• German GP - Qualifying

Who said what after qualifying

ESPN Staff
July 19, 2014

ESPN rounds up all the reaction from up and down the paddock after qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (6th): "It was a bit tough today and the final run didn't come together, but other than that it was good session. I felt happier in the car this afternoon that I did this morning, so that was good. We're not sure what the weather will be like tomorrow; we will have a reasonable position to do well from."

Daniel Ricciardo (5th): "It wasn't too bad today, we would like to be further forward than fifth, but the lap I did was pretty good. I made quite an improvement in Q3 from Q2 so I can't really argue with the lap I did, but as a team we are still a bit off. We know the Mercedes is strong, but the Williams was also continually showing their pace today and the McLaren with Kevin was good, so we have to keep working but we did what we could. I think the race will be close between the top eight tomorrow and it will be a battle for the final podium spot."

Christian Horner, team principal: "Fifth and sixth are probably about the maximum amount we could get in qualifying today. We are very competitive in sections 1 and 3, but unfortunately the middle sector really seems to favour the Mercedes powered cars here in Hockenheim. Nonetheless, both drivers did the best they could to extract the most they could out of the car and hopefully in tomorrow's race in these hot conditions, we can progress from fifth and sixth on the grid."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (15th): The car was feeling great today. I braked in the same place as I have been doing and I suddenly lost brake pressure - it took me by surprise and the failure spun the car into the wall. It wasn't a great feeling when that happened, you just have to take your hands off the wheel and brace for the impact, but thankfully I'm okay. My legs are a little bruised but I will be fine to race tomorrow; nothing is going to stop me getting in that car. I'm devastated for the guys because they worked so hard during the evening and late last night - I even got an email from my engineers at 01:00 and we were making changes to the set-up to get it just right, which paid off because the balance felt fantastic out there. Then we didn't even get to do five laps. I'm not sure where we'll start tomorrow in the race because that will depend on the damage to the car. But we'll give it everything, hope for a slice of luck and aim for a recovery like I made at Silverstone. It's definitely going to be a tough afternoon but I won't be giving up."

Nico Rosberg (1st): That was a quite challenging qualifying session. The option tyre lasts only for one quick lap and without FRIC we had a lot do adjust the set-up. I had a difficult start because I didn't really feel comfortable with the balance in the braking zones but that gradually improved through the sessions. The quickest lap at the end was really a good one. So I'm really happy to start from the top position here at our home Grand Prix. But I can't be too pleased about today because of the accident Lewis suffered, I'm glad he is fine. I would have preferred to have the normal fight for the pole with him. But I'm sure he will fly through the field as our car is still the quickest out there. So our German fans will see an exciting race tomorrow."

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Toto Wolff: "It was like night and day today. First of all, we're all happy that Lewis is okay as it was quite a shunt. It's just not acceptable to have a brake disc fail in that way after we fitted a new set this morning and we have to find out what we do about it. We will assess the car and see what the damage is in the end. We are very pleased with Nico being on pole. He did a very good job in difficult conditions because of the unexpected heat in combination with the supersoft tyre which made it very tricky for everyone. Congratulations to Williams on P2 and P3 - they were pushing us very hard today."

Paddy Lowe: "It is another Saturday afternoon of mixed feelings for the team. First and foremost, we are very happy that Lewis emerged unhurt from his accident in Q1 - although he is sore, he will be able to drive tomorrow. And then, of course, there was great satisfaction to see Nico take his fifth pole position of the year. He initially struggled to get a time on the board in Q1 - indeed, we have seen that many drivers have struggled to put a complete lap together this weekend. After that point, though, he drove three fast and clean laps in Q2 and Q3 to take pole position."

