Teams' reactions after the qualifying session

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Although the Portimao track presented teams and drivers with a unique challenge with its undulating layout, Mercedes proved once again that its 2020 car, the W11 is unbeatable, securing another front row lock-out for tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix.

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, 16th, 1:18.201

“The car felt really good this morning after the changes we did overnight, but when the wind picked up we started to struggle. Overall, the car behaved nicely but the moment we got a tail wind it was a really painful experience. We tried to get through, we did what we could but it wasn’t enough today. In different conditions it would have been a completely different story, but in the end it’s the same for everyone. Obviously I am disappointed, but we have tomorrow to try and make up some ground.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 17th, 1:18.323

“Grip conditions were a bit better today but they were still quite a challenge. I think we did the most we could once again, but it was not enough to book a place in Q2. To start towards the back is never easy, but we can still do our race tomorrow and see what happens. We need a good start and to make the most of any opportunities, especially if the weather plays a role. The grip levels are still fairly low and everything can happen.”


Romain Grosjean, 18th, 1:18.364

“The circuit is pretty cool, it really is a rollercoaster. I would add some gravel in Turn 1 and Turn 4 to get rid of the track limit issue, that would also spice things up on the high-speed corners. Looking at the layout of the circuit here with the low-speed corners, it was always going to be difficult. We’re also suffering from rear overheating on my car on the suspension, the balance was changing lap after lap. I don’t know where we’ll end up in the race. More uncertainty – such as rain, as I said at the Nürburgring, is the best for us. We can maybe pull something out of the hat.”

Kevin Magnussen, 19th, 1:18.508

“Some frustration today. We had a problem with the car that meant we could only do two laps on every run – we had been planning to do three laps, at least on the first set of tyres to learn as much as we could. On top of that I had traffic on my second lap on the first run, so I didn’t learn a lot on that run. We were just on the backfoot for the next outing. Considering all that, I think I did a decent lap, it was the best that I could do. Clearly we don’t have the pace but we’ll do what we can for the race. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”


Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:16.652 "I can't tell you how hard that was today - we've got a great car, but you have to drive the nuts off it to pull out a lap and Valtteri has just been so quick here this weekend! I've been digging and digging and trying to find that extra time. They communicated well with us and gave us the option of what to do at the end - I chose to do three laps to give a chance at beating his time and he chose to do one. I thought that might give me an opportunity and it worked out, getting better and better on the final lap. This is a hardcore circuit, with places where you can't see where you're going because you're just looking at the sky, so there are no references for braking points for example. It's among the most challenging circuits I've been to, especially with this new surface that makes it hard to get the tyres switched on and working on both axles. It's a big thank you to the team for the work this weekend, and to the fans who were able to come out today - it's great to see their flags out there on track."

Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:16.466

"That was a strong session for me until the final run. Based on the feeling from Q2, we decided to go for the medium for the last run, then it was a question of one timed lap or three timed laps of fuel in the car. It's always a balance: with one lap, you carry less fuel weight but might have a challenge with the warm-up of the tyre; that's what I went for as it had worked for me in Q2. It has been tricky to get clean laps this weekend and the final one for me was decent but not perfect - that's the challenge of a track and a surface like this. So of course, a little disappointing not to be on pole after topping the times most of the weekend, but I will be fighting for the win from P2 tomorrow."

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, 3rd, 1:16.904

“I’m happy with qualifying, my Q3 lap was pretty decent and third is a good starting position. This weekend we have seen the new tarmac make it quite difficult to get the tyres in the right window, which was the same for everyone, so it was a bit hit and miss but we are not too far behind Mercedes and there’s a lot to play for tomorrow. I think the start is going to be important as I’m on the soft tyre while the others around me are on the medium but nobody has a lot of information about how the tyres are going to hold up. We’ll just feel our way into the race and push hard as always and sometimes a bit of unpredictability from the tyres makes things more interesting. If it is also windy and raining then it will be even more of an unknown but I hope that whatever the conditions we can be in a good position to push Mercedes tomorrow.”

Alex Albon, 6th, 1:17.437

“I would have liked to be further up there but we can work from P6. I was pretty happy with my lap but the hardest thing for us was switching the tyres on as the track has been weird all weekend with the new surface and changing wind conditions. In Q3 we decided to run out of sync compared to everyone else and I think I would’ve gone quicker with one more push lap on the medium tyre. We opted to change to the soft for the final run which is a very different compound in terms of how you maximise it so you have to readjust and change your driving style which does affect your rhythm slightly. The weather is mixed for tomorrow and the rain is meant to be coming, so anything can happen. It’s a long run to Turn One and no one has really completed a proper long run yet so we’ll discover as we go along and make the most of the opportunities.”


Sebastian Vettel, 15th, 1:17.919

"I’m not happy with today as I struggled a lot to put the laps together. It was very difficult to get the tyres to work and find a good rhythm. In practice I was happy with the mediums but in quali I had too many issues, probably because of the difficulty of getting the tyres up to temperature.

"Starting at the back of the grid is not ideal, as the traffic at this circuit will probably be a big problem. However it will be a similar situation to what we have experienced at some of the recent races. Unfortunately there’s not much we can change on the car and we will have to do our best from the back."

Charles Leclerc, 4th, 1:17.090

“I am very happy with my lap and I think we managed to get everything out of the car today. Congratulations to the whole team for the great job they have done, both in Maranello and here at the track. The latest updates we introduced here have also added a bit of performance to our car and the last few qualifying sessions show we are heading in the right direction.

"Already yesterday, I had a good feeling about Saturday, while there are still various things we need to look at before the race. But I am very happy to have got through Q2 on the medium tyre, because I’m sure it's the ideal tyre for the start of the race. In Germany we suffered on the soft tyres in the low temperatures, while here it’s not as cold and we have the mediums. I need to get a good start and if I manage that, I can be in the fight for a strong result.”

