Silverstone qualifying – selected team and driver quotes

Nico Rosberg (1st, Q3 – 1:35.766)

“Wow, what a qualifying. It was so tricky out there this afternoon with the rain and the conditions changing so quickly. It’s very satisfying to get everything right in these conditions and be able to come out on top. Thanks to the team today for guiding me through the hour so well. My last flying lap was difficult because we were very tight for time and I was stuck right up behind Lewis. Luckily he didn’t finish his lap but I remembered that we were losing three or four seconds in the last corners when it was very wet so there was an opportunity to make a real improvement and that I should keep going. It’s a great opportunity to start the race from pole and I’ll give it everything to take the win tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton (6th, Q3 – 1:39.232)
“I made a mistake today and pulled out of the lap when I should have kept going. It was a tough qualifying with the changing conditions and we got through most of it really well, until the most important part. It was my decision, a bad call, and that decided my qualifying. I’m so sorry to have disappointed the fans here today as their support has been fantastic and I’ll do what I can to have a great race for them tomorrow. I need to have a start like I had in Austria two weeks ago and then do my best to get back to the front; you never know what might happen. It’s difficult when you’re just out of the car to express your emotions and see the positive but I’ll go back to the team and my family now and we’ll build up for tomorrow from there.”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“It’s a case of mixed feelings this afternoon after qualifying. I’m delighted for Nico that he got pole right at the end: he had nothing to lose, because he was P2 after his first run, and got the job done in the final sector of the lap where he was able to make up over four seconds compared to his previous lap. On the other hand, I’m really disappointed for Lewis – he had done a great job to lead the times, then just thought it was too wet to improve and decided to abort. It’s easy to be smart in hindsight but these are split-second judgement calls and today was a bad day at the office for him. The way I know Lewis, though, he will take that disappointment and make it into extra motivation for the race. We seem to have strong pace in wet and dry conditions, so I am sure we will see our two cars fighting for the lead sooner rather than later tomorrow afternoon.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
“That was one of the trickiest qualifying sessions I can remember. We had to deal with very mixed conditions throughout, swapping between intermediate and option tyres, and these are the days when it’s so easy to get things wrong as a team. In fact, we managed to run a very clean session, getting both cars comfortably through the first parts of qualifying and then running on track right at the end of Q3. Nico did a great job to claim his fourth pole position of the season and it was very unfortunate for Lewis that he missed out on his final lap, otherwise I think we would have seen both of our cars on the front row. Tomorrow will be a challenging race on a demanding circuit but we believe we have the pace to get the job done with both cars.”

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel (2nd, Q3 – 1:37.386)

“It was very tight in Q1 and Q2, we were quite late going out due to the weather and then in Q3 we were quite early for the final run, but it didn’t matter as in the end the time was okay. It’s hard to know how much you can push when the conditions are like that as you’re driving into the unknown. The warm up lap shows you that it’s damp and you know it will improve, but by how much is obviously determined by how much risk you take. It seems in the end I took the right amount today, so I’m happy.”

Daniel Ricciardo (8th, Q3 – 1:40.606)
“I didn’t expect it to go quicker at the end of the session there, as the rain kept coming. We really thought the track wouldn’t get quicker, Vettel only went out as he didn’t have a time at that point. We have to learn from it I guess – I’m gobsmacked how much faster the circuit got, it must dry a lot quicker here than I thought. We’ll move forwards from there tomorrow.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
“A very tricky qualifying today in all three sessions and the weather played a part in all three sectors. The guys did well to navigate their way through into Q3 and Sebastian did a tremendous job at the end of the session to secure our sixth front row start at Silverstone. Unfortunately we misjudged the conditions at the end of Q3, so apologies to Daniel, he didn’t go again as he had already set a time. With both cars well up the field on a mixed up grid for tomorrow, hopefully we can have a strong race from there.”

Jenson Button (3rd, Q3 – 1:38.200)

“At the start of the session, I was really looking forward to getting out there. And, as soon as we did, we found the grip of the circuit, and I felt confident. I even did a lap in Q1 that was quickest overall, but I ran wide at the final corner in traffic, and that time was disallowed – nonetheless, I think it showed that, in difficult circumstances, we often tend make the best of things.

