Teams' reactions after the qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit de Spa-Francorchampsbe

Apart from another Mercedes-dominated qualifying session, the battle in the midfield was thrilling with only a second separating the fourth-placed Daniel Ricciardo and the 13th fastest Charles Leclerc.


Lewis Hamilton

"I feel incredibly blessed to be able to take pole on a day like this. I woke up this morning to the terrible news about Chadwick Boseman. What a humble man he was, portraying these iconic black figures. As a kid I wanted to be Superman, and it's so important today for young black people to have a superhero to look up to, who looks just like them. It's really not easy to perform at your best when you have something weighing on your heart, and to be truthful it was so difficult to shake off that negativity and channel it into something exceptional, but Chadwick showed that was possible. I've done a lot of laps in my F1 career, but those two laps in Q3 were almost perfect. You can't see my face under my helmet out there, but I was smiling, this track is just incredible and I was totally on the limit. We decided to go out early and run in the clean air as it's so easy to make a mess of the tow if you get blocked or there's a yellow flag and we definitely made the right call. We've got a big race still to come tomorrow and the Red Bulls looked good on the long-runs on Friday, but today it was an honour to be able to dedicate that pole to Chadwick because he inspired me. My prayers and thoughts are with his family."

Valtteri Bottas

"I'm quite happy with qualifying, my lap felt good today, especially the second run in Q3. I don't think I made any mistakes in that run, so I'm not sure where the delta to Lewis came from, I'll have to look at the data. But I'm actually not too bothered about missing pole, as starting second or third can be an advantage in Spa. We've seen it before that with a tow on the first lap you can overtake the leader going into Turn 5. I hope there's plenty of opportunity tomorrow to try and fight for a good result and I'm looking forward to an exciting race."

Red Bull

Max Verstappen

“Overall, it’s been a really positive weekend so far, we came here and thought it was going to be really tricky for us and actually to be that close to Valtteri and in P3 is a good result. The lap was decent and of course I always look at the fastest car and we are half a second down but I think it is the closest we have been to Mercedes in qualifying this year. For us on this track, that is not normally our type of qualifying track, I think we can all be very happy with the result and now I’m looking forward to the race. I don’t think we prefer a wet or dry race but a change in weather during the race would spice things up. This track is amazing to drive in qualifying and already very exciting in the race, but if the weather comes into play a bit like last year at Hockenheim then it could be very special. I’m happy with the balance of the car and we have made a good step. Now we need to hope for a good start and then we can push Mercedes hard and maximise our result again.”

Alex Albon

“I’m happy with P5 and it’s all to play for tomorrow. I think P4 was possible but I made a small mistake into Turn One on my final run which cost me some time otherwise I think we could have been there. My best lap was actually in Q2 so there are little bits for me to improve on but I’m happy. It’s been a much smoother weekend and the car felt good straightaway from the start of FP1 and it hasn’t changed much since. We’ve been chipping away, fine tuning it, and it’s been a positive weekend. I think there’s been a step forward on my side too which hopefully we can take forwards. We’re on a different strategy to Max and start tomorrow’s race on the soft compound. The start is obviously important here with such a short run to Turn One so we’ll be looking for a good and clean getaway. After that, we’ll see but with the possibility of rain it should be an exciting race.”


Daniel Ricciardo

“I’m very happy with today’s qualifying. It was so close to the top three, but Max got me by a couple of tenths at the end. My lap was clean and probably as good as it was going to get. I left it all out there and the second row is a big reward. The car works well in lower downforce and that was the same last year. Tomorrow looks interesting. We have good pace in the dry, but if it’s wet, we’ve shown in the past we’re not bad either. If it rains, it creates more opportunities, so whatever the conditions, we’ll take it and aim to do the best possible job.”

Esteban Ocon

“It’s been pretty good all weekend and we’ve certainly looked strong with the car handling a lot better than the past couple of races. All the changes we made coming into this race has given us confidence and we’ve seen it’s working well on track. It feels good, so I’m happy. We have a great chance to fight tomorrow. There is a chance of rain, so that could be interesting, and we’ll give our best for a good team result.”


Carlos Sainz

“A good quali for us today. We got off to a solid start with a good first lap in Q1, which allowed me to stay in the garage for the second run and carry two new sets of soft compound tyres into Q3. There, I put together another two good laps to extract the maximum of our car today. P7 gives us a good chance to fight the Renaults tomorrow, who unfortunately were a bit out of reach for us today. We’ll also keep an eye on the weather radar because in Spa the conditions can change very quickly. Today was a good day, but the job isn’t done yet!”

Lando Norris

“I’m disappointed with P10 because it could’ve been more. My lap was good – I just didn’t have a slipstream from anyone so I was in no man’s land. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I was behind the Renaults on the out-lap and they were going extremely and erratically slowly. Therefore, I passed them but then I didn't have any slipstream in the lap. I was a long way off in Sector One, by half a second – four-tenths or something like that. I had a good Sector Two and not a bad Sector Three but, again, without slipstream it's difficult for overall lap-time. So, I’m happy I did what I could, but the bit that was out of my hands lost me a few more positions today. But we’re still not in a bad position for tomorrow.”

Racing Point

Sergio Perez

“I was a bit surprised to only be P8, so we need to look over the data and figure out why we seemed to lose some pace today, because we weren’t as strong in FP3 or qualifying compared to yesterday. It was also really tight out there and the gaps between cars were very small. I don’t feel we were able to show our true pace and we struggled on the mediums in Q2. We know it’s going to be tight in the race tomorrow too, but I feel confident we will have good race pace. I think we can move forward and still score plenty of points. There’s going to be a bit of an unknown with the weather too, so we might need to react quickly if rain arrives for the race.”

