• Italian Grand Prix

Who said what after qualifying

ESPN Staff
September 6, 2014 « Drivers won't collide again - Wolff | Hamilton: 'I want to win the right way' »

ESPN rounds up all the reaction from around the paddock after qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (8th): "I think realistically anything from P5 to P10 was maybe possible, but it was very close. It's a shame when you miss a couple of positions by just a few tenths or so, but we knew it would be like that going into today. When the gaps are close you always think you could have gone quicker, but that was probably it in terms of what we could do today. We should be quicker than McLaren tomorrow, I'd say we'll be about the same as Ferrari, while Williams and Mercedes will likely be a bit too quick for us, but we'll look after ourselves and see what happens in the race."

Daniel Ricciardo (9th): "Even though we expected a tricky qualifying, I'm still disappointed. Ninth is not something to get really excited about. Seb's in front, but he's only in 8th as well and as a team we would have loved to have been a bit closer to the top five. We knew we wouldn't challenge for the front two rows, but we thought that maybe sixth could be possible. Fingers crossed we've got better race pace tomorrow and we'll try and do something with that."

Christian Horner, team principal: "It's no great surprise for us to be struggling a little in qualifying today. To make it through to Q3 was a result in itself and so to finish eighth and ninth in qualifying, when there's one Ferrari and other than all Mercedes powered cars ahead, is not a huge surprise. We're confident we've got better race pace for tomorrow and strategy will be crucial; hopefully we'll have a good start and strong first few corners."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (1st): "It's a great feeling to be on pole here at Monza and I'm really excited for the race tomorrow. It's also a relief to have had a clean qualifying session, my first for quite a while! Big thanks to my guys in the garage, I'm very proud of the way they've worked this year and dealt with all our ups and downs, they've done a great job. It's business as usual tomorrow, we're free to race and I hope we get a strong result for the team, hopefully a one-two. The other Mercedes-powered cars are looking strong here as well so it should be an exciting race. I'm looking forward to it."

Nico Rosberg (2nd) : "Thank you to the boys, they did a great job making my car ready for Qualifying. Also, overnight we improved the set-up a lot with the engineering support from Brackley, therefore I felt a lot better in the car today compared to yesterday. Today Lewis was quicker, but starting from second place is still a very good position to win here at Monza. I will need a good start and good race pace, but I'm quite confident to get it all right tomorrow. So I'm very much looking forward to the race. Monza has always a great atmosphere and it's so great to drive this great track with our phenomenal Silver Arrow."

Toto Wolff, Executive Director, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "That was a strong team performance today. When it came down to the final laps and the drivers had to lay it all on the line, Lewis delivered a special second sector while Nico had a small snap in the Ascari chicane. At this level, it's small things like that which make the difference. Congratulations to the whole team after an intensive weekend and a special word, too, for our colleagues in Brixworth. It's seriously impressive to see six Mercedes-Benz engines in the top six positions for qualifying at Monza."

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Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): "Our day did not start well with Nico's loss of running in third practice, which meant he couldn't do all the laps he would have liked. We were able to resolve the problem without any penalty, though. This afternoon, we saw a very tense qualifying session. There were a lot of competitive cars out there today, especially the Williams, so we needed the drivers to put together some stunning laps - and that's exactly what they did. Lewis put together an extraordinary lap on his first run in Q3, then Nico was almost matching that on his second run, if it had not been for a small snap in the Ascari chicane. It's great to secure the front row once again and to see Mercedes power in the top six positions. We're now looking forward to a really good race at this iconic circuit, and to putting on a good show for the tifosi in the stands."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso (7th): "We knew that, as usual in qualifying, it would be tough and that the encouraging signs we saw in free practice should not create false expectations. Unfortunately today, we could not have done better, because even though I was trying my hardest, we set very similar times with all four sets of tyres. Now, we must look ahead to the race, which will be a tough one and, given how small the gaps are, it could also be very interesting. Usually here, at the first chicane, there's a lot of action and you need to be very careful if you want to be in the game. On top of that, it will be very important to manage the tyre degradation, given that the best strategy would seem to be a one-stop. Because of that it means doing a lot of laps on both compounds."