“On my final lap in Q3, I thought it was all over in the first sector: I made a mistake coming out of Turn Five and had a massive snap of oversteer onto the straight, but I still managed to make up the time over the rest of the lap.

“I would love there to be changeable conditions in the race tomorrow, but, realistically, if it’s dry, we’re not going to be quite as competitive as we were today. We’ll do our best to be as close to the front as possible, of course we will, but we’ll need to have a perfect race to get a decent result.

“Even so, I’m really happy to be third – in front of my family, my friends and the British crowd – their support has been so uplifting throughout this whole event.”

Kevin Magnussen (5th, Q3 – 1:38.417)
“It was a very tricky qualifying session. Jenson starting third is fantastic for both him and the team, but I’m satisfied with fifth.

“It was really hard to know how the track would be from lap to lap, so I was playing it relatively conservatively. Right now, I regret not pushing more – but it’s always so tricky to know how much more you can do.

“I was quite surprised by how dry it was at the end of Q3. I didn’t even think we’d need to go out at the end because it wasn’t anywhere near dry enough – but the conditions were drier than we thought.

“It’s hard to say just what we can do on Sunday. We’re in a good position for the start of the race, but, realistically, we’re out of position. Still, I’ll be giving it everything tomorrow.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
“Clearly, bearing in mind our qualifying performances for recent Grands Prix, we’re pleased with P3 and P5 today.

“Having said that, it was a topsy-turvy session, and lady luck inevitably played her part in the way things panned out.

“Even so, I want to pay tribute to the team, because the guys made all the right calls at all the right moments, and they deserve credit for that, because the decisions they had to make were both difficult and critical.

“Both our drivers performed extremely well, too, in tricky conditions which quite a few others failed to master.

“Nevertheless, we aren’t going to allow ourselves to get carried away by our positive qualifying performance, because we know we’re not yet where we want to be in terms of car performance.

“But undoubtedly our decent grid positions are a welcome boost – and you may be well sure that both Jenson and Kevin will therefore be doing all they can, at our home race, in front of the most enthusiastic and most knowledgeable supporters in the world, to score as many championship points as they possibly can.”

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg (4th, Q3 – 1:38.329)

“That worked out really well for us and I’m very happy to come away with fourth place on the grid. On days like this you just need to be in the right place, with good timing and a little bit of luck. The track conditions were changing so much and at the end of Q3 I’ve never seen a track dry so quickly. There were a few spots of rain in the middle of the session, but on my final lap it was completely dry. Fourth place sets us up nicely for tomorrow, but it’s hard to know exactly where we stand in terms of race pace. We definitely made some progress with the car balance overnight with some tweaks and it was a lot less windy today, which worked in our favour. There is an interesting grid, which will hopefully make for an exciting race for the fans.”

Sergio Perez (7th, Q3 – 1:40.457)
“Today leaves us with mixed feelings. It was very good to get both cars in Q3 and ahead of some of our most direct competitors. Had they offered us this result before the session, we would have been satisfied; however, it is also disappointing as we know we could have had an even better result. We were in P3 up to the last lap, but when the track improved and I went out for a last run I ran a bit wide in turn 12 and lost all the temperature from my tyres. I also had to let some cars through and that made it a big problem for me. Otherwise I am confident we would have improved enough to stay in the front two rows. It’s a shame because we were making the tyres work really well until that moment and we were making the most of the conditions. Still, it is a very positive result and we should have a good opportunity to convert it into a good race and a lot of points. Silverstone is a very difficult place to overtake and track position is very important, so I am confident in that respect.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
“Today we had a very good result, which is always very nice in our home race. We have placed both cars in Q3 in very difficult conditions, which is a great credit to both the team and our drivers: we were on the right tyre at the right time and we reaped the rewards of some good strategy calls. It is a shame Checo was not able to finish his second lap as we thought we could retain his good position, but fourth row is still a very positive place to start and he has shown us before that he can make up positions come race day. Nico was impressive as he pulled a great lap when it mattered on a drying track. Starting fourth and seventh gives us a very good chance to score points and continue our battle in the constructors’ championship. Race pace is one of our strongest assets so we can look forward to tomorrow with confidence.”

