Formula 1

2024 Australian Grand Prix – What the Drivers Said after Qualifying – Part 2

5 Mins read
Credit: LAT Images

Qualifying at Albert Park for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix sprung up plenty of surprises, especially with Lewis Hamilton not making the top ten.

Daniel Ricciardo was once again out qualified by his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, who made Q3 while Esteban Ocon got out of Q1 for the first team this season. Read what the bottom half of the grid had to say below.

#44 – Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“The car felt great in FP3. It was much improved from yesterday and we were right there at the front. Going into qualifying, the inconsistencies within the car showed up though, unfortunately. The wind typically picks up here in the afternoon and I think we suffered with that today, similarly to how we struggled in FP2. The car is on a knife’s edge, and it is difficult as a driver to work around these inconsistencies.

“It’s not a great feeling for anyone in the team at the moment but we will keep working away. George did a good job today to get the car into Q3. I’ll be focused on coming back tomorrow and trying to do a better job.”

#23 – Alexander Albon – Williams Racing

“No one wants to go racing like this, I don’t want to go racing like this. It’s one thing to make a mistake in FP1 and then back it up and try and deliver in Qualifying but to be in this situation, I take that responsibility on, and the significance is not lost on me.

“It’s tough but now the only thing I can do is focus on my job, put it behind me and treat it like a normal weekend. Obviously, I’m a session down, but that’s all I could do and so far, I think we’ve done a good job. The ultimate pay back I can give to the team and Logan is to now go fighting for points.”

#77 – Valtteri Bottas – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“Making it into Q2 for the first time this season is surely a positive – especially in Australia, a circuit where track position is crucial. Starting closer to the top ten tomorrow should allow us to be in the battle to hopefully score a point or two, as we know we can be fighting with the cars around us.

“Generally, I feel like we’ve made a small step forward as a team and, given that the field is quite tight, even slight improvements can make a big difference. The reprofiled front wing definitely helped with the car balance and grip and we’ve seen an overall better performance compared to the previous two races.

“I’m looking forward to racing in front of a fantastic crowd tomorrow – it’s great to feel all the love and support, which gives me quite a boost. Melbourne is always a fantastic race that can be quite action-packed; I’ll give it my all to make the fans happy and put a great performance together.”

#20 – Kevin Magnussen – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“There were some good laps in qualifying today so I think that’s about where we are with the car, in qualifying at least. P14, it’s still within reach of the top 10 and I think we just have to have a clean race and hope that tyre degradation is on our side tomorrow.

“Degradation seemed okay, it’s whether our outright race pace is good enough, which is the bigger question. Hopefully we can tune it up for points as that’s what we’re here for.”

Credit: LAT Images

#31 – Esteban Ocon – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“We’re progressing in the right direction, but we cannot be satisfied with the result and where we are right now. The car was the best it’s felt since the start of the season and we extracted the most we could. I pushed the limits today – and more – clipping the wall at the final corner on my first run in Q1.

“I was fortunate not to pick up any damage and we could turn the car around quickly. We kept pushing to the end and managed to progress through to the next part of Qualifying.

“That was really the maximum today, but we’re aware we still need to find some performance to make that next step. We’ve seen that a lot can happen here in the race, and as we’ve seen in the past, if you stay out of trouble, you can seize opportunities to move up the field.”

#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“There were some good laps in qualifying today so I think that’s about where we are with the car, in qualifying at least. P14, it’s still within reach of the top 10 and I think we just have to have a clean race and hope that tyre degradation is on our side tomorrow.

“Degradation seemed okay, it’s whether our outright race pace is good enough, which is the bigger question. Hopefully we can tune it up for points as that’s what we’re here for.”

#10 – Pierre Gasly – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“We were having a fairly decent session up until my final run in Qualifying. It felt like we had a small downshift issue on the lap, so there’s certainly some frustration not to be in Q2 today.

“The laps across Q1 were good up until the lap, which matters most at the end. We are still far from where we want to be – some things are not going our way – and there is lots of analysis ahead of us.

“Still, we tried to maximise the car in tricky conditions and we just have to keep improving our understanding of what we have in our hands. It won’t be an easy race with tyre degradation. Maybe there will be some opportunities and we’ll give it our best for the best possible result.”

#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Visa CashApp RB

“I knew in Turn 4 I was sliding and fighting to put the car on the limit, and in that lap, I washed a little bit wider. I knew I used more kerb than I wanted on the exit, but I wasn’t sure whether it would be off track or not.

“I had already forgotten about it by Turn 5 and 6 until I came into the garage and Pierre told me the lap was deleted. The team put in a big effort after the weekend in Saudi and we also brought some new parts here which looked better. When I crossed the line, I felt like I gave it all I had and got all I could out of it.

“I was happy with the lap but I’m a little skeptical because of where we are in terms of the stopwatch, as we were still slow with that lap. I have done enough laps in quali over the years to know where I am, and I think we’re still missing some things.

“We’ve been facing some struggles all weekend, but it’s not anything in particular; I feel the car and I’m comfortable with it, with the balance and the braking and that’s why the grid position is really painful.

“Tomorrow will be a long race, probably it’s a two-stop one, so perhaps this will give us a bit more opportunities. I feel like I’ve got a little bit of my anger out of something, so probably something in my driver room will get broken and then I’ll feel better.”

#24 – Zhou Guanyu – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“Today’s qualifying has been a difficult one for me: my last lap was going quite well, but then I felt a strong loss of downforce in the last sector before realising that I lost part of my front wing.

“It’s quite unfortunate, as I feel I would have comfortably made it into Q2; now I’ll have to make up more than expected during tomorrow’s race to be up there fighting for points.

“While my last qualifying sessions haven’t been the luckiest ones, our race pace has felt quite good, and you never know what’s going to happen at this track. I am looking forward to racing in front of a great crowd and hopefully climb up the order.”

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