Qualy quotes: Renault, Force India, Haas, McLaren

Date published: April 14 2018

Renault qualified best of the rest in China, whilst there were signs of improvement at Force India. Both McLaren cars knocked out in Q2.

Renault

Nico Hulkenberg: “I’m happy with that, seventh place again, which is probably the best we could do today. We achieved our qualifying mission and that’s a positive. I’ve had a good feeling and good rhythm on this track this weekend and the balance of the car feels fine. Tomorrow is a little more challenging, the first stint will likely be on the shorter side for sure, but we have good pace on all compounds, so that makes me optimistic for the race.”

Carlos Sainz: “It’s good news to have both cars again in Q3, we did a reasonable job. We lost DRS in Q1 with a yellow flag so couldn’t go into Q2 with only one-set of tyres, which then meant I only had one new set of ultras for Q3. We’re still not at one-hundred percent, especially in the slower speed corners, but it doesn’t worry me too much. Now I’m looking forward to the race, we’ll assess our options and see how things pan out. Degradation is going to be a big concern but I’m sure we can start off with a good first stint and hopefully bring more points home.”

Force India

Sergio Perez: “I am very pleased with our performance today as a team. My Q3 lap was very strong and I feel that we really maximised qualifying. The wind was very tricky because it changed completely from yesterday and I knew it could offer us an opportunity. Q2 was quite close and I made it through at the last attempt, and in Q3 we only did one flying lap, which was enough for P8. I am pleased we are so close to our rivals and I hope we can stay in that mix and come out on top of the midfield group tomorrow. The strategy will be interesting because starting on the ultrasoft may not be ideal, but we will try and make it work. We are feeling positive: we are getting closer and closer with every race, understanding more about our car and unlocking its performance.”

Esteban Ocon: “I’m not totally satisfied with today because I’d prefer to be starting further up the grid. The difference between making Q3 and not was just over a tenth, which I probably lost in the final corner with a small mistake. It shows just how close everybody is in the midfield. It’s a shame to miss out on Q3, but on the positive side I can start the race with a free choice of tyres. The target tomorrow is to score points again.”

Haas

Romain Grosjean: “This morning, we had our problem (with the brake-by-wire) and the team did an amazing job to put the car back together. There was a lot of work on the car. The engineers changed quite a lot on the setup last night to give me a better feeling in the car, which was great to have today. So, I’m really pleased with all of that. I was very pleased to get through to Q3. Our position in Q3 is not ideal. On the last lap, we didn’t have the grip we had earlier on in the session. We just need to analyse that and make sure we understand why. Tomorrow, the first stint is going to be the key. We’re starting on the ultrasoft, and everyone behind is going to start on the better tyre (the soft), but we can work from there.”

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s a little bit disappointing to not progress into Q3. I had a bad out lap, and with these tyres, at this track, it’s a very narrow window to get them to work. If you don’t hook it up perfectly on the warmup, you lose a lot of performance. On top of that, it wasn’t a perfect lap. I think P11 is perhaps not so bad a qualifying position. We have a free choice of tyre to start the race, so that’s a bonus. The car is pretty good. If we can hook it up tomorrow and have a good race, I’m sure we can score some points.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso: “We didn’t have the pace to make it into Q3 today. After we were P9 in Q1, we were a little bit more optimistic and thought we could make it into the top 10, but then in Q2 we weren’t quick enough.We were P11 in Australia, P13 in Bahrain and here, and that’s where we are at the moment for qualifying. Not enough, we know, as we seem to be slow on the straights, but we have the potential to improve that. Anyway, making it into Q3 would’ve meant starting the race tomorrow on Ultrasoft tyres, which I believe will degrade quite quickly on a hotter track due to the sunny weather forecast for tomorrow. So, in the end, I’m happy with P13 and a free choice of tyres. Our race pace is a little bit better than our quali pace, so by taking good care of the tyres, and with a good start and a good strategy, points are still very possible for us.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “Today’s result is obviously a little bit disappointing, but we’re more or less in the positions we were expecting to be in. Since the start of the season we’ve been around these places in qualifying, so this is how it is at the moment. There’s some work ahead of us to improve our performance. On the positive side, our long run pace from Friday practice looks very promising, so we have something to play for tomorrow. We’ll also have free tyre choice, which looks to be something pretty crucial again here and will make a difference. The higher temperatures expected for tomorrow will play to our advantage in terms of tyre degradation, as most people ahead of us will be on the Ultrasofts. We’re looking to be ambitious again, take any opportunities, make no mistakes and have a strong race.”