A1 Team Netherlands will start the A1 Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit from a sixth grid position. During the qualifying, in which the first two sessions proved to be decisive for the starting grid, Jos Verstappen set an aggregate time of 3’51.036 (1’55.214 and 1’55.822).
The day started very well for A1 Team Netherlands. In the third and final free practice Jos Verstappen again set the fastest lap time. Therefore Verstappen again showed that he can perform very well at Sepang.
In the first of four qualifying sessions, Verstappen went out on track on used tyres. Looking back this proved to be a unfortunate call. Minutes after the start of the second session it started raining, followed by a heavy thunderstorm and real downpour. After the second session where A1 Team Netherlands, followed by the whole field, went out right at the start, the team climbed from 18th on the grid to 6th. That remained unchanged throughout the rest of the session. In the last 15 minute session, Verstappen did go out on wet weather tyres and immediately showed that he can also set fast lap times at Sepang in very wet conditions.
Jos Verstappen; “We did not anticipate that the rain would come in that quick, otherwise we would off course had made a different decision. Normally the first time you go out on track you do not make your fastest run, therefore we chose for the used tyres. But during the second session it started raining heavily. We were lucky to go out as the first one and were able to move up to sixth place. I think that if we had used new tyres in the first session we would have been more to the front. But that is the decision you take at that moment and looking back it’s the wrong one, but that’s always easy to say afterwards. The car handles reasonably well in the wet, but I am pleased because we still ran with the dry weather set up. It’s also a question of how much risk you are willing to take”.
A1 Team Netherlands seat holder Jan Lammers, who himself will start the Celebrity Pro race tomorrow from a third position, had expected more before qualifying, but thinks that the prospects for both races tomorrow are still very good.
Jan Lammers; “It was a risk that we took during this qualifying. It’s just a choice you make and that can work out great or backfire. We are a bit lucky to be in sixth position. In any case we have got two new sets of tyres for both races tomorrow and that is a good prospect for the start here. Many people also know how good Jos can drive here in the wet. I think we are in a fairly good position, both for dry and wet conditions. All the people near us on the grid are also near us in the Championship, so it’s also a question of who will bring home the points and who can stay away from trouble. That will again be our motto for tomorrow, staying away from trouble. I think that we can be battling for the top positions though”.
A1 Team Netherlands