Site logo

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Post Qualifying press conference


Track Interviews - Conducted by Jolyon Palmer

Oscar, in the top three again at the end of the season. How was the lap?
Oscar Piastri: Difficult session, you know? It's extremely tight this weekend. It's been a bit of a messy one. Pace has been there, just a lot of mistakes and last-up I made a little bit of a mistake as well, but it would have been quite a last corner to get to the front. So, happy with that. The car is very quick this weekend. Nice turnaround from Vegas for us, but happy to be back in the top three.

It looked like a little bit of an Oscar special where you sort of build your way through. You're quite quiet through practice and then, get to Q3, absolutely deliver the pace.
OP: I think practice, the pace was there - just there were a couple of big mistakes in every lap. I think I went into qualifying and I hadn't done a clean lap all weekend. So, yeah, made life a little bit more difficult for myself. Q1, messy, Q2, got it together, finally and yeah, it was pretty good in Q3. So, happy with that. Close but not quite close enough.

Any idea about the race pace? We've had quite disrupted practice sessions. Where do you think you stand?
OP: Not a clue. I don't know. For everyone, I think it's going to be the same story. I think the most anyone's done is probably five laps in a row this weekend. Going to be interested to see how everyone pans out tomorrow. Yeah, we'll see.

Charles, back up into the top two in qualifying again. Quite close, in the end, to Max. Really good final sector brought you there, but just one-tenth away.
Charles Leclerc: Yeah, but honestly, considering the weekend we've had until now, I did not expect it at all. The last lap, I knew I had to put absolutely everything together, and I did. The last corner was a bit too much sliding, but I think everybody had that. So, really, really happy with the second place. I mean, in Q1 and Q2 I was worried to go through, and at the end a front row. So, it's amazing.

Where do you think it came from then? It didn't look easy, your team-mate is out in Q1. Looked really difficult to make it through like you did, and then suddenly, you're nearly on pole. Make any changes?
CL: Yeah, for some reason, our car is very peaky. So, whenever we're on scrubbed tyres, like the first run in Q3 was a very good lap - but we were last and I didn't have much hope. But then, when we put the new tyres, everything comes alive and it felt great and, again, I did a great lap, so really happy to be on the front row - but it's a big surprise.

And the race tomorrow. Eyes on Mercedes, I guess, for you, trying to get ahead of them. George Russell starting just behind you. How do you think it's going to go?
CL: Well, I hope it's going to go well. That's the target, to beat them in the Constructors' Championship, so I really hope Carlos can have a great start and then join me in the fight. And let's try and put both of our cars in front of both Mercedes and come back home with a second place in the Constructors' that is all that matters to me this weekend.

Max, pole position once again. You're back to the front. Looked like that one was in the bag from quite early on. You seemed really comfortable in that session.
Max Verstappen: Yeah. Really weird. The whole weekend so far has been a bit of a struggle. So, we definitely improved the car for qualifying and, from lap 1, it all seemed a bit more together. And we could definitely push more. Of course, very happy to be on pole.

Could you feel it from the first lap of Q1? That the car suddenly came alive and you were in a much better place then?
MV: Yeah, for sure. I mean, around here, already with the tyres, if you have little slides and whatever, it can cost you a lot of lap time. And that was what was happening for us in practice. But then, in qualifying, it all was a bit more connected.

And tomorrow, the final race of the season, the final race in your RB19. You've done so much damage with it, broken so many records. Is it going to be an emotional one. Are you still going to go out there and kill it?
MV: Yeah, well, let's see. I have no clue how good we're going to be in the race. Normally, we're always quite decent but yeah, it's been a very special season, and we've been enjoying it a lot, and, of course, we're very proud of what we have achieved so far this year.

Press Conference

Many congratulations Max, fastest in all three sectors of qualifying. What a way to complete the final qualifying session of the year.
MV: Yeah. What a turnaround! Because in practice it was not looking that good. I was struggling a lot with the balance, so luckily I think we made the right changes on the car for Qualifying - because I think from lap 1 it all just felt a lot more connected and, around here, where it's a lot about tyres, and how they behave, if you have tiny slides here and there, they overheat, so in Qualifying it definitely felt all-in a bit better.

How much of that was down to track evolution as well?
MV: Yesterday, FP2, today, FP3 in the morning was all bad, so I don't really think it had anything to do with that. You know, of course the track grips up a bit, but I think the issues I had were more severe than a little bit more rubber here and there.

Max, let's just celebrate the RB19 for a second. How much have you enjoyed driving this car in qualifying this season?
MV: More in the race, to be honest. But sometimes, of course, in qualifying, we had some really good laps as well - but it definitely shows that it's details that can make a massive difference, because today, I was not so happy up until qualifying and then in qualifying it turns into normal behaviour.

Let's talk about the race then. In your mind, how do 58 laps around Yas Marina look to you?
MV: Nice! I have no clue how the car will behave in the race. I have not really done any long running, so I guess we'll find out throughout the race. But, I mean, so far, most of the races we have been quite strong. Tomorrow, I just have to ease myself into it, I guess. A little bit.

How much are you going to rely on past data going into the race?
MV: It will help a little bit. But, of course, every year, your balance, or issues that you have to go faster, are a little bit different, so you can't always relate fully to what you have done in the past. But it does help you understand a few things.

Great job today. Thank you very much and good luck in the race to you. Charles, let's come to you now. What a final lap by you in Q3. Given your pace in the session up to Q3, would you say this is one of your best quali laps of the season?
CL: I said that last weekend, so last weekend felt like a really, really good lap, this quali felt like a really good lap as well. So yeah, it was a bit of a surprise this one, because Q1 and Q2 I was on the limit of making it through. I mean, not on the limit, but it was quite tight and I was actually worried to go through this Q1 and Q2 but then in Q3 I managed to put a good lap together and everything felt good, so I'm really happy with that, because I definitely did not expect to be on the front row this weekend. Considering how much we struggled, I mean FP2 was really good. But then FP1 and FP3... I didn't do FP1, but as a team, I think we struggled massively, so it's a good surprise.

What have been the issues for Ferrari, with your team mate starting down in P16 tomorrow? What have been the issues coming in to qualifying?
CL: It's very, very strange. In FP3 everything felt really good but we were just super slow and it's a bit difficult as a driver to then pinpoint something, because you just have not enough grip to go faster and I think it confirms a little bit our whole season, where we have a very peaky car. Whenever we are in the right window, that's great. Whenever we fall out of that window a little bit then it has huge consequences. And today and this weekend overall has been like that.

Let's look ahead to the race then. What does this mean over 58 laps? Can you challenge Max?
CL: I don't know. But I mean the only thing that matters to me is that we challenge the Mercedes and that we take the second place in the Constructors' because in the Drivers', honestly finishing fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh in the Drivers', I don't care. But second in the Constructors' would be nice. So we just need to beat the Mercedes, but of course if there's an opportunity to beat Max tomorrow, I'll take it. However, on a track like this, with hot conditions like this, I expect us to struggle a bit more than Las Vegas, than what we've seen in Vegas on race pace. So, but let's see. We've been good with the tyre management in Vegas in very different conditions. In FP3, I had quite a good feeling during the race simulations, so I hope we can reproduce that tomorrow.

From a strategic point of view tomorrow, will you be looking at what the Mercedes are doing rather than what Max is doing?
CL: Well, I don't know what the Mercedes is going to do. So I'll just focus on myself. And then we'll try to do the best race we can. And we'll see who gets a second place at the end of the of the weekend.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Yas Marina here.


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



No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

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