SAN MARINO GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:23.709): "I don't think fifth is the perfect place to start at this circuit because overtaking is so difficult, but we are not in such a bad position either. There was a lot of traffic during the third part of qualifying and I came quite close to the 110% time on some of the laps, but when I did my timed laps at the end of qualifying, the car felt good and the track was clear. The balance is better than it was yesterday and feels correct for the race, so now we need to try and make up positions at the start, and believe in the strategy we have chosen. I also wish to clarify comments I made yesterday after they were interpreted in this morning's press. I want to reiterate that I have always enjoyed total technical support from Renault. Renault is known everywhere as a team that treats both of its drivers fairly and equally."
Giancarlo Fisichella (11th, 1:23.771): "What can I say? I am very disappointed to only start eleventh at my home race. The balance of the car felt much better than yesterday, so we should have been in the top ten for sure. I think we may have made a mistake in how we managed the second session, because I think we could have run again at the end, but this is something we will learn for the future. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we now have a lot of options for our strategy, and we will work tonight to find the best one. The speed and consistency are there to have a good race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Giancarlo was very unlucky to be on the wrong end of a big bunch of cars within one tenth of a second in the second knockout session. The eleven millisecond deficit to the competitors in front of him, means we face a very different strategic challenge tomorrow, but it is one that we can rise to. As for Fernando, he looks a little further back on the grid than normal. However, we have managed our weekend with our main challengers in mind, and we feel that we have done the right thing to get the best possible result in tomorrow's race."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "After a trouble-free weekend, we fell into the one of the traps of the new qualifying format this afternoon, with Giancarlo failing to proceed into the super-pole session. This is clearly a disappointment, but he now has a lot of strategic options for the race tomorrow. Fernando's session ran smoothly, and we have made certain deliberate decisions that will only be proved right or wrong on Sunday evening after the chequered flag has fallen. In terms of the engines, everything ran well, both for Giancarlo's new B spec unit, and Fernando's V8 which is completing its second weekend."
Juan Pablo Montoya (7th, 1:24.021): "Today's qualifying result was OK for me particularly considering the limited amount of running I have done so far this weekend. My car developed a fuel pressure problem in practice this morning, and as a result we decided to change to the spare car which was not an issue. However to try and cure the understeer I experienced yesterday, we had made some quite dramatic set-up changes for this morning's practice, but as we never got an opportunity to evaluate them, we went a bit more conservative with the car for qualifying. I think this will pay off in the race because the car is very consistent. There are a number of strategy options, but I think we have chosen the right one and podium positions should definitely be possible."
Kimi Raikkonen (8th, 1:24.158): "I'm a bit disappointed as I could have done better today, and I didn't get the opportunity to show the full potential of our package. Everything went well in the first two qualifying sessions, but things didn't go according to plan in the last part of qualifying where I did my two flying laps. On the first run I used the best of my Michelin tyres, but I drove a better lap on my second run but still lost time in the last part of the lap. However I think if things goes our way in the race we should be OK."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today's qualifying positions are acceptable bearing in mind our strategy and Juan Pablo's problem in practice this morning. We will only see where we are in comparison to our competition after their first set of pit stops I'm confident that we will have a strong race tomorrow if we avoid any first-lap incidents."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi lost quite a bit of time in the last sector of his first lap which cost him some grid positions - but no complaints. He was impressive in the other qualifying sessions - being the fastest Michelin runner. Juan Pablo did a good job with his handicap not having had any laps in the third practice session. Our strategy is strong, and despite starting from the fourth row we can do a good job tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher (1st, 1:22.795): "We have worked very hard in recent weeks, so it's wonderful to see it all come right for us. But to be honest, I am not surprised that we have done well. It is very nice to be back on pole again and of course, the fact it is my 66th and so a new record is something very special for me. At the moment, I am concentrating totally on this weekend so I think I will only really appreciate fully what I have done at a later time. Yesterday, I said I was aiming for pole and the win. Today we have reached the first target and I hope I can make the second one tomorrow. I am convinced we have a good chance of winning."
