2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying (Team and Driver Interviews)


2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying (Team and Driver Interviews)

The rain poured and it was a heavily disrupted Qualifying session today ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

As cars made their way out onto the track, there were reports of no grip however most drivers managed to keep their car under control. With Grosjean radioing his team – seconds later he found himself in the barrier.

This brought the session to be Red-Flagged with a delay of over 2 hours and every 15 minutes – commentators, fans and drivers alike all waited for “more information“.

Finally, qualifying continued and we saw Lewis Hamilton take pole with the two Red Bull drivers in 2nd and 3rd however dropping back due to their grid-penalties.

It was an unfortunate situation for Ferrari with both their drivers a lot further back than planned – leaving the Tifosi disheartened.

Let’s take a look at what the drivers (and teams) had to say following the Qualifying session.

Mercedes – 2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying


Lewis Hamilton – 1st 

Time – 1:35.554

“It’s very hard to find words to explain how I feel, I’m trying to figure it all out. It probably won’t sink in for a long time.”

“It was an epic day today, I feel truly blessed. The Red Bulls really made me work hard for the pole today, which I’m grateful for. The weather has obviously been incredibly tricky for us all. What a day to come here, in this beautiful country with the English weather and to be massively challenged.”

“It wad very difficult to see out there, and very easy to make mistakes – as always in the rain. The second to last lap was ok at the beginning but then, I backed out of it and hoped that I’d get one more lap.”

“There was a lot of pressure for that last lap – there could have been a red flag, there could have been a yellow flag. There was a lot of risk but I gave it everything.”

“A big thank you to my team for making it all possible, the guys here, the guys back at the factory for continuing to support me.”

“We’ve got a lot of the sponsors here from Mercedes-Benz and Petronas who have been sponsoring and supporting me for a long, long time so for that, I’m really grateful.”


Valtteri Bottas – 6th

Time – 1:37.833

“Today was a tough day. In the end, I just couldn’t get the Wet Tyre to work.”

“We stopped for a new set, tried to go for one more lap but I just didn’t find any grip. Initially, in some parts of the qualifying, we got everything working well but it was really on a knife edge with the temperatures of the tyres.”

“With more rain, I could not get the tyres hot enough. However, with the grid penalties for the Red Bulls, I’ll be starting 4th which is not too bad.”

“It is for sure good to be ahead of the Ferrari’s with both cars – we have a long race ahead of us tomorrow, luckily it’s supposed to be dry.”

Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“These tricky conditions are the times when you can do many more things wrong, than right so we can be pleased with our result.”

“After such a long time waiting in the rain, I think the racing fans got their money’s worth from the dominant lap Lewis produced right at the end – even if they were probably cheering a bit more for the cars in red, than for us.”

“It was a brilliant lap and after a session where he was the quickest man throughout, it was undoubtedly a performance worth of claiming the all-time pole position record.”

“Valtteri performed strongly too, until he ran on at the second chicane, on his final timed lap.”

“Grid penalties for cars in front of him will work in his favour tomorrow in terms of the starting position. The key is to take away from this afternoon that we will be starting the race with both cars ahead of our direct competition.”

“Tomorrow, conditions are predicted to be warm and dry, though, so it will be no easy walk to the finish – we will be doing our homework tonight and preparing for every scenario and aim to deliver a strong performance in the race.”

“Ferrari will be competitive so we need to cover our bases.”

Red Bull Racing – 2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying

Max Verstappen – 2nd

Time – 1:36.702

“Qualifying was positive today and I was happy with it. To be second is, of course, a very nice surprise and in the wet I always enjoy it.”

“Q1 and Q2 with the tyre choice was a bit difficult as the intermediates never seemed to work very well. In Q3 on the new extremes I didn’t have a lot of grip, I was sliding around and I never really felt that comfortable.”

“I cooled the tyres for one lap and then my final lap was luckily not too bad, it wasn’t perfect but second was a good result for us. We always knew we had the penalties to take tomorrow and having a good Qualifying means I hopefully start 15th rather than at the back.”

“Let’s hope we can overtake, move to the front and I think realistically the aim will be for fifth or sixth.”

Daniel Ricciardo – 3rd

Time – 1:36.841

“It is, of course, annoying about those penalties here. It would have been nice to start up front especially with some different names up that end and not the usual suspects.”

“It would have been a chance to probably stay in the front for longer but at least I put a good effort into Qualifying and that put me up to 18th for the race instead of 19th. In the end I gained one position for doing a good job and I’ll take that.”

“I didn’t really enjoy Q1 and Q2. Not because of the conditions, we were just slow as I struggled for grip and felt I was a bit like a passenger.”

“As soon as we started Q3, I felt straight away that there was some grip that I didn’t have in the first two sessions.”

“I still feel we left a bit on the table but generally it was a good recovery so I’m happy. I will enjoy tomorrow’s race thoroughly and have some fun. 18th is far down the back so I don’t expect to finish there.”

Christian Horner – Team Principal

“A very positive Qualifying for the team today. To qualify in second and third despite the tricky conditions and after the lengthy delay was the absolute best we could have hoped for here in Monza.”

“Both Max and Daniel seemed to extract better performance from the extreme tyres and we made the right decisions in adapting to the changing conditions through the Qualifying sessions, and we could capitalise on that in the final shootout.”

“It is slightly academic for tomorrow as the penalties see both drivers starting down the grid but we will be hopeful of making good progress as the race unfolds.”

“At the very least the fans deserve to see an exciting Italian Grand Prix as a reward for their support and waiting in the rain for the late show today.”

