Daniil Kvyat (STR11-03, Car 26)
Third Practice Session - Best lap: 1:34.037, pos. 15th, 12 laps
Qualifying - Best lap: (Q1) 1:32.645, (Q2) 1:32.623, pos. 13th
"I'm quite happy with my qualifying session. Both my Q1 and Q2 laps were good and to be honest I don't think there was much more to extract from the car today and I did my best. I also think the whole team around me works very well, we now follow our own system which works well – they deserve the good laps I put in! We will now go for it in tomorrow's race and see how close we can get to those point positions. It will be interesting if the weather mixes it all up a bit, but it's not something we can ask for and we are ready for any scenario – we will just settle in and see what we can do from a P13. I'm feeling better and better in the car, much more confident every time and I look forward to tomorrow's race!"
Carlos Sainz (STR11-01, Car 55)
Third Practice Session - Best lap: 1:56.323, pos. 22nd, 3 laps
Qualifying - Best lap: (Q1) 1:32.789, (Q2) 1:32.685, pos. 14th
"A bit of a tough and tricky day for us. I missed out on FP3 due to an issue with the CU, so I was many laps behind the rest of the field when it got to Qualifying. At a track like this one it's very difficult to recover your rhythm... I had to play catch-up from the start and it was a bit of a stressful session, nearly not making it into Q2 because of timing... Luckily we did, but then in Q2 I wasn't improving my lap-time during my second run and then made a mistake when trying a different line and entry speed at Spoon... It's the type of things you usually try in FP3 if I say the truth! It's therefore a Saturday that definitely didn't go our way from the beginning of the day onwards, but hopefully tomorrow will be a better day! Looking at the positive side, if today we had a bad Quali but still ended up P14, it means that the car has the potential to be a bit more ahead. We have a good race pace for tomorrow – it might be tough to get to the points as there are a few other teams quicker than us, but as soon as something happens we should be the best of the rest."
James Key (Technical Director):
"We hoped for a bit more today, but I think realistically we probably did as well as we could. We were happy with certain aspects of our balance from yesterday but not so much with others, so we worked overnight on some of the slow-speed corner performance and it looked better in FP3. Unfortunately, we could only prove this with one car as Carlos had a CU issue and we didn't have much time to fix it during the session. As a result Carlos was only able to complete half a lap this morning – it looked like quite a decent one on the Medium tyre, but we'll never know how that could've gone now and how he could've progressed, so the first time he ran the soft tyre in today's conditions was in Qualifying. As for the Qualifying session, both drivers got through Q1 fine, we sent Daniil out as a precaution at the end of the session but his second lap was not required and we brought him in. We didn't progress much in Q2 with our lap times, but most of our performance loss was from the straights between Turns 11 and 13 and Turns 14 and 16 which we cannot do much about, we finished around three tenths off the top ten. The second half of the lap here in Suzuka relies a lot on straight-line speed, which is quite a big weakness for us now, so we played to our strengths with our set-up to try and maximize our cornering capability, and that kind of shows in Sector 1 compared to Sectors 2 and 3. However to have both cars next to each other, mid-grid, with reasonably good long-run pace from yesterday's high fuel work and a free choice of tyres I think it's all still to play for tomorrow. There are cars ahead which on race pace we hope to overhaul and we're surrounded by some interesting competition as well, with Williams just ahead and a McLaren behind. I'm looking forward to the race and I think we can be quite hopeful tomorrow to contend for some points."