Driver Quotes: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying

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ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX

YAS MARINA CIRCUIT

SATURDAY DRIVER QUOTES
2 NOVEMBER 2013

Infiniti Red Bull Racing

Mark Webber

“This weekend so far has gone pretty smoothly for us. It’s not the easiest venue, because of the changing temperatures. We run in the afternoon and then at night, so you have to be on top of the changing conditions as a driver and also from an engineering perspective. It wasn’t the most electric start to Q1 or Q2, but we made changes to the car as the session went on and I got more comfortable. I knew I had to work on certain sections of the track which Sebastian had already been doing a good job on, so I had to try and match him as well as continuing to keep the areas where I was doing a good job too, so overall I’m happy with the pole. We’re really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel

“First of all I think it was a great result for the team. At the start of qualifying I think Mercedes looked very strong with both Nico and Lewis; Mark and myself weren’t hanging about, but they were very quick. In Q3 we seemed to be able to find a little bit of extra time. Mark did a very good lap, so congratulations to him. I should have done a little bit better, but I don’t know if it would have been enough, Mark deserves to be on pole today; it was a good lap with no mistakes. On top of that, it’s a great result for the team and we should have a strong result tomorrow.”

Scuderia Ferrari

Fernando Alonso

“This qualifying has been as difficult as the rest of the weekend, even if in some races, starting eleventh on new tyres can help, so let’s hope that’s the case here. It is without a doubt better to make it through to Q3 but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a very clean lap and I didn’t manage to make it by a few tenths. This is one of the tracks where we suffer a bit more than usual, but in general our Sunday performance is better and so, again this time, our approach to the race is positive. We must absolutely get a good start, stay focussed and run a perfect race if we want to take points towards our aim of finishing second in the Constructors’, because it will be a tough fight. We have seen that in the heat, the Softs work better than the Mediums and so logic dictates we should start on the softer tyre while it’s still daytime and switch to Mediums when darkness falls. Clearly, we have to see how things go”.

Felipe Massa

“I am pleased with my qualifying and things went better than I’d expected. All weekend, we haven’t been competitive enough and after this morning’s free practice, I was worried I wouldn’t make it to Q3, but then, thanks to a lap where I got the maximum out of the car, combined with the drop in temperature, I managed to make up a few places. Today I did all I could and I think that without a bit of oversteer at the final corner, I could have done even better. This track does not suit our car, as you need good traction and the high temperature doesn’t help either, but the race is run in the
evening and I hope that will allow us to bring home those important points we need right now, even if
it’s definitely not going to be easy”.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Sergio Perez

“The car felt great today. If we’d found a couple of extra hundredths, we might even have been seventh
– it was achievable. It was important to stay calm after a disappointing FP3. I think we’ve made the right
steps forward for the race, particularly as we knew how much the track would change from the
afternoon into the evening – we reacted well. Overall, it’s been a weekend of improvement for the team, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Jenson Button

“Today’s Q3 was a puzzling session. I think we struggled to get the tyres working because of the cooler temperatures – I had to take so much rear wing off to try to help balance the car, but it wasn’t enough. We were maxed-out on the front wing, too. There wasn’t anything else I could have done with the car to help the front end, since we were already running very low downforce on the rear – as could be seen
by our straightline speeds. It’s quite frustrating, because in FP3 this afternoon we looked really
promising – sixth-quickest – and the car felt very good.”

Lotus F1 Team

Kimi Räikkönen

“Today wasn’t too bad overall. In the early sessions both yesterday and today I struggled a bit to get the car working how I wanted, but in the evening when the temperature is cooler it’s been much more to my liking. This is good as the race will be in the evening so we’d prefer it that way around for sure. The
short wheelbase car seems to suit my style a bit better too, so hopefully we can continue this way for tomorrow. Of course, you always want to be as far up the grid as you can and we clearly weren’t the fastest today, but you never know what might happen on Sunday so we’ll see what we can do.”

Romain Grosjean

“That was one of the trickier qualifying sessions we’ve had recently, and seventh on the grid is not where we expected to be after the pace we’ve shown so far this weekend. The car felt quite different this evening – particularly in terms of front end – so we’ll need to investigate where it’s not quite working. It’s a long race tomorrow in tough conditions and everyone around us will be starting on the same tyres, so we need to try and find some performance from the data tonight to achieve our target of the podium.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Nico Rosberg

“It’s great to have another positive Saturday for our team. Again we are the best of the rest which is our aim for the weekend and starting from P3 and P4 are great positions for us to score lots of points in the Constructors’ Championship. My last lap in Q3 wasn’t great today but there was only a small chance to improve my time anyway. Mark and Seb were just too quick today for me to get on the
front row but I’m confident that we can have a good race from here tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton

“Fourth place feels pretty good this evening considering the time was set on my first Q3 lap. Unfortunately on my second lap it looks like something gave way at the back of the car as I got on the power at the chicane and it just snapped out, which forced me into a spin. It was a great lap and might just have been enough to get us onto the front row as I was fourth-tenths up on my first effort but these things happen. The car felt really strong today so we’ll hope for a good start and then challenge to make up some positions in the race tomorrow. The good thing is that we are ahead of Ferrari and that’s where we need to stay. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hope we can get a good result.”

Sauber F1 Team

Nico Hülkenberg

“It was a perfect lap and I could really get the maximum out of the car. Overtaking won’t be easy on this
track. There are the two DRS zones, and in the past there have been a few overtaking manoeuvres,
but I think we have a good top-speed. We were able to be in the top ten all weekend and I am confident
this will continue to be the case tomorrow as well.”

