United States GP - Saturday - Team Quotes

Heikki Kovalainen, United GP 2007

Heikki Kovalainen, United GP 2007 

 © The Cahier Archive

McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:12.331): "To be on pole once again within a week is fantastic - I like North America! The fans here have been so enthusiastic and supportive for the team, and I hope they enjoyed today. I screamed into my helmet when I got the confirmation from the team of the pole position. It's a challenge to come to a track for the first time, and I have learnt new things every single corner and every single lap. I knew I had to push very hard in my second run in Q3. The car is working well, and the team has done a great job - for us to have both cars on the front row is a real advantage, and hopefully the team will be able to make the best of it in tomorrow's race."

Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:12.500): "I have had a really quick car all weekend and have been fastest in all practice sessions and the first two parts of qualifying. As a result I'm extremely confident for the race tomorrow and am pleased that the team occupy the front row. I was pushing hard on my last qualifying lap and whilst I was slightly up in the first sector it was not quite enough as I lost some time in the second sector. However the car is working well, and we have had consistent lap times. The two tyre options we have this weekend are close in their performances which gives us reason to be optimistic for the race tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that I can continue my best ever performance at Indianapolis so far."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "The best possible start to the United States Grand Prix with both drivers putting in strong performances. The team has once again worked hard to achieve today's result. Both Fernando and Lewis have been consistently quick throughout the weekend which gives us confidence that we are able to have a competitive race and gain further points for our World Championships battle."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A brilliant performance by both Lewis, Fernando and the entire team. This is the third one-two qualifying result for us in a row and the second consecutive pole position for Lewis with Fernando less than two tenths of a second behind in second place. A great result for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in the important United States Grand Prix. I hope we can achieve a similar result tomorrow, but of course it will be a very tough race with strong competitors."

Renault

Heikki Kovalainen (6th, 1:13.308): "It was a good qualifying session for me, continuing a good weekend so far. The car balance felt OK, the set-up is good and I was comfortable on both types of tyre all the way through qualifying. We have improved the car throughout the weekend, and just had a normal weekend. I have always been confident that things would start going better for me, and I haven't made any mistakes or lost any track time here in Indy. When that happens, you can push to the limit and get the maximum from the car. That's what has made the difference compared to last weekend, and now we have to focus on the race. We will have a good strategy and the car is handling well. I'm feeling confident."

Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:13.953): "It was important to be in the top ten today, and to confirm the progress we have made with the car. I had a clean lap at the end of the second round of qualifying, and the pace of the car was good. I was suffering from understeer on some parts of the track during the weekend, but we made some changes before qualifying and the balance was pretty good, the best I have had so far this weekend. I am looking forward to tomorrow's race, as the car has been consistent and quick all weekend."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "As usual at this circuit, the times were extremely close in qualifying - although in the third session, we can see the field is split into two camps, separated by around half a second. We are reasonably satisfied with our performance today, the cars are running well, and both types of tyre look good. I am sure we can have a strong race."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We made the most of our package today, and that is reflected by having both cars in the top ten for the second time this year. The car is performing well, as our positions in the second round of qualifying reflected, and both drivers got the maximum from the package all the way through the day. There are two distinct groups in the top ten, and while it will be difficult to fight with the cars in front, we seem to be the quickest team among those behind. From the engine side, we enjoyed a trouble-free day, and the cars are competitive in terms of straightline speed, which will give both drivers a good, raceable package. The most important thing tomorrow will be to once again get the most from the car, and score some important points for the championship."

Ferrari

Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:12.703): "I am pretty satisfied and think we can have a strong race tomorrow. We cannot be completely happy about this result but we must not be hard on ourselves either. It would have been difficult to get pole and third place means I will start from a good grid position. We know we can count on a very consistent car in terms of race pace. The start will also play an important part, as will strategy. We will try and make up some place and get the best position possible."

Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:12.839): "All in all, fourth place is quite a good result. It was a very close session and we have to take into account the difference in weights between the cars, something which we will not have an answer to until tomorrow afternoon. Of course, I would like to always be ahead of everyone and there is always room for improvement but I think we can have a good race. It is important that there are no other cars between us and our main rivals. The car has gone well so far this weekend, especially in terms of delivering consistent performance on a long run. We will do our best to bring home a good result."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "The result of this qualifying confirms a trend that has been emerging over the past couple of Grands Prix. It was a very closely contested session at the end of which we got both our cars onto the second row. Tomorrow, we can expect a very long and difficult race, where reliability and strategy will, as usual, play a very important role. With there only being one tyre supplier, Bridgestone, we know that tyre performance can vary from car to car and from what we have seen in free practice we can be very consistent in performance terms. We will tackle the race with the qualities we have always displayed, namely passion and determination."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A very close fought qualifying which saw us get both cars onto the second row. All things considered, it is a reasonably positive result because it puts us in quite good shape for the race. Obviously to evaluate our performance fully, we need to take into account the unknown concerning the amount of fuel people have for the first part of the race. We know that, on the opening lap, we could have some difficulties, but free practice demonstrated that our cars deliver very consistent performance and that means we can be relatively confident. It will be a very tough race run in high temperatures: so as usual, reliability will be crucial."

Honda

Jenson Button (13th, 1:12.998): "The car felt good for my first run in Q1, then I had some problems getting started again after the weighbridge and after that the car felt very different. I had to keep having adjustments made to the front wing and we struggled to find a good balance round the whole lap. I got all of the performance possible out of the car for my final run in Q2 and that's where we are really. The times were very close with some of the cars just in front of me, which is a surprise. We will have to see what happens in the race."

Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:13.201): "It has been a tough day for us today. It was very hard to get a real balance in the car and from run to run it felt very different. I had a lot of oversteer on my final run in Q2, so that didn't help me right at the end. I did as much as I could today and am disappointed not to make it into the third qualifying session. We will have to hope that our strategy allows us to make the most of any opportunity to improve during the race and move us through the field."

Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Our drivers qualified in the same positions as they did one week ago in Canada and with what is a very similar car given that there was only one week between races. The car is clearly not fast enough to make it into Q3. We have chosen to focus our set-up on preserving the rear tyres, which are subjected to a heavy duty cycle on this particular track. Let's hope that our consistency pays dividends tomorrow."

BMW

Nick Heidfeld (5th, 1:12.847): "The balance of the car was better today, but I am not really happy with my qualifying as on the last lap I didn't get it right in the last corner. I had some graining with the tyres and obviously was too aggressive and slid a bit away from racing line, otherwise I think I could have qualified in front of the Ferraris. In Montréal our car was very good over the race distance, so I hope we can continue like this."

Sebastian Vettel (7th, 1:13.513): "It was a thrilling as you have three different sessions and three times the opportunity to either do a good lap or a bad lap. Towards the end I could have been a bit better, but making it into qualifying three was already a big step. I shall sleep better tonight because last night I had the unknown ahead about what will happen. However, yesterday I think we had a very good day and today also was not too bad. Here I shall be racing against the best drivers in the world, which is a big challenge, and the race is a bit longer than I am used to. Now I am much more familiar with the car and really looking forward to the race and another good thing is that P7 is on the clean side."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Sebastian did a very good job. He did exactly what we asked him to do. He was able to concentrate, stayed calm and focused. Whereas Nick was unlucky. He was on the way to qualify in third in front of both Ferraris, but then on his fast lap at the end he lost around four tenths of a second in the last sector. But with a good start he can gain a position or two."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The result is okay, although it could have been even better for Nick. He was strong and on his way to P3 when the third sector didn't go well. For Sebastian the whole procedure was completely new. To reach the top ten qualifying was the target and we easily made this. Seventh on the grid is a very good result for a debutant who had to jump into the car at short notice. Looking at the long runs we did in free practice, I feel we can expect a good race result."

