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Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes

26 Jul 2014

Sebastian Vettel on his determination to carry the fight to Nico Rosberg on Sunday; Daniil Kvyat on his 'frustration' at spinning out of Q2 while on a quick lap; and Sauber on the tantalising prospect of scoring their first points of the season after a strong performance in qualifying.

The drivers and senior team personnel give their verdicts on Saturday in Hungary...

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo (4th, Q3 - 1:23.391)

"The car feels pretty good this weekend. In Q1 and Q2 we were looking good, but when the rain came in Q3 we couldn't get the temperature back in the tyres quick enough for one timed lap so I'm a bit disappointed not to be further up the grid. It would be good to be on the front row, but fourth isn't a disaster. It's hard to overtake around this circuit, so we need to aim to make as few stops tomorrow as possible."

Sebastian Vettel (2nd, Q3 - 1:23.201)

"After Q2 I thought if we got everything right then we might have been closer to the Mercedes at the end than we were. Nico's lap was very strong and it's difficult to match them. But let's see tomorrow, a lot of things can change if it rains and it may do tomorrow. We just have to focus on ourselves and, if we get a chance, try to make a pass, but the Mercedes is quite a bit quicker than us on the straights. The nature of the circuit here suits us more than it did in Germany, but we're still quite far off the pace of the Mercedes."

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal

"It's a great team performance to line up second and fourth, on the first and second row of the grid. Both drivers did a great job, Sebastian extracted everything he could from the car and really seems to be in great form this weekend. Daniel as well put in a very strong performance to line up fourth on the grid. Hopefully we can capitalise on those strong grid positions in tomorrow's race."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1

"The Hungaroring, with its high downforce and short straights, suits our cars well. Qualy was a bit up and down with the weather changes coming into play for Q3. We were obviously in a rush to go out as soon as possible to set a lap time in the driest conditions. Managing the car and tyres in such a situation is always difficult but the team did it well today. Both drivers likewise did their jobs with Seb getting into second place and Daniel just behind the top three. It is an encouraging result for the team and we need to push again tomorrow to confirm this position."


Jules Bianchi (16th, Q2 - 1:27.419)

"I'm really, really happy to be starting the race from 16thposition, after making it to Q2 once more, and in the dry, without any tricky conditions. We did not have the best start to the weekend but we have made up for that today. My first run was not so good, as I made a mistake, but on the second run we had a perfect qualifying. So we are in Q2 for the second time this year and that is great for me and the team. Tomorrow will not be an easy race but I hope it can be a good one."

Max Chilton (19th, Q1 - 1:27.819)

"Obviously I'm pretty disappointed with today's result. It's been a bit of a struggle so far this weekend, but we had managed to improve the car for qualifying, so it's a real shame that we weren't able to see what we could do with those improvements. The first run was good but on the second run I had an electrical problem which meant I had no power and so I wasn't able to do my quick lap. I think based on how the car was feeling on the first run, we could have had Kobayashi today and been much closer to Jules. It's always a tough race here and difficult to overtake, so tomorrow won't be easy, but we'll give it our best shot."

John Booth, Marussia team principal

"Again, it seems we have had a day of two halves. Jules was much happier with the car balance this morning and with his engineers made more progress through FP3 on improving the balance. We had a small hiccup with a suspension change at the end of the session, which meant he missed getting a time on the option tyre, but at least he was able to feel the balance of the car. In qualifying he made an error on his first lap but he came back brilliantly to post a time that was good for Q2. Of course, it is clear that we were helped by the guys running primes, but still this is all part of the strategy for Q1 and we nailed it correctly. With Max FP3 went more smoothly but he was not as happy with the car as he had been in FP2. Again, working diligently with his engineers, they improved the car for qualifying and on the first run he was much happier. For the second run I'm afraid we had an electronics issue, which meant the car was stuck in a mode that gave Max no power and we were unable to fix this via the steering wheel switches, so he missed the lap. Overall we can be happy we got it right with Jules and we are sorry for Max. We have to get on top of these issues, which could have caught either car out today."


