Turkish GP - Saturday - Team Quotes

Heikki Kovalainen, Turkish GP 2007

Heikki Kovalainen, Turkish GP 2007 

 © The Cahier Archive

McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:27.373): "That was a good qualifying session for me. We had been fast in practice so we were quite optimistic. In the first two qualifying sessions I struggled a little bit to get the most out of the tyres, but then it all came together on my final lap. The team have done a fantastic job working hard over the summer break to continue to bring developments to the car and it shows in the fact that we have been very competitive here all weekend. I think that we will have a good race tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso (4th, 1:27.574): "I am happy with my qualifying today. I made the decision to go out on prime Bridgestone Potenza's for my final flying lap, but I do not think this was the wrong decision. That final lap was actually quite stressful as our planned timing was for me to run at the very end of the session with only a couple of seconds left to cross the line. Then I was stuck in traffic, so all these factors probably played a role in me not improving my lap time and coming fourth today. However I think it will be a very exciting race, and I am feeling confident as it is possible to overtake at this circuit. I think we have a good strategy, and the car will be strong in the race."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Both drivers did a fantastic job today choosing different tyres for their final runs. We have a good strategy for tomorrow's race and are confident that we will be in a strong position to win."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Lewis did a great qualifying lap less than half a tenth of a second behind pole position, and with Fernando's fourth the top four drivers are within two and a half tenths. Fernando was quickest in Qualifying Two when everybody was on low fuel and this shows his and the car's speed. Starting from grid positions two and four is something we know well as we have done this four times before in the first 11 races, winning two of them. Everybody in the team did a great job improving our performance throughout the summer break. Friday's first practice, we were 1.2sec behind and now we are on the same level as the opposition. Tomorrow everything is possible, we have a strong strategy and a good top speed."

Renault

Heikki Kovalainen (7th, 1:28.491): "I needed a good qualifying session today, after failing to make it into the top ten in Hungary. We worked out the problems we had in Budapest, and we were more careful in our approach. That paid off because we were back on our normal pace. The team has done a great job throughout the weekend to improve the car, and I want to thank my engineers and mechanics for all their hard work since Thursday. The balance was consistent, and we had a good level of performance on both types of tyre. Clearly, we are still some way off the top teams, but if we keep our heads down and carry on working, then we know we will get there. First priority, though, is tomorrow's race. I think we are in a good position, and the strategy is the right one. Hopefully we can consolidate our position, and try to race with the cars in front."

Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:29.322): "This wasn't a brilliant session for me. I was struggling with the balance as it was quite windy and the car was understeering for a lot of the lap. In terms of competitiveness, we are in our usual position behind the top three teams. The conditions tomorrow will be extremely hot, and I am expecting a tough race. The target will be to out-race the cars immediately around us, and to try and make up some positions to get into the points."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Overall, it was a successful day for the team. We completed our technical programme this morning, working through a number of different set-up possibilities, and then put that knowledge to good use this afternoon. Given the fuel load we are carrying, I think we are in competitive grid positions. Both types of Bridgestone tyre performed well during qualifying, and the car balance is reasonable for what will be a long, hot race tomorrow afternoon."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The final times from the second part of qualifying showed how competitive the field is behind the top three teams, and we achieved out potential today, by performing at the head of that group and putting both cars in the top ten. Looking ahead to tomorrow, both engines are performing strongly and are more than capable of withstanding the extremely high temperatures. The top three teams are clearly a step ahead of us, but we have the pace to maintain our current positions, and we will look to make the most of any unusual events at the front of the field to make up ground."

Ferrari

Felipe Massa (1st, 1:27.329): "Sensational! After a nightmare of a weekend in Budapest I am very happy to have taken pole this afternoon. It was a very hard fight, right down to the nearest thousandth of a second. In the first two qualifying sessions I was not perfect, but I gave it my best shot in Q3, when the car was really well balanced. I am optimistic, because I think we are very competitive in race trim. The final corners on this track are very important because it is easy to lose a lot of time in a short distance. In Q3, I tried not to be too aggressive. I hope I get a good start and that our strategy turns out to be the right one. It would be great to repeat last year's result."

Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:27.546): "Of course I would have preferred to have started from pole position, but it is better to be third and start on the clean side of the track, than to be second. In Q1 and Q2, the car was well balanced, but that was not the case in Q3, when I took on my fuel load for the first part of the race. I made a few small mistakes in the final two corners, which probably cost me pole. We have a very strong car in race trim, so there is every chance of getting a good result."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This was a really closely contested qualifying, with Felipe delivering us our seventh pole of the season, while Kimi took third place. It's true that this is only the first small step in the evolution of the race weekend, but from what we have seen this year, its value should not be underestimated. Tomorrow we can expect a very tough race on a circuit that is particularly demanding on the driver from a physical point of view: reliability, team work, strategy and tyre performance will, as usual, be the vital parameters to take into consideration."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A very exciting qualifying! We missed out on an all-red front row by a whisker, but both our drivers are in very good positions on the starting grid. It will be a very tough race in which strategy, reliability and consistency in performance from both types of tyre will be crucial, as is always the case in fact. Yesterday, we showed we were competitive over a distance, but that also appeared to be the case for our main rivals. We will have to do everything perfectly if we want our result to match our expectations, which are to bring home the best result possible."

Honda

Rubens Barrichello (14th, 1:28.188): "It was a good qualifying. I think we were at the very limit of the car, as we could see for both myself and Jenson. It's frustrating to be so near to the top ten, yet in some ways still a little too far. We seem to have solved a few of the problems we saw in Hungary, so a better weekend so far. We will now have to see what tomorrow brings in terms of results but for sure it will be a tough and very hot race."

Jenson Button (15th, 1:28.220): "The first three runs in qualifying went well. On the last run I tried to push the car a bit more but I just ended up with a big snap of oversteer and lost quite a bit of time. That's where we're at though. You either drive the car round and do OK or try to push and then you're on a knife-edge. That's what we're dealing with I'm afraid. We'll have to see what we can do in the race."

Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Rubens had a trouble-free Saturday. This morning in free practice his car balance had improved since yesterday and he went on to qualify in P14. Jenson had three good qualifying runs and was pushing hard but on the last run lost some time at turn seven and ended the session just behind his team-mate. Unfortunately, as he came into the pits, his engine started to lose power and we will now have to change it for tomorrow's race and take the 10 place penalty."

BMW

Robert Kubica (5th, 1:27.722): "I think it was a good qualifying and to do better was difficult. We hope for a good race tomorrow, but it will be hot and so not easy for the tyres. There is not a big difference between the soft and hard compounds, as the soft ones are quick on the first timed lap and the hard ones quicker and more consistent on long runs. Fortunately I am pretty confident we are in a good shape for long runs as we concentrated on that yesterday. My first run in Q3 was not good, as I made a small mistake, but the second one was okay. We have to be happy and, although we could perhaps have gone a bit quicker, I think it is a lot to ask to put our car in the middle of the Ferraris and McLarens in today's conditions."

Nick Heidfeld (6th, 1:28.037): "I am pleased with the result. My last lap was good and I was pleased to see we have been strong in Q2. I will be starting from the dirty side of the track which, of course, is a disadvantage. I am really looking forward to tomorrow, as it could be an exciting Grand Prix because overtaking is possible on this circuit. But for overtaking you need to have cars in front of you which are generally slower, and this is not the case for me."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a good qualifying for both cars. The timing in all three sections was just perfect. In Q1 as well as in Q2 we didn't have to do more than one outing. This shows we are significantly stronger than the teams behind us. Fifth and sixth on the grid confirms what we expected."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We are satisfied with the qualifying and took our 'reserved' positions. Also for the 12th time in the 12 races this season we managed to get both cars in the top ten on the grid, which is a strong effort. Everything went according to plan, especially the double pit stops in Q3. Looking at our grid positions we are confident for the race on Sunday, which, like today, will be in hot conditions."