Toyota

Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:13.789): "It is great to be here in eighth on the grid and to be honest I did not expect this. So I am very satisfied with our day and I have to say thanks to everyone in the team who have worked hard all weekend. We managed a smooth qualifying session without any problems even though the times were very tight and that made it hard. There wasn't much grip at the start of Q1 but the track improved. The car seemed well balanced and it was quite quick so I was reasonably happy with that. But we will have to wait and see how it feels over long runs in the race tomorrow. I am happy with the result today. It gives me a good chance to score more points so I am quite optimistic for the race."

Ralf Schumacher (12th, 1:12.920): "The qualifying went pretty well actually. We were just a bit unlucky that we missed out on the top 10 by less than a 10th of a second. I had a little traffic on my first run in Q1 but we got a clean lap at the end of the session. Between the two sessions, we made a small change to the front wing and the car was a little bit nervous on my last flying lap in Q2. You can see we are getting closer to where we want to be because today it was possible to get into the top 10. That's how it goes sometimes. But it is a long race tomorrow and we can now adjust our complete race strategy, which is a slight advantage. I would prefer to be starting higher up the grid but in general qualifying wasn't so bad and I am now looking forward to tomorrow."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "As with probably most of the teams we have been struggling since yesterday with low grip but that is specific to Indianapolis. In the end, with the evolution of the track conditions this morning the situation came back to normal and we managed a reasonable result. As the track is a short one, we were a bit worried we might have traffic but for most of the session, both our drivers did not suffer too much. Jarno obviously did a very good job to qualify eighth and he should be in a strong position for tomorrow's race. Ralf did a great job as well, particularly when he set the seventh fastest time in Q1. Unfortunately he lost a couple of 10ths on his last lap in Q2 when he had looked like reaching the top 10. Overall it was a good performance from him. Now we will look at our strategy and try to get the best out of the situation for both drivers."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (9th, 1:13.871): "I'm actually very pleased with that. We've had a bit of tricky weekend so far, so it was good to get some extra time on the track in today's third qualifying session. It's encouraging. It's very, very tight in the middle group and, as this is quite an easy track to over-drive, you've got to be a bit patient here, which isn't easy for guys like us!"

David Coulthard (11th, 1:12.873): "That was a little bit messy. I had a spin in the first qualifying section, when I lost the back end of the car at the end of the back straight. The car shifts between oversteer and understeer, depending on the corner and how aggressively you brake, so it's tricky to drive, but the pace was there to make it into the top ten. On the last run I picked up a couple of tenths in the first sector, but then lost it in the middle. It's frustrating, as if you're in one of the top three teams you know you're going to get through well, but in the competitive mid-section of the grid, you can finish anywhere between seventh and 16th."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "In what was a very, very tight qualifying session, it was a shame that David missed out on getting into the top ten by just under 500ths of a second. Mark made it through once again to the top ten. We've got a good strategy for Mark tomorrow and David's in a flexible position on the right side of the grid, so hopefully we can look forward to a good race."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We can be quite satisfied with our result today. The engine worked perfectly and seems efficient as we have best top speed of any car in the field. I truly think that our package will perform better during the race and we must target some good points tomorrow. Of course, it is going to be tight, but there is no reason why we shouldn't be positive: we will have to make it to the finish and overtake some drivers, but our package is strong and our drivers can do it."

Williams-Toyota

Nico Rosberg (14th, 1:13.060): "Today was more difficult than yesterday. I thought I could improve my times but I didn't. I glazed my brakes a little bit in traffic and when they cool down too much they don't work very well. After that, I could not hit the brakes as hard as I'd have liked to. There was something missing out there today, the package wasn't working as well as it should so I just couldn't get enough out of it. We now need to work out a good strategy to achieve something positive out of my starting position."

Alexander Wurz (17th, 1:13.441): "Today was not good. My first run was fine and the car felt ok, but the second wasn't great. I had a problem with the balance of the car which cost me about half a second in the first sector and that took me totally by surprise. I'm annoyed because I felt it was going to go well today, like I'd get into the top ten, so this is disappointing."

