Brazil Qualifying – Driver Interviews
Race Weekend: 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix
We see some a big contrast in the weather for the Brazil Grand Prix weekend and yesterday, during Practice, the drivers were put to the test with the conditions on track.
Today however, we had a dry track with good conditions for the drivers and as we saw – Red Bull Racing was the team to look out for, specifically – Max Verstappen who always seems to do well at the circuit.
Let’s take a look and see what the drivers had to say below!
Red Bull Racing – Brazil Qualifying
Max Verstappen: “I’m very happy with pole here today and the car and engine were performing really strongly together. We made a few improvements overnight and even after FP3 we made some final touches to the car and it really came alive in qualifying.”
“Straight away from Q1 the car was flying and even though Q3 was a little more tricky as the temperature increased the car still felt good. Going purple in the middle sector and to be on pole by over a tenth here is a strong performance for us and Honda. Normally we have a quick race car so hopefully that will be the same tomorrow and I really enjoy driving on this track. I’m expecting an exciting and hopefully an enjoyable race, so now we just have to finish it off tomorrow.”
Alex Albon: “All in all it wasn’t a bad comeback coming into qualifying but I’m still chasing for that final bit. Yes, it’s my first time here but I don’t like that excuse, and I don’t want to make excuses in general. I think it’s quite a tricky track, with long corners and low speeds. It’s very thermal sensitive so if you make a little mistake in one corner, you pay the price in the following four or five corners.”
“Even in my second run I had a little snap into Turn 2 and then the tyres are too hot for the rest of the lap. They’re very fine margins here but it’s fun. There aren’t many tracks like this and I enjoy driving here, I just wanted to be a bit quicker today. Max did a great job and it was a good Saturday for the Team. Our race pace looks pretty good and with Charles’ penalty we start P5 so we have every reason to be in the mix tomorrow.”
Ferrari – Brazil Qualifying
Sebastian Vettel: “Max put in a strong lap and so we can be happy with a front row start. I think our performance matched our expectations and it is good that our lap time was reasonably close. It puts us in a good position for tomorrow.
“We improved the car, it felt better and it was coming alive in quali, I am reasonably optimistic that we are in good shape for the race, but we will have to wait and see. It is supposed to be a bit warmer and it will be important to look after the tyres and to make the right strategy calls.
“It will also be key to get a good start. The weather is unpredictable here in Interlagos, there could be sunshine but it might rain. 71 laps means it’s a long race and I think it will be fun.”
Charles Leclerc: “It was not the best qualifying. The team gave me a great car and I believe that the potential was there for us to take pole today. I am disappointed about the mistake I made on the last corner of my first lap in Q3, because I lost about three tenths there. It doesn’t change too much though because I will be starting from the midfield tomorrow due to the grid penalty we have received.
“We completed some high fuel runs this morning to work on our race pace, as this is where we have the most room for improvement. We will do our best to apply what we learned there tomorrow. It’s good that we qualified on the medium tyres and I hope that we will be able to gain an advantage and pass some of the cars ahead. It won’t be an easy race and I will give the maximum to make up as many places as possible and hopefully fight for a podium.”
Mercedes – Brazil Qualifying
Lewis Hamilton: “It was a challenging qualifying session. We went in knowing that it was going to be very tight, but in the end we didn’t have the pace to be on pole. FP3 was really strong for us, but once we got to qualifying both Ferrari and Red Bull had great pace and we were losing out on the straights by quite a chunk.”
“I kept chipping away at it and I think the last lap was as good as it could get for us, I don’t think there was any juice left in the car. I’m happy I got myself into the top three, that makes it a much better challenge for me position-wise to fight for a win. Our long run pace looked strong on Friday, it’s been one of our strengths throughout the year. It’s going to be really hard for everyone tomorrow with track temperatures potentially reaching up to 50 degrees which we’ve not seen all weekend. I’ve been conscious of that with my set up, so hopefully that works well tomorrow.”
Valtteri Bottas: “It was pretty close, as it always is here in Brazil, but something was missing today. I had a tricky FP3 and was quite a bit behind, but I was getting closer and closer in qualifying.
However, in Q3, it just felt like I couldn’t get much more out of the car. My laps in Q3 actually felt pretty good, there were maybe a few hundreds left to extract from the car, but not enough to challenge for pole today. I’ll still start the race from the second row, so it will be interesting to see what I can do from there.
We have a good race car, but the Red Bull looked very strong in the long runs as well, so I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting race tomorrow. Everything is still to play for, so we’ll keep upbeat and look forward to a good fight.”
McLaren – Brazil Qualifying
Carlos Sainz: “Big disappointment today. An issue with the engine during my first attempt in Q1 meant I couldn’t even set a lap time. We’ll investigate what happened, but I’m obviously disappointed because it cost us a good shot at Q3 today.
“Another eventful Saturday this season where I’m not able to show our pace is frustrating, but these things happen and the race is tomorrow. It won’t be easy to reach the points starting from the back of the grid, but we’ll fight until the chequered flag and hopefully make a good recovery.”
Lando Norris: “Not the best quali as I didn’t make it through to Q3, which obviously we’re always working towards. We’ve not been as strong here so far this weekend compared to recent races as the car doesn’t seem to suit this track.
“Plus, the grid is super close. One-hundredth of a second and I would’ve been into Q3, which is a bit frustrating – but it shows small things count. We knew we would be tight and we just missed out.”
Lots more will be on the site tomorrow – make sure you check back for all the latest!