Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: As expected, the weather played its part today and with the rain intensity varying, it was a difficult session to manage; aligning the tyre condition to the track state was tricky. However, Nicholas drove well throughout qualifying and was able to get in some good laps at crucial times. We had nothing to lose in Q3 and so took the opportunity to complete a reconnaissance lap on used tyres before pitting for the new set and getting position on a clear part of the track. Unfortunately, some car damage meant that Nicky couldn’t set a competitive lap time. Nonetheless, he had an excellent session and starts the race tomorrow in a good position.
Alex was unfortunate to just miss out on Q2 by a tiny margin, which is very frustrating as he would also have had a good opportunity to get into Q3 today. His car was working well but he couldn’t get as much from the second set of tyres as he did from the first. We’ll look over the data to see if we could’ve done something better for him, but at least we got some useful information on how the new package works with the Intermediate tyres and how we need to balance the car in those tricky conditions.
Nicholas Latifi: A very special day in tricky conditions. To get through to Q2 was a great achievement and a nice confidence boost, and then Q3 was more than we could’ve hoped for. Straight out of the pits things felt good and I was getting into a rhythm. The team did a great job in Q1 and Q2 of putting me in the right place on the track when I needed to. We saw how important that was for Q2 getting that lap in at the right time before the track got worse with the weather. Coming off in Q3 was frustrating but overall a great team effort and a satisfying day.
We have to be realistic going in tomorrow as we’re out of position with faster cars being behind us. We need to be very strategic in how we approach the race. It’ll be a race of attrition with how we manage the tyres. Anything is possible so we’ll focus on our own race and maximise any opportunities that may come our way.
Alex Albon: The conditions were actually okay today despite the rain, with the car feeling good but there was less grip on the 2nd set of tyres. It’s been a bit different to drive with the new updates but in Free Practice 3 I was feeling quite comfortable with the car, even in the rain in Q1, it felt ok. At the end of Q1 we opted to do a cool down lap but we lost too much tyre temperature. The track was starting to dry, and everyone was starting to get faster, but I just couldn’t find enough grip. It was a tight call but in hindsight, I don’t think the cool down lap was the best choice, but we’ll see what we can do with tomorrow. We do have a good car, so we need to go back and analyse it.