DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5th, (3rd Practice – P7, 1:18.769)
“It wasn’t too bad today, we would like to be further forward than fifth, but the lap I did was pretty good. I made quite an improvement in Q3 from Q2 so I can’t really argue with the lap I did, but as a team we are still a bit off. We know the Mercedes is strong, but the Williams was also continually showing their pace today and the McLaren with Kevin was good, so we have to keep working but we did what we could. I think the race will be close between the top eight tomorrow and it will be a battle for the final podium spot.”
SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Position: 6th, (3rd Practice – P9, 1:18.890)
“It was a bit tough today and the final run didn’t come together, but other than that it was good session. I felt happier in the car this afternoon that I did this morning, so that was good. We’re not sure what the weather will be like tomorrow; we will have a reasonable position to do well from.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “Fifth and sixth are probably about the maximum amount we could get in qualifying today. We are very competitive in sections 1 and 3, but unfortunately the middle sector really seems to favour the Mercedes powered cars here in Hockenheim. Nonetheless, both drivers did the best they could to extract the most they could out of the car and hopefully in tomorrow’s race in these hot conditions, we can progress from fifth and sixth on the grid.”
THIERRY SALVI: “It was again a difficult day for us today. The very hot weather conditions required specific settings and caused no particular problems, but we know there are a lot of other things to improve and we are competing against the clock now. We got into the top five, but the gap is large so the only solution is working harder than the others. Driver-wise, Daniel did a very good job again whereas Seb had to cope with some drivability issues that obviously cost some lap time. Staying close to the front will be difficult tomorrow, but on this old style track everything is possible.”
Driven to Race
Despite the hours, the travel, and the thousands of kilometres of testing and racing, everyone in the team is passionate about what they do. As Seb prepares for his home race, his Race Engineer Guillaume ‘Rocky’ Rocquelin explains why, after a journey that has taken him from his pop rivets and hand-cutting bolts to winning titles and trophies, he still fascinated by racing cars and why, for him, F1 was always like “something from James Bond”
What first got you interested in Motorsport?
Even though I was born in Dijon, I never went to the GP there and my family was not interested either. Then one day, in a French magazine, in the mid-’80s, I saw this article about Gérard Ducarouge, who was then Technical Director of Lotus in Norfolk. The team was based at Ketteringham Hall, a beautiful period building, with tall ceilings and wooden beams, and there they were crafting these beautiful racing machines. It was like a James Bond movie. I thought there and then that I wanted to be part of this world.
What was your first job in motorsport?
My first proper professional contact with motor racing was as a student working for a racing car manufacturer in Magny Cours, [Renato] ‘Tico’ Martini, who was mostly known for F3 and Formula Renault at the time. I was working on a nose cone design, which at the time was all shaped aluminium and popped rivets, which shows my age!
What’s been your worst job in motorsport?
It was with Reynard, when again, I was there as a student. I was initially cutting down bolts to lengths all day to use them to build the cars. Most constructors would just order the right size bolt with the right shank and tread lengths, but to save money, we just used to cut standard ones to size. I really did not enjoy that, but eventually I saw the benefits of working on the shop floor with the mechanics putting the car together, who were very friendly and knowledgeable. I was given a job that put me right in the middle of car build and I learned a lot.
It’s not easy making the right calls in any race. Have there been any days where it just all went wrong?
Probably the main one was with Sebastian in 2011 at Monaco, when we fitted the wrong tyres at the stop. We were controlling the race well and were looking for a normal two stops, using option tyres. Then because of confusion over which car was pitting first, we fitted primes by mistake, which was way too early. But Sebastian was determined to win and he tried to finish on one stop. I’m not sure if we would have made it, we will never know, as there was a red flag, which allowed us to change the tyres again by the end.
There have been a lot of good weekends in your career – pick a favourite?
Abu Dhabi, 2010 . We were behind on points, had never led the championship that year, but we just got our heads down to win the race from pole, which was enough for the title.
Is racing still a thrill for you?
Racing is certainly still a thrill, but it is very easy to get used to it, and with the travel and long hours to see it as just another job. What really keeps the motivation alive is to go and look at race cars out on track once in a while, during testing for instance, or going to Goodwood with my son – every time I do that, it keeps the fire alive. Race cars are just the coolest thing.