Sergio Perez gave the Mexican fans plenty to celebrate about as he made it into Q3 while Max Verstappen outqualified team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Valtteri Bottas: “The track has improved a little over the weekend and Qualifying was very close, as we expected. It is a shame Red Bull are in front of us, but we have the advantage of straight-line speed which will help when overtaking. The aim tomorrow is to move forward.”
Felipe Massa: “We are sixth and seventh so we cannot be too happy with our performance. I did my quickest time on the first set of tyres in Q3. I tried all I could on the second set but I couldn’t improve my time. It sets the beginning of what could be a very difficult race where many things can happen, accidents, cars off the track, rain, so we need to wait and see as it can all change. I hope we can move forward tomorrow.”
Max Verstappen: “I’m very happy with P8! It wasn’t an easy qualifying for me today, especially after missing FP2 yesterday and struggling a bit this morning in FP3. But we managed to turn the car around very quickly; to make it into Q3 and manage to put a very good lap together, which wasn’t easy, is great! I’m very happy with today’s performance and it’s nice to be in front of both Force India’s. Tomorrow’s race will be exciting. It looks like it could rain, and that would be great news for us, as our car is very good in the wet. I like this track, and it’s very special to see so many fans in the grandstands, they are very passionate and you can really feel their support, especially when you come into the stadium section, it’s very cool! Hopefully we can put on a good show for them tomorrow!”
Carlos Sainz: “I’m quite happy with today, we made a big improvement to the car from yesterday to today and I felt much more comfortable with everything. We had good pace and it’s just a pity that we didn’t make it into Q3 – unfortunately we just didn’t put everything together and went out too early on the Option tyre; the track was evolving continuously. But to start from P11 tomorrow is not bad, we can choose what tyre to start the race on and we also have a good chance to score more points. I think tomorrow’s going to be a good day!”
Sergio Perez: “I felt very privileged to be driving at home today and to feel so much support from the fans. They have given me lots of energy and I’m extremely motivated to give them something to celebrate this weekend – that’s the best way to repay them. I think we did a good job today and we are in a competitive position for the race. We were aiming to be the last car on track during Q3 to try and make the most of the track evolution, but in the end it didn’t really make a huge difference. I think eighth was possible, especially when you look at the small gap to Max (Verstappen). For tomorrow expectations will be high, I know that, but it’s a very positive pressure and I just need to say focussed, work through my usual routine and treat tomorrow as a normal race. The car is working well, we’ve done our homework, and I want to move forward in the race.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “I think we pretty much got everything we could out of this session. I haven’t felt 100% confident with the car, but in those conditions the final lap I did was really good. Our one-lap pace is strong enough to make it into Q3, but I’m feeling better about our long run pace and confident for tomorrow. The weather could play a part: there is a threat of rain, which could mix up the field and make the race really interesting. It’s a new track so we don’t have as much information compared to other places, which leaves a few question marks going in the race, but hopefully there will be a happy ending for us. It would be a good reward for the fans, as you can feel all the love and attention that we are getting from this amazing crowd. I may not be the home hero here, but I am still getting a lot of support which is an extra boost.”