23 JUNE 2018
FRENCH GP – QUALIFYING
MAX VERSTAPPEN Position: 4th 1:30.705 (Practice 3 – No Time Set)
“I don’t think we maximised the potential of the car in Qualifying today. I was struggling a bit with front grip which didn’t make it easy, but we still qualified in fourth. It would have been nice if it had continued raining all day but unfortunately it dried up just in time for the session. We can see that on the straights we are still down on speed compared to the Mercedes but also we didn’t have the balance of the car perfect, in the long corners we were losing time also. In the race I think we will have to wait and see. My race pace looks good but so does a lot of the others and coming to a new race means anything can happen. I start on the supersoft so Sebastian should have a bit more grip, this will make it a little tricky but hopefully we will go for longer on our tyres. All weekend we haven’t really had a reference as the track is new, there are still a lot of question marks ahead of tomorrow so we just have to wait and see what happens.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 5th 1:30.895 (Practice 3 – P10 1:39.738)
“We split the cars yesterday, on the downforce levels, with Max lower than me. It was pretty evenly matched yesterday but it looked like the low was worth trying. We put that on for this morning but with the weather we didn’t get to try it. We decided not to run in Qualifying with something we hadn’t tried yet, but we still had a lot of front wing in hand but I think by the end of Q1 we had already used every bit of it and we still had understeer. In other sessions you can do other things on the car but in quali your hands are tied so it was a frustrating day. For tomorrow come race time I’ll be confident but I think we’re going to be a little slow on the straights compared to the guys in front but if it rains then we might be the lucky dogs. I think the wet will make it interesting. In the dry on raw pace we are not quick enough to challenge Mercedes, but in the wet I think it will be exciting for the fans.
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “Qualifying the cars in fourth and fifth probably delivered the best we could have expected here at Paul Ricard. After a morning session hampered by rain which restricted our running to almost nothing consequential, qualification on a fast-drying track meant that it was always going to be difficult to challenge our main rivals on the grid. With Max on the second row and Daniel just behind, and starting on the supersoft tyre as opposed to Sebastian on ultrasofts ahead, it will be interesting to see how the race develops and if we can disrupt the order. Weather may also play a part, and with that anything can happen.”
The Waiting Game
Cerulean skies, cypress trees, endless vineyards, olive groves… yes, we were able to stare at them for hours while we sat in the traffic that marred day one here at the Circuit Paul Ricard. We do understand that everyone’s trying their best to solve the problem but should there be any further delays, here are a few things you could do to while away the hours…
1. Open your hotel booking app and try to book somewhere closer to the track next year, spread betting by booking something for every weekend in June. (As a heads up, we’re way ahead of you).
2. Amuse your fellow passengers by assembling and then unleashing your Spotify playlist of 100 best Broadway show tunes.
3. Try to rescue your phone from the ditch it has been thrown into by your colleagues.
4. Read your hire car contract. In all of recorded history no one has ever done this – ever.
5. Try to understand why your hire car contract contains penalty clauses for excessive sitting, windscreen wiper degradation and radio frequency wear and tear.
6. Plan a more polished set of excuses for your post-session press release. Explore new ways of trying to not use the words ‘fire’ or ‘catastrophic failure’.
7. Catch up on your sleep: it’s a triple header, you’re going to need all the rest you can get.
8. Learn French… so that you can swear at the local gendarmes with startling clarity.
9. Call your team manager/line manager to advise him or her of the consequences of swearing at the French police.
10. Open the sunroof, close the sunroof, open the sunroof, close the sunroof, open the sunroof, close the sunroof…
11. Astound younger colleagues with tales of the British Grand Prix traffic delays of 2012, also known as the Nine Hours of Silverstone.
12. Call colleagues elsewhere in the traffic jam and put them on speakerphone as they tell you that it’s worse where they are and that the queue around them is fragmenting into tribal bands of roving marauders with cannibal intent (that’ll be the garage techs, then).
13. Smirk as the larger members of your party begin to look nervous (or suspiciously like a large, succulent ham).
14. Look at the map and identify all the place names that sound like rude words. Chuckle like schoolboys at the village whose name translates as ‘sizeable male chicken’.
15. Swear loudly again and shout ‘I can’t stand it; we’ve been stuck here for more than 10 minutes. This is really screwing with my sense of entitlement’.