Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer took to the Baku City Circuit for the very first time today for two afternoon practice sessions ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe. The cooler second session saw much quicker lap times, with Kevin the faster of the two drivers setting a 1min 47.329secs as his best.
Today was about completing as many laps as possible for the drivers to learn the track and for the engineers to understand how to get the best performance at this new circuit. Both drivers enjoyed a trouble-free day's running.
Pirelli's medium (white) and yellow-marked soft compound tyres were used in the first session, the medium, soft and the red supersoft tyres were used in FP2.
Kevin Magnussen: "It's an awesome circuit and quite a challenge. The car didn't feel fantastic in the first session but it felt much better in FP2 with the set-up progress we'd made and also the track improving. I'm pretty happy with the balance of the car. We've got a little work to do with brake locking, but that should get better with the track improvement. I'm looking forward to getting back out tomorrow once we've worked a bit more on the car. I think we're set for an interesting weekend."
Jolyon Palmer: "It was pretty slippery in FP1 and I think most drivers had a moment at some point over the two sessions today. We made good progress with understanding the track and making improvements to the car. I certainly appreciated the extra grip we found on the supersoft runs but we're still looking for a better balance in the high speed corners, something we can hopefully find in the set-up before qualifying."
Nick Chester, Technical Director: "We enjoyed a productive day learning this dramatic and challenging new venue. Both drivers were able to accumulate a good tally of laps so we have plenty of data to look at overnight. We saw a lot of improvement in grip levels over the course of the day as you'd expect and we spent a decent amount of time looking at the tyre performance which as always is a crucial aspect for the race."
Check out our Friday gallery, here.