Montreal Qualifying – selected team and driver quotes

Nico Rosberg (1st, Q3 – 1:14.874)

“It’s been a great weekend so far and I’m really pleased with how I have been able to improve my set-up from session to session. Even before Qualifying we made some quite big changes and they worked out perfectly. So I am very happy with starting from pole tomorrow. That was very important as there aren’t many opportunities to overtake here, particularly if you are in the same car. I think it will be a battle between the two of us out there tomorrow as the gap to the other cars was quite big in qualifying today and also on our long runs on Friday were strong. This is such a good track here in Montreal and the fans create a special atmosphere so I hope we can put on a great race tomorrow for them.”

Lewis Hamilton (2nd, Q3 – 1:14.953)
“Nico did a fantastic lap but it wasn’t the greatest qualifying session for me because I went wide a couple of times on my lap, in turns six and eight. It was very close, with just eight-hundredths of a second in it, but Nico did the better job this afternoon. It’s great for the team that we have a one-two on the grid but I am expecting it to be a tough race: it’s not that easy to overtake here, especially in the same car and with Nico being so close on pace. I will do what I can tomorrow and we will be trying to score as many points as we can. I also want to say something about this amazing weekend in Canada. It’s one of the best races of the year, especially because of the fantastic fans who make the atmosphere something special. We love coming here and I hope we can put on a great race tomorrow.”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“It was a really exciting qualifying session, seeing how closely the two drivers were matching each other all the way through. They are pushing each other so hard and, between every part of qualifying, they were looking at overlays of their laps, checking the data and trying to find every little advantage. Nico delivered a perfect Q3 and actually did two laps fast enough for pole position. Lewis lost some time in the middle sector of his final lap and finished less than a tenth behind, which just goes to show there is no room for error when two drivers are fighting on such a high level. It feels like the other teams will give us a hard run tomorrow so it won’t be an easy race. But the priority, like always, is to make sure a Silver Arrow wins.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
“That was another very close qualifying between Nico and Lewis. They were pushing each other right the way through each of the three sessions but, in the end, Nico put together better laps in Q3 and took pole by just eight-hundredths of a second. It was great to get another all-Mercedes front row and to have both drivers performing at such a high level. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we’re hoping for dry weather and looking to get through what is always a very tough race. Tyres, brakes and managing fuel consumption will be the big challenges.”

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel (3rd, Q3 – 1:15.548)

“The start of the last lap wasn’t great. I still didn’t manage to get that first sector right, I didn’t get along with the first two corners very well today. But, after that I tried to take more risk and it worked, so sector two was very good through the two chicanes, especially through the second one; I found a significantly better line and more time compared to previous runs. I then kept it together until the end, so a very good result. It was the maximum we could do – we were very close with those behind, half a second behind the Mercs, but then four cars were within four to five hundredths of a second of each other, so I’m happy to be the quickest of those. Strategy could be a bit of a surprise tomorrow, we’ll have to wait and see what happens but Williams is strong here and the Mercedes powered cars will be looking forward to the straights. I will try to stay as close as I can to the front two and get some tow. If we have a chance to attack them, then we should go for it.”

Daniel Ricciardo (6th, Q3 – 1:15.589)
“It was a bit scrappy on the final run, we made a couple of adjustments and it didn’t quite work out – but that’s hindsight! We were close to third, but not close enough and we paid a bit of a price by being sixth. We’ve made progress throughout the weekend and we were not too far off, but it’s disappointing to just miss out. The times were close, but it could have been better. Hopefully we can get a good start tomorrow and see how we go, the strategy will be interesting.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
“If you’d have offered us third and sixth in qualifying before the weekend, I think we’d have definitely taken it! An excellent final lap from Sebastian, he extracted the most out of the car to line up in P3 and Daniel is right up there too in P6. All things considered, it was a good qualifying.”

Valtteri Bottas (4th, Q3 – 1:15.550)

“We need to be happy with the result. It was really, really close. On the last run there was some traffic which cost the opportunity to improve the time, but luckily I had done a good lap on the first run in Q3. We’ve been competitive all weekend so I’m looking forward to the race. I’m very happy with the car, we’ve made so much progress. I know we can challenge Red Bull here and we have great straight-line speed, so we’ll see.”

