F1 – Japanese GP qualifying driver quotes

Japan Qualifying (photo by Mercedes)Driver quotes from todays Qualifying.

INFINITI RED BULL RACING #1 Sebastian Vettel “I wasn’t entirely happy with that qualifying, we lacked some running his morning but I wasn’t able to go with the track and was on the back foot, I struggled a bit on corners that I normally love, so it’s not easy, but tomorrow we still have a chance if it rains, if it doesn’t then it’s tougher from where we start but we will see. Red Bull and I have had an incredible run together. I’m leaving a very happy place and of course it’s difficult but at some point you want to do something different. We had a good time and I hope we have a good final five races. I’m not leaving because I don’t like the team nor because I don’t like individuals nor the situation, I’m not running away from anything – it felt like the right time and the voice inside me and hunger to do something new was bigger. So, even though it’s not the easiest decision to live with, you have to listen to your heart and go in your direction. I feel ready and the time is right to start something new. It’s a very difficult decision after 15 years together with Red Bull, it’s a tough day.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo “I was quite surprised by Sebastian’s news, I didn’t know before this morning; it’s two pretty big changes for the team, Sebastian leaving and Daniil coming in, but Seb’s done his work here at Red Bull and he feels it’s time to move on. I’m glad I got one year to race with him and see how he works, I heard a lot about his work ethic before the season and it was good to see that this year and to go against him. Daniil’s coming in and I expect him to be quick – I know him pretty well and it should be good fun working with him. I’m happy with how we bounced back in qualifying after my mistake yesterday, I thought we would be better here, but I think sixth is realistically what we could do today. If it rains tomorrow then we should be looking a bit better.” 

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS #44 Lewis Hamilton “It wasn’t the best of sessions today but it was a decent recovery considering the crash in FP3. I just overcooked it this morning and the team did a fantastic job to put the car back together. Our mechanics are the best, they work so hard to get everything perfect. I feel good but I just wasn’t quick enough today. Nico did a great job, he looked very quick, particularly in Turn Eight, but I don’t feel like I’ve quite had the pace all weekend. I’m still second and we’ve seen races where we’ve come back from further than that, so I’m excited for tomorrow. I’ve heard there’s some rain coming, it’s going to make it very hard but it makes it more of a lottery.”

#6 Nico Rosberg “That was one of the best qualifying sessions we did this year. The team did an incredible job to give me a brilliant car. It was so enjoyable to drive this wonderful track with that Silver Arrow. The balance was perfect, so I was able to push a lot and go to the limits in the corners. It’s always a great battle against Lewis; we push each other very much through the sessions. Sometime he finds a tenth there, then I find a tenth here. That’s why I enjoy the situation so much. For tomorrow I think we are well prepared. Even in the wet our car is very quick as we have seen in Spa this year. So I definitely look forward to the race here in Japan. Again I need to thank the incredible fans here. They wait for hours to see us drivers and give us little gifts. That gives us a very special feeling.” 

Daniel Ricciardo (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)  2 Kimi Raikkonen (photo by Ferrari) Kevin Magnussen (photo by Mclaren Force India (photo by Moy)

SCUDERIA FERRARI  #14 Fernando Alonso “I’ve often ended up fifth in qualifying, but I think that today’s result can be seen in a different light as I enjoyed myself a lot out on track, both in the quick parts and the slower ones. So far, this weekend has been very positive as I had a good feeling from the car right from the first lap of free practice. Unfortunately, the typhoon expected tomorrow is creating a bit of tension, because over the past two days, we haven’t done any wet running and having to do the opening lap of the race itself in the rain always complicates matters. Currently, we don’t know how much rain we can expect, so all we can do is prepare for a difficult race, because Suzuka is a circuit where, even in the dry, incidents can occur and it’s easy to make mistakes. I think that later today, the race director might take a decision regarding this, with the possibility of bringing the race forward.”

