Bahrain GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:32.935): "It just keeps getting better and better - to be on the front row in only my third Formula 1 weekend is an amazing feeling. I don't think that my final qualifying lap was my best lap of the session. Qualifying is so intense and you need to pull out everything. The wind also keeps changing direction here which makes things even more challenging. It looks like all the hard work has paid off and we have definitely closed the gap to Ferrari and made progress. The start tomorrow will be crucial - there is a very long run down into the first corner. However I have raced here at this circuit before so I have a bit more experience than the last two races and we will see what happens."
Fernando Alonso (4th, 1:33.192): "Second row was the best we could do today but we should be in a good position to fight for a podium finish. This track provides plenty of opportunities for overtaking which means that you can really fight for positions and give the spectators a nice race. We are fighting with the Ferraris and that's more or less what we expected. They are both on the clean side of the track which might give them a slight advantage at the start. However our aim is to go for it. So far we have been strong in our long runs so I'm optimistic for a competitive race tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Both Fernando and Lewis had strong qualifying sessions. Our pace in the long runs so far has proved competitive and we believe that our strategies should provide us with the best opportunity for podium finishes."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Starting from second and fourth position for the third consecutive time, we should have a good basis for tomorrow's race. However, this time Lewis was second and Fernando fourth and both drivers did a good job and are on promising strategies. The right side of the grid, where Lewis and Fernando will line up tomorrow, is not as good as in Malaysia, but nevertheless we see things positive."
Giancarlo Fisichella (7th, 1:34.056): "I feel I achieved our current maximum today. It is so tight to get into the top ten for us at the moment and in fact, I was tenth in Q2 by just a few hundredths of a second. After that, we made the most of the opportunity to qualify seventh, ahead of our direct competitors. That is the best start for our weekend. After working hard in practice, I think we have found a consistent balance for the race, and I am looking forward to scoring more points tomorrow. That was not the target at the start of the season, but we need to the best with what we have at the moment. It is important to finish the races, achieve our potential and keep on scoring points. I did that in Melbourne and Sepang, and want to do the same again tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen (12th, 1:32.935): "From my point of view, there was nothing more I could get out of the car today. I did my maximum, and I was right on the limit all the way round the lap, but we didn't make it into the top ten. I have felt a little bit off Giancarlo all weekend, and we saw that in qualifying too. Of course I am disappointed, but we know we are in a very tight battle at the moment, and we had another reminder of that today. It will be another tough race tomorrow, but as always, I will be trying to race to the limit, to be aggressive at the start - and to try and score points."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was touch and go for us as to whether or not we would make it through the second part of qualifying, and ultimately, Giancarlo produced an excellent lap to qualify - while Heikki did the same, and lost out by just five hundredths of a second. Seventh on the grid for Giancarlo is clearly a strong performance for us at the moment, but as always, these things are relative - and we are the first to acknowledge we are some way short of where we want to be in terms of our performance. The team in the garage deserve a special mention today as well. We have had a long, hard trip to the first three flyaway races, but their commitment and professionalism have never wavered. That was demonstrated once again this afternoon, as they successfully replaced Giancarlo's gearbox, and swapped Heikki to the T-car, between practice and qualifying. Although the car is certainly under-performing at the moment, the team are certainly showing why they are world champions. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we have to aim to at least maintain our position with Giancarlo, and make up ground through the field with Heikki."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We knew before this afternoon's qualifying session that we were not among the top three teams, so Giancarlo's position is the maximum we could have hoped for. Heikki was a victim of the exceptionally close battle to get into Q2, and lost out by the tiniest of margins. Both RS27 engines performed well and without problem, which was reassuring after a precautionary swap to the T-car for Heikki following the diagnosis of a potential fuel pump problem on his race chassis. Clearly, we are in for a tough fight tomorrow, and our goal has to be reach our potential by out-racing the cars around us, and trying to pick up points from the rivals in front."
