Sat: McLaren, Renault, Sauber, Manor

Date published: October 8 2016

At Honda's home race, Jenson Button unfortunately got knocked in Q3, while his team-mate Fernando Alonso qualified P15.

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso:
“After some strong weekends, where we made it into Q3 and were able to fight for points, qualifying 15th and 17th is not the best place to be starting Honda’s home grand prix. So far, we just haven’t been able to find the speed in the car this weekend. We’ve been struggling with high-speed and straight-line performance too, so it was difficult to know which way to go in terms of downforce and balance. It looks like our performance is changing from circuit to circuit, and we need to analyse exactly why we seem to be underperforming here. Unless it rains tomorrow, it’ll be difficult for us to recover enough positions in the race in order to score points. But I’ll be attacking tomorrow – I have nothing to lose.”

Jenson Button “It’s been a tough weekend so far. I switched over to Fernando’s set-up this morning after failing to find a balance on Friday – my car just wasn’t working. To be that close to Fernando – just three-hundredths off his best time in Q1 – after the weekend we’ve had so far, really wasn’t too horrific. Our lap-time today is simply a fair reflection of how fast our car is around here – and that meant I went out in Q1. Our package works best in lower-speed corners and under heavy braking; Suzuka has lots of mid- to high-speed corners and long bends – plus long straights – which are all trickier for us.”

Renault:
Jolyon Palmer: “On the one hand I’m quite pleased ; I think we did well to get into Q2. Unfortunately I had a yellow flag on my final lap in the session and that probably cost a couple of tenths, which would have put me 12th or 13th so that’s a little bit disappointing. We started 19th and scored a point last weekend in Malaysia, so there is definitely a chance to do the same tomorrow. We’re looking similarly competitive, the race will be long and tyre strategy will play a hand… There are a lot of similarities to the last time out so we’ll keep pushing and see what happens.”

Kevin Magnussen: “We had good pace in FP3 this morning and looked strong, so I was hopeful for qualifying, especially as the car and conditions felt similar to this morning. We seem to lose pace, however, which was surprising. Maybe others picked up theirs, I’ll have to look at the data. In the position we are now to start tomorrow’s race, a bit of rain might not be bad ! Regardless, we will race as hard as always and we all know a lot can happen in 53 laps.”

Sauber:
Marcus Ericsson:
“It has been a tricky weekend so far. Compared to last weekend in Malaysia, here it has been more challenging to point the car in a direction where I wanted it to be. Therefore, it was rather a difficult qualifying, so we cannot be satisfied with this result. It is a new day tomorrow, and we will fight back.”

Felipe Nasr: “It was a disappointing qualifying for us. My first run in Q1 was good, and I put in a decent lap time. When I went out for the second try I could not bring the tyres up to the ideal working window. In the end I could not improve my lap time. I am very disappointed with this result. We need to understand what happened.”

Manor:
Esteban Ocon:
“Quite a bit more in the tank, unfortunately. I made a small mistake in Turn 14, which I’m pretty unhappy with, and which could have put us ahead of Sauber. So it was pretty tight with them and I feel bad for the guys because everything on my side has been strong this weekend. I hope to make it up to them in the race tomorrow. Turns 1 and 2 here are very different to Sepang though. It’s about man and machine and the team do a pretty good job of the starts, so I’ll give it everything I’ve got off the line and we’ll see. In the meantime, well done to the team. We’ve made good progress here that is not always easy for those outside to see, but I’m hoping it will come good in the race.”

Pascal Wehrlein: “Last night we had to change the gearbox, so I have a grid penalty, then this morning we had another problem that meant I wasn’t able to complete my qualifying preparation; I didn’t get to finish my soft tyre run. So it’s difficult to find the positives in the weekend so far. I guess the grid penalty doesn’t affect us from where we’re starting, but it’s still pretty disappointing. I try to start every day as if it’s a new one, particularly on race day. I love the Suzuka track; it’s really nice and challenging, and the first sector in particular is awesome. It will be tough, but we need a good start, a good strategy, fast pit stops and some opportunities to come our way. We’ll push hard for a good result.”