Sat: Toro Rosso, McLaren, Force India, Williams

Date published: July 23 2016 - Editor

There were top ten times in qualifying for the Hungarian GP for Carlos Sainz, both McLaren drivers, Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas…

Toro Rosso:
Carlos Sainz Jr:
"Wow, what a qualifying session, and what a result… I feel so good! If I say the truth, this morning we thought we wouldn’t even make it into Q3 after seeing our pace in FP3 but suddenly in Quali everything turned around. I felt much more comfortable in the car and surely the rain and cooler conditions helped. It was probably the toughest qualifying session of my career – to judge each time what tyre to choose, which line to take, see where it was dry and where it was still wet, to cool the tyres, then heat them… It was very, very tricky! But we were in the right place at the right moment every time, we got through every Quali session and we ended up in a great position for tomorrow! I just hope that in the race we can maintain the good feeling we found today in Quali."

Daniil Kvyat: "I think we did a very poor job in managing the things when it really counted, especially my track position. We were slow putting the slicks on – the tyres were not ready when I came in to the pits and I had to wait too long. I was then caught-up in traffic and I did my last lap, the one that most counted, behind Button… I always raise my hand when I do a bad job, but I think today it was a bit the other way around. It’s a pity that we don’t start further ahead, but in these circumstances a P12 is the most I could do… I really wanted to be in Q3, so we need to analyse what happened and learn from our mistakes. We will try our best tomorrow to recover and move forward, it can still be a good race!"

Fernando Alonso: 
"Both McLarens are in the top 10 in qualifying for the first time in a long time, so it’s definitely a step forward for us again this weekend and I’m happy with the direction and progression the team is heading in. I especially enjoyed the tricky conditions in Q2, when we were very fast. Today we were quick in dry conditions, quick in the wet and even quicker in mixed conditions. On the dry tyres in mixed conditions we took some risks and I really enjoyed it. It’s looking good this weekend, this circuit suits our car a little bit better, and I’ve been P7 in every single session so far, so we’re pretty competitive, and hopefully we can improve on that tomorrow. On my final lap I braked very late into Turn Six, cut the chicane and lost some time there, so I wanted to recover the lost time. I probably overdrove and at Turn Nine I spun. It’s a bit frustrating because I think we could have gained a couple of tenths which I lost instead because of my mistake, but anyway P7 for tomorrow is okay, and I’ll be starting on the clean side of the track. We now need to finish the job tomorrow, hopefully with some points."

Jenson Button: "The car was working well today in the mixed conditions. You always enjoy it when you’ve got to think on your feet and it’s different every lap – I think Fernando and I are both very good at that. I was definitely up on my last lap by a few tenths but I don’t know if it would’ve made any difference at the end anyway; obviously the yellow flags meant we couldn’t complete it and sometimes that happens in these conditions. It’s pretty good to have both cars in the top 10 but as soon as you do that, that’s not enough and you want more. I’ll be starting on the dirty side of the track tomorrow, which will be tough, but we’ll make the best of it. There’s new asphalt here though, and with the rain today it might actually make it a bit better than we think. We’re in front of all the cars we should be racing which is good, but the others in front are too fast for us. In the wet it was really difficult to get the tyres working; I particularly struggled with fronts. We had a small front wing problem, where something came loose, but we fixed that and then it was fine. We still struggled with the front end in the wet conditions but we got there in the end, and in the drying conditions it was a lot of fun and we got the best out of it. We’ll start P7 and P8, which isn’t too bad. In these conditions we always do a good job, so I’m happy for the team. I really don’t know what to expect tomorrow – but I’m looking forward to it anyway!"

Force India:
Nico Hulkenberg: "Being in the top ten is always good, especially in a session with tricky conditions. As a team I think we coped well with so many red flags because it’s important to stay calm and maintain your rhythm. When the rain stopped, the track dried so quickly and by the end of Q2 the sun was shining and the track was almost completely dry. Q3 was a bit difficult: I just didn’t have the balance and I struggled with understeer on my final lap. So from that perspective maybe it would have been better if the track had stayed wet for longer. Ninth place is still a good place to start and I’m sure we can have a strong race from there."

Sergio Perez: "Qualifying in P13 is a very disappointing result. Today we had everything we needed to be in Q3, especially in these conditions. We were among the first to switch to dry tyres, but when it came to the end of the session I wasn’t able to put together a good enough lap to finish in the top ten. I made a mistake in turn five and that cost me more than a second. It’s a shame as I think we had great potential, but it goes to show how difficult it is to get the right lap at the right time. Starting where we are is going to make the race very challenging. A good start will be crucial and we need to choose the right strategy because overtaking here is not easy. Our pace in the dry is good and my target is to bring home some points."

Valtteri Bottas:
"It was a really tricky qualifying session today because of the weather conditions. I think as a team we made the right strategy calls. It’s a shame that we are out of position because of the yellow flags on my final run. I was improving my laptime a lot, but obviously I had to slow down which cost us, so that’s slightly unlucky. I think tomorrow we will have a good fight with Force India and my mission is to beat them."

Felipe Massa: "I’m very disappointed about what happened. We risked going to the intermediates tyres in that moment and unfortunately it didn’t work for me, so it’s a real shame. I’m sorry to the guys in the garage because I was just trying to do the best I could but in conditions like that these things can happen. We now just need to concentrate on the race tomorrow. We know it’s not the perfect position for qualifying at this track but we need to be ready for anything tomorrow, because everything could change in the race."