What the teams said – Qualifying in Spain

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: 6th placed qualifier Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari and 9th placed


Norris has been quick all weekend and always looked in the mix for pole in Spain. He couldn’t pip Verstappen on the opening runs in Q3, but extracted everything from his car next time around to grab a Grand Prix pole position for just the second time in his career. With the team believing they have decent race pace, everything is now possible tomorrow. But Piastri couldn’t join his team mate at the pointy end of the grid after a disastrous Q3. His first lap time on used tyres was deleted for track limits, and then he made a mistake and ran into the gravel on his second run to fail to record a time. He will inherit a place thanks to Perez’s grid drop though.

READ MORE: Norris thrilled after ‘pretty much a perfect lap’ bags second career F1 pole

Lando Norris, 1st, 1:11.383

"I’m super, super happy. We’ve been close to the front all weekend, but needed to have a perfect lap, and I think we delivered that. We’ve been quick for the last two months, and we’ve probably missed a pole by not having that perfect lap. Today, for the final run, we made a few changes, found some places to make tiny improvements and it all worked out.

"We’re in a great position to convert pole into a victory but it’s going to be incredibly tough against Max, against Lewis and everyone behind them – but we’ve been strong since Miami, we’re here to win, and that’s definitely the target."

Oscar Piastri, 10th, No time set in Q3

"Not the best Qualifying, we just struggled with the balance of the car the whole way through. Obviously the car has pace so we’ll dig into what went wrong and work out how we can fight back tomorrow. Today was just one of those days, unfortunately."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

"A pole position at a circuit like Barcelona, which is very demanding for the drivers and for the cars, is obviously a great result for the entire team. We have achieved important milestones recently, but the pole position was still one of those achievements that had eluded us. It’s good that we could confirm the progress of the team, and of the car, with this pole position. A great drive by Lando, he drove qualifying faultlessly and, when it counted, put together one of the best laps of his career.

"Again, the field proved to be very, very tight, so anything can happen tomorrow. We’ll have to stay focused and try to maximise a good start from pole for Lando.

"On Oscar’s side, the Qualifying session was a little untidy. Oscar struggled a bit more to get into a rhythm and, in Q3, couldn’t effectively put together a lap without exceeding track limits – but we know the pace is there and tomorrow is a completely different situation. We will reset, look at what we need to improve, and we look ahead to finishing in a better position to where we start and scoring important points for the team."

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Pole position qualifier Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen, as he so often does, seemed to find another gear come qualifying, coasting through Q1 and Q2 using just the two sets of soft tyres. That left him very well placed in Q3, where he had his team mate for company – although Perez had to work harder to get there, using four sets of soft rubber. The Mexican couldn’t find the pace to challenge his team mate but did give the Dutchman a fortuitous tow on his final lap, which looked to be good enough for pole for Verstappen. But he was beaten by just 0.020s thanks to an inspired lap from the McLaren. As for Perez, he has a three-place grid drop to serve too, so starts outside the top 10.

READ MORE: ‘It’s definitely all to play tomorrow’ says Verstappen despite losing out to Norris in Barcelona pole scrap

Max Verstappen, 2nd, 1:11.403

“We made some good set up changes going into qualifying and the car was a lot better. I think we really maximised that and the car felt more connected and nice to drive. We were strong into the high speed and I felt really comfortable there and the high speed corners were really quick. We have had a clean weekend and have been fine tuning the car throughout the week. During the practice session I felt like we were not the quickest out there but qualifying felt really good. McLaren were quick the whole weekend and we have been a little bit behind them, so we need to look at what we can do to optimise the performance tomorrow and be more competitive. Looking to tomorrow, I think it will be very tight; it will be about how we approach the tyres, especially with the high degradation. It will be a close and exciting race tomorrow. We need to analyse a few things but qualifying has been good so we can aim to fight for the win.”

