Both Williams drivers qualified in the top ten in Shanghai, with Renault's Nico Hulkenberg also impressing in P7.
Felipe Massa: "I think it was a very good qualifying session for us. I’m happy with my performance, with my lap and with the balance of the car. We were able to get ahead of Hulkenberg right at the end, so I think we did the best we could today. We need to be completely open minded for tomorrow because there may be crazy weather and there may be rain. But hopefully we can fight and have a good performance like we did in Australia."
Lance Stroll: "The first run in Q1 wasn’t good. I was just getting into it and didn’t deliver the lap I knew I could deliver. On the second set of tyres, I just kind of calmed down and it was an amazing lap; I was really happy with the car. Then moving on to Q2, we had a good session. To get into Q3 the time was a tenth slower than my Q1 lap, but I knew it was good enough. Since I had used two sets in Q1, I only had one for Q3, so I just went for it. It wasn’t a good lap, but my goal was to get into Q3. Tomorrow there is a long race ahead of us, so even though Q3 wasn’t as good as I think it could have been I am still very happy with the overall qualifying."
Nico Hulkenberg: “When we started driving in FP3 I felt immediately positive and happy with the car and its balance. It felt better and more together than in Melbourne, and perhaps this track suits our car a little better too. I think from FP3 to qualifying, we were able to improve the car ; I was happy, I was confident and it was a nice surprise when I heard the position over the radio. The forecast says rain for tomorrow, which brings its own challenges, but whatever happens I’ll approach the race open minded and do my best.”
Jolyon Palmer: “The car felt good today ; I was ninth in FP3 so there’s clearly pace. I then had a flat spot on the first run during Q1, which made my second run critical. That lap was going well – to comfortably put me into Q2 – when the yellow flags came out and I had to lift. It’s really frustrating but at least we can see the potential is there. The car feels great but it’s all to do tomorrow.”
Sergio Perez: “I’m very pleased with the qualifying result today. It’s probably a bit better than I expected, but the team did a fantastic job getting the car in shape for qualifying considering the lack of track time we had yesterday. All of my laps were clean and tidy and I think we maximised the performance today. It’s looking like we will have a wet race, which could generate some more opportunities because there will be a lot of unknowns about how the wet tyres will perform. It will be a big challenge but the team is ready for the fight and hopefully we can come away with some more points.”
Esteban Ocon: “It’s disappointing to go out in Q1, but I never got the chance to show the car’s full potential. I was setting a good lap time, on the same pace as Sergio, and I would have easily made it into Q2, but the yellow flags for the Giovinazzi crash stopped me finishing the lap. It’s a shame, but it’s just the luck of the draw and today it wasn’t meant to be. I’m still going to put up a fight tomorrow: the weather forecast predicts rain, so anything can happen. Nobody has raced in the wet with these tyres, so it will be a case of learning as we go and making the most of the situation. Mixed conditions should give me a chance to make up some ground and get up into the points, so I will be hoping for rain!”
Daniil Kvyat: "We had a lot of things to focus on today and in the end we did a good job. I'm feeling confident and we managed to put some very good laps together – I'm satisfied with my qualifying session! After not the easiest of FP3's – not having run much yesterday, this morning we struggled a bit with the balance of the car – my team of engineers and myself managed to put everything together for qualifying, which ran smoothly. We're satisfied with our performance and getting into Q3 was a nice achievement! I missed out by a tiny bit to P7, but I will try to make up for it tomorrow. If the rain does finally come during the race, it will definitely offer more opportunities, but also more threats – as we know, anything can happen in the rain and we will need to do the best job possible, stay patient and take calculated risks at times. It will be a fun race, whatever the weather!"
Carlos Sainz Jr: "It's incredible how tight the midfield is! To see two or three drivers within a tenth means that nowadays qualifying is even more important and even the smallest detail can make the difference. I'm honestly really enjoying these fights and today's has been quite an eventful qualifying session – every lap counts and I was trying to find half a tenth here, half a tenth there… It's exciting! Unfortunately I didn't make it into Q3 this afternoon, but I missed out for so little – it was quite a decent lap so I'm not worried about it. Tomorrow is the big day and we start from P11, which is the best possible result if you don't get into Q3 as we can choose our tyre strategy… If it's a dry race! If it's wet, we know have a strong chassis and I always welcome the rain, so one way or another I think we have opportunities to fight for a good result tomorrow."