29 OCTOBER 2016
MEXICAN GP – QUALIFYING
 
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 3rd, 1:19.054 (Practice 3 – P1 1:19.137)
“I am very pleased with the way qualifying went, we have put ourselves on the second row again which means we are in an ideal position to fight from the start. All weekend we have had a good car. We are still just a little down on top speed which makes it hard to compete with the Mercedes in qualifying, but we are still pretty close so that is a good achievement. My Q2 lap was really good and felt quick but I just couldn’t find the same grip levels in Q3 which meant I was slightly slower. I struggled in sector one which is usually my best sector, that shows how the grip can change in a matter of minutes. It’s still a hard lap out there, everyone is in the same position and has to adapt to the slippery conditions. It’s fun, but a different kind of fun. At some tracks you can have a perfect lap but here it is so hard. It is a long run into Turn 1 and we start on the supersoft compound so our chances of making progress straight away is high. Race pace looked strong which means we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 4th, 1:19.133 (Practice 3 – P3 1:19.370)
“I think the fight was there but to be honest, my last lap was terrible. I was fighting it already out of Turn 1 and by Turn 6 I was nearly four tenths slower than my previous lap. We managed to recuperate some of that but looking at the gap to pole it was only four tenths so it could have been a lot better but it also could have been a lot worse. It’s just like that with a new surface, it’s still very slippery here and it’s hard to find that happy medium. In that last run in Q3 we definitely lost some performance, particularly in the first half of the lap but we’re still on the second row so that’s okay and I’ll take that. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I think we can have a good race but to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow after this qualifying is difficult.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “An exciting qualifying and a great performance by both of our drivers to lock out the second row for the eighth time this season. We got mighty close to splitting the Mercedes with Nico just sneaking ahead of Max right at the end. In adopting a different strategy to the cars around us by starting on the supersoft tyres tomorrow it creates a strategically interesting race which should make for an exciting grand prix.”
Ends
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Road and Track
We ask some of the people who make our team tick to pick out their favourite moments and machines in motorsport and on the road. This time it’s our Senior Garage Technician Nigel Hope.
1. What was the first race you ever attended?
It was the British Grand Prix in 1986 and that was with my dad. I wanted to go in 1985 but he wouldn’t take me, he said I was too young. I was 10 then. In 1986 Mansell won. I met him at the first corner on the Saturday when he did an impromptu signing session. At the start of the race there was a bad crash and Jacques Laffite broke both his legs, which ended his career unfortunately. My dad was a huge F1 fan, a massive Mansell fan and therefore so was I.
2. What’s the most beautiful road car ever made?
As a kid I wasn’t into cars I was into bikes, not motorbikes but bicycles. However, I did have a big poster of a white Lamborghini Countach and to this day I still like that car – it’s an old style, proper muscle car, a supercar. But until I started in this sport I wasn’t really that mad about road cars.
3. What’s the most beautiful race car ever made?
I was Mansell fan, hence a Williams fan and so the FW10 and FW11… I could probably draw you a rough sketch of one now, because I used to draw them all the time at school and get in trouble. It was always ‘what are you doing Nigel’, and I was doing a little Canon Williams Honda. When I see one of them, that’s the one, that’s a Formula One car.
4. What was the first road car you owned and was it any good?
It was a pine green Vauxhall Nova saloon. It was a one litre and it was an absolute piece of junk. I bought it while I was in the army. As soon as I’d bought it, somebody said to me ‘never buy a green car, it’s unlucky’. The only reason I bought it was because my girlfriend at the time said ‘it’s a great deal’, so I bought it for something like £900. But the person who’d warned me about green cars was right as the next four or five cars I had were either stolen or written off. So yeah, buying a green car was very unlucky.
5. What car do you own now and why did you buy it?
I’ve just recently had a daughter and as I knew the family was on the way I bought a nice Volkswagen R-Line Tiguan – all the trimmings, roof box, bike rack and everything you need to get the family. It’s a good family motor, plus it has all the gadgets, so it’s good.
6. When you were first getting into motorsport who were you a fan of?
As I say, I was a Mansell fan. I didn’t really know much about the sport but I could see how passionate my old man was, but I could also see how much effort Mansell put into everything. He was a pure, out and out racer of the old school. I guess they all were then – they’d get out of the car and they’d all be tired and sweating and there wasn’t the athlete status the lads have now. I don’t know, he was British, the biggest British racer at the time, my dad loved him, so you follow that don’t you. Since then Nigel has been an FIA steward and you see him at some races and it seems bizarre that when I was 10 years old I would have done anything to meet him and now it’s like ‘alright, Nige?’
7. What’s your favourite circuit, in F1 or outside the sport?
Monaco’s my Marmite. I love to hate it. It’s a logistical nightmare when we go there and for the job that I do it’s a headache. However, the atmosphere and just what it represents takes it all the way. We work hard normally but Monaco is the only place where you start the week and you’re at the same pace all week. You get spat out at the end and you’re wrecked but it’s great. Loads of people hate Monaco; I actually love it. It’s such a big challenge but when it’s over it’s really satisfying. I like the logistical challenge. When you get through it and everything is set up it’s like ‘yeah, cracked it’. And then you have to start thinking about how you’re going to dismantle it all!
8. What’s the thing in motorsport that you’d most like to achieve but haven’t?
Ideally, to drive an F1 car, but I don’t even think I could fit in one now! When I was 21 I was given a weekend thing down at Brands Hatch. I went in a single-seater Formula Ford and did the saloon car driving and that was the closest I’ve ever come. If I could get a go or even a run in one of the old two-seater F1 cars that Minardi had but I don’t think I’d fit in that either. The ways these cars handle it must be absolutely breathtaking if you can get a go like that, but it’s probably beyond my reach now.
9. What’s the one that got away throughout your career?
Just after Benetton became Renault we went into 2004 and there was a lot of upheaval in the team and I didn’t really know what to do. At the time I was in the process of buying a house, so I left and took time out to buy the house. I went back to what I would call ‘normal life’. Renault turned it round and in ’05 won the World Championship and then when I wanted to come back because of their world champion status everything had changed and I just couldn’t get back in. Luckily at the end of 2005 Super Aguri started, so I did a little stint there. Obviously that didn’t last long but it was good while it did, even if it was tough. Just to walk into Leafield and see crates and crates of old Arrows parts and know that was what we were going to make an F1 car out of, I think that was the first time in my life I thought ‘I’m way out of my depth here’, but we still did it. It was good. I went to Williams after that and then came here.
10. What would be your race number and why?
Dare I say it red five? No, I think it would be 25. I don’t know, but I like that number.
11. If you had an Aston Martin for a day where would you take it and who would you be with?
It would have to be more than a day it would have to be a weekend and they’d have to pay the fuel bill. If that was the case, a couple of years ago, when I started at Red Bull, I took a drive across Denmark, up the west coast of Sweden and into Norway, up to Oslo. As you get closer to Norway and drive further up the scenery is just amazing. There are loads of little lakes and fjords, loads of restaurants and load of places to stop. I think if you could just keep going up the coast it would be even more amazing. I’d take my partner Zoe for sure. Just give me the keys and I’ll see how far I can go!