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:32.652): "I am very happy to be on pole once again for the second time in a row and of course I am hoping for a very different race result to the one I obtained last Sunday. I did two good laps and I want to thank the team for the fantastic work they have done and for giving me a really competitive car. I hope that tomorrow's race goes the same way as qualifying. The first two races have not gone the way I expected and I really hope that this one will reverse the trend. We have a very competitive car, both over a single lap and over a distance: now we just have to do our best to get the most out of the potential at our disposal."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:33.131): "Third place is a good result and puts us in a reasonable position for tomorrow's race. Of course I would rather always be in front of everyone, but I know we still have to improve to get all the performance out of the car over a single lap. Then, I also had a bit of traffic today on both my runs in Q3. Track conditions are better than yesterday and are closer to those we had here in testing a few weeks back."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We are on pole for the third time in three qualifying sessions so far this season, the second consecutive first place for Felipe, while Kimi will be right behind him on the grid. We are pleased with the overall result, but the memory of Sepang is still fresh in the mind and so we will be tackling tomorrow's race with even more humility and determination, if that's possible. We have made a significant step forward this weekend, but the key one is due for tomorrow as we know from recent history and we can learn from history. On this magnificent circuit, with very high temperatures, as usual, the start, overall reliability and strategy will all be important. We will do all we can to reach our objectives. For a moment however, we can enjoy today's qualifying result on a day that is important for our company, because here today at Sakhir we have signed an agreement for the construction of a Ferrari theme park on the island of Yas in Abu Dhabi."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This session was very pleasing with Felipe putting in an extraordinary performance all day long. It was a shame that traffic slightly hampered Kimi on his two quick laps in the final part of qualifying, which meant he did not get the most out of his F2007. The cars ran trouble free and proved to have a good balance. I am confident we can get a good result. We know it will be tough because we are up against strong opposition, but we are cautiously optimistic."
Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:33.624): "This morning I had a few problems with the aerodynamic set-up of the car but this improved a little for qualifying. The qualifying session itself was straightforward enough but I am getting the most from the car as it is right now and unfortunately that is 15th position. As always we will be looking for any possibilities to improve during the race."
Jenson Button (16th, 1:33.731): "We've qualified roughly where we have done for the past two races, and as we have acknowledged, that is as quick as the car goes right now. In Q1 I had a problem with the front wing. My first option (soft) tyre run was quite good and then during the next run on the option we lost masses of front downforce and at every corner I was locking up the fronts. I kept moving further rearwards on the brake bias but it didn't really help. In Q2 we tried a different front wing but it didn't improve things. I think we got the best from the car again today so it's down to what we can do in the race now."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Today both Jenson and Rubens achieved the best they could with the car we have for the moment. Both cars will start from row 8 tomorrow and with a good race strategy we can make up some places, have a good fight with the cars around us and hopefully target a point or two."
Nick Heidfeld (5th, 1:33.404): "I am very happy and the team did a very good job. I had an excellent car and my last run in the final session was really good. The two teams in front of us were clearly faster. The gap is significant, but we have again been the third strongest team. To improve on these positions in the race will only be possible if a Ferrari or a McLaren has been extremely light today, or something unpredictable happens."
Robert Kubica (6th, 1:33.710): "Today has been positive as this is my first qualifying this year without mistakes, so it is a step forward. I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car, however, it is still good and I am hoping for a good race tomorrow and the first points of the season."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "I am very happy with both our drivers' results. That was our third consecutive strong qualifying. I was happy that we only had to go out once in Q2 to make it into Q3. This shows the strength behind our performance, and positions five and six reflect this exactly. In the race we will see when the cars ahead of us will come in for the first pit stop."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Positions five and six perfectly reflect where we are performance wise, and I am very pleased with this result. The team and the drivers got the best possible performance out of our package. We had no technical problems and now are really looking forward to the race. Currently it looks as if tomorrow we can expect another hot and dry day."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:34.154): "It's good to be in the top ten again but this one was very tough. I managed to do a very good job in Q2, but obviously we had a hard time at the end of the final shoot-out. It's difficult because it's slippery out there and all weekend I've been struggling with the grip and the balance. Still, the whole team has done a good job so far this weekend and it's been completely trouble-free for me. Obviously the race is a different story so let's see what happens tomorrow with the strategy. We've done well at the first two races so we can now hope to build on that here. It's going to be a tough afternoon but we will do our best to score some more points."
