Qualy: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: “I’ve been coming here for so long, but it’s my first pole here at Suzuka! It was definitely worth the wait. I didn’t make one mistake all session and just kept getting better and better. We built the foundation in Q1 and then just built upon it as qualifying developed. I’ve been waiting all weekend for that moment, for that lap in Q3 – and it feels so good when that comes together. It’s incredible to come here with this car and drive on this track. It’s always been one of the greatest but with this car, it’s mind-blowing, I wish everyone could feel what we feel. It’s always been a crazy rollercoaster ride, but with the downforce on these cars, it’s insane. The way you can throw the car around, I love that. We know how quick the Ferraris were in Malaysia, so it’ll be interesting to see how we compare. We’ve put ourselves in the right position to get the job done on Sunday. I don’t know if people watching realise how much effort goes into qualifying, but the team worked perfectly to get me out at the right time, into space on track and allow me to do what I needed to do – I’m so grateful for that. They did a great job, I hope I can capitalise on that tomorrow.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I’ve been coming here for so long, but it’s my first pole here at Suzuka! It was definitely worth the wait. I didn’t make one mistake all session and just kept getting better and better. We built the foundation in Q1 and then just built upon it as qualifying developed. I’ve been waiting all weekend for that moment, for that lap in Q3 – and it feels so good when that comes together. It’s incredible to come here with this car and drive on this track. It’s always been one of the greatest but with this car, it’s mind-blowing, I wish everyone could feel what we feel. It’s always been a crazy rollercoaster ride, but with the downforce on these cars, it’s insane. The way you can throw the car around, I love that. We know how quick the Ferraris were in Malaysia, so it’ll be interesting to see how we compare. We’ve put ourselves in the right position to get the job done on Sunday. I don’t know if people watching realise how much effort goes into qualifying, but the team worked perfectly to get me out at the right time, into space on track and allow me to do what I needed to do – I’m so grateful for that. They did a great job, I hope I can capitalise on that tomorrow.” “It was a tricky day. I had a bit of an off in FP3 and the car was damaged. But the guys did a great job getting the car back together, everything worked perfectly. It’s been a few tough races, I’ve been off the pace quite a lot. So now I’m at least a bit closer and with the limited running we had today, it really wasn’t too bad. But it’s a shame to lose the position due to a grid penalty. The car has been feeling really different this weekend compared to last week. I was able to trust it more and drive a bit more naturally which always makes the result better. I should never lose self-confidence; it’s the key in this sport. I just need to carry on, keep chipping away and learning from everything. I’m going to start on the Soft tyre, so I think we have a chance to try a different strategy to all the other cars around. So hopefully we can gain a few places as overtaking is very difficult on this track.”

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel: It wasn’t an ideal Qualifying session for me, Q1 and Q2 went well but then we tried a few changes for Q3 which put me out of my rhythm a bit. The time was still ok but I think I could have got a bit more out of it at the end. It was a better second timed lap but I think I could have finished a position higher, it was very tight. The new cars mean higher corner speed which at this track essentially means some corners turn into longer straights, it’s a bit more physical and obviously means faster lap times. This also means it is a tougher track for us than in the years before. I think the Mercedes race pace is quick but we are unsure of how Ferrari are looking, tomorrow will tell. We gain one spot with Bottas’ penalty so all we can do is fight and try to progress from P4. I would like rain but that isn’t going to happen so hopefully with the dry weather we have good degradation and can challenge for a good result. Daniel and I are running different configurations tomorrow so we will have to see how they play come the race. I hope the people in front make Turn 1 interesting tomorrow but not for me. I like sandwiches but not on the track.”“I think the car was very good today and I was happy with it, but it was just not enough for pole position. In my last run, I tried to push maybe a little too much, knowing that Valtteri wasn’t a threat because of his grid penalty, but it didn’t work. But overall, our car was fine. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and hot, which makes the difference and then we’ll see. We normally have a stronger car in the race than in Quali. It’s important to have a good balance here and then you can always try something with the stops. Also, I am confident we should have a good start, and that is important, but after that there are a lot of laps and strategy is important as well. In terms of pace, hopefully we should be closer to our competitors. We’ll see tomorrow”.

Kimi Raikkonen: “It was not a great start of the day to go off track this morning in P3, not the ideal preparation for qualifying. After that, everything got more difficult, but the team did a great job to get the car back in one piece. In Qualifying the car felt ok, but it was a bit tricky; the biggest issue was the limited running we had had with new tyres in the morning. In Q3, when I really had to push, I made a mistake in the first run and I had a pretty average lap time in the second one. Now I pay the price of my mistake. After my crash, we’ve got a five places penalty for replacing the gearbox change. This obviously complicates our race even more. Tomorrow it’s not going to be easy, but I think that we have a good car for the race”.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo: “Once again it was pretty close between myself and Max today. I got the half a tenth on Max this time and he’d had it on me in Qualifying in the last few races. It was pretty important to be ahead and I will start third now because of Bottas’ penalty which puts me on the cleaner side of the grid, so thank you Valtteri. I will take everything I can for now and I’m happy with that result. I had a slightly different set-up from Max today and chose to remove some downforce which I hope will help me in the race. I haven’t seen Lewis’ lap yet but I’ve seen his time and we can’t quite do that, I think we feel we got pretty much everything out of the car today and we definitely couldn’t find a second. We will see what tomorrow brings but I think if we can stay in a podium position we will be leaving here pretty happy. The start will be really important for us, it’s a pretty tricky track to overtake on and strategy is likely to play in to it but if I can get them on the start then hopefully that will be where I stay. I hope I get my first Suzuka podium, it’s always been a fun track but I’ve never stood on the podium so that’s my target.”

Max Verstappen: "It wasn’t an ideal Qualifying session for me, Q1 and Q2 went well but then we tried a few changes for Q3 which put me out of my rhythm a bit. The time was still ok but I think I could have got a bit more out of it at the end. It was a better second timed lap but I think I could have finished a position higher, it was very tight. The new cars mean higher corner speed which at this track essentially means some corners turn into longer straights, it’s a bit more physical and obviously means faster lap times. This also means it is a tougher track for us than in the years before. I think the Mercedes race pace is quick but we are unsure of how Ferrari are looking, tomorrow will tell. We gain one spot with Bottas’ penalty so all we can do is fight and try to progress from P4. I would like rain but that isn’t going to happen so hopefully with the dry weather we have good degradation and can challenge for a good result. Daniel and I are running different configurations tomorrow so we will have to see how they play come the race. I hope the people in front make Turn 1 interesting tomorrow but not for me. I like sandwiches but not on the track.”

 

Comments