CANADIAN GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:14.942): "Five pole positions in a row is something I have never experienced and it is a fantastic feeling. The competition between myself, Fisico and Raikkonen has been very close all weekend, and that was how it turned out in qualifying this afternoon. The car has felt very good from the first lap we did on Friday, and we have only had to tune it to adapt to the changing grip conditions. We needed to run at the end in qualifying because the track was improving all the time, and this result was perfect. To have an all-Renault front row at the ninth race shows how hard the whole team is pushing to develop the car at the moment, and they can be proud of the work they are doing. Now, we need to finish the job tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella (2nd, 1:15.178): "I was really pleased with the performance today - it's fantastic to have a Renault one-two in qualifying. I made a change to the car right before my last flying lap to add a bit more front wing and after that, the balance felt really good. Now we have to see what tomorrow brings, but I know that we have a good strategy and the perfect starting position. We have a great chance to win the race, and maybe we will want a one-two finish there as well."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was a fabulous achievement to lock out the front row this afternoon, with Fernando's fifth consecutive pole position and a very good performance from Giancarlo. It will be a long, tough Grand Prix but we are in a position to race hard, and the car is clearly competitive. The Michelin tyres have been absolutely perfect, both in terms of their single lap performance and on the longer runs we completed yesterday and today. This circuit has not been kind to us in the past two years, and we will hope to put an end to that with a strong result tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We are delighted with our qualifying positions this afternoon, especially as they have not come at the price of compromising our race strategy. We spent the practice sessions evaluating the tyres and tuning the aero balance, while also completing our normal checks on the RS26 engine. Qualifying showed that we are competitive in terms of straightline speed, and we have prepared well for the race. This has been an excellent start to the weekend and we intend to finish it off in the same fashion."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:15.386): "As the last couple of races have shown we are obviously going in the right direction with the car and I'm pleased to have qualified in third. The car felt fantastic this morning during practice, but we had to make some minor changes bearing the race in mind and I wasn't as comfortable during qualifying and was sliding a lot more. As a result third is very good and I'm confident that we should be able to leave Montreal with a strong result."
Juan Pablo Montoya (7th, 1:16.228): "The first two parts of qualifying were very good for me. However I pushed a little bit too hard in the last run and made a mistake at the chicane which cost me a lot of time - I think without this I probably would have been on the second row with Kimi. This is quite frustrating as overall my car was pretty good today. Anyway I'm relaxed and I will look at my options and see what happens to put myself in the best position during the race."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Our weekend so far has unfolded pretty much as expected. Slowly but surely the competitiveness of the team is improving. Whilst Juan Pablo's grid position could have been a little better, our race strategy should contribute to a strong result for both cars."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Our competitiveness looked a little better in the Free Practice sessions and after grid position three in Monaco and two at Silverstone we start from the second row again. It will be difficult to win but I think Kimi, Juan Pablo and their cars are strong enough to fight for podium finishes."
Michael Schumacher (5th, 1:15.986): "Obviously, we can't be happy with this result, especially in the light of the championship situation. We have made some progress compared with yesterday, but we are still suffering from a lack of grip. This could be down to the car, the tyres or the set-up: at the moment we cannot be sure which. What is sure is that starting from fifth on the grid we can expect a very tough race. Seventy laps are a lot and yes, anything can happen. For our part, all we can do is give it our best shot and try and exploit any opportunity that presents itself."
Felipe Massa (10th, 1:17.209): "It was a difficult day. We did not manage to find the ideal balance for the car and we continue to suffer from quite a lack of grip, especially on the first flying lap. The result of all this is that I will find myself starting from the fifth row and therefore with a rather complicated race ahead of me. Thanks to the strategy and to the fact that overtaking is possible here, we will try and move up the order. It's a long race and anything could happen."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A very difficult qualifying for us. One car in fifth place and the other in tenth in no way represents the positions we were aiming for. Tomorrow, the decisive parameters will be the usual ones: strategy, consistent tyre performance and reliability. On top of that, there could be the possibility of exploiting our top speed when attempting to overtake, a move that is a bit easier here than elsewhere. We will do our best to bring home as many points as possible for both Championships."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We were prepared for a difficult qualifying, but this result is worse than expected. We thought it would be tough to fight for the top places on the grid, so we tried to put ourselves in as strong a position as possible for tomorrow's race. Our cars have a very good top speed and we will try and make the most of that. Today, we were unable to be quick over a single timed lap, but the Bridgestone tyres offer consistent performance and this could play an important role during the race."
Jarno Trulli (4th, 1:15.968): "I'm delighted because that was an extremely strong qualifying session for both myself and the team. The car went really well and I put together a very good lap. I didn't expect to be so far up the grid but I could have gone even quicker if I hadn't been blocked by Fisichella. It's good to be fighting for the top positions and this result comes because the whole team is pushing so hard both on track and at the factory. We worked pretty well in the morning, preparing both for qualifying and the race without showing our true potential. We're in good shape for the race and I'm confident about our strategy. The start will be very difficult because the first corner is so tight. We have struggled off the line in recent races so we hope that improves tomorrow. But in the last few races we've definitely shown better potential and better speed so I will push for another good day."