Felipe Massa (4th, 1:23.702): "To be honest, I'm not happy. On both my laps with new tyres I had traffic and did not make the most of what I had to work with. The car, the engine and the Bridgestone tyres were certainly worth a place in the top three. Fourth is definitely not a disaster, but I cannot be happy with it. All the same, I am optimistic for the race. We have what we need to get a good result."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A marvellous qualifying with a great performance from Michael. Felipe did well, but he was unable to exploit the full potential of the car in the final part of the session. When all elements of the package - drivers, team, chassis, car and tyres - all work at their best, then the results follow. Today we have made a major step forward and it was nice to do so in front of our fans and our employees, packed into their own grandstand here. But the crucial step comes tomorrow. Everything is in place for us to do well, but we know there are many important factors to take into consideration, first and foremost strategy and reliability. All we can say is that, for the moment, Ferrari and its technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell, are working in the right direction."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Very pleased with this result. Everything went well today in terms of our programme. The Bridgestone tyres worked particularly well and I think we can have a strong race and we can look to tomorrow with confidence. Michael's time was fantastic. It's a shame that Felipe never got a clean lap in the final part of qualifying, because of traffic. He still did a good time, given the circumstances. The cars were well balanced and there is cause for optimism for tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher (6th, 1:23.772): "We achieved more than we expected today, but I am still not satisfied because I did not do a perfect lap in the traffic at the end of the session. That's a pity because the extra tenth of a second to reach the second row would have been easy to find. Still, this is a very good result and both Jarno and I have done our best. Last year I struggled in qualifying but this car and tyre combination is working better for me. Now we must aim for the points tomorrow. We are not very far away from the top teams and we will do our best to move further forward, but it is very difficult to overtake here. Hopefully we can have our usual good pit stops and then we can see where we end up."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:24.172): "It was a good afternoon's work for us but it would have been even better if I hadn't hit traffic on my quickest lap in Session 3. Unfortunately on my last run I was behind Michael Schumacher who didn't let me by when he was on a slow lap. He just came out of the pits and held me up all the way around his out lap, which I don't think was fair. Up to that point the sessions had gone well. The car handled well throughout the afternoon and that gives me a lot of confidence for the race. Ralf's podium in Australia shows that we can compete at the front so the atmosphere in the team is good. This race will give us another chance to check how our form is improving. I certainly hope to enjoy better fortune tomorrow than I have had in the first few races."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "This is the first time this year that we have had both cars actually running in the last session of qualifying so that was a good day for us. Both drivers performed well throughout the afternoon and the first two sessions went well even though it was very tight for who qualified from Session 2. We're happy with Ralf's eventual qualifying position - he was very close to the second row but 6th is still a good performance. We are disappointed about what happened to Jarno because he lost a lot of time on his quick lap. Looking to tomorrow we are happy with the tyres we have here - the performance and grip level was good - and we're happy with the choice we have made for the race and our strategy is looking good. We are still a challenger in F1 and we will now be fighting for a very strong finishing position tomorrow."
Mark Webber (10th, 1:24.795): "Qualifying was pretty interesting today and, as always, it was pretty fraught in the first two sessions. We managed to get into the last session and although I was fifth, it was very, very tight time-wise. The last session was pretty tricky for us, much as it was in Melbourne, so it will be interesting to see how the strategy will unfold, but the race will be interesting."
Nico Rosberg (13th, 1:23.966): "I didn't know what to expect from qualifying today because this morning it didn't go too well for me. I had a crash at the end of the session but prior to the accident, I didn't feel the set-up of my car was quite right. I must say thanks to the mechanics who managed to get the T-car ready for me in time for qualifying. When we got into Q2, it was difficult as the balance of my car had become a bit worse and I made two mistakes going wide, which wasted some valuable tenths The important outcome is that my final time today is not too bad because the pack was bunched quite tightly."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was obviously a close session. Mark made it through to the third segment and did the best job possible. Unfortunately for Nico, he just missed out on the third segment even though he was only a couple of tenths off the top five. After Nico's accident this morning, the mechanics did a good job changing his chassis by putting his engine into the T-car. Nico's car will be repaired to provide the spare car for tomorrow. Now we're looking to the race to see what strategy everybody is on and what we can achieve."
Simon Corbyn, Cosworth: "There was no damage to the engine as a result of Nico's incident in morning practice and it was therefore transferred to the spare car for Qualifying. Cosworth had no problems and both drivers did a good job of optimising available engine performance throughout today's sessions."
Jenson Button (2nd, 1:22.988): "I'm very pleased with the result today and to see both of us in the top three is great for the team. The car was a lot better in qualifying than this morning and the first half of the weekend generally, especially in terms of grip and with the handling over the kerbs. We did a lot of work overnight and through this morning and I'm much happier for the race. We'll have to see how things pan out though because we won't know until then what everyone has been doing through free practice but I think we should feel quite confident. The team have done a great job in addressing the issues from Australia and I think we can have a good race tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello (3rd, 1:23.242): "I'm obviously delighted with qualifying today and I have to say a very big thank you to everyone in the team for their hard work in helping me to achieve this result. We have had some problems in the early races but today's qualifying shows the amount of effort we have all put into getting the car more to my liking has paid off. We've had two very good tests to get ready for this race and the team has really been listening to me about what I need for things to improve. I'm much happier with the car now. It's not 100% but we're getting there and I think we can have a much better race tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We are delighted with the way qualifying went. After a tough start to the weekend, having Jenson on the front row and Rubens on the second row in third place puts us in a strong position going into tomorrow's race. Since yesterday we have been working hard on the balance of the car and as the weekend progressed we have been steadily improving. Hopefully the conditions will suit us further this Sunday. Certainly, it is very difficult to predict where everyone is in terms of fuel load and we will have to see how the different strategies play out, however starting near the front gives us the best possible chance."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Good stuff! Clearly both guys did a good job throughout the session. This has been the best combined qualifying performance of the year as we were not in any trouble in the early runs and the guys ultimately put in strong laps. Let's see what happens tomorrow."
David Coulthard (14th, 1:24.101): "What can I say? We hoped to get into the final ten, but we weren't quick enough. It's disappointing what we understand the challenge we face and we're not scared of it. We just need to get on with working to make the car go faster. From back here, it's going to be very difficult to get any points, but as usual, we will do the best we can."
