Nico, not an easy session for you there. How would you sum it up?
NR: Congrats to Lewis first of all on a great pole lap. Unfortunately for me, something went wrong in qualifying which I can't quite explain at the moment. Even if I’m not happy about my performance today, there is still a lot to play for tomorrow. I need a good start - but there will be some other chances later in the race so I will go for it!
It was close early on but in the later stages of qualifying the gap seemed to grow. What was the story from your side?
NR: I don’t have an explanation. Qualifying went pretty much to plan but I just didn’t find the pace. It’s been a bit up and down all weekend for some unexplained reasons, so we just need to look into it tonight. Definitely not happy with the way it went today.
We heard you talking on the radio about something maybe being wrong with the aero balance as you had so much understeer – or maybe that the tyre pressures were wrong. Did your car behave differently than in P3? What might have been the problem?
NR: I generally just wasn’t happy and I don’t understand it so we need to look into it. It was a bit just inconsistent so it’s difficult to explain. In P3 I sorted out the problems from Friday and had a great feeling in the car. But then, as early as the first lap in Q1, I had to feed back to the pits that I had heavy understeer from the car. I tried to change some of the electronic setup but it didn't really work out. But I wasn’t happy with the general way qualifying went.
It’s not always won from pole, this race. In fact, the top three is normally where the winner comes from – so still plenty of chances for you in the race and clearly strategy is going to be part of that. It looks as though you both saved a set of new soft tyres – you reused a set for your first run in Q3, is that correct? What advantage does that give you?
NR: I don’t think I saved a set, no. Not this time. But I’m not 100 per cent sure! It was a bit all over the place, qualifying. But with strategy, there’s going to be some opportunities, definitely. Let’s see. We’re going to go into that tomorrow morning. But anyway, car-wise, if anything, my balance is for the race – which is not what I wanted but it’s the way it’s gone. The positive could be that this setup might help me a bit more tomorrow, as understeering could keep the rear tyres more alive, so we will see.
You’ve tended to finish exactly where you started all season, with a couple of exceptions. You wouldn’t want that?
NR: No, I hope that doesn’t apply!