UNITED STATES GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Giancarlo Fisichella (3rd, 1:11.920): "I am really pleased to be third on the grid because this has not been the best circuit for us so far this weekend. I was quite happy with the car today, but we still have grip problems and we don't know why. Looking to the race, I am feeling confident and we have to be optimistic about our chances. We need to fight for a good finish to keep ourselves in a strong position in the championship."
Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:12.449): "I did the maximum possible today. The car was understeering this morning and we worked to try and correct it during practice. In the end, we were adding front wing during qualifying as well to get a better balance, but it was still difficult to drive and costing me time. The Grand Prix tomorrow will be a long one, so hopefully the strategy will work well for us and help me gain positions. I will be aiming for the podium, and trying to limit the damage in the championship."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It seemed obvious after practice this morning that we would not be able to race Ferrari this weekend, and it would have been wrong to compromise our race strategy by going for the front row today. Giancarlo put in some excellent qualifying laps today and deserved his place on the second row. We were not able to get rid of the understeer on Fernando's car but although this has compromised his performance today, things may turn in his favour tomorrow with track temperatures expected to be in the high 40s. On the tyre side, the main concern this weekend was the durability of the tyres. The professional engineering approach Michelin took to the problems they experienced last year has solved that, and we look forward to a safe race tomorrow. There is no doubt it will also be a very tough Grand Prix, but we will certainly be racing for the podium."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager:f' "Last weekend in Montreal, our grid positions made us favourites for the race; today, we are much more clearly the challengers, with very strong opposition ahead of us on the grid. On the engine side, the weekend has unfolded normally and the RS26 engines have performed strongly. Our straightline speeds are competitive, which leaves us in a strong position for the race, and we are confident in our strategy. It will be an extremely hot Grand Prix, which could have consequences for the reliability of all the engines on a circuit where they are under extreme duress. We expect a race full of difficult challenges, but one in which, if we perform to our potential, we can still score plenty of points."
Kimi Raikkonen (9th, 1:13.174): "Obviously the Bridgestone runners seem to have a bit of an advantage today but that happens sometimes. We are not as quick as we would like, but we have a strong race strategy, so we will see what happens tomorrow. Ninth is not ideal but a podium should be possible in what I hope will be an exciting race."
Juan Pablo Montoya (11th, 1:12.150): "That was a shame as I should have been in the last session today. On my second flying run I had a bit of traffic, but the team reacted well and called me in to change tyres, however we missed the opportunity for a final attempt by only a few seconds. We have a strong race car, and we will now focus on establishing the best strategy possible."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "We knew that the Bridgestone runners would be very competitive in qualifying and consequently we adopted a race strategy which we feel will give us the best chance for a strong result."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The speed today was not what we would have wished - grid positions nine and 11 are definitely very disappointing. Nevertheless we think that our strategy is good as we know that our Michelin tyres will work well in the race."
Michael Schumacher (1st, 1:10.832): "I am very happy! It would be hard to expect better from this weekend, at least so far: yesterday Germany and Italy got through to the World Cup semi-finals, today I got pole with Felipe alongside me. To complete the job, we need to win tomorrow and I will be trying my hardest to do so. Of course, I am a bit surprised at the gap to the others, but this is further confirmation that if all elements of our package are at their best, we are really competitive. The 248 F1 has been well balanced since yesterday and the Bridgestone tyres have been very consistent in terms of performance, even in race configuration. This is the start of the second half of the season and clearly every race is ever more important to reduce the gap in both championships and we will try and start doing this as from tomorrow."
