Reaction round-up: Austrian Grand Prix qualifying
Valtteri Bottas secured second place to give the Grove-based outfit their first front row lock-out since the 2003 German Grand Prix. Here is a round-up of the driver’s reactions following qualifying at the Red Bull Ring:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“It was good to discover the circuit at the wheel of the E22 for the first time today. We have done a lot of work, completed 74 laps however it is fair to say that we have also struggled in the sessions. I wasn’t happy with the handling and the set-up of the car but we will work hard to rectify the different areas that need working on. It was good to learn that the longer run pace was stronger, we just need to unlock that pace for qualifying tomorrow.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.