HUNGARIAN GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Giancarlo Fisichella (8th, 1:20.924): "We said yesterday that the grip level was very low out on the circuit and with the cool temperatures continuing today, it hasn't changed much. The balance of the car on new tyres was a bit different in qualifying compared to practice and I struggled with low grip, but things felt much better when we had some fuel onboard in the final fuel-burning part of the session. In terms of my timed laps in third qualifying, I put in one solid lap then made some mistakes on the second one, so couldn't improve my time. But I am on the clean side of the track for the start, and feeling very positive for tomorrow - much more so than in the last few races. The car is getting better and better with every lap we do this weekend, so I am expecting a fun race."
Fernando Alonso (15th, 1:21.364): "This was a really unusual qualifying session for me, but everything went well. It is a shame to have lost positions with the penalty, but now is the time to stop talking about it and look forward to making the most of the race. It hasn't changed anything for me, apart from the starting position, but with Michael penalised as well we have not lost so much. We know the Renault is working well with the Michelin tyres because I was able to set competitive times, and I think it will be even better tomorrow. Nobody has really done any long runs at all yet this weekend, so it will be a learning experience for us all in the race. I have the feeling we will be quite strong thanks to the tyre consistency, so let's keep our fingers crossed, stay positive and focused, and see what the race brings."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Giancarlo will have plenty of work to do tomorrow in making up ground from seventh on the grid, but the strong performance of the Michelin tyre meant we adjusted our strategy accordingly, so his relative position once we have taken fuel loads into account may not be as bad as it might seem. As for Fernando, he was obviously limited in what he could achieve with the imposition of his two-second penalty. He did everything possible to mitigate its effects and put in some exceptional laps in the first two sessions. Once again, we hope the tyre consistency will pay for him tomorrow, and I hope his fight with Michael will be as enjoyable as if it had been happening at the front of the field."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Even more than usual, the early stages of the qualifying session today served as the best clue as to the balance of power in terms of single-lap performance this weekend. The penalties applied to Fernando and Schumacher in the session have left us with the two strongest cars starting in the midfield - and the promise of a spectacular race. The cornerstone of the team's work this weekend has been achieving strong race performance and concentrating on the management of our tyres. We believe we have found a good compromise and on the engine side, every session has run smoothly. Looking to tomorrow, there are still plenty of question marks - particularly in terms of the true race performance of our competitors and the weather. I think we can expect an action-packed afternoon."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:19.599): "That was a really good qualifying session and to come out with pole position is really great. The car has been quick all weekend, and I am confident that we have made an excellent choice with our Michelin tyres. I believe we have a very strong car for tomorrow, and I am looking forward to the race where we have every chance to win. The work we have done in testing has really made a difference and improved our package over the last two weekends."
Pedro de la Rosa (5th, 1:20.117): "I am very pleased with that result as it was generally a great qualifying session. It is very tight, but we have a very good car for the race and I am confident in our Michelin tyre choice for tomorrow. We selected the tyres which we expect to work better in the race, and so I am quite surprised that we are as high up. Our biggest strength for tomorrow will be the consistency in the tyres so I am looking forward to a very competitive race."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "The outstanding performance of both Kimi and Pedro is a practical demonstration of the improvements the team have made to the performance of the car at the Jerez test preceding Hockenheim. Our race strategy should give both drivers every chance to attack the podium."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "What a thriller! An exciting pole lap by Kimi with a stunning last sector time, and an excellent job from Pedro. Both cars on the first two rows of the grid is a great outcome from today's qualifying. Kimi on his last run was about three tenths quicker than Felipe Massa and Pedro's performance was just 32 thousandth shy of third place on the grid. We now are well positioned for tomorrow's race."
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:19.886): "It was a good qualifying and it is always important to start from the front row. Maybe I could have been on pole, but I had a bit of traffic even from the moment I came out of pit lane on my out lap for my second timed run. That meant my tyres were not up to temperature, especially going into the first corner. Apart from that, I am happy with the package I have. We have worked well over the past two days, fine tuning the car and trying to get the most out of the Bridgestone tyres. I think that even on old tyres, I will be able to maintain a good pace and I will be out to get the best result possible."
