Sat: Force India, Williams, Toro Rosso, McLaren

Date published: October 29 2016

Hometown driver Sergio Perez finished outside the top ten, while his Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg did well to secure P5 during qualifiers ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg:
“It’s been a very good qualifying session for me and I am very happy with the result. Our car works pretty well on every circuit nowadays, but I felt it just got better and better through qualifying as the track improved. My first lap in Q3 was mega, possibly my best qualifying lap of the season, and I don’t think there was anything more I could extract from it. We need to keep ourselves out of trouble at the start but I won’t let what happened last week influence me: every time you get to turn one, there is a unique dynamic and you just have to play it by ear. We have a good idea of where we are for the race and we’ll get our head down and build on today’s result.”

Sergio Perez: “It’s a shame to miss out on Q3 today, but I’m optimistic we can recover some positions in the race with a strong strategy. In Q2 we went out on the soft tyres to see if we could progress to Q3, but for my second run we switched to the supersoft tyres. Unfortunately I made a small mistake on my final lap, which ended my chance of qualifying inside the top ten. I just locked up the front tyres going into turn one and ran wide. I apologise for the mistake, but I hope I can give all my fans some happiness in the race tomorrow. The good news is that we made some progress with the car in between final practice and qualifying: our race pace looks competitive and I think we can come away with a good result tomorrow.”

Williams:
Valtteri Bottas:
“It was a very good qualifying session and we finished more or less where we should have done today. It was a shame we couldn’t get through with the option tyre because now we’re starting the race on supersofts. We just really need to try and be clever with our strategy because there’s a big difference between the supersoft, soft and the medium tyre on this track in terms of tyre life. We need to make sure we get everything right tomorrow. It’s a good starting point for the race. We’ve split the Force India’s, so the main thing is we try and be ahead of both of them. We can beat them.”

Felipe Massa: “That was a very difficult qualifying session. I was struggling to make the tyres work. We tried on the preparation lap, and again on the first lap. We tried everything, but I just couldn’t make them work. My best lap time was actually this morning when I had more fuel and less deployment on the engine. Then, with everything set up in the perfect way for qualifying, unfortunately I couldn’t get a better lap time. Despite that, we are in the top ten. We know that the race tomorrow will be difficult, but we need to concentrate on scoring more points than Force India.”

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz:
“I’m very pleased! It’s being a tricky weekend because of the challenging track conditions. If I say the truth, at the start of Q1 I thought it was going to be difficult to get into Q3… And here we are, P10 again for the second consecutive time in one week! It’s a massive achievement for me and the team! I’m feeling very confident in the car lately and I think this is part of the reason why we are achieving these positive results: I can push straight away, develop my weekend well and make it to these positions. I’m going through a good moment and both the team and I can be extremely proud about this – what we’ve been achieving during these two couple of races is not easy! I’m very happy. Tomorrow it will be tough: We don’t have the tyre-strategy advantage and we will need the supersoft tyre to work well during my first stint, as the guys behind will be pushing to get past me. We need to be cautious but we will for sure have some fun!”

Daniil Kvyat: “What a shame… I suddenly lost power because of an electrical issue after my first Q1 lap, so unfortunately my qualifying session ended early today. I have to say that up until that point I was feeling good in the car, even if the track was constantly changing – I’m sure I would’ve easily got through to Q2. Let’s see what happens in tomorrow’s race – it should be an interesting one and we will definitely try and do our best!”

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso:
“I think 11th place was probably the best possible position we could dream of today in terms of race strategy, as we’ll have free choice of tyres tomorrow for the race start and we’ll be on the clean side of the track. So you could say that many things went our way today. Unfortunately, however, we aren’t quick enough here. A few races ago we were routinely making it into Q3 and then fighting for seventh or eighth position, which is good, but here we’re fighting for ninth or 10th position – so, that being the case, we’d rather be in 11th position. But, that’s a side-issue really: more important is that we need to understand why we’re slightly struggling for pace here. Tyre degradation, which will be the key factor tomorrow, has been different from team to team, from set to set and also from day to day, so I think tomorrow we’ll all be going into a slightly unknown situation. So we’ll need to be very flexible and open to strategies, and then we’ll see what we can do. Finally, avoiding traffic will be one of tomorrow’s priorities, since we’ll have a free tyre choice.”

Jenson Button: “My run on the old tyres in Q2 was actually my best lap – I just couldn’t get the new tyres working in Sector One on my final run so I lost three-tenths there. Sectors Two and Three were good, but I couldn’t get the balance right in Sector One. Realistically, 11th and 12th would probably have been the best possible scenario for us, as it would have been perfect for the race. But 11th and 13th isn’t so bad either, especially as I’ll start from the clean side of the track and we get to do our own tyre strategy, which is exactly what you want for a race like this. When you’re in the top 10, ninth or 10th is not a good thing because you’re stuck if you’ve run the Supersoft in Q2. It’s a tough tyre to manage and I think tomorrow we may have a better strategy. Hopefully our race pace will be better tomorrow than our quali pace was today – we’re not in bad shape and I’m looking forward to the race.”