Spanish GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:21.451): "A good qualifying, and I'm pleased to be on the front row for my home race. There is no doubt that the race will be as close and as competitive as today's qualifying however I'm confident that I can challenge for the victory. We have been strong throughout all the practice sessions and today's qualifying was the first time Ferrari was in front, so things are looking good, but I think everybody in the top four are capable of winning. The car is working well, and I'm enjoying driving it in front of all the fans."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:21.785): "I'm satisfied with today's qualifying and believe that I have a strong race strategy. Anything is possible from the second row and we have been quick throughout the weekend. I have started fourth on a few occasions now, so I have an idea of what to do. I'm really pleased with the balance of the car and the improvements the team has made since Bahrain. Both Fernando and I will be on the dirty side of the track, but I think we have shown so far this year that it's not too much of a disadvantage. I look forward to an exciting race tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A very close qualifying session where Fernando just missed out on pole position. We have been very competitive so far this weekend and combined with strong race strategies we look forward to fighting for victory tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It can't be much closer. Fernando is missing 30 thousandths of a second to the pole time and Lewis 62 thousandths to third position. We are going to start for the fourth time in a row from second and fourth positions. The performance of Fernando, Lewis and the team was very good in all sessions so far and looked always competitive. With about three and a half tenths covering the four fastest drivers in qualifying we are looking forward to an exciting race where we try to do one better."
Heikki Kovalainen (8th, 1:22.568): "The car felt good straight away in the first part of qualifying, and I thought then that we had a good opportunity to make it into the final round this afternoon. The situation should have been more comfortable in the second part of the session, but I had traffic on both of my timed laps Even so, I think I did a good job today, and got the maximum from the car. It's nice to make it through to the final part of qualifying for the first time, but you don't get any points on Saturday. The big job is still ahead of us, and hopefully we can maintain this strong pace tomorrow afternoon."
Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:22.881): "We went with the hard tyres in the final part of qualifying, and I think it was a good choice because we have a good strategy for the race. The session this afternoon wasn't perfect for me: I didn't complete my programme this morning during the third practice session, and it meant that I wasn't totally comfortable with the car when I went out for the first laps in qualifying. I thought I had a brake problem on my first run so I aborted it, and that made it quite tight to get past the first round. After that, the performance was more normal even though I didn't have complete confidence in the car, and looking at the times, it seems that the gap to the other teams is a little bit less, so perhaps we have made a step forward. My aim now is to do a good race, and maintain my points-scoring record."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Considering our start to the 2007 season, getting both of our cars into the top ten represents a small step in the team's recovery. We decided to use the hard tyre in the final part of qualifying as we felt our overall strategy would be improved if we had a new set of soft tyres available for the race tomorrow, rather than a used set."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "There were some surprises during this afternoon's qualifying session, and our drivers' performances are among the nice surprises in today's results. Our objective in qualifying is always to squeeze every drop of performance out of the car, in order to give ourselves the best possible chance of making it into Q3. We achieved exactly that today, and were the only team outside of the top three to get both drivers into the top ten. It is a result that shows the team and drivers are performing at the highest level, even if the car's performance is still short of our expectations. The goal for tomorrow's race will be the same: to achieve the maximum our package is capable of, and to try and get both cars home in the points."
