Pascal recovers well from a costly error in FP3 to qualify P20 for tomorrow’s 56 lap United States Grand Prix. Esteban’s qualifying experience was rather more challenging, despite a strong performance all weekend from our Frenchman. He’ll line up P22.
Qualifying, 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
Saturday 22 October
Circuit of The Americas, Austin, TX
Pascal MRT05-01 Q1 P20 1:38.548 9 laps
Esteban MRT05-02 Q1 P22 1:38.806 8 laps
Pascal, this morning wasn’t the best preparation for your first qualifying at the Circuit of The Americas. So well done for turning the situation around.
“Yes, I made life very difficult for myself this morning, spinning and ending up in the gravel and missing more than half of the session. It was a real bonus to get the car back six minutes from the end of FP3 and the team did a fantastic job to get me out in time to do an out-lap, a timed lap, and an in-lap before the end of the session. I had only taken part in FP2 until that point, having missed the first session, so every lap was critical. My thanks to everyone in my crew for pushing for that as I think it really helped me.”
And your qualifying lap? How was that?
“I threw everything I had at it. It’s another new track for me and it’s one where you really need to get used to the corners and the circuit features and find a good rhythm before qualifying. I wasn’t expecting to find that rhythm again in time; I was feeling pretty unhappy after FP3 and when I was stuck in the gravel, I just couldn’t believe it. It took me a while to come to terms with it, to be honest. So there was quite a lot of pressure and that’s why I’m really happy with my lap. I can’t wait to race now.”
Esteban, tough qualifying today?
“Yes, we struggled a bit on the Supersoft. I came out of the garage quite late as we had a problem with a sticking wheel nut, so I had to push on my outlap, which didn’t help. Overall, it was a difficult qualifying. I made a small mistake which cost me some time; it’s a tricky circuit.”
Until tomorrow then. What are your expectations?
“For tomorrow, there will be a lot of different strategies between the teams, some quicker than others, but it should be interesting. We do know our strategy for tomorrow and we’ll see how that works out. I need a good start and hopefully gain a few places right away. One way or another, I’m expecting a nice fight.”
A word with Dave Ryan, Racing Director:
“To be honest we came to this race with the expectation that it was going to be quite a challenge so to end up with Pascal in 20th place on the grid, especially when you take into account his lack of track time, is a great result for the team. Esteban’s 22nd place is not a true reflection of his pace but it is what it is and we have done our homework with regards to long runs on race tyres and believe we will be quite strong in the race. So let’s see how it all shapes up tomorrow.”