DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5th, (3rd Practice – P6, 1:38.927)
”I’m pretty happy with the top five, realistically we’re fighting for the last spot on the podium, if Mercedes have a clean race, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position for that. We were close to Felipe, but hopefully the clean side of the grid will help me out a bit, so we’ll see what happens. I’d say we’re better on tyres than the Williams, but their straight line speed makes that advantage disappear. Hopefully we’ll have some good clean battles on track tomorrow, the circuit certainly allows for that and provides some good opportunities, so hopefully we can have some fun!”
SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Position: 17th, (3rd Practice – P18, 1:43.765)
“It’s difficult to say where we are compared to the others teams, it doesn’t seem too bad, depending on the conditions which are currently good. In the race tomorrow I think we can move up, our race pace seems okay, but it will be tight. It will be difficult to overtake, as we don’t have the ideal straight line speed, hopefully we can get some points tomorrow. Seventh would be a good result.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: “A very tidy lap by Daniel, I think fifth was the optimum today. He came close to out-qualifying Felipe, but the third row of the grid is still a strong place to be starting tomorrow’s race. It’s a long drag up the hill to the first corner, so hopefully we can make a good start. A very frustrating qualifying for Sebastian who was only able to do one lap; whatever his result today he will still be starting from the pit lane. On top of that we had to be extremely prudent on engine mileage to make sure we don’t incur another engine change before the end of the year.”
THIERRY SALVI: “First, we must apologise to Sebastian, as using a sixth Power Unit here forces him to start the race from the pit-lane. As a result there was no need to push in qualifying. Daniel did a good job to set the fifth fastest time at such a challenging track for the Power Unit, which had no problems at all. Tomorrow’s race strategy will prove decisive as tyre degradation usually plays a significant role. Starting from the pit-lane means Seb faces a tough challenge fighting with a lot of slower cars. But I’m sure he’ll give everything he has to bag some points for the team.”
Final Countdown – My 10 minutes before the race starts
A period of frantic activity, last-gasp changes and jangling nerves, the 10 minutes before the lights go out for the formation lap and start of the race are some of the most intense in F1. This time Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum explains why, for him, a wet race build-up is when things get really busy…
Ten minutes before the race I’d be on the pit wall. In fact, I’d normally be on the pit wall 45 minutes before the race because the cars would be in the garage, being fired up, heading out for the laps to grid and I’ll be monitoring all of that. With 10 minutes to go the only two people on the pit wall are the Team Manager, Jonathan Wheatley and I. At that point it’s really a case of monitoring what’s happening with our cars and across the grid. We do get a lot of information from the video feeds, whether someone has stalled on the grid, whether a driver has problems on the laps to grid, if there’s a delayed start or that sort of thing. In that case Jonathan would be in contact the Race Director, whereas I’m more in contact with the factory, the controls engineers and the race engineers who need as much information as they can get as they’re busy planning the start with their drivers. It’s my job to filter all of the available information, what’s going on with each of the cars and feed it forward, giving everyone a heads up. There’s a lot to monitor; I have a lot of channels going at the same time!
However, if everything is going smoothly then it is simply a case of monitoring all that traffic and there isn’t a lot to do. You’re counting down to the start and then following the strategy through the race and keeping an eye on the cars’ performance.
To me it’s very interesting if there is any chance of rain. That’s when I’m very busy. It’s my job to make sure that people are kept up to speed with whatever’s going on with the weather fronts. If we have a front coming in I’ll let the race engineers on the grid know, because they have no information at that point. It helps the whole team to make the decision as to what to do on tyres for the race. It’s my job to interpret all the weather information and make an informed decision on the proximity of the rain, the wind direction, the wind speed and how soon it will be before the rain reaches the track and the intensity when it does arrive. That can be pretty frantic. It’s when I get quite fired up though.
There’s a lot of traffic on the radio, you’re getting different reports, the radio is going, Christian and Adrian are looking for updates and the engineers are looking for information to feed to the drivers. You’re trying to process all that information and feed it through to everyone. That’s when I really have my work cut out.