Ralf Schumacher (14th, 1:15.888): "This has been a difficult day for me. This morning I really struggled for grip and I could not find a balance. Those problems continued into qualifying, meaning that we ended up far away from where we should have been. My team mate had a better afternoon so we will have to look at the data to try to improve for tomorrow. It will be a hard race but we have a free choice of strategy and I expect the whole package to work better in the race. This is a good track for racing and there are chances to overtake. The circuit is improving all the time and with more hot weather expected on Sunday we should be able to make progress."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "That was our best qualifying performance of 2006 so far and Jarno put together a very good afternoon's work. We're disappointed for Ralf because he has been close to Jarno's pace for most of the weekend and he missed out on the top ten by the narrowest of margins. But we expect both drivers to perform strongly in the race tomorrow. Again it was a tight choice over the tyres but we are pleased with the pace our car has shown. We ran on old tyres this morning as part of our preparations for the race so it was no surprise that the grip was not at its best but our Bridgestone tyres performed very well this afternoon. There is a tiny chance of rain tomorrow but we are expecting another hot day and those conditions should suit us. So we are looking forward to the race and we hope to come away with a strong result."
Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:16.012): "My qualifying went pretty well today even if it was full of incident. On my fastest lap in the first session I even touched the wall! My father encouraged me to use every millimetre possible and that is what I did, but maybe I exaggerated a bit - I was lucky to get away with it but it worked out fine in the end. I am pretty pleased to finish up sixth as I think it gives me a good chance to do well for the team tomorrow."
Mark Webber (17th, 1:16.985): "The car was quick enough to get through to the next group of course and I was doing everything I could to achieve this, but it was very frustrating to get caught behind my team-mate on the back straight which hurt me into the last corner. It was a shame to lose so much time, but that's the way it goes and I am not here to give a shopping list of excuses."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was obviously unfortunate for Mark not to make it beyond the first session. We changed our plan to go from one timed lap to two timed lap runs and that meant the cars were stacked very close together without the usual separation of 30 seconds, but we couldn't maintain the gap because of the time left in the session and Mark suffered from traffic with Nico on his timed runs. It was a good day for Nico who just missed out on the top four by half a tenth. We now will consider our strategy for two cars starting from different parts of the grid."
Sean O'Mahony, Principal Engineer, Cosworth: "Not too much to report on the engine side today - we had no engine problems in the morning practice or during qualifying. We're looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow where the objective will be maximising engine duty in the race while still leaving something in hand for Indianapolis."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:16.608): "I'm pretty happy with our qualifying position today. 8th is obviously not where we want to be but it's a solid performance and we have both cars in the top ten. We'll just have to see what happens tomorrow. It'll be an interesting race as I think the Michelin tyres will work well and we're positive about our race pace. We've only used one set of new tyres in Qualifying so we've saved an extra set for the race. I'm not going to talk our prospects up too much though. Our aim is to get both cars in the points and that would be a good result for us right now."
Rubens Barrichello (9th, 1:16.912): "We were on the borderline for the first qualifying session as I almost got put out of it by Rosberg holding me up. Apart from that, our qualifying hour ran smoothly enough. In the last sector of my final lap, I went a little wide and ran on the marbles, which cost me a bit of time. But we could only have improved to eighth at the most with the car we have so I'm satisfied with my position. We got as much as we could out of the car today. I hope we can achieve our target of points tomorrow."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Qualifying went relatively well for us and it was certainly full of tension. In Q1 Rubens had traffic on his fast laps and only just made it through the second round. In Q2 both Jenson and Rubens made it into the top ten in the dying seconds of the session. Overall we are roughly where we expected to be before qualifying started and both car and engine are running well. We will put up a good fight tomorrow and try to move up the field."
Christian Klien (12th, 1:15.833): "P12 is okay. I didn't get too much lap time yesterday and I was just two hundredths behind the top ten time today, which I think is pretty good. We drove to get the maximum out of the car and I think this is an okay position to be starting from tomorrow. It's important we get to the finish of this race, and starting four places behind a potential points position is not too bad."
David Coulthard (16th, 1:16.301): "I had a lot of oversteer during qualifying, which I've had all weekend and it basically means I can't carry speed into the corners. That's where you lose the time here, so it doesn't surprise me that I was at the back end of the second qualifying group. We can't really change anything on the car now before the race, apart from front wing adjustments and, as I think we've got bigger issues than that, we'll just have to do the best we can. I think it's going to be a tough race."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "The difference between Christian's 12th position and making it into the top ten today was less than a blink of an eye. Obviously, it's very close in the midfield, but with the position our drivers are in, we can plan their strategies according to what we think the drivers ahead are doing. It's disappointing not to get one of the cars in the top ten, but hopefully we'll have a competitive race tomorrow."
Jacques Villeneuve (11th, 1:15.832): "The track heated up, we lost the balance of the car and couldn't get it to work anymore. It is very disappointing as now we are in the middle of the pack for the first corner. We should be all right once the race gets going so we just need to keep our nose clean in the first corner. We missed getting into the last part of qualifying by thousandths of a second, which was very annoying as we were really looking forward to being in the top ten here."
