Australian GP 2008
MARCH 15, 2008
Saturday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (4th, 1:27.178): "I failed to get the most out of my final set of tyres for the day, because I had traffic on my out-lap and this meant I was unable to get the tyres up to temperature. I am happy with the handling of the car, which is well balanced and we know we can run at a good race pace. It will be a very tough race, especially as we can expect high temperatures. Anything can happen and I think I can fight for the very top places."
Kimi Raikkonen (16th, No Time): "Clearly I am disappointed. A few corners from the end of my in-lap, I had a problem with the electronic fuel pump which forced me to stop near the pit lane and so it was impossible for me to get back to the garage to try and fix the problem. These things happen, but it's definitely not the best way to start the season. Now we must try to do our best to pick up some points tomorrow, because it is important to score something in every race."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "This is definitely not the result we were expecting. We have to work out exactly what caused Kimi's car to stop and tomorrow he will have a hard fight all through the race to move up the order. Starting from the second row, Felipe will be able to show what he can do in a race in which reliability and strategy will as usual play a key role."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "I got the impression I was watching a replay of last year's qualifying, but an even worse version. We have a car on the second row and one which did not manage to take part in the second session because of an electrical fuel pump problem. We have to look at the data and the components to find out exactly what happened. As for the way the final session went, we knew from this winter that we would struggle a bit to do quick times over a single lap and that difficulty cropped up this afternoon. However, we are competitive in terms of race pace and so we can be reasonably confident about tomorrow, even if Kimi clearly faces an uphill struggle, given his grid position."
Robert Kubica (2nd, 1:26.869): "P2 is a great achievement for the whole team, and that's a good start to the season! I took a lot of risks in the second run of Q3, but finally it didn't pay off. I went wide in corner twelve and ran on the artificial grass. This cost me between two and three tenths of a second and maybe pole position. We had quite a difficult day yesterday, but we were able to make a lot of progress. The F1.08 is a very quick car, but quite delicate to set-up and to drive. When I look back on what level we started testing, I have to give a big compliment to the whole team in Munich and Hinwil. Everybody worked hard analysing the problems and improving the car."
Nick Heidfeld (5th, 1:27.236): "I am very pleased although I missed P4 by only hundredths. The entire qualifying went smoothly, it is a superb result for the team and better than expected. After our initial tests with the F1.08 hadn't been very good we kept saying that we are working very hard and would make good progress. This is what became obvious today, and it is a great reward for everybody's effort. I believe this was the first step in the direction we want to go this year. I'm very much looking forward to the race. Without traction control the start will be especially exciting and over the race distance I expect Ferrari to be stronger than today."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We are very satisfied. Grid positions two and five mean the best qualifying result since we founded our team. Without his massive slide on his final lap Robert most likely would have been on pole. Positions on the first three rows of the grid were our target and this is what we have achieved, despite the Ferrari and McLaren cars being quick here in Melbourne right from the very first session. Back then we had been far away from really good lap times, but we kept working. To see the reward of the work is very pleasing."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was a good qualifying start to the new season. With grid positions two and five for Robert and Nick we are very happy, It's a pity that Robert missed pole by just a little bit. However, for him it was the best qualifying result of his F1 career. We are in a good position for the race with both drivers."
Fernando Alonso (12th, 1:26.188): "As expected the times were very close and while I was reasonably satisfied with the performance of my car this morning, a failure of the differential upset the balance and made it extremely difficult to drive. I am sure we can bounce back in the race and we will work hard tonight to make sure that is the case."
Nelson Piquet (21st, 1:28.330): "I was not able to do much running throughout the weekend for different reasons, and that was evident this afternoon in qualifying. I am disappointed because I was hoping to do better for my first Grand Prix, but I will try my best tomorrow to move through the field and above all to learn as much as possible."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "A very disappointing day. Nelson has really suffered from lack of mileage all weekend and we saw the result of that this afternoon. With Fernando we thought we were comfortably in the top ten and in good shape, but a problem with the differential appears to have compromised his lap and put him on the wrong side of what is a very competitive group of cars."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The session was very competitive and I think that it will be like that for the rest of the season. The gaps were very small and all the drivers pushed hard, which caused some of them to go off the track and even interrupted the qualifying session. Fernando had some problems with the differential and despite giving his all was unable to make the top ten. Nelson did not cover as many laps as we would have liked over the weekend and that made it difficult for him today. We must now hope to make a good start tomorrow and try to make the most of our grid positions."
Nico Rosberg (7th, 1:28.687): "I am pretty happy with today's qualifying as we very nearly got the best out of it. I felt that coming here would be fantastic as I hoped we could be the best of the midfield and so we measured up against this expectation. We had a difficult start to the weekend yesterday and we didn't show what we are capable of, and we still have a little bit to come. So, overall, I am happy and we have a really good position for tomorrow to try and score some points. It's going to be a tough race though for all the cars and I am sure there will be a few problems up and down the field, but I am confident we'll do okay."
