Red Bull Racing
“It was a funny winter; the cars changed a lot and testing was really busy. We all tried to work our way around the Pirelli tyres and coming here we’re all impressed by how they’re working on one lap and also when there’s more fuel in the car. It’s promising for Sunday, so we’ll see how we get on. We have made the first step and starting the season this way with a pole position is a good sign for the team. We’ve been working very hard to get the RB7 to where it is now – it’s thanks to all those in the factory and those here, down under, for preparing the car. If you look at the points we still have zero like everyone else, so we need to see what happens tomorrow.”
“I was disappointed with my performance today. Sebastian put in a very good lap. I’m a little bit mystified by the gap to be honest, I tried my best. I’ll have to go through it and have a look at where I can improve and go from there. It’s frustrating, but credit to the team; the guys have done an incredible job. Obviously it wasn’t the best day for me, but the bar is high. I would like to have done better, but reflecting on the performance of the team and what they’ve done over the winter – it’s incredible.”
“A great team performance. First and third for the first grand prix of 2011 is a very good start. Sebastian produced two stunning laps. Mark just lost out on the last run by less than a tenth to Lewis, but first and third on the clean side of the grid is a good place to be starting tomorrow’s grand prix. It should be a fascinating race tomorrow, especially with the new regulations. We’re delighted to achieve Pirelli’s first pole position on their return to Formula One.”
Renault - Cyril Dumont
“It’s nice to be back on track and especially with the pace we had today. What a showing it was from Seb. Mark was a bit behind, but we will see tomorrow, as the race is long. Engine-wise we were pretty happy to use all the tuning we have been working on during winter testing. It is a good result for Renault and Red Bull so far and we will see tomorrow what happens in the race. Fuel consumption will be important tomorrow.”
“I was really happy with my lap today. The car felt fantastic, and I owe it all to the guys back at the factory, in the design office and those building components. They need to give themselves a huge pat on the back. It was a brave decision to make such a dramatic change to the car, and a superb effort to deliver that change. An amazing turnaround!
“However, although I was pleased with my performance today, my KERS Hybrid stopped working halfway round my final lap – I had 40 per cent left that I couldn’t deploy – but that would have been worth only an extra couple of tenths. Still, it’s good to know, because this car platform is now definitely something we can build upon.
“Tomorrow is a long race and it won’t be won at the first corner. We need to take home some good points from this weekend because we know our car will only get better.
“We still have some work to do, but I think the race is winnable from here – and I’ll be giving Sebastian [Vettel] the race of his life tomorrow!”
“I think we should be happy with this result. Q3 was a bit disappointing, however: I got stuck behind Nico [Rosberg], and Felipe [Massa] had a spin in front of me. It was all quite messy – the lap that I didn’t complete in Q2 would have been quicker!
“So we didn’t get the most out of our package in Q3, but it’s nonetheless a massive step forward from what we had in testing, so we should all be very happy with what we’ve done so far.
“And there’s still a lot we can build on: the car is still in its early stages because we haven’t done much testing. To be reliable and reasonably quick gives us huge motivation: everyone back at the factory should be really proud – they put in an awful lot of hard work to get us here today.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow: I had a good race from fourth last year, and I think I can have a good race from fourth this year, too. We ought to be positive and think we can challenge for the win tomorrow.”
“Yesterday indicated that the car improvements we’d made in the past few weeks were significant, and today proved it. I therefore want to say a big thank you to all the guys here in Melbourne, and back in Woking, who have worked so hard to make those improvements possible.
“Lewis and Jenson, too, have done a great job this weekend – and the result, second and fourth places on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race, is very encouraging.
“Actually, Lewis could have gone a bit quicker still, had he not suffered a KERS Hybrid failure. As a result of that failure, he lost not only the performance dividend that KERS Hybrid provides, but also had to cope with compromised brake balance resulting from the absence of KERS Hybrid. A double whammy, if you like.
“But the parc fermé regulations allow us to make the necessary repairs, and both he and Jenson will therefore be looking forward to taking the fight to Red Bull on the streets of Albert Park tomorrow afternoon.”
"I'm disappointed as when I went to bed last night, I was hopeful of a good qualifying performance. In the morning, a few things didn't work on my car, but the team did a good job and almost all of the systems were working for Qualifying, so we need to find out what happened. I did make a small mistake in Q3 which possibly cost me a place but it hasn't quite come together for us this weekend. One good thing is that I will start on the clean side of the grid, and we will do our best to score some good points tomorrow."
"Clearly that was not an ideal start to the season, and I cannot deny that I am disappointed. It's not about that KERS only worked intermittently or that I could probably have made it to Q3, but it is because our performance did not turn out as we expected. From our testing experience, we were around the pace of Ferrari, however this did not translate today. We faced more problems here than at the test with several issues throughout the whole weekend. We now have to look deeply into it to understand why it turned out to be like this, because for the moment we are not where we wanted to be."
