GERMAN GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Giancarlo Fisichella (5th, 1:14.894): "I think we did the maximum we could today with the engineers and on the track. Unfortunately though, some other cars were quicker this afternoon. There are some big gaps to the cars in front, so maybe we can expect some variation in strategy, but we will have to race hard whatever happens. It will be important to make a good start and then keep the pace. I am confident we will be quick on the long runs, so hopefully everything will come together in the race."
Fernando Alonso (7th, 1:15.282): "Today, I don't think we ever got our tyres working properly on the timed lap and even before the session, we knew it might be a little bit difficult for us this afternoon. Obviously, starting from seventh position makes our job quite a hard one, but I am still confident for tomorrow. I think we have competitive pace on the long runs, and now we need to believe in the choices we have made for set-up and strategy, and let the race unfold. Hopefully, we can make it to the podium tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Fifth and seventh are certainly not the grid positions we had hoped for this afternoon, which is surprising as the balance of the car did not seem too bad for either driver. Rather, it was a question of grip today. Our tyres have started working better as the temperatures have risen this weekend, and a continuation of that trend tomorrow will certainly help our chances in the race."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "It is clear from this afternoon's qualifying session that we are not in our usual strong position in terms of our overall competitiveness. Although the run to the first corner is short at this circuit, making it hard to gain ground, we usually see plenty of action on the first lap - and both of our drivers will have to race aggressively to make up positions. In terms of engine performance, this is a demanding circuit and we expect the temperatures tomorrow to be high. However, neither unit has yet missed a beat this weekend, and we intend to maintain our strong reliability record. We must now be confident that our car will be able to run at a quick, consistent race pace and wait and see how the race unfolds as the cars make their first pit-stops tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:14.070): "It was great to get pole today as the car has been working really well all weekend. We had some new developments at the test last week and it is clear that they have moved us in the right direction. Obviously today is only half the story, but I like this track, and we will have to see what happens in the race tomorrow. Unfortunately I went off the track on my last flying lap, I knew I was slower than on my first attempt, so I pushed a bit harder and ran out of space on the corner, it is one of those things, but it didn't make any difference."
Pedro de la Rosa (9th, 1:15.936): "Qualifying three was a bit messy for me and ninth place is not what I expected after it had gone so well in the first two qualifying sessions. The car has been handling really well throughout the weekend and our Michelin tyres performed consistently. Unfortunately Ralf Schumacher hit me at the hairpin and consequently my right rear tyre blew, obviously this was a misunderstanding of both parties. When I came into the pits there was rubber from the incident in my brake duct which caused a small fire. However I am looking forward to the race where we should be competitive."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Pole is a very good position to avoid any first lap incidents and allows Kimi the ability to race in clean air. I'm sure Pedro would have done better if it hadn't been for his collision with Ralf Schumacher. As you expect the team is looking forward to a competitive race."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A super qualifying lap by Kimi. Pole position at Mercedes-Benz's home Grand Prix is a nice reward for all the efforts of the team to further improve our technical package during the last few weeks. Our speed was good, and mostly the best in the Michelin camp, throughout all the sessions, and we chose an aggressive strategy. Pedro's performance was hampered when his right rear tyre was punctured following Ralf driving into him. We are now looking forward to tomorrow's German Grand Prix when we want to perform well in front of the many Mercedes-Benz supporters."
Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:14.205): "We know we can count on a very strong car-engine-Bridgestone tyre which should give us a good race pace, so we can be confident for tomorrow. We had no problems at all and things have gone well all weekend. The track will still rubber in a bit more, especially as it rained yesterday. My somewhat aggressive entry into the pits? Nothing strange, I was just in a hurry, but I had a bit of graining which prevented me from pulling off the manoeuvre the way I wanted, but in the end nothing happened and that was also the case when it comes to the incident with Fernando in Q3. In certain situations, for example when you are changing tyres at the same time as your team-mate, you cannot see everything clearly and you have to rely on the team as to when to pull away from the pit stop. Even though I have not had that much success in this race in the past, Hockenheim is one of my favourite dates on the calendar and I'm looking forward to racing tomorrow in front of so many of my fans."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:14.569): "Third place is definitely not bad, but I felt I could have done better. I had expected to be fighting for pole, after the car felt very strong on old tyres in this morning's free practice. But at least the good pace I showed in race trim this morning means I can be optimistic for tomorrow. We have a very strong car- engine-Bridgestone tyre package and I hope everything turns out the way we expect it to, but the competition is very close so it will be a tough race."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It was a very closely contested qualifying, especially in the final part when the drivers were fighting not only for pole but also to get the best track position from which to produce a quick lap. We are satisfied with this result, which sees us with one driver on the front row and the other on the second. Both Michael and Felipe produced a great performance and both the 248 F1 and the Bridgestone tyres were up to the task in hand. Now we come to the most important part of the weekend, which is of course the race. The factors that will decide the finishing order are the usual ones: reliability, tyre performance, team work, strategy and of course the performance of those at the wheel. With seven races to go to the end of the championship and with the gap we need to close up in both championships, it is clear what are our objectives. I hope with all my heart that we can reach them, both tomorrow and come the end of the season."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We are happy with this qualifying result, although obviously we would have preferred to be on pole. However, with this format, the result of the third part of the session inevitably reflects the different strategies chosen by the teams. We think our cars proved to be very competitive, as can be seen from the times set in Q1 and Q2 and the Bridgestone tyres also worked well. Track conditions are steadily improving and they even changed during the qualifying hour. We are reasonably confident about tomorrow's race."
Ralf Schumacher (8th, 1:15.923): "The weekend was going well for me until Q3, when the unfortunate collision with de la Rosa caused me to lose a lot of time. It looked to me that he was opening the gap for me to overtake on the inside and then he just turned in the last moment, where I could not react anymore. These things can happen and are just normal racing incidents. It was just a shame because the performance until then was good and I was in third position. But I really thank the guys for working fast to get the car out again so that I move up to 8th place. I think we really could have qualified much better for tomorrow, but this position can also be promising for attaining points."
Jarno Trulli (13th, 1:15.150): "This weekend seems to be challenging for me. Yesterday I could not go out as much during practice and then things started out problematic today during the third practice session. I went out to do some installation laps and noticed that the engine was feeling strange and then had to stop the car. The engine needed to be changed out and therefore decided to prepare the T-Car to save time in order to be ready for qualifying. Q1 started well for me and my pace was really good. The T-Car set-up was feeling ok, but during Q2 we decided to go out only once. It will be a difficult fight from the back, but I am confident we can make the best of it and push to the front."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Unfortunately we had an unexpected engine failure on Jarno's car during the third practice session. We decided to change to the T-Car to be ready in time for the qualifying sessions. Obviously today's qualifying session was quite difficult for us and did not go as we planned. We were expecting better results, and hoped to be as competitive as in Magny Cours with both cars in the top six. We started quite well with Jarno in Q1 having a fast time, but we decided to only go out once in Q2 to save new tyres. With Ralf everything was going fine until his contact with de la Rosa. In the end Ralf did a good job taking 8th place with the fuel load that he had. We look forward to an interesting race tomorrow and a hard fight for points."
Mark Webber (11th, 1:15.094): "We weren't as competitive in qualifying as we will probably be in the race, although it seemed to be going well for us this afternoon until we looked at the lap times of the other cars. I think our pace this afternoon was compromised by understeer and grip levels and if we had solved this, we would have definitely made it into Q3. I enjoyed myself out there and was happy with how the sessions went, but now I am looking forward to the race."
