Disappointing qualifying day for Max Verstappen and McLaren with latter also facing multiple grid penalties.
Carlos Sainz: "I’m enjoying this track so much! I’ve been waiting all weekend for the qualifying session, because in free practice you always carry more fuel and the car doesn’t feel as fast… But I knew that once we got to qualifying I’d really feel the speed and that’s just what happened out there today. I’m really pleased with getting through to Q3. Even though my last run could have been a little bit better, it was a good result for us today. It was a surprise because on paper it looked something very difficult to achieve. It’s not the track that suits us the most so tomorrow’s race will be difficult, but we are going to push as hard as we can, make the most out of any mistakes the others do and hopefully finish within the top ten. I must say I think this is one of the best qualifying sessions I’ve had this year, even though now it’s time to forget this and look ahead to tomorrow’s race, as that’s when the points are given."
Max Verstappen: "It wasn’t the best of starts to my qualifying session, as I had a power issue in Q1 which didn’t let me focus on my lap, even though I managed to get through to Q2. But, to say the truth, we planned a qualifying session like this, stopping in Q2, as there was no point in trying to fight for Q3 because of my 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race. By doing this we’ve also saved some tyres and hopefully we can fight for points… I know it’s not going to be easy, but to be racing in front of my home crowd will surely give me that extra boost I need. I’m confident and looking forward to the race. In this morning’s final practice session I could see that our long-run pace was quite good, so I’m hoping tomorrow will be the same. It’s not being the easiest of race weekends, but the car feels good so I’m happy about that and at this track anything is possible. There will definitely be some hard fights, but we will aim to finish in the points, that would be a really good result for us here in Spa."
Marcus Ericsson: "First of all I want to thank the team for its great effort in putting the car together over night. The result from qualifying is a bit disappointing. On the other hand, it is positive we made some progress this weekend in comparison to the last couple of rounds. FP3 was not as satisfying as we expected after the strong Friday. We made some changes for qualifying and went in the right direction, but in the end it was not enough to put us where we wanted to be. Starting from P13, we still have a good chance to score points."
Felipe Nasr: "A disappointing qualifying for me. I am surprised I was not able to make it into Q2, which was possible today. The first run in qualifying felt good, but then on the second I didn’t have enough grip. We need to analyse and understand what happened. We are in Spa so anything can happen tomorrow, as this track also offers good spots to overtake. I am confident I can move up some positions tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "I felt my lap today was equal to the pole position lap I did here three years ago – I really enjoyed driving the car this afternoon. This morning I’d been struggling with the rear end at the corner entries, but we transformed the car for qualifying. Nevertheless, when you cross the line at the end of the lap and think you’ve done enough to be a bit higher up, it’s difficult to hear that you’re still a second off the guy ahead. There’s a lot of work needed to close that gap. We always knew this circuit was going to be a tough one for us. It won’t be easy to make up any ground in the race tomorrow, and we’ve got a long way to go before we’re competitive, but at least the feeling in the car is good."
Fernando Alonso: "We knew this would be a difficult weekend. Spa is the longest circuit on the calendar, with very long straights, and we know we have a lack of straight-line speed, so we strategically decided to take some penalties this weekend. We missed the long run in yesterday’s practice due to the red flags and some telemetry issues, and we sat out FP3 this morning because of an exhaust issue, so we’re short on laps this weekend. So hopefully we can finish the race tomorrow and learn a little bit more about the car. In order to really enjoy the race, we’ll need something exciting to happen – like some rain. A dry race will make life difficult for us."
Will Stevens: "I’m really happy with how things have gone today. The car feels really good and I’m enjoying a good battle with my teammate. It’s nice to end qualifying ahead, but I think we can expect a good fight between us tomorrow. It could be a very mixed race tomorrow, weather-wise. Potentially a bit like Silverstone where it was dry for the most part and then the rain came along and changed the landscape. Because of the nature of this track, we’ll need to keep our wits about us, but at the same time it could throw up a few opportunities for us."
Roberto Merhi: "I’m pretty pleased with my qualifying lap today. I lost quite a bit of time this morning in FP3 due to a small hydraulics problem, so I was not quite so prepared for qualifying. Will and I were trading time through the lap, me losing out in the first and last sector, but gaining on him in the second. So I’m looking forward to the race and to seeing how we can continue that fight between us. It is usually a race where anything can happen, so I think it will be close between us."