Driver reaction - China qualy

The drivers have their say on the qualifying action in Shanghai

Last Updated: 13/04/13 11:22am

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The drivers have their say on the qualifying action in Shanghai, where Lewis Hamilton took pole and Mark Webber ran out of fuel.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "We're obviously on a different strategy to the cars in front, whether that works or not we will see tomorrow, but I'm confident we did the right thing based on the facts we have. It was a different approach to normal in today's qualifying and it all came down to the last few minutes for everyone; it was very silent and then everyone left in a queue to start the lap at the same time - but not a problem. We have the advantage of choosing the tyres for tomorrow, so we'll see."

Mark Webber says he wants to find out the reason his car had fuel problems which ended his qualifying.

Mark Webber: "It's very disappointing. Q1 went okay; I was comfortable with the car and we had a good plan for the rest of the session. In Q2 we lost fuel pressure so I had to turn the car off and couldn't get it back to the pits. I had to stop on the circuit, so qualifying was over before it started really. We need a bit of luck now; it's not the optimum starting position, but we still have to try to get something from there."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: "To end qualifying with both cars in the top five is a result that fills me with hope for the race. The F138 has been competitive all weekend and that means we have made a step forward, which is down to the work of the team. Some of the updates we had here worked as we had expected, but others need further work. In terms of establishing what will be the best strategy, we will be in for a long night and that will be the case for everyone, given that almost all our main competitors will start on the Softs.

"I'm not concerned about Red Bull's choice and Mercedes usually has a higher degradation than ours. I'm definitely expecting an interesting race in which the biggest threat could come from Raikkonen as the Lotus has shown it manages its tyres well".

Felipe Massa: "It was a good qualifying, with the car working well and being quick. To be honest, after my performance in the second and third free practice sessions, I expected to start in the top three, but it's very likely that our competitors were running with more fuel and it's also true that strategy counts a lot more than one or two places on the grid. Today's qualifying featured different choices: we preferred to use the Soft tyre right from the first run in Q1, because it looked complicated getting through to the next part with the Medium.

"That has allowed us to save them for tomorrow in a race that looks like being very closely contested and where as many as three stops might be necessary. Today, our main competitors probably did better than us, but the race is long and anything can happen. Tyre management and tactical choices will definitely be the key factors".

McLaren

Jenson Button: "Our aim was to be the first Prime-tyre runner on the grid - even if it meant qualifying 10th - and we did that. This was the best we could do with what we have.

"Nevertheless, I think we should be very happy with our qualifying performance: we don't really have the pace of the front-running cars yet, but finishing seventh in Q2 was really satisfying. And to out-qualify both Red Bulls in Q3, and with a two-minute lap, was amazing!

"All the guys in front will be starting on grained Soft-compound tyres, and I think we're going to see the high-fuel graining on the Soft that we saw in practice yesterday, so it's going to be an extremely interesting race

"The first 10 laps tomorrow are going to be eventful; if I can get a good start, I'll hopefully be able to find some clear air in front of me, and then we'll see what happens.

Sergio Perez: "It's been a difficult weekend so far. I really should have been in Q3 today - but I didn't manage to find as much time as the others in Q2. That was frustrating; the warm-up of my tyres before my quick-lap wasn't ideal, and I struggled to really pull everything together on the lap.

"Still, the tyres will be difficult and unpredictable for everyone in the race tomorrow. It's going to a tough race, and a lot will depend on the strategy. I've got a great team behind me and I know they'll do a fantastic job to give me the best possible strategy for the race tomorrow.

"We can definitely do a good job and score some good points."

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen: "This is my best qualifying for the team which is good, but of course you always want to be on pole. It's been quite a tricky weekend so far and we've had a few small issues with setup, but it's always difficult to get things exactly how you want them and the car seems to be working well now. The tyres will of course be the question mark tomorrow; some people are starting on the primes but we chose the strategy we think will work best. Hopefully we can keep managing the degradation well like we have so far this season and have a good race tomorrow."

