European GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:31.741): "The most important news is obviously that Lewis is OK. During my final qualifying lap I had a big moment at Turn Five and I am really lucky that I got out of it without spinning. However it cost me more than half a second so I am pleased to be on the front row. We have made good progress during the weekend and my car in contrast to yesterday was working really well. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (10th, 1:33.833): "I'm absolutely fine and we will see later if I am able to race tomorrow. Everybody has been looking after me really well. We know what caused the accident and I'm just pleased that everything is OK and I really hope I can race tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "The main thing is that Lewis is absolutely fine with no injuries and no broken bones. He has been taken to hospital for a precautionary CT scan and we will know later today if he is able to race tomorrow. The accident was due to either a faulty air regulator or wheelgun causing the wheel nut on his right front wheel not to be tightened properly. The team is undertaking a full investigation to understand how this could have happened. Fernando could have been on pole today if it had not been for a small mistake but he has a good basis for the race tomorrow - particularly as he has been consistently quick through all the practice and qualifying sessions."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The most important news of today is that Lewis is OK and he is now in hospital for a precautionary CT scan. The accident was not his fault. What concerns the sport today: Fernando could have been on pole, however a little mistake cost him the amount of time he was lacking in the end, but what a great job from him to recover and put the car on the front row."
Heikki Kovalainen (7th, 1:32.478): "My final lap in Q3 was OK, so it was frustrating to lose out to Webber by just two thousandths little, as I could probably have found some more time in the first and final sectors. But our pace this afternoon wasn't good enough to fight with the BMWs, and that is our target at the moment. The new front wing is definitely a step forward for me, and the car is working better, but we are lacking grip, and missing something with the package this weekend. The balance is good, though, and we hope that our new developments will bring us better consistency in the race. The main thing this afternoonis that Lewis is OK. It was a nasty-looking accident, but we saw him giving the thumbs up, so hopefully he will be fine."
Giancarlo Fisichella (13th, 1:32.010): "After a run of good qualifying sessions, it is really frustrating not to get through to the top ten. We spent the morning trying to find a good balance with the new front wing we are running here and made good progress compared to yesterday. We are still understanding how to find the best set- up with it, but the car felt OK in the first qualifying runs.On my first lap in second qualifying, I had traffic in the first sector and that cost me three tenths - enough to get through to the super-pole session. So I knew that everything was resting on the final lap and I just went over the limit in a few places, trying to make up the time. It is tough to be starting from so far back, but that is how it goes. We can certainly make up positions tomorrow, so now we need to find a good strategy to help us do that."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was very difficult to get the car and tyres working together the way we wanted today, and we saw a substantial difference in our relative performance between the two types of tyre. After a run of races where both drivers made it into the final part of qualifying, it is clearly disappointing that only one did so this afternoon. We will need to assess the reasons for this when we get back to the factory next week but at the moment, our priority is to race strongly and to try and get both drivers in the points."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "For any racing team, a good qualifying session in one in which both cars demonstrate an equal level of performance and perform to their potential. After a series of qualifying sessions in which we achieved exactly that, we were disappointed to fall short of our target this afternoon. The session demonstrated clearly that the top two teams are still ahead of the rest, and that BMW remain the third force. We are at the front of the next group, but the gaps are closer here than they have been at recent races. Now, we have to wait and see how consistently we can perform over 60 laps tomorrow afternoon and aim to continue our run of points-scoring finishes."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:31.450): "Finally! In qualifying at the last race I made a mistake in the final part of my lap, but today everything went well and I've managed to get back on pole. In Q1 and Q2, I had some problems with grip, but once the car was carrying the fuel load for the first part of the race it was very good again. The wait after Hamilton's accident made the third session more complicated but the biggest problem was that it was all going to be down to one flying lap. Now I am in the best possible position on the grid, but I am well aware that we can expect a very tough race. All weekend the car has been very good but are rivals are still very strong. Lewis' accident? The important thing is that, as far as we know, he is not badly hurt."