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Australian GP 2013

MARCH 17, 2013

Saturday Team Quotes

Red Bull-Renault

Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:27.407): "Obviously I was very happy with the result, but with the adjusted schedule we can't be too euphoric right now “ in a few hours the race is coming up, so it's head down again to get on with that. Obviously it's a very good result for myself and the team and with Mark in second we have a front row “ it's a surprise after not knowing where we were in winter testing."

Mark Webber (2nd, 1:27.827): "I think with such intense conditions like yesterday and today, it's always easy to make a meal of it, but we didn't. It was slippery yesterday and we came back again today for a very short explosive session; it's all over in a flash. We needed to get things right, I would have liked two laps but we finished up the grid at the right end. The weather can change very quickly here, so it's always hard to make a call."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A fantastic way to start the season with a front row lock out. Both drivers delivered fantastic laps on their one and only lap on slick tyres. It's the best possible starting place with Sebastian on pole and Mark alongside him for the first race of the season. We've only got a few hours until the start of the race, so it's going to be a very busy afternoon for the mechanics."

Thierry Salvi, Renault: "It was quite a tough qualifying session for the first race of the year with the time change. Regarding engine usage we are of course okay with it being the first event. There were no particular issues, Seb and Mark were happy with the engine behaviour and we don't have any issues with temperatures. You can see with the weather that we have to work a lot on the drivability to make sure the drivers are happy."


Felipe Massa (4th, 1:28.490): "Given the difficult conditions we encountered yesterday in the first part of qualifying and then again this morning, I'm reasonably pleased with this fourth place. In such changeable conditions, the slightest inconvenient could see you not make it through the various stages of qualifying. Now we can expect a long and difficult race where the strategy will play “ like always - a key factor. Anyway, starting from a good position is a positive and encouraging sign for the start of this championship."

Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:28.493): "I am very pleased with this result, because if our aim for the year is to reduce the gap to our competitors and start from better positions than we have done in the past two seasons, we can claim to have managed it. After winter testing, it was difficult to draw any conclusions and that was also the case today, with a delayed qualifying and very changeable weather conditions. Once again, Red Bull demonstrated its superiority, but while it's true that we fought with them right down to the last race, for the past two seasons, I am sure that once again this year we will be there to mix it with them, if we do everything perfectly without making mistakes. I think that starting from fifth, a podium finish is a realistic option."


Jenson Button (10th, No Time):

Sergio Perez (15th, 1:39.900):

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal:


Kimi Raikkonen (7th, 1:28.738): "It was an okay qualifying session. We had just one lap on the dry tyres and I got a bit sideways at the end on a damp patch which meant I lost some time so that was a bit disappointing. The car seems to be working well. It had the speed, but when you have only one lap on dry tyres on a damp circuit setting a fast lap is not the easiest thing to do. The weather seems to be changing very quickly, but we've seen that before in Melbourne. It's the same for everybody and it will be in the race too."

Romain Grosjean (8th, 1:29.013): "That has to be one of the trickiest qualifying sessions I've ever had; the delay overnight then really mixed weather today made it a big challenge. Unfortunately we only got one flying lap on the dry tyres in Q3, which was a shame as it's hard to know the limit in these kind of drying conditions. I had a small lock up into Turn 3 which lost me quite a bit of time so it could have been a bit better, but the main thing is we have both cars starting in the points positions. The race is long and it looks like being dry, so let's see what we can do from here."

James Allison, Technical Director: "Reading a drying track like we had today is always very difficult. There was the speed in the car to do better had there been more constant conditions. We're more than adequately placed to put in a good showing this afternoon. We've shown well on heavy fuel in pre-season testing and the start will be interesting on the supersoft tyres. We're expecting it to be cool and dry. The temperatures will make graining an ever present threat, but there's nothing to suggest we shouldn't have a strong race."

Mercedes GP

Lewis Hamilton (3rd, 1:28.087): "The conditions were very tricky out there today and the team did a great job to get us out at the right times. I haven't had the best of weekends so far so I'm happy to have finally put a good lap together today. I've done a lap more than Sebastian on my tyres so I might struggle to go as long on the first stint but I'll give it everything I can in the race this afternoon. The team have worked incredibly hard, both here and at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth, and they deserve a good result. We've got a good baseline to work from with this car but only time will tell where we can go from here."

Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:28.523): "That's a good team result this morning if you compare to where we were at the end of last year, so we have made some good progress over the winter, which is down to the fantastic work of the team back at the factories. However, we can also see that there is still a gap to the quickest team. I was very quick in the wet but later it didn't work out as well on the slicks. The race will be a different story and I expect to have good race pace which will help me gain positions this afternoon."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "The first objective in a qualifying session like that is to be on the right tyre at the right time and the team ran the session as we would hope to. Lewis and Nico both did an excellent job and didn't miss any of the opportunities that came their way. The car seems to be handling well and we will have to see how that develops in the race. Overall, a reasonable start with a busy few hours ahead of us to prepare for the race."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Drying conditions provide more opportunities to do things wrong than right, so we have to compliment the team on the pit wall and in the garage that our session ran so smoothly this morning. To be starting the opening race from third and sixth positions is a first indication that the team has made a step from last year. But the race will provide us with a fuller picture of where we stand right now."


Nico Hulkenberg (11th, 1:38.067): "It was an eventful session. In terms of strategy we probably could have pitted for intermediates, but all up everything went well. P11 is a good starting point for the race."

Esteban Gurierrez (18th, 1:47.776): "Unfortunately I made a mistake and feel sorry for the whole team. I feel very comfortable with the car and this is something that is a step forward for me. Now, of course, I need to avoid this kind of mistake and try to make the most of my potential."

Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "Q3 was possible today, but starting from P11 with a free choice of tyres puts us also in a good position. I think we can have a strong race today."

Force India-Mercedes

Paul di Resta (9th, 1:30.357): "We came here with intentions of reaching Q3 so it's a good way to start the year. I think we got most things right today, especially the timing of the switch to a fresh set of intermediates towards the end of Q2. Ninth position is a good place to be starting and it's on the cleaner side of the track too. It's difficult to predict much for the race, just as it's hard to predict the weather, but we're in a strong place to start the race. Our long runs on Friday looked competitive and consistent so we will go into the race with maximum attack and aiming for points."

Adrian Sutil (12th, 1:38.134): "The track conditions were much better this morning, but it was still tricky and I didn't feel that comfortable on the damp track. The key to Q2 was the timing of your lap and we probably changed a bit too early to the new intermediates because there was only one quick lap in those tyres. I had time for another lap, but my tyres were going off and I could not improve. Even so, I'm quite happy with the session and it's not bad to end up twelfth in my first qualifying session back with the team. I can feel there is more to come and I felt good in the dry conditions on Friday, so I hope we carry that into the race."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "We're feeling pretty positive with our qualifying showing this morning and our performance level is about where we expected. The conditions remained tricky with a damp and drying track, but we managed to get Paul through to Q3 and that was a clear objective. Adrian didn't feel totally comfortable in the wet, but given that this was his first qualifying session for over a year, twelfth place is a good effort. The weather forecast for the rest of the day looks uncertain, but our strong showing on Friday gives us every reason to be optimistic this afternoon. Points should be in reach for both cars and will remain our objective."


Valtteri Bottas (16th, 1:40.290): "It wasn't the easiest qualifying session to start my Formula One career. It was good to get through Q1 yesterday but the conditions were tricky again today as it was getting drier all the time. We tried the supersoft tyre, but unfortunately it didn't allow us to improve our lap time. We will now focus on getting ready for the race later and will aim to do our best to get into a points-scoring position."

Pastor Maldonado (17th, 1:47.614): "It was a difficult qualifying session for us yesterday as the car had very little grip and the conditions were not favourable. We have been working hard to prepare the car for the race and there is still more work to do this season. Our long run pace should mean that we can make up some places from our grid position though so this is now our focus."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "It was a difficult qualifying to start the season for us and we are not where we want to be. Yesterday we struggled in the rain with Pastor qualifying 17th but we are working hard to figure out where our problems are. When the session resumed with Valtteri today, we gambled on a move to the supersoft tyres for his final run in Q2, but the track just didn't dry fast enough for us. We have good race pace though so we are now focusing on that and we'll be fighting hard to deliver some points."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Jean-Eric Vergne (13th, 1:38.778): "Qualifying was going quite well on my first run. However, when I came into the pits after the long first run on Intermediates, I was expecting to fit the same type of tyres again. But the team opted to put me on slicks: I believed they had a better picture of the situation than I did, but it turned out to be the wrong choice and cost me a chance to get into Q3, which is a shame. All the same, thirteenth isn't bad and I'll be aiming for points this afternoon."

