Hungarian GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:19.674): "Pole position is a great result today. We have been competitive all weekend and the car has been performing very well. It should be a good race tomorrow where I believe we have the strategy for another strong result."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:19.781): "I am happy with today's qualifying and I am fairly confident because our pace is very good. To start from second position is a good basis for tomorrow's race. With the long drive down to the first corner and a good start everything should be possible."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Starting the Hungarian Grand Prix with both cars on the front row of the grid is most definitely the best thing for the race tomorrow, as on this circuit it is extremely difficult to overtake."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Fernando and Lewis performed excellently qualifying both cars in positions one and two. The entire team did a great job to make this happen - thank you to everyone. To start from an all Vodafone McLaren Mercedes front row for the fourth time in the last seven races is the best possible basis for Sunday's race particularly on this circuit. We will try to repeat this result tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella (8th, 1:21.079): "I was caught up in traffic and that made things really difficult. I lost a lot of time and I just managed to squeeze though into Q 2. Things then improved and I had a good lap setting a competitive time to make it into Q 3. The car handled well throughout the session and I think we've got every reason to be optimistic for tomorrow's race. It won't be easy so we're going to have to have an aggressive strategy."
Heikki Kovalainen (12th, 1:20.779): "It was a very disappointing qualifying session. I still don't really understand what happened. Everything went fine in Q 1 and then we put on the super soft compound for Q2 before going back to hard tyres on which I'd felt more comfortable at the start of the session. It seemed a logical decision. But unfortunately, I couldn't find the same feeling: the car wasn't the same and now we have to work to find out why so we can defend our chances tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Today's qualifying was very difficult. The wind combined with the tyres' characteristics meant that we did not get the best out of the session. Heikki was very quick in Q1 with a time that would have given him sixth place in Q 2. However, the last set of tyres used in Q 2 seemed to provide much less grip and this led to his elimination. It was exactly the opposite situation for Giancarlo whose qualifying got off to a difficult start, and then good performances in Q 2 and Q 3 gave him eighth place on the grid with a reasonable fuel load. Tyre management in the race tomorrow will not be easy, and I think we'll see some very different strategic choices."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Today we've seen just how close the field is with four teams and eight drivers vying for the last four places in Q 3, so it was normal that some drivers did not make it into the final phase of this new style qualifying format. Today, unfortunately, it was Heikki who paid the price despite his good performance in Q 1. Now we've got to concentrate on tomorrow's race, especially the start where a good getaway can make a huge difference for the drivers provided we give them enough information. We'll be working hard from now on to prepare for that main straight, and to have a good race despite today's circumstances, as it'll be crucial for tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:20.410): "To be honest, we were not quick enough today to think about beating our closest rivals, but I think we have a good race pace, which means we can be more competitive than we looked in qualifying. The car is very good over a long run, so I am still confident. Starting from the dirty side of the track is definitely not an advantage, even if usually we make good starts. On both my runs in Q3 I did a good lap, but I had too much understeer in the final two or three turns, where I lost valuable time. It's a problem we have had all weekend and we have not managed to solve it over the first timed lap."
Felipe Massa (14th, 1:21.021): "What happened in Q2 is very frustrating. I made a mistake at the final corner on my first run, but then, when I came back to the pits, there was a misunderstanding over refueling and they let me go without fuel. That's why I stopped and had to be pushed back to our area by the mechanics. I went back out again, but the tyres were very cold and I was not able to do a time good enough to stay in the top ten. Tomorrow, I expect a very difficult race, as this is one of the worst places to start from a long way back. I will try and do my best and to get the car home as high up the order as possible. From what we have seen today, I don't think I could have been on the front row, but third place would have been a realistic target. Now we have to look at ways of using strategy to improve our situation. It's a shame starting this far back given that the car has a very good race pace."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A very disappointing qualifying for us, with one driver fourth and the other fourteenth. Felipe, who made a small mistake on his first run in Q2, then lost precious time because of a misunderstanding about refuelling between the pit wall and the garage. Then, on tyres that were definitely not at the ideal temperature, he was unable to improve his time and thus finished outside the top ten. For his part, Kimi could have reasonably hoped to have finished third, but just missed his target and ended up fourth. We know that anything can happen in the race, but we also have to be realistic and accept that we will have to fight our way up the order, especially in Felipe's case. However, as usual, the final verdict only comes on Sunday afternoon."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We made a serious mistake in our management of the second qualifying session for Felipe, not refueling him at the end of his first run. Then, Felipe found himself on tyres that were too cold and he was unable to improve, ending up outside the top ten. We decided to run the softer tyres with Kimi in Q3 but we did not manage to get the best out of them which led to a performance drop off in the final sector and that's what stopped him from taking third spot. We have to be honest and say that would have been the best we could have hoped for in this session. Tomorrow, we are expecting a very tough race, especially in Felipe's case. We will try and pick up as many points as possible."
