Pierre Gasly was the only one of these six to reach Q2, with both McLarens and both Williams out in Q1. Brendon Hartley starts from the back after penalties.
Pierre Gasly: “I think Q3 was a bit of a longshot today, I really hoped we would be able to make it but unfortunately we just didn’t have the pace. I was really close with Sergio, so maybe one more position was possible, but we lacked performance in qualifying. Of course it’s a bit disappointing not to get a better result in my home race, but I think we did the best we could. We seemed to have some trouble with the second sector on the long straights, so we need to have a look at the data and see where we’re losing time, because in general the car feels OK. I think yesterday it felt a bit better than today, but it’s so tight in the midfield and we lacked a couple of tenths. It’s been really amazing to drive in front of my home crowd, they give me a lot of support! We have one more battle tomorrow – the most important one – and hopefully there will be a lot of fans there to give me a boost. I’ll fight a lot and try everything to get back in the points, the last time was in Monaco and it would be amazing to score points in France!”
Brendon Hartley: “We’re starting tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid because of the engine penalty we received, but we’re pretty positive because the car’s felt decent all weekend – especially on the long run simulation yesterday. Qualifying started pretty well for me, I think I was in the top 10 after the first run, then on the second one I ran into a bit of traffic. It also started to rain a bit towards the end of the lap, so it didn’t feel like we got everything together. If the weather is as unpredictable as today, there might be some opportunities tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso: “This was a disappointing session for us. Our performance has usually been so-so on Saturdays, with our average position in qualifying so far this year being 13th. That said, I have scored points in every single race I have finished, and hopefully tomorrow will be one of those Sundays. There was nothing wrong with the balance of the car today; our lap-time was just not quick enough to make it into Q2. In our pre-quali meeting, we said we thought we would be around 14th or 15th, so this is more or less where we expected to finish. We know where we are, and, unfortunately, need to keep improving.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s very disappointing to see both cars eliminated in Q1. There was nothing particularly wrong with the balance – the feeling was okay – it’s just that we lack pace. Since the start of the season, there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes to understand what’s not working. We need to keep our heads down, keep trying and hopefully turn things around. This weekend has not been good for us – we need to do better. Hopefully we can reverse the form of today and have a better race tomorrow.”
Sergey Sirotkin: “It’s tough. The car didn’t feel that bad. The conditions weren’t as hot as we predicted. It was just about to rain, so the track was cooler with less sun. Throughout the lap, the car balance was much more together, as was the corner balance. It was not bad, but today is where we are and it’s the limit of what we can achieve. The race pace yesterday was better than the qualifying pace. The car felt better, but we’ve said this before and it has turned out completely different in the race, so I don’t want to say too much. What I can say that’s right is that we’re working and investigating, but there’s not much we can do from where we are.”
Lance Stroll: “It was a tough session for the team, but I have to be honest and say I expected us to be where we are. Unfortunately, the situation is we are missing about six tenths to P18 and the next team. That is not ideal, so we have to keep our heads down and keep pushing. I had a snap when trying to get more speed, went wide and the rear went away from me. I hit the sausage kerb and the car went up into the air. It was a pretty hard landing and I think there could be a bit of damage there. Anything can happen tomorrow, maybe a bit of rain, so we will see what happens. Looking forward, it is a long season, so a lot can change.”