Sat: Toro Rosso, Force India, McLaren, Williams

Date published: September 17 2016

Toro Rosso did exceptionally well to qualify in the top ten as Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat will start on the grid P6 and P7 respectively.

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz:
“A very positive day! I think we can be very pleased with this qualifying session. After a few tough races, it was time to get back to where I think we belong and to fight for the top six, half a second clear of the Force India, is something to be proud of. It wasn’t as easy as it looked like: I had to stop at the FIA scales in Q2, after that the engine didn’t start and I also missed the second run in Q2… So it was very difficult to get into a rhythm, but finally in Q3 I managed to do two consecutive laps on the ultrasofts and the lap came when it counted. This is a huge boost for the team and we know that we have the pace for a good race tomorrow, so we can be confident! I’d say this is one of my best qualifying sessions of my career and I will be going to bed with a big smile on my face!”

Daniil Kvyat: “A strong day today. That last lap felt pretty good and, even if I only had one set of new ultrasofts left for Q3, we delivered a solid performance and we can be pleased with a P7. It’s always pleasing when the car is at its best on the last lap. It’s encouraging to see that we are back where we should be, showing that we are competitive here, and – fingers crossed – tomorrow we can have a good race! It will be a very long one, where anything can happen, but we just need to keep our head down, be patient and take any chance that comes our way. I feel fine, we are well positioned so now we just need to maximize what we achieved today!”

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg:
“I’m not entirely happy with eighth place. I believe there was more speed in the car – maybe two of three tenths – but it was quite a messy session and we couldn’t extract the maximum from it. We always felt that Q3 was a realistic target, but we faced some strong competition, especially from the Toro Rossos. It was quite hard to find my rhythm because I had a software issue in Q1 and then the yellow flags in Q2 meant I didn’t complete my second lap. Considering all the circumstances, eighth place is a reasonable result and I think we are in good shape for the race. The long run performance from yesterday looked solid and we’ve done the homework we need ahead of the race.”

Sergio Perez: “It was a very tricky session for me – pretty much like the rest of the weekend so far. We had a few technical issues yesterday and we had to make some compromises with the set-up to get a better feeling with the car, so to make Q3 was a good result. The final session was very tight and a couple of hundredths would have moved us up the grid. I’m disappointed to receive the grid penalty because I did significantly lift off for the yellow flags during Q2. Tomorrow’s race is going to be very long and the chance of a Safety Car is very high. It’s one of those races where just getting to the end gives you a chance of points: anything can happen and we need to make the most of every opportunity

McLaren:
Fernando Alonso: “On the face of it, I’m pleased. Getting into Q3 was our first objective, but our next is to be competitive in the race. Nonetheless, our pace still wasn’t great today and we struggled a little – in fact, good pace hasn’t come too easily to us this weekend. Hopefully we can improve for tomorrow though. Race strategy will be key, and I hope things can turn around for us a bit, especially if we get a good start, attack into the first corner, and come out in a good position at the end of lap one. It might be a case of damage limitation in the race, but let’s see what we can do.”

Jenson Button: “Up until qualifying, our weekend had been really tough. But we made some changes to the car, and it felt really good this evening. It took a few set-up tweaks and I found my confidence, so I was able to get the best out of the car in quali. Then, on my final run in Q2, I went a touch wide at the exit of Turn 14 and just tapped the wall on the exit. The impact broke the left-rear wheel and gave me a puncture – it was my fault. It was definitely possible to get into Q3 today: my final lap in Q2 was looking very similar to Fernando’s before the puncture. Our long-run pace means the race could be difficult for us, but there’ll probably be some Safety Car periods and a bit of action, so anything could happen.”

Williams:
Valtteri Bottas:
“We managed to make little improvements from practice to qualifying but this weekend seems to be a little bit tricky for us. It was tight out there – it’s very close with Force India. I felt like I had another very good lap in Q2 but because of the yellow flag I had to slow down a little bit, that’s why Perez is ahead of us, but he’s under investigation so we’ll see what happens. The race pace is looking better than what we’ve seen over one lap here, so we will fight with Force India tomorrow and also try to get ahead of Toro Rosso. That’s a good target for us.”

Felipe Massa: “It wasn’t a great qualifying in the end. I was improving on my final lap, but I couldn’t finish it because I had to slow down for the yellow flags. Maybe some other cars didn’t slow down. Looking ahead, the race is tomorrow and we need to be ready for anything in Singapore.”