Toyota

Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:28.740): "It is good to be in the top 10 again and I think it was a positive day. It was hard work to get into the top 10 because I was struggling a bit with the handling of the car, which did not seem to suit my driving style. I had a bit of a problem under braking and couldn't attack as I wanted to. I think we did a good job to get 9th position but, of course, it is always possible to improve, especially because at this circuit overtaking is possible. For tomorrow we are expecting a good result looking at our pace in the last few races. I am hoping that from 9th on the grid I can have a good result because I am looking forward to scoring points again. I have high hopes for the race but I hope I do not have the same problems as today."

Ralf Schumacher (18th, 1:28.809): "That was a frustrating session and a disappointing result. We had some problems on my first flying laps in Q1. Twice my rear tyres locked and we don't know why yet, we will have to investigate. That was why my times were not as good as we expected after my third place in practice yesterday. Then we changed tyres and made an adjustment to the front wing but I had a lot of oversteer. The car was nervous in the middle sector and I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. It was definitely a shame because we had the potential to start much higher. We have to analyse what went wrong. In the race anything is possible. Last year I started towards the back and managed to finish 7th because it is possible to overtake on this track. It is a long race so we will wait and see."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "We have some work to do to understand what has happened since the end of P3 this morning because up to then we were having a competitive weekend. Things started to go wrong when we went to the option tyre at the end of P3 and did not gain as much as the other teams. It stayed pretty much the same in qualifying. We have one car in the top 10 thanks to a good lap from Jarno but we are still far away from where we thought we would be. We did not benefit as much as the others from the improvement of the track with the option tyre. For Ralf it was a different story. He could not get a clear lap in Q1 and this combined with some balance issues and the fact we were not as fast as we should have been caused his result. Of course it will be difficult for him but last year here he started 15th after an engine change, he had a collision at the start and had to pit but still finished 7th. Hopefully he can make up some positions because our race pace should be good. Jarno is in a much better position and he has a sensible strategy in terms of fuel load. We hope he can fight for points."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (12th, 1:28.013): "It's disappointing not to get into the top ten today - I thought we'd go better here. The conditions out on track for qualifying were very similar to this morning, but we need to improve the consistency of our car from lap to lap and we need more grip."

David Coulthard (13th, 1:28.100): "The balance of the car is teetering on the edge between a little bit of understeer and a little bit of oversteer, so I can't really say there's a fundamental problem with the balance. That was as quickly as I could drive each corner. Maybe I could have gone one or two tenths quicker by doing a tidier lap, but no more than that. We really need more downforce or less drag."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "In the first run of Q2, both drivers comfortably made it into the top ten, but unfortunately neither managed to improve their time on the second run. Ultimately, we dropped to 12th and 13th position. Both drivers had moments on their last laps and, when the grid's so tight, that's the difference between 7th and 13th. Unfortunately today, we lost out on the second run."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Let say we are a little bit disappointed, as we were targeting to make it into Q3 today with both cars. It was really tight once again and we were perhaps not able to get the most out of our package today. We made some good progress since the beginning of the weekend, but the other teams clearly did the same. The engine worked well and we chose an aggressive set up for qualifying. We hope it will be good for tomorrow's race as well."

Williams-Toyota

Nico Rosberg (8th, 1:28.501): "If you had asked me on Thursday about our likely qualifying performance, I might have told you I wasn't sure that we could be strong here. Today my view has changed and I am a bit disappointed I didn't claim P7 by a margin of one hundredth of a second, which, overall, is better than I anticipated. It was very close between me and Kovalainen right through Q2 & Q3. 7th would have been possible today, but we needed to get everything absolutely right. The first six cars ahead of us are on paper too fast to catch tomorrow, but 8th position is not bad and gives us a good chance in the race."