Kazuki Nakajima (14th, 1:26.413): "It was not the best result from qualifying, but at least I took one more step forward from my debut race last year by making it through to Q2. It was more difficult this time round because of the red flag, but it was important for me to take it steady today and trying to find the extra lap time to make it into Q3 would have been quite tough. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good qualifying session from Nico. The red flag in Q2 meant that he had to use an extra set of option tyres which unfortunately didn't leave him a set of the better qualifying tyre for Q3, so his performance was not bad. He should have a strong race tomorrow. Kazuki was also caught out in Q2 and did not make it through to the final session, so we will have to look at strategy overnight to move him up."
David Coulthard (8th, 1:29.041): "It was quite tricky out there, especially on the prime tyres. I think there's going to be some variation during the race when car's run between the two tyre types. We expected to get into the top ten today, but I would have preferred to have felt that I could attack a bit more with the car. If I push then the car's quite unstable on the bumps. All our concentration is on the start line now, as it will be interesting to see what happens without traction control."
Mark Webber (15th, No Time): "There was a failure at the front right of the car, which isn't good. I had a strange feeling in Turn one, but continued to push as it was the qualifying session, but something broke into Turn six. That was it and I was into the gravel. It's nearly impossible to get into the points now under normal circumstances, because it's very, very difficult to overtake on this circuit, but I'll do my best."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's frustrating for Mark at his home Grand Prix to have what looks like a suspected brake issue. He's going to have a busy afternoon tomorrow, but looking at his race pace in yesterday's practices he should be able to make reasonable process. David progressed well through the first two qualifying sessions to make it into Q3. He wasn't happy with his balance on the final set of tyres and finished eighth. The potential is to be better, but starting in the top eight at the first Grand Prix of the season is a respectable result."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "The car looks promising. Mark had a small problem, but David was able to show the car is quick and the package works well. We showed good reliability during the winter tests, so we're quite confident for the race. The temperature will make the race very challenging, but the Renault engine is well designed to cope with the heat."
Jarno Trulli (6th, 1:28.527): "Sixth place is a good start to the season so the result is satisfying. But it was quite a difficult qualifying session and I'm still not completely happy with the set-up because I wasn't able to get the most out of my lap. We've also been struggling more than we expected with the tyres here. So I feel there is more potential to come. Our race package is good so I am positive and optimistic for tomorrow. I just hope we can do a good race. Our long runs have been strong with this car during testing so I'll cross my fingers. I'm really fired up for the season and confident that we can get some strong results."
Timo Glock (9th, 1:29.593): "That went well for my first qualifying session back in F1, and I'm happy to have made it into Q3. Unfortunately we had to change the gearbox after morning practice so that will cost me five places, but the afternoon went better. Q1 was tight, then the red flag in Q2 disrupted the session but my last lap in Q2 was a good one. I lost a couple of tenths in turn 9 but I made it into Q3 with a really good last sector. Overall the car was good and I am quite happy with it, so it was a good job by the team."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "The first qualifying delivered what was expected - a lot of surprises, both bad and good. It was very exciting because at certain points it was very tight between several teams and drivers. We are quite happy with what we have achieved today. This shows we have maintained the good form from the last test session when we introduced our final race package. But we can't be fully satisfied because the gap to the top is quite big. We also had a problem with Timo's car during this morning's practice and we had to change his gearbox. That means that despite his good performance in qualifying he will have to drop back five places. So there are still mixed feelings but thanks to both drivers who did a very good job today."
Sebastian Vettel (10th, No Time): "In one sense this was a good session as I had a strong pace in Q2. I had a good lap at the end of it. Unfortunately, a technical problem meant I could not take part in Q3, but whatever happens I plan to attack to the maximum in the race."
Sebastien Bourdais (18th, 1:27.446): "The car felt really solid this afternoon compared to the morning when we struggled to put everything together because of the limited running I had yesterday. We made a few changes for the afternoon and I felt we were right on the money. My first run was good on the prime tyre and I was competitive. Then on the first set of option tyres, I had a really good lap until unfortunately I made a mistake at the second to last corner, which ruined it. I had another try towards the end of Q1 but there was a yellow flag which cost me too much time. A shame, as I felt I could have been in Q2."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "Vettel did a very good job to make it into Q3, but unfortunately he was unable to take any part in the final session because of a technical problem. On his first ever F1 qualifying session, Bourdais could have made it through to Q2, but unfortunately his final attempt was spoilt by yellow flags."
