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In quotes - Saturday in Montreal

06 Jun 2015

Pole for Hamilton, heartbreak for Button, and penalties for Verstappen and Vettel. The teams and drivers report back after an eventful qualifying day for the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2015…


Roberto Merhi, 18th

“I’m very happy with my qualifying today. It’s a good step forward for me. I’m really enjoying this circuit and we have made some good progress with the set-up of the car this past few races and I feel very comfortable to push a little more. I had a good first run then in the second I knew there was a little more to come. I made up 0.2s in the final corner alone. I’m really pleased and now I can’t wait for the race tomorrow.”

Will Stevens, 19th

“It wasn’t a bad qualifying for me. Perhaps I’m a little less comfortable with the balance of the car this weekend, compared with previous races. I’ve tried to focus on race pace a little more however, so I think we have the car in a good place for tomorrow. We’ll gain a place on the grid after the penalties have been applied, but then we’re also in interesting company with Jenson and Max starting behind us. This is a race where we often see the safety car, so we’ll do our best to make sure we’re in the mix for any opportunities that might arise.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“Both drivers have done a really good job today and we enjoyed a good clean fight in qualifying, with a mere 0.024s separating them in the final order. With that in mind, I’m sure we can look forward to a very strong race from them tomorrow and hopefully another two-car finish to add to our growing tally. It will be a dry race, which always helps here, but this track still sees its fair share of thrills and spills, irrespective of the weather. That being the case, we’ll be on the lookout for any opportunity to move up the order.”


Kimi Raikkonen, 3rd

“The car has been feeling good all weekend. We had no problems, apart from the one Sebastian had in qualifying, and everything ran smoothly. We have been making sure that all the small details were correct, we have learned from the past difficult races how small things can make a big change and enable you to get the result you want .We still have some work ahead, obviously we are not happy to finish third in the grid but in the race we’ll try to do better. It’s hard to say what will happen tomorrow but at least we did a better qualifying than normal and we’ll be in a better position for the race. So far it has been ok but tomorrow is the big day. I expect that we can be stronger and challenge for a competitive race. The weather has been tricky these days, so it will be a bit of uncertain tomorrow. Tonight we are going to analyse a lot of data and will try to make the right decisions.”

Sebastian Vettel, 16th

“Right from the start we didn’t have the full power available, so when I went out for the first run we tried to fix the problem, but we couldn’t. Due to the lack of power we couldn’t make it further. For sure we have to investigate but I don’t think that there’s anything to do with the engine. I think it has more to do with the electronical side, but I am confident that we can fix the problem in time for tomorrow’s race. We have plenty of tyres and anything can happen. We have a strong car and a strong pace, so I should be able to score good points. The problem we had this morning in FP3 was completely unrelated.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 7th

“It was definitely a good day in the office, both for me and for the team with two cars inside the top ten. Seventh is my best qualifying result so far this year, which is really encouraging as we look ahead to the race. The car has been performing well since the start of practice and I think we have a great opportunity to score some good points tomorrow. The task ahead is still going to be challenging because there are some very quick cars around us and we will have a real fight on our hands tomorrow. It will be crucial to get the strategy calls right because the rain yesterday means we don’t have all the data to answer the questions on tyre life. But I think we’re in pretty good shape; I‘m feeling confident and looking forward to a competitive race.”

Sergio Perez, 10th

“It’s been a promising day and a great effort by the team to have two cars in Q3. At the same time I am not satisfied with my performance because I think I could have been higher than P10. In fact my fastest time in Q2 was much better than my Q3 time, so it’s a bit disappointing. I was just struggling to get temperature into my tyres during my out lap in Q3 and I didn’t have the grip when I needed it. However, I must look forward because I am still in P10 and that’s a good place to start. I’m feeling optimistic of moving forward and scoring some good points. We haven’t been able to do many long runs so there are still some unknowns about the race, but we’ve shown good pace all weekend and I believe we can do the same tomorrow.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“It’s been a great effort by the team to get both Nico and Sergio inside the top ten today. The car has been well balanced around here since the first session yesterday, so it was a matter of building on the data we got overnight to continue improving the set-up. Nico did a brilliant job in all three qualifying sessions, improving his times with each run and extracting all he could from the VJM08. Sergio's Q2 time would have placed him just behind Nico, so there's a bit of disappointment that he is starting behind the two Red Bulls, but P10 is a good result nonetheless. This is a track where overtaking is possible and we've been near the top of the speed traps, so we will need to capitalise on that to try and move forward and bring home a good haul of points. Races are often very unpredictable here in Canada, so it should be a very interesting Sunday afternoon.”


