Barrichello takes Brazilian Pole

Rubens Barrichello, Brazilian GP 2003

Rubens Barrichello, Brazilian GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

Bernie Ecclestone has been banging on about qualifying not being exciting but in Brazil both the sessions were very exciting. Saturday's final qualifying was a humdinger with the crowd on tenterhooks as Mark Webber went through the penultimate timing beam with a lap time that was faster than provisional pole man Rubens Barrichello who had gone just before him and knocked David Coulthard off pole position by a tiny margin. The grandstands celebrated as Webber set off on that final lap and no-one really thought that the man from Queynbean would be able to beat Rubinho's Ferrari. The sector time that popped up went through the grandstands like a knife and everyone looked down towards the final corner as the Jaguar came belting into view. This was what car-by-car qualifying is all about. Webber went across the line and the crowd went raving mad. Barrichello had kept the pole by a tiny margin. Webber was third. He had made a small mistake in Turn Nine.

"I was really surprised to be that quick," Webber said. "It was a good lap but the track had changed a lot from the morning session and we decided that the best thing to do was to be conservative and stick with the beast you know and hope that she looks after you."

She certainly did. The Jaguar looked an impressive piece of machinery and for those who have been watching closely this year it was not a surprise. Jaguar's true competitiveness had been hidden in the first two races. There was just a hint in Melbourne that the car was good but in Malaysia the whole weekend was ruined by a fuel feed problem. But in Malaysia there was no doubt about it. The Jaguar is a good car.

Team principal Tony Purnell is the architect of the changes that were made at Jaguar and after the session he was more surprised than anything.

"It's stellar," he said. "Absolutely stellar."

Webber was the story of the day even if the Brazilians were dancing in the grandstands over Barrichello's achievement. It was clear however that Michael Schumacher had a different strategy from Barrichello and that he sacrificed his performance in qualifying to have a more competitive car in the race. Michael was seventh on the grid but even there he is a threat as McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh was quick to point out.

"Michael may be tanked up with fuel but he will still be a threat even from that far back," he said. "He will however have to pass those ahead of him and that may slow him down. We do not always go well in qualifying but both our drivers are racers so we are pretty confident. With Coulthard second and Raikkonen fourth the team looked to be well placed indeed. Coulthard reckoned that Barrichello had decided to go for a lighter fuel than Michael in order to take pole at his home race.

"We will see what happens with the strategies tomorrow," he said. Raikkonen was a little disappointed given the performance of the car. He had made a mistake.

Also in the hunt was Renault with Jarno Trulli lining up fifth on the grid.

The Interlagos track showed the strengths and the weaknesses of the Renault car. In the first and third sectors where power is important the cars was hopeless but in the middle sector where handling is key the Renault was unbeatable.

"That shows just how good our chassis is," Trulli said.

Fernando Alonso was less happy being down in 10th on the grid.

It is worth noting that the first 13 cars were all covered by a single second, a rare thing in F1 these days. In the circumstances even the smallest errors had a big effect. Williams-BMW were sixth and ninth with Ralf Schumacher on this occasion beating Juan Pablo Montoya. The team had a new front wing and a new gearbox and so the rain on Friday meant that development work was kept at a minimum. Both drivers complained that the cars understeered, but were confident that in race conditions the Williams-BMWs would quickly move to the fore and might even challenge for victories.

The other impressive performance in qualifying came from Giancarlo Fisichella who put his Jordan eighth on the grid.

"The car was reasonably good but I didn't think we would get on to the first four rows," he said. "I am pleased."

The most interesting thing was that the fuel strategies were clearly going to be important on Sunday and it was not clear in the midfield who was running what. The Saubers seemed oddly subdued with Nick Heidfeld 12th and Heinz-Harald Frentzen 14th. So too was BAR which had Jenson Button 11th and Jacques Villeneuve 13th. Toyota too was not happy. On Saturday morning Olivier Panis was the fastest in practice but in the qualifying session he was back in 15th. Cristiano da Matta was 18th.

"I am really sorry for the team," said Panis. "We had a really good car this morning. We were very happy but then I made a mistake in the second sector. I apologize for that and I intend to make up for it tomorrow."

