2016 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix: Qualifying Report
Sahara Force India carried its good form into today’s qualifying session as Sergio Perez set the seventh fastest time ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in ninth.
P7* Sergio Perez VJM09-02
Sergio: “It was a very intense qualifying session and there were lots of competitive cars out there – I even finished with the same time as Romain [Grosjean] and I was lucky to be classified ahead of him. I am very happy about our performance, especially my lap in Q3: the margins are so tight around us and the smallest mistake makes the difference between starting seventh or twelfth, but today we did a really good job as a team. Starting one place ahead of where we qualified, because of Vettel’s penalty, puts us in a strong position for a good result tomorrow. If we have a normal race, with no strange circumstances, we can aim to score some important points. The strategy will depend on the weather conditions tomorrow, especially if it becomes much cooler than today. Overall I feel positive: we have done 70% of the job today, but the remaining 30% tomorrow is the most important.”
P9 Nico Hulkenberg VJM09-03
Nico: “I’m pretty happy with today and I’m starting in a good position tomorrow. My final lap in Q3 was looking really strong, but I lost a couple of tenths at the final chicane – it was okay going in, but I didn’t get the best exit from the corner. So maybe I could have been a little higher up the grid with a totally clean lap. We saw again today just how close things are in the midfield and I expect a big fight tomorrow. Track position is crucial here so it’s especially important to make the most of our starting positions with a clean start.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“I think our performance today is a fair reflection of the speed we have shown all weekend. Sergio and Nico delivered some excellent laps, especially in Q2, which were needed to ensure we progressed through to Q3. The lap times in the middle of the pack were incredibly tight and it’s satisfying to come away from the session with both cars inside the top ten. For tomorrow, we can approach the race knowing we have good race pace and the opportunity to score some useful points.”
*Sergio is expected to start from sixth place following a grid penalty for Sebastian Vettel.