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:21.421): "I really got a great lap! This third consecutive pole shows that our car is really competitive. My first run was not perfect, but on the second I managed to get things right without making the slightest mistake. Tomorrow's race will be very close and I hope that with a huge crowd like we saw today in the grandstands, the spectators will see a real spectacle. I hope to make a good start and make the most of pole. Along with the team we are working very well and I am very motivated and also confident about the race."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:21.723): "It seems that taking third place in qualifying is now becoming a habit. It's not a bad position, but obviously you always hope to be in front of everyone. On my second attempt, I was going very well but I lost time in the final sector, where the rear of the car was sliding a bit. I hope I will be able to make up some places, but I know it won't be easy. My feeling for the car is improving: there is still work to do, but it's going in the right direction."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "As has always been the case in this opening phase of the championship, we once again witnessed a very closely contested qualifying session. Thanks to a fantastic lap from Felipe, we have maintained a 100% record for pole this season and our great overall performance was confirmed with a third place for Kimi. We realize today is only the first hurdle out of the way as we aim for victory, while the hardest part is yet to come tomorrow afternoon. As usual, we will have to put all the elements together to meet our objectives: the start, the strategy, team work and reliability. Barcelona is the first race in Europe and we are here with various new elements on the car, as indeed have all the other teams. Also making an important contribution are our technical partners, first and foremost Shell."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We struggled a little bit again this morning in the third free practice session, especially in doing a quick single lap. We made some choices in terms of set-up and strategy that we hope will work out for us tomorrow afternoon. The two types of Bridgestone tyre are pretty similar in terms of consistency of performance, but of course the softer one has the edge on the first lap. We could see different tyre use strategies to those we have so far with this season with the new rule format. What is certain is that it will be a very tight race. The two cars had not particular technical problems and we will do all we can to bring them home with the best result possible."
Rubens Barrichello (12th, 1:22.097): "Although we are still far away from where we want to be this is our best qualifying performance of the season so far, so I guess that points towards some small improvement and we can be slightly happier. We started to make some progress here in testing last week and I am hopeful that we can carry this momentum through to tomorrow. We have a good strategy and this should help us to have a better race."
Jenson Button (14th, 1:22.120): "This was a reasonable qualifying session for us today, all things considered. We are a little bit further up the grid and closer to P10 which is a nice surprise. We have done a good job of setting the car up for the race but I really struggled with the balance this morning and the pace over one lap. It was much better this afternoon, although I made a small mistake at turn six and lost some time, which is annoying. It will be an exciting race tomorrow but unfortunately it will be tough to get into the points. We have made some progress though, which is a good sign."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Today's qualifying session showed that we have made a small step in the right direction by closing the gap to our immediate competitors. Our fastest car qualified in 12th place, which is not what we aim for, but the drivers and team made the very best of the car that we have and should be congratulated. Everyone is working very hard and we are encouraged that our race pace seems to be somewhat closer to the direct competition, which makes us a little more optimistic for tomorrow and the races ahead."
Robert Kubica (5th, 1:22.253): "I am happy after that as I think the position is good considering I struggled with the balance of my car. This morning it was looking better, but then this afternoon I picked up oversteer. I hope tomorrow the condition of the track will be better with more rubber down, which should help me with my oversteer. I am now looking forward to a good race tomorrow with no problems. We are third in the championship and today we were the third strongest team."
Nick Heidfeld (7th, 1:22.389): "I am happy so far as my last lap was pretty good. The balance of my car was alright, and after yesterday's free practice we only did very minor changes. After only one run in Q2 we were already safe for the top ten, which means I have again saved a set of fresh tyres for the race. Normally my starts are quite good and luckily my grid position is on the clean side of the track."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "All in all we are satisfied with qualifying. We demonstrated after the four week break we are still the third best team on the grid. I am happy Robert was quick in the third part of qualifying and so was fifth, while Nick only missed the third row by a very small margin. For our drivers it is a good position for the race because both are on the clean side of the grid."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "I'm pleased with the qualifying result. Obviously it would have been nice to have our drivers fifth and sixth, but they are both on the clean side of the track and have the chance to gain position at the start. In addition, I'm confident we have the right strategy for the race. So far, we've had a trouble-free weekend, so I'm really optimistic for tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (6th, 1:22.324): "That was a good job by the whole team and the mechanics and today was a great result. It was a very difficult qualifying session and we managed to keep cool when it was difficult and really stressful at the beginning. We nearly missed out on making it through Q1 because I hit traffic and I had to do the time on a second lap on old tyres. Thankfully we managed it so that was a good job. I was also happy with my lap in Q2, then in Q3 I really went for it on my last run on new tyres and P6 is a great performance. We expected to go well here because we have a new aerodynamics package that seems to be working well. So we have made a good step forward but we will keep pushing to improve more and more."
