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In quotes - Saturday in Brazil

14 Nov 2015

Ten teams, 20 drivers, and one official tyre supplier report back on qualifying for the Formula 1 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2015...

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 4th

"It was a good qualifying session. I felt more and more comfortable with the car as the grip of the track increased. It's always a good feeling when you have got the maximum out of the car. It was good to have one quicker car behind, which is always nice. With the penalty I'm starting seventh but we can do a lot of good things from there, it's a long race and we have good race pace."

Felipe Massa, 8th

"The struggles I had yesterday are still there. We have made changes but I am still losing time in sector two. Normally I don't have any issues on this track but for some reason it's not working for me. We will have to look and see where we can gain some time with the limited options available now. The fans will give me such a boost tomorrow so I hope it can be the deciding factor and things will be in my favour."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"Valtteri got all he could out of the car, but Felipe is still missing a little bit so we need to understand why. We now have to focus on the race. The championship position is a priority and we're in a good position against Red Bull. We need to push on and come out of this race with more points than them, and see what we can do about Ferrari. That's an important target for us in the next two races."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, 15th

“Firstly, my thoughts today are with everyone in affected by the events in Paris. I have lived in the city for many years and have so many friends there so I was particularly shocked and saddened by what has happened. Qualifying didn’t go the way I wanted. The car felt good in Q1 then it was quite tricky in Q2. We need to look closely at what went wrong as it was a lost opportunity for us.”

Pastor Maldonado, 16th

“It was a tough session. We expected to be more competitive this afternoon but unfortunately we weren’t. We had been trying a number of different set-ups with the car to improve the feeling especially the rear of the car. Hopefully we will have better pace to have a solid race and be more competitive tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

“We looked strong this morning; we didn’t this afternoon. Very disappointing. Both drivers were happy with their cars this morning and set times in the top ten. Pastor was not able to extract the required speed to get into Q2, then Romain had two messy laps when he was in that second session. P14 and P15 on the grid is far from where we expected to be. We have a lot of work to do, but a decent result is still possible. The E23 looked encouraging on long runs and in tomorrow’s race we expect quite a bit of tyre degradation. If we make the correct strategy calls and both drivers have clean and strong races we should work our way forwards a decent amount. It’s not all over yet.”

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, 5th

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy but you know, today it was not too bad. I went sideways in the last lap in turn 11 and this also affected the run into the last corner. So the end of my lap was not ideal and I lost time, but apart from that the car has been working well, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow, trying to make a good start and moving on from there. The balance of the car was ok, it has been behaving pretty well, although obviously not fast enough for beating the Mercedes. For sure we could have been a bit higher up the time chart, but I think it was not too bad. I’ll start from fourth anyway tomorrow and maybe the weather will be different from today. I heard about Paris this morning, it’s very sad. Unfortunately, in the world these odd things seem to happen.”

Sebastian Vettel, 3rd

“I would have loved to be a lot closer to Mercedes, but that was our maximum today. In Q2 it looked like we could reduce the gap a bit, particularly to Lewis. I saw that Nico’s lap wasn’t clean so I expected him to pick it up in Q3. But then both of them did improve, and that was a bit too much for us, we couldn’t follow. Let’s see tomorrow, usually in the race we are a bit closer. In order to get in front of the Mercedes we need a rocket start, it is not a very long way down to turn one, and a good start always helps. Then in the race trim we are usually a bit better than in qualifying, close enough to put some pressure on them, then I think we can play around with strategy. Interlagos is a crazy place, lot of things can happen, you never know what a GP can bring. It was supposed to rain when we arrived, but then we had sunshine all day, there was rain as well but at different times. Our target for tomorrow is to give everything and it is our aim to create a miracle. The chance is there and we believe in it.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“Although Interlagos takes a lot out of the tyres, which is why we’re expecting two or three stops tomorrow, the wear and degradation levels are where we would expect them to be at during this stage of the weekend. The biggest factor in the lap time has appeared to be the new layout with the kerbs, which the drivers have had to get used to since they experienced them for the first time yesterday. Track temperatures have been warm, but still nothing like the very hot conditions we found last year in qualifying. With quite a clear performance gap between the two compounds and dry weather, we’re set for a few different strategy options tomorrow, which the teams will be calculating carefully tonight.”