Michael Schumacher (12th, 1:20.875): "I prefer not to go into a long explanation of what happened this morning. Everyone can form their own opinion, looking at the replay. I would rather just concentrate on preparing for tomorrow's race as well as possible in these unfortunate circumstances. Eleventh place was the best I could hope for, taking into account the penalty given me by the Stewards. At least it means I start from the clean side of the track. I hope to make a good start and move up a few places and I will be trying to make the best of it tomorrow."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Obviously, this qualifying session did not go the way we might have expected. Felipe fought for pole position right to the end and managed to put his Ferrari on the front row of the grid after a great qualifying performance. It is clear that the Ferrari package, made up of the 248 F1 and the Bridgestone tyres is very competitive, but Michael's penalty for what happened in this morning's free practice made it more or less impossible for him to get through to the final part of qualifying. Thanks to some fantastic laps, Michael did the best he could, which equates to eleventh place on the grid. I do not wish to comment on the Stewards' decision: everyone can draw their own conclusions. On a track where overtaking is particularly difficult, the decisive factors will be the same as ever: reliability, strategy, tyre performance, teamwork and the performance of the drivers. It's possible that the tyres will play an even more important role than usual. Obviously, we will only find out about this in the race. For our part, we will do our utmost to produce the best result possible."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Naturally, we are very disappointed about what happened and by that I am referring of course to events involving Michael in this morning's free practice. It's true he made a mistake, but I leave it to you to decide if the penalty was fair. It's a shame because we had a great potential and we were unable to exploit it. Felipe drove a really good qualifying and probably lost pole because of a little bit of traffic as he was coming out of pit lane to start his final run. Track conditions improved and the tyres have begun to behave as we had expected, which is encouraging. The 248 F1 are well balanced and we will try and make the most of this situation. The race will be very tough and we have to think carefully about the strategic decisions we have to make before and during the race."
Ralf Schumacher (7th, 1:20.759): "Considering the difficult circumstances we can be pretty pleased with what we achieved today. Everyone expected hotter conditions for this race weekend and we have all had our problems with it. The main problem with this cool weather is graining. When the tyres are working under their normal temperature range a rough surface develops which prevents the tyres from having sufficient grip. The tyre basically "dissolves" and you have a big grip problem. As a result you have either understeer or oversteer. But the team did a great job and it looks like we've chosen the right tyre so it's promising for tomorrow. I have a good finishing record here and our recent performances have shown that we are on the up so I hope we can continue that trend in the race."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:21.132): "This weekend has been difficult for everyone because of the problems with tyre graining. Because it is so hard to understand how best to use the tyres it has made it difficult to set up the car so everything was a bit of a guess for me today. Throughout the session I was missing out on general grip and struggling with the balance. Still, we have done well to make it into the top ten and now we have to look to get the most out of tomorrow's race. In the past I've always done well here in Hungary but missed out on results. Tomorrow will be another hard race but at recent races we've been moving up the grid in terms of our performance so we will try to bring home a good result."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Tyres are always an important factor but this time in Budapest they are just overriding everything else. The cooler conditions have a complex effect, bringing the compound into a window where they tend to grain. The low temperature also induces warming-up issues, making the tyres slide and leading to huge graining, which is what we've seen in the last two days. So in absolute terms we lack grip, but it is the same for everyone and in relative terms we are not doing badly. Qualifying went well with no major issues. So far it seems we've tried to take a different approach from the other teams and we are very pleased with the outcome of this qualifying. We are in a good position and we are really looking forward to tomorrow afternoon."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:20.266): "Starting from fifth place on the grid is obviously positive, but I am a little bit concerned about the race because the car has been a bit tricky on long runs this weekend. However, we must capitalise on this good starting position and we'll give our all to ensure everything goes well in the race."
Nico Rosberg (18th, 1:22.084): "It was generally difficult for me today because I was experiencing much more grip on my new tyres than I had in the morning and I had to get used to everything very quickly. It was going well until the final sector of my last lap, but then I pushed too hard and braked too late and lost about six tenths, which put me out of the top 16. The track conditions we are experiencing here are unexpected so it's definitely going to be an interesting race. It won't be easy for me starting from behind, but we will see how it goes."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good day for Mark who pushed hard to get into the last ten and will line up on the grid in p5 tomorrow. On the other hand, it obviously was not a good day for Nico as he didn't make it past the first cut. He's shown that he can progress through the field well from previous races where he started from the back, so it will be interesting to see how he does in the race. Now we will concentrate on the development of our race strategy for tomorrow."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "Great qualifying result for Mark today, putting him in an excellent position for tomorrow's race. There were no major issues with either of the Cosworth engines, and we are hopeful of a rewarding race result on Sunday afternoon."
