Belgium Grand Prix Qualifying
• Pastor Maldonado qualified 17th with Valtteri Bottas 20th for tomorrows Belgian Grand Prix.
• Both drivers went out early on intermediate tyres on a drying track, but as the track conditions improved their tyres were past their best and they were not able to progress into Q2.
• The FW35’s stronger race pace means that the team will be looking to make up places in the race tomorrow.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: We knew qualifying would be wet and it started well with the track getting better throughout Q1. The end of the session would be where it was all decided and we brought both cars in for a new set of intermediate tyres. A few teams took the risk to change onto dry tyres, which worked for them, although the majority came in for intermediates as well. We were at the front of the queue so had time for more laps, but as the tyres were at their best on the first lap it meant that as the track improved we were unable to improve our times and unfortunately we did not progress beyond Q1. Overtaking is possible at Spa-Francorchamps and we have a good car for the race with a good top speed, so we can still make progress in the race tomorrow.
Pastor Maldonado: Today the changing weather conditions made it difficult to be on the right tyres at the right time and we went on to the intermediate tyre a bit too early. The lap here is very long and by the time I got to my second lap when the track was improving, the tyres had already gone and I couldn’t be competitive. The cars race pace is quite good so we will be pushing hard to make up places and I still think we have an opportunity to finish in the top 10.
Valtteri Bottas: It was a disappointing qualifying because we had the ability to be higher but we were caught out by the changing track conditions. We went out on intermediate tyres earlier than others but the track was drying faster than we expected and by the end we could probably have got away with being on dry tyres. We were also struggling for overall grip on the intermediates and we were sliding quite a lot in the corners and this was losing us time. It’s a shame as there was a good opportunity to do well today, but hopefully the weather will be like this tomorrow as it gives us the chance to look at different strategy options.