Italian GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:24.066): "It was a very close session. The car felt very good, and I was able to really put the lap together. I had a single shot at pole - and that's the most exhilarating and exciting feeling you can have as a racing driver. We didn't anticipate being this quick before the weekend, but I'm now in the best position to make the most of the start and to get out of the first corner cleanly. It's fantastic to have Adrian starting alongside me tomorrow and we both want a clean start and to enjoy the grand prix."
Heikki Kovalainen (4th, 1:24.845): "Pole position would have been better, but I'm happy with my position. Tomorrow, we'll see what strategies everybody is running: I think we're going to be strong. We're in good shape, have a solid and reliable car and are looking to be very competitive tomorrow. I've been quick all weekend and actually felt the car was working better with a heavier fuel load than on lighter tanks, so that's another positive for the race. Our KERS Hybrid is going to be very helpful - it's a boost at the start and will be useful throughout the race, particularly for overtaking and pushing out of the corners. My focus for tomorrow is to win this race - and I think that's a realistic target."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "It may be a Formula 1 clich√©, but it's true nonetheless: our whole team did a fantastic job today - Vodafone, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, everyone. Both our drivers drove excellent laps, aggressive yet controlled, and both of them have good strategies for tomorrow. But, however pleased we are with our overall qualifying performance, the reality is that anything can happen on race day and we never under-estimate our opposition. Nevertheless, we look forward to a great Italian Grand Prix at this majestic circuit, and we confidently expect to be able to play a highly competitive part in it."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "What a final lap from Lewis and a great position for Heikki on the second row. This is Lewis's second pole in the last three races and shows that the team is working in the right direction to get back to the top. Thanks to everybody in the team, particularly the engineers - it is very easy to get it wrong in terms of qualifying strategy here at Monza, but our guys got it absolutely right. Congratulations also to Adrian Sutil and Force India for their second place on the grid - it is amazing what these guys are doing and proof that a technical partnership and a talented, hard-working staff in an independent low-budget team can achieve everything in Formula 1."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:24.523): "That was one of my best qualifying sessions of the year and we hope that tomorrow things can go even better. I am pleased with this result, for the team and for our fans. The car is not yet perfect, but it's good all the same. We knew the hardest task would come in Q2 as after that, the car is always very competitive with a race fuel load on board: all the same, it was a pleasant surprise to see how it handled in the final part. I am confident for tomorrow: at the start it won't be as easy to make up a lot of places as it was at Spa, because there are other cars fitted with KERS near me, but if everything goes well, we can fight for a place on the podium."
Giancarlo Fisichella (14th, 1:23.901): "Overall, I am reasonably happy, even if I'm aware that a fourteenth place on the grid is not up to the Ferrari standard. Yesterday, I drove the F60 for the first time and this morning, because of a mistake by me, I lost valuable time to prepare for qualifying, as I crashed into the barriers. I want to thank all the mechanics who did a fantastic job of rebuilding the car for qualifying. I was a bit tense before the session, as I knew I didn't yet have enough confidence in the car. Unfortunately, in Q2, I never managed to put together a perfect lap and so I couldn't make it through to Q3. It's a shame, as the potential was there, but tomorrow there is still time to have a good race nevertheless. Maybe, I can try and immediately make up some places at the start thanks to the KERS."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Given how the day started, we can be reasonably happy with how things turned out. I am very happy for Kimi, who produced an amazing performance. Giancarlo did the best he could given the circumstances: he was unable to prepare for qualifying as well as possible during FP3, which was a significant handicap on his Ferrari debut. Tomorrow's race will be tough and difficult, fighting against very strong opposition, which now includes Force India, hardly a surprise any more. The choice of strategies could be different from one driver to the next, so it will be vital to fully exploit every opportunity. Our aim is to pick up as many points as possible to consolidate our third place in the Constructors' classification, but it would be very nice to produce a crowd pleasing result in front of all our fans at this our home race."
Chris Dyer: "First of all, I want to compliment Giancarlo. After this morning's accident, the task facing him in qualifying was not an easy one and managing to take fourteenth place despite this is a good way to start his career with Ferrari. Compliments also go to all the mechanics who did a great job of repairing the car in a very short space of time. Kimi had a great qualifying, especially in Q3. Possibly, other drivers behind him have more fuel and that means we will try and make the most of the first stages of the race to make up ground. Yesterday, we saw that we have a good race pace and I think we can fight for a place on the podium."
Robert Kubica (13th, 1:23.866): "This is a very difficult situation for me, not only for this Grand Prix but also for the next races. I do not have many engines left. It is also unfortunate for Nick who was very competitive here. Although I was struggling a bit I was quite confident of making it into the final qualifying session. I was struggling a little bit with the car in the first qualifying session, but it was better right from the start of the second one. I managed to do quite a good lap, but unfortunately had traffic for the next two laps. The engine problem makes my position for the final races of the season very complicated."