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat (9th, Q3 – 1:40.707)

“We were fighting for really high positions today, but then towards the end we made the decision not to go out anymore. At that time it seemed to be the right decision because it was hard to imagine that anyone would have improved times because it had rained quite a lot and track conditions were tricky out there. But anyway, this is the way it is and in the end, P9 and P10 are good positions to start the race from. We will definitely fight hard tomorrow!”

Jean-Eric Vergne (10th, Q3 – 1:40.855)
“It was a good qualifying session today, at least until towards the end when we made a mistake in deciding not to go out again for one last run and improve our position. I don’t really know why but it’s a fact that all the others went out again and improved as expected. It’s a shame as we had a good car to fight for a higher position in the ranking, and it’s disappointing also considering that along the weekend we have consistently been quicker than some of the cars that will be in front of us on the grid tomorrow. Let’s stay positive and think that P9 and P10 are anyway good enough to hope for a good race tomorrow.”

James Key, Toro Rosso technical director
“Slightly mixed feelings today because I think that from a general performance point of view everything went really well and according to plan until the last few minutes of Q3. It was a very tricky session, very unpredictable and I think that everyone on the pit wall and the drivers’ feedback matched very well what was going on, with a great effort from everyone. It’s disappointing to lose a higher position in the top ten. We were set to go out at the end, our indication was that it was too wet. In the end that final sector in the closing minutes was just dry enough to make the difference and that’s why the ones who went out are now ahead of us. Despite our disappointment, P9 and P10 are reasonable positions anyway, our race pace was good on Friday so we just have to do our best tomorrow.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 track support leader
“A very animated qualifying session, which is just as we like them! The changing conditions made it extremely exciting but it was not at all easy to get everything working in harmony. Nevertheless we did manage to extract the maximum from the Power Unit and the car. Unfortunately the decision to stay in the garage until late on did not pay off, but two cars in the top ten is still a good result and puts us in a strong position for tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean (11th, Q2 – 1:38.496)

“It was a good session for me despite the tricky weather conditions here today – certainly the rain was good for my garden! Q1 was tricky, but fortunately we used slick tyres at the right time. Unfortunately in Q2 I had a yellow flag in turn six otherwise I think that I would have been through to Q3. The car felt good in qualifying compared to the rest of the weekend and that is quite important for us. Everyone did a good job, worked very hard and now the car is where I like it to be. I hope that tomorrow it will be the case again and we can go from there and push as hard as we can to score points.”

Pastor Maldonado (15th, Q2 – 1:44.018)
“We had a lack of fuel during the second qualifying session which meant I had to stop the car out on track. The team are investigating to find out what happened as otherwise the car felt good and we had a strong opportunity to be in the top ten. The pace was certainly there this morning and the car was doing what I wanted it to do. We had a good strategy through the difficult weather conditions today so naturally I’m a bit disappointed with where we ended up on the grid. Now the focus is to get the best result possible in tomorrow’s race.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“We looked better in qualifying than of late with both drivers able to show reasonable pace in the mixed weather conditions today. This morning with Pastor and Romain in the top four in the practice session highlighted potential, but we fell short of what we could have achieved in qualifying itself. Romain was unlucky with yellow flags so had to slow on what would have been a faster lap whilst Pastor suffered from yellow flags and a fuel issue which compromised his performance.

“The grid is reasonably mixed up so there could be some different strategies out there. Of course we’ll be looking to maximise every opportunity that presents itself.”

Jules Bianchi (12th, Q2 – 1:38.709)

“A fantastic day for the team and I’m so happy for everyone. After our first points in Monaco, it’s great that we have now achieved the team’s best ever qualifying result. Today’s situation was not easy and so this result is down to a combination of great strategy, judging the changing conditions to perfection and then just making the most of the windows we had out on the track when the conditions were right for the tyres. It was a real gamble, but we had everything to gain from taking some risks, so for the last run we put the slicks on even though the track was right at the limit. I had a really good lap and then the Yellow flags came out for Gutierrez’s spin. Had we not encountered these I could have improved for sure and who knows what might have happened then. I’m just really happy to achieve this result at the team’s home race and anything is possible from where we will start on the grid tomorrow. I will try my best to make the most of every opportunity.”