Ralf Schumacher (17th, 1:22.666): "That result was a pity but this has been a difficult weekend and that was a difficult qualifying session. One reason for my struggle in Q1 was that I had traffic on my last flying run. I was on a two-lap run but I met a car on its warm-up lap in the last sector of the first lap, spoiling both that and the following lap. That means the qualifying time is not representative of what we are capable of. But I've also found grip hard to come by both in practice and in qualifying so we obviously have work to do. Our race pace should be better so let's see how we can do tomorrow even if it will be a tough afternoon from this grid position. Barcelona is not known for overtaking but the track has been changed so we'll see."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "After last week's test we had the clear feeling that we were much closer to BMW and this is what has happened. But so far this has been an even more character-building weekend than usual and we've had a series of ups and downs. In P1 yesterday we were looking good but we had some problems in P2 that meant we could not be certain about our pace. This morning went well but we still had some balance problems. Finally now in qualifying we are where we expected to be with Jarno. Of course, he only just made it through Q1 after hitting traffic. But he did a great job and his final outings in Q2 and Q3 were brilliant. Ralf had even bigger problems with traffic in Q1 and he narrowly missed out, which was a pity because his pace would have made the top ten as well. For the first time this season the two tyres were close in terms of pace so we changed our run plan to have two flying runs in Q3, one with the prime and one with the option. That contributed to our performance compared to what we have managed so far this year. Now we will look to make the most from tomorrow's race."
David Coulthard (9th, 1:22.749): "I'm disappointed to have ended up in ninth position today, as I think the car's quicker than that. Unfortunately I suffered a lot of understeer on the new tyres, which made it very difficult."
Mark Webber (19th, 1:23.398): "Saturday was a tough day for us. We didn't have a smooth practice session and the first part of qualifying didn't go to plan either. We had drive shaft problem this morning and a hydraulic problem in qualifying. Of course, we've learnt some things, which isn't ideal at race weekends, but sometimes you have to go through that to move forward. The mechanics have been phenomenal; the work they're doing before races and the practices is very good. David had a good run today, which shows the car has potential, we just need to work at pulling the whole thing together now."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a frustrating day for Mark, who had a hydraulic issue in qualifying. He looked strong throughout testing yesterday, so we need to look into today's problems and understand why they occurred. David drove very well and made it into the final ten for the first time this year. He finished the first two sessions well up the order and we managed to out-qualify one of the works Renaults. We believe we've got a good strategy for tomorrow and hopefully we can get a good result."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Regarding the engine, everything went smoothly once again today for the qualifying and we are not worried for the race tomorrow. Our engines are following their normal cycle; Mark is using the same block as in Sakhir and David has a new one. We are a little bit disappointed to only have had one car in Q3 because the car has a real potential and Mark always showed strong performance in qualifying so far. We will have once again a difficult race to do on Sunday but the competition is close, our package is competitive and we are determined to score some points in Spain."
Nico Rosberg (11th, 1:21.968): "To be in 11th place is not ideal but I had a lack of grip on the rear of the car and reached a certain point where I couldn't get anymore out of it. We just weren't going to get into the top ten today, but that's where we are. Strategy-wise, 11th is better than 10th, but of course it isn't where we want to be. It will be a long race, but hopefully I will have a good start and, from my grid position, it's still possible to get some points."
Alexander Wurz (18th, 1:22.769): "It was a bit of disaster, worse than a traffic jam on the M25 in London. People really slowed down on their in-laps and seemed to forget that other people were still around them doing quick laps. At the last chicane I actually nearly stopped because five cars were in front of me going so slowly which caused my tyre pressures to drop dramatically. I should have been able to get into Q2 today so, to end up in p18, is extremely frustrating. Barcelona is always hard to pass on, so it's going to be a difficult race for me."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It's disappointing not to have at least one of the cars in the top ten, but that's where we are at the moment. It will obviously be pretty hard work for Alex to recover from 18th, but we'll look at our strategy tonight and find the best way to give him a good chance of getting up the field. Programme wise, everything went ok on Nico's car, and I think he managed to get the best that he could out of it. Plenty of work to do."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (16th, No Time): "A shame as I had managed to get into Q2. But once again unfortunately, I was hit with a mechanical problem. The car was going well after we managed to fix the problems we had in the morning session. We hope to be able to get everything working properly for tomorrow, when I hope we don't run into any more difficulties. It won't be an easy race, but I'm optimistic because to start from sixteenth is not so bad."
