2017 USA GRAND PRIX – SATURDAY 21/10/2017
 
Daniil Kvyat (STR12-01, Car 26)
Third Practice Session – Best lap: 1:38.500, pos. 20th, 6 laps
Qualifying – Best lap: (Q1) 1:36.073, (Q2) 1:35.529, pos. 12th
“I’m very pleased with today’s qualifying. We did a good job with the limited information we had and set the car up well after missing out on a lot of this morning’s FP3 – I think we reached the limit of the car with my last Quali lap, so we can be happy – the engineers did a fantastic job! I feel good in the car and we’ll try and turn today’s P12 into points tomorrow. Anything can happen in the race so we will just need to stay cool, look after the tyres, keep the strategy open and give it our all!”
 
Brendon Hartley (STR12-04, Car 39)
Third Practice Session – Best lap: 1:36.818, pos. 15th, 25 laps
Qualifying – Best lap: (Q1) 1:36.889, pos. 18th
Brendon will serve a 25 grid position penalty in tomorrow’s race.
“A difficult qualifying session – still a lot to learn! – but I’m smiling! These cars are incredibly fast and awesome to drive and when you go out on low fuel and new tyres it’s such a peak in performance! I didn’t quite nail the session, but I can’t forget that I’ve been thrown in the deep end here, so I’m pretty satisfied with how the weekend has gone so far. My long-run pace is pretty good – I guess that’s what I know how to do well anyway from endurance racing! I feel quite confident managing tyres, so I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. I haven’t done a standing start in a long time, but hopefully I can manage a clean start and see what we can do after that. I’m really enjoying my Formula 1 debut! There’ll be a few butterflies in my stomach tomorrow for sure, but I’ve been pretty relaxed all weekend – I’m trying to tell myself it’s just another race, even though I know it’s obviously not…it’s really my F1 debut! But I’ll sleep well tonight and push as hard as I can. I’m excited to see how far we can move up the grid tomorrow!”
Jody Egginton (Head of Vehicle Performance)
“Overall today has been slightly more difficult than it should have been due to the issue with Daniil’s car in FP3, but we have done a reasonable job to get him back up to speed from this setback. The set-up changes made overnight provided the expected performance improvement on both cars, however, the windy conditions have contributed to some changes in car balance and the drivers have had to adapt to this.
Brendon made a good step in his short run performance in FP3, taking more from the two ultrasoft tyre sets and making another step with this in Qualifying. This was important as it was one of the areas which we could not manage to fully explore during Friday due to limited tyre sets and the damp conditions. Unfortunately, Daniil’s FP3 ran less smoothly because of an issue with the front suspension significantly effecting car balance and, with insufficient time to resolve the issue, he was not able to set a clean baseline or run the ultrasoft.
We elected to allow for three runs in Q1 and Daniil made the most of the final Q1 run and progressed to Q2. Brendon’s progress was also good and looking at his runs it’s fair to say that if he had one more run in Q1, he probably would have made the cut for Q2. Daniil’s final run in Q2 was very tidy and within a tenth or so of what was possible. With penalties applied, Daniil will start ahead of his qualifying position so we are in the mix and well placed to be able to race our closest competitors.
We now switch focus to the race strategy with the target to get both cars as far forward in the race as possible. In the case of Brendon, given his PU penalty, we will be investigating options for alternative race strategies which, if the opportunity presents itself, we can utilise to allow him to move forwards and gain track position. With Daniil starting ahead, the approach will be slightly different as we will need to give more consideration to potentially undercut or overcut our closest competitors in order to move forwards or consolidate track position.
Looking ahead to the race, tyre allocation for both drivers provides a good level of flexibility so we can adapt if required. With our long run pace on Friday looking reasonable, and the basic package working in line with expectation, we have the possibility to score points if we can optimise our race. However, the midfield is super tight and even a small mistake can cost points so we need to stay focused.”