The track characteristics and the Pirelli tyres have delivered a significant increase in performance for the cars when compared to last year. Sebastian Vettel ended the second free practice session on the top slot of the time sheet with a lap in 1.34.120, followed by Kimi Raikkonen, second in 1.34.383. Both men did 36 laps. They began the session on Super Soft tyres, before switching to the Ultra Soft, which they also used for the end of the long run test. Now the team will embark on the technical debrief to analyse today's data and look for areas where improvements can be made.
Sebastian Vettel: "I think we improved so I can be reasonably happy but not entirely. We had a tough start this morning and it took a while to increase speed. I am sure we can still do more. I think this is a circuit where you need to feel confident. There's a lot of corners that look all the same on paper, they feel similar in the car, but then it's quite tricky to get everything right. I wish they planted more trees next to the track so that you could have more references! But it's tricky and that's why you need to get into the rhythm. I struggled a bit in the morning but I think we understood what we need. We always fight for the pole position, that's, for sure but on paper this track looks like a Mercedes one. They didn't show everything today and didn't get their lap together. So we'll see."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It's been a nice Friday, things ran smoothly and we had no issues. I'm happy with the car, I had a nice feeling straight away and it's always more fun when it goes like that. So far so good; but it's only Friday and we have no idea what the others are doing, but we started well and I'm quite happy. We'll try to make a good day tomorrow and then we'll go from there."