27 November 2015
First Practice Session: Position: 7, Best Time: 1:44.893, Laps: 26
Second Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:42.647, Laps: 37
“Today was a good day for us. This afternoon we made some adjustments with the set-up from this morning and the evening session is the one that reflects the conditions we will see in qualifying and the race. I was happy with the balance and think we were more or less where we want to be. As always, there’s some fine tuning to do but I’m pleased with where we ended today. Force India were quick and surprisingly strong here. I’m happy with the car. We are pretty much 95% to where we want to be so that’s good for a Friday. As always on Saturday, Ferrari and Williams seem to make a bit more of a step. Hopefully the others don’t close the gap too much but let’s see what happens tomorrow. Sure we can find a little bit more but probably not a whole lot. If we qualify top 5, we’ll be happy.”
First Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:44.702, Laps: 23
Second Practice Session: Position: 6, Best Time: 1:42.798, Laps: 34
"It didn’t look too bad today. Overall, the balance wasn’t so great so we have plenty of work to do tonight, to try and find some more stability in the car and try to make it a bit more driveable for me, but it think this is usual on a Friday. It looks very tight from P3 onwards, so I think P3 is an open battle at the moment, but you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Obviously we are aiming to fight for those positions, that would be nice and I'm hoping that the P3 spot will stay as open as it was today and we are able correct the little things we need to correct from today and we will be in the right place tomorrow."
Nine months, 19 countries, 1997 laps race, about 63,746 cups of tea brewed, and something like 11,000 bacon sandwiches wolfed down between sessions, and on Sunday it all comes to an end. What the hell are we going to now? Here’s a quick heads up as to how the next few weeks are likely to go down.
Week One – It’s over! What’s that sound? I do believe it’s Mr Beach calling for Mr/Ms Paddockperson. Whoa up there, cowboy! There’s still the small matter of a full day tyre test on Tuesday to get through. No rest for the wicked.
Week Two – Are we home yet? We are? Great! Time to put your feet up and spend days watching boxsets in your underwear while subsisting on enormous bowls of cereal, right? Err, not quite. The car needs a service, those bills need paying and oh yes, that shed won’t weather-proof itself you know. Make some use of that 2015 team kit and start painting.
Week Three – OK, it was a slightly risky strategy leaving out that note demanding that your laundry be returned by 7pm, folded and on hangars, but waking your partner up at 3am to order a house burger, fries and a cold beer was definitely a bridge too far. Just as well you sorted out that shed as you’re now sleeping in it.
Week Four – It’s Christmas! A time for the giving of gifts, for goodwill to all men but most of all a time for family. Did you say family? Dear Lord, that means the in-laws are coming to stay. You find yourself insisting that the shed is “really quite comfortable” and that “another few nights won’t be a problem”. Anyway, Christmas is now pointless as your children are insisting that they much prefer “daddy/mummy who lives in the laptop”.
Week Five – Back to work, what a blessed relief! No more cabin fever, no more frightening the elderly neighbours by emerging from the shed each morning in your pants, no more pining for the adrenalin rush of race weekends. What's that you say? There are only seven weeks until the first test? Help!