Max Chilton (13th, Q2 – 1:39.800)
“The team has done an incredible job today, making some fantastic calls and putting us right where we needed to be at exactly the right time. I’m really thrilled with P13 but the reality is, had it not been for the yellow for Gutierrez, we could have ended up even higher as in those damp conditions you put a banker in and then do your quick lap at the end. Obviously I’ve got the five-place penalty for this morning’s gearbox change, which will drop me back, but a good qualifying session was what I needed because of that penalty, and that is what we’ve achieved, so I can’t be disheartened. It’s a fantastic feeling to have had such a good qualifying in front of the British fans and I can’t wait for the race now. I’m ahead of the Caterhams and maybe similar conditions will be what we need to progress because we’re very strong under pressure, as we’ve shown.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Heading into this afternoon’s qualifying, the team was still recovering from a tough start to the day, having experienced a failure of Max’s gearbox on the install lap and Jules unfortunately not getting many laps prior to spinning off in the wet conditions. From a strategic point of view we had however gained a lot of useful information from looking at the other runners in FP3 and in the build-up to qualifying we had been able to formulate a good plan in the event of us seeing a repeat of FP3 conditions. As expected, the session did start wet and both cars went straight out on the intermediate tyres, in order to set a banker lap early on, given the fact that the weather had been so unpredictable. Armed with all of our calculations it became clear that we were in the window for dry tyres, so both cars came back in for slicks, which was very much the right way to go, moving us into Q2. In that session, we saw an almost identical repeat of the conditions and again our strategy paid off, fuelling both cars for the session and using the flexibility of pit stops to always ensure we had the right tyre for conditions. Max made a stop for another set of intermediate tyres, due to him having to back off early on a lap. However, we reacted quickly when we saw the track was ready for dry tyres again, pitting Jules and Max immediately to maximise the opportunity. The yellow at the end made things tricky, but ultimately we can see just how prepared the team is for the opportunities that exist in the midfield and P12 and P13 is a fantastic reward for our progress. Really well done to both drivers today for doing exactly what was required of them at every stage of our two qualifying sessions.”

Esteban Gutierrez (14th, Q2 – 1:40.912)

“We had a very good strategy. I think the conditions were pretty difficult as the weather was very inconsistent all the time. On my last lap I got caught up by a faster car behind. I was trying to push as much as I could. Unfortunately, I lost the car and hit the wall. We were both on our fast lap and I was trying to finish mine as well as possible.”

Adrian Sutil (16th, Q2 – no time)
“Unfortunately, I made a mistake today. As I went off the track, I did not notice that the preceded corner was very wet. I lost the rear of the car and got stuck in the gravel trap. It is a shame as I was in ninth and therefore had made it into the second qualifying session, but could not participate. The conditions were tricky for all of us. As the car was difficult to drive and as we were on the limit, those mistakes can easily happen.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal
“The team worked well, and the engineers made the right decisions. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to benefit from that. It’s a pity that one car went off after a good lap, got stuck in the gravel trap and consequently was out of qualifying. The other driver lost control of his car and hit the guardrail. So we lost the chance for a good qualifying result. In situations like this one we have to improve significantly.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara , Sauber head of track engineering
“Qualifying brought typical Silverstone weather with ever changing conditions. As a result, it was important to be on the right tyres at the right time, which we managed to achieve. Technically, everything went according to plan, the performance of the cars was okay. Unfortunately both drivers went off and we didn’t manage to convert this into a good result. This is very disappointing.”

Valtteri Bottas (17th, Q1 – 1:45.318)

“The whole session was unbelievable. We left it too late to go out on the dry tyre so we didn’t get the run in as it started to rain again. Truthfully we were unlucky it started to rain. We had the pace to get to Q3 so we missed a good opportunity. It’s a long race tomorrow and we have a good car so we can still get back into the points, but again the weather will play its part.”

Felipe Massa (18th, Q1 – 1:45.695)
“It was really a missed opportunity to get the car in a good position for tomorrow. We didn’t expect the rain and the track was drying so we had to get the lap in. The moment it started raining again, that was it, it was over. We have a lot to do tomorrow and it will not be easy but the car is quicker than where we are.”

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
“We have a good car so it’s very disappointing to be in 17th and 18th. We were trying to mark the people on track but our timings were wrong. We didn’t see the rain coming as quickly as it did, but that’s not an excuse, it’s an error which we can’t make again. How we recover tomorrow is important now and getting into the points is still our goal, as we have the car for it and we need to try and get as many points as we can over our closest championship rivals.”

