Honda F1 website
Honda website

Monaco GP 2008

MAY 24, 2008

Saturday Team Quotes

Lewis Hamilton, Monaco GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive


Felipe Massa (1st, 1:15.787): "Incredible! I have got pole on a track where I have always struggled. Now I am beginning to like it a bit more... I managed to do a perfect lap with a great car: this result shows that, if you work hard and with attention to detail, you can do it everywhere. After finishing the lap, nobody said anything to me on the radio and then, unexpectedly, Rob (Smedley, Felipe's race engineer) screamed, "incredible, you're on pole!" and I was laughing all the way around my in lap as I just couldn't stop. Now we have to maintain our concentration for the race tomorrow, which will be a very difficult one. It could rain which would complicate things even more. Starting at the front means I have the best possible conditions, but we will have to do everything perfectly. We worked a lot on the set-up to improve on the situation compared to past years and I think this decision has paid off."

Kimi Raikkonen (2nd, 1:15.815): "Obviously, I would have preferred to be on pole and there's no point denying it, but two Ferraris ahead of the rest is a great result for the team. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so the race could be a lottery and it might mean more overtaking opportunities, because in the dry the race risks turning into a boring procession. Overall, I am happy with the car: we just struggled a bit to get the best out of the tyres on the first timed lap, so that I was finding things a bit difficult through the first few corners on my second run in Q3. We had some doubts about our true potential on this track before the weekend, but this result confirms we have worked well and we have made a step forward compared to last year."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "An all-red front row: we could not have asked for more from this qualifying session. In the past few weeks, we have said we would tackle this race with a different approach to usual and, at least up until now, we have reaped the rewards of this work that has involved the whole team. While we are well aware of the importance of qualifying at this track, the points only get allocated tomorrow. It will be a very tough race, which will be affected by the weather which is looking very uncertain. We will have to give of our best to build on this afternoon's result."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "An all-red front row at Monaco is a really great result and a good reward for all the work we did in preparing for this Grand Prix. Our level of performance has improved and starting ahead of the field puts us in the best possible position for tomorrow afternoon's race. We will have to be as well prepared as possible for all the various scenarios that could play out, especially considering the weather forecast which is for a strong chance of rain."

BMW Sauber

Robert Kubica (5th, 1:16.171): "Again we showed we have a good pace. I was pushing on every single lap of qualifying and this was all I could do today. Unfortunately on my last flying lap I had Lewis Hamilton in front of me. He did not hold me up, but whenever you have another car in front of you there is some kind of a risk. On my out lap I tried to widen the gap to Lewis so as to have no traffic. My tyres cooled down too much and I was very slow in the first sector of my quick lap."

Nick Heidfeld (13th, 1:16.455): "Unfortunately I don't have much to say: my qualifying result is disappointing. Here in Monaco I can't heat up the tyres quickly enough."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "From a technical point of view our qualifying was okay. Certainly, we are disappointed with Nick ending up 13th. Robert showed a good pace and was able to fight for the top positions. In the end he even could have been a position further up the grid, but fifth is okay."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "In the third Free Practice we had changing weather conditions. Therefore it was difficult to find the perfect set-up. In Q1 and Q2 Robert managed to get the results we expected. In Q3 he was not able to set the time we hoped for. In the end he missed the second row of the grid by six thousands of a second. Anyway, fifth is a good starting position. Meanwhile for Nick it will be a lot more difficult to score points in Monaco from 13th on the grid. However, for Sunday changing weather conditions are predicted, so we might see a surprise."


Fernando Alonso (7th, 1:16.852): "In Monaco qualifying is more important than anywhere else and our goal today was to make it through to Q3. It is very difficult to overtake, but I think it is quite an open race and as we are not fighting for the championship we can approach this race aggressively and take a few risks. It will be a competitive race, that is for sure, but we just have to wait and see what the weather does."

