Quali Driver Comments 2019 Chinese F1 GP
Mercedes scored their 2nd front row lockout in China today. Valtteri Bottas will start from pole position for the first time this season.
So far we have had 2 different winners and 3 different pole sitters in the still fresh 2019 F1 season. Will their be also 3 different winners after tomorrow 16th Chinese F1 GP?
All drivers did their interviews right after qualifying and this is what they said after coming out of their car in China:
Valtteri Bottas (P1 - 1st time this season)
"It feels good to be on pole. I think it’s going to be a very close race tomorrow, so it’s a good thing to start from the front. It’s been a strong weekend for us so far and it was nice to continue that way in the first session that counted. Because in the end when you go into Qualifying it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a good weekend up to that point; the only thing that counts is if you can deliver a good lap.
I’m happy I was able to do that today. I think we were still a little bit behind on the straights compared to Ferrari, but we were stronger in the corners and ultimately gained more than we lost to them on the straights. It will be a tight race tomorrow and we will need a strong race pace and the right strategy to win. I’ll also need a good start in order to keep the lead as I’m sure both Lewis and the Ferraris will be pushing. We’ve been strong all weekend long so we need to continue to perform at this level to get the job done tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (P2 - 1st time this season)
"Fantastic job from the team, I’m really happy for us to lock out the front row. Valtteri did a great job, he was a bit quicker but I was happy to get a decent couple of laps. I didn’t know where we would be, but in the end we’ve shown a strong performance. I’ve struggled a lot this weekend up until Qualifying,
I was battling with the balance, so I’m really happy with the direction it went for Qualifying; it was a bit late, but better late than never. I’ll try and pull a good start out tomorrow; tyre management and strategy will also be important. This is not a bad track to overtake, so it should be an interesting race. I’m sure there will be a few opportunities tomorrow and I will try to put myself in the best position to be able to fight."
Sebastian Vettel (P3 - 3rd time this season)
“We could have done a bit better today but probably not enough to really beat our rivals for pole. It could have been worse, but I am not entirely happy. We started off well, but then our competitors had more pace over the single lap in terms of pure performance.
We should have a good car tomorrow though and hopefully we can show it throughout the whole 56 laps. It’s a long race and I expect it to be a very tight one too. Making the right strategy choices will be important; we must make the right call at the right time and see where that takes us. I am not sure everyone understands how many variables have to be taken into account.
The top drivers are all starting on Medium tyres and we will see if that turns out to be the right choice. I believe anything can happen.”
Charles Leclerc (P4 - 2nd time this season)
“I am annoyed with myself today. I made a mistake on the last lap and I really shouldn’t have done that. Overall, I think there are some positives, because in all three practice sessions I was struggling quite a lot with the setup, the confidence in the car and the driving. But then, before qualifying we introduced some changes, which meant I could drive better and set the lap times we were expecting.
It was good but it is also disappointing not to extract all the potential from the car today. We knew our rivals would be competitive as they have been since the first session. The race tomorrow is going to be a bit more complicated than expected, as I haven’t done any long runs yesterday nor this morning because of the red flag so, I will be a bit in the dark. It will be tough but I’ll push as much as possible and we can expect our opponents to be very strong.”
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen (P5 - 3rd time this season)
“On the final run in Q3 I followed the Ferrari in front of me as we were all in a queue. I was actually trying to be nice and not overtake, as that’s not what you do in qualifying when you’re all trying to prepare for the last run. This time it caught me out when I was overtaken at the end of the lap. I am of course not happy with that, or to be fifth, but we didn’t get the opportunity to do a final lap. I’m sure this will swing around and happen to other people at another time but it’s annoying as we were fighting for third.
Of course, when you can’t do the last lap in Q3 you know the guys who are doing the lap have a chance of overtaking you and that’s what happened. It is how it is, and it will make tomorrow more interesting. We have good race pace, I’m not sure if we have the pace for a victory, but for sure we will fight for a podium.”
Pierre Gasly (P6 - 1st time this season)
“Driving F1 cars is probably the best job in the world, so I cannot really complain about anything (laughs). I think today was pretty good, it was still difficult to drive the car and I’m still not 100 percent happy with my driving, but P6 was probably the best we could expect today. I have some areas to improve but I had a better feeling with the car than last weekend. We now know what we need to improve on and I know what I can do on my side.
I had a different strategy than the top five with the soft tyres today, so let’s see how that works tomorrow. For sure we know the degradation on the softs can be a bit tricky, but anything can happen at this track. We saw it last year with Daniel and again in qualifying today when it was hectic on the last run. Max was fast all weekend so now we both need to focus on the race. We will push flat out and I really hope we can get some good points. I think we’re in a good place to start the race and I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Renault F1 Team
Daniel Ricciardo (P7 - 1st time this season)
“I’m really happy for the team with today’s result. It’s really good to have both cars in Q3; that’s a solid result. This midfield battle is so tight and your weekend can change within one or two tenths of a second, so it’s pleasing to be at the head of that midfield battle.
My Q3 lap was actually a little bit messy in the final sector, so I was happy to hear we had finished seventh. Tomorrow, we’ll realistically like to hold onto the top seven and see if we can go after sixth.”
Nico Hulkenberg (P8 - 1st time this season)
“It’s a really good team result. The car has been feeling good and performing well all weekend and we had a smooth qualifying today. We managed to get into Q2 on just one run, which is pleasing. I was happy with all my laps, we knew it would be close and it shaped out to be that way.
The important thing is the team result and we can race strong from there. Our long run pace yesterday was competitive, the package feels good and we’ll be pushing for a double points finish.”
