QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)


QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Location: Baku, Azerbaijan

Circuit: Baku City Circuit

Race: Azerbaijan Grand Prix

With windy conditions and slightly cooler conditions, it was a mixed qualifying session with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes showing it’s a 3-way battle. Ferrari topped the time sheet with Sebastian Vettel claiming pole position. His team-mate (Raikkonen) on the other hand, despite looking strong throughout qualifying, lost it on the last lap and didn’t gain places with P6.

Let’s take a look at what drivers (and teams) had to say following Qualifying earlier today.

FERRARI – QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Sebastian Vettel – 1st – 1:41.498


Sebastian Vettel: “I am very happy for this result, but I am a little bit upset with my final lap because I locked up in turn 3. I knew the car was good and in the first two corners I was already one and a half tenth faster than the lap before.”

“Then, maybe, I hit the bump the wrong way a little under braking and I locked up. In the end I made the corner, so I wasn’t that late, but obviously after that, the grip wasn’t the same. It’s a shame because I think I could have been faster, but I am happy anyway.”

“I am sorry for Kimi because we could have both been on the front row. However, we’ll see tomorrow, It’s going to be a long race. I think it is very important to be able to fight for the pole in order to have a good chance during the race.”

“Even if the result has been good these last few Saturdays, there’s still a lot of work for us. We know that the car can be faster.”

“Obviously we have worked hard to get to where we are now, but everybody in the team knows there’s more to do. We have to stay focused and keep pushing. However, I am not afraid for tomorrow and I believe we have good chances.”

Kimi Raikkonen – 6th -1:42.490


Kimi Raikkonen: “In Q3, on my last run I had a lot of speed and the feeling with the car was really good; I knew I had a very good lap going.”

“Entering the last corner I took it very easily because over the weekend the wind has been quite tricky there. But for whatever reason I got a massive snap exiting the corner and went sideways. I was able to get the car back but the lap was gone. I’m pretty sure that without that mistake I would have been in a much better position.”

“It’s very painful and frustrating to mess it up in the last corner like that, I’m very disappointed. Unfortunately with the mistake we are not in a very good position for the race.”

“Today it did not pay off, but tomorrow is another day and we’ll do our best.”

RED BULL RACING – QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Daniel Ricciardo – 4th – 1:41.911


Daniel Ricciardo: “I’m happy with the second row on the grid but it wasn’t a totally smooth day. This morning we didn’t get a go on our second set of ultrasoft tyres because of the red and yellow flags.”

“In Qualifying, Q2 was very close on the supersofts, we had a couple of yellow flags and it was looking a bit hairy but we just made it through. In Q3 on the first run I kissed the wall and then on the last lap I had to make it clean and fortunately clean was fast enough for the second row.”

“It’s always tough on street circuits like this, you have to be on the limit to be fast but point five of a percent inside of the limit. Just finding that balance isn’t easy but I’ve felt good all weekend and obviously have good momentum from here last year and China, so we will race hard and hopefully get back on the podium.”

“I’m looking forward to a good street fight tomorrow (laughs). I believe the top five start on supersofts and we’re all trying to avoid the ultrasoft on high fuel due to the graining in colder conditions, so that strategy makes sense for us.”

“I’m also going to eat lots tonight to make sure I don’t blow away in the wind tomorrow as it looks like it’s going to be pretty crazy out there!”

Max Verstappen – 5th – 1:41.994

Max Verstappen: “Qualifying today was ok; nothing special but we are also not too far away. We were in reach but of course we know that in Qualifying they turn up their engines, but in general not bad and I think we have a good chance to fight tomorrow. On the last run we were waiting to try and get a tow.”

“I think that cost us a bit because I was waiting in the garage with the heaters already off and couldn’t get heat in the tyres like I wanted to. With the tyres the ultrasoft is not that easy but we qualified on the supersoft so hopefully that will give us a longer first stint.”

“The top five cars are on the supersofts so I don’t think it will offer much except we can extend the stint for longer compared to Kimi who is on the ultra, but we’ll find out.”

“The wind was very tricky today and is forecast to be even stronger tomorrow for the race, so we’ll have to see what that does.”

“Aerodynamics are very sensitive to wind, it’s the same as in a plane, you can fly fast in one direction and can go faster in the other direction.”

“The cars are very sensitive to that, we had some struggles in the corners, and the more downforce you have the more tricky the wind can be.”

We are still in a good position to fight from and many things are possible on this track.”

Christian Horner – Team Principal

“A reasonably straightforward qualifying. The pressure points for us came in making a tight call to abandon a lap with Daniel in Q2 feeling that he was safe, which was a last minute judgement.”

“Then in Q3 both drivers obviously did their best but unfortunately we didn’t quite have enough pace to get further up the grid.”

“However fourth and fifth are still very respectable grid positions at a track you can certainly overtake at.”

MERCEDES – QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Lewis Hamilton – 2nd – 1:41.677


Lewis Hamilton: “We weren’t quite quick enough today to beat Ferrari today, but it was super close. No athlete can be satisfied with second, but it’s nice to be back up on the front row after an exciting session.”

“The team did a great job overnight to make a step forward after what was a tricky Friday. On our long runs we’ve been down, losing out in the middle sector, and the Ferraris have been quite a bit quicker than us, so we’ve still got a bit more ground to make up yet, but it’s great to be there in the fight.”

“We worked hard to get the car in a better place, so we need to maximise the result now tomorrow.”

