Qualifying - Singapore GP team quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

21 September 2019 - 18:28
Qualifying - Singapore GP team (...)

Haas F1

Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean qualified 15th and 18th, respectively, for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, the 15th round of the FIA Formula One World Championship on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Magnussen will start the Singapore Grand Prix 14th as Racing Point driver Sergio Perez, who qualified 11th, was issued a five-position grid penalty for an unapproved gearbox change.

In Q1, Magnussen laid down a lap of 1:39.942 around the 5.063-kilometer (3.146-mile), 23-turn temporary circuit to take the 15th and final position to advance to the Q2 session. Grosjean’s lap of 1:40.277 was 18th overall, .335 of a second out of the top-15..

Magnussen improved his time slightly in Q2, but he remained 15th with his best lap of 1:39.650.

Both Haas F1 Team drivers utilized the Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires throughout qualifying.

Taking the Singapore Grand Prix pole and for the third race in a row was Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari, whose fast Q3 lap of 1:36.217 beat second-place qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by .191 of a second. It was Leclerc’s fifth career pole and his fifth of the season. The Marina Bay Street Circuit qualifying record of 1:36.015 set by Hamilton in Q3 last year remained intact.

Romain Grosjean

“I think there was more in the package than what we got. We changed the car after yesterday, reverted to a lot of parts from the Melbourne-spec – on my side of the garage. We didn’t have a chance to try it in cool conditions because FP3 was still warm. I think the balance got away from us in qualifying, so we couldn’t quite extract the maximum. It’s unfortunate but I think we just didn’t get the time to set it up right for the cooler temperatures. Maybe it’s a better package for the race, we’ll see tomorrow.”

Kevin Magnussen

“We didn’t have the pace today. I kind of expected it to be a tough day. Now we’ll see if we can make the tires hang on in the race and hopefully hold our starting position. I’m not expecting to make much ground, but you can always hope that people make some mistakes. If we can hang onto our position then maybe with safety car and a lucky pitstop or something, we could make some progress even without having the pace. That’s what we cross our fingers for tomorrow.”

Günther Steiner

“Unfortunately, this was not unexpected today – this result. I actually think Kevin (Magnussen) did a good job to get into Q2. We know where we are at the moment, we just need to keep on working.”

Toro Rosso

Pierre Gasly

“We knew before Qualifying it would be tight in the midfield to make it to the top 10 here. I managed to do it in Q1 with the ninth-fastest time, then in Q2 we just missed out by a tenth, so it was really close. It’s always a bit frustrating when it’s that close, but I think we did the best with what we had. Tomorrow we will start the race P12, so we need to look at our strategy options to see where we can take advantage by choosing our starting tyres for the race. I’ll be pushing as much as I can, it’s a long 61 laps where a lot of things can happen, so it will be important to have a clean race and keep fighting until the end to hopefully score some points for the team.”

Daniil Kvyat

“I cannot be happy with my Qualifying, the last lap felt very poor and I knew once I crossed the line there wouldn’t be a chance for Q2. I ran into a lot of traffic which was unfortunate as it cost me some time, and a little mistake with the engine switch in Sector 1 did not help. Not taking part in FP3 hurt us quite a lot and at a track like this every lap counts. I wasn’t really in the rhythm when I went out on track for Q1 and I didn’t have a great feeling in the car. I expect a tough race tomorrow as it can be quite unpredictable around here, however maybe that will work in our favour, so we can have a chance to finish in the points.”

Jody Egginton (Technical Director)

“After a reasonable Friday, today has been somewhat frustrating with a chassis side oil leak on Dany’s car in FP3. This prevented him getting any meaningful running and therefore the completion of the normal preparations. Pierre’s FP3 ran a lot smoother and we were reasonably happy with the car’s performance. Regarding Qualifying, Dany had a bit more work to do and unfortunately, we were not able to get beyond Q1 on this occasion, which is frustrating given the importance of grid position here, but we will just have to take some risks tomorrow and see what we can recover. Pierre was reasonably competitive but again, frustratingly, we just missed out on what was a very tight battle for Q3. Looking ahead to the race, overtaking is difficult here but If we can make good use of the tyres and any opportunity which might arise from safety cars, there could still be the possibility to move up the field.”