Esteban Gutierrez (14th, Q2 - 1:25.260)

"Overall it was a positive day for us. I think the whole team did a very good job during the weekend. We explored the set-up quite a lot on Friday and we managed to put everything together for today. We need to keep going in this direction, as we found some tenths and we have come closer to the teams in front of us. Adrian did a very good lap at the end. On my last flying lap I got the yellow flags, so I had to interrupt my run and came into the pits immediately. Tomorrow could be interesting due to the weather conditions. It can be a tricky race."

Adrian Sutil (12th, Q2 - 1:25.136)

"It was an exciting qualifying. Twelfth is my best result so far this season. We were quite competitive today and so driving is much more fun. Although it was difficult to adapt my driving, as we had another set-up in the morning. It was not easy to put a perfect lap together. Finally, it was important to keep cool. My engineer and myself worked perfectly together. This result is very important considering our current situation. I am happy about the great team effort today."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal

"A positive result in qualifying, which is particularly important on this track, where overtaking is difficult. The whole team did a solid job which puts us in a good position for the race, and that might open up the opportunity for points tomorrow."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara , Sauber head of track engineering

"P12 and P 14 is a good achievement, although we know that we still have to improve. On this track particularly it's beneficial to have good grid positions, because it can open up some interesting scenarios in terms of strategy. On top of that, there is the unstable weather which can add to this. In general the day was fine. We felt this morning we could match some of our competitors. Everybody in the team did a good job, so we are ready for an interesting race tomorrow."

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat (11th, Q2 - 1:24.706)

"It could have been an easy Q3 for me today, but unfortunately I locked the rear and I spun. I'm frustrated with myself for this mistake, but I'm confident I will learn from this. I will put this behind me now and focus on tomorrow. It's not easy to overtake on this track, but we will do our best from P11, which is not such a bad position to start from."

Jean-Eric Vergne (8th, Q3 - 1:24.720)

"It was a good qualifying session. The team has done a great job overnight to give me a car today that I felt much better with than yesterday, so well done to everybody and thanks for the great effort. It's really encouraging for tomorrow, we just have to keep our head down and stay focussed. I will give it my hundred percent and aim to finish the race as high as possible and score some good points."

Phil Charles, Toro Rosso chief race engineer

"That was an exciting Qualifying session. Similar to last weekend, we've made a step forward from Friday to Saturday's Qualifying. We had the pace for both cars to get into Q3 in dry conditions, which is encouraging. Unfortunately Daniil made a mistake and had a little spin, which was a real shame because he has worked hard all weekend and would have deserved to be in Q3. JEV did a good job in Q3 again in tricky conditions and we are pleased with his lap. Starting from P8 he should be in a good position to have a strong race tomorrow. All in all, we are pleased with the work the drivers and also the engineers have done to improve the car."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"The conditions made the session incredibly intense. Fuel consumption changes as the track dries or gets wet, so it kept us on our toes! JEV did a great job while Daniil was unlucky to spin on his fastest lap, which would have been good enough to put another car into the top ten. Power unit wise we had no issues and look forward to convert this into a strong performance tomorrow."


Kamui Kobayashi (18th, Q1 - 1:27.139)

"FP3 started with similar conditions to yesterday. We'd made quite a few changes overnight but the car still felt a little snappy, particularly at the rear, but throughout the session we improved the balance, both with setup and as the grip levels evolved. There was still a bit too much switching between understeer and oversteer but when we went onto the options it was better so we went into quali feeling quite positive.

"In Q1 we went for two runs on the options and my quickest lap on the first put us into 16th and with the problems for the Mercedes and the Lotus it looked like we had a chance to fight for Q2. We waited until the last possible moment to go out again at the end of the session and my first lap was good, but on the second flying lap the tyres were gone and I couldn't get any more out of them. The car has improved quite a bit over the weekend but I still don't think I could have got any more out of it today."

Marcus Ericsson (20th, Q1 - 1:28.643)

"For me the car was better in FP3 than it was yesterday, altogether more stable, but the balance was still inconsistent, going from a bit of understeer to oversteer in different corners. We tried a couple of changes to try and sort that out and although we did make a small improvement it was still not where I wanted it at the end of FP3.