Rubens Barrichello (3rd, 1:20.085): "Well I'm very pleased with our result today. It was a great effort to finish in third position and also important to be starting from the clean side of the grid. The whole Honda team have made a huge effort in the last few weeks to turn our performance around and that work and progress is starting to show now. The car is competitive, we look to be consistent on race pace and the driveability is improving. I also think that we have made a good choice on our tyres so it's looking good all round. I'm hoping for a great race tomorrow, it's certainly my best chance of the year to have a good result."
Jenson Button (4th, 1:20.092): "We put in a very strong performance in qualifying today. The car is working well and the pace has been developing all weekend. I started my final quick run with confidence that I could get up there into the top three, then I locked the brakes at the first corner and lost four-tenths of my best first sector, but was still able to come back and be in fourth. It's very frustrating that I will be starting from 14th on the grid because of the engine failure this morning, even more so as the car is looking good. This is a hard circuit to overtake on but I'm going to go out there, enjoy the race and see what we can do."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "This was quite a good day for us with Rubens and Jenson qualifying 3rd and 4th fastest. During the morning session we continued to work hard to adapt our set-up to the unusual weather conditions. Unfortunately we had an engine failure with Jenson halfway through the session and as a result we incurred a ten place penalty; the cause of the problem is yet to be determined. Nevertheless both drivers were relatively happy with their cars both on new and old rubber, making us hopeful for qualifying. Qualifying went fairly well and we sailed through Q1 and Q2, then Q3 was nail biting and we came very close to the front row. Obviously we don't know what everyone's strategies are regarding tyres and fuel, furthermore Jenson will start 14th, however we are comfortable with our decisions and looking forward to a fighting race tomorrow."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:20.890): "The qualifying session didn't go quite as we hoped. On each run, I was going quicker and the final lap was looking good, but unfortunately I came up behind Tiago Monteiro and lost some time. I dropped about eight tenths of a second, so I didn't even finish it."
Christian Klien (14th, 1:21.207): "Luckily I was able to get through the first part of qualifying using just one set of tyres. In the second part, I improved my time on both new sets of tyres. It was actually quite tricky to drive in today's sessions, as the car was quite nervous. We need a good race tomorrow to make some progress and hopefully I'll finish the race in a higher position than I did in today's qualifying."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "I think David was unlucky on his final lap. He looked set to improve his time, but got held up in traffic. I think making the top ten would have been difficult today, although I think we could have been a little bit higher up than we were. With the penalties for Alonso, M. Schumacher and Button we will benefit a couple of positions, and we've opted for a tyre that will hopefully serve us well in the race."
Robert Kubica (10th, 1:22.049): "I know our potential and I think this is it. I was really surprised to be quicker than Nick, which is not easy. In qualifying three I saw someone waving a yellow flag. It was not a marshal and from a distance I thought it was so I backed off, which meant my first sector was not very good. However, the gap to the car in front was too big and they may have a different strategy to us. It will be a tough race for me, but I am quite positive. Tomorrow I shall be happy if I can finish the race with good pace and good driving. I can be very critical of myself and if I feel it is good then it will be good."
Nick Heidfeld (11th, 1:20.623): "I am a little disappointed as Robert has shown it was possible to go a bit faster, although we are only in the top ten because Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher were penalized. When I went out for the first time Felipe Massa hampered my lap, as he was on his outlap when I came across him. In the second session the balance of the car was good on the first flying lap, then later the track's grip increased and I could not make use of it. The balance of the car just did not suit the changed conditions. Now we will see what we can do in the race, but I know we have chosen the right tyres."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This qualifying was pleasing for us. We made up some ground and, considering our race strategy, we are very happy with ninth and tenth on the grid. Nick's fastest lap in the second session wasn't perfect. Robert had a very good debut. His approach was the right mixture of aggression and understanding of what he had to do."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "Our starting positions are quite good and we feel well prepared for tomorrow. Robert has mastered his first F1 qualifying without problems. Nick suffered a bit more from the conditions when the grip level of the circuit improved, and it had a bigger impact on the car's handling than expected. In fact neither of our drivers did a perfect lap."
