There were top ten times in Saturday's qualifying for the Japanese GP for Nico Hulkenberg, who finished P7, and Jenson Button, who was P10...
Nico Hulkenberg: "We knew we could fight for the top ten today, but P7 is a nice surprise. It was very tight, everything had to fall into place and I think we managed to do that. Compared to yesterday, the wind changed so we had a tail wind on the straights and this makes you really quick. That means we have a head wind in sector one, which gives you a lot of grip. It was so much fun to put a really good lap together in Q3. I am very happy. Clearly tomorrow we'll be aiming for points."
Esteban Gutierrez: "We are not as competitive as on previous tracks. I was just two tenths slower than Nico in Q2. This is the first time for me driving on this track and I pushed right to the limit. Regarding the fire, I just saw it and jumped out. The guys had everything under control and I was relieved that I was able to continue my qualifying. We put a good lap together and now I have to stay optimistic for tomorrow, as I think we have a good pace in the long runs. Points are not easy, but we will do our best."
Jenson Button: "In Q3 at Suzuka you want to go out and have fun - which is exactly what I did. I couldn't have gone any quicker. I did three laps in Q2 and Q3 that were almost identical, so I think P10 was as good as our car could get here today. There wasn't any more time left out on the track, but it was fun trying to find it! Looking forward to tomorrow's grand prix, I think it's going to be a different sort of race to those we've experienced recently, because the tyre degradation is more reasonable here than it's been in previous races. Actually, I think both compounds are working well here. I'm really looking forward to the race, and hopefully we'll be able to make progress and bag a decent haul of points. It's going to be tough out there though - but that's why we enjoy this sport."
Sergio Perez: "It was frustrating to miss out on Q3 by the smallest of margins. It was extremely close: my first set of tyres in Q2 were the Options I'd run during Q1 when we'd aborted because of the red flag. That meant my reference for my second Q2 run wasn't ideal as I didn't really know where the track was going. Obviously, yesterday we missed out on some useful track time owing to the accident, so this morning was spent trying to recover that time, changing set-up and learning about the track. To miss out by just over tenth wasn't ideal but, on the other hand, I think we're in a good position to score points tomorrow."
Paul di Resta: "Given where we started yesterday, I think we should be pretty happy with P12. Slowly but surely we've made the car more drivable and in qualifying it felt quite good. The overnight efforts of everyone at the track and back at the factory have helped dial the car into the circuit. Compared with yesterday the car feels much more stable and predictable, and that's allowed us to get within a tenth of making Q3. I'm feeling upbeat about the race because the long runs have looked consistent and we are well placed to fight for points with a free choice on tyre strategy."
Adrian Sutil: "It's not been an easy day. I made a mistake this morning, damaged the car and we had to change the gearbox. I have to say a big 'thank you' to the team for getting the car ready in time for qualifying because they had a lot of work to do during the lunch break. In Q1 the car was quite difficult to drive, I didn't feel comfortable and was missing the grip to be competitive. All I can do now is look forward to the race and hope we have a better day. With the grid penalty [for the gearbox change] I will be starting near the back so I need to try and deliver consistent race pace and hopefully move towards the points."
Valtteri Bottas: "We were fighting for positions higher than we expected today after a very close qualifying session. It was a welcome surprise and we can be happy with P13 today. For the race tomorrow we are hoping to be able to challenge the cars around us and fight for the top ten."
Pastor Maldonado: "We managed to get 100% out of the car today and are just about where we expected. We didn't get a lot of running yesterday after the problem with the wheel and the accident in the afternoon. Overall it wasn't a bad today so we'll now see what we can do tomorrow in the race."
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