The hot conditions remained for this afternoon's qualifying session with the track temperature creeping above 40°C as the session got underway. Both Fernando and Nelson progressed comfortably to Q2 where they confirmed the form they had shown during free practice to reach Q3 and the top ten shootout.
In the final part of qualifying Fernando secured 7th spot on the grid and Nelson ended the session in 10th. With those positions the team can look forward to a competitive race tomorrow afternoon on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.
Fernando Alonso: "We knew that the qualifying session would be very close and that proved to be the case. The first part was very competitive, but we managed to reach Q3 with both cars, which is positive. But I think the race tomorrow will be difficult, that's for sure. I will try and do my best to be on the pace and hopefully score some points. "
Nelson Piquet: "The session was very competitive and more difficult than I though it would be. In the end I managed to reach Q3 and I am happy about that. It means we can approach the race sensibly tomorrow and I hope we can make the most of this grid position to score some points."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "As always, the homework done during our free practice sessions has paid off by getting both cars into the final part of qualifying with fuel loads that we believe can help us have a competitive race. As everybody knows, it is really difficult to pass on this track and so after a good qualifying session, pit-stops are now of extreme importance."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations: "Our objective was to reach the top ten, and we achieved that. But the gap with the leaders is significant and as Fernando said at the start of the weekend, we had to fight hard to finish in the top ten because that is the situation we are in at the moment. With these places on the grid we are now preparing for a closely fought race, but we have a sensible strategy. Each lap will count and we must not make any mistakes."