Brazilian GP 2007
OCTOBER 20, 2007
Saturday Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:12.082): "A fantastic last run for me which could have seen me possibly on pole. Overall I am happy with today's qualifying. The car is working well, and I feel really comfortable. Obviously it was a very close and tense session, but the team did a good job in making sure that we both got that final fuel burning lap. I am quite confident and relaxed for tomorrow, and I know what I have to do to win the championship. My focus is not on winning the race but the title."
Fernando Alonso (4th, 1:12.356): "Obviously I would have liked to be on the front row, but it was not to be. We made some changes to the car for qualifying but unfortunately they didn't work as well as we thought they would and as a result I was not totally confident with the car. However as we have seen in China a lot of things can take place during a long race, so we will have to wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Both Fernando and Lewis did a great job in qualifying. We obviously cut it fine to ensure that both drivers got an additional fuel burning lap, but it all worked as planned. Fernando and Lewis had the same advantage, and its now really in their hands. It was obviously good for the crowd that Massa got pole, but we are trying to be disciplined and focus on the race and winning the World Championship with one of our drivers. The whole team look forward to the race which hopefully will be exciting for all the fans."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A good basis to start this championship deciding race from. Lewis starts from the first row for the 12th time this season and Fernando is just 30 thousandths of a second behind Kimi on the second row. It will be a tough challenge, and the entire team is working hard to achieve the last and decisive step in the World Championship."
Giancarlo Fisichella (12th, 1:12.968): "I was right on the limit this afternoon, and I think this was our maximum today. It was hard to do a perfect lap in the slippery, low-grip conditions and it is a shame to miss out on Q3 by such a small margin.I think we will see an interesting race tomorrow, especially when it comes to the tyre behaviour, and hopefully we can find a good strategy to take advantage of this."
Heikki Kovalainen (17th, 1:14.078): "I was very disappointed not to make it out of Q1. It was simply my mistake: I went too deep into turn 12, locked the front tyres, got a poor exit and it cost me over six tenths of a second. The grip level was poor compared to this morning, but everybody had to deal with the same conditions. We have been in this position before this year, though, and the results afterwards showed us how important it is to never give up. We won't, and we will be pushing hard for everything we can get tomorrow, but it's going to be a tough race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We seem to have lost a disproportionate amount of grip this afternoon as the circuit temperatures climbed. A small mistake from Heikki was enough to relegate him to the bottom third of the grid on a circuit where the qualifying gaps are always very close. Giancarlo got the maximum from the car, but the car's maximum simply wasn't sufficient today."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We said yesterday that it would be important to get every detail right in order to qualify strongly at this circuit, and we didn't achieve that today. The times are very close, and that meant Giancarlo missed out on Q3 by 0.08s, while Heikki paid a heavy price for a small mistake in Q1. However, we saw today that tyre management will be critical tomorrow afternoon, especially if the conditions stay as hot as they were today, and we will try to take advantage of any opportunities that come our way."
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:11.931): "It's fantastic to be on pole again in front of my fans: to feel their affection and to see them celebrate in the stands is really amazing. The car was very competitive and I managed to get the most out of it. I hope to win tomorrow, but obviously I will do whatever is needed to help the team in its fight for the Drivers' title. I am sorry not to be fighting for it myself, but I think in any case I have had a good season."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:12.322): "Of course it would have been better to be on pole position but third place is certainly no bad thing and leaves me in a good position for tomorrow's race, also in light of the strategy we have chosen and the performance of the car. On my final flying lap, I lost precious time at turn 4 because of Hamilton: it is a real shame but there is no point in recriminations over what has happened. I am confident that I will be able to keep my chances alive right to the end."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "The final qualifying of the year has brought us our ninth pole in this championship, the sixth with Felipe, while Kimi, with a last lap that was a bit on the complicated side, takes third place which nevertheless sees him in a strong position for tomorrow's race. This season has been a snapshot of a special season that has witnessed a very close fight between us and our main rivals. We are well aware of the importance of the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix. As we have said we will do our utmost to the very last lap to try and get Kimi to take the Drivers' title for which he is still in the running. Felipe, who for various reasons is out of the running as a title contender, wanted to make his mark in some way on a season that has been very positive for him, setting a fantastic pole, in front of an exceptional Brazilian crowd that has always supported Ferrari with great affection. For Felipe, today's result is also a nice way for him to celebrate in front of his people the fact he now has a long term extension of his contract with the Scuderia."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "It was a great qualifying, with Felipe who drove a splendid lap in Q3. All weekend, our Brazilian has been strong and today that has been confirmed. Kimi was also very competitive: a shame that he had a few problems with traffic on his last run which cost him precious time. We can count on a good car, on two drivers in great positions on the grid and on a suitable strategy. We will try and get the best result possible and then do the maths at the end. Thanks in advance of the end of the championship to Shell for the invaluable technical support they have given us this year and indeed in the past."
Rubens Barrichello (11th, 1:12.932): "I am very pleased to have had a stronger weekend so far here at my home race but at the same time a little disappointed that we could not make it through to the final qualifying session today. The car felt very good this morning but this afternoon the rear was moving around a little too much so we lost a bit of time there. We got every last bit of performance out of the car today and I think we can have a good race from 11th."