"Unfortunately it was the same in qualifying. I just couldn't find the laptime as the car's balance kept changing in nearly every corner and I couldn't push anywhere. It's pretty frustrating as we know there's a lot more time in there, but with the way it was handling there wasn't any more I could do. However, on the long runs yesterday it was much better on high fuel and, as we've seen today, quite a few teams are having issues here, so we need to make sure we keep up the same strong reliability tomorrow that we've had all weekend and be there if any opportunities come our way in the race."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"Everything was under control in FP3 with no immediate issues. We were able to analyse everything and adjust for qualifying. We had no problems on Kamui's car and a strong lap put him into a good position for tomorrow. Marcus had a small problem with the throttle but it did not seem to affect performance or driveability. We'll see what we can do tomorrow, particularly if the rain comes!"


Valtteri Bottas (3rd, Q3 - 1:23.354)

“We are maybe a little surprised. We knew Red Bull were going to be really quick here, also Ferrari, and Mercedes like always. The nature of the track, in theory, for us is not the best but we have worked well as a team and brought updates that have worked well. We're still missing some grip compared to some others cars but today was a good day for us. Third and sixth on the grid gives us a chance to get some good points tomorrow.”

Felipe Massa (6th, Q3 - 1:24.223)

“It was a very tough qualifying, especially with the weather. The biggest problem I had was traffic in Q3, I had to overtake maybe five cars on that lap so I couldn't put a time together. It was a shame, but we'll try to do the best we can tomorrow in the race.”

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance

“It was a difficult, changeable qualifying session with a lot of decisions out of the ordinary to be made, but the team reacted very well as you can see by us and Red Bull being the only teams to have two cars there at the end. Valtteri strung together a really good lap. Felipe missed out on his lap, which is unfortunate because he would have been further up the grid. In terms of where we are in the championship, I'm happy. We've got a really big race on tomorrow to keep Ferrari back and to see if we can close down the gap to Red Bull, which is definitely possible.”


Romain Grosjean (15th, Q2 - 1:25.337)

“We had a good third free practice session this morning and thought that we could reach Q3 this afternoon, but it wasn’t to be. The car didn’t feel as good in qualifying as it had done earlier in the day which we have to understand. If we can get the car feeling as it did in the morning, there will be more potential from tomorrow’s race. We have learnt a lot this weekend even if we haven’t been able to translate that into a good qualifying position. For tomorrow we’ll do the best we can, especially as there could be rain which might assist us to get into the points.”

Pastor Maldonado (22nd, Q1 – no time)

“Everything on the car was working well until the second from last corner. Obviously it’s very disappointing, especially as we thought that we could reach Q3 today. We were in a good position to attack and be in the top ten today so it’s frustrating. Tomorrow will be a tough challenge, but as always we will work hard to solve today’s issue and look to maximize the potential in the race. We have plenty of new tyres at our disposal and anything can happen here at the Hungaroring, we will keep pushing.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director

“Pastor’s car stopped running at the start of Q1 due to a problem with the power unit's energy store which made qualifying impossible for him and the reasons for this are under investigation. Romain pushed hard into Q2 and ended up 15th on the grid. Not a great day for us.

“The [tyre] allocation here certainly has one tyre which works well and one which is going to be less favoured, so minimising time on the medium compound is what all teams will be seeking to do, such is the performance differential. We have free choice of which compound to start with so we’ll explore every strategy opportunity overnight.

“There is potential for rain tomorrow, but unfortunately the forecasts are not predicting this until after the race. We can’t base our performance aspirations on the weather, but certainly the E22 has demonstrated superior relative pace in damp conditions. Regardless of the weather, we’ll do everything we can to get the best results possible.”


Nico Rosberg (1st, Q3 - 1:22.715)

“That was a very tough Qualifying session today - especially with the rain at the beginning of Q3. It's difficult to judge which braking point is best in changing conditions so I was a bit over the limit at times - especially into Turn 1. I was lucky there, but in the end I nailed the last lap so I'm quite happy to be starting from pole. On the other side, it's a real shame for Lewis and the team. I know how much it hurts to have technical failure where there is nothing you can do as a driver. We need to sort out the reliability issues but I know that tonight there will be great team effort to fix his car - just like in Hockenheim where the whole garage pitched in to help rebuild it. It takes away a bit of the excitement when there is no gloves-off battle because that's what we are here for. But tomorrow is a long race and I'm sure that Lewis can get another good result.

