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Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 17 Mar 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8 Launch, Jerez, Spain, Monday, 4 February 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director with FanVision.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012

After Q2 and Q3 in Australia were postponed thanks to heavy rain at Melbourne on Saturday, the top 16 drivers finally had a chance to stake their claim on the grid on Sunday morning, ahead of this afternoon's race. The drivers, and teams, review Sunday’s qualifying action…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel (1st, Q3 - 1m 27.407s)

"Obviously I was very happy with the result, but with the adjusted schedule we can't be too euphoric right now - in a few hours the race is coming up, so it's head down again to get on with that. Obviously it's a very good result for myself and the team and with Mark in second we have a front row - it's a surprise after not knowing where we were in winter testing."

Mark Webber (2nd, Q3 - 1m 27.827s)
"I think with such intense conditions like yesterday and today, it's always easy to make a meal of it, but we didn't. It was slippery yesterday and we came back again today for a very short explosive session; it's all over in a flash. We needed to get things right, I would have liked two laps but we finished up the grid at the right end. The weather can change very quickly here, so it's always hard to make a call."

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
"A fantastic way to start the season with a front row lockout. Both drivers delivered fantastic laps on their one and only lap on slick tyres. It's the best possible starting place with Sebastian on pole and Mark alongside him for the first race of the season. We've only got a few hours until the start of the race, so it's going to be a very busy afternoon for the mechanics."

Thierry Salvi, Renault support for Red Bull
"It was quite a tough qualifying session for the first race of the year with the time change. Regarding engine usage we are of course okay with it being the first event. There were no particular issues, Seb and Mark were happy with the engine behaviour and we don't have any issues with temperatures. You can see with the weather that we have to work a lot on the drivability to make sure the drivers are happy."

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton (3rd, Q3 - 1m 28.087s)

“The conditions were very tricky out there today and the team did a great job to get us out at the right times. I haven't had the best of weekends so far so I'm happy to have finally put a good lap together today. I've done a lap more than Sebastian on my tyres so I might struggle to go as long on the first stint but I'll give it everything I can in the race this afternoon. The team have worked incredibly hard, both here and at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth, and they deserve a good result. We've got a good baseline to work from with this car but only time will tell where we can go from here.”

Nico Rosberg (6th, Q3 - 1m 28.523s)
“That's a good team result this morning if you compare to where we were at the end of last year, so we have made some good progress over the winter, which is down to the fantastic work of the team back at the factories. However, we can also see that there is still a gap to the quickest team. I was very quick in the wet but later it didn't work out as well on the slicks. The race will be a different story and I expect to have good race pace which will help me gain positions this afternoon.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“The first objective in a qualifying session like that is to be on the right tyre at the right time and the team ran the session as we would hope to. Lewis and Nico both did an excellent job and didn't miss any of the opportunities that came their way. The car seems to be handling well and we will have to see how that develops in the race. Overall, a reasonable start with a busy few hours ahead of us to prepare for the race.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“Drying conditions provide more opportunities to do things wrong than right, so we have to compliment the team on the pit wall and in the garage that our session ran so smoothly this morning. To be starting the opening race from third and sixth positions is a first indication that the team has made a step from last year. But the race will provide us with a fuller picture of where we stand right now.”

Ferrari
Felipe Massa (4th, Q3 - 1m 28.490s)

“Given the difficult conditions we encountered yesterday in the first part of qualifying and then again this morning, I’m reasonably pleased with this fourth place. In such changeable conditions, the slightest inconvenient could see you not make it through the various stages of qualifying. Now we can expect a long and difficult race where the strategy will play – like always - a key factor. Anyway, starting from a good position is a positive and encouraging sign for the start of this championship”.

Fernando Alonso (5th, Q3 - 1m 28.493s)
“I am very pleased with this result, because if our aim for the year is to reduce the gap to our competitors and start from better positions than we have done in the past two seasons, we can claim to have managed it. After winter testing, it was difficult to draw any conclusions and that was also the case today, with a delayed qualifying and very changeable weather conditions. Once again, Red Bull demonstrated its superiority, but while it’s true that we fought with them right down to the last race, for the past two seasons, I am sure that once again this year we will be there to mix it with them, if we do everything perfectly without making mistakes. I think that starting from fifth, a podium finish is a realistic option.”

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen (7th, Q3 - 1m 28.738s)

"It was an OK qualifying session. We had just one lap on the dry tyres and I got a bit sideways at the end on a damp patch which meant I lost some time so that was a bit disappointing. The car seems to be working well. It had the speed, but when you have only one lap on dry tyres on a damp circuit setting a fast lap is not the easiest thing to do. The weather seems to be changing very quickly, but we've seen that before in Melbourne. It's the same for everybody and it will be in the race too."

