Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
Not quite the normal qualifying routine with Lewis’ grid penalties to consider. We decided to do a single short run with him during Q1 to get him safely within the 107% limit and then park the car to save the maximum number of tyre sets for tomorrow, giving him plenty of strategic options for the race. That left our bid for pole down to Nico. We could see from practice that it was going to be very tight between ourselves, Red Bull, Ferrari and Force India. We also had the challenge of getting through Q2 on the soft tyre, as we don’t consider the SuperSoft to be a good race tyre here this weekend. Nico produced a fantastic lap in Q2 to go fastest on the Soft and, although Q3 was tighter than we had hoped after the Q2 times with Nico only finding a tenth and a half between the compounds, he delivered a strong lap to take pole. Tomorrow is going to be a very tough race – particularly managing the endurance of the tyres – so we can expect an exciting afternoon once again at this spectacular circuit.