– George Russell qualified 14th and Nicholas Latifi 16th for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah
– George progressed into Q2 before posting a 1:29.054 on his penultimate flying lap using the medium compound tyre
– Nicholas continued to improve throughout Q1, setting a time of 1:29.177 on his final effort using the soft Pirelli tyre and only narrowly missing out on progressing to Q2
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Today was one of the busiest Saturdays we have seen for a while with most cars spending a large proportion of the time in each qualifying session on track. Throughout the session, the required tyre preparation varied and was difficult to predict. Furthermore, the Soft and Medium compounds offered viable alternatives for most drivers.
Nicholas was again just short of qualifying for Q2, finishing only just behind Alonso having made a mistake on his final timed lap of the first run, which hurt his momentum through the session. George had a good session and qualified for Q2, close to both Alfa Romeos. We opted to complete a run on the Soft compound at the beginning of Q2 to get a time on the board and to see how it compared to those who ran the Medium. We then switched to the Medium, aiming to complete a three timed lap run. Unfortunately, having not run the Medium since FP1, we didn’t quite get the balance right and George was unable to complete his final timed lap, which was a shame as we may have been able to challenge the three cars ahead.
The race tomorrow is going to be long with opportunities to make progress. Both drivers have showed good high fuel pace throughout the weekend and there is no reason to think that we can’t race the cars around us.
George Russell: I was really happy with my lap in Q1 and was pleased to get through to Q2. We ran the medium tyre for the first time since FP1 in Q2 and again, I was pretty happy with my first lap but couldn’t improve on my second effort, running slightly wide in the middle sector. I am relatively satisfied with P14, but we are a bit further behind Alfa Romeo than we would want to be. It is tricky out there and getting the tyres in the right window is difficult, but I do believe that is about where our car is at the moment.
I think overtaking is going to be difficult in the Grand Prix but we will have to see on Sunday. Nobody knows how the tyres are going to react and the grip levels are pretty high. You can push relatively hard which is quite fatiguing but what we want to see in F1. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.
Nicholas Latifi: We were aiming for Q2 today and it looked possible, but unfortunately, I didn’t get my second lap on the first set of tyres in, and then ran wide in Turn four which set me back a lap. I know I could have done a better job and, with an extra lap we could have found that time, but I only have myself to blame for that, so it is a bit disappointing.
Tomorrow will be quite challenging for everyone, both physically and mentally, with the high temperature and high-speed nature of the circuit. It has been a fun track to drive so far though, so I am looking forward to the challenge.