"Without doubt, today was quite a disappointing qualifying session for the team. We expected to be more competitive however we haven't got the car working as well as we had hoped today. The fundamentals are good but we've had rather too many challenges this weekend to be able to get the most out of it. We are in good shape for the race tomorrow in terms of tyre availability and the car looked pretty reasonable on the longer runs so let's wait and see what happens."
"From the first practice session onwards yesterday, we had some technical issues on both cars which handicapped Nico and Michael in setting up their cars properly. Michael had a KERS issue during Q2 which probably prevented him from progressing to Q3. Nico made a good step from the final practice session to Q3 but unfortunately locked the front wheel braking into the first corner going into his quickest lap. He pushed to the limit and I certainly will not criticise. Our performance in Melbourne so far has not been where we expected it to be after the last test in Barcelona. However everybody in our team will try to get a better result tomorrow."
Lotus Renault GP
“After all the hard work during a very tough winter for the whole team, it feels great to come here and qualify on the third row. There was a lot of pressure in Q3 because I only had one run, right at the end of the session. So there were no second chances and I’m glad I was able to deliver the lap. The car has felt good right from the start of practice and we’ve improved it constantly during each session. I think we are in a great position for the race and that we can fight for some points tomorrow. I’m not too worried about the tyres because they have been working well for us so far and we have not seen the drop off that we saw during winter testing.”
“I’m disappointed to be starting the season from so far back. It wasn’t an easy session and I had a problem with the KERS, which meant I had to change some settings, and that cost me one of my timed laps. Then, there was so much traffic and I tried to find some free space, but it didn’t work out for me. It’s bad luck, but I must try and put that behind me now. As we have seen with Vitaly, the car seems to have good pace and the race is wide open, so hopefully I can move forward and fight for points.”
“I am very happy to be back in Q3, as we had not been there since 2009. In the end, I had no more new tyres, but all the same, I have to say thanks to the team for doing such a good job and it shows we are on the right road. Let’s hope we can continue to do well in the race tomorrow and from what we have seen of our pace in free practice, I think that should be possible. I could not have hoped for a better start to the season, being among the ten fastest cars on the grid. My quick lap was good and I don’t think I could have done any better.”
“I am quite happy, although I have to congratulate my team-mate on doing a better job than me. This is a good result for the team and promising for tomorrow, when my main target will be to score points. The team did a great job during the winter to produce a fast car and this is the first result of that, which I hope we can continue to improve on in the next few races.”
“Before the session, I expected to get this result. We are just a sniff ahead of Force India, with whom I expect we will be fighting all year. However, I am not going to cry about Adrian Sutil’s misfortunes. When analysing the result, we have to consider that Williams had a difficult session, while Sauber is solidly ahead of us. Seb and the team did a very good job, managing the tyres, going out at the right time and generally running the session very well. People have been singing the praises of our car and this is a result of some bold choices we made on the design front. However, we are currently the eighth team and we will have to continue to work hard to try and stay ahead of the others. Jaime did a reasonable job and he has complained of understeer all day, which was not the case yesterday. Twelfth and so close to his team-mate is not a disappointment and we simply did not get the best out of his car today.”
During qualifying itself our speed was ok and better than expected. On my flying lap in Q2 I was only a few hundred metres from the finish line when I ran wide on the kerb, lost the rear and had a spin. It is a shame because I was on for a 1:26.1 so I could have been in the region of P12. It's looking quite good for the race tomorrow; for sure we have opportunities to pass people with the rear wing and KERS, so lets see how it goes.
Paul Di Resta
I think if you'd have said that we would be starting the race from P14 going in to qualifying, we'd have been pretty happy. So for my first qualifying session I think we have to be happy with our result today and it gives me a place to build on for the future. I'd like to thank everyone in the team for their efforts and I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer
Today's standings built on our free practice results and gave us some additional information on the Pirelli tyres. Australia is a race renowned for its high rate of attrition and we feel confident that our tried and tested KERS hybrid system and overall reliability will hold us in good stead. We have paid close attention to our tyre strategy today as we believe that tyre choice and management will impact significantly on performance throughout the grid tomorrow. Whilst it would have been preferable to qualify higher up the grid, we are targeting race points and look forward to getting the season underway.
“Overall performance wise we are not too bad and now we see what we have done in the winter was okay. Of course there are still things to improve, but this is only the first Grand Prix and making it into Q3 is good. I want to thank the team. I only wish I had a set of new tyres left for Q3, instead of the used set of soft tyres, as then I think P6 would have been possible. However, I believe today is positive news and I’m very happy to give that to Japan.”
