Italian GP 2008
SEPTEMBER 13, 2008
Saturday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (6th, 1:38.894): "A very difficult qualifying but, overall, I am reasonably happy. It's true it could have been better, but it could also have been much worse. I am ahead of my main rivals in the fight for the championship and I still have a good grid position therefore. Today, especially in Q2, conditions were very critical with aquaplaning at various points and visibility was also poor, especially in traffic and the situation got worse and worse. I still managed to improve my time and make it through to Q3, which was important. Tomorrow I must try and finish as high up the order as possible and get some points. It will be a very tough race, but we can rely on a very competitive car."
Kimi Raikkonen (14th, 1:37.522): "There's little to say and I am definitely not happy with this result. I was unable to do a time in Q2 when the conditions would still have made it possible and then it was impossible to catch up. On that lap, I went off at Ascari where there was a lot of water on the track, which meant I didn't make it through to the next session. Now we must try and make the best of this situation which is definitely not ideal. Starting from the seventh row of the grid could be a bit tricky at the start, because the entry to the first chicane is very tight and it is easy to touch other cars. In the dry, the car is working very well but obviously, if it were to rain, it could give some chances to those who are starting further back like me."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Of course we're not happy. It was a frenetic qualifying, in which random factors in the shape of the rain and traffic, played a key role. However, that was the case for everyone. On the wet we are not competitive at the highest level. Having said that, we must look at this result in the light of the championship and, we can take some consolation from the fact that our main rival is behind us. I wish to congratulate Scuderia Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel who produced an amazing result, which included putting a Ferrari engine on pole in Monza."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Rain and traffic weighed heavily against us in this session. We struggled, especially in terms of getting the brakes to the correct working temperature. We made choices in terms of set-up aimed at the race and probably today, these worked against us. Therefore, before evaluating this result, we should wait until tomorrow afternoon."
Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:39.906): "The conditions were quite difficult during qualifying, but in the beginning it went pretty well for me. Once I made it into the top ten of qualifying I was expecting more. The last laps were disappointing. Instead of more grip I got less. We now have to figure out why this happened."
Robert Kubica (11th, 1:36.697): "We were a bit unlucky today as the gap to position 10 and the third qualifying session was very narrow. We put a new set of tyres on the car for the second qualifying session, as we planned not to make a pit stop in the session. You need two or three laps to make the tyres work. The track dried up after the first laps, but then it started to rain heavily so unfortunately I was not able to improve the lap times. Congratulations to Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel for their first pole position."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "That was the most action packed qualifying I can remember. Under these weather conditions it was a lottery. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Toro Rosso, who did a brilliant job under these conditions. If you look at the result you find some of the top drivers down in the rankings, and of course we are not satisfied with our grid positions of ten and 11. Today it was vital to go out at the right moment and set a quick lap time with warm tyres. We were not able to do this."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Following our strong performance in dry conditions yesterday, we are obviously disappointed with positions ten and 11. Robert didn't make it to Q3 because the rain was heavier towards the end of second qualifying. The grid looks very different to what we are used to, which means we can expect a very interesting race tomorrow. We obviously have to see what strategies the different drivers have chosen."
Fernando Alonso (8th, 1:39.751): "I am pretty satisfied today because, even if it had been dry, I don't think that our situation would have been any easier. The track conditions were very difficult and we were able to reach Q3, which has given us a good starting position for tomorrow. Of course, the race will be tough and there are still lots of unknowns: the weather tomorrow could come and change things once again."
