Driver Quotes: Russian GP Qualifying

DRIVER QUOTES RUSSIAN GP – QUALIFYING

INFINITI RED BULL RACING

#1 Sebastian Vettel

“I wasn’t comfortable in the car today. It was very difficult, I think we took a step back from this morning and we expected the rear to be a lot stronger and the track to pick upmore than it did. The car felt nervous, so I couldn’t take the speed into the corners, I lost the rear many times around the lap and therefore wasn’t quick enough.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo

“It’s tough to get a lap together around here, for a new track it’s really high in grip but at the same time it’s hard to read the grip; it’s not such a natural feeling that it gives us behind the wheel, but it’s fun and a new challenge. We were trying to get the fronts in and get grip out of them and on the last lap I lost the rear. We’re better off than we were yesterday, but I was hoping for more than seventh.”

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS

#44 Lewis Hamilton

“It’s an amazing feeling to come to this beautiful place and to race on this track. It’s fun to drive. Today, the laps in practice felt more special. In qualifying it seemed a bit harder to get that special lap but I’m grateful that I was able to improve. I crossed the line and I was just hoping I got it; when they tell you, it’s the biggest relief – a great feeling. The corners are mostly medium and high speed where you need a lot of downforce, so tomorrow should be a challenge. It’s a long run down to Turn One and we need to be mindful there are opportunities to overtake here. It was great to see such a strong turnout for the first Saturday of running at this new track. Hopefully we can give them a good show tomorrow.”

#6 Nico Rosberg

“That was a very difficult qualifying today; we had to adapt a lot of things. The track is new and so unique: the tyres last very long as the surface is very smooth. Lewis was just quicker today so I need to have a good start tomorrow. Starting from the front-row is still a good position to begin the race. I guess this will be an exciting Grand Prix; there will be some opportunities to overtake on the straights and I am sure we will see plenty of action on track.”

SCUDERIA FERRARI

#14 Fernando Alonso

“Today’s qualifying was more difficult than usual, or at least more complicated compared to the last two race weekends, when we had been able to fight with the front runners. So far here, we have not been competitive, even though the car seems okay and on the set- up front, we’ve changed almost nothing. We can’t single out any particular bad point because we are losing in all the sectors. The truth is just that the cars ahead of us were quicker. Here, the grip seems to improve with every lap and on top of that, reducing the pit lane speed to 60 km/h all points to a one-stop strategy. Even if the Safety Car could mix things up a bit, I think tomorrow, the start and the first corner could define the outcome of the race, and so we must prepare to tackle the early stages as well as possible.”

#7 Kimi Raikkonen

“After a difficult Friday, things went better today, the car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked and we had a good pace. Sure, we can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to put a quick lap together because I still have some difficulties with the front end, especially in the final sector, but tomorrow we will try our hardest to be in the game and make up some places.”

LOTUS F1 TEAM

#8 Romain Grosjean

“Today it was a real struggle to find grip which made the car a big handful to drive. Qualifying was really tough because of this. It was a shame as the track is nice to drive and you just need that extra bit of adhesion to be able to push harder. The layout isn’t as much of a challenge as we thought in some places – T3 for example is easily flat out. The track surface is very smooth so we do have to work to get the tyres up to temperature and this only happens after quite a few laps.”

#13 Pastor Maldonado

“We had a lot of problems today so very little time on the track. I missed the morning session because of a concern with the Energy Store, which meant we missed the opportunity to see how the track had changed and to make improvements to the car. Out on track the car actually felt okay when we weren’t having issues, but clearly the pace was not there. We weren’t able to push any harder because there were further issues with the power delivery. Tomorrow we’ll start from the back of the grid so we’ve got it all to do.”

McLAREN MERCEDES

#22 Jenson Button

“We were strong on both Options and Primes [tyres] yesterday, in both FP1 and FP2, but this morning in FP3 we went backwards, even though we weren’t running a lot of fuel. With the set-up we’d adopted, the car just wasn’t working for us, but, importantly, we kept our heads after that, worked through the issues, and came to qualifying with a much improved car. Tomorrow, I really don’t know what to expect. Our long runs have been pretty good, but it isn’t obvious how many pit-stops most drivers will be making; if you lock up here, however, you’ll completely flat-spot a tyre, and, if you do that, a one- stopper will become untenable, so as I say it won’t be straightforward at all. Valtteri [Bottas] is obviously the guy we’ll be trying to pick off from the start of tomorrow’s race.His pace looked good yesterday and today, but Fridays and Saturdays are very different from Sundays.”

#20 Kevin Magnussen

“Today hasn’t been a good day. We didn’t get anything out of FP3 – as Jenson says we went the wrong way on set-up – but, even so, this afternoon things felt pretty good for me in Q1 and Q2. In Q3, however, the car felt very different. As a result I wasn’t able to get near the time I’d set in Q2, so we’ll need to look into what happened there. Overall, though, our pace has been a bit better than usual here, so it’s obviously a shame for us to have been hit with a five-place grid penalty [imposed in respect of a gearbox failure in FP3]. Even so, I hope we’ll be able to make good progress in the race. It won’t be easy, because we’ll be starting quite far back [P11], but at least overtaking is possible here: moreover, there’s a good DRS zone, and quite a long straight down to Turn Two, and our long-run pace hasn’t been too bad, so all in all I’m fairly positive we’ll be able to make up some positions.

SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM

#27 Nico Hulkenberg

“It’s a very long and challenging lap here, and it’s not so easy to put a good lap together. I think we got pretty much what we could from the car because getting the most from the tyres today was a big challenge. If you pushed more initially, you paid the price at the end of the lap, so the secret was to find a balance across the whole lap. Having the five- place grid penalty tomorrow will be quite costly on this track because I think it’s going to be difficult to overtake – it’s only really possible down the two main straights. Hopefully I can make a clean start and use our race pace to score some points, but there is not that much you can do with the strategy because the tyre degradation is very low. We expect this race to be very demanding on fuel consumption so maybe that will open up some opportunities.”

#11 Sergio Perez

“It is disappointing to miss out on a place in Q3 because the gaps were very small. My first lap in Q2 was very good, but in my second run I made a few mistakes which cost me two tenths and a place in the top ten. I think we will be starting pretty much where we expected based on our one-lap pace, so we will aim to move ahead and achieve a better position in the race tomorrow. In terms of strategy, we don’t expect big surprises. I think it will be an interesting race: overtaking won’t be easy so the start and the first few laps could have a big influence on the final result. The track is quite difficult and tyre temperatures will be a key element as the race progresses.”

SAUBER F1 TEAM

#99 Adrian Sutil

“It was a normal qualifying, but it was difficult to get the tyres up to temperature. Unfortunately, I could not extract the maximum as I made a mistake on my final lap. Without this incident I probably would have finished one position better, which would not be a huge difference. Under the current circumstances there is not more to expect. In the race we have to make the best out of every chance we get.”

#21 Esteban Gutierrez

“It was an interesting competition today. We missed quite a lot of time in the morning due to a technical issue. I was still experimenting with the set-up in the third free practice, and during the qualifying laps I was able to improve between the runs. It was pretty important to put in a strong lap on track at the end of the qualifying. I think it is a great competition between Adrian and myself, we are really pushing to the limit which brings some excitement.”

SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO

#25 Jean-Eric Vergne

“I was extremely slow today and I don’t know why. I lost time everywhere around the track and I’m wondering if there was a problem somewhere, which did not allow me to get the best out of the car. We will have a look at all the data, trying to understand what happened and be quicker again tomorrow.”

#26 Daniil Kvyat

“It feels great securing P5 in today’s qualifying here in my home country. It was already looking quite promising yesterday, so I’m very happy we could put it all together and achieve my best ever Qualifying result today. The car felt very good and everything worked out well, so well done to the team. I will do my best in tomorrow’s race and I will definitely aim to finish the race at least in fifth position.”

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING

#19 Felipe Massa

“I’m very disappointed as the car has been looking very competitive at this track and we should have been looking at the second row at least, but a problem with the car in Q1 has pushed us down the grid. I had no real power throughout qualifying and we were trying different things to resolve this out on track but in the end there was nothing I could do. P18 is far from ideal but I know I have the car underneath me to overtake tomorrow so we should have a chance to score points and limit the damage.”

#77 Valtteri Bottas

“I took a bit too much out of the tyres in the first two sectors and they started to fall away in the final corners and this maybe cost us a chance of finishing on the front row. Mercedes have looked very strong in the final sector all weekend so I don’t think pole was possible but it would have been good to see where that lap would have put me. The benefit is that we will be starting on the cleaner side of the grid and this could be very beneficial on a new track with a lot of dirt off line. Third is a good result and we have strong race pace so hopefully we can battle with the Mercedes cars and secure another podium finish tomorrow.”

MARUSSIA F1 TEAM

#4 Max Chilton

“A tough weekend and one that hasn’t got any easier as we’ve progressed towards the race. I’m grateful for having the whole Team around me as I think that it is helping all of us to focus. Performance-wise, we didn’t get the qualifying position we wanted today, but there are some reasons for that. This morning we experienced a driveshaft problem and missed the latter part of the FP3 session, and therefore the Soft tyre run. As this is a new circuit for us, that’s quite a disadvantage going into qualifying. I was fairly happy with the balance and looking at the three free practice sessions as a whole, I think we have done a good job and there is more to come in the race. We’ll keep pushing hard this evening, and do our best to get ahead of the Caterhams tomorrow, but the fact is, it’s not the same without my teammate.”

CATERHAM F1 TEAM

#10 Kamui Kobayashi

“What a great qualifying session! I did a very good lap and the car behaved very well; we can be very pleased with qualifying in 17th position here in Russia. It’s a bit frustrating to be so close to Q2, but overall I think that we can be very happy with what we achieved today. This morning’s FP3 was another good session where we built on what we learned yesterday and continued to make progress. I went into qualifying feeling confident in the car and I knew what I had to do, and it all came together nicely. Now we need to look forward to the race tomorrow, I’m really up for another good race. Of course, Jules is very much in our minds and our thoughts and prayers are always with him, it’s not being an easy weekend in terms of emotions, we will all be racing for him here tomorrow.”

#09 Marcus Ericsson

“It’s not being the easiest of weekends for me here in Russia, as I haven’t completed that many laps up until now and I am still learning the track every time I go out. Having said that, I think I’ve improved a lot in a very short time here in Sochi and, even though my qualifying lap was not perfect, we were able to qualify ahead of a Lotus as well as a Marussia. I’m sure I will be much more confident in the race tomorrow and I look forward to tomorrow – a day where of course our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with Jules.”

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