Nico and Michael qualified in sixth and 12th places today for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.
Nico's final qualifying lap was slowed by traffic, leaving him P6 - although he was fastest after the first run. Q2 was the closest of the year, with the top 10 covered by 0.214s - fewer than 12 metres at qualifying speed.
Michael missed out on Q3 by 0.068s; had he put his three best sectors together, he would have been sixth fastest.
“We had better potential than we showed this afternoon” said Ross. “I am sure a lot of teams will feel they are in a similar position. Michael didn't put all of his best sectors together on his final lap in Q2, and the times were so close that this meant he missed out by less than 0.07s. Nico had a smooth session, was consistently among the top three and looking good going into Q3. He was quickest on his first run, and had a brand new set of tyres available for his final effort, as the circuit was also picking up pace.
However, he found himself sandwiched between Hamilton in front and Maldonado behind, badly compromising his lap, which he eventually aborted. It will be a long race tomorrow with the tyres, and how we manage them, being absolutely vital.”
For Norbert, “while Nico's first run in Q3 put him P1, his second ended in traffic as he caught a car in the final sector where you are not allowed to slow down. As his times in Q2 and Q3 proved, it is clear that Nico would have had a shot at the front row of the grid without this handicap. Instead we have to start from the third and sixth rows, after Michael missed Q3 by less than 0.07 seconds and was less than three-tenths slower than the fastest car in Q2.
A well-balanced car and a set-up that allows the drivers to look after the tyres during the whole race will be key tomorrow. Our team has worked hard during the last two days to achieve that.”