Q: Nico, you’ve been on pole here for the past two years in Bahrain but it wasn’t your day today. Why not and are you surprised that in dry conditions Ferrari got in front of you in qualifying?
NR: Yeah, for sure, it was just strategy-wise today that I got it wrong. I was thinking too much about the race. I underestimated Sebastian’s speed and how much it would cost me to take it easy on the set of tyres that we start the race with. As a result, I didn’t into the rhythm and I just had one shot at it at the end with a new set after starting Q3 with a used set. So that’s where I went wrong today. I’m disappointed that Sebastian beat me. If I was second it would have still been damage limitation. But being third – that’s really not ideal.
Q: It was clear in Q2, were you were 1.2s slower than Lewis with the time that got you through into Q3, that you were taking less life out of the set of tyres that you’d start tomorrow’s race on. From what you’ve said, does it imply that you didn’t really expect to be able to get pole in Q3 at the end?
NR: No, I did. But I didn’t expect to go on used tyres in the first part of Q3. I thought we’d go to new tyres. And I also didn’t expect the used tyre to be so slow. I thought it would be pretty good – especially because I took it easy on that tyre in Q1 as well. But it was really poor. So that meant that I only really had a shot there at the end and that was poor management. Especially as Sebastian ended up in front of me. Otherwise it would have been sort-of OK still, but there you go…
Q: Just to be clear – poor management on your side?
NR: My side. Well, we always do it together as a team – but I’m definitely largely responsible for that.
Q: Everybody used the softer tyre in Q3, Q2 and Q1. How is the situation with tyres for the race?
NR: I saved a new set of soft tyres and that’s likely to be the better race tyre tomorrow but we just need to see. The prime is also a good tyre so it’s not really too much of a big thing here this weekend with the tyres. Of course tyre degradation is important, yes, and Ferrari is going to be strong there so that’s going to be a tough competition.