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, 14th

“It was a decent qualifying with a close battle in the midfield. But overall I feel a bit disappointed, because I was not fully satisfied with the balance of the car. Besides that, my laps were not ideal. Anyway, we have a decent starting position for tomorrow, not too far from points.”

Felipe Nasr, 11th

“The car felt quite good today. We made the right changes to the car for the warm weather conditions that were expected for qualifying. I was on a good lap on my last try, which nearly put me in Q3. I am satisfied for myself and also for the team. The penalty is a shame, but I will do my best to finish the race in the points.”

Marussia

Alexander Rossi, 18th

“After a challenging Friday, when we struggled to find a good baseline, I am very pleased to be the quicker car in qualifying. The boys did a great job analysing the set up overnight and I feel quite confident in the changes that were made and the car that we have going into tomorrow’s race. This is my last race for the team this year, so I will be looking to maximise our starting position and I will definitely enjoy every lap.”

Will Stevens, 19th

“One thing I have learnt this year is to worry less about the qualifying set-up and focus more for the race, which is what we are trying this weekend. I think this weekend will be one of the hardest of the year on the rear tyres so it was important to concentrate on balance for the race. I think it will be close between myself and Alex tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it!”

John Booth, Team Principal

“It has been a very clean Saturday with a flawless third session, which gave the engineers the opportunity to iron out the last balance issues and prepare the cars for qualifying. I’m very pleased with how qualifying went from an operational point of view, as the short track lends itself to traffic issues, but our plan was executed very well both in the garage and on the pit wall. Once again our two drivers put up a very good fight, with Alex beating Will by just over a tenth. We are now looking forward to tomorrow at this tricky circuit that always generates an exciting race, often helped by the unpredictable weather.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 10th

“Today’s was a good qualifying session. I think we can be very happy, as we were able to get into Q3, something that I didn’t think we would achieve today! This isn’t the best track for us and we were still able to perform well, qualify in front of Lotus - our main rivals - and stay close to the Red Bulls. I expect a difficult race tomorrow, especially regarding tyres. A lot will depend on the strategy, but we have a good car and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Carlos Sainz, 12th

“What a tricky day. Our qualifying session was unfortunately a bit of a troubled one – the dash on my steering wheel wasn’t working so I didn’t have any lap time data and we had a little clutch issue at the start of the last run in Q2, which did not help my run… it hasn’t been an easy Saturday but, on the positive side, I have to say that the car felt better than yesterday. We now have a race to do tomorrow and I’m happy with my starting grid position and we can choose the tyre strategy. I think we can have a strong race tomorrow.”

Jody Egginton, Head of Vehicle Performance

“With a number of questions to answer following Friday running some good work overnight from the engineers and mechanics resulted in both cars taking a good step forward in performance terms for FP3. Our short-run pace looked better compared to yesterday and overall both cars were more balanced and predictable so we were quite happy with that. However, we knew that to get both cars into Q3 would have been difficult given the small lap time deltas between the cars we are fighting with. Q1 went pretty much as expected with both drivers progressing but Q2 was less straight forward for Carlos with an electrical issue affecting his dash and clutch control and although this issue did not limit performance, it was a distraction for Carlos. Max was more fortunate and got through Q2 without problems and then went on to complete his single Q3 run but with some cars ahead finding a bit more performance during Q3 he ended up 10th. We now switch our focus to the race and with Carlos we have some interesting tyre strategy options to consider and with both drivers showing some reasonable long run pace on Friday, the expectation is that we can fight for points with both cars tomorrow.”

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 7th

“I’m happy with the job we did today, we managed a good clean lap in Q3. It was probably one of my best qualifying laps this year. I had my best race of the season in Mexico and now one of my best qualifying sessions in Brazil so I'm quite happy about how things are going at the moment. Conditions were tricky, as the track has been changing through the day, so it was quite important to adapt to the conditions, but the car was behaving itself quite well. We managed to get a good balance and I got pretty much the maximum out of it. Qualifying was tight and I think it’s going to be the same in the race, so we will try to stick to the aggressive approach and pass the people in front of us. We look to have a good race pace and in the long runs I was quite happy. My focus is to do a nice, clean and controlled race, try to challenge the cars around us, and bring some good points home.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 9th

