#16 Charles Leclerc, (MON) Scuderia Ferrari during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

F1: Belgian GP Post-Qualifying Quotes

Quotes Friday from all 10 teams after qualifying for Sunday’s 2023 Belgian GP Formula 1 race at Spa Francorchamps

Red Bull

Max Verstappen,1st, 1:46.168

“It was quite tough out there today; the conditions were tricky and there was only one dry line. Q2 was close, I had to abort my first lap because I went wide, we then did a slow lap and lost quite a bit of temperature in the tires, the track ramped up pretty quickly so it was very close. The final lap in Q3 went well, we had to risk it all and to be on pole here feels great. We obviously have a very good race car and even in these tricky conditions we were able to show that again today. We have a gearbox penalty for the race on Sunday, last year we had more penalties and started even further back but the car is better this year, so I am still targeting a win. It definitely feels like a second home race, I grew up not far from here and it’s great to see so many fans. It was tough out here with the rain but everyone got stuck in and that’s great to see, so thank you very much!”

#1 Max Verstappen, (NED) Oracle Red Bull Racing, Honda during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.
#1 Max Verstappen, (NED) Oracle Red Bull Racing, Honda during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

Sergio Perez, 3rd, 1:47.045

“Every qualifying has its challenges, the conditions were super tricky: it took all Q1 to dry up and then the tires were too warm in Q2 but then it all came together in Q3. We really needed to find the limits today and I am pleased to have finished in the top three. For the Sprint race tomorrow, we have good information about the crossover times and have a very busy day ahead of us. On Sunday, I will try my best and try to get Charles at the start which is always hard! But it is a long race, with high degradation and anything can happen. We certainly have a good position and are looking forward to it.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Weather wise, it was all over the place again. Torrential rain to start and finishing in bright sunshine certainly made things interesting from a strategy point of view, but that’s Spa. In terms of the racing, it was a great performance from both drivers. Max was on brilliant form once again, showing exactly why this is his favorite track while Checo delivered in the fashion we all know he is capable of for qualifying, finishing a couple of hundredths off Charles – earning what will become his first front row since Miami. The penalty drops Max down the grid. Starting in 6th and with Checo carrying his momentum on to the front row, will make for a good race on Sunday!”


Charles Leclerc, 2nd, 1:46.988

“On the one hand, it feels good because I struggled quite a bit in these conditions up until a few races ago and the hard work I put into my driving has paid off. I really felt at ease in the car.

“In Q3, we may have gone out a bit early, but at the end, it’s always down to risk versus reward, and we wanted to avoid any yellow flags. Our result is good, and we wouldn’t have been able to finish in front of Max (Verstappen) today. I expect him to catch up in the race on Sunday and with Checo in the mix, it will be a good challenge.”

#16 Charles Leclerc, (MON) Scuderia Ferrari during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.
#16 Charles Leclerc, (MON) Scuderia Ferrari during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

Carlos Sainz, 5th, 1:47.152

“Tricky qualifying today with the changing conditions. Every time we were going out we found a completely different track. We managed to go nicely through Q1 and Q2 but in Q3 I didn’t put together my best lap, having a moment in T8-9 which cost me some positions.

“We’ll start P4 on Sunday, which isn’t bad, and anything can happen this weekend with the weather, so we’ll see what we can come up with for the race.”

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

“Qualifying today was a bit chaotic, as we had to put everything together in just one lap in Q3, but overall it was a good session for us, if you take Max out of the equation, as he was flying, but we will start from P1 and P4 on Sunday which is a good starting point.

“We have not really been able to look at race set-up, because free practice was really wet and then we went into quali on Inters before finally being able to use slicks. But that was the case for all the teams, and it’s much better to start at the front than from the back. We saw huge differences in top speeds today, which means teams have gone for different options for Saturday and Sunday and we must wait and see what the weather will be for the rest of the weekend. I don’t want to make any forecasts for Sunday. We just have to do our best and try and get the most out of the car and the drivers.

“So far, I think the team has done a very good job, so on Sunday, we will focus on our own race rather than on what any others behind Charles might do.”