Sergio Perez, 8th, 1:12.061

“I am not happy with my position today, the target was to be higher up. It was a tricky qualifying, we struggled initially and we burned through the tyres quickly unfortunately, which meant we weren’t able to extract the maximum out of it. My final lap wasn’t as clean as it needed to be in Q3, I didn’t have enough of a rhythm or a pace. We needed more of a progression through the session and we didn’t have that, we will work hard to have that for the race. We have made some good changes so we should be on the right track for Sunday. It will be a difficult race from P11 with the grid penalty and it will be very important to be patient and get the right opportunities, especially if it’s wet because anything can happen. We have to be ready to be out there when it matters. Hopefully we are able to secure some good points and take them away from our rivals.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“That was very close. We matched the time in Montreal and today we missed out by two hundredths of a second but a great performance by Max and the Team. Equally good to see Checo stepping back into Q3. He will have some work to do with the three place penalty putting him in 11th but it’s all to play for tomorrow. We’ve done some good work overnight; we’ve improved the car which sees us on the front row in a very good position. It’s one of the longest runs to turn one of the year so starting in second place is not necessarily a disadvantage. There’s also some chance of rain, particularly in the morning so it could be another really exciting day tomorrow, but I don’t think this race will just be about the start, it’s going to be about the tyres, the degradation and how the left-hand tyres survive.”

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Second placed qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing poses for a photo in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Sutton - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


When Hamilton had to bolt on a second set of soft tyres in Q1, it looked like Mercedes might be struggling with respect to their rivals. But he managed to undo that damage by running a used set in Q2, and so still had two sets of shiny new tyres for Q3. Mercedes sent their drivers out late again as they did in Canada, but this time the wind didn’t wreck their last laps and both improved to snatch a place on the second row. Hamilton pipped his team mate by just 0.002s, at a track where he’s enjoyed plenty of success in the past.

READ MORE: Hamilton targets Norris and Verstappen on Barcelona race day after ‘huge steps’ put Mercedes back in the mix

Lewis Hamilton, 3rd, 1:11.701

"This is another encouraging result for us as a team. Everyone has been working so hard to bring updates and improvements to the car, making incremental gains and small steps over the season so far. We are starting to become more consistent too and that is huge for us. That is down to every member of the team putting in the extra hours and I want to say a big thank you to them. The car is getting more enjoyable to drive. Today, the gap was three tenths, but I think in reality it was less as we didn’t get everything out of the car on that last lap.

"I am going into tomorrow focused on trying to fight for the win. We are in a good starting spot with that long run down to turn one. Degradation will also play a key role tomorrow and I think our long runs in practice looked strong in that respect. I hope that translates into Sunday and we can have a good afternoon."

George Russell, 4th, 1:11.703

"The car has been feeling great this weekend. Our pace was strong throughout practice, and we felt confident going into Qualifying. A second-row lock-out is a decent result but the gap to Norris and Verstappen was slightly bigger than we expected. Both mine and Lewis set good laps, but I don’t think either of us felt that we maximised them. Getting the tyres perfectly in the window around a challenging track like this is so difficult. I think those ahead managed to do that and maybe we didn’t today.

"On a circuit like this, the ultimate race pace of a car will always win out. I think our race pace looked good throughout the weekend so far and I hope we can fight for the podium and potentially victory. The recent steps we’ve taken with the car are clearly helping and we’re looking forward to building on that momentum."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"P3 and P4 is a solid result. The car balance wasn’t quite as good as on Friday though. Added to that, both drivers felt that there was little more time left out there. The gap to pole position was slightly larger than we had envisaged throughout practice, therefore. That was a little frustrating, but it is positive that we were able to get ourselves ahead of the Ferraris.

"Our attention now turns to race day. Our long run pace looked solid throughout practice, but it was similar to others around us. Hopefully we can be in the mix though and take the fight to those ahead. It will be a race determined by that pace coupled with tyre degradation, so let’s see what we can do."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"The car balance has been trickier than yesterday. At times, it looked like we might have had an opportunity to challenge for the front row. In Q3 though, the pace of Norris and Verstappen was just out of reach for us.

