Sat: Mercedes, Force India, Ferrari, McLaren

Date published: July 2 2016

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position on a drying Red Bull Ring, edging Nico Rosberg while Nico Hulkenberg was third fastest.

Mercedes:
Lewis Hamilton:
“This is definitely one of those tracks that I have to keep working at and I’ve been building up to today’s qualifying session. It’s not an easy track to execute the perfect lap and admittedly it’s not my best circuit. As a driver I’m someone who brakes nice and deep and here you have to lift off the accelerator early, keeping your minimum speed high, which is not something I’m used to doing. The track dries up so quickly here – it’s a great feature of this circuit and made qualifying really interesting. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit cooler which will help me in managing my tyres and I can get off to a good start. The race will be interesting and I’m hoping it will be a good day.”

Nico Rosberg: “It was a huge team effort today, with both sides of the garage working together to get my damaged car ready for qualifying. It was a tricky session with the rain and the perfect lap didn’t quite come together which meant Lewis was quicker. The five place grid penalty will be costly as Lewis will start from the front tomorrow and it will be tough to fight through the other cars with the ultra-soft. It will definitely be an exciting race, though, and there’s still a lot to play for.”

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg: “A great qualifying session and I’m feeling very happy and satisfied with our performance. The drying track today reminded me of my pole position from Brazil 2010 and I have to say I really enjoy these tricky conditions. You don’t know where the grip is; you have to take some risks and you have to switch to dry tyres at just the right moment – which is something we did today. It was just a super effort from the whole team and it puts us in a great position for the race. There will be a lot of quick cars around us, but my car feels good and we’ve been strong here in all the sessions so I think we can bring home a lot of points.”

Sergio Perez: “I’m feeling disappointed about what happened during qualifying. We found a good balance with the car this morning and we should have easily made it through to Q3. I was on my second run during Q1 when I felt something strange at the rear of my car. I managed to recover to the pits and we saw that it was a suspension failure, but unfortunately there was not enough time to fix the car and my session was done. It’s a big missed opportunity today, but I won’t give up because I know we can recover some ground tomorrow and still be in the fight for points.”

Ferrari:
Sebastian Vettel: “The car was very good, very strong all day. I don’t think anything was missing, the only thing missing was time. Fourth place is ok, puts us to ninth tomorrow, but it’s not ideal because it all came down to the last lap. The track was surprisingly dry, maybe drier than I expected, with hindsight I should have taken more risks. It didn’t come down to the pace, or the car, it came down to the driver, and the three drivers that were in front of me took more risks. The later you crossed the line, the better it was. For tomorrow everything can happen, maybe there will be some rain, it will be significantly cooler and it will matter how you look after the tyres. We are in a good place and it is a shame for the result, because I thought it could be a good session today. The car was really good to drive and I thought we could be closer to the top. About the kerbs, it’s clear that you’d better not touch them, and I think for next year we need to find a solution, but for tomorrow there’s nothing that can be done.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Today a lot of things happened. In Q3 the rain came, but by the end of the session the track was drying up, so it was difficult to know if it was ready for dry or wet tyres. When the conditions got a bit tricky, we did not get it right because of many little things and did not manage to put a good lap together when it mattered. It is a bit disappointing to finish sixth, I felt there was more to come, but with the guys in front being penalized it’s not too bad. The car has been handling well all weekend, in dry and wet conditions and we had the speed, so I expect it will be ok. Tomorrow it will be a difficult day for everybody, the conditions will dictate a lot how long the tyres will last, it will be a key point. We’ll try to do a lot better than today.”

McLaren:
Jenson Button:
“We start from P3 tomorrow, which is mega! It was an enjoyable session – I thought it was all over in Q2 after I locked up into Turn 3. It was spitting with rain at Turns 1 and 2, so I didn’t think it would affect me into Turn 3, but I ran wide and just stayed on. It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow: nobody really understands how the tyres are going to deliver, but starting from third means we’ll be in a good position. I always love those conditions and I was just trying to save it for the last lap. Luckily there was no yellow flags – I took a lot of risks but it all worked out today. For now, I’m just going to enjoy this moment…”

Fernando Alonso: “Certainly, this wasn’t a smooth qualifying session for us. In Q2, with the threat of rain hanging over us, we tried to leave the garage as early in the session as possible. Unfortunately, for some reason, my car was fitted with used option tyres from Q1, rather than fresh rubber. Then, when we fitted new tyres for the second run, I came across a yellow flag and had to abort the lap. That’s disappointing because we really needed to capitalise on the mistakes of others today. For tomorrow’s race tomorrow, we’ll need mixed conditions if we want to recover from 14th on the grid. The forecast tomorrow is for rain, so let’s wait and see…”