Bahrain GP - Saturday - Team Quotes

Valtteri Bottas, Bahrain GP 2014

Valtteri Bottas, Bahrain GP 2014 

 © Active Pictures

Red Bull-Renault

Daniel Ricciardo (3rd, 1:34.051): "Today was nice, tomorrow will be less nice with the ten place penalty, but I was really happy with qualifying. I think through all the runs and on both tyres I was happy with my performance. We may have saved one set of tyres compared to the others, so that's good, hopefully I'm going to need it tomorrow for coming through the pack; hopefully it will help us. I did the best I could today, so for that I'm pleased. I think Seb and I will both be charging hard tomorrow and will aim to put on a good race."

Sebastian Vettel (11th, 1:34.985): "We weren't quick enough today. I was pretty happy yesterday, but I think this morning didn't help us when I spun off and did some damage to the car. It's hard to say how big the impact of that was, as once you start qualifying you just get your head down and try to do the best you can. It was quite tight with Kimi and there wasn't a lot missing to get to Q3, but that's how it goes. We get an extra set of tyres tomorrow and I think in the race things will calm down and we'll be able to be a bit more consistent and attack for some good points. I think our speed is okay on a longer run - and actually on a shorter run too, as Dan has shown today. It will be hard to overtake some cars tomorrow, but we will try our best."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A superb lap from Daniel to finish qualifying in third. It's unfortunate he has to take the ten place penalty, but nonetheless a really impressive qualifying performance from him today. Unfortunately Sebastian's qualifying was plagued by a couple of issues that cost him straight line speed and some compromised downshifts. Hopefully that can be rectified overnight. Sebastian will start tenth tomorrow and, with freedom of choice of tyres, it still puts us in a reasonable position for the race."

Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Again a tough session today and quite different for our drivers. We had to work on Seb's car before qualy and had to face several issues. Seb started in a downgraded mode since we found a damaged wastegate and then the team experienced some problems with the downshifts. We were able to manage during the session until the last run of Q2. Dan again extracted the most from the car to get close to Mercedes. We are clearly in the challenger situation with two silver cars in front as a target. We know what we have to achieve to get back to the front and that's what we are focused on night and day. Tomorrow will be tricky race starting in the middle and again we'll ask a lot from both drivers to get back to the front."

Mercedes GP

Nico Rosberg (1st, 1:33.185): "It's fantastic to be on pole again here in Bahrain. I really enjoy the track and I won my GP2 Series title here so it has some pretty special memories for me. We've had a good weekend so far and I've been able improve my pace throughout the practice sessions so I was hoping for a strong qualifying. It's so difficult to get everything completely right with all the new technology and set-up requirements on the car but I felt really comfortable this evening and was able to put some great laps together. I'm looking forward to the race as I had a good run on high fuel but we're going to need to be careful with tyre degradation."

Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:33.464): "Second place is pretty good for us today. I made a mistake on my last lap which was a shame but it's great for the team to have both cars on the front row. They've done a fantastic job this weekend with the set-up simulations and we did a lot of testing here before the season started which has helped. The car has felt good so far but I definitely felt more comfortable in practice than I did this evening in qualifying. I'm not really sure why but we'll have a good look at the data tonight and see if there is anything we can identify before the race tomorrow. Congratulations to Nico today, he's done a great job so far this weekend and nailed a really quick lap in qualifying. I'm happy that it's my team-mate there on pole and not someone else!"

Paddy Lowe: "It's extremely satisfying to see that our car has the performance to take both slots on the front row for the first time under these new regulations. Our pace was evident from the beginning of Q1 and it was good to watch our drivers competing so closely throughout the sessions. Nico drove a superb lap on his first run in Q3 and Lewis clearly sensed he had to push to the limit to match his team-mate. Unfortunately this lead to a mistake at the first corner but his initial lap was still good enough to maintain second. It's been a good day and we look forward to seeing if we can match that performance in the race tomorrow."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "To have both cars occupy the front row for the first time this season is a great achievement for the team. As we've seen all weekend, we are fortunate to have two drivers at the top of their game. They are pushing each other every step of the way and driving our team forwards with them. Our performance this weekend has been strong throughout the practice sessions and we must now maintain it through the biggest challenge of all in tomorrow evening's race. No matter how satisfied you might be on Saturday, Sunday can be an entirely different scenario. We have seen some strong performances from our competitors tonight and there is no room for complacency."

