Saturday 30 July
Pascal MRT05-01 Q1 P18 10 laps 1:16.717
Rio MRT05-02 Q1 P20 9 laps 1:16.977
Wow, absolute belter of a qualifying session on home turf!
“Yes, we were very close to Q2 today - just 0.15s - but I’m very happy with our qualifying because we managed to stay in front of Sauber, and also a Toro Rosso, which is positive. The team did a really good job, so my thanks to everyone for that.”
Where do you think you lost out?
“At the moment Renault seem quite strong and especially in the last sector. We’re still lacking a bit of downforce, so we couldn’t keep up today; we were losing half a second to them in that sector. But the most important thing is that we’re in front of Sauber, so I can’t be unhappy.”
And in the race?
“Well, we’ve continued improving through the weekend, so I hope we can do an even better job in the race tomorrow. We can do something from P18 and of course I’ll be trying to get another special start, to make up some places off the line. I can’t wait!”
Great job, Rio. Qualifying was a pretty close-run thing and your lap put you within a second of the P8 time today. Are you pleased?
“Very happy. We managed to improve every time we left the garage today. The times were very close through the field today.”
What made the difference for you, do you think?
“I think we’ve done a good job overall and I feel like I’ve taken a good step forward here. Also, we’ve made some good improvements recently and I think we’re seeing some of the benefit of those today. We did a good job to stay ahead of the Sauber and I’m in a better position for the start. Our race pace looks good, so I hope we can have a strong race.”
A word with Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
“The gap to Q2 was incredibly close and we were all on the edge of our pit wall seats when it seemed that both our drivers might squeeze their way in. In the end we missed out by the narrowest of margins, but we are still very pleased to finish ahead of both Saubers and there’s a Toro Rosso in Pascal’s wake as well. Both drivers did a great job today and they’ve worked hard to put us in a strong position for the race. As always, a big thanks to the rest of the team for the great job everyone is doing. It’s been a hard couple of months and the effort they are putting in to put these two race cars on the track is just incredible. Tomorrow will be a tough challenge, but I think we can enjoy a good battle with the cars around us.”