Jenson Button (17th, 1:21.737): "The car felt reasonably good today which shows that the balance is there so we didn't expect to be in this position. It's strange to have a car which is feeling so consistent and to still not make it out of the first qualifying session. It seems to be a lack of efficient downforce which is affecting our pace. I also lost two-tenths at the first corner compared to this morning which is a massive amount of time when everyone around you is competing so closely. It's very disappointing for both myself and the whole team."
Rubens Barrichello (18th, 1:21.877): "After practice this morning, it wasn't clear which tyre would perform better in qualifying this afternoon. Therefore we used both the prime and option tyre and they felt completely different on each of my runs. Unfortunately the car is nowhere near where we want it to be at the moment and our positions in qualifying today reflect the lack of pace. It will be a hard race for us tomorrow."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "After some set-up changes in morning practice, both drivers had a reasonably balanced car for qualifying. They extracted the maximum possible performance from their cars today and ended up within a tenth of a second from each other, missing out on going through to the second session by a very small margin."
Nick Heidfeld (3rd, 1:20.259): "I am happy about P3, especially as up to now the whole weekend has not been easy. The tyre choice was very hard, but we were not the only ones facing that challenge. Yesterday was quite ok, but today in the second qualifying session we were not on the pace, and I was only in P6. Apparently, the soft tyres were the reason. In view of this we decided to go for the hard tyre compound for the last fast lap in the third qualifying session. I think with this the race should not be a problem. I would like to thank the entire team for the fantastic work. Third for me means the opportunity for the next podium. This is my goal right now. Generally I consider us as the third force, but Ferrari doesn't seem to be as strong as usual. Felipe Massa starts from a long way down the grid."
Robert Kubica (7th, 1:20.876): "The day was not very good. The car is not accelerating how it should. We lose too much time with every single upshift. We now have to analyse the data and see what we can do for tomorrow, which will be difficult as the car is in Parc Ferme right now. Seventh was the best I could do under these conditions."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The conditions for qualifying were demanding. The two factors that were simply not constant were both the strong and gusty wind and the changing tyre performance. For the first time we decided to go for the hard tyre compound in the third qualifying session, as we expected them to be more stable. Taking these conditions into account, third for Nick is a fantastic result, and seventh for Robert is fine as well. Unfortunately a software problem prevented a better result."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We are happy. The starting positions are promising for the race. Third for Nick was, in secret, exactly what we were hoping for. Robert is a little further down the grid than expected, but he had a technical problem. This qualifying was extremely thrilling with lots of position changes. It was a tyre gamble as well. The decisions whether to go for the hard or the soft tyre compound were taken during the respective qualifying sessions."