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:11.435): "It was a very good day, which I hope will be rounded off with a win for Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals. I am very happy to be on the front row, as it is a very important result for the team. Now however, we must concentrate on the race. The car was very competitive. Over the course of the weekend we made various set- up changes which improved our performance. The Bridgestone tyres were very good, both over a single timed lap and over a distance. Tomorrow, it will be important to make a good start and ensure that those behind us don't manage to get between us. I am sure we have a very good chance."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This was a dream qualifying! For the second time this season, we have an all-red front row of the grid and we are particularly pleased to have managed it today for various reasons: for our large number of American fans, who have given us a very warm welcome, for the team that has worked well, for our technical and commercial partners, especially Bridgestone, for me personally, as today I celebrate the end of my thirteenth year at the head of the Scuderia. All that aside, it's points that count and we still have to get them. Tomorrow we have a good chance of winning, but we are well aware it could be difficult. The decisive parameters will be the same as ever: reliability, especially on the engine side, as this is the second race for them on both our cars on a very demanding track and with high temperatures; consistency of tyre performance; the talent of our drivers and their ability to avoid making mistakes; the work of the team. If all the pieces of the jigsaw go together, we can aspire to a good result."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We've been very pleased with our performance all weekend so far, as we saw yesterday in practice that the Bridgestone tyres were working extremely well in terms of consistency and performance. I am optimistic that this will carry through into the race. We need to have a good race tomorrow and today all the elements came together, so let's hope we see the same again tomorrow. I felt we have had a strong car in both these last two weekends so Canada was a bit disappointing. But the tyres are working better here so we are seeing the true performance level of the car. I hope we get a good start tomorrow and then we can run the race we want."
Ralf Schumacher (8th, 1:12.795): "In general it was a pain-free qualifying session for me. We had a very good car in the first two sessions today and we were able to push well without problems. In Session 3 we seemed to struggle a bit more with grip and balance. That made it hard to get the best out of the car on a fast lap. As a result I wasn't happy with my last run and I think I could have done slightly better. But we have still made it to P8 which is an achievement and a reasonable place to start tomorrow. Hopefully we can bring a good result home in the race."
Jarno Trulli (20th, 1:13.787): "Unfortunately that was a short session for me today because we suffered a problem with our rear suspension on my first flying lap. We were on old tyres and the problem did not affect my lap time too much but it would have been too risky to go out again. I had to visit the weighbridge before the team could start changing the rear central element and we just didn't have enough time to complete the change before the end of Session 1. By then I was outside the top 16 so that was the end of my afternoon. It is a particular pity because both yesterday and this morning the car felt strong and we were in good shape to challenge in qualifying. Now we are in the worst possible place for tomorrow's race but we will try our best to make up ground."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Again today we struggled to have two cars running at the same time on the track. Jarno had a problem with the central element of his rear suspension which we could not fix during Q1 so that was it for him. Ralf's pace was very good and he made the top ten without any issues. The problem Ralf had yesterday with vibrations was much better today but it has not gone away completely so we will continue to investigate that tonight. But considering the strategy we have we are happy about his qualifying today. For the race we will have to run low downforce levels because you cannot sacrifice top speed here. Cars follow each other quite closely on the banking and it is definitely possible to pass on the straight. We have done most of our practice sessions on old tyres so we have a good idea of what performance levels to expect. Our Bridgestone tyres are strong over one lap and consistent so we are in good shape."
Mark Webber (12th, 1:12.292): "We need a lot more grip than we could muster today, a bit like the situation in Montreal, but the pace of the Ferraris is very strong, indicating the tyres are okay, so we just need to work harder with the car. We have struggled on the infield section all weekend, balancing wing level, top speed and grip. Sunday sometimes shows a different pace relative to the competition, so we'll see tomorrow, but it might be quite tough for us."
Nico Rosberg (19th, 1:13.506): "Going out in the first session is not what we wanted but it was very difficult and I couldn't feel the car properly, the grip wasn't there and if I can't feel the car, I can't push for those extra few tenths without making a mistake. We don't really know where the problem is, but we knew today would be difficult for us."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We missed Q2 with Nico and Mark narrowly missed out on Q3 by one and a half tenths. The car should be stronger on race pace tomorrow with our tyre choice and the set-up we have selected for Sunday, but clearly our target is to run in the final qualifying session, so we have a lot of work to do. The cars ran without problems and now we will look at our race strategy to see how we can get some points out of tomorrow."