The other big disappointment (again) was Antonio Pizzonia, Webber's Jaguar team mate who was back in 17th place on the grid and not really sure why. He complained of brake problems.

Down at the back as usual were the two Minardis, almost a second adrift of the slowest other car. The team's strategy was to run a big fuel load and hard tires and hope that the circumstances would result in a decent finish.


1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m 13.807s
2. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), 1m 13.818s (+ 0.011s)
3. Mark WEBBER (JAGUAR), 1m 13.851s. (+ 0.044s)


Q: Rubens, great lap, great scenes there on your slow down lap as well?

Rubens BARRICHELLO: It feels fantastic, even though I haven't done anything yet. I've had a tough time here. It is nice to put the car on pole and really nice to see the public coming and looking here to get some more. I was really looking at the public as well because it is a fantastic feeling, but you know I'm in a very good position for tomorrow's race.

Q: You were slightly down on David in the first sector there, were you slightly worried?

Barrichello: I was a little bit worried on the first corner and locked up a little bit on two because of a bump, but I felt we only have a tenth so I have to go on'.you have to reset your mind all the time because if you are doing good you keep on doing good and if your doing bad you have to turn it into a good laugh. At that moment there was a lot of energy going through and I had a good run today.

Q: How much information do you have about the laps in the cockpit? Do you know how near you are to pole?

Barrichello: To be honest I don't look at my split times. I like to be on my own and push the car as I could. It was really a good moment.

Q: It's been a difficult start to the season for Ferrari. Can you tell us what the atmosphere has been like in the team over the last two or three weeks?

Barrichello: I think that people think we are struggling and in a tough moment. I think the new rules are good for us; we haven't finished that well'.but for sure we could have won a race. But for me the season has started better than last year so I cannot complain and I am keeping my head down and trying to do my work.

Q: David, tell us about that lap?

David COULTHARD: It's probably the tidiest of the first few Grands Prix so far. We had a bit of a difficult warm-up session so we changed the car back to as we ran in the morning practice and with regards to fuel I'm glad we came back to that configuration. It never quite feels like the old qualifying session because you are finding out where the track is as far as in that single lap but it was not a bad lap and it will be interesting to find out who has got what fuel tomorrow.

Q: No question the McLaren-Mercedes is a very quick car now. The new car is coming, how do you feel about the future? There must be a reason to want to stay with this car.

Coulthard: I think everyone in the team knows'feels very positive from the winter testing, the results we managed to get'we are enjoying such a good start to the season and hopefully we will find pace and reliability quickly in the new car and get that on track.

Q: Interlagos is left-handed, what sort of preparations do you do for that with you neck?

Coulthard: It certainly works your neck a lot more than any other circuit. You are really tested, it is one of the more challenging tracks and you have to try to feel'.that you don't have problems.

Q: Mark Webber, great performance. How much of that is taking advantage of what happened yesterday and perhaps coming up with set-up that looked good? How much of it is genuine strategy?

Mark WEBBER: It has nothing to do with what happened yesterday. I think everyone had similar fuel loads on a Friday, but I think the two guys next to me may have more fuel for tomorrow's race. But I think we are very, very competitive here I believe. We've been reasonably quick in all the tests that we've done and the hard work we've done. It is going to be a long race for us but it could be good. Malaysia was a very hard race for us, with a lot of mysteries and a lot of snags, a lot coming at us which we didn't have in testing which is hard on the boys and hard on the factory. This is a nice little reward. We know in ourselves that we are making clear progress and it has been a good day for us.

Q: How much information did you have during that lap?

Webber: Well I had'the best lap I did yesterday was about a 14.1. I was up on that by a fair chunk up until the last sector and I knew it was going to be a 14.0 or a high 13 so its going to put us in competitive shape. I'm really happy for the guys and for me to be up there for the first time, I'm really looking forward to it.

Q: Did you begin to feel, with the fuel load you have chosen, you were going to be right up there?

Webber: No not really. We did a 14.4 with the fuel I was carrying in the warm-up and we thought that is going to be reasonable competitive load. There we have it, it was a good lap.

Q: Was it the perfect lap?

Webber: Like David said out of the three races that was my best lap. We're starting from a good spot. We had a bit of understeer in the last corner, but it a very difficult corner to control your aggression and not get in too much on the entry.