Tiago Monteiro (16th, 1:23.767): "I'm very pleased to be back in second qualifying, obviously. We had been struggling since the beginning of the weekend with tyre choices and set-up issues, so it's great to be able to give the team that much-needed boost. The balance of the car was so much better today than it was yesterday, and although I got held up by traffic on my first timed run, I put it to the back of my mind and just went all out on the second. The improved handling allowed me to push the car much harder than I did previously, and it showed in the time. In the second session, we went out on used tyres because we decided it would be more important to have the new ones for the race tomorrow than to try and gain one more place, if any. I think the team made the right decision, and I congratulate them because they overcame a lot of tricky obstacles to get us to where we need to be."
Christijan Albers (21st, 1:23.146): "Knowing that we had the engine penalty, we chose to adopt a pretty conservative approach today, one that would save both the tyres and equipment, so we ran very few laps in practice this morning. My first qualifying run was pretty good and showed we're moving in the right direction, but I made a slight mistake on the second run that cost us a bit of time. Thankfully, it wasn't what I would call an expensive mistake, and I would prefer to make it when I know have a 10-place penalty rather than when I have a legitimate chance to qualify well. I'm not a robot, and human beings can make mistakes. But it's OK, we know we can be a little bit quicker, and tomorrow's when it counts for real."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Tiago did a very good job for us today, and it was nice to see the team fight back from the problems we had yesterday. We might have been able to go a bit faster in the second qualifying session but we decided to save our new tyres for the race. In my opinion it's the right approach, because I think that many teams will struggle with tyres tomorrow. Christijan is starting from the back anyway because we had to change his engine, so his qualifying performance wouldn't have counted for much, anyway."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "All in all, it was a good session. Tiago put a very good lap together and got through to the second session, which is where we expect to be. In Q2, we decided it wasn't worth sacrificing a new set of tyres to gain an extra position - if that - so we sent him out on used tyres just to have a go. Christijan couldn't really find the perfect balance on his car but I think he'll be in good shape for tomorrow. Now we just need to have a good, consistent race and hope for something fortunate to happen. It's a difficult circuit to overtake on, but things do happen here occasionally."/p>
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "It was quite a pleasing qualifying session for Tiago. Obviously, we've found a bit more performance in his car than what we've seen this weekend, which is positive, and we think we're looking increasingly better for the race. With Chris, anyway, we're taking a 10-place penalty at the end of this session, but we're also optimistic that we should be able to produce something good with him tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th, 1:22.068): "I had a lot of problems with the rear tyres on my run, as they were degrading. During qualifying, it felt as though I had no traction at all, which is strange because I had been hoping to at least move on to the next part of the session. The cool weather did not help us. It will be a long tough race tomorrow."
Scott Speed (19th, 1:22.317): "We knew we were going to struggle in qualifying, so we concentrated on getting as well prepared as possible for the race. Given our tyre choice, I think we are looking quite good, especially as I think we will have an excellent race pace for tomorrow. Overtaking is hard to do here but you never know how things can turn out. We've been slow all weekend, but for us on this side of the garage, we are looking in reasonable shape for the race."
Takuma Sato (20th, 1:22.967): "We had a chassis problem during this morning's practice session and lost some running time in addition to the red flag situation on the track. It was then difficult to make further progress during the session, but towards the end we made our tyre choice for tomorrow. For Qualifying I caught some traffic during my first run and it was not a particularly good lap. I also had to stop at the weigh bridge which lost us quite a bit of time and because of this we had to make a pitstop instead of returning in to the garage. Unfortunately this made the tyres cool down too much and I struggled with the warm up. But in the end we should be happy with what we achieved in terms of lap times today."
Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:24.016): "We analysed the data obtained from yesterday's sessions and changed the car set-up for FP3. During the session we maintained consistent laps and everything seemed to be okay. I am a little bit disappointed with my Qualifying because I made a mistake on the second set of new tyres and I was not able to improve on my first run time. It is a shame, but I have learnt a lot from today and I will try not to make the same mistake during the next Qualifying in Turkey. The car set-up for tomorrow is comfortable so I am looking forward to what will essentially be my first race here in Hungary."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It has been a difficult day, although Taku and Sakon both did a good job and I am pleased with their performances. But the car is still not quick enough and we shall have to wait until the Turkish Grand Prix before we see our complete new car package. We still maintain a gap to our competitors so we will concentrate on developing the SA06 during the mid-season break. To help us to do this we need both SAF1 Team cars to finish tomorrow's race so that we obtain more data, so I hope that we will have a good day here in Hungary."