Nelson Piquet (17th, 1:36.630): "I'm disappointed with my qualifying session today. Since the start of the weekend, we haven't really been on the pace and I was expecting a difficult session. The weather this afternoon didn't help. It's a shame and I know that tomorrow we will have to fight hard in what looks certain to be another tricky race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was hard work out there today for the teams and the drivers. It was necessary to make decisions that needed to be changed rapidly because of the weather conditions. At the end of a session like that we are thankful to have no damaged cars. Fernando's grid position is probably as good as we would have hoped for in the dry and tomorrow's race will once again be about handling the changing weather conditions."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "A qualifying session is always a delicate exercise, even more so when it's wet. In these conditions, you have to simply remain on track, avoid incidents, deal with the traffic, and cope with the poor visibility. Fernando made it through to Q3, which bodes well for tomorrow, even if the uncertain weather and the unknown fuel loads make for a very unpredictable race."
Nico Rosberg (5th, 1:38.767): "I am really pleased with the result today. It was a good qualifying session and I was consistently able to be at the front and, despite the conditions, I felt comfortable in the car. On top of this, we didn't compromise too much for qualifying and we have a good strategy plan for the race. As tomorrow goes, I would rather we didn't have as much rain as we did today as it was pretty dangerous in terms of aquaplaning. Ultimately, I don't mind if it is dry or wet tomorrow as long as the amount of rain is reasonable as I have the benefit of a good start position."
Kazuki Nakajima (18th, 1:36.653): "It was very difficult and disappointing qualifying today and I just struggled to find a clean lap in the traffic. We had wet conditions in the third practice today and I looked okay, finishing the session in P5. As the track conditions and weather were similar this afternoon, it makes my qualifying result even more disappointing."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was an exciting session, the kind of which we don't see too often and these conditions pay dividends for teams that can think on their feet. We now have quite a mixed grid with cars out of position from where they would normally be, so the race on Sunday is going to be interesting. Nico did a great job in all three qualifying sessions and is well prepared for a strong race tomorrow."
Mark Webber (3rd, 1:38.117): "I didn't have a very good run on my first lap in Q3 and thought I'd messed up the session, as I was told it was going to rain again. It was difficult to get the lap in at the end with the conditions as they were, but I knew I had to do it. It was crucial to get both of the chicanes right and I really had to focus on the Ascari Chicane because it was like running on rail tracks. I drilled that though and it helped me to get my lap time. It should be a pretty interesting race tomorrow if the conditions are like this again! Toro Rosso have been fast in the last couple of races and they did very well today."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:37.284): "Q2 was quickest at the beginning of the session, as it rained progressively. We went out just after the beginning of the session, but had to back off for a bit of traffic. We therefore didn't manage to get a time at the start of the session and you weren't going to get a faster time at the end. As you saw with Hamilton and Raikkonen, it wasn't getting any quicker out there with the worsening conditions. Congratulations to Sebastian on his pole position, it was a great performance from him."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A very exciting three qualifying sessions with the varying amounts of rain. Both drivers progressed comfortably into Q2 and Mark made it into Q3, with David ending up in an unlucky 13th position. It was a great drive from Mark to qualify third. It's been a great day for Red Bull and congratulations to Sebastian Vettel on his first pole position. Three Red Bull chassis in the first four is a fantastic result."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "For Red Bull Renault, it was a good qualifying result today. Mark is third on a track that we hope will be good for us tomorrow. It will be a bit more difficult for David in 13th, but the conditions were changing during Q2 and he had some bad luck as the rain was stronger for him when he went out. It was the same for Raikkonen and Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel is on pole position, so well done to him and Toro Rosso."
Jarno Trulli (7th, 1:39.152): "That was a hell of a session. It was really hard to drive the car and visibility was really poor. At one point in Q2 Sebastian Vettel slowed suddenly on the straight in front of me. In these conditions we were very lucky not to have an accident so that was a dangerous moment. Still, on our side we managed to do a good qualifying so we are happy. It is a good way to prepare for tomorrow and now we will do our best in the race. There is always a special atmosphere here in Monza because there are a lot of motor racing fans. Now we will try really hard to earn a good result in front of my home supporters."
