Driver reaction - 2013 German GP Qualifying
A round-up of what the drivers had to say about their Saturdays
Last Updated: 06/07/13 5:36pm
Sebastian Vettel: "Congratulations to Lewis on pole. It was very tight today, I tried everything. The car felt fine; I was struggling a little bit this afternoon in the first sector, I was losing time there and then trying to catch up. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, but it looks like we are a bit closer to the Mercedes here than we were in Silverstone, so I think we made some progress and can have confidence for tomorrow.
"We had a good run yesterday looking at the race, so I think we have done our homework. We have put the car on the first row; it wasn't quite enough for pole position, but we should have a good race from there tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "I was actually happy with third position today, as it was very sensitive out there. We lost a little bit in the first sector and struggled to find the rhythm that we had had there in P3, but we know there was a shift in track temp and it pulled everyone together a bit, at least for the short runs. With the long runs, we're happy with the car, so we're in a good position to put pressure on for the race victory tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso: "The strategy we used today was dictated by looking at our average qualifying performance, given that pole is not yet within our grasp and the two scenarios were either starting fifth or sixth on the soft tyres or start sixth or seventh on the Mediums. We won't know the true worth of our choice until tomorrow.
"Maybe here it's not too important to start from the front because the soft tyre shows very high degradation and so, from lap eight onwards the run of pit stops will begin and traffic will build up. At that point we will have to push like if they were all qualifying laps. All weekend we have been off the pace by an average of six tenths, but compared to Silverstone we can say we are back to normal, capable of fighting in the lead group. Of course, we still need to improve a lot, but in the race we think we can be in the hunt, without forgetting that, regardless of the tyres and the starting positions, it's the fastest who wins."
Felipe Massa: "In terms of performance, it was a good qualifying, even if we opted for a completely different strategy to the teams who are ahead of us on the grid. The car worked very well and with the soft tyres, we were very competitive, more so than at Silverstone, where we suffered on both compounds, but even so, we could not have ended up any higher than fourth or fifth.
"When I saw I was first at the end of Q1 and Q2, I felt like I wanted to fight all the way to the finish, but based on the simulation we carried out during free practice, we felt our choice was the right direction to go in. It's hard to think we will be able to make up places immediately starting on the Medium tyres, but yesterday we saw that the softs degrade after just a few laps and this could work out to our advantage. If the car handles well and we manage to have a good race, we could get a really fantastic result."
Jenson Button: "My lap in Q2 was about as good as it's going to get for us at the moment - in fact, it was one of the best laps I've done in a very long time. I don't think I left anything out there, so I'm very happy about that. Strategically, it was a difficult decision for Q3: do we run the Option, the Prime, or do we not run at all? My heart said we should go out and set a time, whereas my head said we probably shouldn't!
"Our pace suggested that qualifying sixth would have made it worthwhile [to go out and set a time on the Option], and we probably could have done that - but we chose not to complete a lap, playing a cat-and-mouse game with Nico [Hulkenberg].
"Nevertheless, starting ninth is not too bad - I'll be on the clean side of the grid, and I have the freedom to choose my tyre compound, because I didn't set a laptime this afternoon. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the Option tyre early on in the race, but I think we've put ourselves in the best possible position for tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: "It hasn't been the best day for us, and starting 13th wasn't what I was hoping for. Jenson did a great lap, but I've struggled all weekend to match him - especially today, when I think we went a little bit in the wrong direction. This morning, we encountered some problems with the car; perhaps we over-compensated for that, going back on the set-up, getting understeer, and finding it quite difficult to get the tyres warmed up.
"This was a tough afternoon for me, but we can do better tomorrow. I didn't get everything out of the car today, but it's going to be very interesting to see how the tyres perform in the race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "My car was okay today, but in my Q3 lap on the new tyres I struggled to get the fronts up to temperature which meant I lost quite a bit of time in the first sector; probably because there was traffic on my out lap meaning I couldn't push as much as I wanted. For sure it didn't help and we probably should have been P3 today, but P4 is still a pretty good place to be for the race."
Romain Grosjean: "P5 is a pretty good result, but to be honest I'm a little disappointed with my fastest lap as there were definitely a few tenths lost in the first sector. We struggled a little getting the front tyres working this morning but the car felt really good during qualifying and we improved with every lap. It was a strong performance for the team with Kimi P4 as well, so we're happy to be back at the front after paying a few unwanted visits to the lower positions recently."
Nico Rosberg: "I was really shocked when I saw the times falling in Q2 today and realised that I was in P11. I didn't see it coming and we just underestimated how much the track would ramp up in terms of grip and lap time. I could have been on the front row today and that's why I'm so disappointed. It's been a tough day but sometimes that's how racing is.
"I will be doing my best to climb up through the field tomorrow but it won't be easy."
Lewis Hamilton: I'm very proud to put the car on pole for Mercedes-Benz today. I have been with Mercedes for a long time and it's a great result for us to achieve pole here in Germany. I'm a little bit overwhelmed, to be honest, because I have been struggling since first practice this weekend. We were so far off this morning that we took the set-up back to where we started, tried to analyse everything and just worked really hard to improve it.
"I'm so grateful for the work the engineers and mechanics did for me, and it's all down to them really. But we don't get any points for today and the real hard work comes tomorrow. It's a shame what happened to Nico this afternoon, we got caught out there but hopefully he can still have a strong race."
