Renault driver Kevin Magnussen qualified in an impressive P14 during Saturday’s qualy, while the usual suspects occupied the back of the grid.
Kevin Magnussen: “It’s a very good result for us in qualifying; P14 is much better than usual in terms of setting us up for scoring some points in the race. But it’s an ambivalent result as I felt so close to Q3 that I couldn’t resist giving it everything I’ve got on my final run; I locked up in turn 1 and lost the lap. I didn’t improve after that so it’s unfortunate. From P14, not a lot has to happen in the top ten for us to get points, which is always the aim. Let’s see tomorrow, hopefully our race pace is as good as qualifying today. You never really know how it will go here, so fingers crossed!”
Jolyon Palmer: “I’ll be frank; my lap was pretty far from what it should have been. I made the wrong call on set-up between my runs and the lap just didn’t come together. This was particularly frustrating as the pace has looked promising all weekend and there’s definitely better possible from the car here. Tomorrow I’ll be pushing all the way to make amends especially as this is a track where moving up the order is possible.”
Daniil Kvyat: “Not an easy qualifying. We managed to get through to Q2 where we had clean laps but no pace, which made it difficult to fight for higher positions. It was very close between Carlos and I but, to be honest, we were just fighting each other today… It’s quite a tough situation as the car is missing speed here and I think we extracted the most out of the car but it’s just not our track. A P15 shouldn’t be what we aim for but right now this is where we are. For tomorrow, our long-run pace doesn’t look that bad, but overtaking here is a difficult task still, so we will see what we can come up with. The good thing is that this new tarmac offers some different opportunities which we will have to analyse overnight. It won’t be easy but we will certainly try our best!”
Carlos Sainz: “Today’s qualifying just shows how much our grid position can vary depending on the track layout… After last qualifying session in Singapore we were P6 and here, two weeks later, we are P16, just because of the time we spend flat out through the lap. If I’m honest, I’m not very happy, as I was expecting a bit more than P16 today, but this is how it is – we just need to take it and try to keep improving, because if not, it’s going to be a tough end to the season. Tomorrow I will push like crazy, as always, try to do a good start and move forward. We’ll see where we end up. Some rain would also be welcome for the race, as it could spice things up a bit!”.
Marcus Ericsson: “After a positive Friday, today has also been a decent day. With the overnight rain the track conditions on the new asphalt were different in FP3, so it was a bit tricky to get a good read of it. We made some changes and managed to go into qualifying with a good feeling. I had a clean lap with no mistakes, so overall I am satisfied with my performance. Obviously, the result does not show that, but we were close to Q2. We can see that the gap to the midfield is shrinking, which is positive. Let’s see what we can achieve in the race.”
Felipe Nasr: “The result from qualifying is obviously not where we want to be. On my last try in Q1 my front tyres were not in the ideal working window to start the lap with. This certainly affected sector 1. Besides that, it was a clean lap, but still not enough to reach Q2. On the other hand, it is positive that the long run in FP3 felt quite consistent. We will fight back tomorrow.”
Esteban Ocon: “It was really good. I’m pretty happy with everything. The team did a fantastic job to build up a strong car and we can be very proud of our performance today. I got good clean laps and improved with each run, so all good. That feels like a long time ago, my first qualifying in Spa. But it got better and better each race and today I felt very comfortable. After all the work that has gone into getting the car working well here, it all just came together. I’m really happy.”
Pascal Wehrlein: “Yes, I’m a little disappointed today. This morning was a lot of stop-start trying to fix the electrical problem, so we couldn’t really set the car up. It’s a shame, because at the start of the day I felt we had finally got some things working that we were less happy with yesterday. In qualifying, I had a lot of traffic and couldn’t improve on my second set of tyres. Twice there were cars in front of me in sector 1. I think we will be better in the race but we’re starting from a long way back and we have to hope for some opportunities to move through the field.”