Esteban Gutiérrez

“It’s very disappointing to start P17, because our pace is really good. We were on a push, pull, push strategy and ran out of time for the second push. The call was tricky, as on the first lap I ran into traffic and for the second push we ran out of time, so I didn’t get the chance to set a lap. It was clearly a mistake, and we were only missing a few seconds.”

Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team

Paul Di Resta

“I am pretty satisfied with P12, which puts us in a reasonable position for tomorrow. I’m feeling good in the car, which has worked well all weekend. For tomorrow I’m optimistic that we can be up there with a good chance of picking up some points. The car is responding well and I also think we are more suited to the race than qualifying. There’s a long race ahead of us, but we will work hard to put together a good strategy tonight and try to push our way forward in the race.”

Adrian Sutil

“I’ve not been feeling comfortable with the car this weekend. The practice sessions have not been easy and I just can’t find a balance that is working for me. It started in second practice yesterday when we had the issue with the brakes and since then I’ve been struggling. We made some changes before qualifying, which were an improvement, but it was not enough to progress to Q2. So we are disappointed with P18, but it’s the result of things not coming together for us. It’s a long and tough race here, but I still look forward to it and will try my best to improve our performance.”

Williams F1 Team

Pastor Maldonado

“I had a strong Q1 but in Q2 I struggled with traffic and wasn’t able to put a clean lap together, with the cars that crossed the line after me benefitted from the increased rubber on track. We have made some updates for this weekend and the car is feeling more consistent which will help us tomorrow in the race, and overall I feel that we have made a positive step forward.”

Valtteri Bottas

“I was expecting that we would be fighting for a place in Q3 so I’m a little disappointed. As the track conditions were improving other car’s times were dropping but we were not able to benefit from that extra grip as much. I was also held up by traffic on my final run which cost me a few tenths. It’s not the best place to start the race but we know that around this track we can be quite strong on long runs so I expect that we will be able to move up tomorrow.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo

“I think making it into Q3 was already a good achievement, after the difficulties I’d experienced getting the car the way I like it on Friday and even for the final practice today. My Q2 lap was a very good one, but not the best, so I came into Q3 feeling I could improve in a few areas. We decided to make a slight adjustment to the front tyre pressures which turned out not to be the right decision, as I then had to work harder to warm the tyres. The lap itself was not too bad, but the time never came. The heat? It’s only a problem once you get out of the car because inside the cockpit you get some airflow and it’s all fine.”

Jean-Éric Vergne

“Everything went smoothly in Q1 and also in Q2, I managed to improve my time, even on old tyres and I was heading for a really good time at my last attempt, but I locked the wheels massively going into Turn 8 and that wiped out any advantage I had. It is a real shame because everyone had worked so hard yesterday and last night to give me a really good car, that I was very happy with right from the start of FP3. I have to put my hand up and say I made the mistake. I wanted it too much and tried too hard. On the plus side for tomorrow, I have been on the pace all weekend and the speed is there. So, with a good strategy plan, I am looking forward to the race, when I am sure I can make up for this evening’s disappointment.”

Caterham F1 Team

Charles Pic

“Overnight we made quite a few changes to the car and in FP3 we’d gone from the understeer we’d had on Friday to oversteer on the first run. A couple more changes helped fix that a bit and we found a slightly more positive balance for the second run. We started quali on softs but I still couldn’t didn’t have a balance that was working for me. The car was understeering too much to really be able to push with and that affected both my runs in Q1. It’s a shame as there’s definitely some pace in the car here, compared to our direct competitors, but we have the race to show what we can do. On race pace we have an advantage, and with the good tyre deg levels we saw on the long runs I think we have some interesting strategy options to look at for tomorrow.”

Giedo van der Garde

“Similar to my teammate, the changes we made to the car since FP2 had brought in a bit too much oversteer so we used the first couple of runs to sort that out. The track was obviously improving as more rubber went down and by the time of the first run on options I was pretty happy with how the car was performing. In quali we went for two runs on the options. On the first run everything went to plan and I was up in tenth until the cars ahead went from primes to options. On the second run we timed it well but on my slowdown lap I was blocked by one of the Force Indias which was going really slow around the whole lap which meant the tyres cooled down and I probably lost about three tenths on my last quick lap. It’s funny though, because even though I finished ahead of our nearest rivals and my teammate I’m a bit gutted as I think I’d have been in the 1.42s, still not enough for Q2 but enough to show what the car’s capable of here. Anyway, we have a long race ahead tomorrow and last year the team scored a 13th here, so I’ll take the fact I finished best of our little battle and focus on getting as good a result as possible in the race.”

Marussia F1 Team

Jules Bianchi

“It has not been a good day on my side, so to work hard together to come back from that is a big plus and I am happy with my final run, which was good enough to split the Caterhams. In FP3 I had a problem at the rear which pushed me off track and into a spin. Thankfully I was able to avoid hitting the wall too hard but there was damage to the gearbox which meant that we needed to change. It is disappointing to have a good lap in qualifying to recover from FP3, only to then have a penalty that will mean I have to start from the back. We will work to find a good strategy to get ahead of the competition.”

Max Chilton

“It has been a difficult day overall but particularly in qualifying with the DRS issue. On the first laps of the second run I went faster, but on my second flying lap there was nothing left in the tyres, which is disappointing because I think Jules and I would have been pretty close again when it counted. Looking at what I lost from DRS and also by doing three laps versus one lap, we can say that the time loss was significant. However, tomorrow is another day and we’ll be pushing to make it a positive one.”

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