Valtteri Bottas set the second quickest time but will start in P5 after receiving a three-place grid penalty following his half-spin in the pit lane yesterday. Lewis Hamilton went third quickest but moves up to P2 after Valtteri’s penalty. Both drivers will start on the Medium compound tyre, like pole sitter Max Verstappen.
Today was about maximising the situation, trying to forget the penalty and just be perfect in everything you do. I think it was a good qualifying session, we worked well as a team together to find a good set-up and the changes we made gave me a better feeling in the car than I had in Practice. The lap was good, I don’t think there was another two-tenths to find with our package today so I think we maximised what we could.
The Medium should be the better race tyre for our car, even though the Soft runners around me will have a small advantage at the start. The key will be to get past them quickly tomorrow – obviously I’d rather start second than fifth but it is what it is, I need to deal with the consequences. It will be close with Red Bull, so far this season they’ve had the edge in qualifying and it’s been tight in the races so we’re looking forward to it.
Firstly, well done to Max – they have been so fast this weekend and they’ve had two tenths on us through every session. I have been giving it absolutely everything but it just wasn’t the greatest of qualifying sessions for me today. Nevertheless, it’s still the front row after the penalty and we live to fight another day – we’re there with the Red Bulls at the start so let’s see what we can do, it makes for an exciting race.
I’m proud of everyone’s hard work, and for continuing to push, we’re still in the fight and we’ve done a good job given the circumstances. I’m going try and enjoy my evening, gather my thoughts and come back strong tomorrow.
Overall, I think our qualifying result was probably a big better than we expected after practice. Valtteri made a strong recovery from a tricky Friday and did a good job of damage limitation for his penalty – he will start P5 tomorrow and has a good opportunity running the Medium tyre in the opening stint. On his side, Lewis had strong runs and looking at the data, it’s not clear where he’d have been able to eke out any more time this afternoon. We ran a slightly unusual session, with Valtteri doing three runs in Q2, while Lewis did the same on the Soft tyres in Q3. That allowed us to squeeze everything out of the car and control the pace of our out laps in the best way to manage the tyres for our car. Both drivers will be starting on Medium tomorrow and we have generally raced stronger than we have qualified this season. I think we have a quick race car and a few different options on the strategy. It’s going to be an exciting afternoon of tough racing – and the weather might play a part, too. I’m looking forward to it!
Source. Mercedes-AMG F1