Nico Hulkenberg: "To reach Q3 today has been a success for us. I am confident we can achieve a good result tomorrow. Compared to yesterday afternoon, we were able to improve the set-up for free practice this morning. I think we have a package now that allows us to fight for points. The long runs yesterday looked promising and, combined with the strategy which I can choose for the start of the race tomorrow, I am confident we can achieve a good result. I didn't set a time in Q3, so I am free to choose my tryes for the start of the race tomorrow. I am convinced that will be an advantage.
"The team told me that P6 was possible today, but today it's Saturday and the race is what counts, as you only get points tomorrow. The soft tyres are quite challenging to handle here, especially with a full tank. We will start in the top ten tomorrow and our goal is to stay in the points."
Esteban Gutierrez: "Today is a step forward for us. We worked with a lot of different set-ups yesterday and were able to make the right conclusions from the data we gathered. I was able to attack and get a lot out of the car in qualifying. However, I still have to improve. Nico did a fantastic lap and it's challenging, but I will keep working to improve my performance level, especially in qualifying. P14 is, along with Malaysia, the highest place I have achieved so far. For tomorrow we have to put a good strategy together in order to improve from there."
Paul Di Resta: "It's been quite a difficult couple of days trying to get the car in the right operating window and I've never felt totally comfortable. All the changes we've made have been a compromise and I've really struggled with the balance. Ahead of qualifying we completely changed the set-up to try to improve things and it certainly helped. For tomorrow we just have to hope that we can repeat the race pace we've shown earlier in the season because that has been one of our strengths."
Adrian Sutil: "P15 for my home race is a bit disappointing. I had a technical issue with my DRS during Q2 and it was not working, which cost me about half a second per lap. That's why P15 was all that was possible today. Otherwise I think I would have been very close to making Q3. We can fix the issue for tomorrow so we will be ready for the race. Apart from that our absolute pace has not been at our usual level and we've struggled to deliver the performance we showed at Silverstone. Tomorrow is a new day; we will push on and I believe points are still possible. "
Pastor Maldonado: "We were expecting something a bit better today, but the car is very tricky to drive on a track like this. We need to keep working hard to solve the problems we have identified with the car and move further up the grid. It's going to be a tough race tomorrow as the slow corners do not suit our car, but we'll do everything we can to score some points."
Valtteri Bottas: "We got the most out of the car this afternoon. Things were very close between me and Pastor, but we don't have the pace at the moment to progress any further. The track temperatures are higher and it's a bit windier today which meant that every tenth or hundredth counted, resulting in a very close session. We need to keep pushing and do what we can in the race tomorrow."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "We just weren't quick enough this afternoon. All weekend my car has been very difficult to drive and that situation hasn't improved since Friday and I have never really managed to put together a good lap. In qualifying, I didn't make any mistakes and I was hoping for much better. Even if we cannot work on the cars before the race, we need to understand exactly what caused this drop in performance. Maybe it is linked to the tyres, their temperature or pressure, but I'm not sure. We will see what we can do tomorrow, where I hope to be more competitive and be able to push harder."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I'm really delighted with the way qualifying went and it's very encouraging to be sixth fastest for the second race in a row, which means we are seeing signs of progress and consistency. However, it was not as straightforward here as in Silverstone last week and we definitely had to pull something out of the bag to do the time and get into Q3. We exceeded our expectations today, as in FP3 we did not look so strong. I was particularly pleased with my Q2 lap. I think we did the best we could today and now we look ahead to the race. Last weekend I felt there was a better result than eighth waiting for me and I would like to go for better than seventh, which is my best finish so far. If there's a chance of a podium, let's go for it! Nothing's impossible. The tyre strategy is going to be very interesting with some of the top ten on the grid starting on primes."
Charles Pic: "In qualifying we went for two runs on new softs. On the first run we the quick lap was pretty good but I was called to the weighbridge at the end of that run and we had an issue with the starter motor. The pitcrew had to push me back to the garage but we'd decided to go for a one lap second run anyway so we just had time to get the car back, fire it up and get back on track.
"On the final lap my pace was good but we were held up with traffic in the second sector which maybe cost us a couple of tenths, but we still finished ahead of our nearest rivals in 19th and that was the target. I do want to say thanks to the pitcrew for doing a great job to get me back to the garage and out for the final lap - a few of them have been running the tracks this year and that work paid off!"
Giedo van der Garde: "When quali started we went out pretty early and on the first run I had two clear laps to post a time. The first run was ok and the tyres were coming in better than they had in FP3 so we went for one quick lap on the second run. We went out with a couple of minutes left in the session but the tyres weren't working for most of the first half of the lap and, even though the second half was much better, I'd still lost enough time in S1 that I couldn't really get any more out of it.
"However, I think we have a decent car for tomorrow and our long run pace has been pretty good, so we'll aim for a clean start and see how it unfolds on Sunday."
Jules Bianchi: "This morning I was feeling much better than yesterday, but not quite 100%, so I think another night's rest will help again. It was good to get back in the car this morning and start the process of getting up to speed, which I think has gone quite well. It took some time to balance the car to our liking but we're in a good place for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in terms of race pace. The key will be to get ahead of Charles as soon as possible - and keep it that way."
Max Chilton: "I was obviously hoping for more today as Van Der Garde has been within reach all weekend. I seemed to struggle a little more in qualifying and for some reason we did not get the best from the car, which is encouraging to some extent because it means we can depend on our stronger race pace. We'll have a good look at the data this evening and do everything we can to ensure a good fight with the Caterhams tomorrow."