27 AUGUST 2016
BELGIAN GP – QUALIFYING
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 2nd, 1:46.893 (Practice 3 – no time was set)
“It’s a great feeling. As soon as I crossed the line in Q3 on my fastest lap, I could see the fans going really wild so I knew it was a good lap. It’s been already an amazing weekend. To see so many fans around the track and feel their support is incredible and I’ve been enjoying the whole week a lot, so to be second on the grid is fantastic. It would have been very difficult to get pole position. The chance is always there if you are that close and in sector two we were very strong, but we were missing some top speed. Tomorrow will be very interesting with the different strategies between us, Mercedes and Ferrari so I think it’ll be a good fight. Hopefully the supersofts will give me a bit more grip in the first few laps and then for sure I will drop off a bit but that’s my strategy. I will probably have to pit a bit earlier but we have to wait and see how the race goes. Big thanks to the team for such a quick turnaround and working so hard on getting me out on time in Qualifying.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5th, 1:47.216 (Practice 3 – P2 1:48.189)
“In Q3 I would have loved to have got a bit more out of it, but I’m not too disappointed looking at the race tomorrow. I’m really pleased I got through on the softs in Q2, that was our objective, whether it works tomorrow or not let’s see, but that’s what I wanted to get out of it. I’d be less happy with P5 on some tracks, but I’m not disappointed for two reasons: you can overtake here and with the tyres we’ve got this weekend, you can do a lot during the race tomorrow. If you can have a faster car or if you can be a bit more intelligent, then it can pay off. In Q2 my objective was to start on the softs. It was a nervous few minutes but we did it. I’m happy; it’s close enough to the front and I’m on the softs, sure a few cars in front have them too, but it’s going to be a good race. Two years ago I started in P5 and won! Max did really well to get on the front row – but we have a split strategy for tomorrow, we talked about it before qualifying and he wanted to start the race on supersofts and I wanted to start on softs, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A fantastic performance by Max, in what is theoretically his home race, to qualify on the front row here within 15 hundredths of Mercedes, and with Daniel in fifth place on the grid at a track where you can overtake, it’s going to be a fascinating race. That together with the different strategies the two cars will be running tomorrow, starting on different tyres, it should prove to be an exciting grand prix. It’s all going to be about tyre degradation and managing the tyres particularly in these unusually hot conditions at Spa.”
Road and Track
We ask some of the people who make our team tick to pick out their favourite moments and machines in motor sport and on the road. This time it’s Max’s Race Engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase.
- What was the first race you ever attended?
I think my first race was the British Grand Prix in which Nigel Mansell overtook Nelson Piquet, two laps from the end. I’m going to guess it was 1987. [Ed – correct answer!] I was six years old. My dad took me. He never used to take me to Brands Hatch – it must have been the early start to get there – but we went to Silverstone every other year then. I got the bug early; it was almost forced down my throat – “you will go into motorsport!”
- What’s the most beautiful road car ever made so far?
There are so many. So many cars that aren’t even that expensive. I’ll be a bit boring and say a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing.
- What’s the most beautiful race car ever made so far?
Again, my choice goes back to having motorsport forced down my throat. I’m going to say the 1981 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 126C. I had a model of it given to me and I spent months building that thing. At the time, for me, it was a great looking car. By all accounts it was a bit of a pig to drive, but a beauty for me.
- What was the first road car you owned and was it any good?
It was a Fiat Uno 60. The second part of the question is not relevant! The engine was good but the bodywork was not so good. I was 17 and it was a car share with my mum. It took me eight years to buy my own car and that was a Lotus Elise when I was 25. Big difference.
- What car do you own now and why did you buy it?
I have a VW Up, Black Edition. It presented itself in front of me, I have a short commute to work – 12 miles – so I don’t need anything flash to do that kind of mileage. It’s fuel efficient, a bit boring, but it does the job. I can fit the team kitbag into it and that’s enough for me.
- When you were first getting into motorsport who were you a fan of?
Jean Alesi. To be fair, already when he was at Tyrrell… was it Phoenix? [The 1990 US Grand Prix, where he led Ayrton Senna for a significant portion of the race.] That was incredible. He just lit me up. The way he drove; he had a bit of charisma about him. I guess the fact that he’s French-Sicilian also had something to do with it. I absolutely loved him. I think the fact that race after race, year after year, you could see he was desperate for a race win, and when it finally came… I remember that Sunday night of the Canadian Grand Prix, it was incredible. I’ve now got a model of him sitting on Michael Schumacher’s Benetton signed by Alesi himself. That was a bit of a thrill.
- What’s your favourite circuit, in F1 or outside the sport?
I loved going to Imola. I haven’t been there many times and it’s a long time ago now and unfortunately the circuit is remembered for all the wrong reasons. As a track, as a driver’s circuit and a set-up challenge it really stands out: gradient, off-camber, blind corners, it’s got a bit of everything – low speed, high speed. Yes, Imola.
- Name one thing in motor sport you would like to achieve but haven’t – you’re not allowed to say another title.
I’ve never won a title, so I’m still going to say a world title!
- What would be your race number and why?
It would be 33 of course.
- If you had an Aston Martin for a day where would you take it and who would you be with?
I married my wife in Tuscany and I had the Elise at the time, so to get there I did a bit a road trip with my dad and my brother and some friends. We crossed the Alps and did the Stelvio Pass. I always tell my wife, Eloisa, what a great trip it was, so I think to pay her back for that I would have to take her and do that same memorable trip.