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 1:34.368): "I am reasonably pleased with my qualifying, because up until this morning, I did not feel completely comfortable in the car, but the faith I put in what we had at our disposal was paid back with this result. We are improving in all areas, on the engine, data acquisition, electronics and the new parts fitted to the car have given me a better feeling from the front end. Sure, we are not yet where we want to be, but I think we are on the right path and we have the right people to give us every possibility to continue to move forward. It's hard to say how tomorrow's race will go, because in the simulation done yesterday, I was struggling on the Medium tyre, while the balance was better on the Soft. We know we can't fight with Mercedes, but today's result gives me more confidence than at the previous races and I will do my best to bring home a good result."

Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:34.992): "We tried our best as usual today and now we need to wait for the car to come back from parc ferme to work out why there was a drop in power in Q3. In winter testing here we had already seen that this circuit is particularly suited to the Mercedes powered cars, because the long straights allow them to use their top end performance. But given how free practice and the first two parts of qualifying had gone, maybe we could have hoped to be a bit higher up the order. Now, we must think only of doing well tomorrow, especially at the start, given we are on the clean side because of Ricciardo's penalty. Then we must work out the best strategy, choosing between two or three stops. A lot will depend on how the tyres perform: I think that, in lower temperatures than we have seen so far, the Medium could throw up some surprises."

Pat Fry: "The results we've seen so far here are not a surprise because we knew we would be racing on the defensive and that we would see a bigger gap to the Mercedes, who are currently on their own out in front. The track characteristics do not highlight the potential of our car and the long straights favour the teams that can get the highest top speed. To do a perfect lap here is always difficult and today, Fernando and Kimi found themselves fighting four teams, all within a few tenths. Qualifying was complicated for both drivers and Kimi did a good lap, confirming the improvement we've been looking for, while with Fernando, we didn't manage to exploit all our potential. Because of Ricciardo's penalty, both drivers start on the clean side of the track and we must try and make the most of it. It looks like being a tough race, fighting all the way, with reliability and fuel consumption playing a very important role."

Lotus-Renault

Romain Grosjean (16th, 1:35.908): "It was tight to get to Q2. We knew beforehand that we were around the cut off, so it was great to get through. If we look at the whole weekend we've been struggling on the track. This evening the car felt more together and more driveable - of course sixteenth is not great and we're never going to be satisfied with that, but I'm happy with the way the team has been working and pushing in the right direction. We have to try things and try to understand why we are where we are and why we are not unlocking our potential. I hope the race pace will be a little bit better than the qualifying pace and then we can put up a good fight in the race."

Pastor Maldonado (17th, 1:36.663): "We're not here to fight for P16 and P17 so it's a bit disappointing to see ourselves where we are in qualifying at the moment. We just need to be focused and try to push even more on the development of the car to catch the people around us. At the moment it's fair to say our car is a bit on the slow side and quite difficult to drive. However we've made an important step forwards in terms of reliability. There have been no problems this weekend which is quite positive so fingers crossed for tomorrow. For race pace we look much more competitive than in qualifying. I'm looking forward to the race and seeing what is possible."

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "Our race pace is better in relative terms than our qualifying pace. We expected to struggle on pace and that's exactly what happened. Both drivers performed superbly in a car which is currently lacking pace over a single lap. We've had the first weekend of good reliability - so far - so we've been able to understand the car much better. We understand that qualifying pace is an area we need to focus on. We had no particular technical issues, which has meant we've been able to concentrate, like yesterday, on understanding the car's performance. Our greatest challenge has been unlocking pace in qualifying conditions. There is clearly a lot of scope for improvement in this area and that is where we will have a strong focus looking to the next race. Our conclusions so far this weekend are that our race pace is better in relative terms than our qualifying pace. The evening conditions suited us better today, and the race takes place in the evening so that's a positive. We'll be working overnight on the best strategies for both drivers and hopefully we can get some solid running tomorrow. We're aiming to capitalise on every opportunity the race presents."

