Romain Grosjean went fourth fastest whilst Kimi Raikkonen was just eight thousandths of a second behind with the fifth quickest time in a searing qualifying session on the streets of Valencia for the European Grand Prix.
“It was very close in qualifying, especially in Q2, so it’s good to be fifth on the grid. The car felt good. If we could have improved just a little bit on my last lap then we could have gained a couple of places, but it is an improvement on last time out so I’m very happy with that. We found a few good things with the setup this morning to make the car easier to drive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car usually goes well in the race when it’s hot, so let’s see what we can do.”
“Today we got pretty much the most out of the car that we could have. P4 is a good position for the start of the race but of course you want always more and to do better. Sebastian did an unbelievable lap and today we could not have matched it. We have improved our qualifying performance but there is still room to do better. Tyre degradation will be more important than what we saw at the last race. There will be 57 laps in hot conditions on Sunday; we will see what we can do for a good race tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations
“We’re very happy with today’s performance and both drivers have done an excellent job. Fourth and fifth positions on the grid are excellent places to start and we know the E20 has demonstrated very strong race pace at the majority of circuits this season. I’m sure tomorrow will be no exception.
“We haven’t done anything radically different from our approach at previous Grands Prix. We’ve certainly had a smoother weekend so far than we did last time out in Montréal, and we seem well suited on the soft tyres. We’ve looked at the data and given greater consideration to qualifying pace, but our race preparations remain the same.
“We’ve come from much further back on the grid than P4 or P5 and finished very well, so we have good confidence heading into tomorrow’s race. That said, overtaking is very difficult here even with DRS, so we’re not expecting an easy race from that perspective. It’s likely to be a very hot race which will give the tyres a hard time and we’re confident in those conditions. It’s open for a one, two, or three stop strategy tomorrow, so let’s see what happens.”