RUSSIAN GP – QUALIFYING
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5th, 1:34.905 (Practice 3 – P8 1:35.830)
“I don’t think the practice session timings were completely representative of our pace and I felt like we were always a bit better than the timing screen showed but we hadn’t quite put it all together. In Q1 and Q2 we were trying to circulate and build temperature in the tyres but in Q3 we went for it and decided just to do one push lap which seemed to work so I’m glad we chose to do that. I’m pretty happy, I think fifth was all we could ask for today and that’s obvious looking at the gap to the front. Fifth is our best qualifying result here in Russia and we have to take the positives for now so I’m pleased to have achieved that for the team. I think Ferrari and Mercedes will be battling for the win tomorrow but we will definitely have a good fight for the top five. Compared to the Williams I think we have more rear downforce and could be better on the tyres but they have the straight-line speed and if you compare us to Ferrari and Mercedes they still have a bit of everything on us. For everyone watching at home I hope we can all have a good race and it’s definitely good for the sport now that Mercedes is being challenged.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 7th, 1:35.161 (Practice 3 – P5 1:35.452)
“A frustrating day all things considered, we knew this would be one of our toughest tracks of the season but I had hoped qualifying would go better than that. Q1 was not too bad for us but in Q2 I had a really bad feeling with the rear tyres and I suddenly lost grip, especially going into the last sector. Sector 1 and 2 went well on most of my laps but the time just fell away in sector 3 as I just didn’t have the heat in the tyres. P5 was our target and that looked possible based on my first sector splits but the time I lost in the final sector cost me that goal. In Bahrain our car had a good setup and worked with the tyres but here the long straights make it very hard to go quick and compete at the front. Tomorrow should be a one stop race and we will of course try to push and go forward but I just think the top four are too quick here. The target will remain P5 in the race tomorrow which would be a good result for us here.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “Ultimately Daniel got everything possible out of the car today. P5 was the maximum achievable and a clean controlled lap in Q3 delivered that. Max had looked the quicker of the two in the previous sessions of qualifying but unfortunately he got out of shape on his last run and dropped a place to Massa, so we line up in fifth and seventh for tomorrow’s grand prix. Fifth happens to be our best ever qualifying at this track but obviously it leaves us with a lot to do tomorrow.
Luck of the Draw
Everyone likes to say there’s no such thing as luck in F1 and that outcomes are the result of deep research, intense analysis and careful strategising. As our new quiz reveals that’s a complete load of old rubbish. We present our team personnel with a set of 50 questions, the order of which shifts with each race, they choose 10 and have to answer them, no matter what. Tough, easy, personal and just plain weird, what they get is down to the luck of the draw. This race’s lucky dipper is Daniel’s Performance Engineer, Matt Ranft.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
I think you have to believe in yourself and trust what you think is right, but equally don’t be arrogant, especially in this business as there are a lot of very clever people around you. So believe in yourself and what you think is right, but listen to other people and understand when others know more than you.
What’s the last number dialled on your phone?
I imagine it was speaking to my wife, Jessica, when I got back to the hotel last night. We speak once a day when I’m away but it doesn’t always work out, especially on Fridays, which can be a bit busy.
What’s the thing you most love about Formula One?
I think it’s the buzz of Saturdays. You work really hard on Fridays, but it all steps up a gear on Saturday. P3 is busy and then you have a very fast turnaround into qualifying. And then quali is just bang, bang, bang! It’s a real buzz and adrenaline rush that builds to a crescendo in qualifying.
What’s the best meal in the world?
Not the answer you’re probably looking for, but I’ll say breakfast. Having a relaxed breakfast – several courses starting off with a bit of fruit and then some eggs and then a pastry and coffee afterwards – just sets you up for the day. You need time for that. Even before I go into work in the morning and it’s just a bowl of cereal, I’ll sit down for 15 minutes, and I’ll do that at 6.15am, rather than rush and have something on the go or wait until I get to work. We joke about it but I say ‘it’s always downhill after breakfast, that’s the highlight of the day’.
Could you do another job?
I did other jobs before I came into F1, but at the moment I really love what I do. I think I could do another job and I’m probably not going to stay travelling forever, as it’s a big stress on family life and time away from home but I’m not sure what that job might be. If I wasn’t an engineer? If I’d saved enough money I’d like to go away and be a ski bum. Not a ski instructor – I think I know my limits! Maybe I could be a chalet boy! I’d do something like that, where I could spend some time in the mountains.
What trait in others annoys you?
I’m quite a meticulous person and when other people aren’t quite so meticulous, that’s a bit annoying. Maybe that’s the engineer in me, but fine detail is important to me. So maybe carelessness and not taking pride in what you do.
What was your unluckiest moment?
I don’t think I believe in luck. I think certain things happen that you can’t control and you’ve got to recognise what those things are and not get too stressed about the things that are beyond your control. I can’t think of a time that I’ve had an unlucky moment and perhaps that’s because it’s not how I look at things. Or maybe it means I’ve been a very lucky person!
What’s the last book you read?
I’m really bad and I don’t read books much anymore – I think it’s because I don’t have a lot of time. I think the last book I read was a book called ‘Running With the Kenyans’ [by Adharanand Finn] about a guy that tried to understand the secrets of why Kenyans are such good middle and long-distance runners.
Who’s the best racing driver on the grid at the moment?
Daniel Ricciardo is excellent all round. It’s a combination of him being laid back, which makes him easy to work with, but also the fact that he is constantly taking in information and everything is being absorbed. Whether that’s talking to him in the office or in the car, the smallest details of how the car is behaving he picks up on those and communicates it back. He’s very, very good at improving the car. His driving skills are exceptional. He doesn’t make many mistakes at all. Also, he’s mega in the big braking zones.
If you were to sing in the shower – what song would it be?
I’d probably sing ‘Moves Like Jagger’ by Maroon 5. It’s a song my wife and I often sing on freezing ski lifts. When we’re hunkering down in a bit of a blizzard and it’s all a bit miserable, singing can raise your spirits. I’m not sure why we chose that one but we did and now it’s a bit of a ritual.