Kimi Raikkonen (12th): "After a definitely positive start to the weekend, today in qualifying, I was expecting a better result. I experienced some difficulties in the afternoon, as the car was harder to drive, I was struggling to find the right grip level and I was locking the fronts. That's why, on my last run on the Medium tyres, I made a few small mistakes which prevented me getting further than Q2. Starting eleventh is not ideal but all the same, I will give it my best shot tomorrow.

"We know we are up against some very strong opponents, but the long run went well and even if the race is another matter, this factor means we can be confident. It will be very important to get off the line well and choose the best strategy. It would be very nice to produce a good result for all our fans who have come to support us here in Monza."

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Pat Fry: "Compared to the morning session, we experienced a few more difficulties in qualifying, in terms of the balance of the car, especially in the fast corners and under braking, areas that are more complicated to manage on a track where you run low downforce. I don't think Fernando could have done any more with his car. With the race pace we saw in Friday's practice, let's hope that tomorrow he can make up a few places and manage the Red Bulls behind him.

"Unfortunately, with Kimi, we didn't make it to Q3, which is a real shame after what had been his first trouble-free free practice sessions of the season. Today he suffered a lot with locking the front wheels and at the vital moment in Q2, he lost time going into Roggia. With both compounds we experienced reasonably linear degradation, so even with the high temperatures expected tomorrow, it should not influence our strategy. If we want to score as many points as possible with both cars in the race, it will be important to manage the reliability parameter and try and get a good start."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean (18th): "It wasn't a perfect day today. We always knew that the track layout would not suit us that well plus we had issues this morning with the intercooler and we changed it during the lunchtime break. It took some time to finish the work and so we started our qualifying session a bit late after a coolant leak. We knew that the results would be tough but I was really proud and happy to see that every single mechanic came over to help get my car ready after Pastor's car left the garage. This was a testament to the very strong team spirit from Enstone, even when the chips are against us. Tomorrow, as always, we will do our best in the race to battle hard to make up places."

Pastor Maldonado (17th): "We knew that qualifying was going to be challenging for us especially with our lack of straight line speed. Tomorrow is race day and things could be better. We chose a tiny rear wing for Monza and normally there should be an improvement for the race itself on pace; equally we have good control on tyre degradation. Hopefully we will be able to fight for better positions on Sunday."

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McLaren

Kevin Magnussen (5th): "I'm happy - but it only really came together for me in qualifying. Fifth and sixth is pretty solid for the team. In fact, I didn't think our qualifying pace would be quite that strong. I'm really happy to have the power from the Mercedes engine behind me - and hopefully we can challenge the other Mercedes runners in front of us. The Williams cars look a bit stronger than ours, and the Mercs too obviously, but I still think we can give it a go and score some good points.

"The team has done a great job to deliver this Monza-specific package. I have a feeling that our race performance is quite good - perhaps not on raw pace, but it has good straightline speed and feels strong under braking. We definitely have a car that we can race."

Jenson Button (6th): "We've looked pretty good all weekend, and we gradually tweaked the set-up and balance through every session. On my final flying lap in Q3, I didn't get a clean middle sector - I lost a little bit of time through the Lesmos - but we probably qualified better than expected. I'm a little surprised at how quick the Williams cars have been - we didn't expect them to be that far in front of us - but we're the third-best team on single-lap pace, which is nice. I think things will be a bit more competitive in the race: our Friday long-runs proved somewhat tricky for us, so we'll be aiming for a better race tomorrow. It'll be hotter on Sunday, too, which could potentially help us, so we'll see what happens in the race."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "After suffering a destabilising brake issue in FP3 this morning, for Kevin to pull together a lap good enough for P5 in Q3 today was massively impressive - underlining his talent and character - especially for a 21-year-old guy who's qualifying for only his 13th grand prix. Jenson did an excellent job, too, and will line up for tomorrow's race alongside Kevin on the third row, in P6.

