James Key: “What’s important to highlight from today is the fact that it was both Max and Carlos’ first ever Formula 1 qualifying session."
Carlos Sainz (Q3: 1:28.510 pos. 8th): “I’m very happy, it feels great to be starting my first ever Formula 1 race from P8 on the grid tomorrow! It was quite a smooth qualifying session apart from Q1, where I made a small mistake, but I didn’t let that affect me and from then onwards everything went really well. I just kept focused and tuned the car to my liking to extract its full potential.
I feel very comfortable in the car, I’m really enjoying myself a lot. It’s difficult to know what to expect tomorrow, as it will be my first race, but I’m looking forward to it. It will surely be a bit of an adventure but this is what I’ve been preparing myself for the whole winter and I feel ready.”
Max Verstappen (Q2: 1:28.868, pos. 12th): “Today’s final practice was good for me to get back running again and try some different set-ups, so it was very useful before going into qualifying. I felt good in the car from the start and did a good Q1. The first run in Q2 was reasonable, even though I had something stuck in my back so my shoulder hurt a bit. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good lap because the tyres were not ready.
During the second push-lap, I made a mistake out of Turn 4, where I went a bit too wide and lost the rear, losing quite a lot of time. It’s a shame but I can’t change any of this now. I look forward to tomorrow, my first ever Formula 1 race. The car is working well and hopefully we will be able to score some points as we have a good race pace.”
James Key (Technical Director): “What’s important to highlight from today is the fact that it was both Max and Carlos’ first ever Formula 1 qualifying session. It was a new experience for them in a very tightly-packed environment here and slightly trickier conditions out on track than what we’ve had all weekend. So it was a challenge for them but they managed to keep it together, they built-up extremely well with each new set of tyres and they adapted to the programme extremely well.
Most of our work leading up to today has been on long-runs, tyre management and race performance, so to go into qualifying and do as well as they did I think is excellent. It was tough for Max not to get into Q3, he had a little bit of a mistake in his Q2 run which cost him a couple of tenths which would’ve been enough to make the cut, but I’m sure he will be more than okay tomorrow. Carlos did an outstanding job to get into Q3 in his first ever qualifying session. To be P8 is good, this is a strong start for tomorrow.”
Scuderia Toro Rosso