"The positive is that we have both cars at the sharp end of the field. That will create some opportunities in terms of strategy. The key thing tomorrow is going to be race pace and tyre degradation. We looked decent on the long run yesterday and we've done a bit of work on the setup overnight, so our aim is that we have made another step in the right direction. It is also encouraging that the hard work of everyone in the team is steadily moving us closer to the front, and hopefully we can make further steps in the next few races."

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Pole position qualifier Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren and Third placed qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes talk in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Sutton - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Sainz topped the final practice session, with Leclerc seeming much happier than yesterday with his car at least – he wasn’t happy with Norris’ driving, and had to explain to the stewards why he appeared to hit the McLaren in FP3. Luckily they let him off with a reprimand.

Ferrari did look to have two cars in with a shout of pole, even more so when they too made it to Q3 for the use of just the two sets of tyres in qualifying. Once there Leclerc suddenly had the edge on his team mate – but both found themselves off the pace when it mattered, beaten down to the third row. It was slightly disappointing for the Scuderia, who are carrying a fair amount of upgrades here and might have expected slightly more.

Charles Leclerc, 5th, 1:11.731

"It's a bit disappointing, because we were further from pole than we expected. On the other hand, my team and I did a good job changing the set-up of the car completely from yesterday to today, which helped me to find the right feeling again. However, the pace just was not there.

"Our target will be a podium and if the weather is tricky, we will take any opportunity to go for something even better."

Carlos Sainz, 6th, 1:11.736

"Not an easy qualifying. I honestly think our laps were good, but we were clearly missing a little extra today to be further up the order. Tomorrow however, I think we could have an open race. We need a smooth start and with good strategies we can make up some places and hopefully fight for a podium, which would be the perfect reward for all the tifosi that came here to support us. We will do our best!"

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"Overall, it was a decent session even if, but for a few thousandths of a second it could have been better. But that’s part of the game and we have to accept it. Looking forward to the race we have to put everything together and I’m confident it will be possible to have a solid comeback from the third row. We decided to save one set of Soft tyres with both drivers for tomorrow and we’ll see if this will give us an advantage, especially on a track like this in which how you manage the tyres can make a big difference. We know it will be a very tight fight until the end of the season, with ups and downs and so our target must be to always score points. A plausible target for tomorrow? The podium."

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


With Aston Martin and RB struggling, there was a golden opportunity for Alpine to get two cars into Q3 for the first time this season and they did just that. Once there, Gasly even out-qualified Perez’s Red Bull for his best start of the season. Points beckon now, with Alpine trying to chase down Haas for seventh in the constructors’.

FACTS AND STATS: Gasly bags his best qualifying of the year as Ocon makes Q3 for first time since Austin

Esteban Ocon, 9th, 1:12.125

“This is a good result with both cars in Q3 for the first time this season. It is something we did not really see happening coming into the weekend and is slightly unexpected given we did not bring any upgrades to this event. The car was competitive and performed well straight out of the blocks on Friday and that carried over to today. We had a challenging Free Practice 3 in the hot conditions but I think the cloud cover helped during Qualifying. We need to analyse and understand why we are quick here, in these conditions at this particular track. Hopefully we can at least maintain position tomorrow and keep the other cars behind us and battle for points. It will be a long race and this track is particularly hard on tyres, so there will also be some degradation to contend with in the race.”

Pierre Gasly, 7th, 1:11.857

“It’s a positive team result today with both cars in Q3 for the first time this season. We knew yesterday during Practice that there were some good signs but we were slightly cautious as we did not fully know the performance of others. Now, in seventh place, we confirmed that we were competitive and we ended just one and a half tenths from the top three. We’ve had difficult moments this year, which we have and will continue to learn from, and it is equally as important for us to understand why we’ve had an increase in performance level like today. The car felt good, I felt like we maximised everything and there are always things we can improve. Tomorrow will be a challenging race and it looks like the conditions could be different again. We have put ourselves in a great position to secure another good team result.”

