Malaysian GP 2008
MARCH 22, 2008
Saturday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:35.748): "I am very happy! In the final part of qualifying, I managed to put together two really good laps after struggling a bit in Q2. Right at the end there were a few drops of rain, but it had no effect whatsoever on the performance. It is very important to start from the front and I hope I can have a good race. We know our car is very competitive over a long run, but it is also clear we face a long tough race. All the same, we can only be confident about tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd, 1:36.230): "Of course, I would prefer to have taken pole, but second place is definitely not bad and I am happy that the team got the best result possible. In Q3, I was not able to get the tyres to work as well as possible, especially on my second run, after having had a good lap in Q2. The track seemed to be a bit more slippery and I was not able to get everything out of the car. Tomorrow's race will be very tough: I made a good start in Melbourne and I hope I can do the same tomorrow."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Today we worked well and up to our usual standards and the results prove it. We have now made just a small step in terms of the Grand Prix with the longer one still needing to be accomplished in tomorrow's race. If all elements - team, drivers, cars - work at their best, then we can aspire to a good result. Congratulations to Felipe, who really produced an exceptional qualifying lap."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Finally, a trouble-free day. Car performance was good and it worked well as can be seen from the result. There are a few unknowns regarding the various sets of tyres, which seem to be a bit up and down and we will have to study that carefully. The threat of rain meant we operated differently to usual, going out on track at the start of all the sessions. We expect a very difficult race tomorrow because of the weather which will be tough on cars and drivers. Clearly our aim is to do the maximum, which is to say to repeat this afternoon's result."
Robert Kubica (6th, 1:36.727): "I'm quite happy with today's performance, although just a little was missing for me to be on the second row of the grid. The unpredictable weather brought an additional thrill to the qualifying. With the set-up I chose, I knew that qualifying would not be easy for me, but over the weekend we have put a lot of effort into the race preparation so I'm optimistic for tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld (7th, 1:36.753): "I'm very disappointed about the outcome of Q3. The first corners of my last lap went smoothly, but then there were several cars driving very slowly on their in-laps. Apparently they had no information that the qualifying was still going on. Before turn four I lost a lot of time because both McLarens were cruising on the racing line. I think this has cost me about two tenths of a second, which would have meant being third instead of seventh. I just couldn't drive on the line I wanted and, even more importantly, could not brake were I wanted. However, I was very happy with my car in qualifying."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Ferrari was in a class of its own in qualifying. Behind them it was extremely tight. From P3 there were five cars within only 15 hundredths of a second. In this group we missed out on a bit of luck, so we ended up sixth and seventh. In the race tomorrow the weather will play a crucial role."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "With this result we are the only team to have made it into the top ten of qualifying with both drivers for the 20th time since the end of 2006. That shows the consistency within our team. All three parts of qualifying were very exciting, because there was the continued threat of a rain shower. As a result we had to change our programme several times. In Q3 everything was very tight and our drivers just missed by the blink of an eye to be in better positions. Nick lost time on his final run because he didn't have a clear track, as there were several cars in the way driving slowly on their in-laps."
Fernando Alonso (9th, 1:38.450): "We achieved our first objective today, which was to get into Q3. We can now concentrate on our second objective which is to improve our pace in the race and to finish in the points. I could have done better in Q3 this afternoon as I was with Heidfeld on a fast lap while the others were going slowly, and that affected me a bit, which is a shame. I am sure that the race tomorrow will be interesting and I hope we can find our way into the points, just like in Melbourne. We must now concentrate on our preparation for the race tomorrow."