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director)

“Kvyat was unlucky today, as his car had an oil leak caused by an issue between the chassis and PU side at the start of FP3. The best option was to change the PU, allowing Daniil to start Q1 as normal. Tomorrow, as always on a street circuit, anything can happen, so we will prepare as well as possible for any eventuality.”

McLaren

Carlos Sainz

“It’s been a very positive day for us. Congratulations to the whole team. We showed good pace on a low-speed track, which we know has been one of our weaknesses. The rear-end and the car in general has been behaving well the whole weekend and we managed to put together a very good lap in Q3, despite an engine misfire at the end of Sector Three.

“We lost a couple of tenths there but it didn’t affect the outcome, with P6 being likely out of reach today. P7 was the best position possible out there and it’s a good spot from which to fight tomorrow.”

Lando Norris

“It was a good quali all the way until the final run in Q3. I was getting more and more confident in the car, which was nice. Q1 was good, Q2 was good and then I didn’t quite get the out-lap I wanted which was a little bit annoying, because around here it’s important to have the confidence.

“I just made some stupid mistakes on my final run in Q3, pushed too hard in an attempt to make up time that I’d lost and the lap just ended up messy. It’s annoying, especially because I was behind two other cars that I shouldn’t be behind. But overall, I was very happy with the car – the team did a great job for me.”

Andreas Seidl - Team Principal

“It’s great to be back with two cars qualifying in the top 10. This evening in FP3, we could confirm we have a strong car here with the updates the team back home have developed for Singapore. The team and drivers did a great job then to progress through the sessions in qualifying.

“Today is only Saturday and the points are distributed tomorrow. It’s going to be a long, hot street race and we’re expecting a very tight battle once again – but scoring good points is in our hands.”

Renault F1

Renault F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg will line up inside the top ten for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix after a solid qualifying performance at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Daniel’s second lap in the final part of qualifying proved good enough for eighth with Nico slightly behind in ninth.

It’s the third race in a row where both cars have reached Q3, following on from strong outings in Belgium and Italy.

Both drivers eased through Q1, before the field closed up in Q2. Nico made the cut for Q3 by 0.040secs after others failed to improve on their second runs with Daniel marginally ahead in ninth.

The team opted for used Soft tyres on the first Q3 outing with Daniel ninth and Nico tenth. Both drivers found improvements on their second runs on new Soft tyres with Daniel taking eighth and Nico ninth, 0.169secs adrift of his team-mate.

Nico Hülkenberg

“Qualifying was very intense today and we gave it everything. We probably achieved our maximum, I was happy with my laps, so we’ll take that. It’s always tough here with the close walls and frequent corners, it’s very intense but that’s why we all like racing here. It’s going to be tight and overtaking is difficult here. There’s the strategy question, safety car possibilities and I’m sure there will be plenty thrown at us.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“Our intention was to get into Q3, so to achieve that with both cars is good. I’m not disappointed, it was a good effort and we’ve recovered well throughout the weekend. I’m content with eighth and there’s plenty to play for there. We have to focus on the race now. We’ll see what happens and get along with our business. The race is the toughest of the year, but I enjoy the challenge.”

Alan Permane, Sporting Director

“We’re always happy to have both cars in Q3 and, today, we got the most from it. We’re more comfortable here than other high downforce tracks this season, having learnt some lessons at previous races. The cars are working well and we’re pleased to be eighth and ninth on the grid. Tomorrow, we’re expecting a long and hard race. It’s challenging on the car, the drivers, the crew and the tyres. Tyre management will play a key part in the race and we will be ready to react to the many different scenarios that could be thrown at us.”

