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In quotes - Saturday in Budapest

25 Jul 2015

Ten teams, 20 drivers, and one official tyre supplier report back on Saturday's qualifying action in Hungary...


Marcus Ericsson, 17th 

“It has been a difficult weekend for us. We have done a decent job over the practice sessions, working step by step and trying to improve the car considering the package we have at the moment. Of course, it is disappointing being out after Q1. Now we need to focus on a clean race tomorrow.”

Felipe Nasr, 18th 

“It was a difficult qualifying today. We were struggling a lot with the tyres due to overheating. On the other hand, the balance of the car feels good, but we just have not enough grip on the tyre side to fight against our direct competitiors. It is going to be a tough race, but we need to take any opportunity that might come up.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal

“That was a disappointing qualifying at the Hungaroring. This is a result that reflects the free practice sessions. From our grid positions it is important to make no mistakes in the race in order to be ready for any opportunity which could present itself during the race."


Valtteri Bottas, 6th

“As expected it was a really close qualifying and we were just a few tenths slower than we wanted to be. I got everything I could of from the car so I am pleased with my performance. Tomorrow is the points day, and we have a bit of work to do, but we will fight to the end."

Felipe Massa, 8th

“I am content, I would like to have been further up the grid, but I just didn’t deliver a clean lap. I will focus on making the most of the tyres tomorrow and hope we can have a better car in the race than qualifying. The lower temperature expected tomorrow could also play into our hands. I have a lot to do and let’s hope we both get starts similar to Silverstone."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“The drivers extracted all the performance possible from the car, it just wasn’t enough for the second row. It’s not a circuit that suits us as much as other tracks do, but the race is long tomorrow and will be tough for everyone. We will see how the temperature change affects the performance, the slightly cooler temperatures should help us. We are aiming to get as many points on offer and to move forward, always keeping the podium as our target."


Roberto Merhi, 19th

“I had a good qualifying today, so I’m really happy with the way this week is going for me. Tomorrow will be a tough race, but with the weather looking like it might be cooler, I think we can improve a little more. It would be good to give the team a nice result tomorrow on a difficult day, and leave us with a positive feeling as we head into the break.”

Will Stevens, 20th

“The weekend has been pretty tough; the hot temperatures have hurt our balance a little and I’ve been struggling to get confidence in the car. Qualifying was okay. My first run didn’t really go according to plan, as I made a mistake through the quick turn out the back, so there was a lot of pressure for the second. I lost quite a bit of time compared to how the first run had been going up until the time I had to abort, so it wasn’t perfect but Roberto and I are still pretty close and we’ll see how things go tomorrow. The temperature is expected to be quite a bit cooler for the race, which should help us.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“Both drivers have performed well today and it’s clear that both of them are pushing hard to ensure we can have a good race here tomorrow. There has been very little between them all weekend, which is great to see. It’s been a tough week so far, and tomorrow is likely to be harder still, but I know the team will continue to show magnificent fortitude to ensure we can achieve the best result possible.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 4th

“I am really happy with the session today and with my qualifying performance. We were very close to Seb which is positive. I found a really good rhythm, obviously we had a few problems yesterday but the weekend as a whole has gone well so far. Our long run pace was pretty handy yesterday so I am confident we can battle it out with the red cars in the race tomorrow. I’m feeling good about it. .”

Daniil Kvyat, 7th

“It was tough today, it wasn’t my best qualifying session as I didn’t find a good rhythm. It’s disappointing, we should be stronger at this track. We are starting the race tomorrow from an okay position, hopefully we can move up the grid, it won’t be easy but we’ll try our best.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“That was an interesting session for us, as it was extremely close between Daniel and Sebastian, with just a few hundredths between them at the end of Q3. Dany wasn’t so happy with his car, but he can do something tomorrow from the fourth row. Hopefully, we can take the fight to Ferrari with both our drivers, because our long run pace in free practice certainly looked encouraging. Even though it’s meant to be difficult to overtake here, the race often turns out to be exciting, so hopefully the crowd will enjoy a good show tomorrow.”

