The day was cold but remained dry throughout, allowing for the first laps of the Nürburgring this weekend. It was a busy programme in the morning’s practice session as the team sought to regain time following yesterday’s wash out. Daniel finished in eighth and Esteban eleventh with 50 laps on the clock.In qualifying, Daniel and Esteban started strongly, bouncing through to Q2 on the back of two quick laps, which placed them fifth and eighth. In the second segment, Daniel attempted a run on Pirelli’s Medium tyre compound, setting a 1min 27.486secs, while Esteban, on the Softs, put in a 1min 26.507secs. Switching to Soft tyres for his second run, Daniel improved to 1min 26.096secs while Esteban found two tenths of a second to finish with a 1min 26.364secs. It was incredibly tight from Daniel in fourth to Esteban in tenth, with less than three tenths of a second covering fourth to tenth.With both drivers safely through to Q3 for the third consecutive race, the pair made two runs: the first on used Softs, the second on a new set. Daniel claimed sixth on the grid with a 1min 26.223secs. Esteban was just 0.019secs behind, a strong seventh place on his first Formula 1 visit to the Nürburgring.
Daniel Ricciardo, #3, R.S.20-01, Q: P6, 1:26.223, FP3: P8, 1:27.392
“I’m happy enough with today’s qualifying and sixth is a good starting position for us. It was a fun Saturday with a packed practice session and then a hectic qualifying. Everyone was on track at a similar time, so it was quite enjoyable. It’s not the best preparation, but we know the car well enough and we’ll figure it out for tomorrow. We know it will be close in the race, but I’m excited and I think we can be up there and aim for a top six finish. We’ll see how the Soft holds up as it looks like it could be susceptible to graining. If it’s dry or wet, it should be an interesting race and sixth isn’t a bad place to be on the grid.”
Esteban Ocon, #31, R.S.20-04, Q: P7, 1:26.242, FP3: P11, 1:27.634
“It was a good qualifying for us today, especially after just one practice session. I’m happy with seventh. We had very limited knowledge on the track after not driving yesterday and just the one session today. We put the car into qualifying and it performed really well from Q1, and I’m pleased with that. We’re jumping into the unknown tomorrow as I only drove the Softs in practice and qualifying today. We’ll see how the tyres handle in the race and how long they last. We’ll see how it goes but we’re in a good position to score some good points for the championship.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
We’re happy with that qualifying result. Sixth and seventh, ahead of our immediate championship rivals, gives us a very strong basis for the race. It’s been an unusual weekend so far, with an amended programme today following the lack of running yesterday. We did some tyre work in FP3 and we will of course be keeping one eye on the weather, even though we are expecting it to be a dry day. Overall it’s been a positive start to this shortened weekend and are looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”