Jenson Button (16th, 1:13.469): "Not a great qualifying session for me today which reflects that we have been off the pace pretty much all weekend. The car has a consistent lack of grip and unfortunately we haven't been able to improve the set-up to overcome this. It will be a tough race from 16th so we will just have to see what opportunities the race presents."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "This morning we were able to work on the car balance in dry conditions on both prime and option tyres. Rubens was immediately pleased with his set-up, while Jenson was unable to find a good balance through the lap. In qualifying it was disappointing for Rubens to miss out on a place in Q3 by less than 0.05s and to find Jenson still struggling with an unpredictable balance. The hotter ambient temperatures in the afternoon affected the car balance a little more than we anticipated but we will work to find a strategy that gives us the best possible chance in the final race of the season tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld (6th, 1:13.081): "I'm extremely happy. My penultimate lap wasn't bad and the final one was simply great. In qualifying two I was close to missing the top ten, and this was because I had a big slide and almost spun in turn 6. Right up to the last session of qualifying I had the impression this time we might have gone in the wrong direction with the car's set-up. It would have been an exception because normally we are very good in this. In the end the car felt better again and I think the track conditions also helped."
Robert Kubica (7th, 1:13.129): "It could have been better, but unfortunately on the last lap I had Fernando Alonso in front of me. He let me by, but I had to take a different line which meant my tyres picked up dirt. In the last corner I was quicker but when braking I locked the front wheel, went straight and lost a lot of time. The race will certainly be hard for the tyre."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "As in all 16 races before in the 2007 season we managed to get both cars into the top ten in qualifying. This is a strong and consistent performance, but we are not totally happy with today's result. Nick's lap times in the first two qualifying sessions weren't good, and he only just managed to get into Q3, but in this session with a very strong last lap he finished a very good sixth. With Robert it worked the other way round: In Q1 and Q2 he was fast and matching the front runners, but then in his decisive run in Q3 he lost seven tenths of a second in corner twelve and two possible grid positions."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We are very happy that we made it into the top ten of qualifying for the 17th time in the 17th and final race of the season. The track conditions in the afternoon didn't compare to those from the morning, especially in terms of grip level and balance. Nick had a hard time in Q1 and Q2 until he found the right balance in Q3 and took sixth place. Robert had a strong Q1 and Q2, and was also good on the first two sectors of his fast lap in Q3 until he lost important fractions of a second due to an overtaking manoeuvre. However, qualifying positions six and seven should give us good chances in the race."
Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:13.195): "First of all I have to thank all the team for doing a great job. We swapped to the T-car because I wasn't happy after yesterday's practice sessions. So that was a big effort from them and it's good to give them a good result today in return for that hard work. Today the car felt pretty good, and we improved the set-up. I was in P8 in all three qualifying sessions so that is where I'll be tomorrow. The race will be interesting because managing the tyres will play a major role for the race results. So it will be important to be lucky with the tyres, hope not to have too much graining and try to live with it. We will do our best and try to give ourselves a boost as we head into the winter."
Ralf Schumacher (15th, 1:13.315): "I didn't have any particular problems in Q2. The traffic was fine and the car felt reasonable enough. I just simply didn't get it right this time which is a pity but that's the way it goes sometimes. Tomorrow is the race and I will do the best job I can from where I am on the grid. It's not a great place to be on the grid but we'll see what we can do. The good thing is that it is possible to overtake here so we will do everything possible to make up ground during the race. We haven't had many results to celebrate lately but we will push for a better day to finish off the year."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "When the grid is so tight you always end up with some regret about plus or minus one lap for strategy, but this result is not bad given what we have planned for tyre management tomorrow. That is obviously the main story of the weekend because today we saw exceptional conditions with both graining and blistering on some cars. Usually you have one or the other but this morning we had both together. So the race will be interesting from this point of view and we should see different ways to try and handle the tyre situation. In Q3 Jarno did a good job and P8 is a reasonable result. Ralf had trouble putting the sector times together in Q2 and he ended up missing the cut. But we have one more night to think about the best strategy for him. We can probably make up ground from where he is so we will now head to tomorrow chasing the highest possible finish with both cars."
Mark Webber (5th, 1:12.928): "That was a good qualifying session today. It's definitely going to be all about the tyres tomorrow, which should make it a very interesting race. Both cars are in a reasonable shape and we've been competitive all weekend. So, so-far-so-good and we'll see what we can do tomorrow."
David Coulthard (9th, 1:13.272): "The option tyre at the beginning of that qualifying session felt really strange, I struggled on it, made a few mistakes and couldn't get it together. I then managed to on my last flying lap, which got me through into the top ten. There was a very slight under fill when the team did my refuelling, so I had to try and do the laps without burning all the fuel, but we managed it okay."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Another very strong team result clearly showing the progress that we've made during recent weeks. Fifth and ninth with the cars on different strategies for tomorrow is a good position for us and we'll be fighting hard to try and achieve the four points we need to overhaul Williams in the Constructors' Championship."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are very pleased with our performance today. Our package was very strong from the start of qualifying, our drivers managed to do a good lap in Q3 and the result is really encouraging for our race tomorrow. The competition is really close on this track and the engine has a real role to play in those circumstances. Both our drivers have a fresh V8 for this weekend and we will push as hard as possible to get the most out of our package and try and take fourth place in the Championship."