"Okay, we're ultimately aiming for a lot better than fifth and sixth, of course we are, but it's clear that our car's upward performance trend is consistent and that the momentum of our improvement is also very solid. For both our cars to out-qualify both Red Bulls and both Ferraris feels good, too. As I say, we're not resting on our laurels; we know there's more to find; but find it we will. In the meantime, I want to thank everyone at Woking for working so hard to improve our car in recent months. Today's result is a direct consequence of a huge amount of effort on the part of a group of very passionate and committed people, and as I say there's more to come."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (14th): "My position today could have been better, but my final lap in Q2 was not on the pace. The main issue was the heavy traffic on my out lap going into the final corner, which really hurt my preparation. Everybody was backing up so I had to slow down and lost tyre temperature and pressure, and could not improve my time. Also, my first run in Q2 was not quite strong enough so we missed out on Q3. It was just a struggle today and the car has been feeling a bit loose. However, we can still race well. If I can make a good start and gain some positions on the first lap, we have every possibility of scoring some points."

Sergio Perez (10th): "We can be happy about this result: P9 could have been possible, perhaps, but I feel we nearly maximised our potential and that's all we could have asked from this session. Looking at our performance yesterday, our race pace should be strong, but there are not that many options to choose from with the strategy. I feel we are in a good position to have a strong race tomorrow. Anything can happen on this track and I am confident we can pick up good points."

Vijay Mallya, team principal and managing director: "Tenth place for Checo is about what we were expecting today. It was a good effort considering the hydraulic issue we had during final practice, which cost Checo half an hour of track time this morning. With Nico we expected a bit more, but he didn't hook up a clean lap when it mattered and that puts him right in the middle of the pack. It's always tough to overtake at Monza, so we have our work cut out tomorrow. On the other hand we were encouraged by our long-run pace during practice so I hope that we can show that tomorrow."

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Sauber

Esteban Gutiérrez (16th): "Overall it was a good qualifying, and we tried to get the most out of the car. A few more tenths would have been possible considering that I made a small mistake on the last lap. I want to thank all the responsible people at Ferrari because they have been fighting hard to get closer to the other engine manufacturers. We are working together as a team, and we are making progress. Obviously, we are still missing quite a lot of time to some teams in front of us, but we tried to get the maximum out of the car today."

Adrian Sutil (15th): "It was a solid qualifying without having any issues. After the technical problem we had during the third free practice session, everything went well in qualifying. At the beginning of the session the driveability of the car was difficult, so we made some changes to the tyre pressures and the aerodynamic set-up. The balance of the car improved lap by lap, but it took a while in order to feel more confident. With the last lap I am quite satisfied, but the 15th is the maximum at the moment. Tomorrow we have to make the best out of it during the race."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering: "Apart from the hydraulic issue on Adrian's car that cost us a bit of track time this morning, the day went pretty smoothly. In qualifying our drivers were always at the limit extracting the potential out of the car. Esteban might complain about a mistake in his final lap in the Ascari chicane, but this wouldn't have changed the big picture. We are more or less were we can be on a high speed track like this. In the race we have to make sure we are ready in case something unexpected happens."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne (14th): "I made a good lap in Q1 and again in Q2, but it was not enough to get into Q3. I know I have done the best I could and I just could not drive any quicker. So far this weekend I have been struggling a lot with the car. I think this has been the most difficult weekend since the beginning of the season in terms of car handling. Anyhow, we are still looking forward to tomorrow. I will give it my hundred percent and aim to finish the race as high as possible."

Daniil Kvyat (11th, stars 21st after engine penalty): "P11 is a good Qualifying result in the end and I did all I could, considering that the car was still a bit tricky to drive and it was difficult to put a lap together. It's a shame that I won't be starting from P11, but from P21. On the positive side, we are not carrying this grid penalty over to Singapore, so I'm pleased about that. It's hard to say what we can do tomorrow, because starting from the back is never easy. We will look at what we can do with the strategy and I will give it my all to fight through the field to arrive as high up as possible."."

James Key, technical director: "Overall it has been a tricky weekend so far here at Monza and we feared it wouldn't be our strongest event with the nature of the track. But we made some good steps forward this morning from yesterday's balance problems and I think perhaps we could have had one car go through to Q3 but in reality P11 and P13 was close to where we were this weekend. So good job on the engineering side to get a better car and well done to both drivers to make some improvements too today. Our top speed is good, but unfortunately Daniil has a grid penalty due to his ICE change, so we will look at the strategy and see what we can do. JEV moves forward one place of course and scoring points should be in his hands. We will do our best tomorrow to fight for some points."