"But as we saw in Austria, too, he was under some pressure from the Williams who are both running very well this weekend. It was a different story for Lewis, who suffered a right front brake disc failure. This was a new set of brakes fitted for third practice, in line with our normal procedures, and a catastrophic failure occurred without warning while he was braking for Turn 13. This is not a particularly hard braking event, and the brakes were operating normally until that point, so this will clearly require detailed investigation. We will be working hard this evening to rebuild the car so Lewis can fight back strongly tomorrow afternoon."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (7th): "We can't be happy with seventh, but it reflects the fact this weekend has been one of ups and downs. Apart from the actual numbers in today's qualifying, I did find I was more at ease in my F14 T and I think I got the most out of it. I reckon in the race we will suffer more because of tyre degradation. With such high temperatures, the rear tyres slide a lot and it will be really important to choose the right number of stops to make. The forecast is unclear as to whether the rain will arrive during or after the race and so we have to be clever at being ready to anticipate it if we want to be in the game. Here, as in Austria, Mercedes and Williams seem out of reach, but we will do all we can to be at the front of the following group. I hope to see a bunched up race, with a lot of overtaking, even though I'm not expecting too many surprises because the absence of FRIC hasn't produced any significant changes, nor closed the gaps much."

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Kimi Raikkonen (12th): "This weekend, a few technical problems meant I spent more time in the garage than usual, but already, as from yesterday afternoon, my feeling with the car had improved. Today, in Q1 things went reasonably well, but then in Q2, when I fitted the second set of new Supersofts, my car was sliding all over the place and I lost the back end in turn 2. After that, it was impossible to put a good lap together. I'm not happy with my grid position, but I hope things can go better in tomorrow's race. It's likely the weather could be different tomorrow and the temperatures will be lower. We will try and make the most of any opportunity because we want to have a nice race and bring home a good number of points."

Pat Fry: "The result of qualifying is far from satisfying, even if it's more or less what we were expecting, given the current performance level of our car. The race looks like being very difficult and the weather, with an uncertain forecast for tomorrow, could be the key factor. Temperatures were very high again today and in these conditions, it's never easy for the drivers. This track requires maximum concentration as it is a relatively short lap and it only takes very little to lose a few tenths and find yourself down the back.

"Indeed, Kimi unfortunately lost a few in turn 2 in the second part of qualifying and didn't make it to Q3. As for Fernando, he managed to improve in the final part, compared to his times in Q1 and Q2 and as usual, he pushed his car to the limit. He could not have done more. Tomorrow, rain could appear and throw up some surprises and we must be ready to exploit the slightest opportunity. However, if it doesn't rain and it stays hot, I think tyre management and reliability of the cars will be the key factors, putting aside outright individual performance levels."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean (14th):"We set ourselves the target of getting into Q2 and we achieved that, so that's a very good job from the guys. We're still not quite where we'd like to be; it's not ideal to be out of the top ten but the car doesn't feel too bad. We've just lost some downforce. The team were one of the first ones to use the interlinked suspension system so removing it is a big change. For the race tomorrow, there's a chance the weather might change - everything can help so we'll take the situation as it comes and make the most of it."

Pastor Maldonado (19th): "We are still working on gaining back some of the performance we have lost from the changes to the suspension. I think we can recover this pace, but it's certainly affecting us. It's a case of looking at every detail of how the suspension works without being connected as it was before and how this affects the aerodynamics. We're working hard to put everything together and we should gain a few tenths that will put us back into fighting position. The race tomorrow is long and could be very hard, but we'll keep pushing as always to get the best result we can."

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McLaren

Kevin Magnussen (4th): "This has been a good day for me. I think we got everything out of the car in terms of set-up, and our strategy throughout qualifying was perfect. Thanks to all the guys in the garage - they did a fantastic job. It was a great achievement to be able to hold off the Red Bulls, and I feel that we're not too far away from some of the really strong guys.

"There's no secret to our improvement: a lot of hard work has made the difference. We still don't have the best car, but it's well-balanced and raceable, and I think we're able to get the best out of it on a regular basis. The car behaves quite differently with the new rear wing - again, thanks to all the men and women back at the factory who did such a fantastic job to get it to the track so quickly. Tomorrow could be a different story. The weather forecast says it'll be cooler, and that there may be rain. We might struggle more in the race than we have today, but fourth place isn't a bad position from which to start."