Kevin Magnussen (P9 - 1st time this season)
“It was good to be in Q3, but not good to get zero laps – we just missed it. Everyone went out of the pits at the same time, I got out just a little bit late, I missed six or seven cars. I couldn’t get around to cross the line before the checkered flag. I was just at the back of the queue, so I didn’t get a lap. I don’t think we’d have been much better if we’d had the lap, but it would still be good to try.
At least we have some good tires for tomorrow. I’m not as optimistic for Sunday but hopefully we’ll have a good result, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Romain Grosjean (P10 - 1st time this season)
“I wasn’t very pleased with my first attempt in Q2, I had a big snap in turn eight, I just couldn’t complete the lap. When you’ve got one chance, and the midfield is within two tenths of a second, it puts a lot of pressure on us. We did well, and I think we recovered very well from yesterday, so I was happy with that. Obviously, in Q3, we maybe hadn’t adjusted our clocks to Chinese time.
I think the car looked really good today, much better than yesterday, so I’m very happy with that. Renault looked really strong yesterday on their long runs, so let’s see if we can keep up with them. We’re in a pretty good position. Obviously, it wasn’t ideal to not set a time in Q3, but I think the pecking order we see there in Q3 is more representative of the pecking order for the year.”
Daniil Kvyat (P11 - 1st time this season)
“It was a tight Qualifying as always, a very narrow gap separated a couple of cars, so a tenth of a second would mean two or three positions on the grid. I think I did the best I could today and the car felt quite good but we still have some room for improvement, although in general it was a very strong session.
I think this was our best Qualifying of the year so far, Q3 was within two hundredths of a second, so it’s just a pity to miss out by such a small margin. Based on FP2 we have a strong car for the race and a good starting position, so we’ll try to do our best to finish inside the top 10.”
Alexander Albon (P20 no time - 1st time this season)
“I had a pretty big crash in FP3 but I’m OK, I’m just more disappointed I made a mistake. Obviously, being quick in FP3 doesn’t really help you that much as it’s Qualifying that counts, but there are still positives to take away. I had been playing around with that AstroTurf at the last corner for a while now because it’s a bit quicker using that extra bit of track. It’s always a little bit loose and normally you can recover it, but this time I was a bit greedy with the throttle. I would have preferred to have spun to the left side of the track, but the car went to the right and I hit the wall.
Looking on the bright side, we had a good FP2 and our race pace looks strong so I’m optimistic about tomorrow’s race. It’s not going to be easy, but I think we have the pace to make a few overtakes and hopefully get some more points.”
SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team
Sergio Pérez (P12 - 1st time this season)
“P12 is a good result - we were less than a tenth away from making Q3 so I feel quite happy with our performance considering our speed in practice. With a perfect lap we could have made the top ten, but the windy conditions made it tricky out there today. The midfield is so tight and if you don’t have a perfect lap, you can miss out. I would have preferred to be P11, but we are in a nice position.
There is a question mark as to whether the soft or medium tyre is the best, but we will evaluate the data with the engineers this evening and make our decision. We have free tyre choice for the start and, with a good strategy, I think we can make up some ground tomorrow and aim for points.”
Lance Stroll (P16 - 2nd time this season)
“A frustrating session. I don’t feel I got as much out of it as I should, so it could definitely have been better. I’m not quite getting to grips with the car 100% yet and I made some mistakes on my lap, which cost us a couple of tenths and, in the end, that’s all it takes. It’s very, very tight in the midfield and every tenth counts.
My race pace is generally pretty good and I believe we can be stronger tomorrow, but when it comes to Saturdays we need to sort a few things out to really unlock that extra bit of performance. We started sixteenth in Australia and finished ninth, so there’s no reason why we can’t do the same thing here. It’s a long race, I generally make good starts, and you can score points from wherever you start on the grid, so that’s what I’m aiming to do tomorrow.”
Kimi Raikkonen (P13 - 1st time this season)
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Antonio Giovinazzi (P19 no time - 1st time this season)
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Carlos Sainz (P14 - started on P7)
“Quite disappointed today with P14, but already in FP3 we saw that it was going to be very difficult to get into Q3. We knew coming into Shanghai that it was going to be a tough circuit for us and it was going to expose more our limitations.
“However, I think we managed to put together a decent qualifying. Maybe I missed a tenth or tenth and a half on my last run, but overall I think I extracted pretty much all our potential from the car. We’ll analyse and work on our weaknesses and we’ll prepare ourselves for the race as best as possible.”
Lando Norris (P15 - 1st time this season)
“Today was obviously not as good as the past two weekends but, on the whole, I don’t think it was horrendous. There’s still some work to do with the car. Overall, there wasn’t a lot more to gain today: Carlos was quicker than me – but he wasn’t ahead of anyone else. I think he did a really good job of getting the most out of the car.
“This track just doesn’t suit our car, compared to the previous two. It’s just an area we have to work on.”
ROKiT Williams Racing
George Russel (P17 - 1st time this season)
"Starting P17 is definitely higher than we expected going into this weekend. It was a fairly decent session, we are getting closer to everybody else and as a team we are slightly more competitive.
We are understanding the car better and getting more out of the set-up which has enabled us to find some lap time. We will go out and give it everything tomorrow and see what we can do."
Robert Kubica (P18 - 1st time this season)
"It has been a surprising qualifying with the balance of the car. I struggled a lot in the first run where I had massive oversteer which I was not expecting, as we’ve struggled with understeer all weekend.
We have to try and understand this as it came as a surprise. Tomorrow will not be easy, managing the tyres will be important especially depending on the ambient and track temperatures but it will be the same for all of us."
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