.”

Pierre Gasly – FP1: 1:12.895, P12; FP2: 1:11.766, P6

“It feels great to be back in the car after the summer break and back at this amazing track with its unique atmosphere. It’s been fun to put in lots of strong laps and get back in the swing of driving. To finish sixth in Free Practice 2 is very positive for us and means we’ve had a great start to the weekend. We have some work to do on some finer details as the whole field is extremely tight. Tomorrow, every hundredth of a second will make a big difference in Qualifying. We made a good step between Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 and now we need to find a bit more for tomorrow.”

Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal

“Firstly, it’s good to be back on track again. It’s the first race with a slightly different trackside structure and it’s been great to see collaborative work amongst staff members in implementing this new positive system. We have made a reasonable start to the race weekend here in Zandvoort where we’ve given ourselves a strong base to work from looking ahead to Saturday and Sunday. We have gathered a lot of data to run through to find some set-up changes to put ourselves in contention when it counts. We look forward to taking on the rest of the weekend and building off this good start.”

Ferrari

Shwartzman was in Sainz’s cockpit for FP1, and gave a good account of himself with a tidy session, despite complaining about the rear stability of the car. He ran the hard and medium compound tyres, as did Leclerc, with Ferrari keeping their one-lap pace under wraps. They bolted on the soft tyres pretty late in FP2 as well, with Sainz having a scruffy session that included two trips through the gravel. Leclerc wasn’t faring much better – he left some time out there after a messy run as well.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the second practice session in Zandvoort as Norris heads Verstappen

Charles Leclerc – FP1: 1:13.519, P16; FP2: 1:11.915, P11

“It was a difficult day for us overall. The field seems to be very tight here and there is still quite a lot of pace to be gained, especially on the qualifying runs. We will work hard on that overnight.

“The weather forecast for tomorrow predicts rain, so that’s something we will have to adapt to.”

Carlos Sainz – FP2: 1:12.093, P16

“Overall it was quite a tricky Friday for the team and missing FP1 is obviously never ideal.

“I got up to speed quickly in FP2 but it’s true that this weekend we seem to be struggling for pace and balance overall. This circuit at the moment is not suiting us very well but we’ll work to make a good step forward for tomorrow.”

Robert Shwartzman – FP1: 1:14.803, P19

“Our focus for FP1 was to test some aero balance solutions. I’m happy with how I managed to work with the car, because everyone expected it to be challenging. I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t a performance run and the team briefed me about the programme and what to expect in advance. I did most of the laps in race mode to see how the car performs lap by lap. We also completed a practice start, which was quite good. It has been a really good experience and the track is super challenging. I have never driven here with the current configuration and the banking. It was also my first experience in the SF-23. I found it interesting and fun. It was a tough session, but we completed it well and collected some data.
The car felt quite similar to the way it does in the simulator. It is important for us to understand that relationship, in order to improve the current car and work on next year’s one.

“I’d like to thank Scuderia Ferrari again for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to my next outing later this season.”

Williams

It was a confident opening salvo for Williams, who were one of the first teams to bolt on the soft tyres. Those banker lap times also stood the test of time, although fuel loads were an unknown and might have flattered the team. But roll on FP2, and those times seemed genuine, with Albon winding up in the top three. They probably won’t stay there come qualifying, but Albon will be chasing down a Q3 berth in a car that looks to suit the track.

Logan Sargeant – FP1: 1:12.617, P7; FP2: 1:11.934, P12

“It’s my first time driving here in Zandvoort and it’s nice! It’s a rollercoaster that’s for sure, and it reminds me of a quicker version of Monaco. It’s been a pretty good Friday; we’ve had the car in a good window since we put it on the ground this morning, the high fuel runs seem to look pretty good and I feel comfortable. We’re in a good place and now it’s about fine tuning. The weather looks pretty tricky tomorrow so that’s probably going to throw a curveball as it has on a lot of weekends this year but, all in all, it’s been a good start. I’m ready to have a good day tomorrow.”

Alex Albon – FP1: 1:12.447, P5; FP2: 1:11.599, P3

“We’ve seen this before and obviously don’t know what everyone else is doing, however the car felt good from the moment we touched down in FP1. It’s a bit surprising if I’m honest and I’m sure everyone will make a big step forward tomorrow, but we’ll try hold on and keep the position. The traffic tomorrow will be tough, with the need to manage the tyres well but it keeps you on your toes. I don’t think today’s pace is representative of the field but either way we’re still in a good place. It’s going to be tight, though I’m feeling quite positive.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“It was good to get a full day of dry running done under a standard event format. We started FP1 in a good place and with the setup well suited to the conditions. We tried a few things in FP2, and we now need to decide what was better and what wasn’t. The pace of the car wasn’t too bad today but it’s always difficult to know here as cars don’t always get clear laps and the tyres can be tricky to manage. The weather for the next two days is likely to change a bit with a small threat of rain and a change in wind direction. We have a decent baseline, but we will still need to keep on top of the evolving conditions if we are to get a good result on Sunday.”