Rod Nelson, Chief Operations Engineer: "Alex was looking reasonable after his first run in Q1. It looked like he was pushing a bit harder during his second run, but he went slightly wide and got some dirt on his tyres. That cost time and stopped him progressing through to Q2 which is obviously fairly disappointing. Nico was looking good but it didn't seem like he was able to improve on his time between Q1 and Q2. He was in the low 13s but it just wasn't quick enough with such tight competition out there. He seemed to experience some problems with the car during the lap so we'll have to look into that tonight."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Vitantonio Liuzzi (19th, 1:13.484): "As we saw yesterday it was quite difficult to find a good balance. I am disappointed not to have made it through to Q2 but the gap to those ahead is really small and in fact the gaps all the way from the top are close. I am not getting downhearted because I know we have major improvements on the way and we just have to do the best we can with what we have until they come on stream. I think at the moment we are getting the maximum out of this car and are not too far behind those just ahead of us. It's going to be a long hard race but I plan to keep fighting to the end."

Scott Speed (20th, 1:13.712): "After yesterday's practice we knew we were going to struggle in qualifying. The guys in front of us are not so far away and we made some big improvements on the car just before qualifying, so at least I am going into the race with a much better car than I had earlier. We are quick down the straight because we have to be set up like this as we are down on acceleration and so need to take off a lot of wing. The trade off is that we are sliding a lot in the infield section. But maybe this will give us a race car we can do something with tomorrow. Our reliability so far this weekend has been okay and I hope that continues."

Spyker-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:14.122): "The first run was OK. I had some traffic on my first lap, but the second lap was better. Then the last run with the new tyres was difficult as I had some problems with the front tyres and had a lock-up and went wide in the first corner. In general the session was OK, but of course could have been better. With the long straights and the high-banked corners here it should be a fantastic race tomorrow, as compared to other tracks, it should be quite easy to overtake other cars."

Christijan Albers (22nd, 1:14.597): "It was not really a bad Qualifying; we did our best. Everyone is quite close together and it's not easy to do a quick lap time. I was looking for a tow and I didn't have one, but I had already lost some time before I arrived at the first corner, which was quite a shame. Hopefully tomorrow we will have a good car and be able to race the cars in front as we did in Montreal."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A slightly disappointing Qualifying session where both drivers did not improve on their second runs at the end of the session. Although I don't think this would have changed our position, we certainly would have been closer to the cars in front. Overall I think we will have a decent race pace though and will be able to stay and race with the group ahead. We just have to get the right strategy for tomorrow's race."

Super Aguri-Honda

Anthony Davidson (16th, 1:13.259): "The team did a really good job today to get me out there into Qualifying this afternoon after I tapped the wall in the last practice session. I had to change over to the T-car and there was a big buzz in the garage - they did a great job. It's brilliant to get through to Q2. It was a great achievement today and so we're looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Takuma Sato (18th, 1:13.477): "It was a very tough day. I wasn't fully happy with the car this morning, so we changed the set-up for the Qualifying session. It was better but there was traffic during my first run and in the second I went a little deep in Turn One and locked up the front wheel so I lost a good couple of tenths then. Sectors Two and Three were okay, but I needed another half a tenth to get into Q2. It's a shame, but hopefully we have a strong car and I'll have a good race tomorrow."

Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "It was a tough morning. We had a lot to do to get to a place where we were prepared for Qualifying and even then we knew it was going to be really hard as the grid is so tight here. During his performance run at the end of Free Practice 3 Anthony touched the wall coming off Turn 13. Once we looked at the data we saw that the car had taken an impact on some of the componentry over its design criteria, so between the two sessions we had to swap to the T-car. The boys had an uphill struggle within an hour to change everything - engine, set-up, the whole nine yards - and they did a fantastic job. The first run by Anthony showed that the car was good. His engineering crew had him on the circuit at the right time and I think he got the best out of the car. It was unfortunate for Taku. On his second run he just went a bit too deep into Turn One, but the rest of the lap was fantastic and he only just missed going through to Q2."