• Alex Albon qualified 14th and Nicholas Latifi 20th for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix
• Alex progressed through to Q2, setting his fastest time, a 1:32.664, on the soft Pirelli tyres
• Nicholas set his fastest time on his final flying lap of Q1, posting a 1:33.634 on the soft compound tyre
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We have mixed feelings after qualifying today. We expected it to be difficult even though we have made some steady progress over the last couple of days. In Free Practice this morning we got a good understanding of what Alex is looking for from the tyres and we were able to apply that successfully in Qualifying. Although we set out to achieve something similar with Nicholas, the difficulties of a busy track in Q1 made this difficult to achieve.
We understand where the raw pace of the car is, and we know that we need to work on that quite quickly. However, we also have a good idea of how to make the most of what we have and today that allowed Alex to beat several faster cars. There are challenges to overcome, but we are looking forward to the race tomorrow knowing that there will likely be opportunities to outperform the car.
Alex Albon: We put it all on the table today and the result was more than we expected, so it’s a pretty special one. The car gives me a lot of confidence, as do the team, which really enabled me to push and get the most out of Qualifying. Coming into the session, I was expecting similar struggles to those we experienced in testing, but the car felt alive, quick and agile, so I’m going into Sunday feeling positive.
Nicholas Latifi: It's definitely not what we expected from Qualifying. There’s clearly been a lack of pace all weekend. Each session we’ve actually been learning quite a lot, but for some reason it’s felt like we’ve been going backwards as the car felt the best in FP1, which is strange for a track like this especially. I know why I was so far off - the answer is clear - the question is why we couldn’t make the tyres work the way we need them to. It’s not ideal, but the race is tomorrow and we’ve got a lot to analyse before then to further our learning.