Romain Grosjean (8th, Q3 - 1m 29.013s)
"That has to be one of the trickiest qualifying sessions I've ever had; the delay overnight then really mixed weather today made it a big challenge. Unfortunately we only got one flying lap on the dry tyres in Q3, which was a shame as it's hard to know the limit in these kind of drying conditions. I had a small lock-up into Turn 3 which lost me quite a bit of time so it could have been a bit better, but the main thing is we have both cars starting in the points positions. The race is long and it looks like being dry, so let's see what we can do from here."

Force India
Paul di Resta (9th, Q3 -1m 29.305s)

“We came here with intentions of reaching Q3 so it’s a good way to start the year. I think we got most things right today, especially the timing of the switch to a fresh set of intermediates towards the end of Q2. Ninth position is a good place to be starting and it’s on the cleaner side of the track too. It’s difficult to predict much for the race, just as it’s hard to predict the weather, but we’re in a strong place to start the race. Our long runs on Friday looked competitive and consistent so we will go into the race with maximum attack and aiming for points.”

Adrian Sutil (12th, Q2 - 1m 38.134s)
“The track conditions were much better this morning, but it was still tricky and I didn’t feel that comfortable on the damp track. The key to Q2 was the timing of your lap and we probably changed a bit too early to the new intermediates because there was only one quick lap in those tyres. I had time for another lap, but my tyres were going off and I could not improve. Even so, I’m quite happy with the session and it’s not bad to end up twelfth in my first qualifying session back with the team. I can feel there is more to come and I felt good in the dry conditions on Friday, so I hope we carry that into the race.”

Robert Fernley, Force India deputy team principal
“We’re feeling pretty positive with our qualifying showing this morning and our performance level is about where we expected. The conditions remained tricky with a damp and drying track, but we managed to get Paul through to Q3 and that was a clear objective. Adrian didn’t feel totally comfortable in the wet, but given that this was his first qualifying session for over a year, twelfth place is a good effort. The weather forecast for the rest of the day looks uncertain, but our strong showing on Friday gives us every reason to be optimistic this afternoon. Points should be in reach for both cars and will remain our objective.”

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne (13th, Q2 - 1m 38.778s)

“Qualifying was going quite well on my first run. However, when I came into the pits after the long first run on Intermediates, I was expecting to fit the same type of tyres again. But the team opted to put me on slicks: I believed they had a better picture of the situation than I did, but it turned out to be the wrong choice and cost me a chance to get into Q3, which is a shame. All the same, thirteenth isn’t bad and I’ll be aiming for points this afternoon.”

Daniel Ricciardo (14th, Q2 - 1m 39.042s)
“The beginning of the session, when the track was at its dampest, went quite well, but within a couple of laps I was already experiencing problems with the rear of the car and I sensed it would get more difficult as the track dried. I feel we didn’t have the set-up quite right and we need to look into that now. It’s always tricky in mixed conditions. We were aiming for Q3, but from fourteenth on the grid, there’s still a chance of having a good race in a few hours from now.”

Williams
Valtteri Bottas (16th, Q2 - 1m 40.290s)

“It wasn’t the easiest qualifying session to start my Formula One career. It was good to get through Q1 yesterday but the conditions were tricky again today as it was getting drier all the time. We tried the supersoft tyre, but unfortunately it didn’t allow us to improve our lap time. We will now focus on getting ready for the race later and will aim to do our best to get into a points-scoring position.”

Pastor Maldonado (17th, Q1 - 1m 47.614s)
“It was a difficult qualifying session for us yesterday as the car had very little grip and the conditions were not favourable. We have been working hard to prepare the car for the race and there is still more work to do this season. Our long run pace should mean that we can make up some places from our grid position though so this is now our focus.”

Mike Coughlan, Williams technical director
“It was a difficult qualifying to start the season for us and we are not where we want to be. Yesterday we struggled in the rain with Pastor qualifying 17th but we are working hard to figure out where our problems are. When the session resumed with Valtteri today, we gambled on a move to the supersoft tyres for his final run in Q2, but the track just didn’t dry fast enough for us. We have good race pace though so we are now focusing on that and we’ll be fighting hard to deliver some points.”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“The pressure was on everybody with Q2 and Q3 postponed until this morning, but safety always comes first. With the risk of drivers aquaplaning on standing water, or losing control over the many slippery painted white lines that are a particular feature of this street circuit, it was the right decision. Judging the crossover point proved to be the key to qualifying today. The rapid warm-up and peak performance of our supersoft tyres enabled the leading drivers to push with confidence during Q3 even when the track was not totally dry. With not so much information to go on from qualifying, it will be interesting to see how the different race strategies pan out. Due to the low temperatures we experienced some graining on the supersoft, but it was still the most effective tyre for the conditions in qualifying.”

More to follow.

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