Racing Point

SERGIO PEREZ

“Everybody did a tremendous job to put the car together in time for qualifying. It’s very unfortunate that I damaged the car in final practice. This circuit doesn’t allow a single mistake, but I made one. We’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow, but I believe that we have an opportunity to recover and fight back. It’s a long race and I’ve been in this position before in Singapore. I know that anything can happen here: even when you think you are down and out, you can still come back strong. We have good race pace and there are two hours of racing ahead of us. We have to make sure that we finish the race, stay out of trouble and then we can have a shot at the points.”

LANCE STROLL

“We were in a bad position out on track. I think we had a four-second gap to the car in front and I was being pressured to start the lap from the cars behind. So I had to keep track position or I think it would have been a bigger mess. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault. We’re all doing the best that we can to try and get free air. In Q1 there are 20 cars on the track and everyone knows how important it is. Clean air is very, very important here and I just feel like I had a lack of grip on that second run so I couldn’t deliver the lap time that we needed to get through. And it was very tight too: we were missing a tenth to make Q2 so there’s very little in it. I think we had more potential. There were a few more tenths in the car today. I will now focus on racing well tomorrow.”

OTMAR SZAFNAUER, CEO & TEAM PRINCIPAL

“It’s been a disappointing qualifying session overall. Lance was caught up in traffic towards the end of Q1 and didn’t get a clear lap. Sergio’s day was compromised by the contact with the wall in final practice, which deprived him of track time and forced the gearbox change. He was on the cusp of making the cut for Q3 but will now incur a grid drop for the new gearbox. While I don’t feel we’ve shown our true potential today, I remain optimistic that we can have a better Sunday. The long run pace is encouraging and we will play the long game tomorrow to take any opportunities that come up.”

Alfa Romeo

It can get pretty dark at night in Singapore. Forget the 1,500 light bulbs bringing day-like brightness to the Marina Bay circuit – when things do not go your way, the shadows are quick to engulf you.

Our Friday was a pretty bleak affair – especially when the lights truly went out at one point. Missing out on a chunk of track time in FP1 due to an electrical issue in the garage and more than one second adrift of our direct rivals, the mood wasn’t the best in our team’s camp as Friday came to a close. And then the lights went back on.

It is testament to the hard work of our crew and engineers, both trackside and back in Hinwil, that we bounced back dramatically on Saturday. Antonio closed Q2 just a little more than 0.1s away from P10 and a ticket to Q3. He will start the race in P11, with a free choice of tyres and a good shot at another points finish. Kimi will line up only one row behind him, ready to put up a fight. The Singapore Grand Prix, one of the most gruelling events on the calendar, is going to be a long race. Safety Cars are just one mistake away, strategy a crucial variable. Opportunities abound.

Even when our weekend looked compromised, we kept pushing – and now we’re in the battle to bring home some points. The lights are back on, and now we have to make the most of the brightness.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

“Yes, this is not an easy weekend for us, but still I would like to stick to the positives. After FP3 we were nearly a second behind the Renaults, in Qualifying Antonio missed Q3 by only 0.1 seconds against them. So our recovery today was great and given Perez’s grid penalty we’ll start from P11 and P13 which means there are definitely a few points up for grabs.”

Kimi Räikkönen

“This hasn’t been an easy weekend for us so far. The car is improving step by step but still we’re not fast enough. I don’t know if it is about the tyres, sometimes we seem to have grip but then it goes away and that makes it hard to feel confident and push properly. The long runs yesterday have shown more consistency so hopefully the race will be a bit easier for us.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“It hasn’t been the smoothest weekend so far, so to qualify so close to the top ten is a decent result. I think I could have improved a little in my fastest lap, but looking at the pace of the Renaults and McLarens, it would have been very difficult to beat them. Starting in P11 tomorrow, because of Perez’s penalty, means we are the first of the cars with a free choice of tyres and that can be an advantage. We saw the softs degrade a lot yesterday, so we can pick another compound and make a good strategy out of it. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow, but if we take any chance we get, we can finish this weekend positively with some points.”

