Site logo

Saudi Arabian GP: Post Qualifying press conference


Track Interviews - Conducted by Khalil Beschir

Q: Checo, pole position again in Jeddah! How do you do this only here?
Sergio Perez: It was tricky. It was tricky that Q3, especially [after] not getting that second lap. That [first lap] was quite good, you know, it was quite clean, really clean. Nailing that lap, you know, you really feel the Formula 1 cars coming alive in this place and yeah just maximising that lap was very important, you know, because with the issue we had into the final run it was really important as the track was improving.

Q: You must be happy to hear it was only driveshaft on Max's car, nothing else. It was a scare wasn't it in the middle of the session? It was a scare for you when you saw Max's problem. You were happy it was only a driveshaft?
SP: Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's a shame, you know. Max has been really strong the whole weekend. So hopefully tomorrow we can have both cars up there, as you never know, with these cars, you know, reliability issues can hit you at any time.

Q: Well, Checo, fantastic. Hopefully tomorrow you will be the one with the win. because points count tomorrow. Congratulations. Charles Leclerc, P2, you must be happy with that. I know the penalty is there for tomorrow, unfortunately. But you must be happy with the qualifying?
Charles Leclerc: Ah, happy? Yes and no. On one hand, I think it's been a very difficult weekend in terms of pace for us. But I'm very happy about my lap, I think I put everything in it. It was really, really on the limit. On the other hand, Red Bull are on another planet. And we are struggling a little bit. So we need to keep pushing. But that's what we are doing as a team. Tomorrow is not going to be easy. I have a 10-place grid penalty. So we'll be starting a little bit further back. But we'll focus on the race and hopefully come back in the front as quickly as possible.

Q: We can't separate you too much from Max, because Max is also starting from the back. But race pace is much better. Yesterday, the long runs, the car looked good on Soft, also on Medium. You must be looking forward for improvement from Bahrain, on race pace I mean.
CL: Yes, the race pace looked quite good. But it's very difficult to compare because in FP2 everybody has a very different programme. So we will see, but it seemed a little bit better. But it's not going to be easy because I feel like everybody is very close in the race pace.

Q: Well, we wish you all the best of luck. Tomorrow is going to be a long race, but I'm pretty sure you're going to enjoy the fastest speed circuit in the world. Fernando Alonso everyone! I know you are one of the favourite drivers for the crowd here. P3 in the race in Bahrain and now a fantastic qualifying. You must be happy starting third and also to be in front of Mercedes as well?
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, for sure. I mean, it has been a very good weekend for us. Qualifying was our weakness, or a weak point in Bahrain but today the car seemed to perform very well on one lap. And yeah, let's see tomorrow what we can do from here. Obviously, Charles has a penalty, so we'll start on the first row the grid, so this is just amazing.

Q: I think the first few laps are going to be amazing for you, between you and Checo. But tell us, the race pace was good as well. Obviously in Bahrain, you had one of the best cars around the whole race, but how was it yesterday? Were you happy with the... There was a bit of a drop at some stage after lap 13, are you confident for a good race tomorrow?
FA: Yeah, we are confident. I think that the gap or let's say the long run yesterday was affected a little bit by traffic but the car felt very strong. Still, I think the strongest point on the car is the long run pace and how we treat the tyres, so I'm looking forward to it.

Press Conference

Q: Checo, many congratulations, back-to-back poles here in Saudi Arabia. Just how sweet was this one?
SP: I mean Jeddah, I enjoy it a lot. You know, I think we all... When you have a good car that you can push around this place, you really feel the F1 cars coming alive. And getting a clean, good lap, you know when you nail it. And yeah, that Q3 run one was quite a good jump. I had a good jump from all my previous laps. And that meant that I was able to get the pole, because my second lap, I didn't manage to get it. I just had a front lock going into Turn 1. That has been really tricky. Turn 1 and Turn 2, always starting the lap into 1 and 2, it was so easy just to lose two tenths straightaway there, especially with the low downforce that we're running. And just nailing that combination of corners will require a lot of temperature on our tyres as well, so yeah, just in general, just getting that lap, nailing that lap, was really nice.

Q: Had you finished that second lap in Q3, was there more time in the car?
SP: I think it's just tiny. I went a little bit deep into Turn 4. But no, nothing major. It was already a very clean lap. But I think, yeah, the track was improving, there should have been a little bit more to come.