Jenson Button (11th): "This hasn't been an easy weekend for me, which is a shame because I really like it around here. I've been struggling with the car's balance. In qualifying, I encountered traffic [Grosjean] on my first run in Q2, and that cost me the opportunity to get into Q3 - he wasn't even on a new tyre when he was on that run, so it wasn't going to be his quick lap. On my final Q2 run, I had a very different balance and a lot of oversteer. I wasn't quick enough.

"Looking ahead to tomorrow: our long-run pace didn't look too strong on Friday - we struggled in the hot conditions, but I think we'll hopefully be better if the predicted cooler conditions roll in for Sunday afternoon."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "Kevin has driven brilliantly all weekend - and his was a particularly superb performance this afternoon. He's really adapted well to the upgrade package that we brought to the track this weekend, and he's grown in confidence and speed in each and every session.

"The luck wasn't with Jenson today: he hit traffic when running his first set of tyres in Q2, then he had a little bit of oversteer on final run, which cost him a couple of tenths. Starting outside the top 10 means we can make the choice on tyres for tomorrow - so it's not necessarily a bad thing.

"It's a great motivation to the whole team to see that the work we're doing is starting to have an effect: we've said all along that we need to stay humble and keep focusing on bringing just a little bit more than our rivals to each and every race.

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"By doing that, little by little, we can close the gap - it might only be a couple of tenths every race weekend, but there comes a point when those improvements start to become visible. I think we're starting to break through into that territory now. I know it won't be like this every weekend, but we're definitely starting to turn the corner.

"We'll be going into tomorrow's grand prix looking to race hard and capitalise on our upturn in performance."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (9th): "I'm feeling fairly happy and satisfied with ninth place and it's pretty much where we expected to be. This weekend our pace over a single lap has not been the best, but making the top ten gives us a good track position and the chance to make the most of our long-run pace, which has looked promising. I think tomorrow will be a tricky race because of the heat and getting the tyre management right will be very important. The hotter races have suited us so far this season so we expect that to be the same tomorrow. Points with both cars has to be the goal."

Sergio Perez (10th): "I am very happy we made it to Q3 because the crew did an amazing job to get the car ready after a small issue in Q2. We couldn't finish our first run on new option tyres, which made things difficult because you lose all track references and the track was changing very quickly with the wind and high temperatures. So we only had one shot to make the top ten and we made it with a great lap. I think ninth and tenth in Q3 is a fair result for today, but I expect us to be stronger in the race tomorrow, especially if the weather stays dry. It will be a race where you will have to manage your tyres very well and I'm feeling confident that we can come away with a good result."

Robert Fernley, deputy team principal: "Making the top ten with both cars was the target and the whole team should feel satisfied with our performance. With both cars starting from the fifth row, we are already well placed and our race pace should allow us to take a strong fight to the cars ahead of us. The hot weather has normally suited us this year so I think we can feel quite relaxed about our performance if the hot weather continues. We have a good understanding of the tyres based on the work we did on Friday and if we can make the right strategy calls tomorrow we can come away with a good helping of points."

Sauber

Esteban Gutiérrez (14th, starts 17th after penalty): "We all did a great job today. We were working very hard in order to recover from the second practice session yesterday that was not ideal. The team put every little detail together and it worked out pretty well. I think our speed in Q1 was strong, although in Q2 I missed a few tenths which would have put us in a better position. Considering the speed we were missing yesterday, we made quite a good step today. The race will be interesting as it is challenging to keep the tyres alive. As everybody in our team is pushing very hard, it has to be rewarded soon."