Nico Rosberg (15th, 1:15.380): "This morning I really felt very comfortable in the car, so it's hard to identify what was missing in qualifying. I was expecting to be a lot quicker, especially as the session went on. I didn't seem able to improve on my second set of tyres and I couldn't find the confidence I wanted under braking, which is important here. I am sure our tyres are strong and the difficult thing here is always finding a compromise between qualifying and race set-up, so for sure tomorrow we will be looking a lot stronger and will have a good race pace."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "The car is getting better and we just missed out on Q3 by half a tenth of a second. We took a few set-up decisions to suit race conditions, perhaps at the expense of qualifying pace, so we are expecting to have a strong race pace tomorrow. Everything else on the car has been steady and strong across all the sessions so far this weekend, so we are confident Mark and Nico will be able to race for points tomorrow."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "Another trouble free day for Cosworth here in Hockenheim, with both engines running their normal qualifying duty. Following a successful test in Jerez a couple of weeks ago and continued progress on the dyno in Northampton, we are able to offer Mark and Nico improved race performance from their CA2006 Series 6 engines for tomorrow."
Jenson Button (4th, 1:14.862): "Obviously this is a very positive qualifying result for us and I'm really pleased that I'll be starting from the second row tomorrow. We've looked competitive all through the weekend but I'd prefer to wait and see how the race pans out. Generally though I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think it should be a great race."
Rubens Barrichello (6th, 1:14.934): "I really feel like I had a great lap today and I think our result shows that it's back to reality in a way. We had a difficult time in France but we are closer now to where we should be again. We had a much better test in Jerez and we seemed to have made some good progress with the car in a number of areas. I think we can translate today's qualifying into a positive performance tomorrow and we should be able to have a strong race with some good points for both of us."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We had a good day today and are very satisfied with our qualifying performance . Both Jenson and Rubens did a great job. The hotter track temperatures today suited our car and tyres, and the team's hard work is starting to pay off. So far we have been able to improve a little with each session and the new engine specification is working well. Let's see what tomorrow brings."
David Coulthard (10th, 1:16.326): "It's great to get through to the top ten, it's just disappointing that once we're there, that's where we stay, in tenth. I'd no fresh tyres remaining in the last qualifying stint, so I wasn't able to attack so much. The nature of this circuit makes it tricky to drive in some of the turns. The high-speed entries to Turn one and the stadium are followed by very short apexes, so how you commit to that first phase of the circuit can be tricky to judge. It's difficult to nail the exact position that you need to take. But, other than that, a solid day today."
Christian Klien (12th, 1:15.141): "I expected to be in the top ten today, as this morning was so good, but I finished the second qualifying stint just one tenth away from it. It's a bit of a shame that I didn't improve on my second new tyre run - I had a little bit of traffic. The car was well balanced, so I was pretty happy, and the tyres worked well meaning we were quite competitive. From P12 on the grid, we still should have a good race tomorrow."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "For the second race in succession, David put in a solid qualifying performance and made it through into the top ten. Tenth and twelfth are respectable starting positions. I think that we've been reasonable through the weekend so far, and we'll obviously be looking to move forward from those positions during the race."
Jacques Villeneuve (14th, 1:15.329): "We knew we would not be that quick, but this was disappointing as that was a mistake free lap. The balance of the car was good, the set-up of the car was good but I just could not go any faster. We improved the car a lot overnight. However, we still definitely need to work on the engine and the chassis."
Nick Heidfeld (16th, 1:15.397): "I was hoping for a bit more from today, but I didn't expect us to make it into the top ten. Currently we are just not fast enough, and at the same time the Bridgestone tyres have become stronger. My car had slight oversteer, but in general it was okay. I discovered the tyres work better on their second lap and that is why I didn't drive on the limit on my first flying lap."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Qualifying confirmed the impression we got after today's free practice: we are not fast enough here. Obviously the restrictions on our aerodynamics have penalised us and dropped us back, but we will continue on our development work in this area. But first of all we will focus on the race. We now have the opportunity to adapt the race strategy and decide what fuel loads we will start with."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "We are obviously disappointed with this result, but after this morning's free practice it didn't come as a surprise. With our starting positions we will have a difficult race. To make the best of the situation we have to choose the right strategy and hope our drivers make good starts, as they have done recently."
Christijan Albers (18th, 1:17.093): "We are pushing to turn around what has been a terrible weekend for us so far. We had bad luck on Friday morning with our engine problem. Then, of course, the rain in the afternoon limited us to a few laps and basically wasted the second session for everyone. This morning, we had electronic problems, so it's been one thing after another. But looking at the positive side, I can see this qualifying effort as a victory, because I think I did a pretty good time on the set of tyres I had, compared to my teammate and the strategy he was running. In that sense, I think my engineers and mechanics did a good job. Now, we'll do our best to run a smart, consistent race tomorrow and see what happens."