Bruno Famin, Team Principal

“This is our best result and most significant performance of the season so far where we had both cars reach Q3. That said, Saturday does not count for any points and it is now very important that we continue our hard work and preparation and be in a position to claim a good team result with both cars in the points in tomorrow’s race. We are competitive relative to our rivals – something we must better understand as to why – and see what more we can do to ensure this trend continues. Conditions could be different tomorrow and we will be ready for any scenario to ensure an important result for our Championship.”

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: 9th placed qualifier Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 talks to the media in the Paddock after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Not to be for Aston Martin, despite a marked improvement on their Friday performance. Stroll felt he was impeded by Sargeant in Q1 and had to use plenty of tyres to scrape into Q2, which left him on the back foot in that session. As for Alonso, he came agonisingly close to a Q3 slot on home soil, just 0.019s preventing him from making the top 10 shootout. Nonetheless, he will start in the top 10 thanks to Perez’s grid penalty. Stroll was also called to the stewards to explain a moment in FP3 where he appeared to deliberately hit Hamilton’s car, being handed a reprimand for “erratic” driving.

Fernando Alonso, 11th, 1:12.128

“It was very close in Qualifying today with just a few tenths between several cars. We were slightly pessimistic heading into the session, so I think we have to be quite pleased with tenth position for tomorrow's race following Sergio's [Perez] penalty. The support from the home fans has been amazing and I'm very thankful for this. While we would love to be fighting for something more, we'll see what we can do tomorrow starting inside the top ten and try to maximise our race to score some points.”

Lance Stroll, 14th, 1:12.372

“We knew this was going to be a tough Qualifying, so I think two cars in Q2 was the most that was possible today. The car is just lacking the pace to fight with the top teams on this track. We got caught in a little bit of traffic in Q1, but we chose to go early and had a fairly clear track for my final Q2 run. Our long run pace looks a little stronger than our qualifying pace, so we'll see what we can do in the race tomorrow.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“Getting both cars into Q2 is the best we had in the car today. As we have been saying all year, it is incredibly close – Fernando was only a tenth away from P6 but will start P10 with Sergio's penalty. We will work on our prime objective of trying to get both cars into points scoring positions tomorrow; it is potentially going to be a challenging race day. There is a possibility of mixed weather conditions which will add another factor to our plans. The home support has been incredible this weekend so we will do our best to reward our fans tomorrow with a strong performance from Lance and Fernando.”

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: 11th placed qualifier Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team walks in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

Kick Sauber’s one-lap pace hasn’t been electric this year, but they found a little something extra in Spain thanks to some new parts on the car. Both drivers made it to Q2, Zhou for the first time this season in a Grand Prix qualifying session. They couldn’t sneak into Q3 but with Bottas in 12th, are within sniffing distance of a first points finish of the year so far.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from qualifying as Norris seals stunning pole for Spanish Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas, 12th, 1:12.227

“It’s good to see both cars getting into Q2: the feeling on track was good today, and the weekend has been quite decent so far. We definitely have a better car this weekend compared to previous events, I have felt confident with it all weekend so far; the new parts we have brought have surely played their role as well, allowing us to make a small, but concrete step. I think this result was the maximum we could achieve today, that’s where we are with our pace at the moment – and it’s not that far from Q3 either, which is definitely encouraging. I reckon this is the best chance at points we’ve had this season so far, but the job is obviously only halfway done: we need to be at the top of our game tomorrow, to convert this position into an actual shot at the top ten.”

Zhou Guanyu, 15th, 1:12.738

“It feels really good to have made it back into Q2 today but, while this is a good result, it’s equally important for me that the feeling in the car and my confidence are back. We knew that getting out of Q2 might be tough since we already used a new set of tyres in Q1, forcing us to start on used softs before switching to a new set., but we can’t complain with the final outcome. We took a step back and made a bit of a reset this weekend: the last few races had been tough, so we opted for some significant changes, including swapping my chassis – and it feels like things are coming together much better now. I am also happy to see that we have made a step forward and have been much quicker as a team this weekend: we’ll continue working hard to turn these better grid positions into a good result tomorrow, even though we know that the top ten looks very strong at the moment.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

