Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying
• Valtteri Bottas qualified 13th with Pastor Maldonado 15th for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix.
• Both drivers drove clean laps on their single-lap medium tyre runs in Q2 and were unlucky to miss out on Q3 in what was a very tight qualifying session.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: Following final practice this morning, we were struggling with overall grip and so we were expecting a difficult qualifying. However, we knew if we could put together a clean lap on the medium tyre we had a chance to be closer to the competition than at previous races. The wind was also quite strong and that added another challenge, but both drivers delivered a single clean lap when required to qualify 13th and 15th. Even though the grid position is only a small step forward, we are much closer in terms of performance as a single tenth of a second would have jumped us much further up the order in Q2. This track is going to be hard on tyres for everyone tomorrow, so with the right strategy we have an opportunity to fight for some points in the race.
Valtteri Bottas: We were fighting for positions higher than we expected today after a very close qualifying session. It was a welcome surprise and we can be happy with P13 today. For the race tomorrow we are hoping to be able to challenge the cars around us and fight for the top ten.
Pastor Maldonado: We managed to get 100% out of the car today and are just about where we expected. We didn’t get a lot of running yesterday after the problem with the wheel and the accident in the afternoon. Overall it wasn’t a bad today so we’ll now see what we can do tomorrow in the race.