Before the first race on Saturday, the drivers and engineers had two free practice sessions to acclimatise themselves to the unfamiliar track with its distinct characteristics and peculiarities.
Nyck and Stoffel were assigned to the first qualifying group where they only managed to set lap times enough for P16 and P23 on the grid after getting held up in traffic on their respective hot laps. But with penalties then being imposed on other drivers, they were bumped up the starting order to P14 and P21.
"It was a challenging day from the start," said Team Principal Ian James. "The team had to get to grips with the track under tricky conditions, and these conditions changed in every session. Nyck and Stoffel both started the race from an extremely difficult position after a messy qualifying, in which setting a clean lap was near impossible."