Belgian GP 2007
SEPTEMBER 15, 2007
Saturday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:46.091): "Everything went very smoothly for my final lap today, which was good as I was a little worried after I spun on my first attempt. Unfortunately at that moment the tyres just lost their grip and I could do nothing. I am pretty confident for the race even though the Ferrari's seem quick. This track is quite similar to Turkey so we expected them to be strong, but we have made some definite improvements since then, and it will not be an easy victory for them, that is for sure."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:46.406): "It was a decent qualifying for us and I think that we did a good job. The first session wasn't great, but I made some improvements to my driving and managed to find the time in the second session. I thought my final lap was really good, with no mistakes. It is always possible to win, and I am pretty confident that I have a strong strategy. We knew the Ferarris would be quick, and it will be an interesting race; anything can happen on the way down to the first corner and obviously there is a long straight where you can overtake."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A solid performance from both drivers despite a rare mistake from Fernando on his first run. Obviously we would prefer to occupy the first rather than the second row. The times are very close and we believe we have a strong strategy for tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Fernando and Lewis put in good laps with Fernando qualifying third, less than a tenth of a second behind pole position. We know that we cannot be as dominant as we were in Monza at every track, but the race tomorrow may be a different story than today's qualifying result."
Heikki Kovalainen (10th, 1:48.505): "I have been very happy with the car all weekend, and our pace in the second part of qualifying reflected that. I didn't manage to put a good lap together on Friday, so finished quite a long way down the times, but everything came together nicely for me today and I was really able to push the car to the limit. I think our starting position may reflect some differences in strategy, as I know I put in a strong lap on my final run. Both types of tyres were working well in practice, so I think we should feel optimistic for every stint of the race, and look forward to a strong, aggressive performance."
Giancarlo Fisichella (11th, 1:46.603): "I was already struggling a little with the car this morning, and didn't feel fully comfortable. And unfortunately, I had the same problem in qualifying. The car was sliding a lot, and it meant I just couldn't carry the speed through the corners like I wanted to. In the end, I only missed out on the top ten by a tenth of a second, but we know that if we don't get everything right at the moment, then we have the risk of not getting to the final qualifying session. Hopefully, we can have a better race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This was a satisfactory day for the team, although I felt there was more to come from qualifying than we ultimately achieved. The fact is that the cars will line up ninth and tenth, and they are almost certainly on higher fuel loads than our direct competitors in front. Given the consistency we have enjoyed on both types of Bridgestone tyre this weekend, this should give us a good possibility of scoring points tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We successfully completed a busy practice programme this morning, without any problems at all. The car has performed relatively well all weekend, particularly in Heikki's hands, and I think we have found a good set-up for tomorrow afternoon, with competitive strong speeds that will allow us to race strongly for position. Clearly, we are not in a position to challenge the top teams, but we are well prepared to try and out-race the cars around us. We will be hoping to see the situation turn to our advantage as the race unfolds."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:45.994): "Obviously, I am happy with this pole position, obtained on one of my favourite tracks and also happy with the overall result for the team. On my first run in Q3, the car was very good but I felt something was not quite right with the rear end on my in lap. Apparently everything was okay and so we decided to continue with the second run. Even if it wasn't perfect, it was still good enough to improve and take pole. The balance of the car was good right from this morning. Usually, we are quicker in the race than in qualifying. Tomorrow we will try and do our best to get a good result."
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:46.011): "It was a good qualifying. My second quick lap in Q3 was perfect right up to the final corner, where I locked my wheels and might have lost just enough time to cost me pole. But second place is a good one to start from for the race. I hope to have a good race tomorrow. Here, we are back to being competitive at the highest level and we have a package that can allow us to fight for the win."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It was a very exciting and closely contested qualifying session in which, for the first time this season, two Ferraris took the top two places, separated by a very small time difference on what is probably the nicest circuit on the Formula 1 calendar. They say a good day coming can be seen from the morning and already yesterday, we saw that we could be competitive and today confirmed that impression. This result was, in part, also due to Shell's technical contribution. Having said that, we have only taken a small step so far this weekend. The most important one comes tomorrow when the deciding factors will be the same as ever - strategy, reliability and the work of the team and the driver. Today's great result is particularly satisfying for me and for various reasons, I would be very happy to see it repeated tomorrow."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "It's great to be back with an all red front row on the grid. Today we were competitive but we are aware that tomorrow we can expect a long hard race against very strong opposition. We have a very good package and significant help from our technical partners, starting with Shell."
Jenson Button (14th, 1:46.955): "A reasonably positive Saturday. On the first run in Q1 I had traffic as I was running too close to the car in front of me. In Q2 I think I got the best out of the car on the first run. On the second run I had a little too much understeer so I just backed off and looked after the tyres for the race. I'm pretty happy with where I will be lining up on the grid and I think we can make progress from there. Aerodynamically this circuit hasn't really suited our car so I'm quite pleased with how qualifying went for us. I'm looking forward to the race."
