Abu Dhabi GP qualifying: Sainz is top 10, one position ahead of Verstappen

James Key, Toro Rosso Technical Director: "we can’t be totally satisfied with starting from P10 and P11..."

Carlos Sainz – Best lap: (Q1) 1:42.911, (Q2) 1:42.482, (Q3) 1:42.708, pos. 10th

“I’m very pleased and happy with today, especially after such a difficult day yesterday! I definitely needed a clean Saturday. I managed to build up my confidence and set-up my car as I wanted during what was a very smooth FP3. Today’s qualifying was tough, as I had to get used to the twilight conditions and get the braking references right – something I wasn’t able to do yesterday in FP2 because of the lack of running. It was important for me to have a good qualifying here and I have to say I’m very satisfied with P10. I was able to stay calm and did a very good lap when it mattered. It wasn’t an easy day to get into Q3 but we managed it and it feels good!”

Max Verstappen - Best lap: (Q1) 1:42.889, (Q2) 1:42.521, pos. 11th

“It wasn’t the easiest of days, but we tried to make the most out of it and we can be happy with our result. In today’s qualifying session I think we maximised the potential of the car. I think all the runs were very good, except for the last one in Q2 – we have a certain way to prepare for a lap and I got caught in traffic so I had to back off, losing tyre temperature, and then you don’t have the confidence to brake hard into the first corner and lose one and a half tenths… But at the end of the day a P11 is a good position to fight from in tomorrow’s race – I’m the first one with new tyres so it looks promising, as this track is quite hard on the tyres. I think we have good race pace, so it will be interesting tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it!”

James Key (Technical Director)

“We made some improvements to the car from yesterday, but the trend this weekend for us has been struggling to keep the Option tyre to work over a single flying lap. Therefore we knew that qualifying was always going to be a bit tricky unless we solved that problem. We definitely made some steps forward and we are very happy with our Prime performance today, but we didn’t completely rectify the issue regarding the Option tyres. As a result, we were expecting a little bit more from qualifying today but did not make the most of it.

However, I have to congratulate Carlos for getting into the top ten, because he hasn’t had an opportunity for a while with recent problems. Unfortunately, Max missed out. He lost a bit of time in the first sector at the start of his last run in Q2 – literally only a few hundredths of a second – but that was just enough to knock him out of the top ten. We will have to use the fact that he starts on new tyres in the race to overtake and move forward as best possible, we know he can do this!

To sum up the day, we can’t be totally satisfied with starting from P10 and P11 but the positive part is that on both tyre compounds our long-run pace from Friday running on high fuel was relatively better than our short runs. We’ve got one opportunity left to try and score some good points and we will do the best job we can – we have nothing to lose.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Abu Dhabi GP
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. , Max Verstappen
Teams Toro Rosso
Article type Qualifying report