Sean O'Mahony, Cosworth: "Today we basically worked through the programme and we had no engine issues. Here at Indianapolis there is probably more opportunity to overtake than some other circuits, so we need to work with Williams to maximise available engine power for tomorrow's race."
Rubens Barrichello (4th, 1:12.109): "I'm really happy with my position today. The car is certainly competitive and I enjoyed the qualifying session. I would like to thank everybody in the team because we have all done a good job to get the best possible from the car today. For sure the race will be tough and we have to keep pushing hard because we have some tough competition behind us on the grid. My aim now is to push for a good points finish and I think we have the car to do that. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Jenson Button (7th, 1:12.523): "I'm pleased with the way qualifying went today. The car was well-balanced and I think I have a good strategy. The challenge will be getting past the cars directly in front of me but generally I think we can have a strong race and points for both of us is certainly a possibility here. It should be a great race for the fans tomorrow."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "This has been a good day for us. The engine has been working very well throughout the weekend and the overnight changes were effective. As a result both drivers were quite quick this morning. Qualifying was less nail-biting than it has been lately as Jenson and Rubens sailed through into Q3. We are happy with their starting positions as well as our race set-up and strategy and we look forward to tomorrow's race when we'll put up a good fight."
Christian Klien (16th, 1:12.925): "Thanks Bubba.... The car was actually more competitive in the first part of qualifying, when the track temperature was quite a bit lower so I was able to achieve P13. In the second session I had more oversteer and struggled in the corners. I couldn't go any quicker and it's disappointing to finish in P16. That's it for now. We'll be back after the break to speak with Billy Bob Horner"
David Coulthard (17th, 1:13.180): "Thanks Bob.... I was quite surprised by my first run in qualifying, the car felt more together than this morning; I was half a second quicker and set my best time of the weekend. I then put a little bit of front wing in to the car to try and accommodate for the new set of tyres, but I picked up more understeer. It made the car very unpredictable to drive and I lost time. I think we're just not very good in low downforce trim, I can't get comfortable with my corner entries and use my strength, which is to carry speed into the turns. I was always going to be a prime candidate not to make it through to the second part of qualifying, based on this morning's session. So, that's all from me, let's see what Chris 'Bob' Klien's got to say"
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Howdy Bubba and Bob... Our performance was about as disappointing as England's football performance today. Obviously Bridgestone has bought a very strong tyre here, which has mixed the grid round a bit. But, we know we'll be better on longer runs so we'll see what tomorrow brings. Tune in tomorrow for more from Bubba, Bob and me, Christian 'Billy Bob' Horner..."
Jacques Villeneuve (6th, 1:12.479): "I am quite happy because in the middle of the second qualifying session it looked like it would be tough to get into the top ten, but then it worked out. We are very close to Fernando Alonso, and just needed a few hundredths of a second to be in front of him. That makes it a bit frustrating, but there were a few mistakes on that lap. However, this weekend we concentrated on the set up for the race more than for the qualifying, so I am quite confident for the race."
Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:15.280): "We were really quick here in qualifying. Most of the time I was ahead of Jacques so a good starting position would have been possible for me. Unfortuanly my car stopped suddenly, and we don't know why yet. It didn't feel like an engine problem, so I think I will be able to start from tenth on the grid."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This was our strongest qualifying so far this season from a performance level. In the second part of qualifying we made it easily into the final session. A car on the third row of the grid is our best result so far. Unfortunately Nick had a problem in the third part and we have to now analyse this, but from looking at data it seems to be an electronic problem. We are confident we will have both cars in good shape for the race."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "The second part of qualifying was especially very exciting for us. Following Nick's good performance in the early part of this session, we decided to send him out for only one run to save a set of tyres. Jacques' performance in the second part of qualifying was also very strong. We had very high hopes for the top ten qualifying, and Jacques managed to turn our hopes into reality. Being sixth on the grid is brilliant. I am certain Nick would have also been able to leave one of the favourites behind him."