McLaren-Mercedes

Jenson Button (7th, 1:34.387): "Although we haven't qualified where we'd ideally like to have done, as a team I reckon we've done a more or less perfect job so far this weekend. It was very tight out there, we did all we could, and we ended up very close to P4; all you can do is get the best out of the car, and that's what we did here today. The four fly-away races are all about picking up points as and when you can. We've done that pretty well the first two races, and we've got to continue doing that. We're not the quickest, so we've got to make the best of what we have and what we are. A podium finish tomorrow would be great, but it'll be very difficult because the first two places are already fully booked as long as the two Mercedes cars are reliable. But let's be positive: we've got a fighting chance of making up places tomorrow, and third place is only three spots better than where we'll be starting from [sixth]."

Kevin Magnussen (9th, 1:34.712): "I'm not entirely happy with my qualifying position today, to be honest. We'd hoped that the cool temperatures would confer more of an advantage to us, and help us a little bit more, but it didn't work out that way. Having said that, Jenson did a very good job, and got a bit more out of the car than I did, and I think that's probably the most anyone could have got out of it today. Our race pace might be better than our qualifying pace was, and we should hopefully be a bit more competitive tomorrow as a result of that. We should be in the thick of the fight for points. But, first of all, I need to make a clean start tomorrow. I don't want any damage to the front wing at the first corner!"

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Obviously, you're never happy when your cars qualify seventh and ninth, and it's not much of a consolation to know that they'll be starting sixth and eighth following the demotion of Daniel [Ricciardo]. But, having said that, both Jenson and Kevin did a good job here in Bahrain today, keeping their heads during what was a fraught and frenetic qualifying hour, smoothly moving through Q1 and Q2, and securing Q3 grid positions from which we expect them to be able to mount measured yet combative challenges for world championship points in tomorrow evening's race. It's worth noting that, discounting the two fastest cars, Q3 was very tightly bunched, very close indeed in fact. So, all in all, we're expecting both our drivers to be able to play a significant part in the battle for world championship points tomorrow."

Force India-Mercedes

Sergio Perez (5th, 1:34.346): "It was definitely a great qualifying session and the team did a fantastic job to give me such a competitive car. After the problems we had in the first two races I feel this has been the first real opportunity to show the potential of the car. I believe we could have been even closer to the front, but I couldn't warm up my brakes enough on the out lap of my final run in Q3 and so I didn't improve. We're already thinking about tomorrow and I think the clear target must be to aim for the podium. We're in the best possible position to fight at the front and I'm going to make the most of it. I've got some very good memories of this track but tomorrow I want to create even better ones."

Nico Hulkenberg (12th, 1:35.116): "My lap in Q2 was not the best one. I made a mistake in turn 11 and ran wide on the exit kerb, which completely ruined my lap. I lost a couple of tenths and that made the difference between making it into Q3 and missing out. I do believe the chance for a good result tomorrow is still there and I feel optimistic. We showed on Friday that we have good long run pace and I have two new sets of soft tyes for the race. The strategy decisions for tomorrow will be important to help me move forward and with the cooler conditions it should be easier on the tyres compared to Malaysia."

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Qualifying under the floodlights looked spectacular tonight and Sahara Force India put on a good show. Sergio has been quick all weekend and his qualifying performance today puts us in a strong position to challenge for a great finish tomorrow. It looks like he will start from fourth place, which is the best starting position for a Force India since the 2012 German Grand Prix [Hulkenberg started fourth]. Nico also should have been up there with Sergio in the top ten, but he made a small mistake on his final lap in Q2. It's disappointing but tomorrow is the most important day and hopefully he can demonstrate the competitive long run pace we saw during practice yesterday."

