It was a strong recovery from LRGP after the team showed improvements in final practice before both drivers qualified in the top eight.
• Nick qualified on third row (6th) and Vitaly the fourth row (8th)
• Both drivers did one run for Q1, Q2 and Q3, allowing tyres to be preserved for tomorrow’s race
• The two cars ran on option tyres (soft for the whole of qualifying) and times got faster in each of the qualifying sessions
Nick Heidfeld, P6, R31-04, 1:36.124
“I’m very satisfied as I think it’s the maximum we could have achieved, especially looking back at Friday where we didn’t do many laps at all and didn’t have a lot of time to set up the car. It got faster and faster in qualifying today, but I have to say in Q1 I took it easy then I pushed a bit over the limit in Q2 and lost some time there, but in Q3 I found the golden middle and it was a good lap. Of course, I was a lot happier with the traffic here than I was in Australia.”
Vitaly Petrov, P8, R31-03, 1:36.324
“To get in the top ten today is a good result considering the track time we lost yesterday. We worked hard on improving the set-up in final practice and in the end I had quite a good feeling with the car. For the race, anything can happen, but it’s clear that looking after the tyres will be very important because the degradation is very high here. We will also have to watch what happens with the weather because there is a high risk of rain. I don’t mind if it’s wet or dry.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “We can expect lots of pit action tomorrow”
James, sixth and eighth on the grid – surely that was hard to predict this time yesterday?
We certainly had a troubled day yesterday, but there was no reason to believe from yesterday’s running that the car was struggling for pace so it’s very nice to be sixth and eighth on the grid, very nice to have both our cars in the top ten only having had one in Melbourne.
Does today’s result put you in a strong position for tomorrow?
It will do if we make a good start as both drivers are already in points-scoring positions. However, if we want to convert a promising qualifying into something very good then we’re going to have to do well in what is certainly going to be an interesting race, whether that’s with the risk of rain which is more than moderate and also with the fact that there’s going to be a flurry of pit-stopping.
How do you think the tyres will hold up tomorrow, it what is likely to be wet conditions?
That’s one of the things we have less of a feeling for than maybe some of our competitors because of yesterday’s compromised running. However, from what little high fuel running we did manage yesterday, we seemed to be alright for our race pace even with a car balance which was far from satisfactory. However, with the balance we’ve achieved today, we believe the car will run well on its tyres tomorrow.
• Did you know?
Due to the heat and humidity in Sepang, the air density is 5% lower when compared to Melbourne, which has the effect of lowering the maximum downforce achieved by the cars.