Christijan Albers (14th, 1:12.854): "The session may have looked good on paper, but we still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, because tomorrow is the day that counts, not today. Today we were able to celebrate a little bit, but we don't get points for qualifying, so we have to remain focused on running a good race. I'm still finding it quite difficult to set quick times, to be honest. I'm not really settled with the set-up and I'm not feeling 100% comfortable yet with the car. So we need to work overnight and see what we can do, because I'm sure we can still go faster."
Tiago Monteiro (15th, 1:12.864): "I think this is a great result for the team! We finally got both cars into the second session, and that's a major boost for everyone. After our performance in Canada, we thought we might be able to do it here but we weren't really sure. After our performance yesterday, we knew there was potential, so we went for it, and both cars were very competitive today. In my last run, I lost two or three tenths in the last corner that leads to the straight. The back end stepped out on me as a result of pushing so hard, but I took the risk because I thought we might even be able to get into the top ten. Still, it was a great day for Portugal today, both for myself and our football team, and I'm very proud to display my country's logo on my car and racing suit in the race tomorrow."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "This is the first time we've had both our cars in front of the Red Bulls, and that's the way we'd like to have it more often. For me, the time gaps to the cars ahead are more important than grid positions, and that's also getting closer all the time. Bridgestone definitely has a good tyre for this race, but our success today can be attributed to the whole package working well, not just one component."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It was a very positive build-up, beginning yesterday and progressing all the way through this morning's practice sessions. The boys did a magnificent job in enabling us to get into a position where we got both cars through to the second round. We didn't embarrass ourselves in any way, and we didn't end up in last position in the second session, either. From that point of view, it's extremely encouraging. Once again, a great deal of credit goes to the mechanics, engineers and the drivers for a job well done."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "This was by far our best qualifying session of the year, and we're obviously very happy with that. Full credit to the mechanics and engineers who put their heads down and worked very hard to improve the car since Canada; they turned out a very good car for the sessions today. Both drivers did a fantastic job to make full use of the performance potential and turn in some quick laps. Race-wise, we know we've got a good tyre and we're looking forward to completing this weekend with our best race result of the season."
Scott Speed (13th, 1:12.792): "I am convinced we need to have more races in America, because we seem to have better luck in qualifying. This was the first time for several races that I didn't run into traffic. We did a good job of engineering the car today. We have a good balance on new and old tyres which is hard to get here and that should carry through to the race. It's great to out-qualify the Red Bull Racing guys! Starting this far up the grid, I think we've got a great opportunity for points."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st, 1:14.041): "I had a massive problem with understeer on the first lap with new tyres. At Turn 8, I went over the kerb and the car flew about one and a half metres into the air. I think I must have broken something at the front and was not able to do another quick lap. I don't know where all the understeer came from, with a big shift in balance we did not expect from what we had seen in the morning."
Takuma Sato (18th, 1:13.496): "It was a fantastic Qualifying session. We made good progress throughout the practice sessions and the car has felt good all weekend. To be able to set our best Qualifying position and to be competitive in quite gusty and very hot conditions is great. I am extremely happy to be in this position for the race tomorrow and would like to thank everyone in the team for their hard work so far this weekend."
Franck Montagny (22nd, 1:16.036): "It has been a bad day, again. During Qualifying we had another problem and this cannot keep happening every race weekend. It makes it extremely difficult to concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing because you have to focus on solving the problems and not on making progress. I hope we have a better day tomorrow but right now I am very disappointed about this Qualifying position for me."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "The team did a very good job today. Our only problem, but a major one, was with the electronics on Franck's car. I do not know why this continues to happen, but we have to find a solution. Setting a Qualifying time is so important and I feel very sorry for Franck. The opposite can be said of Taku's session today. He did a very good job, his qualifying time was perfect and his car was performing well. Taku's mechanics and engineers did a great job today and I am very happy that we finished in 18th position for the first time. I am especially happy for Taku as he enjoys this circuit and has fond memories from the US Grand Prix in 2004 when he achieved his first podium. I hope that we have a good race tomorrow and a good result from both Taku and Franck."