Nick Heidfeld (13th, 1:15.885): "After the good practice sessions we were naturally hoping for a better qualifying result. The car suffered a big balance change, and just felt different every time we went out today. On my last lap I had some understeer, especially in the first sector. I am very disappointed but am already looking forward to tomorrow. We can still get in the points as we have had a good pace all weekend."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "After three strong free practice sessions both our drivers had problems in qualifying. We are not happy with the result because we wanted to get both cars into the top ten. Jacques missed the top ten by 18 thousandths of a second and Nick by seven hundredths. Now we have to work on finding the right strategy so we can collect some points in the race."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "This was a difficult qualifying in which we did not reach our goals. Both drivers were complaining about the balance of the car, which was not as good as in the morning's third free practice. We now have to analyse why this happened. However, we have proved in the practice sessions our performance over long runs is good and we need to take advantage of this during the race to get into the points."
Tiago Monteiro (19th, 1:17.121): "As I said heading into this weekend, this isn't the best kind of circuit for our car, so I can't say I'm surprised by the result. The morning practice and qualifying sessions went pretty smoothly for us, actually, and we we're weren't too far from getting into Q2. We did two timed laps in qualifying, and my second run was looking pretty good through the first two sectors - I was six-tenths up. But then I lost most of it through the final sector, and I think that's what cost us our chance to break through. Still, I think we're looking OK heading into tomorrow because the car actually feels better on worn tyres, which gives me confidence that I'll be able to run strongly over a race distance."
Christijan Albers (20th, 1:17.140): "Today was not a great day for us, I have to admit. We're really struggling to find the right set-up. Yesterday, I wasn't able to get it together, and I did not get it together today, either. It's been a tough weekend for us so far and I think it's going to be a tough race tomorrow, as well. On the positive side, once again, I have a lot of tyres for the race, so I'll be pushing as hard as I can to make the best of the situation."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "We're quite competitive through the first two sectors, but we're losing a lot of time in the third. It's frustrating but not entirely unexpected, because this is a track that requires efficient aerodynamics. We still have some work to do in this area, but there will be improvements coming soon."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It's disappointing that we didn't get through to the second qualifying session, but it was still very close. Now we have to look forward to running a strong race tomorrow, executing a sound strategy and getting both cars home to the finish. This is typically a high-attrition race, so reliability will play a very important role. Thankfully, that's been one of our strengths lately, so we have reason to be fairly optimistic."
James Key, Technical Director: "Today was a little bit disappointing. To be fair, we didn't expect to be as competitive here as at Silverstone because of the nature of the circuit. Both drivers did a good job to extract the most out of the car. We learned a bit during this morning's practice session, but the track was still improving. Come qualifying, what we suspected with the track and the tyres proved to be the case: Sectors One and Two were very competitive - we're happy with them - but Sector Three has been our downfall all weekend; we're just not quick enough in a straight line. We need to work on that, and it's our biggest issue at the moment. But we'll just have to make a sensible strategy decision for tomorrow now, and make the best of the race."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (15th, 1:16.116): "This was another good qualifying for me. Everything has been moving in the right direction since we started practice on Friday. We should have a good pace for the race as the car feels consistent and quite quick. I think that in the second part of qualifying I might have had a chance of going through to the final session, but there was a Red Bull car coming out of the pits as I came round, so we got a bit stuck in traffic and I didn't get the maximum out of the car. As for the race, I think I have a chance of fighting with the three or four cars ahead of me on the grid. We usually have a good race pace so it could be a good afternoon."
Scott Speed (18th, 1:17.016): "For some reason, we picked up a lot more oversteer in this session than in the others. The car felt completely different and it was sliding a lot. The track temperature was a lot higher, so we adjusted the tyre pressures accordingly and maybe that's where we didn't get it quite right. My tyres were better on the second flying lap, but on my second run I had to abort that lap as I got held up by Button. The track was definitely better at the end. We gambled on going out a little bit earlier. Tomorrow? Hopefully we can go back to getting the good balance we had before for the race. Anything can happen here, so let's wait and see."
Takuma Sato (21st, 1:19.088): "This morning's practice session went well, however I am a little bit disappointed with my lap times from the Qualifying session compared to our rivals as I was expecting to be closer to their times this weekend. Having said that, I think that we did everything we could in our preparation for tomorrow and I believe that I have a good set-up for the race, so I am looking forward to it."
Franck Montagny (22nd, 1:19.152): "I am quite happy with our results today. We have come a long way with the car since yesterday and I am quite happy with the set-up we have found. It is not going to be easy for us again tomorrow, but I like this circuit and the car is quite nice to drive here, a bit slow, but at least it is not so hard to keep the car on the track, so I think it will be a fun race."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "The team has done a very good job today. The cars' performance is low and we are not happy to be two seconds off the nearest car's pace, but on the positive side we did not encounter any problems and we completed our planned race preparations. The team is working extremely well together and growing stronger with every race, so I am happy about that and hope that we can achieve another two-car finish tomorrow."