Tiago Monteiro (20th, 1:17.836): "This was the second time in as many qualifying sessions that Mr. Coulthard, who's been around long enough to know better, blocked me on my flying lap. He did it to me in qualifying at Magny-Cours, he did it to Christijan in practice yesterday and he did it to me again today. It's unbelievable, because he's the first one to moan about it in the driver briefings when he thinks someone's done it to him, and yet he thinks he can do it to everyone else. Obviously, this time we're going to complain to the stewards about it, because it's just too much. It's a shame, because I think I could have had a decent run, based on the speed I had on my first aborted lap, when Speed shunted. But unfortunately, we couldn't do it because of Mr. Coulthard. Looking ahead, I still think we'll be OK in the race because we've made the right tyre choice. So with a good strategy and some luck, we might be able to salvage something this weekend."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "It's been a difficult weekend for us from the very beginning. Unfortunately, we just haven't been as competitive at this track as we have been at other circuits. We are struggling to get the temperature into the tyres, so we will have to look into the cause of this problem. But the fact remains that Tiago couldn't putt his qualifying lap together because Coulthard blocked him, and that likely cost him a grid position. We will see what the stewards have to say about this."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "Not our best performance, obviously. But we've got a good tyre for the race, which is important for us in terms of running consistently and enabling us to finish the weekend with a more positive outlook for Hungary."
James Key, Technical Director: "Unfortunately, we didn't get through to the second qualifying session, as we had at the last two races. It's disappointing, but then the entire weekend hasn't really gone our way so far. The red flag during the first session compromised everyone, but it certainly affected our drivers, because they were only able to get in one flying lap each. Tiago had traffic on his, which meant he didn't get the times in the second and third sectors that he wanted. Christijan just put a time in to see where we were, really, because obviously with the engine change, he's going to be at the back of the grid, anyway. He did fine, considering how we were running him. I think it's going to be an interesting race tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th, 1:16.399): "It was a difficult qualifying and you can see now how we are beginning to suffer because of the lack of development on the V10 engine. We are struggling more and more. But overall, I think I did the best with what I had, even if I am disappointed not to have made it into the next part of the session. I can't blame Scott's red flag for my result. It was a shame for him."
Scott Speed (22nd, No Time): "When you're running towards the back of the field, you have to find new ways to get media coverage and I guess I did that today! But seriously, I had been riding that kerb all weekend with no problem, but then today in qualifying, I didn't do anything different in the way I tackled it, but the car seemed to get much more upset and I lost control of it. At first, I kept my foot down on the throttle, because everything felt normal, but then I had a hard time bringing the car back into line and it spat me across to the outside. How bad is the car? I didn't look!"
Takuma Sato (19th, 1:17.185): "This was an absolutely fantastic team effort and it feels great. I know how hard it has been to bring the new car here on such a tight schedule and overnight the boys worked so hard. We had a few minor problems, which is usual with a new car, but I think the SA06 is performing very well. We have split the Midland car times straight away in our first proper qualifying, which is a stunning job from everybody in the team. I think that, considering this is just our first step in the SA06, potentially this car could be very good."
Sakon Yamamoto (21st, 1:20.444): "This morning we were practicing for the qualifying session and we had a good car set-up, so during my first run I was able to set really good lap times. We then tried a new set of tyres and set-up and I wanted to know where the limit of the car was, so I used 100% of the car's performance, but unfortunately I left the track. I am so sorry that the team now has to work on my SA06 for tomorrow, but I am very much looking forward to my first race."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "Taku did a very good job in Qualifying today. However we must remember that this is not our complete SA06 package and that we still have to work very hard for every forthcoming race. Sakon set consistently good times this morning, but he pushed too hard towards the end. Hopefully both he and Takuma will have a good race tomorrow and we will have both SA06 cars cross the finish line here in Germany."