Sat: Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, Lotus

Date published: June 23 2012

Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s European GP from pole position having edged Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado in qualifying…

Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s European GP from pole position having edged Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado in qualifying…

Red Bull:
Sebastian Vettel: “I think it was a great recovery from Q1 and Q2 today, as I didn’t feel entirely happy in those. It had been a good weekend leading up to qualifying, but conditions changed before Q1. However in the end we pulled it altogether. Everyone has worked very hard with preparing new parts for the car, which seem to be a step forward. Bringing new parts is not always straightforward, as we’ve seen. Often people try things on Friday, but then go back to their previous set up for the weekend. However this weekend we seem to have made a step forward, although we will give them a proper try tomorrow. We have been good here in previous years, so hopefully we can keep it up for tomorrow. The guys deserve that, they have worked hard all weekend.”

Mark Webber: “I had no DRS, which costs about 1.3 second per lap and made it difficult. The car’s put up a big fight today, we only managed to do four laps and three of those were in qualifying. In the first qualifying session we did one lap on the harder tyre and then went out on the soft tyre to try and get through as it was so tight. The lap time actually wasn’t too bad considering we didn’t have DRS, but it doesn’t do anything to help the situation. We have a lot to do tomorrow. We were hoping to fix the DRS for Q2 but we didn’t make the cut; we should be able to fix it for tomorrow.”

McLaren:
Lewis Hamilton: “I’m extremely happy to be starting on the front row. To see other teams make big improvements to their cars this weekend, and yet still be starting from P2, is a surprise that I’ll happily take. “We’d been struggling a little with set-up and front [wheel] locking from the start of practice yesterday, so I went into qualifying really just focusing on getting a decent result and starting as high up the order as possible. So, as I say, managing to bag P2 is very welcome. Nevertheless, it’s going to be hard to look after the tyres in the hot conditions we’re expecting for the race, so we’ll be doing some work tonight to analyse and understand just what I did in the last race to make sure my tyres last as long as possible tomorrow. Overtaking will be very difficult, as always here, but degradation will be a bigger issue for everyone, I think. I’ll just be looking to score as many points as I can. If I can finish where I’ve qualified – second – that would consolidate my world title bid. Anything more than that – a win in other words – would, of course, be a bonus.”

Jenson Button: “The team worked really hard overnight to improve the issues we’d had with front [wheel] locking during Friday practice – and, this morning, I felt we’d improved the car a lot, which was really encouraging. Somehow, however, my car felt very different on fresh rubber at the end of Q3 than it had felt all day up to then. On my final run in Q3, the balance felt very different – I had too much understeer – and, every time I touched the brakes, I locked the fronts. I don’t know whether the circuit had changed, but I just couldn’t stop locking my fronts. So it’s disappointing to be starting ninth, especially as previous races have demonstrated that it’s difficult to overtake around here. The key, then, will be to make the right calls on strategy.”

Williams:
Pastor Maldonado: “We’ve been working so hard to understand the car but there is still more performance to find on the soft tyre. The team did a great job today though and Williams is getting stronger and stronger. It’s not only a good result for the team, but also for my country and there are so many Venezuelan fans here supporting me which is great to see. Strategy will be important tomorrow as it’s very hot, but it will make it difficult for everyone. I’m looking forward to pushing for a podium finish tomorrow.”

Bruno Senna: “I’m not too happy with our qualifying result today as I wasn’t able to put all my best sectors together which cost me a lot of positions. However, the car feels good for tomorrow so hopefully we can have a stronger race. It’s going to be very tough with the high temperatures but we will be pushing hard to come away with some points.”

Lotus F1:
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was very close in qualifying, especially in Q2, so it’s good to be fifth on the grid. The car felt good. If we could have improved just a little bit on my last lap then we could have gained a couple of places, but it is an improvement on last time out so I’m very happy with that. We found a few good things with the setup this morning to make the car easier to drive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car usually goes well in the race when it’s hot, so let’s see what we can do.”

Romain Grosjean: “Today we got pretty much the most out of the car that we could have. P4 is a good position for the start of the race but of course you want always more and to do better. Sebastian did an unbelievable lap and today we could not have matched it. We have improved our qualifying performance but there is still room to do better. Tyre degradation will be more important than what we saw at the last race. There will be 57 laps in hot conditions on Sunday; we will see what we can do for a good race tomorrow.”

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