Sauber-Ferrari

Esteban Gutierrez (15th, 1:35.891): "I am satisfied with the result of qualifying today. We managed to put together some fast laps. I want to thank my team; they did a good job in finding the right balance from my feedback. We need to look forward and still work hard, because we are missing quite a lot of pace to be where we want to be. I have a great team and we are all working hard. Today it was the optimum I could get out of the car on my last really good lap. With the lower temperatures the tyres are behaving in a different way. I feel positive for the race tomorrow, but with our pace we cannot be in the top ten at the moment. However, I am sure if we work consistently we can get some points in the future."

Adrian Sutil (18th, 1:36.840): "Today there was not much to achieve. However, making it into Q2 could have been possible. Unfortunately, we are still too slow on the straights, and I am personally struggling with the fact the car is overweight. I only had one lap, as I had traffic on my second run. This resulted in aborting my final lap. We have to concentrate on tomorrow, and we need to be better in the race. However, it will be difficult to finish in the points. We are working on the car, and I think when we get to Europe we will be able to move further up the grid. I am looking forward to that and I will put all my efforts into it."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "With our performance we are not where we want to be, and this is being reflected in the qualifying result on a track which, as well as everything else, has traditionally been quite a challenge for our team. We will do our best in the race, but first and foremost we will focus on implementing a development step which will take us forward."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "In FP3 Adrian did some runs on high fuel in order to recover from the time he lost yesterday. In qualifying our goal was to make it to Q2, which worked out for Esteban, but not for Adrian, who had to abort his final quick lap due to traffic. This qualifying result reflects more or less where we realistically are. Technically everything went according to plan, but the limiting factor is our performance, which we have to work on. As this track is quite heavy on fuel consumption, fuel management might, therefore, be a factor in the race."

Toro Rosso-Renault

Daniil Kvyat (13th, 1:35.145): "I am a little bit disappointed and also surprised with only making it to Q2, because we were fast enough to get into Q3 looking at how the rest of the weekend went so far. But unfortunately the others were faster and we didn't manage to improve enough so it wasn't a very satisfying Qualifying session. We will have a look at this tonight and hopefully we can have another strong race tomorrow."

Jean-Eric Vergne (14th, 1:35.286): "Today the team did again a very good job to give me a car that was more suitable for me and I had a good feeling in Q2. We made a good step forward compared to yesterday, even though I felt down in power and we will have to investigate the reasons for this. Anyway, we have to stay positive, also because starting 14th on the grid is not too bad and everything is possible. We just have to keep our head down and stay focussed."

James Key, Technical Director: "To put it frankly, we are disappointed with where we ended up in Qualifying because we felt that we had a good chance of making it into Q3, even though we knew, especially from FP3, that it would have been incredibly tight. If you look at the differences in lap times it was very close. Unfortunately with JEV we needed to make an engine adjustment that cost him some lap time and Daniil had a problem in Turn 1, which damaged his first sector time and this was enough to put him out of the top ten. So it was a shame, but it is tomorrow that counts."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault: "It's a shame to be P13 and P14 as we had the pace for Q3 today. We've steadily improved and we know the long run pace is competitive so we'll see what we can do in the race tomorrow."

Williams-Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas (4th, 1:34.247): "It was a good qualifying session; I think we got the maximum potential out of the car today. After the Red Bull penalty we are third and after the last two races it's good to see the full potential of the car on a Saturday. We haven't done too many laps this weekend so there are things we can still improve for the race, but if we get the strategy right and take the opportunities that come our way we should be in for a good result."

Felipe Massa (8th, 1:34.511): "That was not a very easy qualifying. I made a few mistakes on my lap in Q3 as I had a bit of oversteer, so lost some time and I really should have been quicker. We will start P7 tomorrow after Ricciardo's penalty and it's a long race so a lot could happen. We look competitive which is good to see, and we are in the fight for tomorrow."

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "The team did an excellent job throughout the whole of qualifying, so we are very happy. We have good race pace which we showed in testing and with Ricciardo's penalty we'll be P3 and P7 on the grid, which is a good step forward towards where we want to be. We are also starting on the clean side of the grid, which is an added advantage. The FW36 has good overtaking capabilities so we are feeling positive for tomorrow. Overall, it's been a good day to start off my time at Williams."

