All the Team reaction to a thoroughly entertaining qualifying session at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 4th 1:41.911
“I’m happy with the second row on the grid but it wasn’t a totally smooth day. This morning we didn’t get a go on our second set of ultrasoft tyres because of the red and yellow flags. In Qualifying, Q2 was very close on the supersofts, we had a couple of yellow flags and it was looking a bit hairy but we just made it through.
In Q3 on the first run I kissed the wall and then on the last lap I had to make it clean and fortunately clean was fast enough for the second row. It’s always tough on street circuits like this, you have to be on the limit to be fast but point five of a percent inside of the limit. Just finding that balance isn’t easy but I’ve felt good all weekend and obviously have good momentum from here last year and China, so we will race hard and hopefully get back on the podium.
I’m looking forward to a good street fight tomorrow (laughs). I believe the top five start on supersofts and we’re all trying to avoid the ultrasoft on high fuel due to the graining in colder conditions, so that strategy makes sense for us. I’m also going to eat lots tonight to make sure I don’t blow away in the wind tomorrow as it looks like it’s going to be pretty crazy out there!”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 5th 1:43.519
“Qualifying today was ok; nothing special but we are also not too far away. We were in reach but of course we know that in Qualifying they turn up their engines, but in general not bad and I think we have a good chance to fight tomorrow. On the last run we were waiting to try and get a tow. I think that cost us a bit because I was waiting in the garage with the heaters already off and couldn’t get heat in the tyres like I wanted to.
With the tyres the ultrasoft is not that easy but we qualified on the supersoft so hopefully that will give us a longer first stint. The top five cars are on the supersofts so I don’t think it will offer much except we can extend the stint for longer compared to Kimi who is on the ultra, but we’ll find out.
The wind was very tricky today and is forecast to be even stronger tomorrow for the race, so we’ll have to see what that does. Aerodynamics are very sensitive to wind, it’s the same as in a plane, you can fly fast in one direction and can go faster in the other direction. The cars are very sensitive to that, we had some struggles in the corners, and the more downforce you have the more tricky the wind can be. We are still in a good position to fight from and many things are possible on this track.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal:
“A reasonably straightforward Qualifying. The pressure points for us came in making a tight call to abandon a lap with Daniel in Q2 feeling that he was safe, which was a last minute judgement. Then in Q3 both drivers obviously did their best but unfortunately we didn’t quite have enough pace to get further up the grid. However fourth and fifth are still very respectable grid positions at a track you can certainly overtake at.”