Sat: Toro Rosso, Force India, McLaren, Haas

Date published: May 14 2016

There were top ten places on the Barcelona grid for Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso…

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz Jr:
“I’m very happy with today’s qualifying! We’ve been strong the whole weekend so far and today’s P8 was the maximum we could hope for, and we did it – I’m very satisfied with my lap in Q3. Tomorrow’s race will be a very interesting one, and to start from the fourth row in front of my home crowd is something I’m looking forward to. To race on home soil is always special, something that I’ve been dreaming of since I was four years old, when I started to watch Formula 1. To finally be here, living the dream, is an awesome feeling and I will try and enjoy myself and put on a good show for all the fans out there.”

Daniil Kvyat: “I’m still getting used to the team and the car, so it hasn’t been the easiest of qualifying sessions. To be out in Q2 isn’t what one wants to see, but the general feeling is positive, I feel better and better in the car and in the future we will do better – I’m just not a very patient guy! We need to analyse and find where we could’ve done better to improve very quickly for the next races. Starting in P13 is not too bad, so we will do our best to score some points tomorrow – the race is very long, let’s see where we end up.”

Force India:
Sergio Perez:
“I’m very happy to be starting ninth. This track has traditionally been a difficult one for us, so to come here with our upgrade and make Q3 feels pretty good. I think there was the potential to be even faster on my Q3 lap, but I’m still happy with the result. I expect us to be strong in the race and we have a good track position, which is important on this track where it’s never easy to overtake. In the first stint, the cars starting just outside the top ten on fresh tyres will be a threat, but I am confident we can make a good start and stay ahead. Strategy will be important, as well as tyre management, but it’s not easy if you get involved in battles that take the life out of your tyres. If we can come away with a good number of points it will be a nice reward for the team’s hard work and effort recently.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s always a bit disappointing to miss out on Q3 by just one hundredth of a second, but on the other hand starting from P11 gives us the chance to explore the strategy options with a free choice of tyre for the first stint. We brought a big upgrade here this weekend and generally it’s working well, but I’m not totally comfortable in the car and I’m still chasing the balance. I feel quite optimistic about tomorrow because our long run pace looked solid and we’ve got a good chance of scoring some points.”

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso: 
Today is the first time in a long while that I haven’t watched Q3 on television! And it’s nice to be part of the show. This is new-shape McLaren-Honda’s first time in Q3 – but, in truth, we probably deserved this result a couple of races ago. But never mind that now: let’s just enjoy it before we turn our attention to tomorrow and look at how we can convert it into world championship points. That’ll require some thought because, for the first time this year, we’ll be starting on used Q2 tyres – we don’t have a free choice, which is a slight handicap that we’ll look to recover somehow. Nonetheless, we should be thinking about moving forwards tomorrow – and doing that here is usually all about the start and the pit-stops. Put it this way: I don’t think we’ll see too much overtaking tomorrow. That means we really need to focus on the start, and then look after our tyres because degradation is likely to be a factor. There’s still a long way to go, but this is a good step.”

Jenson Button: This result has been a long time coming for the McLaren-Honda team. Fair play to Fernando – he’s been very quick all weekend, and this afternoon’s Q3 success is great for the team. Having said that, merely getting into Q3 isn’t where we want to be as a team, but we did a good job today. And I hope it’s put a smile on everyone’s faces. However, it’s been a tough weekend for me. My car has been suffering from a loose-feeling rear end, which isn’t how I like it to feel because it means I can’t fully commit into corners. I tried my best, but driving around that handling characteristic has never been my strong point. Still, I adapted reasonably well to it this weekend, and, to end up just-one-and-a-half tenths off Fernando’s time is the best it’s been all weekend. I’ll start tomorrow’s race on new tyres too, so I’m not too upset.”

Haas:
Romain Grosjean:
“I think we did a great job and everyone worked very hard overnight to get a better car. It’s very close and very tight in terms of lap times. We couldn’t make it to Q3, but we weren’t that far off. We need to find some more speed but, generally, I’m very pleased with the way we worked. I’m very proud of all the guys.”

Esteban Gutierrez:  “It was a great effort from the whole team to recover after the problems from yesterday. Today, I really enjoyed extracting the maximum on every run. I found a little inconsistency between the different sets of tyres, but that’s something we can look into and try to improve to really get the best out of our setup. Now I’m looking ahead to the race tomorrow and fighting for positions. I’m excited to get back out there.”