Q: Can I switch to David or Rubens. How much fuel do you think the Jaguars are running today?

Coulthard: We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. As Mark said I expect him to pit before I do and hopefully I'm one of the later ones to pit.

Q. Rubens you've had a bit of trouble with the HANS device, but I gather you owe a bit of gratitude to the work David Coulthard and Alexander Wurz have done on the development of the HANS device?

Barrichello: Well it is true. The works on that system'.I don't know how accurate we have in terms of having the same system, but I am fairly comfortable now. Like David said it is going to be effective because you have the HANS on top. I'm happy with the system now and it shouldn't be a problem.

Q: Rubens it started in 1973 and at 10 year intervals a Brazilian has won their home Grand Prix. How do you feel about tomorrow?

Barrichello: A bit too much pressure. As I've said before and during the weekend I've turned to'Formula One has turned me into a person who doesn't believe much in the sense of the past. You've got to believe in the real things. I have a competitive car, I think I've chosen the right strategy for tomorrow, we will know that tomorrow, and I am confident that we can do well tomorrow and I hope I am going to be there fighting.

Q: Because of the passion of the crowd here in Brazil, does that actually hinder you in your home Grand Prix?

Barrichello: It used to be. It was a tough, tough feeling all of the time but now it is just like football, you feel at home.


Q: Well done Rubens. You've won the first part, but how do you prepare now for the race, there's so much time between now and the start?

Barrichello: It is a good challenge. I've always enjoyed a challenge. It's going to be a challenge to read the paper tomorrow. It's going to be a challenge to get here. The whole day tomorrow is going to be a challenge. But what I have seen in my life when I was a kid is to be sitting in a competitive car around here and to be waving to my public from pole position, so I the only wish I have is to win the race tomorrow.

Q: Do you think the pressure will build on you?

Barrichello: Of course it will. I think the pressure that matters for us is the one that we build within ourselves. It's the one that creates problems. You have to be at a controlled level to drive well, for you to do things and not make mistakes. So for the pressure outside? I'm sure and I hope that people are buying tickets right now for tomorrow. That's something that I guess is going to happen.

Q: What about your own local weather forecast?

Barrichello: Ah, that I can't tell you. It's something that I'm going to ask my grandmother and I will keep it for me. I will tell you afterwards.

Q: You mentioned a bump, is it at turn four or five?

Barrichello: I'm not so sure that I'm talking about the same bump as you. There is a big bump at turn one. There are some other bumps out of turn eleven. The bumps are there and there are some ways you can avoid them and some ways of making the car better over them. They are quite big, some of them.

Q: David, you seem to have lost a little bit of time in the middle sector, were you conscious of that?

Coulthard: Yes, you get a feeling whether you are heading your corners right. I think all us drivers know that the circuit is quite tricky to get right at turns eight and ten, the two right-handers, where you carry your speed into the kerb. It's quite tricky to get them right without locking up. I didn't lock up so you have to presume that I didn't carry enough speed into the corners, but nevertheless I'm happy with my qualifying position and we will see tomorrow what the strategy means. It could mean that people will stay out for a long time and it will mean nothing. I think we're in good shape.

Q: Given the form of the team so far, you must be feeling pretty confident?

Coulthard: Even when McLaren have had difficult times they are a professional team, so we get on with doing the job and you can see that we're not jumping around on the back of two wins in the first races either. We just continue to get on with the job and work on fixing any problems we have and building up our strengths. We have a parallel programme with the new car as Ferrari have and we will do the best we can.

Q: Did the potential of rain tomorrow come into the thinking for the fuel load etc?

Coulthard: Yes, you have to consider the whole weekend. Obviously, like other teams, we get accurate weather forecasting, so It's something to consider.

Q: Mark, well done, it looked very good until the final sector when you seemed to lose time?

Webber: Yeah, we lost a little bit of time at turn nine but I think these guys were carrying a little less wing as well. There's only one corner and my Mum could push from there, so I must have lost a little time on the straight. But it was still a good lap for us.

Q: Presumably you were pretty happy with the car?