#7 Kimi Raikkonen “Today’s performance was in line with the whole weekend so far and even if I’ve had a good feeling from the car, I was unable to resolve a few problems already encountered on Friday. In the morning’s free practice, a technical problem meant I had to stop running earlier than planned and that prevented us from testing some new components, which would have been useful for the set-up choice. The team did a great job to get my car ready for qualifying in record time. In the first sector, I had a few balance problems and that stopped me pushing as hard as I wanted. I did my best today and tomorrow we will try and make up some places and have a good race.” 

LOTUS F1 TEAM  #8 Romain Grosjean “We thought we were looking quite good from yesterday and this morning, enough to aim for P12 or P13 but I was less happy with the car in qualifying. The wind changed and it might be too sensitive to that, but whatever the reason, we couldn’t get more pace out of the car. Tomorrow could be interesting depending on how much and when it rains, so we’ll see what we can do to benefit from the conditions.” ! #13 Pastor Maldonado “For sure we were expecting a better qualifying session but we couldn’t get more out of the car when we needed it most. There is potential for some excitement and some opportunities tomorrow with the weather forecast, but I have the penalty for my engine change which will give me an even bigger challenge. I’ll keep focused for the race and we’ll be trying for the best result possible. Anything can happen.” 

McLAREN MERCEDES ! #22 Jenson Button “My final lap in Q3 was the best lap I’d done all day. We didn’t get the timing of the previous runs right during Q1 and Q2, but the traffic was pretty much perfect for my final run. It was a good effort, but I still locked up going into the last chicane, which frustratingly gave me a small flat-spot. Still, we won’t use those tyres in the race, so it’s not too much of a problem. I’m not even sure if I lost any time, but it was a bit messy. Everyone thinks it’s going to be massively wet tomorrow. We don’t have too much of a different set-up between wet and dry, so it’s better to do well in qualifying. I’ll just take whatever the weather brings tomorrow.”

#20 Kevin Magnussen “I really enjoyed today, but I was slightly disappointed with P7, because I don’t think I got the perfect lap from my second set of tyres in Q3. I made a few mistakes on that lap, so there were probably a few tenths left on the table. In terms of the weather, and the predicted arrival of the typhoon tomorrow, I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ll just look out of my hotel window in the morning and see what the weather is doing. I think it’s going to be wet, but let’s wait and see.” 

SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM  #27 Nico Hulkenberg “Starting from P14 will be difficult and will make the race a bit more of a challenge. We lost a very good lap at the final chicane when I locked up and I have to kick myself for that. I think we would have been on target for Q3, which would probably have been the optimum result considering our performance throughout the weekend so far. Starting 14th complicates things, but Suzuka is one of the trickiest circuits, so tomorrow there will be everything to play for. With the threat of rain, a lot can happen.”

#11 Sergio Perez “I’m feeling disappointed not to be higher up today. My first run in Q2 was good, but for my second attempt, when the track was improving, things didn’t work out for me. On my out lap I came across a lot of traffic in the final chicane so I had to slow down and lost temperature in the tyres and brakes. So I arrived at turn one on the next lap and didn’t have the grip. It’s a shame not to maximise our performance today because we managed to improve the car before qualifying and I felt more was possible. I’m hoping for better things tomorrow.” 

SAUBER F1 TEAM  #99 Adrian Sutil “So far, this has been a difficult weekend for us. The car is not easy to drive, nevertheless we were able to improve consistently in qualifying. I made it into Q2, and we then made some changes to the balance of the car, which enabled us to make a significant step forward. So I was able to improve my lap time at the end of Q2, but more than P15 was not possible. However, I believe, based on the current weather forecast, we could have good opportunities tomorrow.”

#21 Esteban Gutierrez “Q1 seemed to be quite positive and strong. But then I had some traffic on my out lap in Q2 which compromised my performance a bit. The tyre temperature was not on target, so it was difficult to get the tyres to work. However, tomorrow we could have some opportunities depending on the weather conditions, and we have to be prepared for that challenge.” 

SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO  #25 Jean-Eric Vergne “I’m really satisfied with my Qualifying today, especially considering how the weekend had gone so far for me. I didn’t drive FP1, I had two technical issues in FP2 which shortened my running time, I could complete only 3 laps in FP3 this morning. However, the team was able to set up the car in time for Qualifying and I managed to do my job well this afternoon on a difficult track like Suzuka. It ‘s an extremely good job from the whole team, something to be pleased about. The race is tomorrow and anything can happen, even starting from the back of the grid.” ! #26 Daniil Kvyat “It’s been a very special Saturday here in Japan today, as I was told that I would be driving for Infiniti Red Bull Racing next year. It’s a fantastic feeling and a great opportunity and honour for me, so I want to thank Red Bull for trusting me. As for Qualifying today, I’m happy with our general performance, but we could have done better. Q1 was fine, but in Q2, my last flying lap was disrupted by some slower cars in front of me. When I arrived in Turn 1, my tyres were not up to temperature and so the lap was compromised, as getting into a rhythm is very important here. But still, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race, whatever the weather may be!” 

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING #19 Felipe Massa “Luckily all the issues from yesterday were sorted today. It was a positive qualifying session for the team with both cars on the second row. I didn’t quite have enough for third today, but I know we have good pace in the car and I’m happy. We must concentrate on the job we have to do tomorrow regardless of what the weather is.”

#77 Valtteri Bottas “The goal was to be third and fourth behind the Mercedes so it’s good to have accomplished that. The gap to the top two was actually closer than we had expected so it’s positive to have closed that. Suzuka isn’t an easy circuit, and the chance of a typhoon tomorrow makes it even harder. I think we still have a chance to get a podium position regardless of the weather.” 

MARUSSIA F1 TEAM  #17 Jules Bianchi “A frustrating result for us. I’m happy with the laps I did, but we did not reach our plan, which was for three runs, and so we ran out of time to try to get ahead of the Ericsson of Caterham. This is not where we want to be, but we did not have any upgrades for a while and they have obviously made a step forward which, at this track, reflects well for them. It’s a shame, but, as always, we’ll just focus on what we can do for tomorrow because, for sure, the race will be interesting, one way or another.”

 #4 Max Chilton “I’m very angry with myself. I was 0.4s up on that last run, with only a sector to go, and it would have been close between all three cars around me, so who knows where I could have ended up . Unfortunately, I just lost the rear into turn 13. I’d like to think we can pull it back tomorrow, but at this stage the race is difficult to predict, as we just can’t be sure to what extent the threatened weather might intervene. All things being equal, I think we can get ahead. A disappointing result today, but we’ll do our best tomorrow.” 

CATERHAM F1 TEAM #10 Kamui Kobayashi “It’s really not being the best of weekends for me, but I have to say that the team did a great job last night in order to get the car fixed and ready for me to drive today. Because of yesterday’s crash, I haven’t been able to complete as many laps as I would’ve liked and I hadn’t used the Option tyre before today’s qualifying session, so it hasn’t been the easiest of days. Considering this situation, I think my lap time was pretty good and we will see what happens tomorrow – I don’t really mind if it rains, it will make it more of an interesting race.”

#09 Marcus Ericsson “This morning’s final practice session was another positive one, we definitely built on that strong performance we had yesterday so I felt really good going into qualifying. We decided to go for a bit of a different strategy compared to the others, so we only used two sets of tyres while others used three – it was a bit of a gamble but I felt very comfortable in the car and I was confident it could work out, and it did. I’d say I did two decent laps and the car was working very well, so I’m happy with the result, it was a good effort from me and the team. Of course, you always want to be a bit closer to the guys ahead, but I think we’ve closed that gap a bit more again this weekend, so it’s definitely positive progress. Now we just have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow, but I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s race!”


Written by