Force India

Nico Hülkenberg, 11th

“It’s been quite a difficult weekend for the team, but I have to give credit to the way they have handled the situation and fixed it. The main penalty of yesterday was losing the track time and maybe with more set-up time we would have been able to make it through to Q3 today. The other key factor in the qualifying session was the red flag, which caught me out because I was on my first quick lap and had to abort it. So I only had one lap to get the job done and I just missed out by two hundredths of a second. Despite the limited track time, I feel quite happy and confident in the car, and I think we can perform well tomorrow. Points are still an achievable target.”

Sergio Perez, 13th

“It hasn't been the easiest of weekends so far. I was very optimistic on Friday, before the accident, but what happened has affected us quite a lot. We have lost some of the new upgrades that we had brought to the race – parts that were working really well and were making a big difference. When we got back out on track this morning, I wasn’t particularly happy with the aero balance of the car, which has been quite unpredictable. Hopefully looking at the data tonight will help us figure out a way to fix it ahead of the race. Despite these challenges, I am still optimistic we can have a good race and fight our way into the points.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer

“I think we can be satisfied with P11 and P13 on the grid, especially after the events of Friday and the general lack of mileage. Everyone in the team has done a fantastic job over the last 24 hours to understand and solve the suspension issues we experienced yesterday and put the necessary solutions in place. Equally, the task of rebuilding Sergio’s car required a huge effort from the mechanics in the garage and, as always, they did a magnificent job without breaking the curfew. Nonetheless, we have been on the back foot today and that’s probably cost us a few positions on the grid. We’re still reasonably well placed and we expect the car to be competitive tomorrow. It would be good to end the first half of the season with some more points to consolidate our fifth place in the constructors’ championship.”


Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“The hot weather in Hungary has continued and our tyres are still delivering the performance we expect from them, despite these challenging conditions. The soft tyre has a clear performance advantage, which makes Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in Q1 on the medium all the more impressive. The indications are that we’ll see a two-stop race tomorrow, and while Mercedes seems to have an advantage for now, the race pace could be more closely matched between other teams further down the field. We’re the event sponsor for this grand prix, a historic venue with passionate fans that has produced some classic races in the past.”


Kimi Raikkonen, 5th

“It was a pretty normal qualifying, but we did not get the ideal result. We had some difficulties here and there and did not manage to put a very good lap together. This morning we had some issues and could not run with the soft tyres: for sure this did not help and it was a bit of unknown for qualifying, but it was not too bad and the behavior of the car was pretty good. Tomorrow I’ll be on the clean side of the starting grid, we’ll try to make a good start and see what happens in the first few corners. The race will be very long and obviously the Mercedes will be very strong, but if we cannot challenge them we’ll try to be second best. We’ll keep pushing and do our best.”

Sebastian Vettel, 3rd

“We had a great recovery from a bad day yesterday. For sure it was not easy to catch up, but all in all I’m proud that we stayed calm, improved the car and had a good turnaround from yesterday, with an optimum result. We know it will be tight tomorrow, but we’ll give our maximum. Remaining realistic, Mercedes is very strong and it would be very tough to beat them, but we also have to look behind us, at teams like Red Bull and Williams which are very strong. Red Bull in particular had a very good Friday but we still managed to outqualify them today, which showed that we are quicker.”

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, 9th

“I’m happy with qualifying in ninth position today, especially after having a few problems in this morning’s practice session where, like yesterday, I was struggling a bit with the high track temperatures. We were able to stay calm and it was a good qualifying lap. I think today’s result is the maximum we could do and I enjoyed it out there this afternoon! Our objective for tomorrow is clearly to score some points and I will try my best to make that happen.”

Carlos Sainz, 12th

“I had been quite comfortable with the car the whole weekend, we were looking strong. However, in today’s qualifying session the conditions changed, as well as the feeling with the car, especially with the brakes, compared to yesterday. All this made me lose my references and I just couldn’t get into a rhythm, so unfortunately I struggled to put a qualifying lap together. We really didn’t expect to find ourselves in this position as we knew we had the potential to make it into the top ten. We need to analyse this and focus on tomorrow’s race. It’s not the easiest of tracks to overtake, but we said the same about Monaco and I was able to finish in the points after having started from the pit-lane, so anything is possible tomorrow and we will fight as hard as possible for more points.”

