Latest News / Headline

Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes

21 Jun 2014

Williams' Felipe Massa on becoming the first non-Mercedes driver to take pole in 2014; Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on what went wrong in qualifying; and rookies Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat on comfortably beating their respective McLaren and Toro Rosso team mates. The drivers and senior team personnel give their verdicts on Saturday in Austria...


Kevin Magnussen (6th, Q3 - 1:09.515)

"If everything had been perfect today, I think we could have been in the top five. I made a tiny mistake at the final corner on my final lap in Q3, but, even so, I'm happy enough with how things went today. And I think the whole team can feel satisfied, too: we're definitely making progress, so we just need to keep it up now. It's also nice to see a bit more of a mixed-up grid. It's quite surprising that the gap to Mercedes has been closed so quickly, and it's good to see a Williams on pole. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I don't know if our race pace will be as strong as our qualifying pace was today. But we'll do our best."

Jenson Button (12th, Q2 - 1:09.780)

"You never really know how much you lose from missing FP3, but it meant we were a little in the dark on set-up going into qualifying. Having said that, I think I could've made it into the top ten if my last run in Q2 had worked out: I was about seven seconds behind Romain's [Grosjean] Lotus, which locked up and ran wide at the first three corners. While he eventually pulled over and let me pass, it lost me a bit of time.

"You never know what overtaking will be like in the race. But, being outside the top ten, we can run new tyres at the start of the race, and we can play with the strategy. The DRS zones look interesting, too; not having one at the exit of Turn 1 looks like it'll make racing more fun - now, you'll have to make a move to overtake rather than just passing along the straights, which is what it should be about."

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director

"Jenson missed out on getting through to Q3 by such a narrow margin - just 0.156s - that it's pretty safe to say that he'd definitely have made it through had he not lost so much running owing to a brake system problem in FP3 this morning. Having said that, Kevin did an excellent job throughout today's qualifying hour, ending up in P6 – just 0.049s, or less than a twentieth of a second, behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in P5.

"Okay, we don't regard P6, or even P5, as good enough - McLaren exists to win and anything short of that will never truly satisfy us - but we're encouraged by our performance today because it indicates that we're on the right development path. Rome wasn't built in a day - Woking may take longer, but we're getting there."

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat (7th, Q3 - 1:09.619)

"This was my best qualifying result so far this season and I'm satisfied with the work the team has done all weekend. We managed to put all the things together like a puzzle and we made a significant step forward from yesterday to today. It was a shame that because of the yellow flags in Turn 2, we couldn't exploit the full potential of the car. But still, P7 is a good starting position. I really enjoy this circuit and I hope we can have a strong race in front of all the Red Bull family."

Jean-Eric Vergne (15th, Q2 - 1:10.073)

"We have struggled with the set up all day and I had to fight against a pretty consistent oversteer, which makes it difficult to put in the perfect lap and get into Q3. It's a real pity as the team has done a really good job and the car has certainly improved with all the new parts that we brought here for this race. This is a one time off when qualifying was bad but the race is still to come, the car is good and I'll do my best to make it up tomorrow what I have lost today."

James Key, Toro Rosso technical director

"We introduced a very big aero package here this weekend and the good news is that it's working pretty well and I think it's a good platform for going forward. As for today, we are obviously very happy to get Daniil into Q3 and for him to finish in seventh place, which is certainly a very good position to start the race. But it's been a bit of a mixed session. I think JEV hasn't really been a hundred percent happy with the car all day. He's had some balance problem which we've been working on hard. In Qualifying the situation looked a bit better but it's so tight here, it's such a short lap that only a few tenths make the difference and his last lap in Q2 was not quite enough for Q3. However, he was happy with the car on the long run pace on Friday so we are definitively hopeful for tomorrow. For Daniil, it was a fantastic qualifying session and he was competitive all day. Unfortunately he was a victim of a yellow flag with a Mercedes in Q3, so he had to back off a bit and he lost probably three or four tenths. I think he could have done even better but with a seventh position on the grid we can't complain at all. The team is happy for him, for doing such a good job. Tomorrow is what counts and we are looking forward to it."