Valtteri Bottas, 4th

“It was a good lap. I would have liked to be ahead of Ferrari but they are a still a bit quicker than us. Fourth is still a good place to the start and now we are maybe the closest to a podium we have been this season so the fight should be fun. This track suits us but it's still difficult to predict how the race pace is going to be tomorrow. If it's good then we can fight with the others around us for a podium.”

Felipe Massa, 17th

“I lost a lot of power during the session, so we need to analyse what happened with HPP. It's a good track for us and I'm sure we were going to be competitive but unfortunately I could not do anything. At least it's better to have the problem today than tomorrow. Starting the race 17th is difficult but the race is long and in Canada you can get opportunities, so we will try to get as many points as we can.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“It wasn't the cleanest session for us on either car. Felipe lost power in Q1 and there was nothing we could do about that. With Valtteri, we had a small hydraulic leak that compromised our Q2, so we were trying to learn about tyre management while running in Q3 and I'm pleased he got to where he did. Now we have to aim to get Valtteri on the podium. For Felipe, we've got to aim to get him in front of one or both Red Bulls.”


Lewis Hamilton, 1st

“It's an amazing feeling. This is where I got my first pole and my first win so it's very special. It wasn't the easiest start to the day. I didn't get much running this morning, partly down to me and also the flags, so we went into qualifying a little less prepared than we'd like. But the car felt great this afternoon and the team did an amazing job - especially after yesterday. Ferrari look like they've got good race pace and they're improving all the time, so we have to keep pushing. But hopefully we'll have the edge tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg, 2nd

“I had a good start to the qualifying sessions and found a nice rhythm between the walls. But then I had a really bad Q3 and I still don't know why. I didn't have the grip like I had before with the last two sets of tyres - it was suddenly gone. It's very strange and that was really disappointing for me. But tomorrow is a long and difficult race and there are opportunities to overtake, so I'm looking ahead in a very positive way.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“That was a really exciting qualifying session. The boys were incredibly closely matched through Q1 and Q2, with just thousandths of a second between them. When it came to Q3, Lewis did a great lap but Nico unfortunately struggled for grip on his last two sets of tyres. It's a sixth pole in seven race weekends for Lewis which is a great achievement - and another strong front row lockout for the team. Looking to tomorrow, we know it will be a tough race. Our competitors looked strong on their long runs yesterday and the battle between Lewis and Nico will be intense. We want to make sure we get both cars to the finish - and that we see a great fight between them.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“After quite a scrappy third practice, we came into qualifying a little uncertain regarding our performance. So, we were pleased to see both drivers able to perform well in Q1. That showed us we had a margin to the field - and that it would be a strong competition between Lewis and Nico. One of the interesting choices with the option tyres today was whether we should try and set times on the first or second lap. We chose to do one slower lap, bedding in the tyres before a second quick lap, whereas our competitors generally took the first timed lap - and the results would suggest that this approach worked well for us today. The drivers were very closely matched in the first parts of the session, but Nico then lost rear grip on his final two sets of tyres and wasn't able to match Lewis at the end. Lewis, on the other hand, delivered two great laps good enough for P1 and congratulations to him for his 44th career pole. It's an important result for the team and we're looking forward to an exciting race tomorrow.”


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“As usual, Canada supplied an unpredictable qualifying session, even with completely dry weather. The teams came into qualifying not having had as much running on the supersoft as they would have liked, which clearly affected their preparations. We have a smaller performance gap between the two compounds than we see at most races, around 0.8 seconds, and this actually opens up more possibilities for strategy, as there are a number of different ways of approaching the race without risking too much time loss. Wear and degradation is low so a one-stop strategy is possible, but a two-stop strategy is likely as well.”