Lewis Hamilton, 4th, 1:47.087

“I’m happy with today’s result. It was a hectic session as it was consistently drying up. It was very slippery at the beginning and visibility was a challenge. You know that every lap you are going to be improving as it dries up, so you need to maximize it. That’s why we were waiting at the end of the pitlane each session and the Team did a great job of getting us out there and finding clear track. I kept my head down and focused on maximizing as much as I could.

#44 Lewis Hamilton, (GRB) AMG Mercedes Ineos during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.
#44 Lewis Hamilton, (GRB) AMG Mercedes Ineos during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

“At the end, we were a good chunk off Max and his lap was pretty impressive. We’re pleased with where we are starting though. I’ll now have Max behind me on Sunday, but the aim is definitely to fight for a podium and chase down the guys ahead. No one got any real running in FP1 so I’m hoping that we have decent long run pace. Setting the car up ahead of qualifying was a bit of a guessing game. The car felt pretty decent, but we lost a lot of time in the middle sector. We’ll go away, study it, and see where there is time to be found. We will work on making any improvements we can, and we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got for the rest of the weekend. So far though, it’s a good start.”

George Russell, 8th, 1:47.805

“It was a dynamic session. We were a bit off the pace for the entire session and struggled throughout; I’m not sure why. I usually love those transitional conditions between wet and dry, but on every lap we were nowhere. There’s plenty to review and try to understand. We know qualifying isn’t everything around here, but we would of course have liked to be higher up the order.

“The lack of running in FP1 wasn’t too much of a factor as it’s the same for everyone. You always want to do more laps to further your understanding, but the car didn’t feel too bad. There’s a decent amount for us to try and understand overnight.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

“Sprint race weekends are challenging. When you get no useful running in the first session, they become even more difficult. You need to rely entirely on the pre-weekend simulations to set the car up and get it balanced. Today’s qualifying session was tricky with the changing conditions; the long lap doesn’t make that any easier as you don’t get many attempts in each session.

“Lewis was very close to Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez but unfortunately, we were missing a tenth. George struggled a bit for pace as the track moved to dry. We’ll have a look through the data and see what there is to learn ahead of the sprint qualifying tomorrow; hopefully we’ll find a bit of speed. We’ve had no real dry running yet, so the sprint race is going to a bit of a long run test ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix. We can’t change the car now so hopefully we’ve got the race balance in the right place.”


Lando Norris, 7th, 1:47.669

“Tough session. Tricky in these conditions, as always. I went off at the start of Q1 when the track was wet and that punished us a lot because it damaged the floor a huge amount. The team did an incredible job to get the car back out for the end of Q1, and it was good to be able to get the most out of the car under the circumstances. Getting into Q2 and Q3 was already a positive thing after Q1. So, overall, not the best of days but I think we made the most of the situation and we have to take P7 for the starting position on Sunday.”

Oscar Piastri, 6th, 1:47.365

“I’m reasonably happy with P6 in qualifying, though I think there was maybe a bit more left in Q3. We were really quick until that point. I think in the last session it really dried up a lot, and that was my first dry lap of Spa in an F1 car. I was kind-of hoping it would stay a bit wetter but overall, still not too bad. I think everybody probably feels like they had a bit more left but it’s a decent grid spot for Sunday and we’ll see what we can do from there.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“It was a busy qualifying session with conditions that got drier and drier, requiring the team to constantly adapt run plans, and revise tire choices.

“Oscar did a very good job to go with that, being quick in all sessions and precise with his driving, and he’ll start the race from a competitive P5. On Lando’s side, an off-track moment in the wet in Q1 caused significant damage to the floor. His mechanics did a fantastic job to patch it up and get him going again, even if car performance was degraded, and Lando managed to qualify in P7, which was a proper piece of damage limitation.

“We’ve got two McLarens up there for Sunday and hope to score decent points. But first, we have an interesting Saturday ahead.”

Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso, 9th, 1:47.843

“Qualifying was stressful. Every lap was a new game – you had to adapt all the time to the changing levels of grip. You had to trust the car – we were taking corners faster and faster each lap, so it was a little bit of a guessing game. We progressed through Q1 and Q2, which was one of our main targets. Q3 was extremely tight – we ended up a few tenths off seventh place, which was probably the maximum we could have achieved today.

“I think the AMR23 was behaving well today: we’re still missing those final couple of tenths to our main competitors – particularly over a flying lap – but hopefully we can recover some of that pace on Sunday.”

Lance Stroll, 10th, 1:48.841

“Given the tough conditions, I think getting two cars through to Q3 is a good result, but we would have liked a little more today. It always becomes tricky when the track is drying throughout a session; making the correct tire call becomes more of a challenge and you have to be prepared to make very last-minute decisions. From that perspective, I think we made some good calls and it felt like we were on the right tire at the right time. The track was improving a lot towards the end of Q3 though, so we probably played it a little safe being the first car across the line. We’ll review the data this evening and get ready to go again tomorrow.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“Getting both cars into the top 10 is a decent outcome from a challenging day. It is never easy when you have a drying track evolving so quickly, but both drivers delivered clean and tidy laps. We have put ourselves in a reasonable position for Sunday’s race.”


Daniel Ricciardo, 19th, 2:02.159

“It’s frustrating to have my lap time deleted because of track limits at Turn 4. I tried to take Eau Rouge flat, I thought it was possible, but I was drifting off the good line and had to lift to try to stay on track, but it was just drifting. As soon as I got over the Turn 4 curb, I knew I was probably over. I tried to put it behind me and keep going with the lap – you have an idea, but you never really know if you’re off, so I obviously kept pushing. I thought it was possible, but it wasn’t quite yet. Our qualifying position hurts me for Sunday, but fortunately, we have another chance tomorrow. I don’t like making mistakes obviously, but there’s the big picture where we’re doing ok. I’ll put it behind me and learn from it because there’s a lot to be encouraged by.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 11th, 1:53.148

“The pace was pretty good, and I’m happy with the lap I put together. In the end, most of the cars were behind me, so they used the opportunity as the track was improving fairly quickly. The team called me in and put on the soft compound, which I didn’t expect to be quicker, but it worked. In the end, it was the right decision, so thanks to them. If you drive with the dry tires on this track, and some corners flat out, it’s always a joy to drive here. It wasn’t quite flat out today, because the track was still drying, but it was still fun, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car was good and consistent, and I think the team gathered good knowledge about the car on the intermediate compound, which we struggled with three races ago, so we definitely made a huge step there. I was always feeling comfortable, and we were in good shape. Overall, I think it was a good day for the team; Daniel would’ve been through to Q2 if it wasn’t for track limits, so it’s encouraging for us.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“A sprint weekend format in a heavily rain-affected Belgium GP weekend made for an interesting Friday of running. FP1 was a washout, with the rain intensity and conditions changing rapidly. We did some laps on the full wet compound, to gauge track condition, but with the rain intensity increasing, we had to abort. We finally got onto the intermediate tire, but a Red Flag brought the session to a close before either driver completed a timed lap, so we had little data heading into qualifying. That said, we had enough to know that the intermediate compound looked like a fast tire in most of the conditions we were likely to face.

“Rain before qualifying meant the session started for intermediate tires, so we geared the run plans to have time available to go out for a single lap on a new set of intermediate tires at the end, when we knew the track would be at its fastest. Both drivers’ lap times were very competitive, but in trying to go flat in Eau Rouge, Daniel slid slightly wide, and the lap was deleted for track limits. It was super unfortunate because it was clear he would’ve been competitive in the later sessions. Yuki made it through to Q2, and with the lap times close to the crossover between wet and dry tires, we went with the intermediate compound and then decided to go for two consecutive push laps on dry tires at the end of the session. Yuki set a very good lap time on the soft compound, but we didn’t quite have the pace to make it through to Q3. We were one of the first to cross the line, so potentially we could’ve gone later and taken the track improvement, but then you always run the risk of catching a yellow or red flag. In any case, we’re happy with the performance today and believe we have a good setup for Sunday, where we expect to have some dry running in the race.”