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Williams

Valtteri Bottas (3rd): : "To have both cars on the second row is a good starting point for the race. I am really happy with the qualifying lap and the car is set-up for the race so I am confident we can push the Mercedes, it's just a question of how much can we push them. If we have a great start it could open a lot of opportunities, and the pitstop lap could be critical depending on our strategy. If anything happens with the cars just in front of us, we will be there to collect those points."

Felipe Massa (4th): "It was a good qualifying for me and for the team. I was missing just that little bit extra to get third. We aren't too far off the Mercedes and I think everyone should be happy with the result. It's a long race and we have good long run pace so who knows what will happen. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a good weekend. I am really going to give everything I can to get on that podium, especially as it's such a great podium."

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "That's the first step to a great haul of points for the weekend. We are where we should be, but it's not easy to meet those expectations and so everyone should be very happy. Both car crews and everyone supporting the team have worked very hard to get this result. The advantage the power unit gives is phenomenal around here and we are confident with our race pace as well. Our objective is to outscore those around us in the championship and we have set ourselves a good basis for that."

Marussia

Max Chilton (21st): "Today was a bit of a challenge. I was really quite happy with the car yesterday, on heavier fuel. After FP3 this morning we made a few changes and I think we went in the right direction, but perhaps not enough, as we just struggled. With our team in the mix with the Lotuses and the Caterhams, it looks like it's going to be a pretty close race. I think we can improve tomorrow and have a good fight with the cars around us."

Jules Bianchi (20th): "I'm disappointed, I have to say. It was very close between ourselves and the cars around us - just a tenth here and there - but we dropped behind a Caterham when we should be ahead. I think we were on the limit in terms of what we could do in qualifying, but I know we will be much better off for the race and we're close enough to the cars in front to get ahead. Tonight we will see what we can do in terms of giving ourselves the best strategy and do everything possible to get the best result tomorrow."

John Booth, Team Principal: "Overall a very disappointing day but one we will need to bounce back from quickly. Throughout the sessions this weekend, and also in FP3, we were more competitive than we demonstrated in qualifying, although ultimately this is the session that counts. We have to accept the positions we are in and move forward. After the first run in qualifying both drivers were happy with the performance and balance of the cars. Going into the second run, had we made a normal progression we would have been fighting for position with the Lotuses but by not improving we allowed Kobayashi through. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight we should have done three runs on the option tyre, however while it doesn't look like we will benefit from an extra set for the race compared with our competitors, we will be working hard on our strategy to try and make the best of things in the race tomorrow."

Caterham

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Kamui Kobayashi (19th): "I'm very happy with today's qualifying result! I think the updates we introduced in Spa are working well and this is very positive news for the team. I didn't have much time in the car yesterday, but I think it has been a very good comeback. We worked hard overnight to improve the car and we've ended up ahead of our competitors today. I'm very confident for tomorrow - it will be a very challenging race but we are looking strong."

Marcus Ericsson (22nd): "This morning in FP3 we had a small problem with the engine before the performance run, so we didn't get to do a proper run on the Option tyres and therefore we went into qualifying a bit blind, unfortunately. Everything worked fine in the afternoon, but we struggled to get the most out of the car. We need to look at the data tonight and see where we can improve compared to Kamui. I'm disappointed with the result but we will certainly fight back tomorrow!"

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director: "We're looking forward to an exciting sprint race on our home territory tomorrow - the grand prix should theoretically last less than an hour and twenty minutes - with Monza living up to its reputation as the 'temple of speed'. We've seen top speeds in excess of 350kph during qualifying, which means that the structure of the tyre is the aspect that is most challenged here: wear and degradation is going to be very low on both compounds while the surface is not at all abrasive, which means that we're looking at a one stop race tomorrow. From a tyre point of view, it should be a reasonably straightforward race. The timing of that pit stop is going to be a key factor in the race strategy: we expect the drivers to go as long as possible on the medium tyre, but the stint length will be affected in inverse proportion to track temperature."

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