Rubens Barrichello (11th, 1:26.173): "I am really pleased with our qualifying position today. Everybody back at the factory and here at the track has done a great job. It's very tight in the midfield, but if you look back to just over a month ago at our position in testing and compare that with where we are today, you can see the step forward that has been made after a lot of hard work. The car performed well and it's satisfying to know that we have made real progress over the last few weeks. Well obviously I'm disappointed to just miss out on the top ten but on the other hand from 11th we can choose our own strategy and take into account the weather, so it works out quite well. Today has been a good start to the season for us and now we have to focus on turning this into a good race performance tomorrow."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:26.259): "The car certainly performed well but unfortunately I lost two-tenths at both turn 9 and the last corner with understeer at the apex which caused me to run wide. It's very frustrating as I was pushing too hard, however the fact that both Rubens and I just missed out on the top ten is certainly encouraging and I'm looking forward to seeing how our performance translates to the race tomorrow. The temperatures are a good few degrees cooler than the intense heat of yesterday and the wind has dropped, which means we can pick up more grip. The track conditions remained pretty much constant today with the grip levels increasing through qualifying as more rubber went down over the course of the sessions."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "The first session went well and without incident, seeing both cars through. In Q2 the red flag caused by Webber compromised both our drivers on their first planned run. There was just enough time to run again as per plan and the team coped very well under the fairly pressured conditions. Technically we experienced no issues today. The weather predictions for tomorrow are very warm again, as yesterday. We have considered this in our preparation today so giving up a little performance in qualifying. The hot conditions will be a challenge for all competitors, both for reliability and looking after the tyres with race fuel. With this in mind there may well be opportunities for us to progress closer to the points. Our thanks to everyone at our operational bases in Japan and the UK and here at the track. All the hard work of the past few months is clearly starting to pay dividends."
Takuma Sato (20th, 1:28.208): "Very pleased with our performance today and everything went well under the circumstances. We had a tough start to the weekend yesterday, but it seems as though Melbourne has welcomed us back again now. I enjoyed the first Qualifying without traction control; the car was a little bit unbalanced in the beginning, but on the third run I picked up more grip and I was happier with the balance and I was able to set a quicker lap. I think that we had a very good day and hopefully we shall be able to finish the race tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (22nd, 1:29.059): "It was a difficult Qualifying session for me. With a limited number of laps under my belt going into Qualifying it was always going to be hard to put the car on the limit like that and we were still doing set-up all the way through the session itself. So it is not the best position to be in, but things will improve and I was up on my last flying lap by about three tenths when the Force India car spun, caused yellow flags and I had to back off. It's just one of those things, but it's a disappointing end to the day."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "We had many curve balls to deal with today and I think that the team's mind-set has changed from 'fighting' to 'valiant spirit'. We'll battle on and improve our performance serially. In Qualifying the boys did a very good job considering we have not had any Qualifying experience during winter testing. With the new format both cars conducted three runs efficiently and it is nice for Takuma to pip at least one car, taking advantage of someone else's situation. We are now looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella (17th, 1:27.207): "Seventeenth, just one place behind the top 16 and Q2, so it is a bit disappointing considering the weekend so far. In the last part of my quickest lap, there was a yellow flag but there was also a lot of graining on the tyres and I lost at least three tenths. But we know we are there and are improving. The team has made a good effort so far - we know we still have a lot of work to do but we are going in the right direction."
Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:27.859): "It was not such an easy qualifying as the track conditions were quite different to this morning. The general grip level was lower and I struggled with some understeer with new tyres, but the second run was OK, even though the balance was not great. On my last lap I felt it was going well until the second sector but when I got to the quick left-right chicane in sector three I got a lot of understeer and went wide on the exit. The car jumped and I couldn't control it and spun. It is a bit sad as maybe I could have caught Bourdais, but we were very close to second qualifying and maybe in Malaysia we could still make that little step. But we are there and are closer than last year, which is a little success already."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A very disappointing qualifying session for us. Unfortunately on his final lap Adrian lost the car and sadly that yellow flag meant Giancarlo had to back off. The small delay was enough to not get through to Q2, but as we showed this morning, we have a car that is very close with the midfield group and the odd tenth can make a big difference. We know we have got a competitive car relative to others so we have to look to pick up more places tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:26.714): "I couldn't have wished for a better start to the season, and it's great to see Heikki and my friend Robert doing well, and the team has done a super job in getting all the necessary parts ready in time. During Q1 I was held up in traffic, but everything just came together when it mattered in Q3. The track conditions were a bit easier today compared to yesterday as it wasn't as hot. I think the start will be interesting tomorrow due to the change in regulations. Last year it was relatively easy where as now it's dependent on the driver, so I want to get that right. Fortunately I am starting from the clean side of the track for once, and hopefully that will help a bit, but it will be a long and tough race."
Heikki Kovalainen (3rd, 1:27.079): "I am pleased to qualify third, but there is still room for improvement. It was a fairly smooth lap, and the balance of the car felt good. At the end I didn't nail a perfect lap, but throughout the weekend I have just been taking things steady, not making any mistakes and keep pushing harder and harder. Last year I didn't make the best start to the season, so today's result is a great beginning to my career as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. The guys in the team are working so hard, staying at the track until the early hours this morning fixing a small problem with the gearbox - that is dedication for you. I think we are looking strong for the race, and I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A great outcome of the first qualifying of the season which reflects the hard work put in by the entire team during the winter. Both Lewis and Heikki have done an excellent job so far this weekend. Hopefully today's result represents our performance for the future and we will be focussing on maintaining this throughout the rest of the season."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A perfect start to the season. Lewis' pole position and Heikki's third place are good preconditions as both their cars will be starting on the line with the better grip. Both drivers did a great job and the team worked perfectly. Our strategy is good, and our speed looked okay so far. Congratulations to BMW who with second place make it an all German power front row. We are looking forward to a challenging race tomorrow."