Daniel Ricciardo (14th, 1:39.042): "The beginning of the session, when the track was at its dampest, went quite well, but within a couple of laps I was already experiencing problems with the rear of the car and I sensed it would get more difficult as the track dried. I feel we didn't have the set-up quite right and we need to look into that now. It's always tricky in mixed conditions. We were aiming for Q3, but from fourteenth on the grid, there's still a chance of having a good race in a few hours from now."


Giedo van der Garde (21st, 1:49.519):"Honestly I'm disappointed with where we ended up today as we could definitely have finished higher. We made quite a few changes to the car overnight and it felt much better in FP3 so I was feeling good about qualifying. The delays at the start of quali obviously weren't ideal but I was very calm and looking forward to getting out there. It was obviously the same conditions for everybody and it was very tricky out there “ I hit a puddle on my first run and span off which meant I had to pit for a new nose, but the boys did a good job to get me out again quickly and we were looking good. With a few minutes left in Q1 we switched to inters and the car felt great. On my last run I was well up but I had to back off for double yellow flags and that was the end of my chance. It's a shame as I know we'd have finished higher, but sometimes it's like that. Now we have some more work to do to prepare for the race. Starting where we are we just have to make sure we can avoid any problems at the start and concentrate on getting to the end of what will be my first Grand Prix. If it's raining again at least we know what the track's going to be like so I'm looking forward to it."

Charles Pic (22nd, 1:50.626): "Sometimes qualifying goes like it did today. We obviously didn't finish where we wanted to but for much of the session we looked pretty good, especially halfway through the session when we were putting in pretty good times. We made the call to switch to inters with about five minutes left of the session and for the first lap it was very tricky “ there was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on track, but it improved pretty quickly and I was starting to push before I touched the white line which caused me to spin and I made contact with the barrier which meant I had to pit. Until that point I was much faster but didn't have the luck you sometimes need. Our pace was good in the conditions today, similar to a number of cars ahead, but it's obviously important to finish our fastest laps “ today we didn't do that but that speed gives us reason to be positive."


Jules Bianchi (19th, 1:48.147): "These were very challenging conditions for my qualifying debut, especially as none of my limited pre-season testing experience with the Team was in the wet. I can't deny it was disappointing - and a little daunting! Yesterday's dry running showed a lot of promise so it would have been nice to get a better feel for where we are in performance terms, but we just had to make the best of it. In the end though I am very happy with the job we did today and where we have ended up. Clearly we were not able to show our full potential and yet we ended up in the right place relative to the cars around us - both ahead of Caterham and close to the cars ahead. So I look forward to a return to dry conditions - which is what we hope to see tomorrow - and to my first Formula 1 Grand Prix. To be honest, whatever the weather brings, this is an exciting moment for me and one I have been looking forward to for a long time."

Max Chilton (20th, 1:48.909): "I'm pretty pleased with how today has gone when you look at the circumstances. I hadn't really expected to be sitting in the garage for 30 minutes seeing a river forming on the track outside when I'd contemplated my first F1 qualifying experience. With that in mind, I'm really encouraged with how we fared. With the conditions starting to clear a little in the dying minutes of the Q1 session I knew everything hinged on that final lap. We were improving in each sector so I knew we would be okay, it's just a little disappointing that my last lap was affected by the Yellow flag. Now my thoughts turn to tomorrow and I can't wait, rain or shine."

John Booth, Team Principal: "It was a big 'ask' of two rookie drivers to face a qualifying session like the one we've experienced today, but then we have absolute faith in our line-up and that has been rewarded today. Both Jules and Max performed admirably in what must have been very daunting conditions and we are very pleased with where we find ourselves today. I have to admit that we were disappointed to be faced with a wet qualifying. The car looked good in the dry yesterday and we were hoping to use qualifying as the barometer it can be in showcasing relative outright performance. Nevertheless, that's racing and we'll continue to feel encouraged by a very positive start to the weekend - and hopefully the season."