Ralf Schumacher (14th, 1:33.294): "This has been another difficult weekend for me so far, just as it was in Malaysia. The car is quick enough but I've had problems all weekend adapting it to suit me. I've been battling with understeer both yesterday and today and it's been difficult to set it up for my needs. I missed out on some of this morning's practice session due to a problem changing our rear suspension so qualifying was a struggle. We certainly hope for a better race but it's hard to predict what we can achieve from so far back on the grid. Hopefully I will be able to gain some places and it will look better come tomorrow evening."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "We have mixed emotions today. All weekend Ralf has had some problems with the car and we have been struggling to adapt the set up to suit him. Then during morning practice while we were changing his rear suspension something went wrong and one of his parts was damaged so it was impossible to continue. So we did not really help him in his preparations. During qualifying it was already looking better but still Ralf did not make it out of Q2. Jarno fared better and he had quite a gap compared to the car behind him in Q2 so it seemed like we were the fourth quickest team today. Unfortunately his last lap in Q3 was not trouble-free so our final positions are slightly disappointing. Nonetheless overall, compared to the pre-season test here where we appeared particularly poor, it's clear that we've made a very large step forwards. At the beginning of the weekend the tyre specs were pretty close together but as the track improved it is clear that there is now quite a big gulf in performance. Both in the first lap and over long runs the soft spec appeared much better so that seems to be the picture for the season so far. Now we must look to make up ground and chase another strong result tomorrow."
Mark Webber (8th, 1:34.106): "I'd have liked to have done a little bit better at the end of the third qualifying session, but that's where we are. We'll see if we can get a point or two tomorrow in the race."
David Coulthard (21st, 1:35.341): "The car seemed to lose seventh gear at the end of my first qualifying run, at Turn 12. We thought it was a sensor failure so the team changed something and I went back out. However, it appeared that the car had lost fifth, sixth and seventh gear, which is not ideal when you're trying to qualify!"
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "This is the third race and the third time Mark's made it into the top ten. He drove very well throughout qualifying, building up his pace and I think he extracted the maximum out of the car today. He's continued to impress us with his application and hopefully he can have a strong race tomorrow. David had appalling luck when his car suffered a gear failure on his first run, meaning he was unable to take any further part in qualifying. But, he's shown strong pace during the weekend so far, so hopefully we can help him with a good race strategy tomorrow."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Analyzing our results today is trying to decide if the glass is half full or half empty. Once again Mark did an amazing job through Q1 and Q2 and secured his position in the Top 10. Unfortunately David had some problems which prevented him from qualifying well. The engine worked perfectly which is really satisfying but we are expecting a tough race tomorrow. Although we are confident in the engine's ability to complete the race in such conditions, we are also aware that reliability can never be taken for granted. We hope to make a strong start tomorrow and that the engine will allow the drivers to race aggressively and hopefully score some points!"
Nico Rosberg (10th, 1:34.399): "I'm happy with that because sometimes it's not always easy to get into Q3. I would have liked to have been a bit higher up but from 10th on the grid everything is possible. Strategy-wise, we're looking good for the race. I'm looking forward to it; our car is strong, we have a competitive race pace and I will hopefully score some points."
