Not a particularly good day for Red Bull in Sochi on Saturday while Jenson Button got the better of Fernando Alonso.
Daniel Ricciardo: "We were slower with the set-up we had in Q3 but we’ve learned which direction to go in for tomorrow, so that’s a positive. Even with a good lap, at this track, we were probably looking at ninth for quali at best, so we didn’t lose too much. We’ll do what we can in the race; we have some strong teams around us, but we will push. On a positive note, it’s good to hear that Carlos is doing well."
Daniil Kvyat: "I felt I did all I could this afternoon. Unfortunately, we only had one quick lap available on the last set of tyres so we had to go out a little bit later than we would have liked to. On the first timed lap I didn’t feel the tyres were ready and I could easily have improved on a second lap, because that was the pattern, but we just didn’t have time for a second push lap, so it’s a bit disappointing. Starting P11 is okay and at least it gives us a free tyre choice. I will fight hard and hope to finish in the points, which would be a good result. With Carlos, it was a bit scary at first, but then we saw him give the thumbs up. He’s a strong guy and I’m glad he’s okay."
Felipe Nasr: "It was a good qualifying. A very close competition. As I did not run the supersoft tyres on short-runs in FP3, I had to find my rhythm quickly to understand them. Luckily during qualifying we made the right changes and got the tyres to work in the right window. We can be pleased with this result. P12 is a good position from which to fight for some points tomorrow."
Marcus Ericsson: "Qualifying was a bit like going into the unknown because of the limited track time in FP3. Qualifying did not work out as planned. On my first run I got a yellow flag when I was on my flying lap. For the second set we unfortunately had issues with sensors on the tyres, so we did not know their correct temperatures. This is obviously not ideal in qualifying. All in all, it was not a satisfying session for me, ending with a disappointing result. We need to fight back tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "This was probably my best qualifying performance of the year. Today, we got into Q2 due to our actual speed, rather than because of the others having any issues. Q1 was straightforward – I was only a tenth and a half off the top 10. In Q2, it cooled down a lot – my new-tyre run was three-tenths slower than my old-tyre run. That last lap was really low-grip, even though I’d done a couple of warm-up laps beforehand. I think a lot of people struggled to get the temperatures right. I’m encouraged, because it was always going to be a very tricky weekend for us. Nonetheless, the race will be tougher for us than qualifying was because our deployment isn’t as good as other people’s, so we’ll be affected along the long straights here. In turn, that will affect our fuel consumption – since we use more fuel because we don’t have as much deployment capability. Still, this is progress."
Fernando Alonso: "In terms of power effect, this circuit was always going to be tricky for us. Whilst I’d always prefer to start up the front, I’m not really too disappointed with qualifying – with the penalties, I was always going to start last, so we tried to minimise the laps we needed to run today. And going out in Q1 means I haven’t put too many miles on the car. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow: this race will be important for us as we have some experimental parts we’re testing for next year’s car, and we want to get some information about them. I’ll go out to enjoy tomorrow’s race – and I’ll be aiming to recover some positions. Finally, I’m glad to hear that Carlos [Sainz] is okay after his accident – hopefully, we’ll see him back at the track tomorrow."
Will Stevens: "I’m pretty pleased with how we have ended the day. I didn’t get a good lap on my first run, but it all came together for my second timed lap and I’m pleased to be ahead for the start of tomorrow’s race. We haven’t had much opportunity for preparation this weekend, but this morning I got a long run in and the car feels good. My best wishes to Carlos; I’m pleased he is okay."
Roberto Merhi: "I was doing pretty well in qualifying but on the first lap of my second run I went off and flat-spotted my tyres. Then, on my push lap, I made a mistake, which cost me around 0.3s. However, I’m feeling positive for the race and it has been good to get a decent amount of dry running in today. Most importantly today, Carlos is okay. I was very worried for him; he is a good friend. I’m looking forward to seeing him racing when it’s best for him to come back."