Mercedes

- Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualify P2 and P5 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit
- Lewis claimed his sixth front row start in Singapore in P2
- Valtteri will start the Singapore GP from P5
- Both drivers set their best Q2 times on the Soft tyre and will start Sunday’s race on this tyre

Lewis Hamilton

“I don’t think we were expecting the Ferraris to be so quick today, they’ve clearly made some improvements to their car and it’s working really well, so fair play to them. We had a deficit after the first run in Q3 and I was sitting in the garage thinking: Oh my God, it’s a second – where am I going to find a second?

“But all you can do is tighten your seat belt and launch the car through those corners, and I managed to improve by about second. I gave it everything I had tonight, but I couldn’t find any more time. Nonetheless, I’m really glad to be on the front row and I hope that I can fight tomorrow with the Ferraris – it’s going to be a tough one, but not impossible.

Valtteri Bottas

“This is a disappointing result because I think we had the possibility to achieve more today. I felt much more comfortable in the car in qualifying than I did in any other session of the weekend. I was actually pretty happy after Q1, thinking that we might be able to fight for a spot on the front row today.

“But the Ferraris just kept getting quicker and quicker, they kept improving their times and ultimately we just couldn’t match them. Unfortunately, Q3 was pretty messy for me; I never managed to get the ideal tyre preparation because I was stuck in traffic on both of my out-laps, which compromised my timed laps.

“Tomorrow will be tricky, starting fifth is far from ideal, but we’ll go into the race with a fighting spirit. There’s usually a lot of action in Singapore, so we will see if there are any opportunities and try and make the best of it.

Toto Wolff

“That was a tricky qualifying session for us. We needed to get every detail right between the out-laps, the tyre warm-up and track position, and we didn’t quite manage that when it counted today. Likewise, Ferrari were very strong: as usual, they were gaining time on us along the straights, but they were also very competitive through the corners all the way through the lap.

“We have Lewis on the front row and Valtteri back in fifth: our car is strong in race trim and although overtaking is difficult here, this is a very long race where much can happen and keeping the tyres in good shape will be key. We will be targeting strong starts and aiming to move forward from there with both cars.”

Andrew Shovlin

“We could have done a better job of giving our drivers good out-laps. We seemed to need a faster lap than the others to bring the tyres in but as soon as we left the garage we’d have a group of cars roll out in front of us and end up starting the lap with tyres that were out of the temperature window.

“We decided to go late for the final run in Q3 which risked us getting caught out with a yellow flag but even then we had another car leave just ahead. We’ll have a look at how we could have handled it more effectively as both cars could have found more time today, especially Valtteri who had a really strong start to the sessions but didn’t get good track position for any of his last three runs.

“The pace of the others is a bit of a surprise; Ferrari a bit quicker than we expected and Red Bull a bit slower. We have to assume Ferrari have solved some of the issues they have had in cornering this year as you can’t get pole here otherwise. However, we looked pretty good on the long runs yesterday and our car seems to be kind on the tyres.

“There’s always opportunity here as the race is so unpredictable with incidents and safety cars. It’s difficult to manage as you need to balance the requirement to build a gap with the need to keep the tyres in good shape for restarts. Hopefully that will create a bit of opportunity for us tomorrow as we’d like to leave here with more than a second and fifth place.”