Timo Glock (9th, 1:39.787): "Today was going well right up to Q3. This morning was good and that continued during the first two sessions this afternoon but it was a difficult last ten minutes. It was pretty strange but the car didn't work as well as the session before. I think I was struggling with tyre temperatures and I just couldn't really get a clean lap. So that was a pity but we are still in good shape for tomorrow and we will do our best to come away with a strong result."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Our weather forecast said it was very likely qualifying would take place in full wet conditions and so it proved. That meant we were fully prepared for this possibility and overall it went reasonably well. The whole team did a fantastic job throughout qualifying without any mistakes to get both cars through to the top ten. Only two teams managed that so it's a very good result for us on top of a fine performance from both drivers. We are a little bit disappointed by the final ranking in Q3, but obviously as usual we will have to wait for tomorrow's pit stop laps to know more about today's performance. All the tyres here have been on the hard side, including the full wet that we used today, so they didn't suffer in the conditions and lasted well. Now we will concentrate our efforts on tomorrow. The weather forecast remains uncertain and we should see a wide range of strategies so it is sure to be an eventful day."
Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:37.555): "It will take time for this to sink in. It was my dream to one day drive a Formula One car and even if my target now has been to fight for poles and race wins, I didn't expect it today and it feels fantastic. Doing it here in Italy is also amazing. There are two Italian teams, Ferrari is the bigger one, but I think today, people will also know about Scuderia Toro Rosso. Already it's great just to be part of Formula One, but to be sitting in the top spot is fantastic. It was very difficult to see anything out there and I think all the drivers did a good job to avoid any incidents. We improved the car a lot and I was very happy with it this morning and when you feel confident in your car, then that is the key. In the second session, conditions were very difficult and I managed to put together a good lap quite early. I think we did the right thing to go out and do a few laps, rather than just focus on trying for one quick one."
Sebastien Bourdais (4th, 1:38.445): "It was a bit crazy out there. Seb pulled out a great lap and pole is fantastic for him and the team and so is having both cars on the two front rows. I was third for a moment, but I'm not complaining. Given how things went in the dry in practice, I certainly could not have hoped for better than this. These conditions equalize everything and if you have a good feeling in the car, you can attack. That's what we did and it paid off. The team has given us a car that is very reliable and quite easy to drive, especially in the wet. A super performance from everyone."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "A fantastic result and particularly special here at Monza."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "I thought we would be third, but with Hamilton and Raikkonen out, this is the result. Of course, it's obvious we haven't got the heaviest fuel load in the world and so now we must hope for a competitive race for tomorrow. Both drivers did a good job as did the whole team and we can be happy with our day's work."
Rubens Barrichello (16th, 1:36.510): "I'm very disappointed as we had the opportunity to have a good qualifying session today. Unfortunately there was a miscommunication on the radio as I wanted to stay on the existing tyres with more front wing when I came in. However the team changed to a new set of tyres as they were concerned about the temperatures and took off some wing, and this set did not work as well for me. It's a shame as I think we could have progressed into Q2 and had a much better qualifying session."
Jenson Button (19th, 1:37.006): "We were expecting these conditions to help us, so I am surprised that we have ended up so far back in qualifying today. The biggest problem seems to be that we can't get the car and tyres to work in the wet conditions with very low downforce. The first set of tyres that we ran seemed to be working okay and I was running just outside the top ten, however on the new set that we used for my last three quick laps the car was just undriveable. It had no balance and I couldn't find any grip, so every time I hit the brakes, the front and rear wheels would lock. We'll have to have a look at the data and find out why the car was so difficult to drive, but it's obviously very disappointing to be starting the race from so far back on the grid."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Our approach was actually quite good. We did most of the right things but what came as a surprise to us was that on the second set of tyres we didn't seem to have the same level of grip as the first set and that caught us out. Usually, one would expect a new set to add performance but it was quite the opposite today and that's really what hurt us because prior to the stops we were in a position to qualify into Q2. Things didn't work out for us in qualifying today but we are certainly hoping for inclement weather tomorrow. Our car is not too bad in the wet and so if we get on top of the problems we experienced today we should still be able to take advantage, despite our positions on the grid."