“I think the car is working quite well. It seemed everyone ramped up in qualifying and we probably just missed the last tenth or two to really find that extra bit. Right now I don’t think that there was a whole lot more we could have done differently. We ran a normal programme through the weekend and did what we could. I’ll be starting from P19 and overtaking at this track is tricky but I think we can manage something with the tyre degradation here. I’d love it to rain, but I don’t think it’s going to. If it does then that’ll make it exciting.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Both drivers pushed to the maximum today. Unfortunately, we know this track doesn’t play to our strengths for qualifying. Despite that Dany produced a clean lap to qualify in what will be sixth once the penalties for Williams are applied. For Daniel, he has to take a 10-place grid penalty but we’ll be fighting hard from there to try and make progress in the race.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso, NC

“This is a tough period.

“After I didn’t take part in the Mexican Grand Prix, and then missed out entirely on qualifying here in Brazil, well, there’s a degree of frustration, obviously.

“But we understand our situation, and we need to learn from all our mistakes and put everything in place so as not to repeat them next year.

“I think all our weaknesses are being identified, however. The actions we’re taking are logical and sensible, so I’m still optimistic, even though here and even Abu Dhabi are going to be difficult for us.

“Last but far from least, I want to send my sincerest support and deepest sympathy to France and the French people, who experienced such a terrible tragedy in their capital city yesterday. It was a shocking event, but I firmly believe that sport has a role to play in such circumstances, showing that nations can and should be united. So I hope that, together, all of us in Formula 1 can put on a great race tomorrow, so as to demonstrate that.”

Jenson Button, 17th

“It’s been a tricky weekend, and I’ve struggled with the car.

“Having said that, it began to work much better in qualifying. It was much more enjoyable to drive than it was this morning, when we had less aero balance. Moreover, the car is definitely set up for the race; I still don’t know how competitive we’ll be, because deployment is going to be a big issue here, but we’ll give it a go and we’ll see what we end up with.

“I’m hoping for a wet race. If it rains it will open up more opportunities, and we’ll hopefully capitalise on it. I’m looking forward to it.

“Speaking more generally, it’s been a tough season. But, even so, we’ve had a lot of support, and it’s meant a lot to us – to me personally – and I want to reassure the fans that we’re all in it together and we’ll work through it together too.

“Finally, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the horrific tragedy in Paris. Hopefully, all of France knows that we stand by them. It’s horrific for the whole world, and it affects everyone. Everyone wants peace; it doesn’t matter what country you live in, it affects us all, and it has to stop. We’ve all got to pull together: that’s the only way we’ll get through this.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director

“On a day when Formula 1 doesn’t really seem to matter very much – because we’re all still shell-shocked by the atrocities that occurred in Paris yesterday evening – we at McLaren-Honda offered little about which to rejoice.

“Fernando’s car stopped in Q1 before he was able even to record a lap-time, and we’re still investigating the power unit anomaly that caused the issue and which we saw reflected in the data.

“Jenson had a less troubled run, and praised the car’s improved balance over yesterday, but there simply wasn’t performance in it available for him to achieve anything better than P17.

“It’s upsetting, but it isn’t dispiriting, and the reason it isn’t dispiriting is that our team’s esprit de corps is so impressive, so robust, so powerful.

“Our guys work prodigiously hard, and it’s a privilege to lead them into battle every fortnight; and, mark my words, we’ll win that battle in the end.

“In the meantime, let me once again offer our sympathy and condolences to my countrymen directly affected by the senseless violence on the streets of what most people refer to as the city of love.

“As I say, Formula 1 matters little, today, in comparison.”

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D Senior Managing Officer - Chief Officer of Motorsport

"Today has been an extremely sad day for so many people around the world. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to all of those affected by the horrendous events in Paris. We at Honda all stand united in our support.

"Out on track, both Fernando’s and Jenson's final power unit data settings and adjustments were confirmed for qualifying and the race during FP3.

"The issue with Fernando's power unit during his Q1 timed lap is still under investigation and the details are as yet unknown. We made a decision to stop the car due to an unexpected water temperature rise in the engine. It’s very disappointing as the power unit showed no prior signs of this anomaly this morning and was performing well.

"Jenson's feeling for the car improved in qualifying, but unfortunately he missed out on Q2 by a very slight margin.

“Rain has been forecast for tomorrow, so we’ll prepare the throttle character and driveability of the power unit to be adaptable for a sudden change in climate.”

