Pierre Gasly qualified a lowly P17 after the highs of Bahrain; Williams car once again slower at this track compared to last year.
Brendon Hartley: “We had a little issue on my car yesterday but we solved that overnight, both of us have been struggling on this track compared to Bahrain. There’s a number of contributors; the temperature is very different and the wind is very high here. We saw it in Melbourne as well, we seemed to suffer more when the wind picked up compared to the other cars. In Bahrain, we had a stronger car and now we have to figure out why it wasn’t the same story here, but that just shows how competitive this midfield battle is. I think this track can promote some overtaking and a bit of racing and I believe the temperature will be warmer tomorrow as well. In the race, things could completely turn around just because of the change in temperature and wind – that’s how sensitive these modern Formula 1 cars are. I’m staying positive and I think points are possible from P15. All in all, I was pretty happy with the job I did today.”
Pierre Gasly: “It was a tough day today. Yesterday was quite positive for us finishing 11th and 12th, but we changed the car and since this morning I’ve struggled to find pace which made it difficult to put everything together. We didn’t have much time to change the setup between FP3 and Qualifying, and in the end it was a difficult qualifying session. I’m still learning a lot about the track, I think in the long run yesterday we looked OK in terms of degradation – so that’s positive – but starting 17th we will have to find a way to come back. Hopefully we can understand what went wrong and find the pace again tomorrow. Yesterday we struggled a bit with the front of the car and today there were problems with the rear. I would say we know in the long run we’re usually pretty good with the degradation, but tonight we need to understand why the changes we made didn’t work. We’ll try everything to come back tomorrow.”
Sergey Sirotkin: "We were very close to Q2 and we have improved from Bahrain. I think we have continued to work well and we’ve done some good work through the weekend. We went P10 this morning, which is extraordinary given our shape at the moment. Even the first lap in Q1 was really decent. I don’t think we maximised the second lap, and we can find more time there. Maybe not as much time as others, because I think our first run was better than most of them, but still I believe we could have got a little more which would allow us to jump into Q2. I’m sorry about this, but at the same time we’re moving forward step by step."
Lance Stroll: "It was tricky with both cars out in Q1. To be honest I am not happy with the result of Q1. But we were really struggling all weekend, and I spun yesterday so never got a baseline. We were trying so many different set-ups in FP1 because of the struggles coming out of Bahrain. I didn't actually put everything together in qualifying, but I am really happy to get a bit closer. It is not as good as it was in Australia, but maybe a bit better than Bahrain, however, tomorrow is another day and anything is possible."
Charles Leclerc: “Overall, I am quite happy with my day. Even though a small error on my fast lap cost me some time, it was the first qualifying this year in which I am satisfied with my own performance. So far, our race pace has been better than our qualifying pace this weekend, so it will be interesting to see what is possible during tomorrow’s race.”
Marcus Ericsson: “It was not the best qualifying session for me. We knew that it would be difficult to get into Q2 because we have been struggling quite a bit on the ultrasoft tyres this weekend. My last lap was looking quite good until I locked up towards the end and had to lift off. We had a good race pace during the two practice sessions yesterday, which is encouraging for tomorrow’s race. I look forward to getting into the fight, and will do the best job possible.”