Aitken happy after building ‘solid foundations’ on first day

Williams rookie Jack Aitken says he built “some solid foundations” on his first day of running at Sakhir on Friday.

The 25-year-old was drafted in by Williams to replace George Russell who has been loaned to Mercedes to fill in for a COVID-infected Lewis Hamilton.

Aitken concluded his day at the bottom of the time sheet, along with Haas novice Pietro Fittipaldi, but was overall happy with his 91-lap workout behind the wheel of the Grove-based outfit’s FW43.

“Today was pretty cool and I got lots of laps under my belt,” he said. “We spent the first few laps in FP1 refreshing what I did during FP1 in Austria, so it was all pretty familiar, and I got up to speed quickly.

“There is some work to be done on our one lap pace, but the race form was encouraging so I am pretty happy.

“We built some solid foundations today, so I am looking forward to getting into qualifying.

“It will be tough tomorrow in qualifying; keeping your wits about you and being aware and hopefully we can be on the right side of things.”

    Read also: ‘Impatient’ Aitken first to contact Williams for Sakhir drive

Dave Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, commended Aitken for his “rate of learning” on Friday.

“Jack has driven very well and although he damaged his second set of tyres in FP1, he was still able to complete some useful operational practice at the end of the session,” said Robson.

“His FP2 session was very good as he completed his qualifying programme before getting stuck into the high fuel race runs.

“He was able to get a good idea of what will be required in the race on Sunday and his rate of learning was excellent.”

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