Adrian Sutil (16th): "Unfortunately, the technology did not play into our hands and blew away a good result. In the morning I could only run one lap during the third free practice session and, as a result, our preparation for qualifying was not good enough. It is a pity, as Q3 would have been possible today. Due to the time lost in the morning we could not expect more. However, we did our best during qualifying. We were also unlucky with the red flags, as I was on a good lap."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "This result reflects more or less where we stand at this point in time. Obviously it's a shame that Esteban has to move three places back. Tomorrow we have to focus one hundred percent on the race and make sure that we are not making any mistakes."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering: "This morning Adrian basically lost the whole session due to a problem with the battery pack. Therefore he was not able to use the supersoft tyres in FP3, which was definitely a significant disadvantage for him. Esteban has made good progress since yesterday when he was not at all happy with the car. We continued working on the set-up this morning and made progress, which allowed him to put together a good qualifying lap particularly in Q1. Unfortunately he has to go back three places. After yesterday we hoped for a bit more. We now have to make sure that we get the maximum out of the package in the race."

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Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne (13th): "It was really tight today as we can see reading the times and one tenth has been enough to make it or not into Q3. Overall I think it was a good qualifying. I put on used tyres for the first run of Q2, while the others in front of me used a new set and this made the difference. Also considering the weather forecast, which announces possibilities of rain tomorrow and cooler temperatures, to have new tyres available for the race puts me in a favourable condition to achieve a good result tomorrow, even starting from P13."

Daniil Kvyat (8th): "I'm happy with how my qualifying went today, even though conditions were quite particular and tricky. We had to stay alert and look after all the different factors carefully, including taking care of the tyres. The team did a great job in adjusting to the conditions out there and we managed to do a solid job, also considering where we qualified compared to some of our usual competitors. So I think we can be satisfied with today's P8 result and definitely aim high in tomorrow's race."

Phil Charles, chief race engineer:"Overall, we are very pleased with today. Yesterday we were not quite happy with the car of both drivers, but the engineers did a great job last night to fix the slightly different balance issues. They worked productively with both drivers on the set up and as a result we could achieve a decent step forward today. Daniil has done a brilliant job in Qualifying, Jean-Eric was just a bit unlucky. He was really close but he's not quite sneaked into Q3, whereas Daniil, who was just a tenth quicker, did. A bit of a scrappy session in one way, with different strategies for Qualifying with the tyres across the two drivers and Jev was so close in the mid group, where a tenth really makes a big difference. Both drivers did a very good job and it's a real testament to the fact that they have worked hard with their engineers, who sorted their cars for them. Hopefully Jev can have a good race tomorrow and, fingers crossed, Daniil can convert a decent qualifying result. We look forward to tomorrow."

Williams

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "The car was feeling great today and it is ready for the race, so as a team we are pleased with the result. The last lap I had was almost perfect so I can't fault the session. The Mercedes are still a bit quicker than us, but we are going to work hard tomorrow to get in front but it will be difficult. The aim tomorrow is to keep ahead of the Ferraris and Red Bulls and hopefully the cooler temperatures predicted will play into our hands."

Felipe Massa (3rd): "It was a very positive qualifying for us. I didn't get the perfect lap, but we are second and third, so there are no complaints. The race will be difficult so today was more important than usual and so I am delighted with the result. Hopefully we can continue this forward and have a positive day tomorrow as well.

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Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "It was a good job by the team and a good result. We have maximised our performance throughout the weekend and the drivers did the work today to set us up well for tomorrow. Qualifying is important here and we have showed we have good race pace so it's now time to convert that into points, and hopefully further improve our championship position."

Marussia

Max Chilton (21st): "I'm pleased with the job I did in qualifying. It wasn't the result we wanted but considering I went into qualifying having only run the prime tyre this morning, it's perhaps not as bad as it could have been. We had an electronics glitch in FP3 which cost me half of the session, so the recovery is not bad at all, even though it's a little frustrating as there was so much more in the car. I'm sure that we can improve in the race tomorrow, but of course we have to see what the weather will bring."