Felipe Massa (5th, Q3 – 1:15.578)
“It was a good session, definitely our car shows good performance. It was very tight from position three to six, with five cars in one tenth, so P3 was possible. Unfortunately I didn’t have the perfect lap and it wasn’t enough to be third, but I cannot be disappointed. I feel really happy for the car we have. The race is long so let’s try to do a good one tomorrow, I’m confident we can have a good, competitive race.”

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
“I’m pleased. The guys have done a really good job to get tyre warm-up turned around and make sure the drivers were comfortable in the first sector. I’m pleased with the set-up and the balance, the engineers and drivers have done a great job. There’s just a small bitter taste in my mouth that we’re not third and fourth, but that’s just my personal competitive spirit. It was a good job by the team and the drivers today and now we need to convert this into lots of points tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso (7th, Q3 – 1:15.814)

“The result of qualifying reflects the trend we have seen since the start of the season. As often happens, even if on Friday we are front runners, on Saturday we struggle a bit more. The development package we have brought here in Canada has worked well, the car has improved and I am pleased about that, even if at the moment we are unable to extract all the potential out of the car. Mercedes’ dominance today was not a surprise and the Red Bulls and Williams also did better than us. I think tomorrow’s race will not be easy, as it is hard to overtake at the start here, because there is not enough room through the first two corners. We will also have to do a good job of managing tyre degradation and of choosing the right number of stops. It’s been much hotter than yesterday and the tyre that seemed to be the best to race on, the Soft, today appeared less suited to the conditions than the Supersoft. If, as expected, the hot weather continues, the choice will move towards the latter and that will mean making one more stop.”

Kimi Raikkonen (10th, Q3 – 1:16.214)
“All weekend, I haven’t been completely satisfied with the handling of my car and again today in qualifying I found it difficult. On my only run in Q3, I went out on a new set of Supersofts, but my F14 T was sliding a lot and I couldn’t put together a good lap. Maybe I could have been one or two places higher up, but I don’t think it would have changed much. Even if the updates we tried yesterday worked, we knew it wouldn’t be easy: probably this is one of the tracks that least suits the characteristics of our car. I expect a very long race tomorrow, in which anything could happen. We will try and get a good start and then give it our all.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
“Today we knew we’d be facing a difficult qualifying, but to be honest, we were hoping for something a bit better. We also knew that at this track, we wouldn’t just be fighting Red Bull, but other teams as well who, thanks to the few corners and long straights here, would give us a hard time and that proved to be the case. The session began in particularly high temperatures, almost 20 degrees hotter than yesterday and we struggled more than our rivals to find enough grip with both cars. From a technical point of view Red Bull, thanks to their higher level of downforce and Williams, with the better driveability of the Mercedes engine, were able to get more out of the tyres, which meant they were more competitive than us. Tomorrow, we will try and do all we can to get a good start, although this year it has not been so easy to make the most of the straights for overtaking. We will definitely have to keep an eye on tyre degradation, which has a bigger effect here, especially with the rears.”

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne (8th, Q3 – 1:16.162)

“Today we have done great in qualifying. The field is tight so you really have to drive the perfect lap, getting the best out of the car. The team and I managed to achieve our goals and this is the result that rewards all the hard work that we have put in. To start from 8th position on the grid is very promising and I will certainly do my best to finish the race and bring home some good points.”

Daniil Kvyat (15th, Q2 – 1:16.713)
“I’m disappointed with how my qualifying turned out today. After the limited running yesterday, the team worked hard overnight and everything seemed to be working fine in this morning’s FP3 session. Then during qualifying I found the car difficult to drive and I experienced some brake problems. We will have to analyse this closely tonight, but I’m sure we will be fine for tomorrow. It is not ideal to start from P15, but as always, I will give it my 100 percent and aim to finish the race as high as possible.”

Phil Charles, Toro Rosso chief race engineer
“After having had a challenging day yesterday, we managed to have a productive FP3 session this morning. JEV did a brilliant job in qualifying, producing an excellent Q3 lap to secure P8 for tomorrow’s race. He looked strong all throughout the weekend, so it’s great to see him confirm his performance with a strong qualifying result. Daniil on the other hand was a bit unlucky today. The fact that he was not able to get much running done yesterday, probably hurt him a little bit today even though he did well in FP3. He has shown good potential, so I’m confident that both our drivers will have a strong race tomorrow.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 track support leader
“Today was a good day, with the clean data from FP3 helping us to optimize qualifying. We used the power unit to the maximum and JEV did a great job to get into the top ten. It was a shame we could not have given Daniil some more mileage yesterday as it could have helped him out today, but that is not to take away from a strong STR-Renault team performance.”

