Mercedes is so slow on the straights

12:23 pm

Alfa Romeo is “optimistic” about the race

P12 and P14 today for Bottas and Zhou. “Even if we would have liked to have been in Q3, we can be optimistic for tomorrow’s race,” explains team boss Frederic Vasseur. Both cars are “close” behind the points.

Overtaking is possible here and the pace is good. Bottas explains after P12: “It feels like we really pulled everything out of our lap.” In the end, he missed the Q3 entry by 0.053 seconds.

“It’s disappointing, but we’re not far away,” he says, also aiming for points tomorrow. Teammate Zhou, who is driving Suzuka for the first time, is “quite happy” with his performance, which was enough for P14.


12:10 pm

McLaren: The hardest qualifying session of the year

“We are not completely satisfied with P10 and P11,” admits team principal Andreas Seidl, explaining: “Had we maximized everything, we probably would have gotten one or two more places.”

Particularly bitter: Alpine had a strong day as a direct World Cup opponent at the same time. “But the points will be divided tomorrow,” Seidl recalls, while Lando Norris speaks of a “difficult qualifying”.

In fact, it was “probably the hardest” of the entire year. “But we will look for opportunities to make up for a place in the race tomorrow,” he announced aggressively.

Team-mate Ricciardo is also “disappointed” after his narrow Q2 exit because he actually felt comfortable in the car. It was therefore “painful” to miss Q3 by just 0.003 seconds.


11:57 am

Williams: Car was fast enough for Q2

“It’s frustrating to miss Q2 by just half a tenth of a second,” said Alexander Albon annoyed after P16. Dave Robson also confirms: “The car had the pace for Q2 today, so it’s disappointing not to make it anymore.”

But why didn’t it work? “The end of our outlap was slow because the cars in front of me were moving very slowly through sector 3, so the tires weren’t quite ready yet,” explains Albon, who slipped a bit early in the lap.

His tires would have overheated and he ended up falling 0.055 seconds short of qualifying for Q2. It should be difficult tomorrow with points, even if the race pace in the dry is “okay” according to Albon.


11:45 am

AlphaTauri: What was wrong with the brakes?

As is known, both pilots had problems with them today. Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance, explains that there were balance issues in FT3 and the qualifying setup therefore took “more risks” than usual.

“For qualifying, we changed the set-up of both cars considerably. Unfortunately, we were thrown back by material problems with the brakes, which we need to understand and analyze in detail,” said Dezoteux.

Tsunoda himself isn’t too unhappy with P13 at the home race, but also explains that Q3 would have been possible without the braking issues. In Q2 he simply didn’t trust the brakes anymore.

P13 is generally still a good starting position.


11:33 am

Latifi admits: I took a wrong turn!

We can finally solve yesterday’s scene! “All in all, it was entirely my fault,” admits Latifi, who turned off too early in training for the chicane yesterday and took the emergency exit.

The Canadian attributes the error to a lack of concentration, reporting: “I changed something on the steering wheel and looked down. When I looked up again, I saw the corner, but it was clearly not the right corner.”

“Because I hadn’t done that many laps yet, I was still trying to find my way around the track. So I gave in, but I didn’t immediately realize it wasn’t the right angle,” he admits.

At least he takes it with humor. “It was my fault, but a funny one. My coach teased me a bit about it,” he reveals. His sporting performance today with P20 was once again less funny.

“Qualifying went better than expected,” he surprisingly reveals, recalling: “It was [heute] the first time I drove on this track in the dry.” In addition, he has “only driven two representative laps” in FT2.

As a result, he simply did not have the necessary self-confidence in qualifying. But: “I am happy with the steps I have taken. And as a team we have gone in the right direction with the car,” said Latifi.


11:22 am

Ricciardo: I will not be in the starting line-up in 2023

The McLaren media round just took place in Japan, in which Daniel Ricciardo has officially confirmed for the first time that he will not be on the starting grid in 2023. The free spot at Alpine was probably his last, half-realistic chance.

Ricciardo had previously stated that he could also envision a reserve driver role in 2023 before returning to the starting grid in 2024. This is exactly what it will come down to.


11:16 am

Ocon happy: fast under all circumstances

The Frenchman finished fifth today, ahead of both Mercedes drivers, and reports that he is “very, very happy” with the result. “The car was fast all weekend,” he says with satisfaction.

That’s why he doesn’t care if it rains tomorrow. “It doesn’t matter,” he says, explaining that Alpine is fast in wet and dry. But of course it won’t be easy to keep the Mercedes drivers behind you.

Meanwhile, teammate Alonso ended up in P7 and was able to hit a Silver Arrow with Russell.