Romain Grosjean (16th, Q2 - 1:10.642)

"It's no secret that we've struggled so far this weekend. I had a very good Q1 session but Q2 was much more difficult. It's been a tough weekend and our pace on low fuel hasn't been great as we saw today. Yesterday we showed good pace on high fuel so hopefully we can use that as best we can in the race tomorrow. Certainly overtaking will be tricky as our top speed has not been one of our strengths this year but we'll look for a good strategy or maybe a shortcut on the track to help us in the race."

Pastor Maldonado (14th, Q2 - 1:09.939)

"We will start in P13 recovering one more place on tomorrow's grid which is always good. I think that we made a big improvement from yesterday when we had issues with the power unit. Today we have been a bit better with a bit more power and an improved balance. It was a good last lap for the package that we currently have even though we are not where we want to be. We were hoping to be more competitive on this track however we are suffering on the straights and up the hills. I look forward to tomorrow. Our pace has improved today and we have shown that we have potential on long runs so hopefully we will have a good race on Sunday."

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director

"We expected to struggle today and unfortunately qualifying lived up to expectations. Finding grip was the primary issue and even though it's the softest tyre allocation in the range here, this year's compounds are still quite hard in absolute terms. This meant we found it very difficult to get the tyres into their optimum temperature operating window. The E22 is much more stable and happier in high fuel conditions so our relative race pace should be better. There aren't too many clever strategy permutations at our disposal but nevertheless we will look at all the options to give us the best opportunities in the race."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo (5th, Q3 - 1:09.466)

"It was tough out there. It's been tough all weekend to be honest and it's felt like we've had to squeeze everything out of the car to get into the top 5, which we just managed to do today. All weekend we've been on the back foot and I think respect to the other teams, they managed to get their cars dialled in well for this weekend and we've just got to keep pushing. Fifth was the best we could have done in that session today."

Sebastian Vettel (13th, Q2 - 1:09.801)

"There were no real problems today, other than that we weren't quick enough. Daniel was quicker in Turn 5 and has been quicker in Turn 2 all weekend. We'll see how it goes for the race; it should be hotter tomorrow and hopefully we can make a big step and take on some of the other cars."

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal

"I think P5 was the maximum we were going to get out of today with Daniel, who extracted everything he could from the car, in what was a difficult qualifying session for us. Sebastian struggled to generate the pace over a single lap and it was obviously disappointing not to make it through into Q3. More encouragingly, our race pace looks better and hopefully if temperatures increase, we'll be pushing to make a lot of headway tomorrow in front of Red Bull's home crowd."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (10th, Q3 - no time)

"It's quite an interesting grid so it looks like there are all the ingredients for an exciting race. I felt pretty good through all of qualifying and was building up my speed nicely for Q3. It's a shame my lap in Q3 was disallowed, but it's difficult when you're pushing so hard and I obviously ran a little bit wide. At the end of the day losing the lap only changed the result by a few positions so I'm still in good shape for the race. It's been a long time since Formula One was last here so there are a lot of unanswered questions going into the race. We don't know how the different strategies will unfold, or how the tyres will behave, but I think we've shown recently that we have a very strong race car. Points will be the goal tomorrow."

Sergio Perez (11th, Q2 - 1:09.754)

"We tried to do just one flying lap on my last Q2 run but unfortunately it was not possible to put together the perfect lap. This is a very tricky circuit and we struggled to get the tyres working at their best, but I don't think that will be so much of an issue tomorrow. It will be a very challenging race and starting five places back from where we qualified won't be easy, but we need to look ahead and see what can be done to improve our position tomorrow. The first lap will be important and strategy will be crucial to get a good result because overtaking looks to be difficult around here. We have a lot of tyres available for the race so we should try and use this to our advantage to move up into the points."

Robert Fernley, Force India deputy team principal

"It's been a very solid afternoon by the team, which sets us up nicely for tomorrow. The progress made overnight and this morning solved a lot of the balance problems we experienced yesterday and we were in good shape going into qualifying. Checo was close to making Q3, but Nico made the cut only for his quick lap to be disallowed. He will line up in P10, but with the long run pace we showed yesterday both cars have every chance of moving forward and coming away with some more important points."