Q: Where has the car been especially strong around this track?
SP: Well, I think just in general, you know. I feel like it will be interesting to see, because some cars are running very high downforce others lower downforce, like us. So it will be very interesting to see tomorrow in the race, what we are able to get through and yeah, that will be very interesting.

Q: Let's talk about tomorrow's race, then. First up, you're probably hoping to get the rub of the green with the Safety Car, which you didn't get last year, of course. But how do you think it's going to play out? Do you have reliability concerns, given what's happened to Max, and I believe there was a little bit of an issue in Bahrain as well. Just how do you view the reliability of the car?
SP: There's always reliability concerns, especially around this place. It is so easy to make damage to the cars and at the end of the day, there will always be reliability concerns. But hopefully not tomorrow.

Q: Very well done. Thank you. Charles, coming to you. Now, of course, you're going to drop 10 places on the grid tomorrow because of the penalty. But how much encouragement does this performance give you in terms of the Ferrari's pace?
CL: Not that much. In the lap, I'm really, really happy. It was really on the limit. On the other hand, I feel like Red Bull are quite far ahead. And that is our goal, to beat them. So there's still a lot of work to do. Having said that, I think it's a bit better than what we expected for this qualifying session. We expected to be a bit further back. But there's a lot of work to do.

Q: You said a moment ago that it's been a difficult weekend for the team. Just what have been the issues with the car?
CL: Well, to be honest, if you ask me to pinpoint one thing, it's very difficult. It's just that we were quite slow. And yeah, just overall grip to be honest.

Q: OK, so what can you do from the middle of the grid tomorrow?
CL: I think our race pace is stronger this weekend. So this is a good thing. Then, I don't know how easy it is going to be to overtake on this track because the midfield seems to be all extremely close in terms of race pace. And if you have a DRS train, then it makes things very difficult. But I'll give my best, try to come back to the front as quickly as possible. And we'll see what happens.

Q: Thanks for that. Fernando coming to you. You're going to start on the front row tomorrow. First time since Canada last year. Let's start with your quali lap. How good was it?
FA: Yeah, it was good. The thing that probably we didn't improve much from Q2 to Q3. Q2 we were P1 with 28.7, and more or less we repeat the same lap in Q3, so we still miss a little bit that jump from Q2 to Q3 and follow the track evolution. But, yeah, all in all, I think we have to be very happy. We start on the first row of the grid, on the second race, very different circuit compared to Bahrain. So yeah, I think it has been a very positive weekend for the team.

Q: How much did the track evolve during the course of the qualifying session?
FA: I think it did. But probably we were expecting more. To be honest, I think the expectations for the Q1 cut-off and the Q2 cut-off were a bit faster. So the track was not mega fast, let's say, tonight. But the same for everybody. I think we optimised our lap and our package. Our strength so far has been the long runs and how we treat the tyres on the long runs. So yeah. Let's see tomorrow what we can do.

Q: Well. Look, how close is your race pace to the guy on your right? Do you think you can beat him?
FA: I don't know. I think we are not in that position yet. I think on pure pace, I think Red Bull is in another league. And I think we have to concentrate more on the teams behind. So Ferrari will be very strong. Mercedes, they are strong, and also Alpine, they are fast here. So I think our race is just behind us. But we saw today, Max probably was in his league today in qualifying and he could not complete the qualifying with a mechanical issue apparently, so we will try to take the opportunity for sure.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



1. Posted by kenji, 19/03/2023 2:59

"What a quali. This venue is spectacular insofar as there is no way you can be competitive if you are 'wall shy'....with all that that can do to the very best!. Given the miniscule variances in lap times between them all augurs well for a very close and thrilling race. What I like most is that there seems to be an opportunity for an upset result. Alonso is hot and given that there is no 'impedimant' via incidents or mech failures he stands a great chance of a very high podium place. Love it. With Leclerc and Verstappen making their way through will be an exercise in 'grande cojones' and should also be rather exciting to witness. It would be remiss not to mention what a stunning performsnce by Auscar Piastri. All this from a lad who hasn't yet raced more that 12 laps of his very first F1 race. What happens in the race is annother story, but super job. So many possibilities and a race to look forward to....even though it's 3.00am Monday morning event!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms