Monaco GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:15.726): "I'm so happy to take my first pole position for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team here in Monaco. The car has been working well throughout the weekend, and we have been competitive in all conditions. As always seems to happen in Monaco I got caught up in traffic on my last flying lap but that is one of the challenges of this place. Qualifying was extremely stressful due to the constant threat of rain. We even started the third session on fresh tyres just in case. I don't know what the weather will bring tomorrow which can make for an interesting race. Obviously pole position gives you the best possible start to the race but there are 78 laps and as its Monaco anything can happen. However the car is quick, and we have a strong strategy, so I'm hopeful of a good result."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:15.905): "To start my first Formula 1 race in Monaco from the front row is amazing and for the team to have a one-two is just fantastic. I have really enjoyed my weekend and qualifying was no exception. It's hard to explain, but around this circuit you are just constantly on the limit. My last flying lap was affected by traffic in Turn 4 and I lost a lot of time but that is just the challenge of this place. The car has been super all the way through, and I believe we have a strong strategy. I think it will be a great race, and hopefully Fernando and I can provide the team with a one-two finish."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "To have both Fernando and Lewis on the front row for the Monaco Grand Prix is a well deserved reward for all the hard work by the team so far this season. Both drivers drove good qualifying laps and the team coped well with the challenges that the rain briefly brought. There is a long race in front of us, so whilst we enjoy the moment we know that it's the race tomorrow that counts for us to retain our lead in both World Championships."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This was one of the most thrilling qualifying sessions here in Monaco with a great result for the team. Congratulations to Fernando on his first pole position for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and to Lewis on his performance during his first two days in Formula 1 on this challenging circuit. The team worked excellently from the first minute of Thursday's practice and today brought the best reward, but tomorrow is the race when our target is to achieve a similar result as today."
Giancarlo Fisichella (4th, 1:16.285): "This was a very good day for us, and I am proud of the job we have done not only this weekend, but also during the last weeks at the factory. The team has been working night and day to improve the performance of the R27, and this is another concrete sign that we are getting there. The car wasn't perfect at the start of qualifying, but we made some small changes to the balance, and it was handling really well during the final part. Starting fourth is very promising for tomorrow's race, but I think today also shows that we will be stronger at the next races too. Monaco is an unusual circuit, and we are not getting too excited, but we are definitely moving in the right direction."
Heikki Kovalainen (14th, 1:17.125): "It was a very frustrating qualifying session for me. My laps in the first part were not great, but I was getting more and more confident with the car, and on my final run I thought I could have made it into the top ten. I came round the first corner on my flying lap and saw Coulthard's Red Bull coming out of the pits, and thought he would move over after Casino - or into the Tunnel at the latest. But he just stayed there all the way round, and ruined the lap; to say the least, I was very surprised to see that from the most experienced driver in the field. It was a session to forget, so now I need to focus on tomorrow. From P14 it will be a very tough race, but I am determined to attack as much as possible, and try to make up positions."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This was a fantastic result for Giancarlo and the team. After our recent difficulties, a second row position feels like pole position, although we know there is still a lot of work ahead of us. The unique nature of the circuit certainly helped us, but the car is also improving rapidly - and Giancarlo was able to make full use of it. My sympathy goes to Heikki after a very frustrating session. It is a shame that the oldest driver in the field, and the one who is most voluble about problems with traffic, was unable to adhere to his own principles. Clearly, our two drivers will have very different targets for tomorrow, but they will both be racing hard, and looking to make the most of the recent improvements to the car."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "It has been a busy and eventful day. This morning's wet session gave the engine team the opportunity to check the V8 was responding well to the extreme challenges this circuit presents, and we made the most of it. The weather was threatening throughout qualifying, and this added another unpredictable factor to what is always a very tense session in Monaco. Our level of performance was encouraging, and showed that our development is taking us in the right direction. From the second row Giancarlo can certainly race strongly, while Heikki will look to make up as many positions as possible after being relegated to the seventh row through no fault of his own this afternoon."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:15.967): "I am happy as I did a good lap, without traffic and I am in a good position for tomorrow's race. I am confident and will try for a good result. The race here is very long and it is vital to maintain concentration. If it were to rain, it would make it even more of a lottery. It was very complicated today to choose the right moment to go out on track, both in terms of traffic and the weather, with the rain threatening to arrive at any moment. I had seen the yellow flags for Kimi and it was a bit of a tricky moment at Rascasse, when I found him stopped in front of me on the track, but somehow I managed to get by without damaging my car."
Kimi Raikkonen (15th, No Time): "There's little to say after this qualifying session. I was on my first run with soft tyres when, coming out of the Swimming Pool Chicane, I hit the barrier with the left front wheel. At first it seemed that everything was alright, but when I got to Rascasse, the car would not make the turn. I managed to get back to the pits and the mechanics tried to fix the car but we realized it could not be done in time. Here, the very slightest error costs you dear and it is a real shame because I think I could have fought for pole position. However, I will start from the seventh row so I am expecting a very tough race, but I will do all I can to get a good result for the team."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Free practice in the wet and qualifying in the dry: it's the worst possible combination for preparing as well as possible for a vital session on a track like this. We are very disappointed for Kimi who touched the barrier at the exit to the Swimming Pool, breaking a steering arm on the front right wheel. We tried to repair the damage but there was not enough time to do so before the end of Q2. Felipe did an extraordinary lap, especially in the final sector which helped him secure third place. Clearly, not knowing what fuel loads our main rivals have on board it is hard to predict what sort of result we can expect from Felipe, while it is equally obvious that Kimi has a long climb through the field ahead of him. We think we will be competitive and we will do our utmost to bring home as many points as possible."
Rubens Barrichello (9th, 1:17.498): "I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team today. We did a fantastic job to make it through to the final session. Little by little we are improving and although we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, we are encouraged. I know we will get back to where we belong. I'm very excited for tomorrow. This is always a great race but starting P9 really gives us a shot at the points."
Jenson Button (10th, 1:17.939): "It's great that we made it through to the third session today. Definitely a step in the right direction. My radio wasn't working properly and it was crackling the whole time so in the end I had to unplug it completely, which was far from ideal because we had to be 'on it' the whole time during today's qualifying. Monaco places a premium on qualifying position so what we have achieved today is great. The team did a good job and we can do well tomorrow so I'm really looking forward to it."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Our best qualifying session of the year and we are very pleased to see both drivers in the top ten, particularly here in Monaco where a good grid position can have such an impact on the race. Both drivers got all of the performance possible out of the car today with some excellent driving and also credit is due to the team for the job they did of running the cars. This morning, the free practice session was affected by some rain just before and during the session but thankfully qualifying remained dry and we can now look forward to a stronger race tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld (7th, 1:16.832): "We have improved the car since Thursday's practice and the lap times in Q2 were very promising, but I am not too happy about grid position seven. In Q3 we had some minor problems. We changed early to the soft tyres because there was some light rain which worried us. This meant the track conditions were not ideal and we had a little too much fuel on board. On top of that I made a small mistake after the tunnel. From grid position seven you can't expect too much. But on the other hand - in Monaco almost everything can happen."
Robert Kubica (8th, 1:16.955): "I am very happy about the car's performance, but not about the position. Let's see how we will be tomorrow compared to the others with our strategy. I am satisfied as this morning because of the weather we couldn't do more running. In Q2 we were competitive, in Q3 less, but we will see. The car was good, much better balance than Thursday, so I am really looking forward to the race as I think we are in good shape for it."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We had a trouble-free qualifying. We kept to our schedule although there was some rain every so often. Compared to 2006 when we had problems throughout the whole weekend, seventh and eighth on the grid puts us in a relatively good position for the race."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was a turbulent qualifying session. Our lap times in Q2 were closer to the top than we expected, and based on this we decided on the fuel load for Q3. Because it started raining slightly in some parts of the track, we opted for relatively early runs. With this strategy we obviously didn't make the best use of the constantly improving track conditions. This is a shame, but nothing is lost because anything can happen in the race here."
Jarno Trulli (13th, 1:16.988): "That was a difficult day for us. First of all we knew that in these conditions, after the rain earlier today, the track was not rubbered in and in that situation we struggle a bit compared to the others. I then had several problems during Q2. First, when I was on a quick lap at the end of the session, I had traffic and that cost me more than a second in the last sector. In the last run I had a problem with the brakes, I could not push any more because it was too dangerous. It will be difficult in the race because overtaking is so hard here but I will give it my all tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher (20th, 1:18.539): "That was a very disappointing and difficult session for me. Qualifying around Monaco with 22 cars on such a twisty track at once is always difficult and Q1 was made a bit trickier with the rain just before the session started which affected the track conditions. Unfortunately I was not really content with my set-up and I did not make it to Q2 so of course I am not happy. That's the way it goes at Monaco sometimes. It's unfortunate we will start so far down on the grid on a track like this where overtaking is so hard but we'll just try to do the best job possible in the race tomorrow."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Obviously we lost the pace that Jarno showed in practice on Thursday afternoon and he was not able to show the potential of the car due to a combination of two factors; a brake problem and also the traffic here in Monaco. He suffered from some very bad traffic in the second part of this qualifying session and that really hurt his lap. He lost a lot of time on his last flying lap as a result and those two factors explain the poor result he had in qualifying. Ralf has been uncomfortable with the set-up of the car since the beginning of the weekend. We could not make the car kind enough for the kerbs so he could not push as hard as he wanted. When you are not in the first four on the grid in Monaco you are always in for a difficult afternoon on Sunday. From where we are on the grid it will be particularly hard but in Monaco you never know what will happen and now our strategy decision is clearer."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:16.784): "The session went pretty well. I was having trouble getting into a good rhythm at the start to be honest, but as the session continued, I felt more comfortable with the car. It was a bit frantic in the last part of Q3 when there was a little bit of rain, but sixth is not bad so I'm looking forward to the start of the race tomorrow."
David Coulthard (16th, 1:17.204): "I didn't know Kovalainen was on a timed lap or else, quite clearly, I would have got out of the way. I did communicate with the team to find out what was happening with the traffic around me, but there was a misunderstanding so I didn't get the correct information. It's disappointing as we were progressing well though out the sessions and I was pretty confident I could get the most out of the car."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a good effort by Mark to qualify in our best grid position of the year so far. He's sixth on the grid and we believe we have a good strategy for him tomorrow. It's frustrating that having comfortably got two cars into the top ten for Q3 one couldn't participate, as David held up Kovalainen as he started his timed lap. This was the result of a communication error from the pit wall to the car and was certainly not done by David deliberately."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are a bit disappointed because we had the chance to have both cars in Q3 today. The car was working very well and our performance level was strong. We know how important it is to qualify well here and it's a pity for David as his race is going to be tougher now. But we still believe in our chances for tomorrow: Mark is P6 and our package seems strong; David will be able to bounce back. It is going to be a tough race but an exciting challenge!"
Nico Rosberg (5th, 1:16.439): "I couldn't really predict where we would end up today, so qualifying fifth was fine. I was pushing like hell out there, particularly because I had some damage to my rear suspension on the first few laps of Q2, so it was really important that I recorded such a good time in the first run even if the track wasn't at its best and this got me through to the third session. Starting grid position is everything in Monaco, so we did well in the most important task so far this weekend. I reckon our chances for tomorrow's race are very good. We would be happy to finish where we are starting from - fifth place would be good, but it would be great to do better."
Alexander Wurz (11th, 1:16.662): "Today's outcome all came down to my last run in Q2 when I slid a bit wide in turn one and I guess that cost me making it through to Q3 and a place in the top ten. There is not much more to add - I am now 11th on the grid, so tomorrow I will see if it is possible to score some points, which some drivers have certainly managed in the past. To do this here will be hard, but it's a long race, so let's wait and see."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Nico had a strong qualifying today although he did have a problem with the rear suspension in Q2 that meant he only managed one run, but it was quick enough to make it through to Q3 and pick up fifth place on the grid. Alex will start tomorrow in 11th and will be trying to improve on his start position in the race. From here he has free choice on fuel strategy."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (12th, 1:16.703): "A good qualifying, but not so good this morning, when a radiator problem meant I did not do many laps and here in Monaco it is very important to do a lot of kilometers. Q1 went perfectly, but we could have done better in Q2. We made a set up change to the front wing and that affected the handling at the rear and this cost me time. But I am confident I can have a good race tomorrow."
Scott Speed (18th, 1:18.390): "Confusion in the pits cost me a lot today, as I got called into the weighbridge and then ended up coming into the garage just before Tonio arrived in the pit stop position. On top of that, my brakes were on fire when I came into the weighbridge. Just a bad day all round."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "We tried to give the drivers as much time as possible on fresh rubber, but we made a mistake as our plan for Scott was compromised when he was called to the weighbridge. I think we should have sent him out again immediately, but we did not. The factory has worked hard for the past two weeks to get us something new that only arrived last night. Hard to tell whether it works or not, but it seems to have had a positive effect."
Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:18.418): "It was very surprising to see my name at the top of the times after practice, but I was obviously very pleased! I had the perfect run. In Qualifying later my first set of tyres were OK, but the track was not quite in so I took it a little bit easy as I hadn't used the soft tyres and didn't know what to expect. The second lap was very good and on the third I was really on the edge. The tyres performed very well and I was very close to P17. I did a good first sector, but then the tyres dropped down and I couldn't do the same again. It was a good day though and I hope in the race I can push back to the front."
Christijan Albers (22nd, No Time): "It was a bad day for me and it's a shame for the team that we couldn't do more. This morning I had some issues and now in the Qualifying with the hydraulic problem. It's sad I couldn't take advantage of the conditions but I am sure we'll get on top of them for tomorrow and have a good race."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "An interesting day for us. Obviously in the wet session this morning we were very pleased to see Adrian at the top of the timesheets and we were hoping for rain this afternoon but it didn't materialise. It's now a case of mixed emotions for Qualifying; we had a hydraulic problem on Christijan's car which meant he wasn't able to do a timed lap. Adrian had a reasonable session though and was able to qualify ahead of a couple of cars, which shows the progress we have been making. We have to wait to see what conditions are like for the race tomorrow, but given Adrian's performance in the wet, we would be quite happy for a wet race. A solid day overall and we hope for the same tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (17th, 1:18.250): "As was the case for everybody, we experienced really difficult conditions today. The Qualifying session was quite frantic and I feel that my side of the garage did a great job in getting the car out there in a good space. It was unfortunate to miss out on not getting a final run in as we wanted to try and complete three runs because it looked like it could rain at any moment. However, I don't feel anyone did anything wrong, so I'm happy with what we did, it was just bad luck."
Takuma Sato (21st, 1:18.554): "Obviously the morning wet session made it difficult for everybody, but at least we collected good data for running in these conditions. Going into Qualifying, the first outing was just a warm up and then in the second outing I caught some traffic, so I wasn't able to do a relevant quick lap. Then when I came back to the pit to prepare for the last Qualifying lap our timing plan was incorrect and we couldn't make it across the line for a third run, which was very disappointing."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "The weather conditions this morning put a bit of a spin on things. Both drivers did very well and we were in the middle of the pack where we expected to be. Had it been wet during Qualifying I think we would have been in good positions. However, we bit off a little more than we could chew in Qualifying. We let the drivers down with our timing; both Takuma and Anthony failed to do a planned third run and it proves what I have being saying that we are a young team, learning all the time."