“My first qualifying started quite well with P6 in Q1, and this was mainly because in the third free practice I couldn’t run on soft tyres and low fuel as we lost a lot of time due to a hydraulic problem. In Q2 we were a bit tight on time after the yellow flag, and then on my last flying lap I had traffic in the final sector and could not get the most out of the tyres. Today a better result was possible, and this is a shame. But generally I feel very comfortable and hope for a good race tomorrow with some points at the end.”
Peter Sauber, Team Principal
“Finally everybody knows where he stands and I must say I’m satisfied with where we are at the moment. No less important is the positive experience with both our drivers today. From Kamui we knew what he could do, but Sergio, our rookie, was a nice surprise.”
James Key, Technical Director
“We are obviously pleased that the progress we thought we made over the winter has been realised today in qualifying. But this is just the start of a long season. Kamui did a great job to get us safely through to Q3 when, unfortunately, we had to run used tyres. So in the end he did not find the ultimate performance. Sergio was excellent, considering this was his first F1 qualifying and he had missed a lot of time with a hydraulic problem in free practice three. On his fastest lap in Q2 he had traffic, but nonetheless we are very happy with the job both drivers did. What really counts is the race tomorrow and it will be very interesting to see the unknown tyre strategies that could be employed.”
"Unfortunately the rear wing was stuck in the high downforce configuration for the second run which definitely masked the real pace there is in the car. We've also struggled with getting the most out of the tyres all weekend but I think the increased temperatures tomorrow will suit the car much more and we'll be in good shape to show what we can really do in the race."
"I've had a few issues with the power steering in practice but the team worked well to resolve that for qualifying and the car definitely felt better than it had this morning and yesterday. We'll clearly be much quicker when we can get the tyres up to full temperature so it'll be an exciting race for us tomorrow and I think we'll be in good shape to push the guys ahead who we were much closer to in the warmer conditions in pre-season testing."
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader
"Firstly I want to say that the atmosphere in this team is very good. This means we are all able to work together very well and it's important that we can do that to get the best out of the car this year. From the engine perspective I think we are ok on usage and the drivers' feedback has been very good. Obviously to maximise the performance of the car the whole package can work better and I'm sure we can unlock the true potential of the car when we have worked through areas like the tyre usage."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer
"Both drivers did a very good job in qualifying today, despite both of them being hampered by issues - Heikki had a rear wing problem whcih meant he couldn't improve on his second set of tyres, and Jarno reported loss of grip on his second set so we clearly were not able to maximise the car's real performance today. However, I think that we have definitely taken a step forward in qualifying. We have been struggling to get temperature into the tyres all weekend, and have had some issues with the power steering, but we made significant progress in qualifying. On the positive side the tyre warm-up issues will be much better in the race and looking ahead I am very confident that we can get back to the level of performance we showed in winter testing as we continue through the early part of the season.
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal
"I am happy with qualifying. Obviously we are paying the price of the limited running we had in testing, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous before the session and having seen where we ended up I am pleased with what both drivers produced today. We continue to learn all the time and as this is essentially a completely new car we have to work hard on a number of areas to help us achieve our full potential, particularly on tyre management - the car looks like it has Malaysian blood as it clearly prefers hotter conditions! Despite that we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow, and with much more development to come here, in Malaysia and China, before we head back to Europe, I am happy with where we are today."
“The first weekend of the new season has been a tough test for us and today we got the chance to see where we stand and how we need to move forward. I had a new engineer and a new performance engineer over the winter and together with my car crew they have done a fantastic job in testing and this weekend. At the end of the day though, fighting for a time within 107% of the leaders is not what we’re here for and we can see now where we are and what we need to do to progress. We are a really strong team and now we have to bring the car up to where we need it to be. As for tomorrow, the opening race of the season, we will be focusing on staying reliable and bringing both cars to the finish as the reward for everyone’s hard work.”
“I'm very happy with the progress made this weekend and this has ensured we can look forward to the race tomorrow. On a personal level this was my first qualifying session and I was able to see exactly what was required and where I have to improve. I will use all the information – good and bad – to see what I need to work on so I can keep improving. But for now I am happy that things went our way today and I hope I can have a positive experience in my first Formula One race tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal
"It’s fair to say that there was some degree of nail biting within the team ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session. That’s not the position we want to be in and fighting to stay within the 107% time is not our target – it should be a given. Just like last year we expected the first race to be a tough challenge, coming off the back of a winter of regulation changes. Qualifying was an affirmation of what we already know – that we have a lot of hard work ahead to bring the car up to where it needs to be. Having said that, Timo drove the wheels off the car to get the best possible result today and Jérôme is doing an admirable job in his debut weekend, so all credit to the drivers and the team for a very respectable opening weekend operationally as it’s a huge step forward from where we were 12 months ago.”