Fernando Alonso limped to P12 on the grid on his Indy 500 return; Pascal Wehrlein crashed out in Q1.
Fernando Alonso: "I think what we achieved in today's qualifying was the maximum we could have hoped for. I'm happy with our performance – it was probably a bit quicker than we expected, actually, considering our power deficit. We're in P12, not ideal position to start from, but I think our time compared to the pole time here is quite competitive for us. Obviously, we'd like to be further forward, but I believe we maximised the potential today with a good, clean lap. The car has felt great so far. It's been fun out there today, and the level of grip is very high. Even though the tyres are difficult to warm up, they're very consistent and you can push throughout the run, so I think it's going to be an interesting race. The key to tomorrow's race will be performance and reliability, as always. We'll have to do some fuel saving and keep an eye on engine cooling, so it won't be easy. But the first priority tomorrow will be to finish the race, and, if we can be in the points, that'll be great."
Stoffel Vandoorne: "It's a shame that I had to abort my final Q1 lap when the yellow flags came out. I think we had the potential to get into Q2 – we were struggling a little bit with switching on the tyres on the first timed lap and we'd been improving our time on the second lap. I think the potential was there to progress on the second timed lap, and it would have been good enough to get us through to Q2 if it hadn't been for the yellows, unfortunately. That's how it is sometimes: we were unlucky. In general we've found it difficult to get the tyres in the performance window and we know how difficult it is if you can't get the temperatures up. In terms of actual performance, we're not that far away; it's just a case of needing that little bit more time to get the tyres working, and then we're up there. We'll give it our best shot tomorrow. We know this track isn't the most favourable for us, with all the long straights, and we're compromising the set-up a little bit in order to boost our straight-line speed. Tomorrow, we'll see: it'll be a long race, hopefully it'll be a decent one, and we can bring both cars to the finish, after which we'll see where we end up."
Romain Grosjean: “It’s not been easy. We knew we were not in Q3, but I was hoping to get a bit more magic in qualifying. Q1 went pretty well. In Q2, we just didn’t get any grip at all on the last set of tires. I did my best, managed to get a decent time, but it was nowhere near good enough to go through with a better position. We’re going to work, try to analyze everything. The positive is this is a track where you can normally overtake. It’s going to be a long race and it can be tough on the brakes. Hopefully, we can play with that and get some points tomorrow.”
Kevin Magnussen: “It was very frustrating. There were a lot of things going on – mainly traffic. It’s the second weekend in a row that we don’t get laps because of traffic. I didn’t get a good feeling for the car as I didn’t really get to put a lap down. The important thing is to try and be on the same strategy as the guys around you so that you don’t do fast laps when everyone else is doing slow laps. We didn’t get to show our full potential today. We need to try to be better.”
Marcus Ericsson: “It has been a difficult weekend for us so far struggling with low grip, especially yesterday. We were able to make some progress in understanding the tyres better, but we are obviously not fast enough to keep up with the pace of our competitors. It is positive that I feel more comfortable with the car today, and the changes we have made on the car side could help us tomorrow in race conditions.”
Pascal Wehrlein: “The spin into the barriers was my mistake. I went too far to the right while breaking in turn one and ended up driving over grass. I am very sorry for the team, especially the mechanics, who have been working so hard since the Monaco race – and today will be another long day for them.”