“Let’s try and make some trouble for Ferrari. It’s definitely going to be another interesting race.”

Valtteri Bottas – 3rd – 1:41.837


Valtteri Bottas: “It’s never positive to be third, but after yesterday this is a good result.”

“The team did a great job with the set-up of the car. It felt completely different compared to yesterday; we could really trust it which allowed us to fight for the first and second row. It felt like I never did a perfect lap today and I doubt that anyone else did; it’s just extremely difficult around the track.”

“For the race, we’re in a good position as a team. Having both cars next to each other for the race start gives us a few opportunities and we can play with tactics.”

“It’s difficult to say how the wind tomorrow is going to affect the race, especially with all the buildings around. It should be an interesting race.”

“We expect it to be very close tomorrow between three teams, so everything is possible.”

James Allison – Technical Director

“While I am disappointed that our cars were not quick enough to challenge for pole today, we can take a certain satisfaction from a solid P2 and P3, which give us strong starting positions for tomorrow.”

“We can also be satisfied that we managed to improve the car’s handling overnight and that this put us in position to enjoy a good race with both cars starting on the super soft compound tyre.”

“This is a track that brings both incident and opportunity for those who are nimble enough to exploit it in the race. We fully intend to do so tomorrow.”

Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Looking at today’s results in the contexts of the struggles we experienced yesterday during practice, I have to say I’m pretty pleased to be second and third on the grid.”

“The guys worked very hard late into the night in order to find the right path forward, we made a step in the right direction this morning, then another for qualifying. So it was a good recovery from that perspective.”

“Going into qualifying, we expected a very close fight between three teams and this is exactly what we got; I think this will turn out to be the story of this 2018 season.”

“I expect to see all of the top six fighting for the win tomorrow and we will be working hard to make we come out of that battle on top.”

MCLAREN – QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Fernando Alonso – 13th – 1:44.019


Fernando Alonso: “Qualifying still isn’t the strongest part of our weekend, but a lot usually happens during a street race, and at this track in particular.”

“There’s no room for mistakes around this circuit: it’s very windy, dusty, the walls are very close, and you cannot push or over-drive the car. It’s also a mentally tough race, so I think tomorrow is going to be both crazy and fun at the same time.”

“This weekend, we seem to have improved our top-speed compared to previous races, but we’ve also compromised some grip in the corners. Still, during Q2, the wind picked up a little, and we were losing speed along the straights due to the headwind.”

“Tomorrow, that wind should be even stronger, so it’s going to be important to race among a group of cars to stay in the fight.

“This is the third time in a row where I’ve qualified 13th, and we normally seem to score good points from that position. Hopefully tomorrow will be another one of those good days.”

Stoffel Vandoorne –  16th –  1:44.489


Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s been a bit of a tough weekend for me – during practice, it seemed like, whenever I was on-track, I was in the wrong place, or encountered a yellow-flag at the wrong time. In fact, Q1 was probably the first session this weekend where I finally managed to complete a quick-lap.”

“In the end, I was much happier with the car; we still lack a bit of top speed, so we really need to follow another car to benefit from their speed, and I missed out on that on my final lap.”

“Still, our race performance looks better than qualifying. We’ve seen so many incidents under braking this weekend; and that’s a real strength of our car, it feels very good under braking, and that’s a key requirement for the race.”

“I think we can pull together a good race performance tomorrow.”

RENAULT – QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Nico Hulkenberg – 9th – 1:43.066


Nico Hulkenberg: “We lost some time this morning so we can be pleased to get both cars into Q3. The balance in the car doesn’t sit quite where I would like it to, but some race weekends are like that and we can be happy that we gave it everything and tomorrow we will do the same to make up positions.”

“The gearbox penalty is pretty bitter in this way, but we need to come back with the best strategy and fight hard. The good news is that you can overtake here and know there will be safety cars, so let’s see what we can do.”

Carlos Sainz – 10th – 1:43.351


Carlos Sainz: “It was a decent qualifying for us. I missed the perfect first sector but getting both cars into Q3 again shows good consistency and effort from the team.”

“Tomorrow we need to have a clean start and target to stay in the points again. It could be another chaotic race so we need to be ready to maximise our chances.”

SAUBER – QUALIFYING REPORT: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Marcus Ericsson – 18th- 1:45.541


Marcus Ericsson: “It was an unlucky qualifying for me, with many factors that influenced the outcome. There was also quite a bit of traffic for me – then, I missed a good lap in Q1 after locking up.”

“At the end of Q1, I tried my best to put together a good lap but I wasn’t able to finish it by a couple of seconds.”

“Quite a disappointing session for me. On the bright side, we can see that we have good potential on the track. We have been quite competitive all weekend, so we are optimistic for tomorrow and will give everything to come back strong.”

Charles Leclerc –  14th – 1:44.074


Charles Leclerc: “I am very happy with my qualifying today. I had a great lap in Q1, which enabled me to advance into Q2. It is the first time I achieved that since the beginning of the season, which is a great step for me to make as a rookie.”

“The whole team has done a great job to make this possible. I have learned a lot over the past three race weekends, and am feeling more comfortable with all of the procedures and the car with each session.”

“We have made some positive steps in terms of tyre management, and the balance of the car feels good. I look forward to the race tomorrow – on this circuit, there are many factors that will influence the outcome.”

“With the expected change in the weather conditions, it will certainly be an interesting one.”

The Formula 1 Girl🙂

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