2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying Team Talk
Location: France – French Grand Prix
Circuit Paul Ricard
Before Qualifying took place, everyone assumed that it was Valtteri Bottas’ session and what seemed like a strong start, began to change throughout the session.
As things progressed, his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton improved – especially towards the end of Q3, setting some great lap times, where he set a new track record.
Ferrari were once again on the back foot but this time, it was Leclerc who was the better out of the two team-mates claiming P3 for the start of the race tomorrow. Sebastian Vettel on the other hand will be starting down in P7.
Let’s take a look to see what teams and drivers had to say following Qualifying with the Team Talk articles!
MERCEDES – 2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying Team Talk
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s not an easy track here and Valtteri’s been quick all weekend. I’m just really happy to have got to the potential of the car. The team has done a fantastic job this weekend and those last two laps were the ones… I just lost a second in the last corner and the gust took the back end of the car.”
“I’m happy – we’ve been working really hard all weekend and it’s some great teamwork. It’s going to be another hot day tomorrow and the tyres will be a challenge so it’s exciting to see how it will play out.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Overall, it’s been a pretty good weekend for me so far but Lewis really put in some great lap times – strong laps and that’s where I lost one and a half tenths to him.”
“The wind picked up and it was quite gusty and it was impossible to improve. It’s not going to be easy tomorrow, it’s going to be a challenge and the weather will make it tricky for the tyres but it’s close ad I feel good and the points are what will be given out tomorrow.”
FERRARI – 2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying Team Talk
Charles Leclerc: “It has been a good weekend so far and I have felt comfortable in the car since FP1. For the past few weeks, my main target has been improving the car set up in order to suit the track evolution from Q1 to Q3.”
“From this point of view, I am satisfied with my personal performance and have definitely made a step forward.
On the other hand, we are not where we should be, relative to our competitors in terms of lap times.”
“We have a lot of work to do and I will push to have a good start in order to challenge them during the race tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a bit of a funny session, as I didn’t get a consistent feel for the car and didn’t extract the maximum out of it, so I can’t be happy with that.”
“On the last lap I just didn’t have the same feeling as during other parts of the session and that’s why we didn’t qualify where we should be. The car was better than where we ended up.”
“On the other hand, I am looking forward to tomorrow – it will be difficult to manage the tyres, but in the race, usually things settle down so it’s much more straightforward and should be more consistent, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
Mattia Binotto: Team Principal, Ferrari
“We knew before coming here that this weekend would be more difficult than usual for us.
“Nevertheless, I think that compared to the Spanish Grand Prix, we have made a small step in the right direction, which is what we were looking to do.”
“Sebastian was not happy with his tyres in Q3. However, tomorrow’s race will be long, as are the straights, so there should be plenty of opportunities to move up the order.”
RED BULL RACING – 2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying Team Talk
Max Verstappen: “After making some improvements to the car we had a good qualifying compared to practice. In Q3 I think we could have been closer to Ferrari but my final lap wasn’t very clean. Something happened in the last few corners and the car had an odd behaviour, so we need to check that, otherwise I think we could have been closer to Ferrari.”
“At the moment it looks like McLaren are very close but we should have three or four tenths on them.”
“Again, we maximised our grid position and it’s good to be on the second row and starting on the medium tyre. I think we need a bit of luck for a podium, like we had last year, as this is not really our track with the circuit layout but tomorrow will be all about tyre management.”
“I’m not sure we can fight Mercedes but I hope we can fight Ferrari. We will of course give it a good go and see how far we can get!”
Pierre Gasly: “It was a difficult qualifying overall. In FP3, we were more competitive with P6 but we made some changes after the session and qualifying was tricky as I struggled with grip.”
“I’m quite disappointed with ninth because I think we clearly had more than that, but that’s where we are and we’ll have to fight tomorrow. We start the race on the soft tyre so we know it’s not going to be easy but the long run pace was ok.”
“We will have to look at the strategy and see what we can do to make these tyres last as long as they can so we can fight our way back and recover some positions. I’ll be pushing flat out.”
MCLAREN – 2019 French Grand Prix Qualifying Team Talk
Lando Norris: “Coming into qualifying after yesterday and FP3, things were looking pretty good. Maybe not so much after FP3 – it got a lot closer than it was yesterday – but we were expecting that and weren’t worried. But it was still going to be very close.”
“We made a couple of tweaks before quali, which I think helped. We did what we needed to do and I managed to do a decent lap. I messed up the last corner, getting a bit eager and overshot a little bit. Apart from that, it’s obviously a good result – but tomorrow’s the long one. Big thanks to the team!”
Carlos Sainz: “First of all, big congratulations to the whole team and also the team back at the factory. I think this is a consequence of all the hard work that is going on back there, and the upgrades that we’ve been bringing recently. It just shows that we need to keep pushing and keep going in this direction. Secondly, on the personal side, I would say it’s been a bit of a tough weekend, even if it doesn’t look like it.”
“I was trying a lot of experimental things yesterday and that probably made me be a bit on the back foot for today.”
“I was not fully comfortable with the car, but I still managed to more-or-less recover and feel better today. We put in some good laps in quali to reach P6 in front of our rivals, and making it to Q3 with the Medium tyre gives us a good fighting chance for the race. Now we have to finish the job tomorrow!”
Lots more on the way tomorrow so check back for the latest!