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, 1st

"I didn't have a good start in to Qualifying. Q1 and Q2 didn't go to plan. But then I found a better rhythm in the final session, so I was happy to bring it all together in Q3. It feels great to be on pole again here. It's the best possible position to start the race, I have the quickest car and on Friday we were able to practise a lot for the race, so I'm quite confident for tomorrow. It will be a good battle with Lewis and also the Ferraris, so I can’t wait for that. But what happened yesterday in Paris makes everything else relative. What we do here is really not important compared to that and I’m thinking of them today."

Lewis Hamilton, 2nd

"I might still be working on my 50th pole position – but it’s been looking closer this weekend for sure. Considering how this week has gone, I’m pretty happy with that. Q1 and Q2 were really good and I was trying to better them in Q3 – but it was such a fine line that it was really difficult to pull something out. I did go quicker on the last lap but I was already down a tenth and a half out of turn three, so that was the difference. It’s frustrating when you know you could have done better – but ultimately it’s just that one shot you have to make it count. What it does mean, with the gap so small, is that we will have an exciting race tomorrow. To win in front of the Brazilian fans would be something unique and special for me. While we’ve been focused on qualifying today, I’ve also been praying for all those affected in Paris. My thoughts are with them."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"That was an immense lap from Lewis – and an unbelievably immense one from Nico. He was on fire today and he’s really fired up to get second in the Championship. He ran a very intelligent session, with some pace management in the early stages to keep his tyres fresh for tomorrow. But it was such a tight battle with Lewis, who was incredibly consistent all through qualifying and just missed out at the end – probably by about a car length. It’s a good satisfaction to take the front row again. However, we are little more than a sideshow today; our thoughts, sympathies and condolences are with all the people touched by the tragic events in Paris yesterday evening."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director Technical

"Congratulations to Nico on a great pole position after a fantastic battle between him and Lewis, with less than a tenth of a second between them at the end. This is our fourteenth front row lockout of the season, a milestone of which the team should be extremely proud. Our approach to qualifying was based on saving the prime tyres for the race, so we ran the option all the way through, making a single run in the first two parts of qualifying, then two runs in Q3. The session ran very smoothly, with the short lap here making it comfortable to complete two runs in the final segment of the qualifying. We’re hoping for a dry race tomorrow and looking forward to a great contest in this theatre of our sport. We hope to put on a good show for the passionate, enthusiastic Brazilian crowd."

Force India

Nico Hülkenberg, 6th

“I’m very happy with the qualifying result. I always enjoy driving here because I love the track, the country and the atmosphere that surrounds this event. The car felt great today and I was really happy with each of my laps in all the sessions. We made some important changes to the car last night and found a positive direction, which really paid off this morning because I was much happier with the feel of the car. With the penalty for Valtteri [Bottas], it means I will start from fifth place with just the Mercedes and Ferraris ahead of me, so that’s a fantastic effort by the team. At the very least we want to hold position in the race and bring home the result because there are some quick cars behind us who will try and make things difficult. I’m feeling confident for tomorrow and looking forward to a fun race.”

Sergio Perez, 13th

“I think we had a clear opportunity to go through to Q3, so I am quite disappointed about today's result. I made a mistake on my final lap in Q2, braking too late into turn one and locking up, and that cost me the chance to be in the top ten. It's a very short lap and, when you make a mistake, it’s difficult to recover from it. All weekend I haven't felt completely comfortable with the car: I have taken a different direction with the set-up compared to Nico and I haven't been able to find my rhythm around here. It's not an ideal situation, but I’m still looking to the rest of the weekend with optimism. I am starting eleventh, but the races in Brazil can often be very eventful and a lot can still happen. I think we can still finish in the points and come home with a good result.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“Overall we feel pretty satisfied with our performance today. Nico will line up in fifth place and Sergio is expected to start from eleventh, so we are ideally placed to score well and secure fifth place in the championship. Nico found the sweet spot this morning with some set-up changes overnight, but Sergio has not been so comfortable and a small error cost him a place in Q3. Nonetheless, the car has strong race pace and I’m confident both drivers can end the weekend on a high note. Of course, the racing this weekend has been overshadowed by the tragic events in Paris and the thoughts of everyone in the team are with those who have been affected.”