Williams

- George Russell qualified 19th and Robert Kubica 20th for the Singapore Grand Prix
- George set his best time of the session, a 1:40.867 to finish P19
- Robert posted a 1:41.186 on his only flying lap of the session to finish P20

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer

Qualifying was ultimately frustrating as neither driver had the best opportunity to demonstrate the pace of the car. For George, his final out-lap was compromised by being in traffic, which hindered his tyre preparation. Meanwhile, Robert had a small issue with the car during the quick garage turnaround following a visit to the FIA weighbridge. The short delay meant he left the garage later than intended. His out-lap was good and he was able to prepare the tyres as he wanted but he was further delayed in the final corners by the traffic ahead. Although the TV footage shows that he started the lap before the lights went red, the official timing, which is the final arbitrator in such matters, unfortunately showed that he had missed the end of the session by 0.2s. Reluctantly, we had to tell Robert to abort his lap as taking the chequered flag twice would have led to further sanction from the stewards.

It is frustrating for everyone in the team, but we knew that to have a chance of progressing from Q1 we had to take some risks. On this occasion, we were not rewarded. We will analyse what happened and improve as a result. However, tomorrow there is still an opportunity to race the cars ahead of us on the grid and our immediate focus is on how best to achieve this.

George Russell

We decided to risk it and go as late as possible to get the best from the circuit. Unfortunately, lots of other drivers were trying to do the same and my warm up lap was 20 or 30 seconds slower than every other I have done this week. When I started the lap I almost spun off as I had no temperature in the tyres, so from the first corner I knew that the lap was pretty much ruined. It was a shame as we had a small chance of a good result, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Robert Kubica

We improved the car balance for qualifying and I was a bit surprised, so probably under drove a few corners on my first lap. I knew I had a second set of new tyres and the track evolution was pretty big, but we had a problem with the refuelling between the runs and left the garage too late. Unfortunately, I took the chequered flag before opening my final lap. It’s a shame but that’s how it is. The race will be a big challenge. The track is demanding both physically and mentally. It is also hard on the tyres and the car, so it will be a tough one.

Red Bull

MAX VERSTAPPEN

“Before the weekend we hoped to qualify higher than the second row but as soon as we were on track we quickly realised that Ferrari and Mercedes were very fast. Yesterday you could see that we all had more to come but clearly they stepped it up more than we did and we didn’t have the pace to challenge for pole. Balance wise the car felt pretty decent but we just didn’t have enough grip which we need to look into. I didn’t expect Ferrari to be on pole but they did a really good job and we will have to work harder. We came here wanting to fight for the front row and P4 feels a bit disappointing on a track like this where we hoped to be quicker but it was the best we could do and at least we are ahead of one Mercedes. Let’s see, as anything can happen in the race tomorrow.”

ALEX ALBON

“I felt like the car was getting away from me a little bit in Q1 and I was chasing a bit of balance. Then towards the final run we changed a few things, the set-up felt better and I started to get my confidence back as the car’s performance improved. That’s all part of the learning curve and I’m understanding more and more about how to make the car go faster around this track. Strategy will be important tomorrow and the tyres don’t look like they’re holding on that well. The track is also very technical so I’m expecting a long, hard race. Of course I would have liked to have finished a little higher up today and there is still work to do, but overall I felt it wasn’t a bad result. I will focus on the positives and take a cold bath before the race and be ready to fight from P6.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal

“After both Alex and Max progressed easily through Q1 and Q2 Ferrari found some incredible pace on their first run in Q3 which looked very difficult to beat. Max was able to improve on his second run but unfortunately, with Hamilton also improving Max dropped from P3 to P4 and will start on the second row of the grid. Alex has built on a positive weekend to qualify P6 which is his career best qualifying and is a good effort for his first time here in Singapore. We had hoped to be higher up the order for tomorrow’s race, but it wasn’t to be. A lot can happen on a street circuit, as we have seen here before, so it should be an interesting grand prix tomorrow evening.”

Ferrari

Tonight we witnessed two fantastic laps from a couple of drivers on top of their game, getting the most out of the SF90, which itself seemed to have improved even on high downforce tracks like this one. Charles Leclerc took his fifth pole position of the season and of his Formula 1 career, while Sebastian Vettel will line up third on the grid, beaten to second place by just 29 thousandths by Lewis Hamilton.