Ben Waterhouse, Deputy Technical Director

“Our target coming here this weekend was clearly to get points on Sunday and in order to achieve this we wanted to get both cars into Q3 today. Ultimately we didn’t manage to accomplish that, but with a P9 and a P12 we’ve still got a good chance of finishing in the top ten tomorrow. Max did a great job in qualifying today. A P9 is a very good result for him after a difficult day yesterday. A P12 for Carlos is a bit unfortunate because he has been strong all weekend and he only missed out on getting into Q3 by a small margin, with just one tenth covering four cars. Unfortunately he just didn’t feel comfortable with the brakes today and a scrappy third practice session just didn’t set him up well for qualifying. We will have a good look at the data tonight in order to have a strong race tomorrow and make sure we have the best chance to finish with both cars in the points.”


Lewis Hamilton, 1st

“It's been a good weekend so far. I've generally had really good experiences here. I love the city, love the weather, love the track. It's such a great track to drive - grippy in these conditions and you really can throw the car around like a go-kart. It's great to be on pole - but me and Nico wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the fantastic work done by the team to give us this car. A big thanks to all of them. The work isn't done on a Saturday, of course. It's been a great start - in fact I can't remember having such a strong performance all the way through. But anything can happen on that run down to turn one and through the race. I'm feeling confident in myself, confident in the car and confident in Mercedes, so let's see how it goes.”

Nico Rosberg, 2nd

“Congrats to Lewis first of all on a great pole lap. Unfortunately for me, something went wrong in qualifying which I can't quite explain at the moment. In P3 I sorted out the problems from Friday and had a great feeling in the car. But then, as early as the first lap in Q1, I had to feed back to the pits that I had heavy understeer from the car. I tried to change some of the electronic setup but it didn't really work out. The positive could be that this setup might help me a bit more in the race, as understeering could keep the rear tyres more alive, so we will see. Even if I´m not happy about my performance today, there is still a lot to play for tomorrow. I need a good start - but there will be some other chances later in the race so I will go for it!”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“That was a bit of a mixed qualifying session for us. Lewis did a pretty special lap this afternoon - there could even have been a bit more to come perhaps but it was a commanding pole position. For Nico, it was trickier. We gave him a tough car to drive with the understeer, then managed to dial it out with some changes to the tyre pressures - but it was coming and going. It was an odd situation so he did a good job in the circumstances to be P2. The gaps seem to have closed up a bit in the heat - but we expect cooler temperatures tomorrow, which can hopefully work in our favour. However, we will not underestimate our rivals. Our advantage is a fragile thing and we always need to work to get every detail spot on. Ferrari and Red Bull are on our tail and ready to pounce on any mistakes.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“A fantastic result to get a front row lockout here in Hungary. It felt like a difficult session for a few reasons. Getting through Q1 on the prime tyre was a very close call and, in the end, we decided not to risk it. Then, the red flags in Q2 meant we had to use an extra set of options when others didn't. This made it very satisfying to secure the front row on the first run with scrubbed tyres in Q3, thereby taking some of the pressure off Lewis and Nico for the second runs. It was a superb lap from Lewis to claim pole - he has been faultless all weekend so far and that was another impressive performance. For Nico, a couple of mistakes on his final run meant that he lost a fair chunk of time. However, we must apologise to him as we only discovered last night that there had been a configuration error on his car throughout Friday which hasn't given him an easy ride thus far. We're looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully another great competition between our drivers and the other teams, some of whom look strong here this weekend.”


Romain Grosjean, 10th

“I think we got everything we could out of the car today, it’s good to be in the top ten. It was a tough qualifying with the wind picking up at the beginning of the session. We struggled a bit with our first run but Q2 was much better. I really pushed hard and put everything together, it was a fantastic lap. Generally, I’m happy with today’s performance and proud of my team for what we have achieved. Tomorrow, temperatures should drop down a little bit which makes it easier, and then hopefully, we can score points.”