"Barcelona, as a more traditional track layout, gives us an important chance to evaluate our package and the balance of the car in a known setting. Today, we could see that we made progress as a team with the introduction of the latest package, and through the good execution by everyone at the track. We can be happy about today’s result, for which we have to pay tribute to all the effort made in Hinwil in the last few months to constantly bring updates to the track. We know this is the best way to close the gap with our rivals and bring both our cars into a position in which they’re consistently fighting for points. Everyone is doing their best to recover: today we were able to stay ahead of both RBs and the Williamses, plus one Haas car – our main competitors on track. Both Valtteri and Zhou had solid sessions and got together their best sectors when it mattered most.

"Valtteri was very close to Q3 but, in any case, his position gives us confidence that he can fight from the start for points on his own merit. We are really happy for Zhou: after three difficult races, he got back to the position where he should be. He gained more confidence and looked comfortable during qualifying – this is really positive for both him and the team. Now, we need to focus on tomorrow’s race: there’s a job that needs to be finished. We feel we can play our cards and we will do everything to put both our drivers in a position to fight for a place in the top ten.”

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Kick Sauber C44 Ferrari on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Sutton - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Haas said this track wouldn’t suit them, so it wasn’t a real surprise to see Magnussen drop out in Q1 – he was knocked out at the hands of his team mate. Hulkenberg couldn’t go any further than Q2, and with both starting in the middle of the pack, the first order of the day tomorrow will be keeping out of trouble. But they are kinder on their tyres than they were last year, so still stand a chance in the race – especially if the weather comes into play.

Nico Hulkenberg, 13th, 1:12.310

“I feel like I left nothing out there, produced some clean laps, and I think this was our ultimate pace, that’s the picture today. The car has been okay, but also tricky at times, but we still need to work on the high-speed balance, and general grip. I think on high fuel, all the weaknesses do get exposed a lot more, but everyone is in the same boat. I expect a close race tomorrow and probably some DRS trains.”

Kevin Magnussen, 16th, 1:12.937

“We knew qualifying was going to be close, you need to get everything out of it these days in this tight field. If you miss your best performance by even one tenth, you pay for it massively. It wasn’t a clean session again for us today, there was traffic. We’d have been through with a little bit more pace, and you need to have something in the bank when those things happen. We’re P16 but we seem to have a decent race car, so I think we can fight from there tomorrow if we pick a few off and get into a good race from there.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“It was a bit of a tough qualifying session. Kevin, who was out after Q1, was a bit unlucky with traffic, so he couldn’t really get the best out of the car. Unfortunately, he just missed out on getting into Q2, and that’s disappointing as we wanted to get both cars into Q2. Nico got almost everything out of it I think, his first run was good and initially his second run was good, but I think that’s about the limit of this car. I think the best result we could’ve got today was P12, so one position out – I don’t think we had a chance to make it into Q3. High fuel pace has been a bit more encouraging, so starting from P13 and P16 we’ll look at the strategy tomorrow and see where we are.”

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: 13th placed qualifier Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Haas F1 walks in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


RB struggled on Friday, and they couldn’t put that right come qualifying. Neither car has looked quick at any point this weekend, so it was no real surprise that both drivers exited at the first time of asking. Ricciardo had looked to have the slight edge on his team mate but when it matters, Tsunoda managed to get his nose in front.

Daniel Ricciardo, 18th, 1:13.075

“It’s a tricky weekend. We have a lot of new parts on the car, and we still need to understand the best way to make them work. After yesterday, when we were still finding a bit of balance, we made pretty big changes overnight and today in qualifying the car felt much more together. We made progress in terms of feeling and balance, but unfortunately, we’re still in a tough spot in terms of the stopwatch. Being out of Q1 with both cars, especially using three sets of soft each, shows that at the moment, we don’t have the pace. There’s still more to find and we’ll keep chipping away. Tomorrow is going to come around quick, but we have a few races ahead of us with similar track characteristics, so we obviously need to figure out together the things we’re missing.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 17th, 1:12.985