Nick Heidfeld (15th, 1:24.275): "It is a real shame having an engine problem after it all looked so promising. We had a good qualifying in Spa where I was third, and in this morning's free practice I was third again. I was certainly expecting a good qualifying result after the car was quite quick here. Reliability problems are very exceptional for our team and, of course, it is very strange that Robert and I both had problems with two new engines within a few minutes. We will find out what the reason was. Qualifying 15th will make it difficult, but I will not give up and make the most of it."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Both drivers were stopped by engine failures in the second part of qualifying. As far as we can see from the data they both had the same problem. The two engines were new, therefore the reason cannot be too much mileage or too high stress. A thorough analysis will only be possible once we have dismantled the engines. Of course, this has a negative effect on our race prospects. We expected good grid positions on this track. Obviously the failures also influence our engine planning for the remaining races of the season."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Our lap times in qualifying were as we expected them to be after this morning's free practice. Our goal was to get both cars into the top ten qualifying, which was realistic. However, the two engine failures upset our plans. From 13th and 15th in qualifying it will be difficult to score points tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (8th, 1:25.072): "We had a few doubts about reaching Q3 this morning so we are happy to have made it through. In the end we missed being in fourth or fifth position by a very small amount. I hope to have a good start of the race tomorrow and gain some places using the KERS."
Romain Grosjean (12th, 1:23.728): "This is my best performance in qualifying so far. Of course, I would have preferred to make it through to Q3, but I think I can be happy with my performance today. For tomorrow, the KERS should help us at the start of the race. My aim will be to finish in the top ten and if I can score some points I will be very happy."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Today we had a very exciting qualifying session with Fernando in eighth place and just missing fifth by six hundredths of a second. We can see already that there is going to be a number of one-stop strategies in this race so a lot will come down to management of the car and the tyres. Romain was very unlucky not to get through to Q3. His last lap was looking very promising but a small mistake kept him out by a couple of tenths. We are now looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (11th, 1:23.611): "I am happy with my lap in second qualifying because that was the maximum we could get out of the car. Of course it is not satisfying to be 11th and it's extremely disappointing to miss out on the top 10 right at the end of the session like that. I would have been really happy to be in the top 10 considering the performance in practice, which suggested it would be a tough qualifying for us. It is going to be hard tomorrow but 11th is not far away from the top eight so we need to fight and try to bring home some points."
Timo Glock (16th, 1:24.036): "It's frustrating to miss out on second qualifying when I was only sixth tenths away from the fastest lap of the session. We looked quite promising this morning but we didn't transfer all of that speed to qualifying, and I wasn't helped by traffic. On my last lap on the soft tyres another car went straight on at the chicane and I had to follow him, which destroyed my lap. I had the potential to qualify higher but if you lose a little bit of time like that it is very costly. It will be tough in the race tomorrow but we will work on a strategy to make up some places and do our best as always."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "It was the kind of result we were expecting but not the result we wanted. Again the field has been extremely tight and in each session we have seen that several cars are covered by just one or two tenths. Nevertheless, our level of competitiveness was nowhere near the level we had in Spa when we qualified on the front row and we are not happy about that. For the race we will choose a strategy to give us the best chance of moving up the field. We have more freedom with our fuel load compared to the top 10 and we will make the most of the opportunities available; there are still good chances to finish in the points."
Sebastien Buemi (19th, 1:24.220): "I did the best I could, but the session did not go well for me. I was held up by Hamilton, who did not know I was there. Another lap for me might have made a bit of a difference, but not much. As for Glock saying I held him up, I don't think I did, as I was just trying to rebuild a gap after being slowed by Hamilton. They say it might rain tomorrow, so now we need to work out the best strategy for whatever conditions we might encounter in the race."
Jaime Alguersuari (20th, 1:24.951): "I was not expecting much from this session, after problems in the morning with my gearbox meant I only did ten laps in free practice. Because of that, I did not have the time to try much in terms of setting up the car. Therefore, we carried over some unknown factors into qualifying and I have to say, I am still getting used to driving the car in this low downforce configuration. I hope I can still have a good race tomorrow and to be honest, I hope it rains."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "Today, we ended up where we deserved to be.
Sebastian Vettel (9th, 1:25.180): "Not a very good session for us today, ninth and tenth is not where we wanted to be, but let's wait to see the fuel weights. It's a long race tomorrow, anything can happen and our target is to score points."
