Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The car was better today despite the hotter conditions in FP3. Both drivers had good runs in FP3 and were able to finalise their setups ahead of Qualifying.
The red and yellow flags in Q1 made it a difficult session in which there were winners and losers. The late rush after the red flag meant that nobody was able to prepare their tyres and manage the track position well for the final lap. Alex was well positioned on his final timed lap and, with a good tow from Alonso, could have made Q2. However, Alonso failed to complete his lap and Alex was left in 17th. Nicholas had a gearshift issue, which cost him crucial time in the first run. In the final post-red flag melee, he couldn’t get a good track position and so was unable to improve.
We are checking the data from Nicholas’s car, but we don’t believe that there is anything wrong and that the gearshift strategy performed correctly in the circumstances. Tomorrow will likely be a long race with plenty of incidents and therefore opportunity.
Alex Albon: I think we had a good qualifying session and, as a team, we maximised everything we could. We did everything right; we had a decent car, and we did the best job we could. Getting into Q2 looked difficult today but, with the red flag, we found ourselves fighting on the heels of it again. It’s frustrating to be so close to it and miss out – I am 99% sure that if I didn’t make a mistake in the last corner, I would have benefited from the slipstream that I had chosen to take, and we would have got into Q2. It’s one of those things, but I think procedurally and how we went about it; we couldn’t have achieved much more today. There’s hope here as there’s always a little bit of action and chaos, so we need a little Baku madness to happen!
Nicholas Latifi: A typical Baku qualifying session with yellow and red flags. I didn’t get a representative lap on the first set of tyres. On my fastest lap, the car missed a few shifts on a couple of corners, so I was in the wrong gears which didn’t really help. I had a big chunk of time to find but I knew I could find it on the second set. Sadly, that wasn’t possible with the red flag and then the restart right at the end. It would have been nice to put it all together to try and get the best out of the car. Full focus on the race tomorrow as anything can happen.