Saturday 23 July
Pascal MRT05-01 Q1 9 laps 1:47.343 No timed lap
Rio MRT05-02 Q1 9 laps 1:50.189 No timed lap
Pascal, 29°C and bright sunshine for FP3 then, all of a sudden, torrential rain. That’s quite a change in climatic conditions ahead of qualifying!
“Yes, I think it took everyone by surprise – particularly how much rain came down in such a short space of time. The Q1 session had four red flags, which is very unusual and made it difficult for anyone to get into a good rhythm. It also showed how tricky it was out there.”
That final run though, at the third restart, things were looking good for you?
“My time on my final run was a 1:38, same as Kimi in 8th, so I would have been P9 I think. Unfortunately the red flag came out again just 0.8s before I crossed the line, so my time was cancelled. We hadn’t been able to set a timed lap before that, so it’s very frustrating to know we came so close to Q2 today. This track doesn’t seem to suit me very well, so that would have been a great result from such a challenging Q1.”
Rio, first of all we’re pleased you’re okay after quite a big spin off into the wall there.
“I went to the medical centre for the usual precautionary check, because it was quite a big hit of 22g. I’m okay though; I feel fine. I’m just frustrated because it was a tricky Q1 session and I was improving a lot on my final run before I spun off.”
Yes, what happened there?
“Well the three red flags prior to that had made for a very challenging Q1; stopping and starting, with the track conditions getting better, then worse again. At the third restart we had a little over 5 minutes remaining, so we had to push hard but the track was still quite damp and I just lost the rear in Turn 10. It’s a shame and there’s quite a lot of damage to the car, so the boys will have a busy night unfortunately.”
A word with Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
“The rain, and certainly the extent of it, took everyone by surprise and that kept us on our toes throughout the whole of the Q1 session. That really shook up the order and Pascal in particular was on a very strong lap in the drying conditions, which ended just 0.8s after the red flag came out for Rio’s crash. He would have been P9 but crossed the line just that fraction too late, so missing out on a place in Q2 was a bit of an own goal really. Rio was also improving on that final run but he hit a patch of standing water, which spun him out at Turn 10. There is quite a bit of damage to the car, so a lot of work for the guys before they can leave the track this evening. So, a frustrating end to a day that could have turned out very differently.”