Boom! Back in Q2 one final time this season. Pascal brings the tally to 5, after a belting qualifying session at Yas Marina Circuit. Tomorrow, we’ll be throwing everything we have at the 2016 finale.
Qualifying, 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Saturday 26 November
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
Pascal MRT05-01 Q1 P16 1:41.886 8 laps Q2 P16 1:41.995 6 laps
Esteban MRT05-02 Q1 P20 1:42.286 8 laps
Pascal, fifth time in Q2 this season. What a way to round out the last qualifying session of your debut season! Are you as thrilled as your team?
“Ha ha. At least! My fifth time in Q2 this year and that’s a really special way to finish in the last qualifying of the year. In Q2 I only had one set of Ultrasoft tyres so my second run was the limit and it wasn’t possible to improve any more. But I think we have to be happy with P16 and my thanks to the team because together we’ve done a really great job so far this weekend. I like the track but I don’t think it’s our best one, so we’re really pushing hard to end the season in a positive way.”
Eighth row on the grid tomorrow. What can we do from there?
“Well, who knows. We’re in front of Sauber and our pace looks really strong, so you never know what might be possible and what might happen in front of us. I think we should dream big and push for points. Why not? Brazil was a tough day for us, so I would love to put the smile back on everyone’s faces.”
Esteban, obviously unhappy with P20 today. What went wrong?
“Yes, my qualifying was a disaster. Free practice looked positive this morning and we were ahead, but as soon as we put the Ultrasoft on I was standing still and my teammate and everyone else was improving. There was nothing more in terms of pace on that tyre for me. I was losing speed and we have to look at what the problem was because for sure, there was one.”
Season finale tomorrow. What can we expect?
“Well, it’s a great track, which I enjoy, and up until qualifying the signs are all good in terms of our performance. I’m starting at a disadvantage in terms of grid position, but if we can get a good start – and we know we can – then I hope we can recover some places and have a good race.”
A word with Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
“The first thing I’d like to say today is what a fantastic job the whole team has done so far this weekend and in the couple of weeks since that very disappointing day in Brazil. We could have been forgiven for letting our heads drop and writing off the season there and then, but instead, we’ve dusted ourselves off and decided to throw everything we have at the finale. Even though it’s only Saturday, I think everyone should be very proud of themselves.
“Which brings me to our drivers: both of them. Pascal did an excellent job to get us into Q2 for the fifth time this season and was clearly enjoying himself out there. His two runs were flawless and everything seemed to go right for him. With Esteban, he had a slightly interrupted FP3 this morning and then, for reasons we need to establish, the Ultrasoft tyre was just not working for him. Nonetheless, we have good pace here - both drivers have demonstrated that – and I’m sure we’ll see a great fight from them tomorrow.”