31 October 2015
DANIIL KVYAT, Position: 4, (3rd Practice – 5, 1:21.530)
“Qualifying was interesting today. It was all quite clean in Q1 and Q2, but the track is new and it’s very easy to make a little mistake that can be quite costly, so perhaps no one had the ideal lap in Q3. I think P4 reflects our speed; I could have maybe been a couple of tenths quicker in Q3 but anyway it wouldn’t have put us any higher, as P3 was quite a long way ahead. We have done our best today and it gives us some good opportunities for tomorrow. In a new race on a new track, everything can happen, but we have to wait and see how fast we are and how much we can make the most of any opportunities. I’m not setting our expectations too high; I just want to have a good, clean, consistent race and grab some good points.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5, (3rd Practice – 3, 1:21.097)
“Practice looked really good but then all through Qualifying I wasn’t really that happy. We just struggled to find the right feeling with the car and the set-up. The asphalt was changing every time. It had a bit of grip and then it didn’t so it’s challenging. We didn’t change much to the car but it’s one of those sessions where you always try to find that little bit more but it never came in the end. I knew that Ferrari and Williams would try to give us a real challenge. For the race, everyone will most likely try a one-stop, because it’s a new surface and not too aggressive on the tyres. It might rain overnight which will change the track again. It’s changing all the time so I hope it will be an exciting race. In the end to be fourth and fifth as a team is not bad and we can definitely race from there. On another note, watching the rugby was a bit painful as well, I really do feel for the boys.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “A very respectable qualifying from both our drivers to line up fourth and fifth on the grid. We have been competitive so far on this track, especially when qualifying has been one of our weakest areas. We’re looking forward to the race tomorrow and we are starting from solid grid positions, so it will be interesting to see what we can do. Tyre strategy could hold the key and I think with this amazingly enthusiastic Mexican crowd, that have created such a great atmosphere, we’ll be in for an exciting race.”
Pursuit of Performance
No. 7: Pyry Salmela
Formula One’s return to Mexico City sees drivers taking on the highest altitudes of the season, with the city and the Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez sitting at 2,250m above sea level. Here Daniil’s Performance Coach, Pyry Salmela, explains why, like the rest of us, F1 racers are taking on the rarefied atmosphere with little preparation.
If you want to prepare for higher altitude you need time and it’s not possible to get full adaptation across these few days. In Mexico City we are around 2,250m above sea level. The oxygen level itself is not too bad; it’s moderate. What makes the difference is the air pressure and that is where you see an impact, with high heart rates, etc. I think everybody has felt it to some degree. If you run upstairs or anything you immediately notice the impact. But we have to remember all of us are individuals in terms of altitude adaptation. But good level of fitness gives you a positive advantage.
Therefore you want to have good control of your athlete and once you arrive you need to know how the athlete is reacting – for example by how much the heart rate is elevated and so on. We also monitor the blood lactate levels (as this is linked to fatigue). Basically, you just need to be careful. You shouldn’t overload yourself in the first few days as otherwise you run the risk of getting some form of altitude sickness.
That’s the main thing we pursued after we arrived – maintaining good control and not overloading. That means in the mornings keeping up with orthostatic tests [to determine current condition and heart rate response to training] and checking how the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are reacting (the ‘fight or flight’ response and the unconscious activity such as digestion).
We arrived on Tuesday and since then we have been monitoring the physical load making sure it’s under control and we haven’t been doing anything too heavy. What you need to look at is the recovery, how well that happens and how quickly.
What I actually did for myself was to take this week as a test to see the consequences of overloading. It doesn’t matter if I overload myself so I’ve been pushing a bit to see the consequences and how it might affect Dany.
So far there have been no big issues. There is some loss of performance in V02 max but as Formula One is not comparable with top endurance sports like road cycling or triathlon, it’s not a real concern. Also the air is quite clear at the moment so there isn’t a problem with that either.
In the end, the preparation is not rocket science – you just need to know the science behind the conditions.