Jules Bianchi (19th, Q1 - 1:11.412)

"I'm pretty happy with where we ended up today. There is still a few tenths between us and the Saubers, but then we did not get the perfect lap either, so there is more to come. On my first run we lost the radio connection, so I was driving a little blind. My lap was not so good, but it still showed some good promise versus Sutil ahead, and with Gutierrez behind at that point. My second run was better and I think it shows that there is still a bit of work to do to get on terms with them. If we can get the most from the car tomorrow, we can certainly have a good fight with them and I hope we can deliver a good result for the Team."

Max Chilton (21st, Q1 - 1:11.775)

"I went into qualifying having lost a bit of track time at the end of Free Practice 3, including my last set of prime tyres and also the Supersoft run, so we didn't get the best preparation. On my second run I got traffic from Ericsson, so I wasn't able to improve, and unfortunately this just allowed Kobayashi to squeeze ahead. I'm confident in the pace of the car though so, given the penalty I will take tomorrow, the first job tomorrow will be getting back on the right side of the Caterham and then targeting the cars in front."

John Booth, Marussia team principal

"Overall a slightly disappointing session, but for all the right reasons. We have finished the day still close to the Q2 point, but ultimately we just weren't quite quick enough. The session was not without its issues, with Jules having radio failure immediately before leaving the garage for his first run. With the complex management of the ERS systems and the traffic he did a good job flying solo without the benefit of engineering support. His second run was not perfect and I am sure there was something left on the table, but we were still short. Max has had a good weekend overall, but he lost out on track time at the end of FP3 and in his final run today he appeared to lose some time on the straights, which will need to investigate. We were happy with our long run performance on Friday afternoon and although the temperatures will be higher tomorrow, which will I am sure change the tyre behaviour slightly, I am sure we will manage this well and have a good race. Finally, congratulations to Williams for their result in qualifying today. It is always encouraging to see examples of the hard work that goes into improving performance being rewarded."


Adrian Sutil (17th, Q1 - 1:10.825)

"The qualifying procedure went well and the team sent me out on track at the right time, so that I was not hindered by other drivers. The set-up of the car was the best today in comparison to the rest of the weekend. On my fast lap, I was pushing to the limit and managed to get the maximum out of the car. Obviously, 17th position is not satisfying, but at the moment we cannot move up, which we have to accept in our current situation. For tomorrow's race, we hope to achieve more."

Esteban Gutierrez (18th, Q1 - 1:11.349)

"We knew from FP3 that it would be a tough qualifying. At the moment we are quite limited and the amount of time we are missing is definitely not satisfying. We need to keep on working because other teams are catching up. Regarding the track, turn eight is tough in terms of track limits. We did not have the penalty for exceeding the limits on Friday, but today and also for the race we will have it. When you push and get into the corner with a higher speed, it is a risk to go out of the track's limits. That is another characteristic we need to address. However, I am looking forward for the race as anything can happen."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal

"The weekend so far showed that this track is a difficult one for us. This is also being reflected in the result of qualifying. Under the circumstances, Adrian's final lap was fine in sectors one and two, but we are surprised that we lost so much time today in sector three. We will do everything possible in the race to keep up with the pace of the cars in front of us in order to be ready in case there are any opportunities."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara , Sauber head of track engineering

"Unexpectedly, the track temperatures were still on the cold side in the morning, which led us a little bit adrift with the balance of the car. The brakes were locking more than before, so we made some changes before qualifying. In Q1 things went okay technically, but the pace was simply not there. Our biggest problem was corner eight, where the cars were snappy in mid-corner, which made it difficult for the drivers to keep the cars on track. We have to analyse the data in order to understand why this happened."


Kamui Kobayashi (20th, Q1 - 1:11.673)

"Compared to quite a few of the previous races we tried something different with the setup here and that's given us some real improvements in the car, helping close the gap to our direct rivals and there's more to come from it at other tracks. As the setup change worked in Austria, a track that is at the lower end in terms of aero sensitivity, we believe it will work even better at tracks like Silverstone where there's much greater emphasis on aero performance, and that's a good boost for the team on track and back at the factory.