Jenson Button (9th, Q3 – 1:16.182)

“We’d been trying to adjust the balance all through the weekend, but we really struggled in free practice this morning. Still, it’s a positive that the changes we made for qualifying were a clear step forward.

“My fastest time in Q3 was almost good enough for eighth – I lost out by just two-hundredths – but ninth is probably better in terms of starting position on the grid, because it’ll be on the clean side.

“Looking ahead to tomorrow, it’s going to be hard to read the tyres’ behaviour in these very hot conditions. They’re very easy to grain, so if you can look after them throughout a stint, it could make a big difference in the race.

“As a race team, we’re extremely good at thinking on our toes – so we’ll make sure we’re ready for every scenario tomorrow.”

Kevin Magnussen (12th, Q2 – 1:16.310)
“Jenson probably got the maximum from the car today. But Q2 was a bit tougher for me.

“The car actually feels good – there’s not much I’d do to change the set-up – but the car’s lack of downforce means that we’re not quick enough.

“Tomorrow, it’ll be important to look after the tyres – especially the option, which will struggle in the hotter conditions.

“I really don’t know what to expect on Sunday: we’re starting just outside the top 10; with a good race, I hope we can score some points.

“All I know is that I’ll go into tomorrow absolutely fighting.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
“Qualifying is not as important here as it is at some other places, so there’s still plenty to play for in what will almost certainly be an extremely tough, demanding and unpredictable race tomorrow.

“Kevin was very unfortunate in qualifying: he’d been really on it all weekend, and I think he could have joined Jenson in the top 10 had he not caught traffic on the out-lap of his final run in Q2. That caused his tyre temperatures to drop, and meant he lost a couple of tenths in the first sector.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s all part of the learning experience. He’s been doing a fantastic job, and has been working very well with his engineers. This is just a brief setback, and, as I say, qualifying is less important here than at other circuits, so he’ll be able to mount an attacking race tomorrow.

“Jenson has also done an extremely good job all weekend. As a team, we know that our car doesn’t have the downforce to challenge for the top six or seven, so ninth was a fair reflection of our car’s pace. Still, Jenson is doing a great job of getting the maximum out of the machinery he’s given.

“It’s going to be a long and eventful race tomorrow, with track temperatures looking set to be hotter than we’ve so far seen all weekend. There’s plenty of scope to make places tomorrow, so we’ll be doing our very best to manage the race on all fronts.”

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg (11th, Q2 – 1:16.300)

“I was close to making the top ten – just half a tenth would have made the difference, but I think we’ve known since yesterday it was going to be quite tight in qualifying. Having said that, P11 is a good starting position: it gives us some flexibility in terms of the strategy; I get to choose my starting tyres, and I’m feeling quite optimistic about our race pace. The pack is very close in terms of performance but it should be an interesting race because it’s a circuit where overtaking is possible and history has shown that anything can happen here.”

Sergio Perez (13th, Q2 – 1:16.472)
“It was quite a tricky qualifying session that turned out to be a bit harder than we expected. I’m starting P13, but I’m still feeling very positive about our chances in the race because this is such an unusual track where you can move up the field and take advantage of whatever happens in the race. We have good top speed and that will certainly be important tomorrow. I think we have shown already this year that Sunday is what counts and I’m confident that we can score points and beat some of the cars ahead of us. We will need to get the strategy right – it’s always a choice between one and two stops here and we’ll need to evaluate which one gives us the best chance for the race.”

Robert Fernley, Force India deputy team principal
“It was a very tight qualifying session today. Starting in P11 and P13 means we are not in bad shape, but some of the teams around us seemed to have the edge today and we just missed out on Q3 by a small margin. In terms of car performance both drivers are feeling comfortable and the set-up changes made overnight moved us in the right direction, which gives us every reason to feel more optimistic for tomorrow. The race pace of most of the mid-pack teams has been quite similar and we are certainly up there and in contention to race for some good points on Sunday.”

