Honda F1 Australian Grand Prix qualifying preview

Honda F1 Australian Grand Prix qualifying preview

16.03.2019: F1 2019 Round 01 Australia GP - Qualifying An extremely competitive first qualifying session of the season resulted in mixed emotions as only one Honda-powered car reached Q3 at the Australian Grand Prix.

F1 2019 Round 01 Australia GP - Qualifying
 
 
An extremely competitive first qualifying session of the season resulted in mixed emotions as only one Honda-powered car reached Q3 at the Australian Grand Prix.

 


The first part of qualifying saw both Toro Rossos advance, with Alex excelling early in his first qualifying session to reach Q2. Although only 0.144s separated the two Aston Martin Red Bull Racing drivers, the close nature of the session meant that was enough to see Pierre eliminated in 17th place, just 0.054s from safety.




In Q2, Alex complained of traffic on his best lap but still produced an improvement to secure 13th on the grid for his F1 debut, while Daniil couldn’t replicate his Q1 time after being compromised by Sebastian Vettel going off track ahead of him and finished the session in 15th place. Max advanced to the top ten shootout and then delivered an impressive final lap to split the two Ferraris and secure a place on the second row; the first time a Honda-powered car has done so since our return to F1 in 2015.
 
 
 


Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda F1   




“It was good to get through the first qualifying session of the season without any difficulties on the PU side. The final result over the four cars had some positives and negatives. Max’s fourth place on the second row of the grid was a solid start to our relationship with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.



Unfortunately, Pierre had a complicated Q1 and was unable to make the cut to the next session. As for Toro Rosso, we saw the potential of the STR14-Honda so far this weekend, but then both of them were a bit unlucky with traffic in Q2. It will be a long race tomorrow and we hope to get a good result for our first outing with Red Bull and also with our established partner Toro Rosso.”
 
 
 


Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing    FP3:9th
Q1:1'22.876
Q2:1'21.678
Q3:1'21.320




“I am pretty happy with the way qualifying went. After some of the difficulties we’ve had this weekend, especially this morning, I was a bit worried but the guys here and back at the factory have been working really well together to find a good set-up and I think we can be pleased with the second row. It was really tight in Q1 and on a street circuit like this you really have to nail the first run. I was lucky to have that second lap on the board where I improved but it was really tight, especially as we only used one set of tyres, unlike many others. I definitely felt the extra performance coming from the qualifying mode which is also very pleasing. It has been tricky finding a good balance and we are of course not where we want to be in terms of the gap, but we also have to be realistic and happy with this grid position. Fourth is better than we expected going into qualifying. It’s difficult to say where we will be tomorrow and I didn’t get to do a full long run on Friday, but it looks like the tyres are holding on quite well, so as long as we get a clean start, we will find out what we can really do.”
 
 



Alex Albon
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda    FP3:15th
Q1:1'22.757
Q2:1'22.636




“My Qualifying started off okay. I did my first lap and when I got told of the lap times I saw how quick it is around here. I hooked it up on the second of the Q1 laps and fell into the rhythm - it took me all the way until Qualifying to get there, but once you get the feel you gain confidence, because the grip is there as the track evolution is huge. I’m a bit gutted to miss out on Q3, we knew it was going to be close in winter testing, but it’s so tight in the midfield that you can’t afford to make any mistake! I’m happy with the lap I did, but on the other side a tenth or a tenth and a half quicker and I would have been in Q3! This track isn’t easy for overtaking, but maybe the new regulations will come into play and give us a chance to move up the field. Our long runs look pretty good - we’re close to the points so that’s the goal for tomorrow. I’ll be a bit nervous and I’m not sure if I’ll sleep too well tonight! I’m really looking forward to my first race in F1 and I’ll try to keep my nose clean and bring home a good result.”
 
 




Pierre Gasly
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing    FP3:6th
Q1:1'23.020




“I had a bit of traffic in Turn 1 but apart from that, I was quite happy with my Q1 lap. We went for one run whilst most others went for two and it cost us. I think we’ve been quite optimistic as we didn’t expect such track evolution and the pack to be so close. We’re not exactly where we’d like to be but session after session we’re going in the right direction. There were not many overtakes at last year’s race so starting from where we are, it’s going to be difficult but we will of course try and make it into the points. It’s a tough day today but we need to stay positive. For me, tomorrow will be all about gaining experience in the car and recovering positions.”
 
 



Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda    FP3:8th
Q1:1'22.511
Q2:1'22.774



“I’m happy with how the weekend went until Qualifying. It was perfect until Q2 where things got a bit scrappy. I had a bit of traffic on the last lap when Sebastian went off the track. I’m not at all blaming him but I lost time there. We need to remain optimistic because we still have to extract everything from the car, otherwise the timesheets would surely be different. I think my lap from Q1 would have been enough for Q3, but if you do it once you need to be able to do it twice, so we will work to understand where it went a bit wrong. It’s really nice to be back pushing the car to the limit, I’ve enjoyed every lap this weekend - it’s been cool! I think we can try to recover a few positions tomorrow as our long runs didn’t look too bad and with good tyre management and strategy we’ll see where it will get us!”
 
 

          

          

 2019 Honda Motor Co.
 

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16.03.2019 / MaP

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