Giancarlo Fisichella (12th, 1:36.698): "Of course I'm really pleased to be able to give the team its first entry into Q2 this year and particularly here in Monza. Conditions in the first session were bad at the start and it was difficult to find some grip but they improved at the end and that was when I was able to find some space and push. We went out as soon as we could in the second session as the rain was getting heavier and we really did the optimum - we weren't too far from Q3 with the quickest lap. Unfortunately then the rain just got worse and it was going to be impossible to improve. I'm really looking forward to the race, and with the predicted rain I think it will be very exciting. I'm going to try hard here - I scored my first win in similar conditions in Brazil with this team, and although that's going to be difficult here, we can at least try for points."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:37.417): "A bit disappointing as I had a good balance in the rain. The first set of tyres worked really well and we were very competitive but then I changed tyres and suddenly we lost all the grip and I was about six tenths a lap slower in better conditions. We have to figure out what went wrong, but all the same I think that we've got every chance of making up for this tomorrow."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "I am absolutely delighted with this qualifying result here in Monza. We've been striving for this all year and finally, in some of the worst conditions this season, we have got it. I have to say thank you to Giancarlo for driving a fantastic lap in the wet and cross my fingers that he can convert this into a strong result tomorrow. Adrian was unlucky today. As we have seen many times over this season though, he is a very capable wet weather driver and I am in no doubt that he will show this in race conditions tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "An exciting qualifying session and great to get one car into Q2. On his first run in Q1 Adrian looked very comfortable but on his second set of tyres he really struggled for grip, which was a shame as I really think he could have got through as well. Giancarlo did well to get a clear lap in Q1 and was unlucky just to miss out by a couple of hundredths from Q3. Overall we have been strong with both cars in every session so far this weekend and we have to look to have to score some points tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen (2nd, 1:37.631): "A really close session; I missed pole by just .076 seconds. My first attempt in Q3 wasn't perfect and further rain later in the session made it almost impossible to improve. On my final run, I gave it everything but there wasn't enough grip to beat Sebastian Vettel. But congratulations to him on his first pole. Nevertheless, second on the grid is still a good basis for tomorrow; our car has shown good pace in both the wet and the dry so I'm feeling confident."
Lewis Hamilton (15th, 1:39.265): "It was a joint decision to go out on wet-weather tyres at the start of Q2 - partly mine and partly my engineers'. We thought it was the right way to go at the time because it was getting dryer but the grip-level was poor so I came in and switched to extremes. By the time I got out, it had begun to rain and I just missed the window when the track was at its fastest; it was also very hard to pick out the braking points. It's the first time this has happened to me in Formula 1, so I can't really complain - tomorrow's another day and we still have a fighting chance to make our way up the grid. I'll be doing the best job I can."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Heikki performed tremendously well this afternoon, and his P2 grid slot for tomorrow is a fully deserved reward. As for Lewis, the weather conditions made things difficult for everyone, not only us, and in addition to that we were caught out by a less-than-fully accurate weather forecast. As things turned out, there was only a narrow window of opportunity in which to cut a quick lap, and things didn't fall kindly for Lewis. But the weather may be unsettled tomorrow, too, and if so he should still be in a position to score a good result even though he'll be starting from a lowlier grid position than he would ideally have preferred. Lastly, I want to congratulate Sebastian Vettel and my old friend Gerhard Berger, of the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, on the occasion of their first ever pole position. But Heikki has a very good strategy for tomorrow so let's see what happens."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This is exactly what should not have happened to Lewis - but we have to accept it after so many great qualifying results we had. Heikki was great and will start from the front row. Lewis's competitors are not too far away; at least this is positive. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Toro Rosso on their first pole - this was a top performance. Tomorrow is another day and we will fight and be focused to do a better job and this time with both cars than today."