Ferrari – 2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel – 8th

Time – 1:38.064

“This isn’t where we wanted to be. Obviously, we didn’t have enough speed, but tomorrow I think it should be fun.”

“It will be a long race on a track where you can overtake, so anything can happen. I don’t know what caused today’s result, but it was not ideal and we didn’t have the grip.”

“Now we’ll try to understand what happened and then we’ll focus on the race. I don’t think anybody was expecting so much rain.”

“Obviously, we are all disappointed, but there’s no point in complaining now. I know that we have a strong car, we have a new chance and anything can happen.”

“We could have done better today and we tried to do it but it didn’t work. I am confident tomorrow will be better.”

Kimi Raikkonen – 7th

Time – 1:37.987

“Today in wet conditions it felt quite tricky all the time.”

“We struggled to get the tires working, in most places we had no grip and it was very slippery. It was difficult to go through the corners and be able to push and go fast.”

“The starting position is not ideal but we’ll start in a bit better position thanks to penalties for the other cars.”

“Now we have to wait and see how the weather will turn out. I’m sure that in the dry conditions it will be a lot different, our car should be working quite well.”

McLaren – 2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying


Fernando Alonso –  13th

Time – 1:38.202

“The car was great today in wet conditions, especially compared to the dry. We were much more competitive and we made it into Q2.”

“Obviously, we didn’t want to push too much in qualifying because there was no point – we’ll start last anyway, due to the penalty – so we just saved the tyres and used the engine in a lower power mode, but we still did a decent qualifying.”

“We needed to keep an eye on Stoffel’s position too, as we didn’t want to be in Q3 with the wrong car!”

“We missed the opportunity to use the tow today because with wet conditions you don’t want anyone in front, as the visibility is so poor. We’ll save it for some future races.”

“”I think we were potentially top five or top six today, so we hope for these conditions tomorrow. It’s apparently going to be sunny though, but we’ll see what we can do from there.”


Stoffel Vandoorne – 10th

Time – 1:39.157

“For us to be in Q3 on a circuit like Monza means it’s been a pretty good afternoon, especially as it wasn’t so easy out there and there were pretty difficult conditions.”

“I’m happy with my performance today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have a proper go in Q3 – we had a loss of engine power so I had to abandon my quicker lap, and we don’t know what the problem is at the moment.”

“It’s a shame because I really think we could have pushed our way further up. We could have taken more time to find the limit and taken a few more risks, but we didn’t get that chance.”

“With penalties we’ll probably start P8, which is inside the top 10, and we’ve been running strong in the dry.”

“I think tomorrow should be dry, so we’ll need a good start and to keep in touch with the group in front. There’s some quick cars in front and some quick cars behind, but once we’re in position hopefully we can stay there.”

“Tomorrow is when the points are distributed, and I’m optimistic in the race we can have a good go.”

Sahara Force India – 2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying


Esteban Ocon – 5th

Time – 1:37.719

“A great qualifying session. I’m really happy for everybody in the team. We knew there was an opportunity for us this afternoon and I’m so pleased we could take it.”

“I always enjoy driving in the wet and the conditions today were really challenging. The car felt great; there was a really nice balance and I have to say a big thank you to the team for all their hard work.”

“We will need to fight hard tomorrow because there are quick cars all around us, but I believe we can score some really big points and I’ll be aiming for the podium.”

Sergio Perez – 11th

Time – 1:37.582

“It’s been a very long afternoon and I am happy the fans got a good show in the end after waiting in the rain for so long.”

“The conditions on track were difficult; there was a lot of standing water and the cars were aquaplaning a lot, so I think Charlie (Whiting) did the right thing by postponing the session.”

“The conditions were changing all the time and it was very important to be on the right tyres at the right moment. In Q2, we took the decision to change from wets to inters and I only had two laps to try and make it happen.”

“In the end, I missed out by two thousandths: it’s not ideal, but it was the best we could do today. It was not a perfect lap – I went a bit too wide at Ascari and I got very close to Ricciardo ahead of me, and that compromised me a little.”

“These small margins were enough to miss out on the top ten. We’ll be moving up on the grid with a few penalties and I hope to make up some more positions tomorrow.”

Robert Fernley – Deputy Team Principal

“After such a long day it’s satisfying to end the qualifying session on a high. Esteban made it through to Q3 and will start the race from third on the grid.”

“He made the most of the wet conditions and we have a great chance to fight for a podium tomorrow.”

“Sergio was a bit unlucky to miss the top ten shootout by a couple of thousandths, but starting from ninth gives him a good chance to demonstrate the speed of the car and bring home points too.”

Sauber – 2017 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying

Marcus Ericsson – 18th

Time – 1:41.732

“Today was very difficult due to the weather conditions. I think that the performance on the wet tyres was alright and the balance of the car also felt ok.”

“Unfortunately, when we changed to intermediates towards the end of Q1 we just could not get them to work properly.”

“It is a bit disappointing that we could not do better in these challenging conditions, but that is how it goes sometimes.”

Pascal Wehrlein – 19th

Time – 1:41.875

“The first laps on the wet tyres were ok and I felt comfortable in the car. As the track conditions were improving, we changed to intermediate tyres.”

“However, we were not able to bring them into the right operating window so I could not set a better lap time. I did my best and will now concentrate on tomorrow’s race.”

Here is something that’s been making the rounds on social media today – Helmut Marko talking about Romain Grosjean….  (WTF1)

More photos from around the paddock.




The Formula 1 Girl 🙂


Photos – Kym Illman F1


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