Alexander Wurz (11th, 1:32.915): "I missed out on Q3 by just a few thousandths of a second. It's very tough competition out there, which is very nice as it's so challenging, but it's brutal. That's motorsport at its best. We went out early to avoid the traffic so my lap was clean. A positive to starting in P11 is that I can now choose my fuel load and strategy. It's going to be a tough one but I'm hoping for a good race pace, like we had in Malaysia."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Slightly mixed feelings on qualifying. We almost managed to get both cars into the top ten, but Alex just missed out on Q3 by a quarter of a tenth. That's just how close the field is now. We can make a good race from 10th and 11th on the grid and so we're looking forward to challenging for points tomorrow. The long run pace of the FW29 has been good and we have good straight line speed as well. We'll now work on strategy for Alex's car."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (18th, 1:34.024): "We are just too slow at the moment and the car is missing a lot of downforce. Even if I have said it so often, this is partly due to the fact we need to do more testing to understand the car better. The car balance was good but track conditions had changed a lot since yesterday. Last week, Malaysia was more of a driver circuit where I could try and make a bit of difference, but here it is just down to the car."
Scott Speed (19th, 1:34.333): "This afternoon was the first time today I ran the "Option" tyre and it felt quite a bit different. In general, it felt as though the car was more unstable under braking. The car balance was much better than yesterday, because the gap to Tonio has closed and I am running a similar pace to him, while yesterday he was quite a bit quicker than me. So we have managed to get the balance right but for whatever reason I was not happy with the rear of the car. This was not what I had expected."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:35.280): "It was difficult to put together the perfect lap out there, but I am happy with the performance and can improve tomorrow for sure. We worked on the car in the first practice session and as the track conditions did not change a whole lot to the afternoon, we knew what to expect. I think we're in pretty good shape for the race, we've got to try to make a good start and overtake in the first corner to get some cars behind us, but the goal's got to be to get through the race without any mistakes."
Christijan Albers (22nd, 1:35.533): "The first outing in the practice session this morning was a little bit difficult and we changed a few things for Qualifying, although I still found it difficult to turn in and I lost some time there. It's disappointing to be at the back again, but we know that during the race we've more of a chance of staying with the field."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "We didn't make as much progress today as we had hoped overnight. The balance wasn't quite as good for both drivers as yesterday, but overall it's been a very solid weekend and we look forward to keeping up with the group in front and a solid finish tomorrow. We know that the most important thing is to get two race finishes."
Anthony Davidson (13th, 1:33.082): "It was a very good Qualifying session and I enjoyed it immensely. I managed to get through to Q2 and that's been our aim from the start of the year, so do that, and to also beat my team-mate, was a really good achievement for me and I'm really happy. The car balance we achieved in the morning for the long runs was also good, so I am confident for a strong race tomorrow."
Takuma Sato (17th, 1:33.984): "It is disappointing that I did not get into Q2 today. We completed positive work in the morning and made the car good with regard to race pace in the long run situation, but I could not introduce that pace into Qualifying. It is a shame that I did not have good grip, had a slide and lost time. For me the grip level was lower than expected, but I believe that I have strong race pace, so hopefully I will be able to make up some positions."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "The preparation for Qualifying through Free Practice 3 went very well. Anthony was extremely happy with his car and did an exceptional lap time and we felt that we probably couldn't repeat that in Qualifying. Taku took a slightly different approach to the Practice and really tried to concentrate on balance changes rather than out and out speed, but we felt confident and prepared for Qualifying. This afternoon again the drivers' took a slightly different approach to each other. Anthony was able to extract the best out of the car on his first and second runs. Taku's first run seemed good, and then his second run was just a little bit compromised by a slight run wide at one of the corners and we unfortunately missed out on getting through to Q2 by literally a couple of hundredths of a second. Anthony sailed through in to Q2 and we knew that it was going to be tight to get through to Q3, but we were up for the challenge. He had a very good lap time on his first run in Q2, was very happy with the balance, didn't touch the car whatsoever and went for it at the last possible moment. We were absolutely the last car to challenge for Q3 with three seconds to go on the clock. The wind had picked up a little bit and that changed the balance of the car slightly, and we failed to improve. But all-in-all another fantastic Qualifying session for SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM."