Azerbaijan GP: Qualifying notes - Williams


Lance Stroll qualified 11th and Sergey Sirotkin 12th for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Both Sergey and Lance qualified on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyre. Sergey and Lance went P2 and P4 on their initial runs in Q1, and despite moving down the order to P14 and P15 as others improved, both progressed into Q2. Lance abandoned his first run in Q2 after a mistake, returning to the track in the final moments of Q2 to improve lap on lap to set a 1:43.585, placing him 11th and just a tenth shy of Q3. Sergey made further improvements in Q2 until a mistake in sector three hindered his best effort. He had time for one more lap, crossing the line with a 1:43.886 to secure him 12th, just behind his teammate.

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: We're happy today with that result - 11th and 12th in qualifying which will see us 10th and 11th on the grid, given Hulkenberg's penalty. Most of all, I'd like to say well done to the drivers. It's a very tricky track and difficult to manage traffic, and they kept it together to get the laps in when they needed to, to get their times on the board. Also, well done to the mechanics for getting Sergey's car out on time for qualifying and in good shape. The race tomorrow will be difficult. It has been extremely eventful in the past and we'll have to fight hard, but there is a prospect of getting points tomorrow, so let's see what we can do.

Lance Stroll: I am really happy with that. We have obviously made a step forward this weekend compared to the last couple of events, but on the other hand it's a little disappointing not to get into Q3 by such a small margin. However, I am still very happy with the job we have done and a big thank you to the team. It might have been possible, but tough to throw a Red Bull out of there. It was such a difficult qualifying with the yellow flags in Q1 and I never did a lap until the last second on old tyres, so I was lucky to scrape through, and then happy with my lap in Q2. This track has a bit of everything - high speed, low speed, walls, drama - so it is a good one. It would be nice to see more tracks like this, as it really tightens things up a little bit and we see other cars that normally don't have any problems getting out of Q2, starting to struggle. It is very different to anywhere else we go to and is a lot of fun.

Sergey Sirotkin: It's a good recovery. We knew there was potential from the session earlier today. I need to thank the team a lot as they were really flat out, doing a perfect job to make sure we got out on track. I'm very happy that I can thank them with a result like this. I still feel like there's a bit more laptime. I'm not sure if it would be enough for Q3, but it would be much closer than where we are. We're moving forwards, we're making progress and doing a great job. Now we see that in the results. Thanks to everyone for this and we'll keep improving.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Baku, here.

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Published: 28/04/2018
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