Tricky conditions in São Paulo today, with a damp track ahead of FP3, low ambient temperature and the constant threat of rain. More of that to come in tomorrow’s 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix, which we’ll be starting with two Saubers sandwiched between Pascal and Esteban. An exciting and eventful race in prospect, which we intend to capitalise on at the same time as keeping our eye firmly on the prize.
Qualifying, Formula 1 Grande Prêmio do Brasil 2016
Saturday 12 November
Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo
Pascal MRT05-01 Q1 P19 1:13.427 8 laps
Esteban MRT05-02 Q1 P20 1:13.432 8 laps
Pascal, first of all, good to hear the words “it’s like a different car from yesterday” in FP3.
“Yes, it was a tough day yesterday, so to get in the car today and find it was more or less where we needed it to be was a huge relief, given the job ahead of us for this afternoon. We lost some time and important preparation along the way, but it’s nice to recover from that quite quickly and be in a good position for qualifying.”
And, qualifying? How was that?
“Well, on the one hand, we’re in front of both Saubers, so that’s important and the box ticked for what we needed to achieve today. But there was more to come and that’s a little frustrating. My best lap was on my first set of tyres and with three runs, that should have been two more opportunities to improve. On the second set I made a small mistake, which cost me a couple of tenths. We were only a couple of tenths away from Q2 today, so it’s disappointing that we had to abort the final run, but there was so much traffic in the last corners. Conditions were quite tricky today; could be the same tomorrow also. I’m looking forward to making the most of that.”
Esteban, talk us through your qualifying today.
“I can’t say I’m satisfied with qualifying. We did get ahead of Sauber – both of them – but unfortunately that doesn’t count now because I have to line up behind them. That’s how it is and we will have to hope for a good start and push hard to get ahead of them.”
It’s a tight track here. Those same places that created problems today could also provide some opportunities for tomorrow?
“Yes, that’s true. The track here is awesome and I love it, but it is very small and the last corner is pretty slow, so there was a lot of traffic. The first corner will be interesting tomorrow, so it’s important that we don’t get caught up in any situations and focus instead on using them to our advantage. We have a job to do as a team tomorrow and that is what I’m focused on.”
A word with Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
“Generally, an improvement today, getting on top of the problems that challenged us on Friday to give Pascal a more straightforward FP3, ensuring that both drivers were well prepared for qualifying. As we predicted, our one-lap pace was pleasing and we were very close to Q2 again. Collectively, we didn’t make the best of the opportunity to improve on the final run, and though we have one car starting ahead of Sauber, we should have had two. Tomorrow will bring its own challenges and, I’m sure, some opportunities. The conditions today have been tricky and that looks set to be the case for the race, so we go into Sunday with everyone clearly focused on what we need to do to achieve the best result for the team.”