Portuguese GP: Qualifying team notes - Honda


A new circuit provided a fresh challenge and, on the 55th anniversary of American driver Ritchie Ginther giving Honda it's very first Formula 1 win in at the 1965 Mexican GP, both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri rose to the challenge as three of the four Honda-powered cars qualified in the top ten in Portugal.

The start of the qualifying session was delayed by half an hour due to the need to repair loose drain covers around the circuit - an issue that had led to a red flag at the end of FP3. The delay did not alter the focus of the drivers, though, as all four safely progressed into Q2.

Track conditions got more difficult in Q2 as the wind picked up, and although Daniil was one of few drivers to actually improve on their times from the first part of qualifying, he was unable to find enough to advance into Q3 and will start from 13th, with a free choice of tyre compounds.

Max, Alex and Pierre all made it through to the top ten shootout, which saw the track conditions continuing to evolve and make it a challenge to know which compound to run. Alex tried medium tyres for a first run, before all three completed their final attempts on softs.

Max was right in the mix for pole position and fought hard with his impressive final attempt leaving him third on the grid. Alex will start from the row behind in sixth place, while Pierre will start from ninth. In a sign of how difficult conditions were, all three set quicker times in Q1 than they did in Q3.

Toyoharu Tanabe, Technical Director: "This was a solid qualifying result with three of our cars in Q3, with the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing pair third and sixth on the grid. As for AlphaTauri, I have to say well done to the team and their Honda colleagues for working through the night to rebuild Gasly's car after it caught fire in FP2. They did a good job, which allowed Pierre to be quick in the morning and also in Q2 where he was seventh, but unfortunately, he was caught out by the windy conditions in Q3. Even though Kvyat could not get to Q3, I expect all four cars to have a strong race tomorrow and finish in the points."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Portimao, here.

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Published: 24/10/2020
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