Lewis Hamilton (21st, Q1 - no time)

“I can't really believe it today, there was just nothing I could do. There was an issue with the car as I was coming out of the second to last corner and then the engine just cut out. I thought we could get it back to the garage but then I looked in my mirrors and saw the whole rear end was on fire and that was it. Now we need to see what damage has been done to the car tonight and see whether the gearbox or engine needs to be changed. It's getting to the point where it's beyond bad luck now - as a team, we need to do better. Tonight, I need to somehow find the way to turn this into a positive for tomorrow, then build on that going into the race. It will be a very difficult afternoon as it's one of the hardest circuits to overtake on. But these things are sent to try us and how I come out of it is going to be the most important thing.”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Let us start with the positive note of this afternoon and congratulate Nico for a very controlled pole position. In the final runs, it was all about finding the right balance between risk and reward. He used the first run to understand the track conditions, then on his second run set three purple sectors for a very strong pole position. It was a classy job. On the other side of the garage, I was devastated for Lewis. The team has been working so hard to deliver the best possible car for both drivers so it is upsetting to see him suffer another problem in qualifying. A Mercedes in flames is not what we want to show the world - but just as importantly, it's not the standard we set for ourselves in the team. I apologise to Lewis and to all his supporters for this problem which has given him another mountain to climb tomorrow. But we know that if anybody can do it, Lewis can. We will be burning the midnight oil to give him the best possible car and strategy for the race.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)

“I am absolutely gutted that we have let Lewis down again and given him such a tough job on another Sunday afternoon - so soon after his fantastic drive in Germany. We are still stripping the car to understand the cause of the fuel leak but the symptom was a loss of high pressure fuel to the direct injection system of the internal combustion engine. This fuel leak then caused a major conflagration which is likely to have written off most of the car. We will obviously be doing our very best to give Lewis the car and the strategy necessary to make the best possible recovery in the race tomorrow. On the other side of the garage, the rain in Q3 brought a stressful twist to the session in its closing minutes. Nico was under a lot of pressure from the changing conditions and some very competitive laps from Red Bull and Williams. But he delivered a fantastic lap time in the end to take another pole position, so well done to him. Overall, however, a huge apology to Lewis and his fans for our failure today.”


Kevin Magnussen (10th, Q3 – no time)

"I just hit the wall. The track was much wetter at the first corner than it was at the last corner. As I came out of the final turn, there was full grip, so I braked for Turn One at the normal braking point, but it was much wetter. Physically, I'm fine but I'm sad that I didn't get more out of it.

"I'm most disappointed for the team, I think we could've got another decent qualifying result. Now, we just need to get on with it – starting from the pit lane will make life more difficult, but I'm determined to have a strong race. I'm just very disappointed to have made that mistake."

Jenson Button (7th, Q3 - 1:24.294)

"Until qualifying, it felt like it had been raining on me all weekend! Then, this afternoon, the car felt a lot better than it had in all the other sessions. That was a major positive. I think it's the 'never give up' attitude of the guys in the garage: we'd been playing with the set-up all weekend – it's better now, but there's still more work needed.

"Into Q2, we had reasonable pace and I think we did well to take seventh, just a few hundredths behind sixth. Seventh is basically where we are. We don't know what the weather will do tomorrow. In the dry, our long-run pace looks okay, but all the guys ahead of me are very quick, so we'll see what we can do. I'm on the clean side of the grid, so I'll be hoping for a good start."

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director

"While it's encouraging that Jenson managed to take a useful seventh position on the grid, we're all very disappointed that Kevin ended his Q3 session in the tyre barriers. The track conditions at that particular corner took everyone by surprise, and Kevin was powerless to avoid locking the wheels and hitting the wall. Of course, the good news is that he's safe and well; the bad news is that his chassis and gearbox are quite significantly damaged, and both will need to be changed this evening.

