• Valtteri Bottas qualified 15th with Pastor Maldonado 18th for tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix.
• Both drivers’ completed their final runs in Q1 on the soft tyre, and whilst Valtteri made it through to Q2, Pastor was hindered by traffic.
• Valtteri drove a clean lap in Q2, posting a time of 1:26.134 on the soft tyre to start the race in 15th.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: We had to change our run plan in FP3 as the session was delayed and shortened due to poor visibility, but the car balance was improving on both tyres in line with the track conditions. We knew it would be extremely tight in qualifying with getting the tyres in the correct temperature window critical to getting a good lap. Unfortunately Pastor was hampered by traffic on his first lap in Q1 and didn’t have enough time to cool the tyres down ahead of his second flying lap which compromised his time and left him 18th. It worked well for Valtteri in Q1 as he had good track position for his second lap on option tyres and made it through into Q2. In Q2 he came across traffic in sector 3 on his out-lap so the tyres weren’t up to temperature for the start of his flying lap and he qualified 15th. The soft option tyre is especially sensitive to blistering and graining with the medium being more robust. So we expect to see a number of strategies in the race with team’s opting to run the soft tyres at different stages of the race, which will open up more opportunities to gain positions.
Valtteri Bottas: It was very tight out there today. In Q1 we managed to make the most of the car and the balance felt pretty good. In Q2 we were compromised a bit on our final run as there was a big queue of cars on the out-lap and the tyre temperatures were a little low at the beginning of my flying lap which cost me some time. We could have gone a bit faster, but having said that, the cars in front of us still have better raw pace so this qualifying result is a fair reflection of where we are this weekend. We will be working hard tonight to make further improvements to the set-up so that we can challenge for a better position in the race.
Pastor Maldonado: I was faced with traffic twice on my first run in Q1 on the soft tyres, once in the first corner and also again in Turn 10, which compromised my qualifying as you only really have one chance to get a clean lap on the soft tyres because the degradation is so high. I am usually able to recover some positions in the race and the car is more competitive on long runs so I’m confident we can move forward tomorrow.