Alexander Wurz (16th, 1:28.390): "The first session went okay and the car felt fine, in the second session though I was fighting with the balance, which I tried to ignore, but on top of that, I made a few little mistakes which you can't afford when it is so close, so overall I am disappointed. We'll see what tomorrow brings."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Nico did a good job in qualifying and it was a shame to miss out on 7th by a hundredth of a second. He has a good strategy for the race tomorrow and will be fighting hard for points. With Alex it was disappointing not to progress to Q3, but I am sure he will get his head down tomorrow and with a good strategy he will keep pushing all race. We had no mechanical problems today."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th, 1:28.798): "That was a shame to miss out by being just a few thousandths slower than Barrichello. On my final run I might have been able to go a little bit better but I went out in traffic and was not able to get my front tyres up to temperature and that made me lose out a bit in the first three corners. I lost a couple of tenths and that meant I had no chance of making it to Q2. Apart from that, my lap was actually almost perfect, so I have nothing to complain about really. Unfortunately, we still lack a bit of development and, for example, we have a new front wing on the way. The balance of the car was good, so I am still looking forward to the race."

Sebastian Vettel (20th, 1:29.408): "Of course I am disappointed because we should have and could have been quicker. My first problem was caused by the fact that I was pulled into the weighbridge which meant we had to change our programme for the session. After that, I went out quite late for just one last run and I was the last car on track. This meant I had a very slow out lap, so by then, I had low tyre temperature and pressure which cost me a lot of time. It's not as good as we expected, but life goes on and we will have to see what will be possible in the race tomorrow."

Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "It is clear that Spyker has made a step forward. We are also progressing, but not as much as we should. We did a little bit better than yesterday, missing out on getting into Q2 by seven thousandths of a second with Tonio. In Canada, when we had our best showing, we made it to Q2 by one thousandths, so you could say we have lost eight thousandths somewhere."

Spyker-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:29.861): "We can be quite happy here, the gap is not that big and we did the best we could with the old car. We found a good set up and the lap came together in Qualifying. During the session though it was very difficult to find a space in the traffic and I only just crossed the line 10 seconds from the flag, but I think we can be happy with the time and hope for more in the race."

Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:31.479): "I am disappointed for us as we had had a fairly good weekend so far and I think we had a reasonable set-up for Qualifying. I was really looking forward to driving in it, but unfortunately in the session we had some problems; I spun and then were some problems with the gearbox and I couldn't recover as usual as gear selection was a bit strange. It's a disappointing result but I will try to do my best in the race. Our race speed is always much better."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A slightly disappointing Qualifying session. We always knew it was going to be a struggle using the old car but Adrian got about as much out of it as he could. Both cars did three runs, but unfortunately for Sakon he made a mistake on his first two, spinning on his second and then we had a problem with the gearbox which meant he wasn't able to complete his last run. Unfortunately he didn't set a competitive time, which is a shame as he had had a good weekend until then. As in Hungary though, we showed we could race the group in front and that has to be the aim with Adrian. With Sakon it is very important he gets a race distance under his belt."

Super Aguri-Honda

Anthony Davidson (11th, 1:28.002): "The day started off well. After Free Practice this morning we were looking pretty strong to challenge for Q2 in Qualifying, and we got through reasonably easily. Before the session I was a bit sceptical as to whether we could get through or not, but the guys worked hard and everyone did a great job and we did it in the end, even challenging for Q3! It was a really good day, and I am going to remember that lap for a very long time."

Takuma Sato (19th, 1:28.953): "I was happy with the car balance during Free Practice and the car felt good. But in Qualifying, although the balance itself was fine, we were lacking the pace and I did not have good grip, so it is difficult to really understand what happened. It is disappointing Qualifying in this position, so we shall have to see what we can do tomorrow."

Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "Pushing. The fact that Taku had a spin in Free Practice Three shows how hard SUPER AGURI is trying. We had a strategic approach to Qualifying and the weighbridge nearly cost us dearly, but it shows how far SUPER AGURI has come that we dealt with all the delays swiftly and were able to get the cars out on the circuit at the right time. It is a shame for Taku, but it just shows how competitive our place on the grid is. It was a very strong performance from Anthony. He showed on his second run in Q1 the capability of the car. We knew that we could tweak it a little bit more, and may be there was a bit more speed, and then in Q2 he exploited everything that the car has got. It is so very, very tight in the mid-field and you have to get everything right to take advantage, as Anthony and the team proved today."