2014 Australian GP qualy - Driver Reaction

The 22 drivers have their say on the action in Melbourne

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 15/03/14 10:39am

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The 22 drivers have their say on the first qualifying session of the new season.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo: "It was exciting out there - the weather definitely added to the mix and the whole session went well. Q1 looked like it was going okay for us and then, when the rain fell, it's the first time we've driven these cars on the limit in wet conditions. It was tricky, but at the same time a lot of fun and it was nice to always be up there.

"The engineer was always on the radio saying the pace was good and that we were P1, P2 P3 and in the battle for the pole position, so it was definitely a really nice first qualifying session with the team. I'm happy for us to have a front row start - it wasn't looking like this a few weeks ago, so I'm pretty pleased right now."

Sebastian Vettel: "I think we have made a big step forward with the car, but of course I'm not happy that we didn't make it to Q3. I think the car is quick, but we struggled this afternoon with drivability which, in these conditions, made it even worse. The car seems good and Daniel did a very good job to be on the front row, so congratulations to him. It's going to be a long race tomorrow and reliability will be the most important thing to make it to the flag, but I think there will be lots of opportunities for us."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: "It's been an interesting weekend so far here in Melbourne. Qualifying was a lot harder for everyone with the tricky conditions and it was a real challenge out there today. We were on the edge with the tyres and it was difficult to know which way to go at times. It's the first time I've driven the car on the limit in the wet, but it felt great and I'm so happy with the job the team has done.

"To be on pole here today is a fantastic result for us. It was great fun and I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow. It's going to be tough, but we'll do our best and see what happens. I am very proud to have scored pole number 100 for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One. I have only driven with Mercedes power since my debut in 2007 and the whole Mercedes team has done an incredible job meeting the challenge of these new rules. It's just as special to equal Nigel's record of pole positions for a British driver. I owe it to the great people I've worked with throughout my career."

Nico Rosberg: "That was a really tricky qualifying session out there this evening. Starting from third place on the grid is not the optimum but okay for me. I know that I have a good race car and that makes me quite confident.

"With a good start, I should have a nice chance of scoring a strong result. It will be a very interesting race because fuel consumption and tyre wear will be on the edge. So there might be some surprises tomorrow."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: "I think fifth is a good result in such a difficult qualifying session, especially as it's the first time we've run in the wet with the new car and because from this position, a podium finish is possible, which is worth a lot of points. We were lucky in Q1, when the rain came just after I'd done my quick lap and in Q2 we were also able to run when the track was at its best. I knew that the results of free practice did not reflect the reality of the situation and that the hierarchy would only become clear today, with Mercedes a step ahead of the rest.

"It would also give a clearer picture than the one we had from testing, when we couldn't be sure what the other teams were testing. Now we have seen in which areas we need to improve and the aim is to do so in the next few races. I don't think the consumption factor will change things too much, because when saving fuel, all the cars lose half a second. On top of that, the weather will come into play tomorrow as the forecast isn't clear.

"The priority is to finish the race and to do better than the others in the coming months. I am sure that with practice, we will learn how to get the most out of the car and simplify all the procedures."

Kimi Raikkonen: "Qualifying wasn't straightforward today, especially because of traffic. When I was on a quick lap, I had a car in front of me at every corner. That stopped me getting a clean lap and at the end of Q2, I spun off damaging the front wing. I don't think I'd have gone quicker anyway, as I had already reduced my speed at this point, because I knew already I wouldn't make it to Q3. It's a shame, because compared to yesterday we have made some steps forward. In the wet we were quick and I had more feeling for the car.

"We know we have a lot of work to do in every area, especially on car set-up, but at the same time, we are sure we are going in the right direction. Tomorrow's race will be tough, the weather forecast is unclear and on top of that, with the new rules, it's hard to predict how things will go. But it's only the first race of the year and we will do our best to get a good result."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean: "We had a lot of problems today and every time we fixed one another one comes along! The guys are working very hard and it's a tough situation for everyone. We just have to learn everything we can every time we are out in the car on the track. Yes it's frustrating, but I'm the one who has the easiest life as I'm not working all night on the car. The whole team is here to win, so when it doesn't go to plan it's not great. It could still be made into a monster of a car if we all pull together as a team. We've been through some tough times in the past so we'll work our way out of it."

