“I don’t really know what happened in Q3. The Full Wets had been working really well, but, as the track gradually became less wet, I sought better grip and switched to the Intermediates – but we struggled to get enough temperature into them and just couldn’t switch them on.
“So I had very little grip on the Inters, having felt more confident on the Full Wets; obviously, we’ll have to try to analyse the problem overnight and hopefully fix it for tomorrow.
“I want to give a shout-out to the fans. They’ve been fantastic: very patient and so supportive. The cheers from the grandstands were spectacular. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a car on the front row for them, but we can still push tomorrow.
“Although eighth position isn’t the best place from which to be starting, it’s going to be a tough race and we’re not that far away.”
“I can usually drive a racing car in the wet, but obviously not today. The car felt completely different on its second set of Inters – on the first set, I’d had a lot of front-shuddering and couldn’t get the tyres working, but on the second set that problem was much better.
“So, on my final run, I was around 1.8sec up on my previous best. Sadly, however, I wasn’t able to make that count in terms of my overall lap-time, because it was particularly wet in the final sector and there was also a yellow flag along the startline. That’s the way it is sometimes. It’s the story of my year, really, I guess.
“If Sunday is wet, as we expect it to be, then the fact that we haven’t put too many miles on the tyres may make me a bit better equipped for tomorrow.
“You’ve just got to take the positives from the situation, wherever you can.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLarenMercedes
“Clearly, eighth and 18th isn’t where we’d hoped to qualify for our home grand prix, and to do so is therefore very disappointing.
“Q1 was a bit of a lottery – it was principally a question of trying to switch on your tyres at the right time without encountering traffic – and those variables never quite aligned for Jenson. But he’s looked quick at various points so far this weekend – and, bearing in mind that we expect the wet weather to continue tomorrow, he’ll be looking to make progress through the field towards a points-scoring position by race’s end. He’s one of the ablest wet-weather racers out there, as we’ve seen him prove many times before.
“Lewis was very quick in full-wet conditions, as he demonstrated emphatically by being fastest of all in Q2 – but, when it came to the restart, and Q3, to our disappointment we discovered that our car was somewhat less competitive on the intermediate tyre.
“So, since our car is demonstrably very competitive in the full-dry or the full-wet, but less so when intermediate conditions prevail, axiomatically it follows that we’d prefer it to be full-wet or full-dry tomorrow. I guess it’s unlikely to be full-dry, so let’s hope it’s full-wet!
“Speaking of which, in conclusion, I want to pay tribute to the spectators here today, who have come in large numbers to watch the sport they love, despite knowing that they’d get drenched to the skin in the process. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: British Formula 1 fans really are the best in the world, hugely knowledgeable and massively enthusiastic in equal measure. So, whatever the weather, for their sakes, here’s hoping that tomorrow’s Santander British Grand Prix offers them the spectacle and excitement that they’ve been waiting all year to enjoy.”