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:31.778): "In Q1 and Q2 I was very happy with the handling of the car. The break because of Hamilton's accident certainly did not help matters and maybe I lost a bit of the right feeling. On my final lap I was a bit slower in the first and third sectors, just by a few hundredths but it was enough to make the difference. But I am still confident because I know I have a really good car in race trim. The black arm band? It is a sign of mourning for the air accident that happened in Sao Paulo last Wednesday. It is a difficult time for my country and this is the least I can do for the families who have lost loved ones. Tomorrow, I really hope I can have a good race so as to give Brazilians a little happiness after such a great tragedy."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A lot of drama in this qualifying! We got a real fright when we saw Hamilton end up in the crash barriers and it was a real relief to see him give the thumbs up to show he was okay. Then, it was all played out over one lap with both our drivers doing a great job, to finish first and third with Kimi and Felipe respectively, thus confirming the potential of the F2007. Clearly the race is the most important thing and as usual it will be very tough: reliability, tyre wear, performance and strategy will be the key factors. So far, we have been very competitive on this track and we will try and maintain that form tomorrow."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A good qualifying with one driver on pole and one in third place, overtaken at the very end by Alonso by just a few hundredths. We are very competitive and have been since the start of the weekend and we have managed to find a good balance on the cars, even on soft tyres. This means we can be confident for the race, while still aware that we are up against some very strong opponents and that when looking at today's results we have to take into account as always the unknown factor regarding the amount of fuel taken on for the first part of the race."
Rubens Barrichello (14th, 1:32.221): "Today's qualifying was tough. We needed around three or four tenths more to make the difference and it wasn't possible to get any more out of the car today. I was generally pretty happy with my runs but my quick lap at the end of Q2 wasn't so good because it was difficult to a good out-lap due to traffic."
Jenson Button (17th, 1:32.983): "I'm massively disappointed. I thought we would qualify a lot higher but I didn't have the grip and balance that I've had on new tyres all weekend. We had reasonable pace on Friday with race fuel but with this many cars in front it is always going to be a struggle to get near the points."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "I'm disappointed with our grid positions today. We know that the race pace of our car is strong enough to fight for a top ten position in the race, however we still struggle to lay the foundations for that in terms of our qualifying performance. Rubens' car was quite well-balanced after some set-up changes we made yesterday. Jenson didn't have good grip or balance in qualifying which is surprising as he had been happy with the car on new tyres in free practice."
Nick Heidfeld (4th, 1:31.840): "It was a dramatic qualifying. I was relieved when I saw Lewis waving his hand and I hope he is ok. After he retired fourth position was my goal. I got there and my lap was good. But still it is a bit annoying to see the gap to second place was only one tenth of a second. Again I enjoyed the competition with Robert a lot. I wouldn't have complained if the session had been stopped instead of interrupted! First of all because I was third at this stage, and second because I would have been able to fly home half an hour earlier. Apart from qualifying I am incredibly happy today because this morning at 5:24am I became a father for the second time. I can't wait to put my arms around my girlfriend, Patricia, our daughter, Juni, and our new born son, Joda. Of course I will be back tomorrow morning and am looking forward to my home race."
Robert Kubica (5th, 1:32.123): "The most important thing is that Lewis is okay. Qualifying was good for myself and the team, but I think we are in better shape for the race. Of course the accident to Lewis and the red flag stoppage didn't help, but we have taken an advantage because of this. It will be difficult to fight against Ferrari and McLaren, but the pace of our long runs has been quite good. Let's hope tomorrow will be dry as I think we are in a good shape."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We are obviously very relieved the news is Lewis was not seriously hurt in his accident. Qualifying went very well for us, and we were very close to the front row. In the end Nick missed second place on the grid by just one tenth of a second. But we are very satisfied with grid positions four and five. This is an excellent position for our home race. Nick now has a half day off. He is able to fly home and hold his new son Joda in his arms, of course he will be back tomorrow morning."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The most important thing this afternoon is the fact, according to early information, Lewis Hamilton escaped his heavy crash without any injuries. I'm happy with our performance. This was the tenth time in a row that we managed to bring both our cars into Quali 3 - we can be proud of this. Of course, it's a shame Nick missed P2 by just one tenth of a second, but positions four and five are very good and put us in a strong position for the race. In addition, it's positive that the gap to the cars behind us is quite big. So far, we enjoyed an absolute trouble-free weekend which gives us all reason to hope for a strong race."
Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:32.501): "It was a difficult qualifying session. We both did a reasonably good job and I think we are in good shape for the race. We will keep working hard but having two cars in the top 10 is not too bad. The first session went well and we had no trouble getting through. As you could see, I had a spin on my last flying lap in Q2 at the chicane but luckily it did not matter and we got into the top 10 again. The red flag in Q3 didn't really affect me. It is part of our job - when I saw Lewis get out of the car, I could just forget it straight away. Obviously there is quite a lot of work to do to fight the cars ahead of us but from where we are on the grid, we have a good chance of scoring points again, so as usual I will push hard and try to get the best result possible. It should be dry tomorrow but we are at the Nurburgring so anything can happen!"
Ralf Schumacher (9th, 1:32.570): "The session went quite well for me today and getting into the top 10 is positive. We would have liked to have finished a bit higher but eighth and ninth is still okay. We knew it was going to be difficult to get both cars in the top 10 but the car feels quite good and I am reasonably happy with today's performance. It felt like we had a decent balance throughout the session and we had no problems with the car, so that was good. I am happy to be on the clean side of the grid for the start tomorrow - hopefully we can make a strong start because there are cars in front of us which I think we can catch. We will see how it goes but I am hopeful. The weekend has gone well for us so far and now we will hopefully score some points."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "It was a bit of a disappointing qualifying session because the weekend was developing pretty much like Silverstone and we were expecting to fight for the top six. In fact both Ralf and Jarno were able to fight for the top six because they ended up within a few 100ths of a second of the cars in front but still, we missed out. That is quite disappointing. Otherwise the preparation to this session went really smoothly for both drivers and as a consequence we are reasonably well prepared for the race tomorrow. With the red flag delay late in Q3, we managed the last five minutes to make sure both cars could complete their laps without any traffic. We decided we would go with a strategy which minimised the traffic risk and everything went smoothly, except the final positions, which we expected to be better."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:32.476): "It started to come together in Q2 today and we were able to get into the final top ten, which is great because the midfield is so tight at the moment. We're happy with what we've done today. We'll be racing against Toyota, Renault and Williams tomorrow and trying to get some points from them."
David Coulthard (20th, 1:33.151): "For the first timed lap I went out behind Mark's car. He aborted the lap when he locked up, so I got close to the back of him and was held up. I started my second timed lap even closer to him than on the first, so it wasn't a clean run. We didn't get the timing quite right for me to start my final lap, I got the chequered flag just as I came round the last corner to begin it. But, it's happened now, it's over, and we'll get with tomorrow. It's not something that's happened before and I doubt it will happen again."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Mark put together a sequence of excellent laps today. The first were in the second qualifying session, which comfortably put him into the top ten, and then again in Q3. It's a job well done by him today. David was unfortunate on his first run and then there was an issue getting his car out of the garage before his final timed lap, so he missed starting his laps by approximately two seconds. It was a mistake that shouldn't have happened."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Mark enjoyed a strong qualifying session this afternoon and did a very aggressive lap in Q2 especially. We are pleased to see that our package can be stronger than the Toyota and our other direct rivals. We have a real chance to score some points tomorrow and we will be racing hard for them. Unfortunately, on the other hand, we are very disappointed for David, he did not get the chance to set a good time through no fault of his own. He will have a difficult race tomorrow as it is particularly difficult to overtake here. However we must stay focused and seize every opportunity that comes our way."
Nico Rosberg (11th, 1:31.978): "Today I really got everything I could out of the car but I think a position in the top ten could have been possible. What cost me time was the traffic I met in the last corner of my fastest lap. I had so much understeer behind the car in front and that cost me the tenth and a half I needed to make it into Q3. Anyway, 11th is better than 10th, because we now have the option of what strategy to go for tomorrow and points are possible from this position."