“We’ve been struggling with pace this weekend and tried multiple things to try and improve, and in the end, I felt better in qualifying than in Free Practice. At least I’m happy with my lap and feel like I was able to maximise the current package. The last races have been going well and even if it’s a shame, I think it's important that we’re facing this more difficult moment together as a team. It’s a good opportunity to learn from our struggles and grow as a team. The most important thing is to remain positive, and we certainly will.”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director

“It's fair to say that despite the hard work by everyone and changes made overnight, combined with initial feedback on the updates highlighting that on a macro level they have broadly met expectations, we have not been able to extract enough from the car so far here in Barcelona. With the midfield battle being so close, it's very easy to go to the back of the group if you are struggling, which is what we have unfortunately seen today. In terms of car balance, there has been some improvement. This alone has not been enough, so clearly, we have a lot of homework to do tonight, but also ahead of Austria, to extract more from the car and a large part of this work will be analysing in detail the aero data we have gathered here in Barcelona. On the flip side, both drivers have done a good job of supporting the engineering team with feedback on the numerous test items we have evaluated here and also extracting the maximum from the cars we have been able to provide them with, so we have plenty of data to work with to make the necessary steps forward.”

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)


Albon gave a good account of himself in FP3, winding up in the top 10 – seemingly on merit. So it was a surprise to see him exit at the first time of asking alongside his team mate. It could be a long race from the back of the field for Williams, which is a fall from grace after their strong pace in Canada. As for Sargeant, he was called to the stewards to explain a moment of impeding in Q1 on what was a chastening day for the American. He was later handed a three-place grid drop for the race.

Alex Albon, 19th, 1:13.153

"We knew that FP3 wouldn't be representative, although we finish Qualifying a bit disappointed. The long corners at this track haven't suited us for the past few years, but the car felt good today and we've made a huge step compared to last year. There was maybe a corner or two where I could’ve squeezed more out of the car, but it felt good overall, and I think highlights how strong the midfield is at this stage of the season. It's very close out there so we’ll see what opportunities come our way tomorrow."

Logan Sargeant, 20th, 1:13.509

"Unfortunately, the cars weren’t the same spec in the end. The floors that we’ve brought are underperforming which is a shame. We’ve been working hard all weekend by trying to change things to get the floors to work as they should. It was slightly better in Qualifying than it was in FP3. We need to understand the problem and get it fixed for the future. It’s not great for me or the team and none of us want to be in this position. We’ll keep fighting no matter the situation."

Sven Smeets, Sporting Director

"We knew it was going to be very tight in the midfield and that we had to be on top of our game from the start. Unfortunately, today’s performance was not good enough to get us into Q2.

"The positive of today is that the drivers like the balance of the FW46 more than last year’s car which confirms that we have made a good improvement from the FW45.

"Tomorrow there is a chance of rain before and towards the end of the race. It will be much cooler, which may create some opportunities."

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: 19th placed Alexander Albon of Thailand and Williams walks in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

"Another extremely close qualifying, with very small gaps and several teams and drivers looking capable at some point or other of being quickest. With today’s pole for Norris, it means that four teams – Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and now McLaren – have managed to start from the number one slot on the grid. On a track that is very demanding for the entire car-engine-tyre package, today we saw that performance increases from one year to the next are really significant. Today’s pole time is almost a second quicker than last year’s and over half a second better than the average of the simulations we received from the teams.

"As for tyre use in the race, one has to keep in mind the considerable drop in temperatures we saw today, particularly on the track surface, which was around ten degrees cooler than yesterday afternoon. While this drop did not have any significant effect over a flying lap, it could be an important factor tomorrow, even if in fact there is a real chance it might rain. In the dry, that means the Medium and Soft dry compounds offer the best performance. On paper, the quickest strategy does indeed involve the use of two sets of C3 and one of C2. We can rule out a one-stop strategy because it’s too slow, but the idea of a four stint, three-stop race is not so far-fetched, being only a handful of seconds slower than a two-stop. How the drivers manage tyre performance over each stint will also be very important, something which the teams worked on very carefully in the final free practice session."


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