Rio Haryanto: “It felt pretty strange to have such a short qualifying”

The Manor Racing duo of Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein will share the back row of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday after being the first casualties of the new-look elimination-style qualifying session on Saturday.

Haryanto out-qualified his team-mate at Albert Park but will start behind Wehrlein on the grid thanks to a penalty received during practice for a clash with Romain Grosjean in the pit lane, but the first ever Indonesian Formula 1 driver felt the whole qualifying experience was ‘pretty strange’ due to it being all over in double quick time.

“After the previous Q1 system of having 20 minutes to extract the best from the car and driver, it felt pretty strange to have such a short qualifying,” said Haryanto.

“Today we only had time for one lap. It wasn’t a bad lap either, but it also wasn’t perfect. I could have been quicker and that’s what we’ll have to work on but even with a tenth or so to play with we would still have been out of time.

“Still, I completed my first qualifying, learned a lot and my job is to keep improving in every area. Tomorrow is my first F1 race and I’m very excited for that. I’m sure we can have a better day.”

Team-mate Wehrlein was the first casualty of the elimination-style qualifying, with the reigning DTM Series champion being equally disappointed with the outcome, and will work on how to improve the situation for future events, should the qualifying format remain.

“Not the result I was hoping for but I can’t complain; the system is the system,” said Wehrlein. “This was our first shot at it and we’ll have to find a way to improve.

“The window is incredibly tight so while my lap time is key, we have to work hard to optimise the strategy to see where we can gain extra time. I don’t think there was too much more we could have done today on the first time out, so we’ll have to take it step by step to make it better.

“Tomorrow is where it really counts though. I’ve waited a long time for this moment so as disappointed as I am today, nothing will take the shine away from lining up on the grid for the first time.”