Webber: Yes, very happy. I watched Antonio and a few other guys to see the conditions of the track, to see where the battle was. The conditions were different in the warm-up. You've got stay reasonably conservative, that's the approach with these new regulations. You are taking the qualifying car straight into the race, the track's moving around quite a bit, so you've got to stick with the beast you know.

Q: What about the pressure going last?

Webber: Well, the boys said that you must be in the top ten at least. We weren't expecting to be that high up to be honest but going last meant that I could save a lot of fuel coming in, so I just cruised around doing about a five minute lap coming in.

Q: A question for all of you: following the business yesterday concerning wet tyres and the FIA stand that your team chose the tyre specification, do you, as drivers, stand by your team's decision to bring those tyres?

Webber: Well, the drivers? briefing yesterday was pretty fiery. Rubens made a good point, David made a good point. Rubens's point was that It's all about performance, the season is about performance and of course you want to bring a full wet tyre if there's heavy rain, but that's only going to work in a very specific condition and then when the track dries, you're going to need a tyre which has a 15 second potential window. As drivers, we knew that collectively Michelin or Bridgestone had brought the tyre which would work in the biggest range and when there's more water on the track It's not safe for us. In my view, that needs to be changed for the next race. We need to have a tyre which shifts the water out of the way and that has to happen. You don't lose the car at 60 or 70 kmh, you lose the car at 280, you're a passenger then, and we need to do something about it because at this track, they've done a good job with the drainage. OK, there's some standing water but at Suzuka, at Silverstone, what are we going to do there?

But yes, we have brought the right tyre for a condition which is probably four seconds slower than what we ran in yesterday morning. But that's the widest operating range, you work in wet degrees going into drier conditions.

Barrichello: Nothing more to say, just the fact that tomorrow we have to stick together if there is a situation where we feel that It's not appropriate. We have to get together and chat because as Mark was saying we have the right tyre, because as a tyre they are going to live longer and It's the tyre that can run for longer. But the exception is when we have a situation like Friday when visibility is impossible. You are aquaplaning all the time. You are not dealing only with a crash within yourself or with your car, It's when you come across someone who has spun and is right in the middle of the track because he doesn't have the right tyre as well. I have a car which is quite capable, but someone might not have the same. So we have to deal with that, and so for the short term, try to maintain this.

Coulthard: No further comment. In answer to the question I support my team's decision to bring the tyres we did.


Q: Rubens and David, you're both about five years older than Mark, I want to know how well you know him, what you think of him as a person, and what you think of his potential in the future when perhaps you are no longer around?

Coulthard: How many years have you been doing this? You must be getting to the end of your tenure as well. (Laughter)

Barrichello: He (Mark) looks older than me. (More laughter). Like all Australians he's a nice guy. We don't know each other very well but he seems to be doing a good job. The Stewart team was a team that did quite well in '99, went down to the bottom; they had the resources to come back. He's on the right direction and he's doing well.

Coulthard: I'm not sure I'm comfortable saying nice things about other competitors but as a person, you can all judge as well as I can. He seems like a nice guy, there's no question there. He's well liked in the paddock. I think he's had enough massaging for today. He's had a great qualifying session, he's more than capable of doing the job. It just confirms what everyone knew.

Q: Rubens, do you think that Williams will be up there tomorrow and Renault as well?

Barrichello: David won from eleventh on the grid and I think Kimi won from seventh, so I think that with these new rules you cannot discount any competitor, anything can happen.

Q: Mark, you seem very quiet, not extremely happy, so does this mean that there's something more to come from you tomorrow?

Webber: Well, I'll try and pass them in the first corner tomorrow? But no, it is a good day. It can be a little bit frustrating that people say It's all down to fuel and things like that. We know that we're definitely on a two stopper and we know what we're going to do, and how well things have gone this weekend. We're working well with Michelin and there's no point in getting excited and fired up about what's happened. I'm happy but we've got a race to do tomorrow and in a boring way, we've got a lot of work still to do. We've had a really tough start to the year and we need to see the chequered flag tomorrow. We need to get some points on the board. At the moment we don't have much.

Q: Realistically what can you do tomorrow?

Webber: I think if we have a good clean race, good pit stops, we might be able to finish in the top six. That's a good result for us, a very strong result.