Mark Webber (10th, 1:25.314): "We'll see how the strategy pans out tomorrow - we've got to try and grab everything we can now. I'm pretty happy with the job I did today and the guys (team) have done a good job all weekend, but we're just lacking a bit of pace. We'll do what we can tomorrow and salvage something from tenth - it's certainly possible."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "An interesting qualifying session. Both drivers did a good job to get to Q3 at a circuit which probably doesn't best suit the characteristics of our car. Strategies have come into play in the final part of qualifying - and it's a shame both drivers aborted their final laps: a tenth of a second difference for Sebastian could have been fifth place today, demonstrating how close it is. It's a mix of KERS cars and non-KERS cars on the grid, which will make an interesting first lap tomorrow."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "I have mixed feelings today. We showed good pace in Q2, compared to what we saw in P3 this morning, so we're satisfied with that, but unfortunately, after today's qualifying, we are ninth and tenth. We could have easily been fifth today, there was just a very small amount of difference in the lap times, so it's a bit of a disappointing end result. Tomorrow it will be difficult with the KERS cars - it will be a quick race, as Monza is the shortest race of the year, but it's going to be a tough one."
Kazuki Nakajima (17th, 1:24.074): "It was a tough qualifying session for us - we knew it would be, but that doesn't change the disappointment. The gap to making it into Q2 was very small and perhaps without hitting traffic on my last lap, something more might have been possible to give me a better start position for the race."
Nico Rosberg (18th, 1:24.121): "I started to find a bit more competitiveness during qualifying today and we made all the right decisions such as choosing the soft tyre, but I didn't manage to put the ideal lap together as the car has not been at its best all weekend. Although we had a tough time with the car last race and we will struggle a lot here this weekend, I am convinced things will improve for Singapore and we will be back where we were in Valencia."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "Obviously today's performance is disappointing, but this was as much as our car can do here. Clearly we haven't done a very good job with our low drag package for the car and we are suffering the consequences of that. Meanwhile, we are confident we can return to competitiveness for the next four races but here it is going to be very difficult to continue our run of points-scoring races. Nevertheless we will be doing our best."
Adrian Sutil (2nd, 1:24.261): "After the results yesterday and this morning, we wanted to fight for the pole position. We knew the car was up to it and that's what we showed in qualifying today. We have a great package, this circuit suits us very well as we have an incredible top speed and also a good downforce package so the efficiency of the car is really good. I'm starting on the front row with Lewis for the first time since F3 and I'm really happy he is next to me, he's a good friend but we will fight hard for it. I have a lot of respect for him. It's going to be very difficult start with the KERS cars around me but the race is long, I'll do what I have to to defend my position and have a good strategy. If the race pace is OK we can gain positions and even if they get past me I have a good, fast car on the straights so it's going to be tight."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (7th, 1:25.043): "Two weeks ago I didn't expect to be on the grid so this is a fantastic result - better than we expected. The team made a great effort and gave me a lot of support to reach this target. They never gave up and we had a great Friday and Saturday. The race will be difficult physically and mentally but I like the fight, the team are fighters and we will give the maximum in tomorrow's race. I'm definitely looking forward to racing in front of my home crowd."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "I'm absolutely delighted with this weekend's performance so far. We've been very strong all weekend and both drivers have been outstanding. Adrian has really showed a great maturity to achieve his best-ever starting position, while Tonio has been a revelation on his debut. Although qualifying is just one part of the equation we are feeling quite upbeat about tomorrow's race now."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "Today's Qualifying session showed that Spa was not merely a one-off but that we are genuinely competitive. Both drivers and everyone in the team have done a really excellent job so far this weekend and have put us in a strong position for tomorrow's race."
Rubens Barrichello (5th, 1:25.015): "That was probably one of my best qualifying laps at Monza and I really enjoyed myself out there. We had the ability to be on pole today but strategically we had to consider the pace of the KERS cars off the line and so we put a lot of fuel in the car and focused on what was right for our race. I had a great lap with the fuel onboard and fifth position is the best that I could have achieved so I'm really pleased that we got everything possible out of the car. It will be interesting to see the fuel figures but I'm confident that we're in a good position. I just love racing here so I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Jenson Button (6th, 1:25.030): "I'm really happy with sixth position today. Rubens and I have been so close on lap times all weekend and he's ended up just fifteen-hundredths ahead of me which is the difference between getting your head down on the straights. I obviously didn't do it enough! We got the best out of the car today and it felt good on the heavy fuel load which is important because it's not just about qualifying, you have to consider your race. It's been a positive day and I'm confident that we can have a good race."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Qualifying saw an excellent performance from Rubens, Jenson and the team today to put us in a good position for the race tomorrow. Rubens and Jenson drove extremely well in Q3 with our chosen one-stop strategy to secure fifth and sixth positions and the closeness of their lap times shows that they achieved everything possible from the car. We have the majority of the KERS cars just ahead of us so provided our drivers get a good start, there is everything to play for in the race tomorrow."