2013 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on qualifying at the Marina Bay circuit
By William Esler
Last Updated: 21/09/13 6:10pm
Sebastian Vettel: "It was a strange feeling at the end of Q3. It's already strange when you stand in the garage with only two minutes left in the session, but much worse when you see the others making their final attempt and there's nothing you can do! I was watching the sector times closely with Romain, Nico and Mark in particular.
"Mark started with a purple time in sector one, then Nico went purple in sector two and then Romain, but fortunately my last sector was fast enough to just stay ahead. It's a great feeling as it could have gone wrong, but I'm very happy with the result. The car has been phenomenal all weekend. Yesterday the gap to the front was a bit of a surprise, but today was a bit more what we expected with the Mercedes being so close."
Mark Webber: "I'm a bit disappointed to be fourth. It's quite tight and there were some good lap times being set. We're on the second row, it would have been better to have been on the front row, but it's a long race tomorrow and we can do something from there. We've got a very good race car. It was hard to match Seb in the last sector; he's always been strong in Turns 20 and 21."
Fernando Alonso: "Today's result isn't surprising, because from the start of the season, on average we have always started from between sixth and eighth place and then made up ground in the race, which we will try and do again tomorrow. The updates brought to this race have gained us a tenth of a second on our competitors, a result which matches our expectations. Even if the gap to the leader is still significant and the improvement might not be that evident, we cannot say our engineers have not put in the effort, because everyone has done a super job.
"Expectations for tomorrow are still high, even if in the meantime, our rivals have not wasted their time and along with other teams like Mercedes and Lotus have made a further step forward. Faced with this, we must be realistic and try to make the most of any errors they might make. I think the podium can be within our grasp tomorrow, if we have a perfect race and make the best choices in terms of strategy, tyres and the right number of stops."
Felipe Massa: "Having struggled so much yesterday and in the third free practice session, today in qualifying, we finally managed to put together a good lap, completely changing the set-up on the car. Certainly the gap to the
quickest cars is still big, but today, doing a time that is close to that of the Red Bulls or Mercedes was really difficult, partly because they have not suffered as much as us from a lack of grip and because we find ourselves on a high downforce circuit.
"I am expecting a difficult race because anything can happen here and tyre degradation is particularly high, even if I hope we have a good race pace and can be competitive. It's tomorrow's race that counts and we will do our utmost to improve our position in the Championship. My effort over the next seven races will be the maximum, because I would like to end my time with Ferrari in the best way possible."
Jenson Button: "The car felt okay and I'd say it was a reasonable qualifying session for us. There's still quite a bit of progress to be made, but we've been doing a lot of set-up work this weekend to improve the car and I'm happy about that.
"We'll see what we can do tomorrow, so as to make the best of where we are. It's likely to be an exciting race because the tyres are working in a very unusual way. As a result there are going to be a lot of different strategies, so it'll be interesting to see how everyone get on.
"It's going to be difficult to overtake the cars in front of us, but we'll see what we can do. Having said that, I'm really looking forward to it. It's always a very tough race here, but that's what we do all the training for."
Sergio Perez: "That was quite a disappointing qualifying session for me.
"I think today we should have made it through to Q3. Basically, when the track got better in Q2, I just couldn't improve my time. The rear felt quite loose and I therefore found it difficult to maximise the full potential of the car. I think the changes we did after P3 didn't help, and I probably lost a bit there. Also in my out-lap I had quite a bit of traffic which didn't help either. To lose two-tenths here is very easy - and today we did it.
"As a result, it's not going to be one of the easiest races out there for me tomorrow, starting from P14. It'll be difficult for me to overtake, so we need a good strategy and good pace throughout the race. But not everything is lost: we've seen in the past that anything can happen here and there's a big difference between the Prime and the Option so we'll see what effect that has from a strategy point of view.
"Obviously, our aim is to score some points."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Unfortunately today didn't go to plan as the issue with my back meant I couldn't really drive properly this morning, so we didn't get everything done like we wanted in the practice session. It's still quite painful and there wasn't much more I could do in qualifying when you take that combination of things into account.
"It's not the first time I've driven with a problem and it probably won't be the last time either, but I'll be on the grid tomorrow and we'll try to get the maximum from where we are at the start."
Romain Grosjean: "After all the issues we had yesterday the team did a fantastic job to get the car running well and also to find a good setup despite having done so few laps. The car felt good all day; enough that we were confident in taking a risk during Q1 by not running the option tyres.
"It was a great strategy call that really paid off, and I think with a little more luck on the out lap we could maybe even have been one place higher. Sebastian [Vettel] looks to have a pretty clear advantage, but we've got lots of fresh tyres for tomorrow so a podium is definitely the target."
Nico Rosberg: "We've had a really good weekend so far and have been able to improve the car from session to session with some great work from my engineers and mechanics so my thanks to them. It was so close to beating Sebastian to pole this evening but I'm still really happy to have achieved second place.
"It's so important to start from the front here so we are in a very good position for the race. Our race pace was strong on Friday so I'm feeling quite confident for tomorrow evening. I doubt if we have enough performance to beat Sebastian but I'll do my best to have a good start and then we'll see how it goes from there."
Lewis Hamilton: "Qualifying didn't quite come together for me this evening. I tried my best out there but I just didn't have a great feeling in the car and ultimately I wasn't fast enough. Clearly the car was quicker than what I was able to get out of it tonight so, of course, it's frustrating not to have qualified closer to the front as Nico did.
"So not a good day for me but that's life. We'll turn today's negative into a positive overnight and I'll be pushing as hard as I can in the race tomorrow. There are still people ahead of me that we can beat and our target will be to get on the podium, that would be amazing."