Nelson Piquet (13th, 1:35.562): "I am relatively satisfied with my qualifying this afternoon. I made good progress in the last free practice session this morning and my qualifying went without too many problems. Of course I must still improve, but I am not too far away from my teammate and I cannot wait to see how the race goes tomorrow. My objective will be to do better than Melbourne and to reach the end of my second Grand Prix, and if possible to score some points."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "I think we can be reasonably satisfied with our performance today. With Fernando we got the car into Q3 and we could see that while the times were reasonably close, the margin needed to obtain a good grid position was probably beyond us. As a result we took a tactical decision to fuel quite long and so ninth place was pretty acceptable. Fernando has had a good weekend and worked well with his engineers to get this result. It's unfortunate for Nelson that he missed Q3 by a reasonably small margin, most of which can be accounted for by a couple of errors in Turns 2 and 4. He has had an excellent weekend and been constantly competitive. I'm sure that he is due a strong race here tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This year it is very competitive to reach Q3 and we were part of the big fight during Q2 this afternoon. We are happy to see Nelson make progress since his first Grand Prix in Melbourne. He has had a more structured weekend, which has allowed him to feel comfortable in the car and on the circuit. He did a good qualifying session and the gap with Fernando is less significant than in Melbourne, so it is a better result for the team. With Fernando, we reached Q3, which was our objective. The gaps between the first ten cars are quite significant and we believe that the strategies of the others will be different to Fernando."
Nico Rosberg (16th, 1:35.670): "Can't believe how it went today. I came here from a podium finish a few days ago and now I qualify 16th, although I felt my last flying lap was pretty good. Our car doesn't seem to like the new asphalt they laid on this track at all. It's just too smooth and it doesn't make our tyres work properly, so I am just sliding everywhere. It will be tough tomorrow starting from this position, but our car should be better in racing conditions. And maybe some rain might help us!"
Kazuki Nakajima (18th, 1:36.388): "It was a difficult qualifying and because it was tight on lap times, when I made one mistake, it stopped me progressing into Q2. I have a grid penalty for tomorrow in any case, so I want to have a consistent race and make sure I finish. As far as performance is concerned, we will look at a strategy plan to see what we can do, but it will be a tough race."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was obviously a disappointing qualifying today. This morning we had a bad run on Nico's car in practice with a hydraulic leak which cost us some set-up time, but even so it would be difficult to see how we could have made it into the top ten and our qualifying performance needs improvement. We'll now look to strategy and put together the best race plan we can to get the cars into the points."
Mark Webber (8th, 1:37.009): "Today went better than expected to be honest. We worked hard on the car yesterday and the guys did a great job to make the improvements that they did, so we've laid the foundations ahead of tomorrow's race. Q3 was quite tricky for a lot of people, as the grip level was lower than in Q2, but we're in a sensible position for the start of the race. If it's half as wild as Melbourne - it will be interesting to see."
David Coulthard (12th, 1:35.408): "I was a bit surprised as in qualifying I was slower in the first sector than I had been in the morning practice. I'd lost some mechanical grip, which made it difficult to nail the middle sector. What's happened this weekend doesn't concern me, as a racing driver you never think you're going to have a car failure, so you don't think about it, and I have complete faith in the team too."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A strong qualifying performance from Mark puts him on the fourth row for tomorrow's race. The weather was closing in towards the end of Q3 and it all got a little bit frantic, but P8 is a positive result. David has been recovering today after losing a lot of track time yesterday. He only just missed out on Q3 and starts from 12th,so the target tomorrow is obviously for points."
"Following David's retirement in Australia, where an incident with Massa caused significant damage to his car, David's RB4 had a track rod failure during first practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix. It was an isolated incident, which caused him to go off the circuit at Turn 14, hit a bump and go heavily into the inside of the kerbing, causing damage to his car's front suspension. The FIA takes safety extremely seriously and wanted to understand how the failure had happened. They followed up the incident by looking at our procedures in terms of rig testing, R&D testing and proof testing, for each of our components. We've demonstrated our diligence in making sure the car is safe, they understand that and are happy with the explanation that we've given them."
Adrian Newey, Technical Director: "Yesterday's incident on David's car was due to a track rod failure. This in turn was due to a poor bond preparation. The component therefore failed very early in its life."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "After a bad day yesterday, when we suffered the first engine failure we've had since we joined forces with Red Bull, we bounced back well today. We got two good qualifying positions, of 8th and 12th,and I think we're in good shape for tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (5th, 1:36.711): "This has been quite a satisfying weekend so far. We have run without problems and the car has performed well and looked competitive. Today's lap time just shows that it's a big improvement compared to last year's car. So we are all very pleased with this result and it is definitely looking good for tomorrow's race. Timo has also done a very good job over the weekend too so I'm pleased for him because this gives a lot of motivation for the whole team to push hard with development work to improve the car. I'm confident for tomorrow because I've always performed well at this track. We just have to make sure that we finish the race without trouble because I believe we can score good points."