"With this change I think I had one of the best laps of the season in quali. There was maybe another tenth left but I was pretty much flat out for the whole lap and pleased we finished closer to our nearest competitors than maybe the times had suggested so far this weekend. It makes the race tomorrow very exciting for sure as there's a group of cars together who will be fighting right from turn one, so strategy and pitstops, both in planning and execution, something we've been really good at this year, are going to play an even more important part than normal."

Marcus Ericsson (22nd, Q1 - 1:12.673)

"From the first lap in FP3 I was happier in the car. Traction had improved, the balance was better and it was just easier to drive. I wanted to keep working on the braking as there was time to be found from there so we had a look at that on a couple of the runs and I think we found a small improvement for quali and the race.

"However, in Q1 we did two runs on the supersofts but I couldn't put a clean lap together and finished up with a time I'm obviously disappointed with. From the timesheets it looks like all the Renault teams are struggling a bit on outright power and that, combined with a lot of traffic to deal with on this short circuit, meant I just couldn't string three clean sectors together on any of my flying laps - that means my final time is not really representative, but what's done is done. Now I'm focused on the race and determined to make up for today. We've been ok on heavy fuel here and I think we're due a bit of luck, so hopefully that will come tomorrow. Whether it does or not I'll continue doing the best job I can."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"We had no particular issues today and extracted the maximum we could from the package. In FP3 we worked to fine-tune the energy management and the turbo, which is working harder at this altitude. Overall the PU worked well as expected but it's hard for the team to find the speed in the car. Kamui did a good job to get in front of Chilton and we'll see what tomorrow brings for both cars."


Nico Rosberg (3rd, Q3 - 1:08.944)

"That was not a great qualifying for us. I didn't get the second quick lap in Q3 when Lewis spun in front of me at Turn 2 and I had to slow down for the yellow flags. For sure, from our point of view it makes life harder that the Williams are starting in front of us and I must say well done to them - they have been quick all weekend and took their opportunity today. But I am still feeling confident for tomorrow. We have worked hard to find the best set-up for the race - my balance wasn't perfect in qualifying, with a bit too much understeer, but I hope it will settle down tomorrow. This track has a few good opportunities for overtaking and I think it's going to be a very interesting race."

Lewis Hamilton (9th, Q3 - no time)

"I just didn't finish a lap in Q3 today - sometimes you get it all together, sometimes you don't and today I didn't get the job done. The feeling in the car has been good all weekend and I think we had the pace. My first lap in Q3 was looking good before I went wide in the second-to-last corner, and I think that lap would probably have done it. Then on the second run, I hit the brakes into Turn 2 and just locked the rears; I still need to look at the data to see exactly what happened. It's a long race and I need to try and recover as much as I can from this loss. The shot for the win will be very hard so I guess it's mainly a case of damage limitation; I will be doing all I can to put myself in a strong position and to get good points for the team. Congratulations to Williams as well; I'm very happy for Felipe and his pole position."

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"First of all, congratulations to Williams on today's result with the front row lockout - they really deserve it. Today we simply didn't get the job done well enough. Things got off to a messy start with a tricky third practice session and it was clear that the option tyre would be hard to switch on for the timed lap. Lewis' first try in Q3 would probably have been good enough for pole without a mistake in the final sector, which meant his time was cancelled, then he had the spin on the second run. Nico wasn't happy with the car balance through the session, complaining of too much understeer, then he had to slow for the yellow flags on his last flying lap. But there's no point talking about what might have been; what we have is P3 and P9 on the grid. It will be a long, tough race tomorrow; we need to get every detail right if we want to recover and score a strong result."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)

"It was a reasonably good Q1 and Q2 for us, although it was clear that the Williams were looking good, particularly on the option tyre. In Q3, Lewis was ahead with his first lap but ran wide at Turn 8, so that lap was disqualified and left him under pressure for his final run. He had a lock-up at Turn 2 and it's still not clear exactly why that was, so we will be looking closely at the data. Nico didn't get a good run on his first lap, so was also pushing hard on his final lap, but was caught out by the yellow flags and ended up P3. All credit to Williams - it's their first front row since 2003. We have a lot of work to do to get to the front with both cars but we'll be working hard to do that."


