2013 Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying - Driver reaction
Read what the 22-men in the cockpit had to say about Suzuka qualy
Last Updated: 12/10/13 10:59am
Sebastian Vettel: "First of all congratulations to Mark, I think he did a very good lap. We had an issue in qualifying, but I'm not a big fan of thinking that without this, with this, if this, you know... it's always unknown and we're P2. I'm happy with the result, a front row for the team is great. The car was phenomenal today, especially in the first sector.
"You realise afterwards that the car was really fantastic through there and you don't get many days when the car feels that great and you can really push it to the limit. I enjoyed qualifying today and I'm happy with second place."
Mark Webber: "It's a great track and we always enjoy driving here. The laps weren't too bad today to be honest, but you always want a little bit more here and there. Sebastian had a problem in qualifying, so it's a little bit of a hollow pole position if you like; he still did a phenomenal lap. But, I'm happy to be on pole; you have to grab the opportunities when you can and still get the laps in.
"It's a very, very nice farewell for me to have pole position on my last attempt here at Suzuka. It's a great circuit and I'll never forget the first sector today, it's what us guys strive for and it's what our profession is all about; driving that is a real highlight for us."
Fernando Alonso: "Today's result is more or less what we were expecting, not having had a great pace all weekend, always being between sixth and tenth and even in Q3, I could not do more. Here the long run tests went better in terms of degradation than in Korea and that gives us hope that we can make up ground in the race.
"Tomorrow, we will give it our best shot, as always, trying to count on our strong points; the start, the strategy and the way we manage tyre degradation. The aim is definitely not just to finish in the first eight to keep the Championship alive, because if Vettel doesn't win here, he will do it in one of the next races, when the number of combinations that can affect the result will be less. Now we need to pick up points for second place in the Constructors' Championship and for that we need to finish ahead of Mercedes, who are only one point behind us."
Felipe Massa: "Managing to put together a perfect lap on this incredible track is always extremely satisfying and it reminded me of my pole here in 2006. Even if it's a fifth place, it's still a good starting point for tomorrow. Already yesterday, I could feel the car was well balanced and today we did a good job, managing to get all the potential out of it. More than this was not possible, but I am very happy all the same.
"Sure, tomorrow's race will not be easy, because we have some very fast cars ahead of us, but we can be in the game and for that we must concentrate to the maximum on strategy and tyre management. Getting a good result will depend very much on having a strong pace. Last year, I finished second here and this evening I will try and remember how I did it."
Jenson Button: "In Q3 at Suzuka you want to go out and have fun - which is exactly what I did. I couldn't have gone any quicker. I did three laps in Q2 and Q3 that were almost identical, so I think P10 was as good as our car could get here today. There wasn't any more time left out on the track, but it was fun trying to find it!
"Looking forward to tomorrow's grand prix, I think it's going to be a different sort of race to those we've experienced recently, because the tyre degradation is more reasonable here than it's been in previous races. Actually, I think both compounds are working well here. I'm really looking forward to the race, and hopefully we'll be able to make progress and bag a decent haul of points. It's going to be tough out there though - but that's why we enjoy this sport."
Sergio Perez: "It was frustrating to miss out on Q3 by the smallest of margins. It was extremely close: my first set of tyres in Q2 were the Options I'd run during Q1 when we'd aborted because of the red flag. That meant my reference for my second Q2 run wasn't ideal as I didn't really know where the track was going.
"Obviously, yesterday we missed out on some useful track time owing to the accident, so this morning was spent trying to recover that time, changing set-up and learning about the track. To miss out by just over tenth wasn't ideal but, on the other hand, I think we're in a good position to score points tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen: "The car has felt much better here than it has in recent races; even if we don't have a better position on the grid for tomorrow. A small mistake on my quick lap cost me a little bit of time and it's very close here, so a small amount lost can mean quite a few positions dropped. We'll have to see what happens in the race, but the car has certainly been more to my liking this weekend so the position on the grid is not a drama."
Romain Grosjean: "The Red Bulls have looked very strong and we knew it would be tight with Lewis [Hamilton] for P3, so I think we did a good job to take P4. The car feels much better than it did yesterday; especially on the hard tyres which we had been struggling with previously but were then fastest with in Q1 today. The team worked hard to address this overnight and we've shown great progress through the weekend once again. It's a tight, technical circuit, the wind is still making things tricky and it should stay pretty hot, so it'll be interesting to see what we can do in the race. I'm feeling pretty good."
Nico Rosberg: "It was a good lap but it's annoying when you step out of the car and the gap to the cars ahead is so close. I have put my set-up more towards tomorrow afternoon, so I'm quite confident about what will be a challenging race for the tyres. P6 is not a bad position to start from and I will try to climb some places up the order.
"Qualifying always involves some compromises in terms of set-up but we saw in Korea that it was working out quite well for me in the race until my wing broke. I hope we have found the same good balance between qualifying and race performance this weekend."
Lewis Hamilton: "I am really happy with P3 on the grid and the team has done a great job this weekend, so thank you to everybody for their hard work. It seems to me that we have a better package here than we've had for a while and the car felt awesome to drive.
"The wind direction changed around from yesterday's practice session and that changed the characteristics of the circuit, which felt like it had much more grip. Third place is a strong result from Qualifying but the Red Bulls were just out of reach today. Managing the tyre degradation will be key tomorrow so hopefully we can get a good start from the clean side of the grid, then see what we can do from there against the guys in front."
Nico Hulkenberg: "We knew we could fight for the top ten today, but P7 is a nice surprise. It was very tight, everything had to fall into place and I think we managed to do that. Compared to yesterday, the wind changed so we had a tail wind on the straights and this makes you really quick. That means we have a head wind in sector one, which gives you a lot of grip. It was so much fun to put a really good lap together in Q3. I am very happy. Clearly tomorrow we'll be aiming for points."