Christian Klien (17th, 1:25.410): "I had an electrical problem with the pit lane speed limit button, which came on during my out lap, so I couldn't accelerate any more. That went on for two or three corners and so with the slow speed, my tyres cooled down and I could not get them up to temperature for my flying lap."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "After a promising performance this morning, our afternoon performance was quite disappointing. David got up to P2 but lost time with a yellow flag on his flying lap. Considering that half a second quicker would have seen David quite a bit higher up the order on what is a very tight grid. We now get a chance to review our race strategy overnight and try and move up the order tomorrow."
Jacques Villeneuve (12th, 1:23.887): "I am very disappointed because less than two tenths of a second was P5 and I know there was that time in the car. The second lap was quick, but the yellow flags caught us out. That really does your race and finishing P5 or P12 in the session means the difference between finishing on the podium or not. It is a little bit rough but we are at the wrong end of the tenths today big time."
Nick Heidfeld (15th, 1:24.129): "I really wanted to make it into the top ten and tried everything I knew, but lost the rear of the car and went into the tyres, which unfortunately has damaged the car quite badly. All in all qualifying was disappointing, especially as I felt good after the results of the three free practice sessions yesterday and today. With new tyres I just could not get the necessary grip, but the positive side is I fell well again yesterday after my stomach problems yesterday."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a very exciting qualifying session with very close gaps between the drivers' times, but unfortunately we had to watch the breathtaking final 20 minutes as spectators. Jacques missed the top ten by just over a tenth of a second, whereas Nick never managed to get the lap time we expected. He complained about lack of grip and on his last lap tried too hard and lost control of the car. The times are closer than we have seen before, as between fifth and Jacques' 12th position there is only seventeen hundredths of a second."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "Obviously we expected more from qualifying. We knew it would have been very hard to make the top ten in this close competition. Now we have to adjust our race strategy accordingly, but we are confident we can repeat the performance we found in our long runs on Friday."
Tiago Monteiro (19th, 1:26.820): "It hasn't been an easy weekend so far, that's for sure. But with the exception of this qualifying session, we had been improving every time we were out on track, closing the gap to the others and trying to improve the car. It's somewhat disappointing, because we solved the tyre issues we had yesterday and we were looking forward to a breakthrough today. Still, I remain confident that if we can make a good start tomorrow, we should have a strong race. The race team has done a great job all weekend and I hope Christijan and I can deliver the results they deserve."
Christijan Albers (20th, 1:27.088): "I'm extremely disappointed with our qualifying result today, because I know we could have been so much quicker. It's always frustrating to encounter technical problems, but unfortunately, that's the way it goes sometimes. Now, we have to remain focused on what's important, and that's the race tomorrow. Hopefully, we can fix whatever the problem is and perform at the level we're capable of."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Unfortunately, Christijan Albers had some technical issues with the car, because he showed how quick he was all weekend. We don't know at the moment what caused this problem, but we hope to solve it before tomorrow's race."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "Qualifying didn't go as well as we'd hoped today. We might have had a small problem with Christijan's car, which we're looking into. In the morning and up until the qualifying session, we were making good progress and we feel that we have closed the gap to our closest competitors. I'm looking forward to the race, because I think we'll be stronger in race conditions."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (16th, 1:24.520): "We got off to a good start in this morning's practice and you could see we had the pace, with a tenth fastest time. So we were well prepared for qualifying and we expected to do well. This afternoon wasn't too bad, with me ending up eleventh in the first part. The car was responding very well and we had sorted out all the problems we came up against yesterday. But this afternoon, the others seemed to be flying, but we had already reached our maximum. It was a reasonable result but we still need to improve our qualifying pace. Tomorrow should be better as we seem to be stronger over a longer distance."
Scott Speed (18th, 1:25.437): "I would have easily made it into the second part of the session but I got held up at the chicane by someone trying to get a good lap. It's unfortunate but that's the nature of qualifying this year and we have to deal with it. The team is improving every day, as the whole set up was new at the start of the year. Now we have three races under our belt and are back close to home the improvement in the way everyone is working is clear to see and there's still more to come. The race? I'm going to be aggressive. I've got nothing to lose."
Takuma Sato (21st, 1:27.609): "It has been a good day for the team. We made encouraging progress overnight and this morning's practice session went very smoothly, so I was able to put in a good performance in Qualifying. I am very pleased with my lap as I think that we got the best out of the car and the team is very much looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Yuji Ide (22nd, 1:29.282): "The car had a bit of oversteer since yesterday so I changed the set-up for Qualifying but it had a negative effect and I did not make as good a time as I wanted. If we could find a way to use the new tyres better, then I think we could have improved a little on my time. However, we did not have any problems with the car so I should be able to do well tomorrow and I am looking forward to the race."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "The times between SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM and the other teams are getting smaller with every race, and today the gap came very close. I believe all the hard work by the team members and drivers has enabled this jump-up, and their dedication has shown in the big improvement we have made today. Our drivers are good at race starts, so I hope that they will both move in front of Midland F1 and hold their positions until the checkered flag."