Q1. Having gone well in the final free practice session, Charles and Sebastian ran Soft tyres throughout qualifying. On his first run, the Monegasque did a 1’38”014 which got him safely through to Q2, while Sebastian got caught in traffic on his way to a 1’38”939. Both drivers did a second flying lap. Charles did not improve but Sebastian got through to the next session with a 1’38”374.

Q2. Leclerc immediately posted an excellent 1’36”930 while Vettel stopped the clocks in 1’37”305. They went out again and got down to 1’36”650 and 1’36”720 respectively to comfortably make it to the final 12 minutes to decide the top ten places on the grid.

Q3. Seb and Charles went out on new Softs to fight for pole. The German got a really good first lap in 1’36”437, which was the target for the rest to aim for, even though he “kissed” the wall with left rear wheel, but with no damage to the car. Leclerc encountered traffic but still posted a 1’36”791. In the final minutes, both SF90s went back out on track: Sebastian was unable to improve, but Charles produced an amazing lap in 1’36”217, which not even Lewis Hamilton could match, although the Englishman did manage to lap a whisker faster than Vettel.

Statistics. Thanks to today’s fifth pole, his third in a row, achieved in a record 22 days, Charles now has more number one starts in 2019 than any other driver and this is also the sixth of the year for the team, as Sebastian was on pole in Canada. This is pole number 225 for the Italian squad. Tomorrow’s 61 laps produce a race distance of 308.706 km, however very often here, the appearance of the Safety Car means the race ends before full distance once it hits the maximum two hour time limit.

Charles Leclerc

“Coming to Singapore, we expected to have a difficult weekend. I struggled with the car yesterday and was not satisfied with my driving. I knew that there was more to extract and focused on the improvements I had to make on myself to do a better job today.

Pole felt out of reach but this morning, the car came alive and felt great. The team in our factory in Maranello did an incredible job to make this result possible by giving us the high-downforce package we need on this track.

The lap itself was not perfect. I made some mistakes and there were some close calls. To finish it like this just feels amazing. I have to keep my head down now and stay focused. It is difficult to overtake here, so the start will be the most important part of the race for me. I hope it will be an exciting one.”

Sebastian Vettel

“I’m not completely satisfied with my Q3, as I wasn’t able to improve on my second attempt. I made a mistake in sector 1 and I realised I was not improving, so I decided to abort the lap. It started off very well, but I wasn’t able to put together the lap I potentially had. Overall, first and third is great for the team and even if I cannot be entirely happy we can say that we were able to extract the most from today.

The new parts we have on the car worked as expected this weekend, since we are not losing out in the corners to the extent that we were in in Hungary, a track quite similar to this. We were able to extract more performance and also, in terms of race pace, I think we can be competitive.

Yesterday we suffered with a lack of front grip, but tonight as the temperature dropped, it was better for us, the balance also improved from yesterday to today. The race will be really long but I think we could have some opportunities.”

Mattia Binotto Team Principal

“Today things went better than we had hoped. After the two wins in Spa-Francorchamps and Monza we all came out here somehow hoping to continue the momentum and do something special, and somehow we did it. We brought a new aero package here, which proved positive but more importantly, it shows that our development is going in the right direction. We have clearly identified our weaknesses and we are addressing them, which is also useful for next year. I still believe that our rivals are very strong and that we need to improve in some areas but at least we are on the right path.

Charles set an impressive pole by extracting the maximum from the car, which around here is extremely tricky and he took some risks. He hasn’t put a foot wrong and has improved his confidence throughout the season.

It was a shame for Sebastian, who had a fantastic first attempt and was doing very well in the second. He could have easily been on the front row and has proved again today that he can be very fast and that’s very important for him.

But the race is tomorrow, we should not forget that, and starting at the front in Singapore is always very important. What we achieved today is very good”.

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