Scott Speed (22nd, No Time): "What happened on both cars was very disappointing, because when you look at Tonio's pace and the lap time he did to get him into Q2, I think our performance level was better than what I had expected after yesterday. But the transmission problem meant I never even posted a time. On my out lap, as I tried to change gear I got a neutral and the engine died and then as I started my flying lap, it happened again and I almost went off the track. It got worse and that was it. But I repeat, we have definitely made a step forward and there is more stuff in the pipeline. I think when all these elements are working we are going to see a better Toro Rosso."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "We have tried to advance our performance as much as we could and part of that meant adopting an aggressive solution on the transmission front. We were a little bit too ambitious. Friday was almost trouble free, but with a steep learning curve. This morning, running a more aggressive gearbox strategy on both cars, we had problems with Tonio's car. This afternoon, both cars suffered the same fault. For tomorrow, we can find a solution to get around this issue."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:23.811): "With all the rubber laid down in the support races the track conditions had changed slightly and I had a lot of oversteer and lost a couple of tenths on the first outing. For the second lap, the balance and grip levels were much better for our car and I managed to get a good lap. Of course conditions may change for tomorrow again so the first 10 to 15 laps will be hard, but I want to have a clean first lap without any incidents in the first corner and hopefully stay with the other cars in front."
Christijan Albers (21st, 1:23.990): "That was the worst Qualifying of my life with traffic. On the first outing I made some mistakes and I felt I could go quicker. Then I couldn't do much with the second outing at all because of the traffic. It didn't really matter that I went off in T9 on my final flying lap as I had already lost about seven tenths in the first sector. It's a shame as I think I could be quicker. I felt good in the car, the balance is good, we just have to hope for more tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Both drivers had slightly less grip than in this morning's session but did a reasonable job and were happy with the balance of the car. The session really reflects where we are - we need to find a second in the wind tunnel to be in the group ahead. The good thing, however, is that the group is very competitive and if you join it you can qualify in the top ten. That's what we need to do in the second half of the season, but for now, we're just looking forward to a solid race to finish off a very solid weekend."
Takuma Sato (13th, 1:22.115): "It is disappointing how we finished Q2; not being able to start my second run as I stopped out on track with a fuel issue. However, we made good progress with the car through the practice session and into Q1 and both cars appeared to be running competitively. It is a shame that we were not able to carry over our momentum from the morning, but never-the-less we have had a good day and I believe that we should be able to have a strong race tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (15th, No Time): "After setting a good time in the morning I felt confident in the car and that I could do it again in Qualifying. Getting through to Q2 was good as we weren't really expecting it and thought it was going to be a bit harder than it turned out to be. But in Q2 I got caught out out by wind at Turn 9 and ended up spinning off and not managing to get a flying lap at all, which was frustrating. However, the speed is in the car and we know we've got a good balance from yesterday's work, so I am looking forward to the race."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "I believe that SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM's approach to today was correct. We did some good things this morning and both drivers were happy with the car. We did not need to adjust the car in any way during Qualifying and completed two very good runs through Q1 which put both the cars into Q2 for the first time since Australia. Clearly the updates which we've made for this weekend have benefitted us, but unfortunately it all started to go wrong in Q2. Takuma had a good first run and then his car stopped on the circuit with a fuel pick-up problem and Anthony unfortunately got caught out. I believe that we have good race pace for the Grand Prix tomorrow and so we shall learn from today and look forward to it."