Ralf Schumacher (6th, 1:20.714): "That was a good day's work for us. The lap was good, no problems - of course it can always be better. The circuit is very tight and it is very difficult to get a clean lap. We are really happy because we were competitive over one lap but also in the long runs we looked pretty competitive. This is a good achievement from the team and from me. Unfortunately sixth place is on the dirty side of the grid but we'll do our best to get a good start and then fight at the front. The team has been working really hard and we brought another small improvement here but in general the car has improved over the last few races, at whichever circuit we go to, so we are happy about that. We have picked up pace compared to the people around us and that is positive. We have both cars in the top 10 so what we achieved today looks promising for the race tomorrow and I am looking forward to it."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:21.206): "I am a little bit disappointed especially for the last qualifying because the car was running pretty well in Q1 and Q2. My lap in Q1 wasn't bad but it was quite windy and that affected the balance of the car and then in Q2 I had a very good lap and was actually in 3rd. That meant I was able to do only one lap to get through, which was very good. In the last part of qualifying, the car felt pretty heavy and a bit harder to drive. In general my lap was a bit slower than I expected and I'm not sure why. But, even so, we got both cars into the top 10 and that is a good achievement for the team. We are still in quite a good position and I hope we can push for more points tomorrow. Anyway it is a shame for me because I felt I could build on our good pace in Q2, when I was 3rd, and start higher up the grid."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "It was our best qualifying so far this season so we can only be happy with how it went. For the first time one of our cars went into Q3 with only one flying lap in Q2 so clearly we are in good shape here. Even so, we are just a little bit disappointed because from the data in Q1 and Q2 we thought we could get the cars a little bit higher up but, as usual, we don't know what kind of strategy the other teams have been using. So far the weekend has gone very smoothly from an operational point of view. We did a lot of work yesterday, mainly around tyres because the story of the weekend here is management of the tyres and until the last minutes of Q3 kept everyone on the pit wall busy. It was a challenge to see which tyre type was most suited to the conditions but we seem to have made the right decision. As always we will see tomorrow but we are really looking forward to it."
Mark Webber (10th, 1:21.256): "It's not ideal to be tenth on the grid here, actually it's one of the worst positions to be in as it's so hard to overtake! I'd prefer to be eleventh. With the qualifying rules we now have, you can end up going through all of Q3 but finishing tenth means you don't really gain anything, as you can't adjust your fuel ahead of the race as the other cars behind you can. But, I think we have a reasonable strategy so we'll see what we can do tomorrow."
David Coulthard (11th, 1:20.718): "Obviously, the goal is to get into the top ten and I'm disappointed not to have made it, but, in comparison to my morning session where every tyre I ran on was graining, I think this afternoon was actually a step forward. We now have a fuel choice for tomorrow and I'm starting on the clean side of the grid, which is good."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's an interesting grid for tomorrow's race. We believe we're well placed strategically and it'll be interesting to see how it pans out. The choice between the soft and hard tyres today was different for each team. David was unfortunate to miss out on the top ten by just 100th of a second, but it gives him freedom of choice for his strategy tomorrow. We'll be looking to push up the order during tomorrow afternoon."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "From a technical point of view, everything worked perfectly. David qualified well and missed out on getting to Q3 by the tiniest of margins, while Mark did a strong job as usual. He is tenth, but let us wait until tomorrow to see what fuel loads the others are running. For our part, we feel we are in a good position in terms of fuel. The package seems to be going well here and we have done all we can to have a good race when, as expected, we will be fighting with Toyota and Williams."
Nico Rosberg (5th, 1:20.632): "I think I can be quite pleased. I didn't expect to be that far up today so I'm really happy that it all came together so well. I worked hard with the engineers to get a good set-up this weekend. We found a direction that seemed to suit the car and it just got better and better which meant I could really push. Our car also seems to work well on this kind of high downforce track which allows us to close the gap to the others. It will be tricky with the tyres in the race, but I'm looking forward to it and hopefully it will go my way this time."