Alexander Wurz (12th, 1:31.996): "It was so tight today. I missed Q3 by such a small margin. I was very close to Nico and looking good for a place in the top ten because I've felt really comfortable with the car every time I've been out on track. I was hoping to finish 8th; 12th is acceptable, but I'm not really happy. I'm disappointed because we are competitive and I should have done better today. The Renaults and Webber picked up some speed right at the last minute as well which hurt us."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was frustrating not to get both cars into the top ten as we looked close enough all weekend to do that. However, from 11th and 12th on the grid, we're free to work with our fuel strategy so we'll put all efforts and concentration into that now. The long run pace of the car has been good as well. We'll now look to make some progress up the order tomorrow with the target of getting points."
Scott Speed (18th, 1:33.038): "Since yesterday, we have been struggling here and I'm not quite sure why. It's disappointing not to get to Q2 and tomorrow is going to be a tough afternoon. We have made steps forward with the car, but it has only served to keep us where we were as the others have all moved forward too. It is frustrating. We will need a bit of luck tomorrow to get something out of this situation."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (19th, 1:33.148): "I think that all things considered, this position is probably a fair reflection of where we are. At the most, Scott and me might have swapped places, even if I knew I was at a slight disadvantage to him, as he was running some new aero components. I also had problems with the brakes since yesterday that we have been unable to solve. In fact on my first run I locked up my front wheels in a big way at turn 1 and that meant this run was over. Then, on my second run I think track conditions were a bit worse for everyone and this was a particular problem for us as I also had traction problems. But the brakes were the main thing. The soft tyres grain over a long distance, but the harder ones are much more consistent, so I think strategy will be a key factor for the race."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "Super-Aguri has done better than us today. Let's hope it's not the start of a trend. All we can do now is start taking a close look at what we are doing."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:34.500): "In general it's been a difficult weekend, but we improved the balance a lot from yesterday. The track is difficult for us due to the camber change of the roads - we lose a lot of grip in the front when we turn in and have some problems braking into the corners. It always seems to lock up in the front, which is not what you need in Qualifying. The lap was OK but I felt I couldn't really push. In this race I think we just have to live with it and concentrate on doing what we can for this race and the next until we get the new car."
Markus Winkelhock (22nd, 1:35.940): "I'm a little bit disappointed as I know more was possible today. I was already quicker than Friday, but in Qualifying with the first set of tyres I did a safe lap without pushing too much. Then on the second set of tyres I tried to push but we had a little bit too much oversteer. Also in the first corner there was a Toro Rosso, it didn't block me, but already the lap could not be perfect from that first corner. I'm not really happy, but at the end of the day, it was pretty certain I was going to be on the last row and I knew I had to focus on tomorrow. The goal is to do a good job without any mistakes, with obviously the biggest target being to finish the race."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A disappointing Qualifying session today. Whilst I don't think we expected to be anywhere else apart from the back row, the gap to the rest of the field is certainly much bigger than it has been in previous races. We have to try and understand why, but we have to hope now to get two cars to the finish."
Anthony Davidson (15th, 1:32.451): "That was a very exciting Qualifying session for us. Taku and I pushed each other very hard and we took the car right to the limit. I feel that we got the very best out of the car and it was a lot of fun. To beat one of the Honda cars and also Coulthard, especially in Q1, and to just get into Q2 was exactly what we wanted. We knew that once we got into Q2 it was going to be extremely hard to progress any further, but I am very happy with today's work. The boys in the garage and the Engineering team did a great job to find space out on the track so that I always had a clear run."
Takuma Sato (16th, 1:32.838): "It was a good practice session. We made a few changes in the morning to try to improve and we made progress. I was happy with the car in Q1 and we looked very good. At least we got into Q2 as it has been a few races since we did that, but it was unfortunate that on my last quick lap there was a yellow flag at the chicane and I had to abort. It was unlucky that I could not improve because of that, but the car showed good performance today so hopefully we can have a strong race tomorrow."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "It turned out to be a very close fight between the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM drivers today and both performed well. It is nice to have both cars in Q2 - we have not had that for a while. The grid is getting tighter in lap times all the time and even within our team it is getting tighter and tighter. We have a healthy intra-team rivalry."