Nico Hulkenberg: "Qualifying went really well up until the last lap of Q2. I had a problem in sector one on the DRS straight, as my DRS didn't open in time. I lost a good two tenths there, which would have put us into Q3. We need to look into that now and find out why that happened. As overtaking is quite difficult on this track, it is going to be a difficult day tomorrow. Overall it seems we have made a step forward over the past couple of races, and I hope we can continue that positive trend tomorrow."
Esteban Gutierrez: "To qualify tenth is a really special feeling and one that I have missed. I enjoyed every part of the qualifying. The result today was very important, because it's not fun going into qualifying knowing that you can be around the top ten, but not getting there. At the beginning, it looked a bit difficult today, but I was pushing myself in practice and communicated well with the team.
"We decided that, in order to make the next step, we need to be more aggressive and be more on the edge. During the practice sessions I was able to try to do that, and it's great to see it paid off, so a big thank you to the team. I think tomorrow will be a tough race. Tyre degradation will be critical and we need to consider that. We usually have a good race pace and also had that in FP2 yesterday. I'm confident we can push for points tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil: "P15 is disappointing because it's some way off where we were aiming to be. We are just too slow to fight for the top ten at the moment and everyone is working hard to try and understand where we are losing out. All we can do is keep fighting tomorrow and if we do a good strategy we can hopefully gain some places."
Paul Di Resta: "I think we simply didn't have enough speed today and all weekend I've been struggling with my one-lap pace. I think we are more optimised for the race and the speed looks better over long runs, with low degradation of the tyres. But we've got some work to do tomorrow if we want to be fighting for points.
"We came here and tried to replicate as much as we could from last year, but we've just not been able to find the zone. It's a tough, long race ahead of us and it's difficult to overtake, but anything can happen and we will keep fighting."
Valtteri Bottas: "We're pushing as hard as we can with the car and I was pleased with my lap in Q2 as we managed to improve a bit. This is where we are with the car in terms of pure pace but we'll do everything we can to make the most of it. It's going to be a hard race for the cars and drivers tomorrow, but all we can do is our best, stay in the race and take every opportunity we can."
Pastor Maldonado: "We have been struggling with the car since the first practice session this weekend and it is very tricky to drive. We couldn't make the tyres work today and I suffered from a bit of traffic towards the end. The conditions will be difficult but we'll do our best in the race tomorrow and try to get the maximum out of the car."
Daniel Ricciardo: "That was not an easy session and we had to work harder here to get to Q3 than we did in a few other races where we have managed it. I was a bit disappointed not to get a little bit more time out of my lap in Q3, with Jenson a couple of tenths ahead and it would have been nice to get that. So I think ninth is pretty good all things considered.
"As for the race, the guys who went out in Q2 might have a little bit of a tyre advantage, so let's hope that doesn't have too much influence tomorrow. We will race as hard as we can and hope to stay in the points."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "It was extremely close and it's a shame I didn't make it to Q3. On the positive side, we worked very well with the team to get a good car for qualifying and we missed out by the smallest margin, even though the car was responding well. But I think we can have a good car for the race.
"This is a tough track, with over 20 corners and getting each one of them right on a single lap is not so easy, from a driving point of view and also when it comes to setting up the car. I am still optimistic for tomorrow and I believe that starting twelfth, scoring points is a realistic target.
"It was very tight this evening and one tenth of a second could have made all the difference and I think there were a couple of places where I could have found that tenth, so it's a bit frustrating, but that's it and tomorrow will be better."
Charles Pic: "We made a number of changes overnight for FP3 but on the first run it felt like we'd gone too much to the rear with the balance so the car felt unstable. We'd gone from predominantly understeer on Friday to too much oversteer on Saturday and even though the aero balance improved throughout the session the mechanical balance was still too much rearwards.
"In quali we waited for the first batch of cars to head out and then went for the first run on a new set of supersofts. The balance still wasn't right, now the car had gone back to understeer but in the end the first run was ok and with the way the car was behaving I probably couldn't have found too much more in qualifying. The good thing is that we have around seven tenths advantage over the Marussias and that's good for us in the race as it means we can look at the fight ahead, not back. I'm looking forward to tomorrow as it'll definitely be exciting and with the number of safety cars there's been here over the years anything could happen."
Giedo van der Garde: "FP3 wasn't too bad - we definitely made some progress from Friday and even though there was still some of the understeer and front locking we'd had in FP1 and FP2 the car felt better. By the performance run at the end of the session I was pretty happy with where we'd got to so I was reasonably confident for qualifying.
"In Q1 we went for two runs on supersofts of one flying lap each. My first run was ok but I had a bit of traffic so I knew there was more time to come. On my second run I was pushing hard and just touched the wall which cost me a little bit of time, but overall I guess where we finished is ok. The main thing for the team is the gap we have to the cars behind so now it's all about the race, making sure we avoid any problems and be there to take advantage of anything that comes our way."
Jules Bianchi: "It was not a bad qualifying overall, but it's a shame that we were unable to improve on our first run because we were looking quite strong. For some reason on the second run we had more understeer, which is a surprise and something we need to look into for here and also to prevent this happening in the future. I am not too unhappy because this is a new track for me and I am still getting to grips with it, so I think if it all comes together for us tomorrow we can have a good race."
Max Chilton: "It was quite surprising to suffer a significant balance shift on the second run. The first run went well and I was only a tenth from my team-mate, so I was fully expecting to make another small step. Overall though we are closer to the Caterhams here and I think that our group of four can have a good fight tomorrow. Generally I'm really looking forward to my first night race and we will do our best to make the most of the opportunities that may come our way."