Another impressive day for Force India as both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez made it into Q3 while Max Verstappen outperformed Daniel Ricciardo.
Nico Hulkenberg: “I’m very satisfied with sixth place today and our qualifying performance is a great team result. Even though we’ve had limited running here in practice, I’ve had a good feeling with the car – there is a nice balance and it’s giving me confidence. The result today is probably the maximum we could achieve when you look at the cars ahead of us and it means we’re starting in a great position for tomorrow. The race is going to be interesting because there are still some unknowns about how the tyres will behave over long runs and the strategy calls won’t be easy. I’m looking forward to the race and converting this grid position into some good points.”
Sergio Perez: “It’s always tricky to get the car where you want it to be when you don’t do much running in practice, but it’s a good result for the team and I believe we got the most we could from the session. This is not an easy track to put a good lap together and getting the tyres to the right temperature is a challenge, so I think we can be pleased with this result. I set my best lap on used tyres, which shows that the supersoft tyres take a long time to reach their best. There are still a few question marks about the performance of the tyres during long runs, which will make it very interesting tomorrow, but I don’t expect degradation to be very high. We have a very good chance to be competitive in the race; it will be a tough one but I’m confident we can come away from it with some big points.”
Romain Grosjean: “It was a pretty good qualifying session for us. We knew the top ten was achievable if everything went right. It was quite a challenging day as we didn’t have so much data to work from so we had to make a few choices during qualifying, but it all seemed to work quite well for us. I’m happy with P8 and I think good things are possible in the race. I was glad to hear that Carlos had the thumbs-up after his accident.”
Pastor Maldonado: “For FP3 we had a better feeling with the car so we need to investigate to see why we couldn’t get the speed from the super soft tyres when we needed it. The car didn’t feel too bad, it just wasn’t quick enough when we wanted it. We all expected more from today. The main thing is that Carlos is okay after his incident earlier.”
Max Verstappen: “First of all I’d like to say that I’m really happy to hear that Carlos is okay after his crash, that’s the most important news of the day. Hopefully he’s here tomorrow. I’m very satisfied with my qualifying performance today! It was my first time at this track with low fuel, so I had to get used to that at the same time during the session – I was still learning during qualifying! A P9 is a good result, I’m really pleased. It’s difficult to know what to expect for tomorrow’s race, as we didn’t get a lot of running during the practice sessions and even though our long-runs were not bad, we will need to wait and see… But I’m confident we can have a good race and fight for more points!”
Carlos Sainz: “Hi everyone! As you can see I am fine. My back and my neck are just a bit sore from the accident, but I’m totally ready. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up in a good shape and maybe I can try and race – this is definitely the intention! Obviously we need to be cautious… I’ve always been conscious. As soon as the accident happened I tried to talk to the team on the radio, but it wasn’t working and those must have been some scary moments… I’d like to thank everyone for their support, it’s really nice to receive all your messages at a moment like this one! I hope to see you all tomorrow out there!”