“Whatever happens tomorrow, we can have a strong race”
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Saturday November 8
It was a successful turnaround for the whole team today after a difficult and problematic day of practice yesterday.
Both Jenson and Kevin sailed through Q1 and Q2, ultimately lining up fifth (Jenson, on Options) and seventh (Kevin, also on Options) in Q3, ahead of tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
With the fastest two teams set apart from the rest of the field, and with multiple tyre stops and unpredictable weather on the cards, the battle between the remainder of the top 10 looks set to be a close and exciting one tomorrow.
6th 1m11.210s (+0.764s) 19 laps
Q1 5th 1m11.097s (on Options)
Q2 5th 1m11.127s (on Options)
Q3 5th overall 1m10.930s (on Options)
“Qualifying at Interlagos has traditionally been tough for me, so I’m happy to be starting fifth. After yesterday, I don’t think we expected that – it didn’t look possible.
“I didn’t enjoy driving the car on Friday – the changes we made for practice compromised the balance – but we solved a lot of those issues overnight, and put the car back to how we’d had it before.
“Now, I’m happy with what we have, and I enjoyed it out there. It was still tough – we had lots of front locking, and everyone seemed to struggle on their final run in Q3 for some reason.
“However, the first four cars look a little too quick for us. If we can stay fifth, though, or stay close to the cars in front, that would be a nice place to finish. If I’d got the best from the car, I might have been a tenth quicker, but that’s still not close enough to the top four.
“Hopefully, tomorrow’s weather will be a little bit mixed – that’s the only way we can challenge the cars in front.”
9th 1m11.499s (+1.053s) 19 laps
Q1 6th 1m11.134s (on Options)
Q2 9th 1m11.211s (on Options)
Q3 7th overall 1m10.969s (on Options)
“This weekend has been a bit tricky – the Option tyre proved quite difficult to switch on over a single lap, which meant it was a bit strange that I couldn’t improve on my time when I did my final run in Q3. It just didn’t feel like the tyres were working on the first lap. That’s a shame because it was very close out there.
“If it’s dry tomorrow, it looks like there’ll be quite a few pit-stops, which could offer up more opportunities than usual for us to move forward. However, it also looks like it could maybe rain tomorrow, which will make it even more unpredictable, so we’ll see what happens.
“Whatever happens, I think we can have a strong race – I’m looking forward to it.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“The predicted rain stayed away between 2.00pm and 3.00pm this afternoon, and, as a result, contrary to many pundits’ prophecies, the qualifying form book wasn’t toppled after all.
“In fact, it was incredibly close out there. The gap between P5 and P10 was just one sixth of a second [0.169s], and Jenson and Kevin qualified at the front end of that gaggle, their lap-times separated by just one twenty-sixth of a second [0.039s].
“They both did a very good job – and so did our engineers, who worked hard overnight to optimise our cars’ set-ups so as to improve their straightline speed, which had been disappointing yesterday.
“Tomorrow, a wet race isn’t currently forecast, but the micro-climate here at Interlagos is notoriously fickle, so anything is possible. Whatever, rain or shine, both Jenson and Kevin are well placed to score a decent number of championship points, thereby consolidating our fifth place in the constructors’ championship, and keeping us within mathematical striking distance of Ferrari, who currently lie fourth.”