26 NOVEMBER 2016
ABU DHABI GP – QUALIFYING
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 3rd, 1:39.589 (Practice 3 – P6 1:41.831)
“I’m definitely pleased I got the third place I was after. It feels really good. This morning was hard, I did a run quite early and I was nearly a second off Max so it didn’t look good on paper but the track warmed up so much that we didn’t really know what to expect coming into quali. Q1 was a little bit slow but then I picked it up and Q3 was solid enough so I was happy. We’ll see about the strategy. It’s just nice to do something different to Mercedes. We know on the same equipment they’re probably going to be quicker so we feel it should make us go a little bit longer at the start and then perhaps we can bring the race back to us towards the end when our tyres might be a bit different. For tomorrow of course I wish I was in their position, obviously they’ve both got a little bit more pressure than us this weekend, which I’m kind of envious about. But if the win is there for me tomorrow then I’ll go for it and there will be no holding back. You always have this level of respect as they’re fighting for the title, but if they leave the door open and I think I can pass, then I won’t make it easy for them and let them sail into the sunset.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 6th, 1:39.818 (Practice 3 – P2 1:40.912)
“I’m pretty disappointed with sixth today. Qualifying up until Q3 went very well, we had no issues and didn’t touch the car. In my last run I was pushing hard and a few tenths up but I locked up into turn 11, if not for that I feel I would have been around P3. It was a bit unfortunate as my pace was there and the car felt good. It would have been great to be a bit higher on the grid as the tyre strategy means that by starting on the supersoft we need a really strong start and to be careful with the cars behind. We should be able to stay out a bit longer, the tyre seems to work well in the higher temperatures so this suits the start of the race. The pace has been there all weekend so I am definitely aiming to go forward tomorrow and work my way to the guys up front. I will put today behind me and focus on having a strong race and closing the season with another successful result.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A great final lap by Daniel to find that half a tenth to move himself ahead of Kimi to get the best seat for tomorrow’s start. It was a shame for Max because he was up on his lap but when he arrived at turn 11 he just lost the front axle and therefore the time that he had found was gone. Nonetheless starting third and sixth on the grid here for what’s bound to be an exciting start tomorrow is not a bad place to be. Strategically we’ve chosen to start on the supersoft tyre believing it to be a little bit more robust than the ultrasoft which again brings another dimension to the race. Hopefully if we can get a good start then we should be in good shape with those tyres.”
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 Head of Marketing, Dominik Mitsch, for whom this is his last race with the team before he heads for pastures new.
1. What was the first race you ever attended?
I think it was Formula One in Spielberg. I really can’t remember the year! I was like 21 or something. So late ‘90s I suppose. I was studying with someone who was working there and he said ‘come down I can get you into the paddock for a while’. So I did. I wasn’t a massive fan. I was following the sport but I wouldn’t say I was an avid fan. I think the decision to try to work in F1 came later.
2. What’s the most beautiful road car ever made?
I think it’s probably one of the old Aston Martins – DB5, something like that.
3. What’s the most beautiful race car ever made?
It’s biased, but purely from looks I think our car this year looks fantastic. Purely on livery I think we hit it spot on this year. But if I had to choose another car, I really do like the current Endurance cars. They look like beasts – really stunning.
4. What was the first road car you owned and was it any good?
It was an old Mazda 323, it was old, used but I had fun. It was good enough for me at the time. I was probably 18 when I had that. I kind of nicked it off my dad. I might have given him some money for it but nothing crazy.
5. What car do you own now and why did you buy it?
I drive a Nissan Qashqai. I genuinely like the car; it’s great. I honestly mean it! It’s perfect, it’s easy, it does everything I need it to do to drive up and down the motorway and it was cheap through a company staff deal. I live in London and it’s perfect for the commute.
6. When you were first getting into motorsport who were you a fan of?
Probably someone like Gerhard Berger. I wouldn’t say I was a fan of anyone really but I followed him because he was Austrian and he was relevant when I was a youngster watching Formula One.
7. What’s your favourite circuit, in F1 or outside the sport?
In terms of the whole experience, I’ll go for this one – Abu Dhabi. It’s a phenomenal place and a fantastic spectacle.
8. What’s the thing in motorsport that you’d most like to achieve but haven’t?
The amazing thing about F1 is that you get into a mindset that nothing is ever good enough, that you can always do better, do more, so I think you never want to stop achieving which is great, but fundamentally in terms of what I have done in my role with Red Bull during my time I think I have achieved everything I could have dreamt of – signing a title partner, building the team’s marketing organisation from scratch, organising some massive events and parties – I think I have achieved pretty much everything I wanted. So now it’s time to move on.
9. What do those achievements mean to you?
Everything. The time I spent here defined me in many ways professionally and personally. I’ve met an amazing bunch of people. What we achieved as a team from a sporting perspective, I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of that, but what we also achieved as a brand, commercially with my team, makes me equally proud – very much so.
10. What would be your race number and why?
Probably number three. I have no idea why… it’s just a good number! But I think it’s taken.
11. If you had an Aston Martin for a day where would you take it and who would you be with?
I’m not a guy that enjoys driving for the sake of driving. It needs to be linked to a holiday, something personal and fun. Maybe somewhere in Tuscany or through the Dolomites and it would be with my partner – although I don’t have one at the moment!