Romain Grosjean: "Friday was difficult and we missed some time on Saturday morning so it's been a challenging weekend, but I'm finally back in business. We've been chasing some small problems here and there, but the engineers have been working hard and did a fantastic job to get the car to where it is now. My first lap on options in Q1 was actually my first of the weekend with those tyres so we had to guess a little on the set up, but I think we did pretty well. Of course you always want to do better, but overall I'm pleased. The car was much better this afternoon so let's see what we can do in the race."

Mercedes

The Driver's give their reaction to Qualifying in China where Lewis Hamilton earned his first pole position for Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton: "Pole position is a great result for us today and to achieve it in my third race for the team is such a good feeling. I had to make sure the radio was off after my engineer told me I had pole because I was so excited! None of us expected this level of performance at this stage of the season and it's a real bonus.

"The guys have just been working away, pushing really hard, and I'm so pleased for everyone back at the factories and here at the track that I've been able to deliver my first pole in a Silver Arrow. It would be great to convert the position in the race tomorrow but it's going to be a challenge and we're realistic about how tough the race will be. The soft tyres don't last for very long, and with a couple of quick guys starting on the mediums, it'll be interesting to see how the race plays out. I'm looking forward to it and will give it my all."

Nico Rosberg: "A very good team result today and P4 is a decent grid position for me. I wasn't able to do my qualifying simulation this morning due to the hydraulic problem which was a bit unfortunate. So I needed to catch up through the qualifying sessions and find my way. I took some settings from Lewis for the initial set-up which worked out well.

"I made a small mistake at the last corner on my lap in Q3 which cost maybe a tenth and a couple of places. But I'm in a good position for the race and we've worked a lot on the race performance this weekend so I hope we can gain some places tomorrow. It's going to be an interesting race with some of the guys starting on the medium tyres so let's see what happens."

Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg: "I think it was a good and successful qualifying. If someone had told us before qualifying that we are going to finish P10, I would have not believed it. As we did not try to set a lap time in Q3, maybe there would have been more on the table. It was a good effort, a good lap in Q2. The updates the team has brought to the track worked pretty well and everything went smoothly for us in qualifying.

"I was reasonably happy with the balance of the car, so I look forward to tomorrow. We've done everything right with our approach in Q3 not to run and instead save our tyres, which now gives us the free choice of tyres to start with, which can be an advantage. Now we have got to make the right choice."

Esteban Gutierrez: "Well, it's quite a disappointing qualifying result. It was very challenging to put a first quick lap together with only one chance. It is very critical and I was trying to push a little too hard and ended up making a small mistake, which cost us a lot. I will improve on that side and make sure everything I am doing in the car is very precise.

"On top of that, it is very challenging with these tyres. I feel very sorry for the team, as we had the potential to easily make it into Q2 and then to fight to get into Q3. The speed which shows the potential of the car is motivating, but we still need to put everything together, and that includes from my side."

Force India

Paul di Resta: "I think P11 is a reasonable result considering the difficulties we had during final practice where our performance level dropped away. The changes we made ahead of qualifying improved things and in the end I just missed out on making Q3. I don't think that will make much difference tomorrow because it's going to be a race all about making the tyres last. The good news is that we've got a free choice on tyres for the start and our car has proved to be competitive over race distances, which means we can be optimistic of scoring points."

Adrian Sutil wants the stewards to investigate Kimi Raikkonen because he says the Fin impeded him in Q1.

Adrian Sutil: "It's fair to say I was hoping for a better result, but for whatever reason the warmer conditions during qualifying did not work to our advantage. There was no major problem with the car and I felt happy with the balance, but I lost some performance during qualifying and didn't have the grip to go any faster. The positive is that I'm able to choose my starting tyres tomorrow and I have all new sets available for the race, which should allow us to target some points in the race."

Williams

Pastor Maldonado: "I got everything I could out of the car today. I was hoping for a better result but we couldn't quite put it all together in Q2. It's not where we want to be so we need to work very hard. We've been working hard already but we need time to turn things around. We have a good amount of new tyres for tomorrow and the tyres are very sensitive here, so that could make the race very interesting. Anything can happen tomorrow and we will do our very best."