Timo Glock (10th, 1:39.656): "I'm happy to have made Q3 but that was a difficult qualifying for me. In free practice this morning I had a better feeling for the option tyres in a qualifying set-up but this afternoon I struggled to get the most out of them again. It was difficult to find the right set-up for it. In the end I was happy that I had a really good lap and a really good last sector to get into the top ten. Now we have to see how the weather goes but if it's dry it will be hard for me to get the most out of the tyres. This is a really wide circuit and that means there are more possibilities to overtake. But I'm keeping a lid on my expectations. Hopefully we can finish in the top ten or break into the points. That would be a good result."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "So far the weekend has gone reasonably smoothly - including the weather, which was uncertain before qualifying. The threat of rain was there from the very beginning because showers were developing randomly in the area around the circuit but it stayed dry and did not disturb qualifying. Jarno's qualifying position is what we expected so we are very happy with that. Today confirms yesterday's practice where we saw that he was in very good shape both on one-lap performance and long runs, which we will check tomorrow. Timo also did a very good job to make it into Q3 for the second time in two races. He is finding it hard to get the most out of the tyres but apart from that tyre handling has been quite straightforward. Both compounds are running without major problems like graining and blistering. So we can head into the race confident of converting this into a strong finish."
Sebastian Vettel (15th, 1:35.648): "Today, Q3 was definitely out of our reach. Unlike Melbourne this is a circuit where you have a lot of fast corners and so it did not suit us as well. All the same, I think we did pretty much the best we could. Unfortunately, on my last flying lap I made a mistake at Turn 14. Of course I was pushing hard to get as close as possible to Q3, higher up the grid at least and it cost me about two tenths. But we can be reasonably satisfied. I think we have a good set-up for race conditions."
Sebastien Bourdais (19th, 1:36.677): "I was in P15 on my second run and the car felt good so we should have had a shot at Q2, but then I had a brake problem at the second corner, I pumped the brake pedal but when I got to Turn 4, the pedal went to the floor again and there was nothing I could do. It's been a tough weekend so far, as I did not get too much running yesterday. The stars do not seem to be aligning in our favour. Hopefully, I will have better luck tomorrow, maybe if the weather turns crazy."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "We had to change the engine on Bourdais' car after the morning session. Then in the afternoon his car suffered a brake problem which meant he had to slow down on his fast lap. Malaysia has confirmed it is a demanding circuit for the entire package and we did not get it quite right. My biggest regret is the lack of reliability we have seen in certain areas over the past two days."
Jenson Button (11th, 1:35.208): "I'm happy with P11 and to be starting on the right side of the grid for the race. The weather was looking changeable with the risk of rain, so we ran early in both sessions to get a banker time in. My final run in the second session was on the option tyres and I'm really happy with the lap as we just missed out on going through by less than 0.1sec. The main challenge was choosing between the prime and the option tyre. I was struggling to get the options to work so I was running on the primes for most of the session but pretty much everyone else was on the option tyre. So with that much option rubber going down on the track, we had to give it a go for my last run in Q2, and we were 0.25s quicker. That was as quick as the car is today and I put in a good lap, so I'm pleased with our position."