Jules Bianchi (18th): "I think we did a good job today, so I'm pretty happy. On my second quick lap I made a small mistake and maybe lost a tenth or so, but otherwise I think we pushed the car to the maximum. I'm ahead of who I needed to be and close to Sutil, so I think we can enjoy a really good race from here. This weather has been quite challenging, but tomorrow it could be for a different reason."

John Booth, Team Principal: "Following on from the progress we made yesterday afternoon, step by step through FP3 and into qualifying we have further improved the balance of the car, which had taken a step back this weekend due to the suspension changes required. Jules' day passed off very smoothly, with us making small incremental improvements to the car and this definitely rewarded him in qualifying. Unfortunately, with Max, we lost some track time due to an electronics issue. This was very unfortunate for him because he missed out on experiencing the finalised setup on the option tyres at the end of FP3. Into qualifying this meant that Max was definitely on the back foot and lost out to Kobayashi, almost certainly because of this. Overall it seems that the changes this weekend have benefited the Saubers, so we are not quite on their pace. However, we do seem slightly closer to the Lotus cars and having still maintained our advantage over Caterham. There's a mixed forecast for the race tomorrow but either way our target is to try to progress from our qualifying position."

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi (20nd): "At the start of FP3 I had quite a lot of understeer but we improved that for the second run, and then again for the final performance run. However, I still didn't have as much confidence in the car as I'd had at the start of FP2 so there was definitely a bit more to come for quali.

"The track temps had gone up quite a bit by the start of quali but we stuck to the plan which was two runs on supersofts. The first run was ok but I knew I could push a little harder so when the session was halted after Lewis' crash we adapted the strategy and went for one flying lap, again on the supersofts. I think I got as much as I could out of the car - the balance did go to oversteer in the final sector and by the end of the lap the tyre deg had kicked in and I was struggling with the rear so I couldn't find any more time.

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"So now it's all about Sunday. The weather could be a bit different to the weekend so far and hopefully it will be another crazy race! That would give us a chance, but whatever happens we'll keep pushing and aim to come away from Germany with a good race behind us."

Marcus Ericsson (21st): "FP3 was a bit confusing for me. I couldn't really find a balance I was happy with in any of the runs and then we had a hydraulics issue with about 15 minutes left of the session so I didn't have a chance to do a performance run. Unfortunately that problem, confirmed by Renault Sport F1 as a hydraulic leak from the throttle, meant I couldn't run in qualifying which is obviously disappointing. The guys in the garage worked absolutely flat out to try and fix it, something that's hard anyway but in the heat here in Germany even harder, but they just couldn't make it.

"Even with the problem today I think we'll be ok tomorrow and I still think it could an improvement on the last few Grands Prix for us. Overall the car has felt better here and if we can have a clean race I want to make it the first of what I hope is better races for the whole team."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 Track Support Leader: "We recovered from a difficult FP3 session when we had a couple of issues with drivability. After changing some settings everything seemed much better for qualifying and Kamui was able to out-qualify one of the Marussias and was not too far from the Lotus. On the other car we suffered a hydraulic leak. We tried everything to fix it in time but could not get Marcus out for a run. We have however identified the origin and everything should be fine for tomorrow's race. We're looking forward to it and making up some positions."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director: : "We saw a dramatic qualifying session with track temperature that was, if anything, even higher than it had been yesterday. As we expected, the supersoft was the tyre to qualify on, being about a second quicker than the soft. This obviously affected the qualifying strategy, with all the drivers apart from Bottas and Hamilton using the supersoft even in Q1. Teams are obviously thinking ahead to the race tomorrow, but with a possibility of heavy showers, it will be hard to make any firm predictions for a strategy. The teams that have managed to save tyres for the race may not be able to reap the benefit of them if the wet weather tyres are instead needed. And as the teams don't really have any relevant wet weather data for Hockenheim, this would certainly be a very interesting turn of events."

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