Pastor Maldonado, 14th

“We had potential for Q3, the pace was there early on, I did a good lap in Q1 and placed in the top ten but unfortunately we were not able to repeat this in Q2. We didn’t have as good a progression as we would have liked, especially with the red flag, and then I locked up in turn one which compromised my lap time. I don’t think this is a position that is representative for us. We’ll see tomorrow, the race pace is there – we showed that in Q1 – the potential is there so I think we can put together a good race and score points.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

“We took a step forward and are relatively optimistic for the race. It was a reasonable effort from us and certainly a step forward in the final results from where we were yesterday. Q2 was somewhat disrupted by the stopped McLaren and Pastor suffered from this as he’d shown good pace in Q1, but wasn’t able to get a lap to take him into the top ten. Romain did manage to get into the final qualifying with a strong lap from him, and things can still be achieved from P10 on the grid. We’re open on tyre strategy with Pastor whilst Romain will start on his qualifying soft tyres. We’ve seen very hot temperatures here, which means we’ll be closely monitoring tyre degradation as well as engine and brake cooling. We should be able to show better pace in the race, but all will depend on being able to pass or find clean air.”


Fernando Alonso, 15th

“This afternoon was a pity, because it’s been a good weekend for the team so far: we’d made some useful performance steps, and had regularly been in the top 10 in the sessions, so the problems we had in qualifying were extremely unfortunate.

“Jenson had a problem in Q1, and then my car just switched itself off in Q2. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to continue in qualifying if the car doesn’t make it back to the pits under its own power, so that was that.

“Qualifying wasn’t the right time to have these problems, but hopefully we can learn from them for the future.”

Jenson Button, 16th

“I didn’t get any electrical deployment down the main straight as I started my final lap in Q1. The engineers tell me that’s worth about four-tenths - and that just isn’t possible to make up around the rest of the lap. It was unlucky, but it is what it is.

“It was a shame too, because I really enjoyed driving the car today. The morning session was a bit tough, but the car immediately felt good this afternoon. The balance was good and we thought we’d easily get through into Q2. We’re not quick enough yet, but at least we have a good balance.

“Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day. I love driving around this place - it’s a great old circuit - and we’ll have a close look at what hand we can play tomorrow. But, even so, it’ll be a tough race, because you can’t overtake around here.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director

“Here in blistering Budapest, as we approach the midsummer shutdown, we’d been hoping to be able to leaven our first-half-of-the-season melancholy with some discernible improvement.

“The fact is, we have improved, but I guess the key word is ‘discernible’, because a series of glitches and gremlins continues to conspire to prevent that improvement from translating into the ameliorated grid positions and race performances that we feel are within our compass.

“Today, in Q2, Fernando suffered an electrical shutdown triggered by a loose harness connection, shortly after Jenson’s fastest Q1 lap had been stymied by a steering switch software data issue.

“Nonetheless, tomorrow is another day - and, despite the fact that the Hungaroring is a notoriously inexpedient circuit on which to overtake, both Fernando and Jenson will be doing their level best to do just that, and thereby move forward through the field.”

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

“It was a very disappointing result in qualifying.

“After a promising Friday, and this morning's FP3 results, we were hoping for more this afternoon.

“The team has worked incredibly hard, but unexpected circumstances denied us a better result today, which is really tough on both Fernando and Jenson.

“Jenson's car had a steering switch software data issue, and the MGU-K assist was hindered out on the track. His flying lap suffered and he couldn’t make it out of Q1.

“Fernando’s car suffered an electrical shutdown due to a loose harness connection that provides power to the car, ending his chances in Q2. His efforts to push the car back to the pit-lane and to the team were an act of great professionalism - he deserves deep respect for that.

“Thankfully, we were able to check his car immediately after qualifying, where it was confirmed that the disconnection hadn’t affected any other part of the power unit for tomorrow’s race.

“We know that our car setting and power unit setting are working well for the track, so tomorrow we’ll put our all into the race.”