Pastor Maldonado: "It's been quite difficult today. We're working very hard and we need to be optimistic. On the plus side, we're not the only ones with problems. We'll keep on working hard and try to work harder than the others. It was a power unit related issue which meant we were so late to the track. By that time it started to rain, and then, that's it! We just need to stay focussed and keep on working and that's exactly what we're doing. For the race we'll just do the best we can. Our pace should be quite good; we just need to put the laps together."

McLaren

Kevin Magnussen:

"I'm really happy. Those were difficult conditions, especially as I've never driven this track in the wet - it was quite tricky to get the lines and the braking points right. It was much trickier than anything I've ever done!

"But I don't think I could have asked for any more today. I made a mistake and went off on my last lap, so I might have been able to go quicker, but I'm still happy. The car was really good, and the team did a fantastic job of preparing me for this. I'm proud of myself, but also proud of the whole team for doing such a massively good job of preparing me over the winter. I always knew what was going on, and I knew the procedures, so it's clear that they taught me really well.

"The race is tomorrow, and so are the points - so we need a good Sunday. I'll try to enjoy tomorrow and do the best I can - getting onto the podium won't be easy, especially if it's dry. But if it's wet, anything could happen - so I guess a wet grand prix is what I'll be hoping for."

Jenson Button: "The rain this afternoon was initially good for me - I got the tyres in pretty good shape for my lap, and I was pleased with my first run in Q2. The car felt pretty good, too - I was quickest when I did my lap, and I was in the top 10 until the end. But, unfortunately, I didn't get my final run on new tyres in because I was caught out by the yellow flags in Turn Three.

"In the wet conditions, I think we had a very good chance of qualifying closer to the front, because our car isn't quite so quick in the dry. Not getting into the top 10 was sheer bad luck - but, hopefully, I won't be so unlucky tomorrow. I love this place, the car is working well, and, but for the yellow flags, we could have qualified much better than we did.

"Hopefully we'll be quick in the race - there's one team that's clear of the rest, but I think we can fight the others."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg: "The first qualifying session of the new season and we finished P7, which is good news! Everything went well today and it was an entertaining session, which I really enjoyed. It was the first time I've driven the new car in the wet, but right away I felt comfortable and confident with a nice balance on the intermediates and the wets.

"There was a good harmony between me and the car, and the team did a great job helping me manage the traffic. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it really is a step into the unknown for everyone. I think we are well prepared and I'm really looking forward to the race where points will be our target."

Sergio Perez: "It was not an easy session, especially Q2, and unfortunately we didn't manage to get a good lap in the wet conditions. It was hard to find clear space with the traffic and I had to pit for new tyres when the track was probably at its best. When I left the pits for my final attempt I locked the rear tyres going into turn three, lost control and could not recover. So it was not the qualifying result we were expecting, but we know tomorrow is another opportunity. We will fight back and try to score some points."

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez: "It was a nightmare with the traffic. Obviously, we started a bit late into the session due to the issues we had. I want to thank my mechanics because they did a great job putting the car together for qualifying. In the first lap, we were completely out of phase to the other cars and it was not the best situation that I had to overtake around four cars on this lap. In the second lap I had traffic in the first corner and this was not ideal.

"Regarding the race, we just need to look into the reliability and this is the main topic at the moment. Therefore we try to focus on that. The good thing is that Adrian's car is in good shape today and this indicates we can fight for something."

Adrian Sutil: "We had a difficult weekend as did many others. The car is not where we want it to be yet, but I am quite satisfied we were able to run without any problems during qualifying and that we made it into Q2. The yellow flag at the end didn't help, I think I could have pushed to get even more out of the car. But I think P14 is solid for today and I will definitely get the most out of the car tomorrow to improve that position."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: "It's a very good feeling, a great start to the season. After so much hard work during winter testing, to get two cars into Q3 is a great result and I'm very happy. I think we have a good car for the season, I believe in the team and in myself so I can't really say that I'm surprised. The guys did a very good job and I want to thank everybody for getting two cars in the top 10.

"Thinking of the race pace I still do not know if we are where we want to be, we just have to go on pushing as much as possible and hopefully we will have a good fight tomorrow. Congratulations to Daniil! It's always positive to have a good teammate to push each other."