Romain Grosjean (14th, Q2 – 1:16.687)

“We expected a tough time in Canada but if you ignore the position on the grid I’m very positive as we’ve made good improvements with the car so it genuinely feels very good to drive. Qualifying was frustrating as we just missed out on gaining a couple of positions with another lap, but we wouldn’t have overcome our speed deficit down the straight. The race looks like it will be hot so tyre degradation could be an interesting aspect. The circuit is good and I like it as it’s an intense lap where you have some tight moments in the car which always makes for a good race.”

Pastor Maldonado (17th, Q1 – 1:18.328)
“We had a problem which meant that I was losing a lot of power on my last flying lap. The engineers asked me to stop the car immediately which was a shame as I think we would have been in a position to compete in Q2. Anything can happen in the race so we’ll see how it goes. It’s a long race and not a particularly easy track so it will be important to complete a good first lap and recover some places. Of course we will do our best and hopefully enjoy tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“It wasn’t a great day for us. Pastor experienced a problem related to the turbo intake on his car in the first qualifying session which we are investigating. Romain missed the opportunity to set a faster lap than fourteenth as he crossed the line one second too late to start another lap in the session. We are investigating why this happened as we expected better starting positions from today.

“We’ve got everything to do tomorrow but there are some positives. Both drivers, and in particular Romain, have been happy with the improvements made to the car since Monaco and the E22 is a lot easier to drive than it has been in the past. This should be beneficial in the race as there is often a lot of attrition here. The weather was much hotter here today and is due to be hot again tomorrow which could mean there are opportunities to be creative with tyre strategy.”

Adrian Sutil (16th, Q2 – 1:17.314)

“Once again, this was not an easy qualifying. However, we made it into Q2 this time, which is a small success, although the performance has not really improved. After qualifying we are basically where we were this morning. The car is difficult to drive. We need more downforce and have deficiencies in most areas. The driveability in qualifying was not optimal. It was very tricky to control the car with the throttle, because it is very nervous. So I ended up in P16 for tomorrow. We will do our best.”

Esteban Gutierrez (DNS)
“It was a disappointing day, after we also had some troubles on Friday. Concerning what happened today, we have to further analyse what caused the problem. I came into the corner with a little bit of oversteer, then later something happened and I lost the car completely. We have to find out whether this happened through what I did, or something I had identified earlier. We have to analyse further what caused the incident. I know that it’s going to be a lot of work to rebuild the car for tomorrow, and I would like to thank the team for the hard work ahead of them. Tomorrow is another day, and I will do my best.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal
“Obviously, it’s disappointing going into qualifying with just one car. With regard to Esteban’s accident, the engineers are still analysing the data. Esteban will be forced to start from the pit lane, which will make things difficult. On the other hand, it is an advantage that he will be allowed to change the set-up of the car and fully focus on the race. Also, Adrian hasn’t an easy task. However, looking at the long runs, there is still hope. So we expect that he has the chance to improve in the race.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara , Sauber head of track engineering
“Following Esteban’s accident today, we checked the data from the chassis, i.e. mechanical data, tyre pressures and aerodynamic data, and so far we can’t find anything abnormal. The analysis of the powertrain data is not completed yet. It will take some more time before we have the final results. Esteban will have to start from the pit lane, so he has to hope for an eventful race. For Adrian, starting from P16 will also not be easy, but the long runs yesterday were quite encouraging. Adrian’s goal must be to stay with the pack in front of him and be ready if an opportunity comes up.”

Max Chilton (18th, Q1 – 1:18.348)

“We came here off the back of a great result for the team in Monaco, but fully expecting to struggle rather more at a circuit that has never really suited our car in previous seasons. I think we are all a little surprised, but pleasantly so, because it really underlines how much progress we’ve made with the car in all conditions and at a variety of circuits. We’ve had a very positive couple of days and we were hoping to be able to wrap all that into a great qualifying, which we started to do on the first run. That was a good lap, but there was definitely room for improvement, but the red flag put paid to that. We have to look on the bright side though because it’s a further sign that our progress is genuine and not the product of one race. My plan for tomorrow is to aim to keep everyone behind me and hopefully have a nice fight with the cars ahead.”