Rubens Barrichello (18th, 1:47.954): "Since the beginning of the weekend we have been struggling with the aerodynamic balance of the car. We just don't have enough aerodynamic efficiency here. On my last run I requested more front wing and the car just gave me more understeer, so we need to understand the data. Obviously it will be a battle from 18th position but we will see what the race brings in order to try to improve."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Jenson had a good Q1 and easily made it through into the second session, where he got the maximum from the car. Had he had a touch less understeer then perhaps we could have improved a little but overall it was a good lap and his is a reasonable position from which to be going into the race tomorrow. In free practice this morning Rubens struggled a little to find the right balance. After some set-up changes he found a better car for his first run in Q1. Q2 was a real possibility for him but in his second run he also had too much understeer which compromised his chances."
Robert Kubica (5th, 1:46.996, *will drop 10 positions due to engine change): "After yesterday's disappointing day, this morning was even more disappointing. We couldn't test anything for qualifying, and unfortunately once you start qualifying you can't touch the car. Also I had to run a bit before starting the show, which is important for qualy three, so that is why we decided to do two runs in the first session and I think this paid off. In summary it was a positive qualifying and tomorrow anything can happen."
Nick Heidfeld (7th, 1:47.409): "The result is okay. My first lap in the last qualifying session was hampered by yellow flags which were shown after Fernando Alonso's spin. My final lap was all right - not perfect but without mistakes. In Q2 we had a second outing to be on the safe side, but it would have been enough even without it. I think I can improve my position in the race."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Here in the 14th round of the season we have made it into the top ten in qualifying with both cars for the 14th time. Sadly we had to change the engine in Robert's car after free practice this morning. He missed the entire session because of the failure, but still achieved a very good result by coming fifth in qualifying. Now he has to start ten positions further back, but I believe even from there he has the opportunity to have a good race. Nick had no technical problems, but on his last flying lap he lost some time in the middle sector and this cost him a place."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We have now made it to the top ten of qualifying for the 14th time in a row, and that speaks for our consistency! For Nick, everything went according to plan, however, his time in the second part of qualifying gave us hope for even more. For Robert it was a very difficult day, which makes his performance even more remarkable. We changed the set-up of his car substantially from yesterday to today, therefore, it was particularly a disadvantage that he couldn't drive in the morning due to an engine failure. Obviously our engineers did a very good job changing the set- up of the car, as the result proves. Robert will have to make his way through the field. Nevertheless we will try to make it into the points with both cars."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:47.798): "I am reasonably happy with today's result. Again we have done quite a good job to get into the top 10 and thanks to the team so far it has been a smooth weekend, with no problems on the car. Starting from 8th place is not bad - it is a good place from which to fight in the race tomorrow. It is always difficult to overtake in Formula 1 but I will give my all to make up some positions. I believe we have quite a good strategy for the race, looking at what happened in Q3, so I am pretty confident. Obviously my aim is to bounce back into the points at the best circuit in the world, and I will do my best. I just hope we can get everything right from the start to the end of the race."
Ralf Schumacher (12th, 1:46.618): "It is frustrating not to get into the top 10 because I think we had the pace to do it. Practice went well and we were hopeful of a good result in qualifying. I think we were looking good but unfortunately on my last run in Q2 the out lap didn't go as planned and I could not warm my tyres and brakes as much as I would have liked, so I had some understeer. That was it really for me. But I believe the car is strong and we have the potential to fight for points tomorrow. Obviously it will be easier for Jarno as he is starting in the top 10 but I will try my best from where I am on the grid and we will see what we can do."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "That was an average qualifying result for us. Jarno made it to the top 10 but we were expecting a better result overall after our performances in practice. Jarno did a good job in Q1 and Q2 but on his last lap he had some traffic and that affected his time. From Ralf's side, he did well in Q1 but in Q2 he had warm-up issues and his lap time was compromised by too much understeer. Otherwise, our preparation has gone well and in terms of the strategy and tyre choices we had to make, they were reasonably straightforward. The option tyres behaved exactly in line with what we saw at the test session here so there were no surprises there. For the race, considering our starting positions, scoring points is the obvious target."
Mark Webber (8th, 1:47.524): "I would have liked to have got a little bit more from my last lap, but it's good to qualify eighth at least. We've got a reasonable strategy from there, so we'll see what tomorrow brings. It was a pretty close qualifying session with middle group tight as ever, but we'll do what we can in the race to get some points."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:46.800): "I was pushing hard on my last run in Q2 and went a little off line, which lost me some time. We'll do what we can from twelfth on the grid tomorrow."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Obviously, it's good to be back in the top ten. Mark moved through the first two qualifying sessions without any dramas to finish eighth, which will become seventh with Kubica's engine penalty. It's a respectable place to start from for tomorrow's race. We believe we have a good strategy, so we'll wait and see what we can do. With David, he moved through Q1 with a slight engine scare, which was able to be resolved very quickly, before the start of the next session. He was pushing hard on his second run in Q2, but dropped a bit of time. However, seventh and twelfth are respectable starting positions for tomorrow."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "It's satisfying to see our car performing so well on a track as demanding as Spa. We are pleased to see Mark in the top 10, he deserves his place in Q3 and did a strong lap. Unfortunately, Rosberg qualified in front of us. It was very close in Q2, but unfortunately David did not make it into the top ten. Although we know it will be tough, David is an experienced driver which counts here more than anywhere else, so he can still make up some positions during the race. For Mark, we can reasonably hope to score points tomorrow and it will be our target!"
Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:47.334): "Today's qualifying was super, it really went well and I am very happy. I am a bit surprised as well, to be honest, because I didn't think we'd be so far up as it was very tight to make it into the top ten in Q2. We struggled here a bit more yesterday than we did on other tracks but overnight the team did a good job and found all the right solutions. Fifth position on the grid is really fantastic. This puts us in a strong position to be able to score some good points tomorrow."
Alexander Wurz (16th, 1:47.394): "Some of my problem today was with not enough top speed on the straights. Of course this is quite punishing at a track like Spa. The engineers will have a look at it. Otherwise we have done a very good job and made real progress from yesterday with the set-up and the car felt good under cornering. We should have a good car for tomorrow even if the start position is not great."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Great job by Nico today. He made some good judgements in qualifying to put his car in the right place in terms of towing and saving his softer tyres on out laps. We are looking forward to seeing him and Alex race strongly tomorrow. The engineers worked hard all night to improve the car from yesterday and it was nice to see such a decent step. We'll also check everything on Alex's car before the race to see why there is such a big difference to his team mate. We didn't have any reliability issues today."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (15th, 1:47.115): "After a nightmare yesterday, with very few laps because of a problem on the car, it went much better today, resulting in me getting through to Q2. I had found it difficult to get the right balance on the car so we were expecting a difficult Saturday. Fortunately, everything went fine, except that I am not feeling that well and have been sick a lot. I think we did a great job in qualifying to get ahead of a Williams which I am sure is a quicker car. We could not have achieved more than this."
Sebastian Vettel (17th, 1:47.581): "It's a shame not to make Q2 by just a few thousandths of a second. My best lap was okay. I lost the rear end a bit going down the back straight and that cost me quite a lot of time. We have improved the car since yesterday and I think we have made a step forward. Now we will have to look at the strategy to see what we can do. Of course the plan is to try and have a good race tomorrow."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "The final outcome in terms of position is much the same as usual, with the difference that today, none of the big guns had troubles, which is a good sign. So, although the numbers are the same as ever, compared to our best performance, which was Canada, today we delivered a much more solid performance. I think we did some very good work on the car, even if we didn't put it all together in the end. No regrets, but realistically, no real reason to expect anything much better than usual tomorrow in the race."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:48.044): "Here with the B-spec we saw an improvement. We are quicker on the straights and the downforce is much better through the quicker corners. It was very close and in the end we dropped down the order a little bit, but the car was definitely good enough to take P18 or better. I just lost a little bit of time by locking a wheel in the last chicane that cost a few tenths but I can still be quite happy as it was the strongest performance yet in Qualifying. We were really close to the field and hopefully tomorrow we will have even more chance of moving up the order."
Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:49.577): "Generally my day was disappointing. This morning I had a brake problem and then I had to go out for my first run in Qualifying with hard tyres to prepare the brakes. Then I came in and lost some time on the scales. We had planned to go out twice on the softer tyre but in fact we only had time to do one run. It was a difficult session but tomorrow I will do my best in the race and I know we can do better from our results in the Friday practices."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "At last an exciting Qualifying session for us. I think we were much closer to the rest of the field in this session and it's just a shame that a very small mistake for Adrian on the last corner cost us 18th place or higher. It shows that we are now making real progress and we look forward to tomorrow's race where traditionally we are stronger and look to fight and beat some of the cars in front of us."
Takuma Sato (19th, 1:47.980): "The car had improved a bit this morning with the changes made over night and the team worked really hard with the data collected yesterday. I was happier with the balance today, but we knew it was going to be a tough session. It's such a shame that we could not introduce more performance in Qualifying. I just hope that tomorrow everything turns into a positive for us."
Anthony Davidson (21st, 1:48.199): "It's been a very difficult weekend here in Spa and it came to a head here in Qualifying today. We went the wrong way with car balance in Qualifying as a last resort, and it was worth a try. But it made it to hard to drive and grained the rear tyres quite a lot by the end of the lap, so there was no more that I could give. On this performance, we are seriously going to have to consider our race options for tomorrow."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "We are in the position our opposition has wanted for a long time now. They've expected us to be at this level and, sportingly, we have succumbed to their behest. But they shouldn't be fooled our fighting spirit is intact."