Esteban Gutierrez: "We are not as competitive as on previous tracks. I was just two tenths slower than Nico in Q2. This is the first time for me driving on this track and I pushed right to the limit. Regarding the fire, I just saw it and jumped out. The guys had everything under control and I was relieved that I was able to continue my qualifying. We put a good lap together and now I have to stay optimistic for tomorrow, as I think we have a good pace in the long runs. Points are not easy, but we will do our best."
Paul Di Resta: "Given where we started yesterday, I think we should be pretty happy with P12. Slowly but surely we've made the car more drivable and in qualifying it felt quite good. The overnight efforts of everyone at the track and back at the factory have helped dial the car into the circuit. Compared with yesterday the car feels much more stable and predictable, and that's allowed us to get within a tenth of making Q3.
"I'm feeling upbeat about the race because the long runs have looked consistent and we are well placed to fight for points with a free choice on tyre strategy."
Adrian Sutil: "It's not been an easy day. I made a mistake this morning, damaged the car and we had to change the gearbox. I have to say a big 'thank you' to the team for getting the car ready in time for qualifying because they had a lot of work to do during the lunch break. In Q1 the car was quite difficult to drive, I didn't feel comfortable and was missing the grip to be competitive. All I can do now is look forward to the race and hope we have a better day. With the grid penalty [for the gearbox change] I will be starting near the back so I need to try and deliver consistent race pace and hopefully move towards the points."
Pastor Maldonado: "We managed to get 100% out of the car today and are just about where we expected. We didn't get a lot of running yesterday after the problem with the wheel and the accident in the afternoon. Overall it wasn't a bad today so we'll now see what we can do tomorrow in the race."
Valtteri Bottas: "We were fighting for positions higher than we expected today after a very close qualifying session. It was a welcome surprise and we can be happy with P13 today. For the race tomorrow we are hoping to be able to challenge the cars around us and fight for the top ten."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "As I was going out of the pits, my engineer was on the radio to me, so I had to wait until the middle of sector 1 before I could tell him something. I thought I had an engine problem, but then I realised the rear brakes were stuck. I tried to brake and there was nothing in the pedal, then I saw the fire and had to stop the car.
"The team will have a lot of work to do tonight, because it took quite a while for the fire to be out. Hopefully the main components are undamaged, the engine and gearbox, but there will be many things to change. I am fine, apart from getting a bit of fire extinguisher material in my helmet. All this bad luck? I just hope that I have used up all my share of it for next year too. It won't be an easy race starting from this far back, especially as it is not so easy to overtake at Suzuka."
Daniel Ricciardo: "That wasn't a good session for us, which is disappointing as yesterday was one of the best Fridays we have had in a while. The wind has played a bit of a part today, but we definitely should have been further up than that. I would have liked a better result of course, but we will have to see what we can do in the race.
"I just wasn't happy with the balance of the car. Jev's problem? I heard about it, but from what I've been told there's no reason for me to be concerned about it for the race, as everything was fine on my car."
Charles Pic: "The car was understeering more, particularly in the high speed sections so we made another couple of changes before quali to deal with that. On my first run in qualifying we went out on mediums for three timed laps and the car immediately felt better. We'd made some more changes over lunch and the balance had improved a lot.
"Run one was ok but with more time to come we opted for a second one lap run at the end of the session. Just as we exited the pit the red flags came out so we came straight back, but had enough time for one more lap. Unfortunately, with the time left in the session when it restarted, we didn't have enough of a gap on track so even though I was 4/10ths up on the last quick lap, I came up behind another car and couldn't improve my time which is obviously a shame."
Giedo van der Garde: "We started quali with a three timed lap run on the medium tyres and I couldn't really find any real pace. The track was very busy and there wasn't much clear space, but the car had been quickest on the first lap so we went for one timed lap on run two. Just when I went out the red flags came out at the same time so I had to come back in and that meant we were always going to struggle to get the best out of the tyres when the session was restarted.
"As soon as it began again we went straight out but the tyres had gone so I couldn't get everything out of it. Still, there's a few penalties which will mean we'll begin the race higher up and with another start tomorrow like I've had recently I'm sure we can be back where we want to be on race day."
Jules Bianchi: "It's a really good achievement for the Team to have got the car back to a stage where we are capable of outclassing the Caterhams on merit, so this is positive news for the remaining races. As for here, it has been a bit of a struggle since FP1 and with only 33 laps over the weekend so far - most of them from this morning - we haven't had the opportunity to get back to where we started out so well on Friday morning, plus we have had to focus mainly on the race. Qualifying did not work out so well for me.
"We had planned to do just one option run but because of the red flag my quick lap was on scrubbed rather than new options. The race will be hard as well because there is a big job to do from the back row. On a positive, the Team have done a fantastic job with building up the car and enabling me to get so close to van der Garde in such a small space of time and this is an achievement in itself. I hope to build on that tomorrow and have a better race."
Max Chilton: "I'm so happy to have put us ahead of both Caterhams in qualifying for the first time since China. One would have been a result, but to beat both Pic and van der Garde is really incredible and shows just how much fight there is in all of us at this crucial stage in the season. It has not been the most straightforward weekend for us on track and leaving the garage after the red flag, with just under three minutes of the Q1 session, remaining seemed like a tough ask.
"The track conditions had also shifted in that time and the wind made things more difficult in sector one for sure. I gave it all I had and my lap was as good as I could have asked of myself. I'm just really looking forward to my first Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and I hope we can carry the momentum through into the race tomorrow. Well done to all of us in the Team."