Esteban Ocon, 15th, 1:56.372

“It’s not been an easy day on track today and I’m disappointed not to get into Q3. The weather conditions made the session tricky for everyone but we did a good job to get through to Q2. Unfortunately, I hit the wall at Turn 9, which damaged the car and we were not able to have a second push lap on Soft tires when the track was at its best. Tomorrow, we have a chance to get points with the Sprint Race, so we’ll certainly target a good result. For Sunday, it’s going to be tough from fifteenth on the grid but we’ll give our all.”

Pierre Gasly, 12th, 1:53.671

“It’s always challenging in wet to dry conditions with things changing lap after lap. It is exciting like this as you have to be on it straight away without overstepping the mark. We probably didn’t start our final push lap in Q2 under the best conditions but, even so, we didn’t have the car set-up for these kind of conditions and that is shown in our lap-time. Sector 1 was quite strong for us, whereas the longer, tighter, Sector 2 is where we struggled. This might be a positive by Sunday for the race, though, where we’ll be aiming to fight our way towards the points.”

Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas, 14th, 1:54.694

“It’s been quite tricky today: we got limited track time during the only free practice session due to the heavy rain; then, during qualifying, the grip felt different in every lap and in different sectors, so it was really important to read the conditions properly and make the right tire choices. We were the first ones to put on the slicks at the end of Q2, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out for us: we crossed the line first, while the track was drying up, and then everyone else subsequently improved. Of course, it has been disappointing, but as a positive we had decent pace, which gives us an encouragement ahead of tomorrow’s Shootout and Sprint Race.”

Zhou Guanyu, 17th, 2:00.832

“It was a shame to miss out on Q2, especially as my final lap had started really well: I was already half a second up during the first sector, and I think we could have easily made it into Q2, but that was not to be today. As one positive, our car felt alright under changeable conditions, the feeling was good, and it allowed us to be in the mix. Of course, it hasn’t been an ideal start to our weekend, as we got just a handful of laps in during free practice. Still, I am convinced we will be able to have a smoother day tomorrow, even if the weather remains the same, so I am looking forward to it.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“Our aim today was to bring both cars into Q2, and we only partially achieved that. It was unfortunate for Zhou to be out at the end of Q1; he did a good first sector during his final push lap, but then, a lock-up in turn five took away his chances to be in the top fifteen. His pace was good, so he could have easily achieved Q2 as well. Valtteri did a good job in qualifying, he was quite strong in Q1 and had a shot at making it into the top ten: we made a good call with the switch to slicks but timing didn’t work out for us, and with Valtteri the first to complete the final push lap, he was at a disadvantage compared to the other drivers as the track kept improving. Nevertheless, we are confident we have a chance of playing our cards with both cars during the race; we are aware, of course, that it won’t be easy in these conditions, but we have seen today how it was possible to achieve something more.”


Nico Hulkenberg, 20th, 2:03.166

“We had a hydraulic issue on the car which happened during the first run, and we tried to fix it but couldn’t get around again to set another lap time. At the end of the session, the track was drying and getting quicker so that means we were left in P20.”

Kevin Magnussen, 13th, 1:54.160

“I went off at Turn 9 and hit the wall, damaging the car and then I completed my fastest lap after that, but I had a fair bit of damage on the car. I feel like there was maybe some more in it, but I think everyone feels like that in those conditions, there’s always something you leave out there in terms of lap time. P13 for Sunday, I think that’s okay and we’ll take it from there. Rainy conditions are where you can make it or break it, there’s everything to play for and that’s what we like. It could very well be similar conditions tomorrow for the Sprint, the weather here in Spa is always interesting, so let’s see what happens.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“It was a messy day today. A difficult FP1 with rain coming and going, we weren’t really able to learn a lot. In qualifying, Nico had a hydraulic problem which cut his qualifying short, and Kevin on his best opportunity went off at Turn 9, then obviously, the second time around, his tires were not in the best state anymore. Not the best of our qualifying efforts but this weekend has two opportunities to get points, so we try again tomorrow to do a better job than today.”

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