Rubens Barrichello (14th, 1:35.622): "It was unfortunate that we had a problem this morning with the gear selection which limited my running and therefore when you go into qualifying, you are playing catch-up all the time. However it was a good effort this afternoon and I'm happy with how our session developed to eventually finish in 14th position. It would have been nice to have more time this morning to set the car up a little better but we made the best of a difficult situation. If the changeable weather continues into tomorrow, then being outside of the top ten provides more of an option to fine tune the strategy. Considering my lack of practice this morning, I'm pleased with my qualifying and 14th is a good position from which to attack the points tomorrow."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "Rubens had a damaged sixth gear at the start of free practice which we were able to repair under FIA regulations without penalty. We stopped running to avoid further damage which might have resulted in a gearbox change and resulting five place penalty. Rubens was forced to rely on Jenson's running and set-up changes, which obviously made qualifying difficult for him. Under the circumstances Rubens did a very good job even getting to Q2 given that the midfield was so close. Jenson didn't have as good a balance with today's track conditions and our car seems more suited to the prime tyre than the option. In qualifying the option tyre was the faster of the two but we were unable to get the most from it. The forecast is for the possibility of rain and for us a wet race would certainly suit our starting grid slots of P11 and P14. It is also our best chance of scoring points. If the conditions remain dry it will probably be a very tight race in the midfield and we would expect most people to two stop and probably at the same point in the race."
Takuma Sato (20th, 1:37.087): "I think that the team did a great job again, under the circumstances. We showed good speed in the morning as I did qualifying simulation and I was happy with the balance. During my first run in qualifying the grip level was quite low and I had traffic, but then on the last run I hooked up everything I needed and I enjoyed the lap. I will certainly try to make a good race tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (22nd, 1:37.481): "Another difficult qualifying session today for us. I think that we have improved slightly since the last race. My middle run this afternoon was good, but I struggled to find the right balance in the car for the last run."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "All credit to the drivers, engineers and the boys after a very difficult Friday. We came back fighting; we had a good practice session this morning and a better balance in the car." "We were a little worried about the forecast of rain during qualifying as neither driver has run with the new ECU rules in the wet, but fortuitously that didn't occur. Our small victory of Takuma beating one of the Force India cars gives us hope for tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella (17th, 1:36.240): "Just five hundredths away from Q2, it was very close! I am a little disappointed with not getting there, but I did my best and did a fantastic lap. Let's say its very encouraging - just five hundredths from the top 16 and Q2, and just under a second from the quickest lap time of that session - it is very promising for the future. The team has done a fantastic job so far. Of course we have a lot of work to do but looking forward we are going in the right direction, which is just great."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:37.101): 'It was not a good qualifying, but to be honest I was expecting this as we had not had a great practice in the morning. We had problems again trying to get the soft tyres to work, my car is just not behaving how it should be with them and I even tried a hard set. The car felt much better but for sure with them I can't race the other cars. In the race and over longer runs I think we are better. In Melbourne it was OK and I have a good feeling there is more in the car."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Ultimately it was very disappointing to have missed out on Q2 with Giancarlo by only five hundredths of a second. It is also frustrating to have been within a second of the quickest time in the first session and to still be 17th on the grid, but that shows just how close and exciting Formula One is at the moment. Giancarlo has done a good job all day, Adrian struggling with the balance, but overall I think we have a car that can be competitive with those in front of us and I think the new parts we have had on the car here have increased our performance from Melbourne. We have to look to the strategy to have a good race here tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen (3rd, 1:36.613): "I am pleased to have qualified third for the second consecutive time. Of course, we would have preferred a position on the front row, but Felipe and Kimi have been strong here all weekend and as a result third place is the maximum we could achieve. I have improved step by step throughout all the sessions, and my lap in the third qualifying was really good. Now we have to wait and see how the strategies will unfold in the race. With rain expected tomorrow anything could be possible."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:36.709): "There didn't seem to be as much grip in the tyres during the final session, and I just struggled a bit. Also it was tough finding a gap in the traffic, which had an effect on my ability to warm up the brakes and manage the tyres. To be honest I didn't do a perfect job today, and I will study the data to see how I can go faster tomorrow. We have to stay positive though as we are still in a good position and anything can happen in the race."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A good job by both drivers, with two solid grid positions for tomorrow's race. Obviously it would be preferable to be starting from the first rather than second row, but we fully expected to face stronger competition here this weekend and are comfortable with our race strategy."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Both Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' on the second row is a good basis for tomorrow's Grand Prix. Congratulations to Ferrari on their front row qualifying. With the predicted rainfall everything will be possible in tomorrow's race."