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo, like Ferrari, didn’t run the soft tyres in FP1, leaving their place in the pecking order a mystery heading into the afternoon session. Bottas revealed that the Alfa Romeo looks in a pretty decent place with a top-10 finish, while Zhou couldn’t quite match that pace on Friday. But with Williams looking so strong, and AlphaTauri also showing some decent speed, it might be tough come qualifying for Bottas and Zhou to escape Q1.

Valtteri Bottas – FP1: 1:13.448, P15; FP2: 1:11.857, P9

“It’s a nice feeling to be back on track, especially on such a challenging and intense track. This is a tight circuit, with not much space and lots of sand off-line, which could make it interesting in qualifying, when you need to give others a bit of space. It was important to hit the ground running, and the first feeling with the car isn’t bad: we know that, on such a short track, margins will be small but I think we’re there or thereabout, with top-ten speed. There’s still work to do, of course: not just on qualifying trim but also in terms of race pace. We know we need to execute our job to perfection to maximise our qualifying position, but we can be in the mix for a good result.”

Zhou Guanyu – FP1: 1:13.826, P17; FP2: 1:12.074, P15

“The first feeling with the track was alright: we lost a bit of time in FP1 with some technical checks, but we recovered all lost ground with a clean FP2, so we are in a good place going forward. There’s some fine-tuning to do, as always, and the field is in such a small range that one or two tenths can make a massive difference: but the car made a step forward from the first to the second session so I think there is potential. The aim in qualifying will be to fight for Q3: tomorrow’s session will be tricky, given the characteristics of the track, but we are in with a shot.”

Haas

Hulkenberg had the biggest moment of FP1, losing the rear of his car and spinning off through the gravel. He was lucky that he lost enough speed to ensure that the kiss with the barriers was just that, although he did hit front wing first, with that being the upgraded part on the Haas this weekend. As such, it was left to Magnussen in FP2 to test out the new part, but no matter what set up the team tried, they couldn’t extract much one-lap pace from the VF-23.

MUST-SEE: Hulkenberg brings out the red flags as he crashes during FP1

Nico Hulkenberg – FP1: 1:14.023, P18; FP2: 1:12.693, P18

“FP2 was smooth, no real problems. The main problem is not having enough pace, and we’re looking for pace and balance, and finding more performance really. [In FP1] there wasn’t much damage at all, it wasn’t a big thing that I tried – it was just a little too much speed, a little bit of wind in that situation, the brake balance was a little bit too much rearwards, and those combined mean you can have an off. This is an old school track with gravel, so I didn’t do too much damage but lost some track time.”

Kevin Magnussen – FP1: 1:13.322, P14; FP2: 1:12.404, P17

“I think the updates made a difference. It’s more of an upgrade in terms of bettering the characteristics of the car a little bit, and I think it helped. There’s lots of work to do, I don’t think it will move us much out of the place we’re in at the moment, but nonetheless it’s a step, I’m happy about it. It seems we’re struggling a bit more for pace this time but there’s always hope and always opportunities, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“The good thing today is that we got through our run program. We’ll see what the data says about the new parts that we’ve brought as we haven’t got all conclusions yet, but we’re obviously not happy with the pace shown in FP1 and FP2. We tried a few things, so maybe we just need to get things together. We need to look deeper into what the new parts brought and what they haven’t, and start fresh again tomorrow morning.”

Pirelli

Simone Berra – Chief Engineer

“All in all, this was a very useful day for us because we were able to gather a lot of data relating to the three compounds we have brought to Zandvoort, both on short and long runs. Compared to last year, we have a new Hard – the C1 – which from what we saw today is degrading much less, even though it was used mainly in FP1 when the track surface was still very dirty and provided very little grip. The relatively cooler temperatures could make the softest compound, the C3, a more plausible race tyre. The situation is therefore very open when it comes to Sunday’s tyre choice, which means a more interesting and uncertain weekend is in prospect. In terms of the gaps between the compounds, the rapid track evolution means it is not yet possible to come up with reliable estimates, while one should also consider that the forecast says there is a significant chance of rain, especially for tomorrow, which is another unknown factor to take into consideration.”

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