Daniil Kvyat: "This was a very good session for us and I really didn't expect to be qualifying 8th at my first Grand Prix 2 months ago! This is definitely a big step forward and I'm very happy for the team, who did a fantastic job also from the strategy side. The conditions were very tricky, but the car felt good and in the end we were able to put everything together. Now our focus is on tomorrow, which should be interesting also because of the weather forecast."

Williams

Felipe Massa: "Getting both cars into Q3 is a step forward for the team compared to last season, but we definitely had a car capable of finishing higher up the grid today. The car was feeling good in the dry in FP3 and Q1, but on the wet track we were struggling with downforce in the rear of the car and these conditions probably hurt us more than others. The race could be very unpredictable tomorrow with reliability important, so we need to work hard to make sure that we have no problems with the car and use our stronger dry pace to make up some good positions."

Valtteri Bottas: "The changeable conditions were very tricky for everyone today and on the whole I am a bit disappointed with finishing P10 in Q3. We had the raw pace to finish further up, but struggled to get the intermediate and wet tyres to work properly. But we should take a positive from getting both cars through to Q3 as it has been a while since that has happened. It's a shame that we have had to change my gearbox as our reliability has looked so good in testing, but our dry pace has looked quite strong so if the weather is good then we will have a good chance of finishing in the points tomorrow."

Marussia

Max Chilton: "I was really pleased with my lap on the opening run and felt that a few issues from FP3 had really come together. Bar one small mistake it was a clean lap. There was more to come of course but I'm reasonably happy given all the factors that we've experienced. It would have been nice to improve as we were close to Q2 but the weather intervened, so this is where we will start the race and that is what we have to focus on now. I think tomorrow is going to be a really exciting day for Formula 1 and the fans, and I can't wait to see who will end up where - especially our Team!"

Jules Bianchi: "After all the hard work from everybody this weekend, it is disappointing that we experienced an issue in qualifying which meant that I could not get the most from the car. Unfortunately we have experienced a few electronics problems again today and we thought we were on top of these, but they appeared again just as I was starting my first quick lap and that was occupied by the need to change some settings to ensure the car stayed reliable and then I had a problem with the gearbox.

"Then the rain came, which was really bad timing and we couldn't get out again to try to improve. Still, I think there will be a lot of opportunities in the race tomorrow and we have to be focused to make the best of them."

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi: "That's a good way to come back, not only for me in my first qualifying session of the year, but also for the whole team after such a difficult day yesterday. The guys worked very hard until just before the curfew this morning and fixed the car after all the issues we had yesterday - that meant we could do 19 laps in FP3 and give ourselves a chance of fighting in qualifying. Honestly though, with so few laps, I still didn't have the car set up at all as I'd have liked and there would definitely have been a lot more to come if we'd had a normal Friday.

"In qualifying we timed it just right and my fastest lap was set just as it started to rain. It was a good lap but not really close to what we could have done with more running on Friday but going into Q2 was a good reward for how hard the team has worked, and I could see just what it meant to the whole team to go into Q2 in our first race of the year.

"Tomorrow it looks like it could be another day of rain and sun and if we can maintain the improved reliability we've had today, I think it could be one of the most interesting races for a long time!"

Marcus Ericsson: "I am very pleased with how my first ever F1 qualifying session went, especially after how Friday went! Finishing within eight-tenths of Kamui is exactly what I'd aimed for today and to do that with such little running in FP1 and FP2 means a lot to me and the team who've worked so hard to get us here.

"In FP3 we managed to work a bit on setup but I was having issues with the engine mapping which meant I was struggling quite a lot with driveability, something that's really important with these new power units. We made a few changes for qualifying and it worked well - it's still not really how I'd like it, but it was a good improvement and that means tomorrow will be a lot better than maybe it had looked last night!

"Now it's all about the race and I can't wait for it all to start. It could be a bit crazy but I know what I have to do and I'm fully prepared - it's going to be a very proud moment for me to represent my country on the F1 grid and I'm really pleased it's with Caterham. They're a great team who work incredibly hard and I think we deserve more days like we had today. Let's hope that comes tomorrow!"

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