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, 11th

“We were not expecting to get anywhere near Q3 today but in the end we were very close to getting through! We can be happy with today’s P11 after a difficult day yesterday. I will start on the clean side of the grid and will also have the option to choose what tyre to start on, so it’s all looking positive. It will be a tough race tomorrow, I’d say the most difficult race of the season so far as we will find it difficult to overtake, but to finish in the points is still our target and that’s what we’ll fight for.”

Max Verstappen, 12th

“I think we made a good step forward in qualifying compared to the practice sessions, so I’m quite happy about where we ended up today. Unfortunately I will have to start from the back tomorrow due to the grid penalties, but I will do my best in the race. It definitely won’t be easy, but let’s wait for tomorrow, anything can happen here and we’re not giving up!”

Ben Waterhouse, Deputy Technical Director

“Today’s was a good result for the team. Both drivers did a good job and got the most out of the car, particularly after a difficult Friday where we had a few issues to sort out and a bit of a mixed-up session due to the rain. Carlos starts from P11, which means he can choose what tyres to start on and there’s good potential for him. Regarding Max, of course he has the pending penalties, but we’ve managed to minimise what the magnitude of that loss will be thanks to his good qualifying, so I think we’ve got a good opportunity to try and fight for a few more points tomorrow.”


Marcus Ericsson, 13th

“It was a decent qualifying. Unfortunately I got a bit of traffic on my best lap, which cost a few tenths. After FP1 we made progress, and I felt comfortable in the car. We know we have a strong race pace, so our aim is to score points tomorrow, which I think is realistic.”

Felipe Nasr, 15th

“First of all, I want to thank the team for getting the car ready for qualifying. It did an amazing job, and I am really impressed with the work it has done. P15 in qualifying is still a position from which I will be able to fight for points tomorrow.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal

“A big compliment to the team as it was able to fix Felipe’s car in such a short time after a violent impact. Qualifying itself did not run satisfactorily. There are still things that we could improve - at least a little bit better. The starting positions are ultimately not bad for scoring points in the race - and we have to focus on that.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering

“With a bit more luck we could have made it into Q3 in this difficult qualifying. On the other hand, the team has done an excellent job as it managed to get Felipe’s car ready for qualifying after the incident in the third free practice. All in all our starting positions are not bad, so we can be optimistic for the race.”

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 8th

“It wasn’t an easy qualifying but we got the maximum out of the car we could today. We have to keep pushing as we want to be further up the grid; we have a lot of work to do to be as competitive on the straights as our rivals. We knew this track wasn’t going to be easy for us, nevertheless, it’s a competitive position we’re starting from and anything can happen in the race as we have seen in the past.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 9th

“The weekend so far has been tough, we have struggled for most of it. This is a power circuit and we are power limited. We have been trying a few options with the tyres but we couldn’t find a solution that worked which is quite frustrating. We couldn’t get a happy medium. We don’t seem to be propelling forward at the moment which is disappointing. We’ll do what we can, the team is working hard and we have to keep pushing.”

Christian Horner

“I think considering the layout of this circuit with the high dependency on straight line speed, both drivers maximised the potential of the car. Eighth and ninth is the best that we could hope for at this track. We have seen in previous years that this race can throw up some curveball results and we will be looking to make some good progress from the grid positions tomorrow.”


Romain Grosjean, 5th

"It's great for the team, we've been competitive since our first lap here this weekend; staying in the top seven all the time. The car's been feeling great today; P1 in Q1, P3 in Q2 and finally P5 to start tomorrow. I think everything has been working very well and it's good that both cars are up there. Tomorrow it's a tough race, for the brakes definitely, but generally too so we need to care of that but it's the same for everyone. A podium finish would be fantastic - we can hope - but a top five will be really great. We'll do our best as always and we'll see how we get on."

