Sat: Force India, Haas, Williams, Toro Rosso

Date published: October 8 2016 - Editor

For the first time this season, both Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez qualified in the top ten…

Force India:
Sergio Perez
: “It was a very intense qualifying session and there were lots of competitive cars out there – I even finished with the same time as Romain [Grosjean] and I was lucky to be classified ahead of him. I am very happy about our performance, especially my lap in Q3: the margins are so tight around us and the smallest mistake makes the difference between starting seventh or twelfth, but today we did a really good job as a team. Starting one place ahead of where we qualified, because of Vettel’s penalty, puts us in a strong position for a good result tomorrow. If we have a normal race, with no strange circumstances, we can aim to score some important points. The strategy will depend on the weather conditions tomorrow, especially if it becomes much cooler than today. Overall I feel positive: we have done 70% of the job today, but the remaining 30% tomorrow is the most important.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “I’m pretty happy with today and I’m starting in a good position tomorrow. My final lap in Q3 was looking really strong, but I lost a couple of tenths at the final chicane – it was okay going in, but I didn’t get the best exit from the corner. So maybe I could have been a little higher up the grid with a totally clean lap. We saw again today just how close things are in the midfield and I expect a big fight tomorrow. Track position is crucial here so it’s especially important to make the most of our starting positions with a clean start.”

Romain Grosjean:
“I feel pretty good after that and I’m very pleased for the whole team. We brought all the updates we had. We made the new front wing work on the car and that made a difference in qualifying. The whole session went very smoothly. I didn’t get my DRS (Drag Reduction System) on the last stretch of the final corner. But, we’re here and tomorrow’s a long race at a very difficult track. Tire degradation will be very important. Hopefully, if the balance is as good tomorrow as it was today, we should be fine.”

Esteban Gutierrez: “I feel so happy for the whole team. It was surprising to arrive into qualifying and put both cars into Q3 as we started the weekend in a very difficult position. We lost a lot of practice time in FP2 and we were not completely happy with the balance of the car, but as a team we managed to recover completely. It’s a great skill that we need to keep hold of as this really made the difference today. We pushed the maximum we could and we fought right until the end. I feel very proud of the whole team. They all deserve this as they’ve been doing a great job. Without them, without my crew, my engineers, my mechanics, today would not have been possible. So, I dedicate what we have achieved today to them. Tomorrow, I’ll be pushing to the maximum and I won’t be looking back.”

Valtteri Botta“Looking at our qualifying performance here from the past few years it’s disappointing not to be in Q3. We just weren’t quick enough today. I had a little bit of traffic in Q2, but the speed just wasn’t there. The positive thing from today is that we have a free choice of tyres for the race. We have the same opportunity that we had in Malaysia to do something different with the strategy, hopefully we can make good use of that.”

Felipe Massa: “That wasn’t the qualifying we expected. I think the biggest surprise were the laptimes from Haas. They qualified in front of both us and Force India in Q2. We are one tenth slower than the Force Indias, like we were in Malaysia, but I’m surprised by Haas. It’s true that our laptimes on the new tyres wasn’t so great, so I’m a bit disappointed with that. The race tomorrow will be tough. It will be a very big fight. But we’ll try everything we can to have a strong race and hopefully score some good points. All we can do is try.”

Toro Rosso:
Daniil Kvyat: “I’m quite happy with my qualifying session. Both my Q1 and Q2 laps were good and to be honest I don’t think there was much more to extract from the car today and I did my best. I also think the whole team around me works very well, we now follow our own system which works well – they deserve the good laps I put in! We will now go for it in tomorrow’s race and see how close we can get to those point positions. It will be interesting if the weather mixes it all up a bit, but it’s not something we can ask for and we are ready for any scenario – we will just settle in and see what we can do from a P13. I’m feeling better and better in the car, much more confident every time and I look forward to tomorrow’s race!”

Carlos Sainz: “A bit of a tough and tricky day for us. I missed out on FP3 due to an issue with the CU, so I was many laps behind the rest of the field when it got to Qualifying. At a track like this one it’s very difficult to recover your rhythm… I had to play catch-up from the start and it was a bit of a stressful session, nearly not making it into Q2 because of timing… Luckily we did, but then in Q2 I wasn’t improving my lap-time during my second run and then made a mistake when trying a different line and entry speed at Spoon… It’s the type of things you usually try in FP3 if I say the truth! It’s therefore a Saturday that definitely didn’t go our way from the beginning of the day onwards, but hopefully tomorrow will be a better day! Looking at the positive side, if today we had a bad Quali but still ended up P14, it means that the car has the potential to be a bit more ahead. We have a good race pace for tomorrow – it might be tough to get to the points as there are a few other teams quicker than us, but as soon as something happens we should be the best of the rest.”