Rubens Barrichello (1st, 1:13.807): "I feel fantastic! Ever since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was to be herein a competitive car, waving at the crowd from pole position. It was great to see the reaction of the fans, even though I was keeping a close eye on Mark (Webber.) On my lap, I concentrated on not over-driving and not making any mistakes. Usually, I have the split times on my display,but today I wanted to be on my own out on the track and I asked the team to switch it off. I had a good run, but all that counts is tomorrow. The whole day will be a challenge and I know the pressure will build. But I am not worried about that and, like in a football match, you always play better at home. The weather? I will be asking my grandmother about that later."

Michael Schumacher (7th, 1:14.130): "First of all, I must say I am very happy for Rubens, who has never had much luck here. It must be a wonderful feeling for him. As for myself, I did not manage a perfect lap, having made a small mistake in the first corner. Considering how close the times are, my grid position is the result of this small slip up. Seventh is not the best position, but we will have to see what strategy the cars in front of me have adopted. On top of that, the weather might change quickly and affect the outcome of the race. It will be a tough afternoon, but as usual I will try my best."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It was a very closely fought qualifying session, with fifteen cars all within the same second. Rubens drove a very good lap. It is great for him and for Ferrari to have taken pole here, in front of such an enthusiastic crowd. While his time is not far off that of those at the front, Michael only managed to take seventh place on the starting grid. Given the new regulations his chances are still intact. Bridgestone did a very good job. Tomorrow, we can expect a tough and demanding race in which the various strategies and the changeable weather conditions could play a key role."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "I am very happy for Rubens, who put in a really super lap. It's very exciting that he has taken pole position here in Brazil.We are looking forward to a great race from him tomorrow. Michael had a few difficulties, but I think we have a good car for the race. Now we can only wait and see what happens tomorrow."


Ralf Schumacher (6th, 1:14.124): "I had too much understeer in some sectors of the circuit and I think I lost two or three tenths there. I was also a bit too careful braking into turns seven and eight. However, all in all I am quite happy. I think we've achieved some further improvements with our new chassis. We have used here a new front wing and a modified rear suspension for the first time."

Juan Pablo Montoya (9th, 1:14.223): "All in all it has been a pretty good qualifying, even if lost a bit of time in the last two corners due to some understeer. In the third sector I lost something like three or four tenths from my out lap to my timed lap and this is of course a bit disappointing. That's what we've got for tomorrow but I think we are going to have a good race."

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "Obviously we would always prefer to be a bit further up on the grid. But the race tomorrow is a different story . Since the advent of the new regulations it is very difficult to evaluate everybody's qualifying performance and we are keen to see on which strategy the other teams are on. We have done better in today's dry qualifying than we did under wet conditions yesterday. The new aero parts and the new rear suspension have improved the performance of the car and it is our task to find further improvements as we head into the European sector of the season."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The Brazilian public can be happy with the outcome of this qualifying. Finally local hero Rubens Barrichello is on pole, but we can't say we are unhappy either. This was one of the tightest qualifying sessions I can remember: The first 15 drivers have qualified within just one second. If one thinks that ten kilos of fuel costs about 0.3 seconds every lap, it is clear how important the fuel load is. We will know the answer to this question tomorrow."


David Coulthard (2nd, 1:13.818): "A reasonably tidy qualifying lap - the best I have done so far this year. I wasn't comfortable with the balance of the car during the 15-minute warm-up, so we changed it back to how we ran it during this morning's practice and everything felt fine. Now we will see what happens tomorrow. The new rules make it difficult to know the competitiveness of the other teams."

Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:13.866): "My qualifying lap was not perfect but fourth place is acceptable taking into account how close the competition is. I got the car a little bit sideways at Turn Nine, which lost me a small amount of time, but I think we are looking reasonably strong for the race."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "An excellent qualifying by the whole team, which has not compromised our race strategy. We look forward to tomorrow's race."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A super performance by both drivers and the team. David's second and Kimi's fourth places are a good basis for the race. The first four are within half a tenth which shows that this was a thrilling qualifying session."