Valtteri Bottas: "We left the run quite late in Q1 as everyone else also left it late before heading back out and we were waiting for the track conditions to improve. However, with only one lap to get everything right it was quite a difficult situation.

"The wind conditions made it tricky to get the perfect lap as I was trying to push hard and it's a new experience for me to have to put everything together in just one lap. The conditions were different to FP3 and I didn't make the most of qualifying. Now we are focused on getting the strategy right for the race to make the most of the new tyres we have."

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo: "It's nice to be in Q3. It's the first time since Bahrain last year that I've made it to the top ten, so that's nearly a whole year. I am definitely looking forward to having a strong race tomorrow and will give it all I've got to make the most of this seventh place on the grid. I think it will be an exciting race and today, you could see that most of us waited until the last moments in Q3 to go out, with everyone thinking about saving tyres for tomorrow, as the Options were having a hard time on a long run on Friday.

"This result will boost everyone's spirits, and mine as well and I really can't wait for the lights to go out tomorrow! The guys have been working so hard back at the factory and they've made the car quicker, so well done to everyone."

Jean-Eric Vergne: "That was disappointing, because I've been on the pace since Friday, something didn't feel quite right on the car this afternoon. However, I am sure we can sort things out for tomorrow and when you see where my team-mate qualified then that has to be a positive sign for tomorrow, because the car is clearly working well. There will be plenty of opportunities to do something from here in the race.

"The tyre situation is quite complicated and we will have to see how to make the most of them, because the right strategy will be the biggest factor tomorrow afternoon. What we can say is that the car has definitely improved compared to the first two races."

Caterham

Charles Pic: "We've had quite a few issues all weekend and they've hurt our ability to get the most out of the car here, particularly with the tyres. We tried a couple of different setup options in FP3 and the car balance felt better this morning than it had yesterday but between FP3 and qualifying the tyre behaviour changed again and we really couldn't get them to work. In qualifying we did both runs on the soft tyres but I had traffic on my first run which meant I didn't have a clean lap.

"On the second run I improved my time but I still had oversteer on the exits of most of the corners and more traffic in both sectors one and two which basically ruined that lap. Even with the package we have now we know there's more performance in the car so days like today are frustrating, but we'll just have to work harder, improve where we can and focus on putting in a good performance tomorrow."

Giedo van der Garde: "After two productive sessions yesterday I just couldn't get the same feeling from the car in FP3 and that carried over into qualifying. Like Charles, I've had quite a few small problems in each session and together they've held us back quite a bit. We're struggling to understand the tyre behaviour here and when the track temps went up today it was like having to start again with our understanding of how to get them working.

"My final position in quali is obviously disappointing, particularly as I made a mistake in turn two on my second run, pushing too hard into the corner and that cost me about four tenths. Without that I'd have finished a bit higher up the grid but now we have to focus on tomorrow's race and aim for the same sort of performance we put in at the last race in Malaysia."

Marussia

Jules Bianchi: "I am happy with where we ended up on the grid for tomorrow's race, but I am a little disappointed with my lap to be honest. I made a small mistake which cost me lap time and there was certainly more to come. I think we have struggled a little more today perhaps, but I have confidence in our race pace and so I am looking forward to tomorrow's race.

"It will be key to get a good start and ensure the cars behind us stay behind us, then I am sure we can continue our trend of getting closer to the cars in front and hopefully feel the full benefit of our upgrades. I think it could be an interesting race generally because of the tyres and the track conditions, and I hope we will be able to take advantage of some circumstances which might work in our favour."

Max Chilton: "It would be easy to focus on the negatives from today, but given the challenges we've faced on my side of the garage so far this weekend I'm more encouraged by what we 'have' achieved when you consider how little running we've had.

"The target was to stay the right side of the Caterhams, which I did, despite only having the one run of three laps. Although it has been frustrating, at least this means that we'll start ahead of them on the grid tomorrow and hopefully we'll be able to make use of our strong race pace to stay there. Fingers crossed we'll get a clear run at the race, which I'm looking forward to."

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