Alexander Wurz (13th, 1:20.865): "It was a very difficult qualifying session. I had a balance problem on the car and my radio didn't work so it was difficult to communicate what I needed to the team. We worked hard in the practice sessions and we should have made it into Q1. I was competitive and just lost the time at the chicane. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a strong race tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a great qualifying effort by Nico. He's been strong through all the practice sessions and it's good to see him follow that up with fifth in qualifying. He's on a good strategy and I'm sure he'll capitalise on that tomorrow. Alex did a good job getting through Q3 but then didn't manage to progress into the top ten. It was a real shame because he was looking strong. Unfortunately, he had a problem with his radio so we couldn't communicate with him as well as usual. We will make sure that the radio problem is fixed for the race. With a good strategy tomorrow, I'm sure he'll be able to make something of it."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (16th, 1:21.993): "I think that in common with a lot of other people, we are finding that the soft tyres are struggling a lot to finish more than half the lap in good condition. So it is always a gamble to get to the end of the lap in good shape. I made it to the last place in Q2 and that was pretty much the maximum target I could have, as there was a big gap to the car in front. I am still remaining optimistic for the race. It will be a tough race, especially from a tyre point of view and so I am expecting an interesting race."
Sebastian Vettel (20th, 1:22.177): "I suppose it might not have been realistic to expect much more as the time I have had to get used to the car and the team has been quite short. Taking that into consideration, I think we have done quite a good job so far. The car was in good shape and we made a step forward with it since this morning. But I am not satisfied with this afternoon, as I made a mistake in the final sector on a quick lap. It was completely my mistake and I think my car was good enough to make it through to Qualifying 2. I hope I have a better afternoon tomorrow."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "So far this weekend everything has run reliably. But for Sebastian's little indiscretion, we could have had both cars in Q2. Looking at his first two days with the team, I think he has a done a very good job, as did Tonio."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:22.737): "This afternoon was much better than this morning when we had some problems with the set-up direction. We then went back to the set-up we had yesterday for Qualifying and had a very good balance with just a little oversteer. My fastest lap was alright, it's just hard to handle the tyres here. Even with the harder compounds I could do two laps and did a reasonable time. Hopefully we will have a good set-up for the race tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:23.774): "From yesterday I had more of an understanding of how the car and tyres worked, so I pushed 100% this Qualifying. It was a shame that on the last lap there was traffic so I couldn't get the lap time I thought I could achieve. I am really happy though as everything was working quite well and I appreciate all the team's work. Tomorrow I want to push hard but finishing the race is the main thing."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A relatively average Qualifying for us. Adrian used both types of tyre in Qualifying and did his fastest time on the supersoft option on his final run. Sakon has done a very good job all day, his application and professionalism has been excellent and it was just disappointing that he was baulked on his last lap by Fisichella. He lost over half a second in turns one and two compared to his first run alone - it's a shame that a young driver has been held up by such an experienced driver."
Anthony Davidson (15th, 1:21.127): "It was a very good day. I feel that I got the best out of the car and with the engineering team I feel that we managed to find a good Qualifying set-up, which is obviously vital around this circuit. The car had a nice balance all the way round and I was comfortably through to Q2 and looking forward to improving my position in the second session. Unfortunately I could only match the time that I set at the end of Q1 and 15th was the most the car had in it today, so I'm happy with our performance."
Takuma Sato (19th, 1:22.143): "It was a tough Qualifying. We planned to do three runs. The first one was to check the car from the practice because I wasn't really happy with the balance, so we wanted to check the car with the prime tyre. I then got called to the weighbridge, which took an unusually long time because when I had to go back into position to fire up the marshals put me in the wrong position, so I had to back up again. So we then lost the opportunity to go for the first planned option tyre run, so I only had one opportunity in the end with the proper Qualifying fuel on board. It was a decent lap, but then unfortunately it was quite gusty and the wind upset the balance of the car and I had a massive wash out and ran wide. Hopefully though the car is performing well and so I hope that we can have a good race tomorrow."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "I think that we had a good session in Free Practice 3. We were watching the weather all the time, as I'm sure everybody was, and the predicted rain didn't materialise. We took an aggressive strategy, from a Qualifying point of view; we knew we had to. We thought that we had the pace to get through to Q2. Anthony did a fantastic second lap in his Q1 run and unfortunately the weighbridge delayed us a little with Takuma. We therefore had to change our plan with him and unfortunately he ran out of road in the last sector, otherwise he'd have been comfortably through to the next session as well. The conclusion is really 'optimising' one and 'a bit of a shame' with the other."