At the end of today’s qualifying on the brand new Baku street circuit, Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest in a time of 1.43.966. The German finished ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, fifth in in 1.44.269.
Sergio Perez, who was second fastest this evening (1.43.515) has a 5 place penalty for making a gearbox change, which means both Vettel and Raikkonen move up one place on the start grid. Nico Rosberg took pole for Mercedes in 1.42.758.
“Yesterday we weren’t very strong. However, we came back today, although not yet where we want to be. We also benefitted from the penalty of Perez. Now we have to focus on a good start. I think tomorrow anything can happen for anyone. It will be a long race with a lot of laps. If I started fourth tomorrow I would be more angry.” Vettel said
“So, I think it is fine this way and that we started on the clean side. I think it’s likely to make quite a big difference on a new track. Maybe I am wrong, but usually we have good starts. I’ve had a good feeling already this weekend, so we’ll see. It’s going to be a long race. We have to stay focused all through the race, it will be tough. I think it is possible to overtake, there is a very long straight. We will see tomorrow how much easy or difficult it will be, but in general I think it is possible.”
“I am always nervous before any race, which is good because it means that I care. It has been a very tough weekend trying to find the rhythm. I believe it is easy to make mistakes. This track is surprisingly bumpy and it is not easy to find the right time and to manage hard brakings and high speed.”
“We are happy but not entirely because the gap with Mercedes is very big, but it will be a long race with plenty of opportunities, I guess. After the weekend we will try to understand where we were losing time, but for the moment let’s focus on the race, because we have all the chances to do a good job.
Kimi happy with progress mad on handling
“It hasn’t been an easy weekend, but today in qualifying we managed to make the car nicely balanced, the feeling was good and obviously it was a lot faster than earlier this weekend. I felt I could drive it as I wanted and it was a good feeling. In my last run in Q3 I had fitted a new set of Supersoft tires, but then the red flag came out and I was not able to improve my lap time.” Raikkonen said.
“After that, with only 2 minutes in the session, everybody tried to rush out and do a last lap, but there was traffic in the out lap and the timing was very tight. I’m sure that if we could have run smoothly it could have been better, but if you look at how tricky the weekend was so far, we can happily take this result.”
“Obviously we are not here to finish fifth and today I felt there was more to come from the car. In many ways it will be a long and tricky race for everybody, we just need to do our best, make the right choices and see what will happen.