Lance Stroll

“We weren’t as competitive as we wanted to be today and we were expecting more. We tried to reach Q3 on the medium tyre, but it just wasn’t possible. In Q3 I lost two tenths on my best lap by locking up at the last chicane, which is a crucial part of the lap. When the grid is as tight as it was today, that’s costly and it meant I wasn't able to improve on P9. It was a frustrating day, but now it’s about bouncing back tomorrow. We need to go away tonight and review because there’s a lot for us to analyse and improve to try to get back to the sort of pace we were showing on Friday. All in all, I think we’ll have solid race pace tomorrow and anything can happen – and there’s always the possibility of rain. We’re right in the mix and it’s going to be a close battle, so we can still fight for good points.”


Pierre Gasly

“I would have liked to make it to Q3 as there were only four one-hundredths of a second to Norris in P10. I didn’t nail the last chicane and had a poor exit, I tried to give it a bit more and lost traction which cost me a tenth. Still, we have a free tyre choice and we will fight from there. I would like it to rain tomorrow - I come from Normandy so we have rain pretty much every single day! We have a decent starting position in P12 and anything is possible from there, it's super tight in the midfield as always, so I’ll push as hard as I can and hopefully we can get a few points. Actually, it’s ideal to start P11 and P12 because of the free tyre choice, but I wanted to be P11! However, Dany did a very good lap and I just had to do better today - I can only blame myself.”

Daniil Kvyat

“I had strong laps all through qualifying and I’ve been feeling better and better with the car since yesterday. We made steps in the right direction with my engineering crew, so I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, especially from Friday to Saturday. I think we have a good chance to have a strong race tomorrow, so we’ll do our best to make it happen. It will be a long one and, as it often happens in Spa, the weather can play a part. If it rains it could definitely spice up the race, so we need to stay on top of our game in these conditions, as many things can happen and we need to be there to take advantage.”


Sebastian Vettel

"We need to stay strong and keep doing what we are doing as we knew this would be a tough weekend for us. We lose quite a bit on the straights and this circuit has a lot of straights. We are also struggling to get the tyres working properly. However the race is long so you never know what might happen.

"In the end I think today’s result reflects our real level on a track like this. We are ready to do battle tomorrow, I don’t think the rain can change a lot but for sure we will be trying anything, also on strategy, to bring home some points."
Charles Leclerc

“I think my final was ok and that P13 and P14 was the best we could do today. We managed to improve the car balance since yesterday, but unfortunately we didn’t find the performance we were hoping for there. The race will be tough but I’m always optimistic. Hopefully, with a strong start, the right strategy, and good tyre management, we will be able to fight for some points.

“These are tough times for all of us, including everyone who is supporting us watching from home, and I will give my all to bring home the best possible result tomorrow for them. It’s important for everyone in our team to keep their heads up and stay motivated. Together we will work hard to find the cause of the issue we are having and address it.”


George Russell

"I am thrilled, and it was probably the best qualifying of the year for us. On paper, our car does not suit this circuit because of the long straights, so we were not expecting to be close to Q2. We put a really good lap together and the car was feeling great. It was exhilarating driving around here with the car on the limit like that, so I am really pleased. We hope for rain tomorrow, as if it is wet it might mix things up a bit, so fingers crossed the heavens open."
Nicholas Latifi

"I am quite frustrated as the potential was there to get into Q2. We got very unlucky getting caught out by the yellow flag with the Haas so I had to lift for that on my last attempt. My lap considering this issue would have been good enough. However, the car was feeling great and we made some good changes overnight and everything was there to get into Q2. For sure in the race we will be looking to fight and challenge the other cars."


Romain Grosjean

“We knew we’d part of the six to eight last cars in qualifying. It’s no secret though that here, Monza, Mugello – they’re all likely to be difficult weekends. The best we can do is to get the maximum from the car, and I think I did. My fast lap was a fun lap, Spa is absolutely mega – I wish we could race more often here. Even if you’re 17th if feels fast. If conditions are changeable tomorrow, then we can try different things and hopefully play to our strengths.”

Kevin Magnussen

“It was very tight after the second run, in terms of time trying to do three runs here in Q1. After my second run though, the gap wasn’t too big to the midfield guys in P13 and P14. That would have been a very good position for us. I knew I really had to come up with an extremely good lap to do it. I gave it everything I had but I just overdid it. I made a mistake at Turn 14 and went off. We didn’t have any tows in the first two runs and that costs you about three tenths or so. It just didn’t really come together for us. We obviously don’t really know much about our race pace, hopefully – as it often is, we’re quicker in the race than compared to qualifying. I’m hoping that’s the same tomorrow. There’s a pretty good chance of rain on Sunday which could make things exciting.”

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen

“We tried our best and today we really had a chance to go through, but we fell a bit short in the end. There was quite a bit of traffic on the outlap and the tyres were a bit too cold when I started the lap: I struggled with oversteer in turn one and lost some time compared to my previous lap. After that the car felt good, I went quicker than before but that wasn’t enough to make it to the top 15. It’s disappointing but that’s how it is. We’ll just see how it goes tomorrow and do our race: the rain would definitely make it a hectic day but we are not going to rely on that.”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“It was close and maybe there would have been a possibility to be in Q2, but I made a small mistake in turn eight and that was enough to lose the time we needed to make the cut. It’s disappointing but it is what it is. Tomorrow’s going to be another race full of battles, we will need to give our best and try to score some points. It may be wet and that would mean a chaotic race: whatever the conditions, however, we will need to do a good job and see where we end up.”