14TH APRIL 2018
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 5th 1:31.796 (Practice 3 – P4 1:33.969)
“We achieved a good car balance and feeling today so I don’t think we could have done too much more, I would say fifth on the grid is quite realistic and where we should have been. I don’t feel like we got the maximum out of the engine in Q3, I think there would have been some time to find if we had. We are losing time on both of the straights which is hard to make up in other areas of the track, we knew the corners would be important but it was not enough to make up the difference. In general it was not a bad Qualifying, Ferrari were very fast but we were not that far off Mercedes at the end. In the race they can’t use these engine modes so, based on the long run pace, we can be a lot closer to the guys in front. We have a different strategy, it may be a one stop or possibly a two stop race and depending on temperatures and degradation things can change. Hopefully we’ll have a clean start and then we’ll have to see if we can get up the field and secure a podium.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 6th 1:31.948 (Practice 3 – P15 1:35.061)
“I’m happy to have got out in Qualifying and I want to thank the mechanics for doing such a great job. I think they have broken their own record for an engine change several times and they did it again today. It got to 2pm and the guys were saying get ready, but we didn’t think it was going to happen. I didn’t expect to get out but I was ready to go and excited when I did. What happened this morning wasn’t the mechanics’ fault but they had all the pressure to put the new engine in the car in time and they did very well. In the end it’s relatively close, we’re at the tail end of the top six which isn’t ideal, but I think with all things considered it wasn’t a bad afternoon and I’m just thankful that the team were able to get me out there. I think they all start on softs in front of us tomorrow and from what I understand myself and Max will start on ultrasofts, so strategy will definitely play a big part and hopefully it can help get us up on the podium.”
“It was a fantastic effort from the crew on car three, assisted when possible by the car 33 crew to get an engine change turned around in such a short period of time. There was a significant amount of work to get Daniel out for Q1 and everyone in the garage did a brilliant job. Progressing through to Q3 in fifth and sixth is about where we are pace wise on this track in Qualifying trim, but hopefully we can be in a more competitive shape tomorrow. We have a different tyre to start the race on so hopefully that will make things interesting.”
Chilling out
Formula 1 is a sport that chases the sun, a sport of hot days and balmy nights. Yet here we are on the eve of the Chinese Grand Prix and we’re qualifying in ambient temperature of 12˚C. What does it all mean? Well, it does mean that if we can race in some semblance of comfort in these cold conditions it’s only a matter of time before the wish in some quarter for 25 races comes true and the F1 season really is the season to be jolly. So where might that take us? Here are our top three winter wonderlands…
1. Arctic Circle Raceway – located 19 miles south of Arctic Circle in Norway, the Arctic Circle Raceway is the most northerly racetrack on the planet. In the summer the 2.33-mile track is bathed in perpetual sunlight, so it could conceivably hold a 24-hour race without the need for floodlighting.
2. Autódromo Carlos Romero – Rotate the planet and the globe’s most southerly circuit lies just outside Tolhuin in Argentina. Sitting on the 54th parallel, the Autódromo Carlos Romero is, we reckon, the most southerly racetrack on the planet. With average maximum temperature of 9.0˚C and a minimum of 2˚C it’s perfect for our winter series, although winter there is in July.
3. Autódrómo Internacional de Yahuarcocha – As far as we can figure, we actually race at the highest track (Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2,285m) but for a change of pace and to fit into F1’s existing season how about Ecuador’s Autódrómo Internacional de Yahuarcocha, also known as the Autódromo José Tobar. The circuit, which is a pretty impressive 10km blast around Lake Yahuarcocha, near the town of Ibarra, is a two-hour drive north of capital city Quito and sits at an elevation of roughly 2,225m above sea level. It’s currently inactive, but that’s nothing a few hundred million dollars wouldn’t solve. Only one further problem: even the coldest month, July, has average temperature of 23˚C. Not exactly chilly, then, but it is their winter, sort of.