Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying – Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“WE CAN PUSH THIS CAR TO THE MAXIMUM”
Sepang, Saturday April 9
1st 1m36.340s 11 laps
Q1 2nd 1m36.861s (on Primes)
Q2 2nd 1m35.852s (on Options)
Q3 2nd overall 1m34.974s (on Options)
“That was an almost perfect lap – I lost a tenth-and-a-half in Turn 14 – so we’re much closer to the front than we’d anticipated, which is positive for us.
“I’m really happy to be up on the front row. Hopefully, I’ll have a better start than I did in Melbourne, so we can have more of a fight and I’ll get a chance to compete with Sebastian at the first corner and for the first couple of laps.
“It’s looking like a three-stop race tomorrow. It’s been dry for the past two days, so I hope it’s dry tomorrow. Being on the front row certainly helps when it rains, and it also gives us more opportunities to take a step forward.
“I have no doubt that we can overtake Red Bull in the development battle – it’s just a question of when. We have to keep pushing to bring new components to the races; we can push this car to the maximum.”
3rd 1m36.762s (+0.422s) 14 laps
Q1 6th 1m37.033s (on Primes)
Q2 1st 1m35.569s (on Options)
Q3 4th overall 1m35.200s (on Options)
“I just wish Q2 had been Q3, but it wasn’t! I had a touch more oversteer in Q3, but that’s the set-up direction I chose to take. The balance was pretty good, but I hurt the tyres a little bit too much in the final sector, and that left me in fourth.
“It looks like it’s going to be a fun scrap tomorrow – we’re a lot closer to the Red Bulls than I think many people expected, and there’s a margin over the guys behind us, so hopefully it will be the four of us playing tomorrow.
“Our starts weren’t great in Melbourne. I hope they’ll be better in this race; we have a very good KERS Hybrid system, so hopefully it will help us and we can really attack into Turn One.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow – the weather has held off for the past two days. And if it’s a dry race, we really should be able to take the race to the Red Bulls.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Both our drivers drove really well this afternoon, Lewis missing out on pole position by a just a tenth of a second and Jenson qualifying extremely close behind in fourth place.
“Clearly, we’re encouraged by our pace here – but there’s no magic involved: Formula 1 is all about hard graft, and I want to thank everyone back in Woking for working so hard to achieve the performance improvements that we’ve seen here today.
“We think our race pace tomorrow ought to be good enough for us to mount a very serious challenge for victory, and that’s certainly what we’ll be aiming for. But it’ll be close, no doubt about that.
“Since the race is scheduled to start at 4.00pm, rain is a distinct possibility, because there has been a downpour at that time on quite a few days earlier this week. But we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes hope it doesn’t rain because we think we’ll be on the pace if the race is a conventional dry one.”