Nico Rosberg (10th, 1:13.477): "My engineers have done a good job improving the car throughout the weekend, particularly since this morning's session, but I think we were still quite lucky to get into Q3 today. I nailed the lap in Q2; I couldn't have got anything more out of the car. In Q3, with more fuel on board, I had a small balance problem and made a minor mistake too, which probably cost me a tenth or two. I could perhaps have just beaten Coulthard if everything had worked out perfectly, but you cannot always get the best out of a lap. I think we have to be pleased with where we are and just try to do our best tomorrow. We seem to be pretty strong over long runs, so we should be in good shape for the race."
Kazuki Nakajima (19th, 1:14.417): "It was difficult today. I don't know why, but the car felt quite different in qualifying compared to this morning's practice session and I couldn't get it completely right. Combined with a couple of mistakes, qualifying was disappointing. I will now go and look at my data in comparison to Nico's and see where I can improve for the race tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today's result wasn't exactly what we'd hoped for. In his debut outing, Kazuki was knocked out in the first round. In Nico's case, we thought we could get a couple more positions out of Q3 but he didn't have a perfect balance and that prevented him from qualifying any higher. Tomorrow's race will be interesting and we'll fight as hard as we can."
Sebastian Vettel (13th, 1:13.058): "A few races ago if you had said I would be 13th on the grid in the Brazil I would have been very happy and it shows we are definitely making progress. It was quite a difficult session and at first the car did not work as well as it did in the morning, but we played around with tyre pressures and it got better in the end. I think the track got slower in the early part of qualifying. With two quite soft tyre specifications, tomorrow's race could be interesting, especially when running on the softer of the two. Now we have to give a lot of thought to our strategy for tomorrow afternoon. Of course, some dark clouds and rain would suit us better for tomorrow, but let's see what happens in what is always a tough race round this track."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th, 1:13.251): "I'm not so happy with this result, because the morning session was pretty good but then I think we had more to give this afternoon. Q1 was okay, but in Q2, I seemed to suffer with a lot of understeer, especially in sectors 2 and 3, as well as graining on the tyres. The track conditions changed a lot from the morning when the car was really well balanced so I was expecting to be stronger in qualifying. My strategy tomorrow? I think I should do whatever Sebastian does as it seemed to work quite well in the last two races!"
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "I was asked before the session where I thought we would qualify and my prediction proved to be accurate. So, doing pretty much what we expected means we can be happy with today's qualifying."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:15.217): "Unfortunately we had a fuel pressure problem on my first run in Qualifying - the engine just cut out and I couldn't go on. It was the same issue we had in the morning, but then I stopped in the pit lane and my mechanics could push me back to the garage to get started again. In the afternoon I was on track and we couldn't do the same. Obviously it is a worry and something we need to sort out for the race, but I think we can get it right tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:15.487): "Obviously this Qualifying was disappointing. The grip level was lower than I expected and I changed the set-up for Qualifying and the race, but the set-up just didn't seem to work that well over one lap. On this point it's a shame, but I think this set-up will work better in the race so I want to push 100% and do my best race so far this season."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A disappointing Qualifying session. Adrian stopped on his first run with a fuel pressure problem, which was unfortunate as I think with the track improvement we could have picked up on a couple of places. Sakon struggled with less grip than this morning, but I am sure in the race we can be competitive with the group in front, so we have to look to pick up some places tomorrow."
Takuma Sato (18th, 1:14.098): "It was a tough Qualifying. The track conditions changed a lot since the first practice session and it was very slippery. I had a lot of slide, but I think everyone seemed to be struggling under the conditions. The first run was relatively good and I was expecting to improve, but unfortunately I had traffic on the out lap and then could not get the best out of our preparations for the timed lap. I couldn't improve on the second run and I missed Q2 by only a few hundredths, which is a big shame. I would like to say well done to the whole team. It has been a tough season and we really wanted to get into Q2 today, but nevertheless it was a good result from all of us."
Anthony Davidson (20th, 1:14.596): "It was a difficult Qualifying session. The track had changed quite a lot from FP3 to Qualifying and the car lost all its balance. I struggled to get a first lap together and then on my second lap, when I was getting faster, I got a bit of traffic towards the end of the lap and couldn't go quicker than my first time. It is a shame, but I doubt that Q2 was possible today anyway due to these conditions."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "Following a difficult Friday we made some progress this morning. The grip in the track came up and both cars were starting to get the semblance of a balance. But the track changed completely between FP3 and Qualifying and the boys found it very difficult and slick. It is a shame to finish the year on what we can now class as a poor Qualifying position, but I think that the team as a whole did a good job and we look forward to a dry race tomorrow following the two wet events we have had."