Caterham-Renault

Kamui Kobayashi (19th, 1:37.085): "FP3 was a much better session than we'd had yesterday. The guys had worked until just before curfew to get the cars ready and they did really well to prepare for Saturday. The car was performing pretty well in FP3, a little oversteer, but that was to be expected with the track temperatures in the afternoon, but we didn't want to make any changes as it was obviously going to be cooler in the evening. In quali my first run was good - one flying lap on the options that I didn't think I could improve on so I boxed and we waited until there were about three minutes left and then went out for one more flying lap. I definitely got everything I could out of the car on that run and finished about four-tenths from Q2, a realistic view of where we are now with performance. That's the first time this season we've really had a chance to extract maximum performance from the car, after a good Friday and Saturday, so it's clear what we need to do to improve. We saw last week in Malaysia we have good race pace, but we need to bridge that gap to be able to fight in quali with teams like Lotus and Sauber, and that's the target. For tomorrow I think we're in a much better position than we were in the first two races, particularly with the work we did yesterday, so if we can continue this better reliability the race could be a good one for us."

Marcus Ericsson (21st, 1:37.875): "We definitely made some improvements overnight and I want to thank everyone in the team for the efforts they put in to move on from what had been a bit of a difficult Friday. My final run on the options was the best of the weekend so far - we'd improved the braking and the overall balance so I went into quali feeling pretty positive about being able to fight with our nearest rivals. We started Q1 on a set of new options but I had a bit of a lock-up that cost me quite a bit of time on the first run. I wasn't going to get any more out of that set of tyres so we boxed and then went for another final run towards the end of the session. My final lap was definitely my best of the weekend but I didn't have a great outlap so I know I could have found more, but overall I'm reasonably pleased with how Saturday has gone. It's been a much better weekend so far with reliability and with the improvements we made today I'm now focused on having another solid race tomorrow. I'm learning all the time, and with the mileage we've now done here in Bahrain I want to make tomorrow's race my strongest yet - do that and this will have been a good weekend."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault: "It was a good qualifying session from an engine point of view as we were able to run the maximum performance. We proved that our package can be competitive as we were not too far from the car in front and our speed down the straight is good, which demonstrates that we have improved a lot since the final test in Bahrain. We had a couple of small issues with the ERS system on Marcus' car on the first run but they didn't affect the PU performance. Unfortunately Marcus did not manage to maximize his final quick lap and may have lost roughly four-tenths, but I don't think it would have made a major difference to the final positions."

Marussia-Ferrari

Jules Bianchi (20th, 1:37.310): "The car balance was pretty good today. We lost some time on the straight - 0.3s - which I thought we had got on top of and ultimately this cost us getting ahead of Kobayashi. It's something we need to look at as we need to get back in front of the Caterhams, not losing out to them. We will hope to recover a little bit of ground tomorrow but it will be tough."

Max Chilton (22nd, 1:37.913): "I'm a little bit disappointed after that qualifying session as I thought we had done enough to edge a bit closer to Q2. When everything comes together we aren't that far away and if you look at the overall spread of times we have made some progress. We didn't achieve everything we could today, but having said that, I think tomorrow we'll have a better showing."

John Booth, Team Principal: "Although the mood in the Team after qualifying was a little downbeat given our final positions, we can at least say that this weekend we have been closest to the midpoint of Q2 than we have previously seen in dry conditions. Things around us are much tighter and a matter of a few tenths is now making a significant difference to grid position, and ultimately, whether you take part in Q2. We came into this weekend off the back of a tough time in Sepang but it is fair to say that we have improved the car. The drivers are happier with the overall balance and it now feels that we are able to start to focus more on the setup of the car going forward. In this respect the test next week is a big opportunity to improve the pace of the car, which should help in qualifying. Prior to that we have a race to focus on and, ultimately, given the narrow pace spread between the cars, it will be a tight race, so we will have to ensure we get everything out of the car tomorrow."


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