Jules Bianchi (19th, Q1 – 1:18.359)
“It’s a disappointing way to end our qualifying because after the minimal running I had yesterday, we were back on it for FP3 this morning. The car seems very good here this weekend, which is nice to see because it shows that our improvements have helped us master a circuit that does not typically suit us. My first run was okay considering the small amount of time I have spent in the car with low fuel and options this weekend. There was no chance to improve on the second because we had a problem starting the car and, in any case, the red flag came out and no one was able to improve. We start with the Caterhams behind me, so I just have to focus on the race in front of me and I’m sure we can fight back and have a good race.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“This morning we enjoyed a positive FP3 session, with both cars running to programme. In light of Jules’ lack of running yesterday, we put him on a high fuel run initially, in which he demonstrated good pace. Max was working through optimising the fine detail on the set-up of his car and we ended the session pleased with our overall performance. Qualifying went well for Max on his first run. Despite missing the second run due to the red flag, when there was plenty of potential for track improvement, he can be very pleased with his overall performance here, missing out on Q2 only by a very narrow margin. Jules was not quite happy with his first run but clearly this is a product of his lack of track time on low fuel with the option tyre this weekend. Unfortunately, he missed his second run due to an issue with starting the engine, however as was the case with Max the red flag put paid to any chance of improving anyway. It’s been a tough weekend in the garage, with a huge amount of work to do to keep the cars on track. It seems we also have a few gremlins to iron out on Jules’ car before the race tomorrow, so we will spend the time today working on this. We look forward to what should be a promising race.”

Kamui Kobayashi (20th, Q1 – 1:19.278)

“FP3 started more positively than yesterday. The tyre warm-up was better and we made a good improvement to the braking so the work done last night looked like it had paid off. We still needed to work on traction and taking out some of the understeer I had in the chicanes, but overall it was better.

“We ran through the programme until the performance run when I had to stop the car with a transmission problem. It’s similar to the problem Marcus had in FP2 but we had it fixed for quali after the guys did a good job repairing the car over lunch.

“In quali we did two runs on the supersofts but the red flag at the end of the session meant I couldn’t improve my time. We’d made a bit more progress since FP3 and the balance was better, so on my last quick lap I made up a tenth in the first two corners, but then had to abort that run so finished in 20th. With the grid penalty we have to take for the gearbox change over lunch I’ll start at the back of the grid and all I can do is fight – everyone in the team keeps doing that, even in a tough weekend like we’re having here, and as we saw at the last race, anything can happen and we need to be there if and when it counts tomorrow.”

Marcus Ericsson (21st, Q1 – 1:19.820)
“It was immediately clear in FP3 that we’d found a decent step overnight, particularly with braking which had been an issue in both Friday sessions, but I was still having problems bringing the tyres into their working range as quickly as we wanted. Despite that, the car felt better on each lap and by the end of the session I think we’d made some good progress.

“We went out early in Q1 for the first of two runs on the supersofts. I was still having tyre warm-up problems on both runs but the performance had improved a little from the morning session so I could push a bit harder. Unfortunately on my last flying lap I lost the back of the car in turn nine coming up behind a couple of other cars and made contact with the wall, ending my quali.

“It’s obviously fair to say this has been a difficult weekend for me and the whole team. We just aren’t strong enough here and that’s going to make the race pretty hard, but I know I’m ready to do the best I can and that’s the same for everyone in our team.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader
“We pushed the PU to the maximum here and on our side we are pleased with how it performed. We retained enough flexibility with the energy management system to try some different strategies, but with a gap between us and our nearest rivals there was very little we could do to improve much further. We’ll again try our best tomorrow as the race here can be very unpredictable.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“The significantly higher temperatures we experienced during qualifying today will have altered tyre behaviour compared to free practice yesterday, when the teams did their set-up work, and in turn this will also have an effect on the tyre strategy. However, we’re only expecting one or two stops for most drivers, depending on the car. That’s a sign of how low wear and degradation has been, with very little drop-off in pace even on the softest tyre, in warm temperatures with heavy traction demands. We already saw plenty of strategy in qualifying, with the soft tyres seemingly suiting some cars more than the faster supersoft. As a result of that, the times were very closely matched, with every indication that this will be the case for the race tomorrow as well.”