Pastor Maldonado, 6th

"That was not too bad! We were expecting this kind of result after yesterday's practice. The performance of the car here seems to be slightly better than at the other tracks. It may be due to a characteristic of our car for this kind of track with the slow corners and very long, fast straights. It's positive for the team to have both cars on the third row. It's a long race, we have good pace but the others are competitive too. Normally, we have better pace in the races than in qualifying which is encouraging. We'll do our race, push hard as always and hopefully get a good result."

Alan Permane, trackside operations director

"Overall we're very, very happy with where we are on the grid. The E23 is strong on traction and strong on braking which are two crucial areas for a fast lap here. We've steadily improved both over the weekend and this coupled to the Mercedes power unit gave our drivers great potential. Both Pastor and Romain perform well on this track and are strong on heavy braking events, so it's definitely a place that suits our package. We expected to go quite well here, but we look to be a little better than we even dared hope. We have the podium in our sights. This is, of course what we should be aiming for, and it won't be an easy task given our opposition, but that's what we're gunning for. We'll see what we can do."


Fernando Alonso, 14th

"I was happy with my lap and I think this is the best qualifying position we could have expected today. I expect to be starting 13th, owing to Max's [Verstappen] likely penalty, so, after a tough day for the team, with my engine change this morning, and me missing most of FP3, and then the disappointment of running only one car in qualifying, I think P13 is the best news of the day.

"Hopefully tomorrow we can have a much better day, with a smooth race and both cars finishing with no problems. Montreal always seems to provide good races with lots of action, a few Safety Cars, reliability issues for everybody, and so on, since it's a very demanding circuit on brakes, gearboxes and other components too. You have to stay focused until the very last lap, because anything can happen.

"Our top speed on the straights will be our main concern tomorrow, so we'll try to do something clever in terms of strategy and tyre management in order to compensate for that and try to get some points."

Jenson Button, DNQ

"This morning we did a lot of set-up work in the car, and it felt much better than yesterday, so I was looking forward to qualifying. It was disappointing to miss it, therefore, but it happens - and we'll make the best of it tomorrow.

"The guys have worked so hard this weekend; they did a great job of getting Fernando's car back together for qualifying and they'll do the same fantastic job as they always do with my car, but weekends like this one are tough for the whole team. It'll be a long race, but I'm already looking forward to it."

Eric Boullier, racing director, McLaren-Honda

"It would be wrong of me not to admit that today has been both frustrating and disappointing. First, this morning, we were forced to replace Fernando's engine when a routine inspection revealed problems with it that we feared would prevent its completing the weekend's running. Then, towards the end of FP3, Jenson's car suffered an ERS-related failure; that, too, required an engine change, the result of which was that he was unable to take part in qualifying at all.

"Since the beginning of the year, we've consistently made clear that we were fully aware of the enormity of the task Honda and we were facing, but, despite that, we remain undaunted by it. Our friends at Sakura [Japan] are working around the clock in a superhuman effort to rectify the issues we're encountering, and we have total faith in their ability to do just that. We're working flat-out at Woking, too.

"Together, since the Australian Grand Prix, at which race the famous McLaren-Honda partnership was renewed after a gap of 23 years, we've made massive progress together. We always knew that that progress wouldn't always be linear, and so it has proved here today. But we're on a journey, we understand how to get to our destination - together - and get there we undoubtedly will."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"We've had a very tough day during both FP3 and qualifying. A routine check after FP2 found an engine anomaly that we believed may have prevented Fernando from finishing the race tomorrow; we therefore decided to change the engine. That meant we lost precious time in FP3, during which we were unable to confirm the car's set-up before going into qualifying.

"Thanks to the team's great efforts, and Fernando's superb driving, we made it into Q2 and the session went well. It was a pity that we did not make it into Q3. As for Jenson's car, we encountered ERS problems towards the end of FP3, and after an investigation of the power unit discovered that the engine had unfortunately been damaged. We'll replace the engine for the race.

"Tomorrow will be a very challenging day for fuel, energy harvest and braking balance; therefore we'll gather as much data as we can from practice and qualifying to prepare."