Racing Point

Sergio Perez, 5th, 1:17.223

“I think we got the maximum out of the car today – and P5 was the best result we could secure. It’s a real credit to the team too because we were struggling to find the optimum set-up on Friday and then we turned the car upside down this morning and improved the package a lot. You could really see how difficult the conditions were out there because we were slower in Q3 than we were in Q2 as the wind picked up a lot and the track became slower. We could see that in the final sector times. It’s been a challenge out there because it’s tricky to get the temperature into the tyres - and it’s about not overheating them either - so it sometimes took a few laps to get it right. Every lap was different to drive, but we picked up a good rhythm in Q1 and Q2 and carried it into Q3. It’s clear that Mercedes and Red Bull are well ahead, but there’s a real close battle behind and we’re right in the mix. We’re starting P5 and on the cleaner side of the grid, so if we can get a good start tomorrow, there’s a lot to play for and good points on the table.”

Lance Stroll, 12th, 1:17.626

“I’ve had better Saturdays and it was a tricky qualifying. I’ve been struggling with the car balance and it was a little bit inconsistent out there. At times I was able to get a good lap out of the car, as I did in Q1, and that gave me a good basis to work from, but then in Q2 I found the car a bit snappier and the balance more difficult. The conditions were also changing, which I think was due to the track surface and wind conditions, which didn’t help the lap times. We will go away and look at the overall picture and come back stronger tomorrow. On my side, it’s also been a little while since I was in the car after missing last weekend, so I’m still getting back up to speed. I expect it will be a track position race tomorrow, but if we can get a good start and have a strong first lap, we can aim for points.”


Carlos Sainz, 7th, 1:17.520

"A challenging qualifying for us trying to figure out the tyres and especially tricky as the wind picked up through each session. Compared to the lap time in Q2 we simply got slower as conditions changed and the session went by. Nonetheless, we managed to put the two cars in Q3 again, which is a good result for the team. We aren’t in a bad position to fight tomorrow and we’ll try to bring the maximum points home."

Lando Norris, 8th, 1:17.525

"A tough quali — I'm struggling a bit with the car this weekend, due to the difficult conditions of grip and wind. Maybe not as much as the others it seems, because we did a good job, but it’s been pretty difficult. I haven’t had good balance the whole weekend and we struggled to feel confident going into any session, but I think we made the most of it and we do have a competitive car. Maybe if we'd had another chance we could've improved, but it was tricky to get a lap together in the first place with the traffic. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow where we can fight for points, let's see what we can do."


Pierre Gasly, 9th, 1:17.803

“The team did an amazing job to get the car ready today. They barely slept last night as they had to rebuild the chassis, and everything worked fine, so a big thanks to them for their effort! We were very competitive in FP3, but I’m a bit disappointed with qualifying because we were fast all weekend. We saw that when there is no wind the car is working very well, but when it picks up it becomes more difficult, which was the case in Q2 and Q3. I’m happy with P9 but I think we could have been slightly higher up on the grid. It’s a new track to race on tomorrow, the last time we were on a new track in Mugello a lot of things happened, so it will be important that we grab the opportunities that come our way because there might be a few – it should be exciting!”

Daniil Kvyat, 13th, 1:17.728

“It was a difficult qualifying session and I don’t think I had much more confidence to push the car more today, it was moving around a lot and it was sensitive to the wind. Every time I tried to push a bit more I was going off the line, so I didn’t have much more than that. I haven’t driven in difficult conditions like these in quite a while, I think it will be an interesting and complicated race, so there will be opportunities for us to get into the points again.”


Daniel Ricciardo, 10th

“The track is hard to find a good balance on and I think the temperatures and wind changed quite a bit from this morning so that was also challenging. We had the small issue with DRS at the end of Free Practice 3, and I think our one lap pace wasn’t the best this weekend. We got through Q1, but it was really tight between a number of cars in Q2 and then I had my spin at the end of the session. I do think there was still a bit more in the car, so it’s a shame we didn’t get out and have a go in Q3, but the guys did their best to try get me back out. It’s all to play for tomorrow, so let’s see what we can do.”

Esteban Ocon, 11th, 1:17.614

“It’s a shame to be out in Q2 today, we seemed to have struggled a little bit with the car all weekend. We managed to get some decent laps in this morning, but it’s tricky to find a good balance here and it seems to be the same for everyone. The wind also picked up and the weather changed a little bit from this morning, so I think that added to the challenge today in qualifying. Let’s see what is possible for tomorrow, we have the free tyre choice and if we can get a good start we can still do well.”


George Russell, 14th, 1:17.788

"It is an amazing track and the car was feeling good. In the end I think we were only a tenth and a half from P11 which is extraordinary for us. We are all pushing as hard as we can to get everything we can out of this car, we are making good progress and the hard work is paying off. We have a car that is more optimised for the race tomorrow, but we will have to wait and see how it unfolds as nobody knows how the tyres are going to handle this new circuit as FP2 got cut short. It will be exciting, potentially with a bit of rain on the way, and I will be giving it everything I have got."

Nicholas Latifi, 20th, 1:18.777

"I didn’t put my laps together and I am quite frustrated with myself. There was definitely much more pace in the car. I had a laptime deleted due to track limits which was my mistake on the first set and then I just couldn’t put it together on the second set.

"There are a lot of unknowns for the race tomorrow, as yesterday’s FP2 running was quite compromised with the red flags. We made some big changes overnight and straight away this morning the car was feeling much more in the window and gave me more confidence. I hope that will translate into race pace, so I am looking forward to tomorrow."