11:08 am

Russell: Mercedes is so slow on the straights

And again the silver arrows. We just heard from Hamilton that the straights are the W13’s biggest weakness. Russell now clarifies this, explaining that on the straights you only lose “seven or eight tenths” to Red Bull.

If you subtract this time, he and Hamilton would theoretically have landed in P5 and P4 today. “We didn’t expect it to be this difficult,” admits Russell, who missed pole by more than a second.

You didn’t expect to even be behind the Alpines. By the way, unlike other drivers, he does not hope for rain tomorrow because: “If it rains, there will be no DRS. And without DRS we cannot overtake anyone…”


10:59 am

Q1-Aus: What was going on at Stroll?

Most recently, the Canadian managed to win the qualifying match against Vettel surprisingly often. Today, however, he was eliminated in Q1 while the German even made it to Q3. So where does this big difference come from?

“Unfortunately I put the tires on the hairpin in Turn 11 and lost three tenths,” he says angrily. Because without the mistake he would have made it to Q2 – and oddly knocked out Vettel, who had only finished 15th in Q1!

“It’s not ideal to start from P19,” Stroll says, but explains that at least the car felt good. “We’ll see what we can do in the race,” he explains.

Unsurprisingly, he also hopes for rain.


10:49 am

Hamilton: losing time on the straights

Mercedes announced a rather difficult task for the weekend. That came out today with P6 and P8. “We were just not that fast on the straights. That’s where we lost the most time,” Hamilton reports.

Furthermore, the car felt “very good”. Good changes were made to the set-up and he was also “very happy with how qualifying went.”

“We are nine seconds behind, which doesn’t look good,” admits Hamilton. But he wanted to focus on the “positive” stuff. Because you’re only slow on the straights. “We’ll [morgen] be quick in the corners,” said Hamilton.

Let’s see how far the Silver Arrows can go.


10:41 am

Verstappen is level with Raikkonen

The pole for Verstappen is therefore official. It is the 18th in his career. In this category, he was level with Rene Arnoux, Mario Andretti and Kimi Raikkonen – and with Charles Leclerc.

All five drivers now share 16th place in the all-time standings. With Verstappen and Leclerc it probably won’t stay that way…

Here in the ticker we continue with more votes on the qualifier!


10:35 am

So there was only one warning

The race stewards explain that there has been only one warning of similar incidents in the past. Norris also stated that the incident was just “unfortunate”.

That is why they have waived a more severe punishment. For Verstappen it is the first warning of the season, so it has no consequences. Here’s the full justification:

“The driver of car 1 was aware of car 55 in front and car 4 approaching from behind and decided to accelerate at the exact same time as car 4 decided to overtake car 1.”

Unfortunately, due to a lack of tire temperature on car 1, the driver temporarily lost control of the car causing it to ‘pop’ counterclockwise.”

“The driver of car 4 stated that this was just an unfortunate incident, but it is the driver’s responsibility to maintain control of his car at all times.”

“As for the fine, all previous offenses of this nature have resulted in a reprimand and therefore a similar penalty is imposed in this case.”


10:31 am

Warning for Max Verstappen!

The verdict is already here: only a warning for Verstappen! More in the ticker.


10:30 am

Magnussen: Different line-up than Schumacher

Only for the fifth time this year did Magnussen qualify behind Schumacher. “It wasn’t possible anymore,” he admits after P18, revealing: “Mick and I are riding in different set-ups, but I was two tenths slower.”

He can’t really explain it. “My lap was good, there were no mistakes,” he marvels, emphasizing: “The car actually felt good.” It is therefore “hard to understand” why he only ended up at P18.

The Dane explains that he now has to hope for rain in the race.


10:21 am

Sainz: It’s getting annoying…

“It was a very clean lap, a very good lap until the last corner,” reports the Spaniard after P3. In the end he was also only 0.047 seconds from the finish. He is also a little annoyed by it.

“There have been so many qualifying sessions where Max, Charles and I were within half a tenth of a second,” he reports annoyed that he is almost always at the wrong end of this trio.

“Hopefully” that changes in the final races of the season, “and I can take pole position,” said Sainz, who also reminded us that it could rain again tomorrow.

“I think a lot can happen tomorrow,” said Sainz, who also revealed: “We’ve also been able to salvage a set of soft tires if we need them, so we should be in a good position to fight Max tomorrow. .”


10:10 am

Schumacher: Crash left no trace

The German emphasizes that he felt “very normal” in the car after his departure yesterday. And “everything was fine” with Günther Steiner afterwards. “We had a productive conversation,” he says on ‘Sky’.

About the content of the conversation, he says: “In this case, it stays between us. But everything was fine.” Now he’s just looking forward to the race. “I know my car is damn fast in the rain,” Schumacher emphasizes.

And rain is not ruled out tomorrow…

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