The weather has stolen the show many, many times before. Unstable as usual, with a the tendency to rain remaining.
Forecasters predict a high chance of rain on Saturday but not rain is expected for Sunday so far. Temperatures around the 25 celsius degrees, humidity reaching 80% for both days but here all can suddenly change.
Free Practice 1
Today the first news came from Toro Rosso with the confirmation of a twenty-grid penalty for Carlos Saizhas as he has taken his sixth MGU-H, his fifth V6, and his fifth turbo.
McLaren and Alonso start the session for a quick run before going back to the pits.
The session started with a temperature of 20 degrees ambient, 25 on the asphalt.
Most cars go out on soft yellow tyres, except for Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Palmer, Wherlein, Ericson and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Alonso leaves the pits and sets a time on his new set of red tyres, getting a provisional P7.
With one hour to go, Red Bull seems to be “understanding the car” with Ricciardo setting the best lap with 1:29.541, but still away from the best lap record ( 1:28.900) set during free practice by Michael Schumacher back in 2006.
Both Force India took FP1 to make aerodynamic adjustments in both cars, trying out a new monkey seat.
After a quick “walk” through the gravel at the Spoon curve, Max Verstappen came back on track without any damages.
Lewis Hamilton with a new set of superfots red tyres sets the best lap of the session so far with 1:29.377.
It´s a challenging driver´s circuit, demanding on tyres.
Vettel is now only 0,042 away from Hamilton on soft tyres.
Bottas is delivering another aggressive driving performance, in fact, too aggressive as he loses his rear for a while after sliding into the kerbs but managing to bring the car safely.
The Mercedes #77 also shows a new 180 degrees camera on board, similar to those 360 degress cameras used in Indycar series.
A lot of action on track, barely resembles a Free practice! Everybody pushing the pedal to the floor, something visibly to the eye when cars go by at the “speed of light” through Turn 7.
Sector 2 is dominated by Red Bull so far, a sector of slow turns with two long straights.
And it´s just at Sector 2 that Carlos Sainz ends loosing his Toro Rosso, crashing into the barriers, causing a red flag with 38 minutes to go. Driver ok. Chassis doesn´t look to have suffer damage though so he might be able to participate in FP2.
Magnussen has suffer twice the same issue (water pressure) on his car, not a good session for Haas #20.
With 25 minutes remaining, green light to the session. Most cars start running on the supersofts red tyres by now. Long runs were not possible after the red flag caused by Carlos Sainz crash.
17 minutes to go and Sebastian Vettel settles the record for Sector 1 and 2 now on the supersofts with a lap time of 1:29.166, the best time of the whole session. Hamilton on softs is just 0.211 behind the Ferrari #5, follow by Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are within a large margin of distance from each other.
After the session finished, a little rain fell down the circuit, maybe FP2 will find a whole different scenario for the extremely fast cars.