Jarno Trulli (5th, 1:13.953): "The team has done a very good job these past two days in developing the car and the result is reflected in my fifth place today. I am very happy with the car, since we found a good compromise with the aero-package. Furthermore, I am confident with the race strategy we have chosen and with the reliability of the car, so I really think we should finish in the points tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:14.384): "Today in qualifying we were able to work on a dry track, which had been impossible yesterday afternoon. I am quite happy with my laptime because I didn't make any mistakes and the car felt good. I am in 10th position and, considering that I believe we have a good strategy, I think that tomorrow we could bring home some more points."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "A reasonably satisfactory qualifying session for us. We are pleased with Jarno's starting position which is in line with the strategy we intend to employ. Although Fernando didn't get the best out of his lap, his starting position, in tenth place, considering our strategy, should allow him to have a good race as well."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "As it has always been the case on this circuit, the lap times are very close, with 15 drivers in one second. We have done a good job throughout the weekend so far, without incurring in any problem and I see no reason for the team not to have a good result in tomorrow's race."


Nick Heidfeld (12th, 1:14.631): "The car was fine. I think I lost out a little bit because I had to run so early in the session, but compared to the rest of the weekend I was quite happy with the way the C22 performed today."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (14th, 1:14.839): "It was a good lap, as good as the one I was on this morning until I spun. I'm pretty happy, and all day the car has been consistent. We didn't make so many compromises with it, and we have a good set-up whatever happens with the weather tomorrow. I had a good, drivable car today."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We know that we are a bit too slow here and we will work hard on that for the future. We are confident that Bridgestone will do the same."


Giancarlo Fisichella (8th, 1:14.191): "I did a very good lap today, almost perfect. The car was reasonably good, although I didn't think we would get on the first four rows so I'm pleased. We did a good job, the mechanics and everybody, and I'm hoping for a good race tomorrow. Maybe I will score some points."

Ralph Firman (16th, 1:15.240): "We made some changes to the car between practice and qualifying which improved the car a lot so I'm pretty happy. I made a small mistake but I would been in the same position anyway I think. We've got a good car for the race and I'm looking forward to it."

Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "I'm reasonably content with the way it ended up. To be honest, we will have to wait and see what happens tomorrow but hopefully we've got a good strategy and with a bit of luck we can score some points. Giancarlo drove a good lap and Ralph did his best lap of the weekend and drove well although he made one little mistake. Overall I'm happy."


Mark Webber (3rd, 1:13.851): "I'm surprised because we simply didn't think we would end up on the second row of the grid. We were aiming for top ten qualifying positions but the car felt great out there and that was as close to a near perfect lap I could have done. Contrary to what some people are saying, we were not running the car light with fuel and our strategy going into the race tomorrow is two-stops ? not three. We may decide to come in a little early compared to the Ferraris and McLarens but in all honestly, we are not competing with them yet at this stage of our development. We need to come away from the race tomorrow with points and while a podium would be a dream result, the strength of our package is not yet capable of challenging for podium honors. Nonetheless, I must credit the team for the clear improvement we have demonstrated relative to the opening two races and let's see what tomorrow brings. The pace of the Jaguar R4 is good, I enjoy driving around this track and given how strong the Michelin tyre is, we go into the race quite well prepared. Reliability, however, is something we need to demonstrate tomorrow. Being quick over one lap is one thing ? being consistently quick over a race distance is quite another ? and that's our next major test. Leaving Interlagos with championship points is the order of the day now and in the process, rewarding the 300-strong team for their incredible hard work over the past few months."

Antonio Pizzonia (17th, 1:15.317): "I am delighted for Mark but disappointed with my end-result. The fact that Mark has put the Jaguar on P3 for tomorrow's race shows clearly the potential of the package but my qualifying session was ruined by various things. I suffered problems with my brakes and the balance of the car was not to my liking ? particularly in sectors two and three. We were aiming to put both cars into the top ten today and that's really where I should be. Very disappointing given my home event but there is still a race distance to undertake tomorrow and let's see what can be salvaged from this."

Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "Our preparation going into the race has gone exactly to plan and we are delighted with Mark's performance today ? a truly outstanding lap. To start this race from the second row of the grid ahead of Schumacher's Ferrari, a McLaren and both Williams is just reward for the hard work everyone has put into making the Jaguar R4 a solid contender around Interlagos. The car is very well balanced around this circuit and combined with the excellent Michelin tyre, we have been rewarded with P3 on the grid for tomorrow. Our sector times have looked quite strong all weekend and after the traumas of the first two races, it's great to finally prove what the Jaguar R4 is capable of. The potential of this package has never been in doubt back at the factory but we haven't capitalized on it in a race situation ? something we are obviously aiming to put right tomorrow. Combined with giving Michelin their first-ever wets pole position yesterday, today really belongs to Mark Webber. He put an absolutely storming lap together and missed pole position by just under 5/100th second. Antonio unfortunately suffered today because of niggles with brakes and balance and having to take the T-car didn't help either. His original race car will, however, be ready for tomorrow to take on the role of T-Car."


Jenson Button (11th, 1:14.504): "My time was a little slower than this morning and the last sector was a couple of tenths down from where it should have been. It's so difficult to go out first because you've got to get rid of the hot air out on the circuit. The race set-up isn't too bad and I think we have gone in the right direction in terms of the strategy, but I think we can make a few adjustments that will help us tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve (13th, 1:14.668): "I'm disappointed to be starting the race from 13th position. The most annoying thing is that as soon as I accelerated out of turn one, the engine noise changed rapidly. I lost a lot of power and that stayed for the whole lap so it's very frustrating. Our speeds were down as well so I hope we can identify the problem and deal with it for the race because, if not, it will be a big problem."

David Richards, Team Principal: "We marginally under performed with both cars today, Jenson because he was first on the track and Jacques with a technical problem, possibly an exhaust. It's all too easy to look back on qualifying and wish you'd pumped out a little more fuel and run lighter, but I'm confident that our strategy is very sound for the race tomorrow."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "It is always difficult to comment on Saturday qualifying since fuel loads have such a significant effect on grid position. It is quite possible that some high qualifiers have compromised their race strategies. I think both our drivers could have been faster; Jenson was disadvantaged by running first and Jacques had a mechanical or engine problem which we have yet to confirm but will investigate when we get the car back from parc ferme. We look forward to the race tomorrow when I hope we will continue to run reliably. Our aim is to finish in the points again, this time with both drivers."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Although I was hoping for slightly higher grid positions today I'm still confident that our strategy is correct for the race tomorrow."


Jos Verstappen (19th, 1:16.542): "It wasn't a perfect lap ? the first sector wasn't bad, but we struggled a little in the second, as we have for the last two days. At the end of the day, though, we're about where we felt we would be in qualifying. The Bridgestone tyres are holding up well, and I think we have a good race strategy, so I'm happy with our prospects for tomorrow's race."

Justin Wilson (20th, 1:16.586): "I was quite pleased with this afternoon's qualifying run. There were no problems and I drove a pretty clean lap. The time is certainly acceptable for the fuel load we were carrying. All told, we've had a productive day technically, and I'm looking forward to a good race tomorrow."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Today's performance by the European Minardi Cosworth team in near-perfect weather conditions didn't secure quite the grid positions we would have liked, but we're convinced our race strategy is a good one. Both drivers completed their full technical programmes and the cars ran faultlessly all day long, so we think we're in good shape for tomorrow's Grand Prix."


Olivier Panis (15th, 1:14.839): "When I started my qualifying lap, everything was fine with the car. I tried to push hard but I made a big mistake in the second sector and we are down in fifteenth as a result. I really want to say sorry to the team because we did a great job in free practice this morning and the car is really good in terms of performance, so obviously I am extremely disappointed for the team and myself but tomorrow is another day and I will try to drive to the limit tomorrow to get some points."

Cristiano Da Matta (18th, 1:15.641): "Due to the bad weather conditions yesterday, we simply haven't had enough track time to find the optimum set up on the car for this track. I experienced problems with the grip levels and the general handling of the car this morning, so we made some changes to the set-up, which did not make any difference. I am really unhappy to be starting my home GP from so far back on the grid, but we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Keizo Takahashi, General Manager, Car Design and Development: "Unfortunately, we were not able to reproduce our speed from this morning's practice. We had trouble with the set up on Cristiano's car, and could not find the correct balance to allow him to get the most out of the car. Olivier made a mistake in the second sector of his flying lap and lost one second. It is disappointing because we should have been much higher up the grid for this race. Nevertheless we will keep at it and hope for a top eight finish tomorrow."

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