"As a result, he'll unfortunately have to start the race from the pit lane. However, I know that Kevin will not deter Kevin from pushing all the way to the finish tomorrow. It had been a tricky weekend up until qualifying for Jenson, but everything finally started to come together in Q2 and Q3, which is when it ultimately matters most. It's a little bit frustrating not to be able to beat both Williams – which I think we had the potential to do today – but he's well positioned to collect a useful amount of world championship points tomorrow."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (9th, Q3 - 1:24.775)

"Considering our performance this morning in final practice, I think it's a good effort by the whole team to make it through to Q3 this afternoon. The wind was affecting us quite badly, but fortunately the direction changed before qualifying and that seemed to help us. Then it was just a case of keeping calm, being nice and tidy with the laps and pushing the car as much as we could. For the race I'm feeling optimistic because our long-run performance looked reasonable yesterday and I certainly feel we can be in the battle for points. In order to make things work in our favour and beat our competitors, we need to be flexible with the strategy tomorrow as it's usually difficult to overtake here."

Sergio Perez (13th, Q2 - 1:25.211)

"It was a difficult session with the main issue being the hydraulic leak that affected my car in Q2. It meant that I was only able to do one run before I had to park in the garage. Without this I think we had the potential to reach Q3, especially because we made a good step with the balance this morning. It's a shame not to maximise our potential here on this track because it's so difficult to overtake. It means we will have to try and make up the ground tomorrow with the strategy. I'm still feeling positive about the race because our speed on Friday during the long runs looked quite strong."

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director

"I'm pleased to see Sahara Force India through to Q3 with Nico ending the session in ninth place. Checo might have been up there too had it not been for the hydraulic problem on his car, which ended his challenge in the middle of Q2. It's frustrating but hopefully we can recover the ground he lost through intelligent strategy tomorrow. We should have the pace to take the fight to the cars ahead of us. It's expected to be hot and tyre management will be a priority once again. There's also the possibility for more rain showers tomorrow."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"The rain shower in Q3 showed how just a small burst of rain can really alter the situation, and with some doubt about the weather tomorrow, this is something that could affect the race as well. With the track progressively drying and become faster, the timing of the qualifying laps was crucial: especially as the clouds started to gather at the end of the session once more. We think most drivers will go for a two-stop strategy, although a three-stop could theoretically be quicker, depending on traffic. The performance gap between the two compounds means that the soft is going to be the main race tyre, with low degradation, so the strategy is going to centre around making the most of this compound's performance."


Fernando Alonso (5th, Q3 - 1:23.909)

"After a chaotic qualifying like today's, you always think you could have done better. But if

you then analyse everything that happened, finishing fifth is a good result, because we made the most of every opportunity that came our way. Getting to start on the clean side of the track is very important as it gives you a chance to make up places at the start and to race with the leaders. The rain expected for tomorrow definitely has an effect on strategy: so far, in the hot and dry conditions, there was talk of two or three stops, but tomorrow everything changes. Both Kimi and I need to score points for the team, because we want to get back the third place in the Constructors' championship that we lost last weekend. Even starting far back, a good strategy could help us reach that goal."

Kimi Raikkonen (17th, Q1 - 1:26.792)

"I am very disappointed with the outcome of qualifying, especially because this weekend I was going well and had a good feeling from the car. After the first run on the Medium tyres the team told me that my time should be good enough to get me through to the next part and so we decided to take a risk and not go out for a second run on the softer compound. Unfortunately, it didn't pay off and I couldn't get past Q1. It's going to be difficult, because there's not much chance of overtaking here at the Hungaroring. We definitely made a mistake, but now I only want to look ahead. Tomorrow, even if it will be tough, we will do our best to try and move up the order."

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director

"Mixed fortunes for our team in today's qualifying, with our drivers ending up no less than twelve places apart. In the first part, the fact that Maldonado and Hamilton were out led us to keep both cars in the garage, banking on the times set with the Medium tyres. With Fernando this worked, but unfortunately, with Kimi we were caught out by the evolution of the track. It's very disappointing not to have got through with him because he's been going better this weekend. Clearly tomorrow he will be on the attack: on this track, it's not easy to move up the order because of the traffic, but our race pace is good and we will do all we can to turn things around. In the second part of qualifying, the track continued to improve and Fernando got into Q3 easily enough. In the end, when the rain came, we decided to go out immediately, but then it was impossible to finish the lap. The hot track dried out very quickly but, concerned it might rain again, we decided to go out on track earlier than planned and Fernando ended up fifth. Rain is forecast for tomorrow which means it is even harder to make predictions, but whatever the weather we must try and get Kimi back up into the points and to get a good haul with Fernando."