There were top ten times in qualifying at Silverstone for Nico Hulkenberg, both Force India drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Romain Grosjean.
Nico Hulkenberg: “Today we had a very successful qualifying and will start the race just behind the top teams. I had a good rhythm and we had good times. The team made the right calls for the right track conditions; there was a nice flow. I was feeling calm and confident with the car so I was able to produce a good lap. The upgrades we brought here this weekend seemed to also have played their part in our step forward. That said, tomorrow’s race is the true test. Let’s try and have a clean race. We’ll push very hard and I’ll be very happy to bring points home.”
Jolyon Palmer: “I had a really good feeling with the car today and I’m happy with that result. We could maybe have made up one tenth or so, but we’re starting in a much better place than we have done in recent races so I hope we can make progress and score some points tomorrow. I’m pretty confident that we can have a good race. The atmosphere all weekend has been awesome with so many Union Jacks in the stands – I’m loving the support. It’s good motivation and driving the track with these cars is so much fun at the moment.”
Sergio Perez: “It was a very difficult qualifying session and it was important to be on track at the right time, especially during Q1 the wet conditions. I was disappointed we didn’t finish one place higher and when the gap is so small you know you had the chance to be ahead. My final lap could have been better because I lost time running over the kerbs in the final corner so there was room to improve. On the other hand, we are still starting in a great place tomorrow. We have a strong car and if the weather conditions are similar there could be the opportunity to finish even higher up. We will keep our heads down and try to deliver the perfect race.”
Esteban Ocon: “It’s been a really tough qualifying session, so I am happy to finish in eighth place. We decided to have a very late pit stop in Q1 to put slicks on. It was a calculated risk and we only took the decision at the final corner. I had one lap to get the time and I got blocked by Ericsson, but I still managed to improve my time even though it was very much on the limit. In Q2 I had my brakes on fire and during my second run I lost all radio contact with the team. I was there, driving alone, and I had to look out for the pit board like in the old times. I’ll be seventh on the grid tomorrow, which is not a bad place to start, especially considering everything that happened during this session. The conditions can be very unpredictable, like today, and if the rain comes anything can happen. We have been strong today and I am confident it can be the same tomorrow.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “To take part in Q3 at Silverstone was a bit unexpected. But I’ve been working very well for the past couple of races, and we’ve clearly seen the improvements inside the team – in Azerbaijan, in Austria, and here at Silverstone this weekend, Fernando and I largely matched each other’s pace. It’s obviously a pretty good feeling to have made that extra step. We’d been hoping to get a rainy mixed-condition qualifying for a long time, and I think we were pretty strong in these conditions all session long. Then, when the track got drier, we maximised every chance we got. As usual, it’s very close in the midfield pack, and we usually see that some of the others have got a little something extra for qualifying. But I think the mixed conditions really helped us today. Every time I was on track, I managed to bank a good lap-time, and I think ninth in Q3 was really the maximum we could do today.”
Fernando Alonso: “We made the right call at the end of Q1 by switching to Option tyres. We took advantage of a track that was on the limit at that moment – and it was nice to hear people cheering. It’s good for the guys in the garage as well: they deserve it as they have been working so hard these past couple of years, and, even if it’s just for one moment, to be up there at the top of the time sheets feels good. Not making it into Q3 allows us to choose our tyres for the race. We’ll start last, owing to the penalties; starting on used Q2 tyres wouldn’t have been ideal, so we’re relatively happy with 13th. Now we need to think about tomorrow. We proved today that we’re quite competitive in mixed conditions, so a wet/dry chaotic race could work in our favour. Hopefully it’ll stay like this tomorrow, weather-wise.”
Romain Grosjean: “I’m not totally happy with P10. The first run in Q3, I got completely blocked by Lewis Hamilton on the last corner losing me at good three-tenths. It cost me a least one position. With the second run I thought it was going to be fine, but I got to turn three and out of the blue I had massive rear-lock, so I lost almost half a second. I made it back over the lap, so I think we had much more performance than we were showing. I’m very unhappy with my first attempt being completely ruined at the last corner. Apart from all that, we were doing okay and doing a good job. It’s great to be in Q3 but there could’ve been so much more, so I’m a bit disappointed.”
Kevin Magnussen: “The car wasn’t too far off in the wet from where we were in the dry. We are not as strong as we expected. We need to look at why that is and try and understand it. Our race pace looked much better, but in qualifying over one lap, it wasn’t very competitive this weekend, which is a shame. The positive is that the race pace is good and that’s what we need to be quick. We’ll see what we can do.”
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