Sebastian Vettel took his second consecutive pole this season for Red Bull Racing in a difficult session mainly dominated by the weather. Mark Webber on the other hand looked good as well, but a miscommunication led him to cross the finish line too late to start another flying lap.
Sebastian Vettel, 1st: “It was very difficult as the circuit was half dry and half wet today – so it was difficult to find the right compromise between pushing hard and also saving the tyres. It was the right strategy to come in and change the tyres and the pace was there. It was a good session in Q3 and it was clear what we had to do, so I’m pleased with the result. It’s a long race tomorrow and whoever wins will have done the best job. We managed to save some tyres today which will help if the race is dry, but we will see.”
Mark Webber, 5th: “It’s disappointing to finish fifth. We didn’t get the timing quite right in the last part of Q3, I thought I had more laps. We were quick enough, but we went too slow on the lap when we should have been going quick and it meant we didn’t get a last timed lap in. The time doesn’t represent how comfortable I felt in the car today and it’s frustrating when you put so much work in and know you could have done better. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow – it should be interesting with the weather.”
Christian Horner, Team principal: “A challenging qualifying, but in the end we were able to navigate both cars into Q3 when the rain came – it was then a question of getting the timings right. Sebastian elected to do two runs – it was always clear there was only time for one and one (timed laps) or five laps if you ran the whole session. Mark having not got his first lap in elected to stay out and, as the circuit continued to dry, the lap times continued to fall. Sebastian put together a fantastic lap in tricky conditions to get the pole. With Mark, it was a great shame as we thought he would be the last car to cross the line and get the last timed lap, but a miscommunication about the number of remaining laps meant that he was first car to get the chequered flag, missing a fifth lap by one second. It was a shame, but first and fifth for tomorrow’s race is a good starting position. That said, I don’t think pole will be the deciding factor of tomorrow’s race; if it’s wet it helps with visibility, but in the event of a dry race then tyre degradation and tyre strategy will be key.”
Thierry Salvi, Renault support engineer: “It’s always a joy to come here as the weather conditions are quite extreme, so it’s interesting in terms of engine settings and engine set up. You can imagine that the engine can suffer quite a lot under these conditions and, in addition, you also have to work on drivability under dry and wet conditions. That means you have to be ready for the kind of qualifying we had today, when it starts dry and ends wet. The challenge here is to be able to cope with that weather and for the engine itself to be able to cope with these extreme conditions.”