Sat: FIndia, McLaren, Manor

Date published: March 14 2015

Although Force India made it in Q2 for the Australian GP qualifying, they still finished second slowest with only McLaren qualifying behind…

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg: "We always want to be further up the grid, but being realistic I don’t think we had the performance today to challenge for Q3. However, it’s only the first qualifying session of the season, so it’s still very early days and we have a lot of development work ahead of us. I enjoyed the qualifying session today: it was good fun out there and I felt comfortable in the car, and as a team we squeezed everything we could from the session. For tomorrow, I’m optimistic that our race pace will be stronger than our qualifying pace, as was often the case last year, so I’m looking forward to the race."

Sergio Perez: "It was quite a difficult qualifying session and the windy conditions seemed to have a big impact on our car. In terms of performance, I think we are where we predicted because we knew Q2 was achievable and we managed to get the maximum from the car. For tomorrow, we know this is a race where anything can happen: it’s unpredictable and sometimes you have to be patient. We need to see what the weather is like because the wind and track temperature will play a big part. Whatever happens, I will work hard to have a competitive race and target some points."

McLaren:
Jenson Button: "This level of performance wasn’t a surprise for us: we knew from winter testing that the pace wasn’t there, so we knew we weren’t going to be competitive here. However, there’s a good feeling about the car – I know we’re so far off, but the basic car is there beneath me, and we’re adding to our experience and learning with every lap we do. And that’s really impressed me – we’ve gone through our first race weekend together, and we’ve managed to solve each issue that’s confronted us. There’s just a lot of work needed to add power and downforce – but this is an important car for the future of McLaren-Honda. It’s going to be a really difficult race for us – we haven’t done a race distance yet, and my longest run is 12 laps – but we want to do the best we can because there’s so much learning to be had. It’ll be a tough day, but we’ll be doing our absolute best."

Kevin Magnussen: "Things were going well on my first run in Q1. Then, on my second run, I had a slight problem with the engine – it didn’t really matter, as we’d have needed a bit of luck to get into Q2. For tomorrow’s race, we’re not really focused on getting points – they’re not really on the cards for us – but we’ll go racing tomorrow to try and learn. We haven’t done a full race distance yet, so progress tomorrow will be important. If we can finish, we’ll learn a lot; and, even if we don’t, there’ll still be something useful to take home. This isn’t where we want to be, but we’re not ready to win races yet. We’ll put our heads down and keep learning, and we’ll try and take as much experience and knowledge from the race tomorrow as we can."

Manor GP:
Will Stevens: "It goes without saying that I’m disappointed that we ran out of time for qualifying. Disappointed not just for me, but for the whole team, because the effort this week has been tremendous. What matters most is that we’re here, so we have to focus on that fact and look to the future. We knew it would be difficult, that we would experience some challenges and that is what happened, but we are better placed for the next few races and that in itself justifies the hard work over the past few days."

Roberto Merhi: "A tough way to start the season but we have worked together to try to overcome our problems and already I feel a big part of the team. They are like a family and it is nice to see the true spirit, even if we had hoped for more this weekend. Certainly we came here to go racing and it is difficult that we haven’t been able to get the cars out but that leaves me feeling all the more determined to work hard with everybody to push for more in the coming races."