Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff says the Brackley based outfit can be satisfied with how qualifying went for the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit on Saturday. Speaking following the action he said:
We can be very satisfied with our Qualifying session today although I guess we’re not making many new friends out there. Our car was working very well today, it was really in a league of its own and the performance shows all the smart work that has gone into it at the factories just down the road from here. Both Lewis and Valtteri really delivered today as well and were able to extract everything out of the car. We can be really happy the result today, but we know that the points are scored tomorrow, and our competitors will put up a hard fight. We’re determined to give it everything and carry our momentum into the race to hopefully put on a good show for everyone supporting from home.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton scored his 91st career pole position with a time of 01:24.303s and speaking following the session he said:
This feeling never gets old, that’s for sure! We made some changes to the car going into Qualifying and it felt worse, so it was a real struggle out there in the first two sessions. At this track, there can be a headwind, tailwind and crosswind all at different parts of the circuit, so it’s like juggling balls whilst you are on a moving plate. Qualifying is a lot about building confidence and after that spin in Q2, I had to take some deep breaths, compose myself and mentally reset – especially knowing Valtteri was putting in fast lap after fast lap. Q3 started off well, the first lap was nice and clean, but the second one was even better. A big thank you to everyone at the team, working at the track and at the factories not far from here, for all their tireless work and continuing to push us forward. I’m really proud to be a part of it. It’s going to be strange racing out there tomorrow without any fans, we definitely miss them and it’s just a completely different energy. I know they’ll be watching from home and supporting us, so hopefully we can put on a good show for them.
Valtteri Bottas starts the race from second setting a time of 01:24.616s and speaking following the session the Finn said:
It’s disappointing to be second but the reality is that Lewis found more time in Q3, I just couldn’t quite catch him. He did a really good job today and deserves to be on pole. It was a pretty smooth session and I had some clean laps in Q1 and Q2 – the car felt pretty good out there. But I had a harder time in Q3 as I struggled to attack the slow-speed corners and the rear end was drifting more than before. But tomorrow is what counts and I think my long-run performance has been really good this weekend. I believe there will be opportunities, and everything is still wide open, so I’m looking forward to it.
Mercedes lead engineer Andrew Shovlin commented saying:
Well done to the team and the drivers on this front row lockout, particularly to Lewis on his fantastic lap for pole. It’s not been easy for him and Valtteri to put the laps together here; the wind has a big effect on the car balance and as soon as you start sliding, the tyre temperatures rise, and you lose grip. The conditions may have moved in our favour today, but we were also doing a better job of managing the tyre temperatures at the start of the lap. We’re looking forward to the race tomorrow; we don’t quite know where Red Bull are on pace. They looked very close to us on the long runs yesterday and have generally looked better in race trim than qualifying so we will be prepared for a fight and won’t be taking anything for granted.