Fernando Alonso (19th, Q1 – 1:45.935)

“When it rains in qualifying it’s always a lottery, it can go well or it can go badly. Most of all, it’s easy to make mistakes. At complicated moments like this, you need to fit the right tyres at the right time, but luck definitely plays a part. I think if we had fitted the Mediums thirty seconds earlier or later, with a dry track, things could have gone differently. In the race tomorrow, we will try and make up as much ground as possible. Yesterday, in the dry, we had a strong pace and even in the wet, as we saw on the first lap in Q1, it seems quite good. Mixed conditions might help us, but here it’s impossible to know now what the weather will do tomorrow. One thing for sure, is that starting so far back, we will see a lot of action.”

Kimi Raikkonen (20th, Q1 – 1:46.684)
“We knew the changeable weather would make this qualifying very unpredictable, but I definitely didn’t expect this sort of result. On my first run, I did four laps on Intermediate tyres because the track was still wet, but then when it stopped raining we decided to switch to slicks. On the first part of the track, the conditions were acceptable, but in the second sector, it began raining again and this prevented us from setting a good enough time to get into Q2. Tomorrow, it won’t be easy moving up the order, but we will do our best to make up ground, also because today I had a better feeling than yesterday and I see no reason why I shouldn’t try and have a good race.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
“Today’s qualifying result is bitterly disappointing and it means we will have an uphill struggle tomorrow, with a plan to attack right from the first to the last lap. In the opening minutes of Q1 the track conditions were mixed, which is the worst thing possible, because at some points there was a lot of water while other parts of the circuit were drying and some were even completely dry. It was impossible to improve on the intermediates because of graining and the switch to slicks definitely complicated matters for the drivers as there was so little grip. When the lap times fell as the track began to dry, we fitted the mediums, as in fact did everyone else, but the rain returned and that meant we were unable to make it through to the next part of qualifying. Now, our aim in tomorrow’s race is to finish in the points, trying to make the most of the new sets of tyres we have.”

Marcus Ericsson (21st, Q1 – 1:49.421)

“FP3 started wet but the track conditions were ok so we did the first full run on inters. During that run the rain started coming down again, particularly in sector two where it was pretty wet, so we boxed and waited with most of the other cars for the rain to stop before going out again on wets for the final few laps.

“In quali we went out with most of the pack on inters and then made the call to go to options pretty much as soon as I was back in the garage. The conditions were pretty critical and I made a mistake in sector two when I was really pushing – after that I couldn’t recover the time and we ended up where we are. Tomorrow the conditions look like they’ll be similar to today and we know that could give us opportunities, especially with the cars that will be around us on the grid as I’m sure they’ll all be pushing hard right from the start – we need to be there when it counts so we’ll work as hard as we can to make sure we are.”

Kamui Kobayashi (22nd, Q1 – 1:49.625)
“After the rain on Friday night we started FP3 on wets but after the installation lap it was clear the track was ready for inters. We went out early to see how they were performing and found we had some traction issues, but otherwise the car was ok. As the rain had started to fall again we then waited out most of the rest of the session before going out with a few minutes left on another set of inters to run to the flag.

“In Q1 I went out early on a set of inters but after a couple of laps it looked like we could try slicks. We boxed and went onto a set of options but soon after going back out on track I was told to box again because of a problem on the car. We made a couple of adjustments and went back out for another run on options but I had the same technical issue and couldn’t go any quicker. It’s obviously a shame because today was one of those sessions where we could have had one or both cars in Q2 but it wasn’t to be.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader
“It wasn’t really our day today. We had hoped to be able to take advantage of the weather but unfortunately on Kamui’s car we had an issue with the ERS system on the second run. After a reset it appeared to be OK but then we encountered another problem – effectively the engine behaved as though it was still in the garage and stopped out on track, which meant the end of the session for Kamui. Marcus had a difficult session but no particular engine issues so now we are looking forward to tomorrow’s race, where we hope for better luck.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“With mixed conditions throughout the day, it was a very complex qualifying session, in which judging the crossover point and amount of grip – which was constantly evolving – proved to be crucial. As a result, there were some surprises in the qualifying order all the way to the end. We’re still anticipating a two-stop race tomorrow, from what should be a very interesting grid.”