Japanese Grand Prix 2017 – Qualifying
F. Massa 1:30.352 (9th)
L. Stroll 1:31.409 (18th)
F. Massa 1:29.687 (9th)
F. Massa 1:29.480 (9th)
– Felipe Massa qualified ninth and Lance Stroll 18th for the Japanese Grand Prix
– Lance was unfortunate to be eliminated from Q1. He was blocked by traffic at the chicane at the end of both laps on his first run. He then had to abort his second run when Romain Grosjean crashed his Haas and brought an early end to the session
– Felipe made it safely through into Q3, with ninth place in both Q1 and Q2. He improved his time again in Q3 to retain ninth position again
– Both drivers will be promoted up the starting grid for the race, Felipe to eighth due to a penalty for Kimi Raikkonen, and Lance to 15th, due to penalties for Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: There was one good story, and one not so good story today, unfortunately. It was a great job by Felipe, he drove some terrific laps throughout the three sessions to put the car in P9. We weren’t as quick as any of the cars ahead, so we couldn’t have expected anything better than that, so well done to him. On Lance’s side, the real damage was done by the red flag which prevented him from doing a second run, where I’m sure he could have showed much stronger pace than he did on his first set of tyres. It’s the third session this weekend both cars have been foiled at the start of their fast laps by red flags, so it’s just one of those things. With the various grid adjustments, we will end up further forward for tomorrow. Even from Lance’s starting position, points are possible, so we will see what we can do with both drivers.
Felipe Massa: I’m so happy with my qualifying. Q1 was a good lap, Q2 was a great lap, and Q3 was just a perfect lap, so I’m really happy with my result. We’re starting in a great position and you never know what can happen tomorrow in the race. We’ll try to get the best we can in terms of points. My lap time today was similar to when I was on pole in 2006, just the perfect lap, which gives you a lot of pleasure, so I’m happy with that.
Lance Stroll: That was not a good session. I didn’t get a lap time as I was blocked on both my push laps, by Perez and Gasly in the last chicane, and then we got the red flag, so I never got a time and there was no chance to make Q2. But that is how it goes and there is nothing I can do about it now, we were just unlucky with the traffic. The car felt good all weekend, so it is frustrating, but tomorrow is another day and with the penalties we will make up a couple of places. But that is not how we want to gain places, we want to show the potential of the car which we didn’t do in that session.