Fernando Alonso (4th, Q3 - 1:09.285)

"I have mixed feelings after this qualifying, because on the one hand, this is the best result since early in the season, but it's also true that the session was very unusual and it's highly likely that the final order does not reflect the true hierarchy down the field. In Q2, I made a mistake at the final corner, which meant I had to try another run and in Q3, I went long in turn 3. But fourth place makes up for the disappointment of not having done a perfect lap and it should make us proud of what we have accomplished so far, because the updates we started bringing since Canada seem to indicate we are on the right road. With some faster cars behind us, we can expect a difficult race, in which defending will be as important as attacking. Now we must try and work out how to make the most of this advantage for as long as possible in terms of strategy and to have a solid race."

Kimi Raikkonen (8th, Q3 - 1:10.795)

"In these two days I have found it more difficult to put together a good lap and again today in

qualifying things did not go well. In Q3, I went out for just a single run on the Supersofts, but the mistakes made at the first corner affected my lap times. On my last run I locked the wheels, damaging the left front tyre, but at that point, I decided to keep on trying to improve. Even if eighth place is not a disaster, I am disappointed because we were quicker than that today, but I was never able to be consistent in the three sectors. Race pace is good and even if I am finding it a bit hard to get the tyres up to temperature, I will try my best tomorrow."

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director

"If you look at the results of qualifying since the start of the year, today's is definitely unusual, but

putting all other considerations aside, all my congratulations go to Felipe, because I think he really deserved pole position. Here in Spielberg, your overall power counts for a lot and so starting from the second row must be seen as a good result. It's very easy to make mistakes here, especially in the first corner and the last two and, as it's a very short track, traffic can also create problems. Fernando got the most out of the car and tomorrow with him we will work in two directions, attacking those in front while defending from those behind such as Hamilton. Unfortunately, Kimi didn't get a clean lap, because of a mistake at the first corner and now we will work on improving his package so he can have greater confidence in the car, because his qualities are out of question. The race pace we had on Friday is encouraging, equal to that of the Williams and Red Bull and so we can expect the race to be as tight as qualifying."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"To have two Williams on the front row tomorrow, for the first time since 2003, just goes to show what an exciting season we are having on track. We've seen one of the most fascinating qualifying sessions of the year, with different teams using the tyres in different ways. As a result, we are set for a very interesting battle tomorrow with eight different teams in the top 10. Two stops is expected to be the most likely strategy but just as was the case in Canada some teams might try a one-stopper, depending on factors such as safety cars. The warmer conditions of today should remain for the race, so the teams now have some relevant data behind them to calculate their optimal strategies."


Felipe Massa (1st, Q1 - 1:08.759)

"It's an incredible moment for me, but the whole team is feeling this too. The team has a great history and we continue to build on that. It's a special day. I had some traffic earlier in the session but when it counted I did the best I could. There is a lot to do tomorrow and we have a very strong Mercedes behind us. Today is a day I won't forget though and it's the first time my son has seen me get pole so emotions are high."

Valtteri Bottas (2nd, Q3 - 1:08.846)

"I am really happy for us as a team as it is such a good result. It couldn't have been a better Saturday for us. I would have liked to have been on pole, but Felipe had the better lap when it mattered. Tomorrow isn't going to be easy as the Mercedes are still the quickest car. I pushed a bit too hard on my final lap at Turn 6, but I was already down on my quickest. Tomorrow the strategy will be important and so we have to be clever with what we do. We are in a better position than the Ferraris and the Red Bull so it should be really good fun."

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance

"I am really pleased. The guys have done a very good job. This is just the start of the 71 laps though but we will start in the best position possible. We need to think hard about how we maximise this in terms of points at the end of the race. Tomorrow will be hotter but we know from our long runs where the issues will be that we will face, it will be a defensive race tomorrow as we try to keep everyone else behind us but for the team this is a much deserved result for all the hard work that has been put in both at the factory and race track."