Sebastian Vettel: "...we’re not sure what others were doing with their fuel loads today, but it seems close ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying."
Sebastian Vettel (First Practice Session: Position: 2, Best Time: 1:39.667, Laps: 20 - Second Practice Session: Position: 2, Best Time: 1:38.781, Laps: 30): “There is some room for improvement. It will be close with Mercedes; of course we’re not sure what others were doing with their fuel loads today, but it seems close ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying.
Mark Webber (First Practice Session: Position: 3, Best Time: 1:39.816, Laps: 19 - Second Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:38.844, Laps: 35): “We need to work on the balance; it’s more about understanding the tyres again and getting those working as well as possible. We need to work on both the short and long run balance, as obviously I’m going to be out of position after qualifying. We need to have a car which can be strong in the first sector, so we can get some overtaking done.”
From the outside it might seem that all the strain of a race weekend happens at the start of the race, but the truth is that moments of intense pressure strike different team members at different times. Here, Seb’s tyre technician Jon Gates explains why the first two segments of Qualifying are the most demanding period of the weekend…
“The most stressful time is the first half an hour of qualifying because there’s so much going on. The job is to make sure the right tyres go on the car, on the right side, and that the right people get them very quickly. In Q1 and Q2 that’s incredibly intense.
“We’ll have a plan, but that can change in Q1, as some midfield cars might change their preference of tyre in order to get a jump. You have to be ready to react as quickly as possible. Whatever tyre you’ve planned for, you always need to have the other compound ready to go. You also need to have a spare set of your first choice ready just in case there’s an issue. You have to have a back-up in case something goes wrong, such as a crash involving another car or if one of our cars has a puncture.
That means that at the beginning of Q1 we’ll have as many spare sets in the garage as possible. Then as qualifying unfolds you gradually filter out the variables and the risks until you’re down to Q3 where the choice is usually simple. That’s the fun bit, the only bit I get to watch! Before then I’m always in and out of the garage, adjusting pressures, getting sets ready to go. I have a tyre area, a storage area where I keep my tyres in heat, but I try to spend as much time as possible in the garage itself so I can keep an eye on things and react.”
Red Bull Racing