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Spanish GP: Post Qualifying press conference


Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Marc Gene

Q: Max Verstappen, pole position for the first time at the Spanish Grand Prix! Well done. Tell me how good was the lap? It looked easy. I'm sure it was not but it looked easy.
Max Verstappen: The car was really good. I mean, of course, you know, Qualifying started off a bit tricky with the weather. But, you know, once it started to dry out and now in Q3 as well, yeah, the car was on rails, and it was really, really enjoyable to drive today.

Q: You've won Spain, of course last year, and the first win for you. How special was that win and how special do you think it would be to win also here tomorrow?
MV: Yeah, I mean, I love coming to Barcelona in general. I love the track. I love the fans. You know, they really love racing. And I had a lot of great memories here and hopefully tomorrow we can add another one.

Q: Senores, Carlos Sainz! I don't know if you could hear them but when the car went by they were really pushing for you. How nice was it to get that front row, the best result for you this season?
Carlos Sainz: Yeah and I needed it because it was super tight. Very, very tricky conditions out there today and even getting through Q1, Q2 without any issues and putting a good lap only with one set in Q3 was probably one of the most tricky Qualis I've had here in Barcelona in terms of conditions, but we did it. I think we are in the best possible position going into tomorrow. And now we can focus on trying to get that podium tomorrow.

Q: Max is a little bit ahead but how good was your lap? Did you still have some time? Or was it as good as it could be?
CS: It was very good today. I felt like I was driving very well. You know, it's always one tenth here, one tenth there but I was pushing everything. I didn't leave anything on the table today. I was pushing flat out. It was very tight, even with McLaren, with Alpine, with Mercedes, Aston. We were all in the same group, basically, this weekend. So I think P2 was as far as I could make it today and that 12.7 was pretty good today.

Q: Lando, I don't know if you were expecting it. You've been very fast from the very beginning. In Qualifying you know. How come you came to life like that?
Lando Norris: I have no idea. I am surprised to be here! Amazing job, P3. I lost P2, but it's a home race for Carlos so I thought I would give him a couple of tenths, you know. Yeah, very happy. P3, it's nice. The whole of Qualifying we were quite quick, so all good.

Q: You have a lot of fans as well for you here. Two questions into one: the first is, how much did you like the new section, the last corner looks super-fast? And then, how difficult were conditions in Q1 because we saw a lot of drivers making mistakes.
LN: I mean, it seems to be good for us. So I would say I like it. It's one of our strengths, the high-speed corners, so yeah, I'm very happy. A difficult qualifying but always in these conditions, the tricky ones, we seem to do well. They seem to suit me.

Press Conference

Q: Max, your first pole in Spain. That first run in Q3 looked mighty. How did it feel from inside the car?
MV: Yeah, I think overall, you know, the whole weekend it has been really enjoyable to drive the car. It was really hooked up. Of course you always try to find little improvements on the car. But yeah, it's been really good. Of course, qualifying started off a little bit tricky. You needed to be on the track at the right time, not making mistakes. But we did that. And of course going into Q3 I knew there was quite a bit of potential left in the car, so I could finally push it to the limit in that first run and the car was really quick. Then, of course, we went out again for the second run and that would have been even better. But, yeah, I think GP got a bit excited! He told me to abort.

Q: I was going to say, was there more time in the car on that second run had you needed it?
MV: Yeah, it was. I was going faster going into Turn 10.

Q: Now how easy has it been to dial in the car this weekend? Because your teammate hasn't had it so easy. He'll be starting back in 11th.
MV: I have to say from the start, the car was pretty good. I mean, I only made tiny little adjustments, but I felt comfortable straight away: long runs, short runs. I mean, it's never easy to get to the limit in a Formula 1 car but it's just been very enjoyable to drive, it gives you a lot of confidence and when you have all that, you can really push it to the limit.

Q: And, looking ahead to the race, how do you think the new layout will affect tyre wear, will affect the racing?
MV: I think wear is always high around here so, for sure, with another two fast right-handers that won't help the wear - but it's a lot more enjoyable to drive. I mean, going into that last corner brings a smile on my face because that's where an F1 car really comes alive.

Q: Carlos, huge congratulations to you. Your best quali of the season and your best-ever grid position here in Barcelona. How good does this moment feel for you?
CS: Yeah, it feels very good as you can imagine, especially because today I really felt like we extracted everything out of the car. And it's been a bit of a tough weekend, you know, getting used to the new upgrades, getting them to work in the sweet spot of the car. We've had some trickier sessions, some easier ones but finally hooked it up in Quali, all through Q1, Q2, Q3. It felt really good progress, still not where we want to be because it's quite a big gap to Max, especially when you can see that he was coming even faster on the second lap. But at least it's our first step and we're focusing on understanding this new car.

Q: A similar story at Ferrari to Red Bull in the way that the teammates have had different fortunes. How difficult has it been to dial in the new upgrades?
CS: I don't know exactly what happened to Charles but it's been the same story of the whole year. It feels like it's a very narrow window for us; very narrow window for the car; very tricky car to drive. And as soon as the conditions get tricky, it can go one way or the other and you're fighting very different balances and it's a very fine line for me today. It worked out okay, it was tough, because now it looks like the midfield is really starting to close-up with us. You have the likes of the Alpines, even the Haas, Lando with the McLarens are appearing and just joining us in that fight for second or third best. Obviously Red Bull are in a league of their own but then everyone else, it looks like it's really, really tight out there.

Q: It's a long run to the first corner here. What's the plan at the start?
CS: Yeah, I wouldn't have minded if Lewis or Lando would have out-qualified me, because here the clean side is probably a bit better for the start but at the same time it's all about also the tow and how lucky you get, if you can get a tow or not in the run down to Turn One. Yeah, I don't know. Obviously we'll try to give it all into Turn One and go and get that podium. And if Max does something strange, then get a win.

Q: Lando coming to you now, what a brilliant lap by you. Are you surprised by the pace of the car this weekend so far?
LN: I would say yes. I think after FP1, we said it was probably one of our worst FP1s of the season, in terms of pace. So to be sat here today, I think it's quite a big surprise for all of us. I think the conditions - the cooler conditions - things just started to come our way a little bit. So yeah, just feels a bit odd. I definitely wasn't thinking at all to be in the top three today. But I'm very happy to be here. So, good day.

Q: After FP1, did you make a lot of changes?
LN: No, just small things really. I think nowadays you can get the car quite quickly in a reasonable window, is just playing around with little things here and there. No, that's why I say it probably came a bit more towards us, rather than us, rather than us chasing too many things. But it also felt like I did some good laps. I felt confident, let's say even with the car being a bit of a struggle, I still felt confident in maximising it and getting the most out of the car every run. Especially come qualifying, I just felt again another step of confidence. So yeah, felt good, especially when you get to see your name at the top a bit more often! It definitely just motivates you that little bit more. Good position for tomorrow.

Q: Well, what about tomorrow? How confident are you?
LN: Not very! Yeah, not very. You never know, the pace could be mega and I could catch Max and overtake him. Hopefully he doesn't hold me up like in Monaco - but we'll see. It's a new day, like we didn't expect to be as good today as we were and, like Carlos said, we're on the clean side of the grid. I let him have this one because I want to make it out of the track alive tonight. So yeah, we'll do our best for tomorrow but the aim is just to get some good points for both myself and for Oscar.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Barcelona here.


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