Nelson Piquet (17th, 1:16.933): "I am very disappointed. I had a small problem with the brakes in Q1 and I was not on the pace. The car was very sensitive, but we saw with Fernando that it improved gradually throughout the session, which is all the more frustrating for me. A race from the back of the grid is always difficult, especially in Monaco, but I will give my maximum tomorrow, although my only real chance is to hope for rain, which will mix things up."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It's not been an easy day with the weather this morning giving us very little time to finish the work that we had to do. Consequently, we weren't even sure going into qualifying which would be the best tyre for the session. Nelson has suffered from the lack of running, but Fernando has done a superb job once again and his position on the grid is a credit to him and I think we can have a strong race tomorrow. Now we have to wait and see what the weather brings."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Fernando did a great job once again today. Nelson was not able to show his pace and did not progress past Q1, and I believe he did not realise his potential. So we are disappointed because it all rests on Fernando now. Nelson must prepare himself for a difficult race, but the weather tomorrow could really shake up the order."


Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:16.548): "I am very happy, I got the most out of the car and this is a good result. I really enjoyed it out there today. It was good fun and I was really pushing it to the limit - I imagine it would be pretty exciting to watch my on-board camera footage because I was really attacking every bit of the lap. Qualifying in Monaco is different to anywhere else and being able to get to the limit here is just great. If it rains tomorrow it will be madness, so I'll just have to be very careful and keep it on the track. With a good strategy, I can have a good Monaco Grand Prix."

Kazuki Nakajima (14th, 1:16.479): "It was a difficult qualifying for me because I was having trouble hooking everything up on my quick laps. I made some mistakes on one of my clean laps, so I need to go away and think about that and see how I can improve. Nico did really well today. He set a really good lap time, so I think I should have been better. Conditions were slightly different out there this afternoon in comparison to this morning's practice session, and the forecast isn't settled for the race, which could make it interesting."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good qualifying session for Nico and he's in a good place for tomorrow's race. It was a shame for Kazuki that he didn't get through to Q3, but he did a good job considering this is his first time round Monaco in a Formula One car. He'll have to keep his head down tomorrow but, if it's a wet race, anything can happen. We had no reliability issues today."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (9th, 1:17.343): "We had a clear run with no problems. I was locking up quite a lot, but there was no particular sector of the lap that was worse than the others - we'll just have to see how things go tomorrow. Seventy eight laps is a long race and there's some uncertainly over the weather, so hopefully we can get some points."

David Coulthard (10th, No Time): "I was doing around 185kph when the incident happened, and I went into the wall quite hard. When I hit the brakes the car turned, I was going over a rise so it's possible I locked the rear axle, but normally when that happens, you can just release the brake a little bit. We'll check the car and see if anything was going wrong at the rear, as it turned very quickly. It's normal for the rear to go light when you brake there, as we don't have engine braking or anything like that, but you drive with that in mind, so I'm surprised what happened was so violent. But, we'll get the car back, look at the data and then we'll know."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "The main thing after such a nasty looking incident is that David is completely unharmed and the cars damage is relatively contained so, after a difficult weekend for him, which has included engine throttle problems on Thursday, a gearbox oil pressure issue this morning and a large accident in Q2, to still be tenth on the grid is positive for him! So I'm sure David will be fine in tomorrow's race. Mark comfortably made it through the first two qualifying sessions and we think we're reasonably placed for whatever the weather may throw at us tomorrow."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Fortunately David is okay after his accident and still got through to Q3. The performance of the car on this track is very good. For the engine it's very difficult at this track with the new rules because we have a lot of over-revs with no driver aids. It's going to be very difficult to keep the revs down and the car on the ground."


Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:17.203): "Today was a good qualifying but it was tough. All weekend I've had some problems with getting the most out of the package and even during qualifying I wasn't completely happy. Here in Monaco if you don't have confidence it is difficult to push to the limit. So I am glad to be in the top ten again and I also have high hopes for the race. A big thank you to the team and the mechanics because they worked really hard during Thursday practice when we had several problems so it's good to give them a good qualifying session."

Timo Glock (11th, 1:15.907): "It was frustrating to miss out on Q3 today because the weekend had been going well. I don't know what happened. I did a decent first lap in Q2 but on the last set of tyres it just didn't work out. I had a good first sector but the last two sectors didn't come together and I missed Q3 by less than a tenth of a second. The consolation is that I have a free strategy for tomorrow. The weather could still play a part and we'll push to make up ground."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Altogether that was quite a hectic weekend - because of both the weather conditions this morning and some issues we had in practice. But Jarno is especially strong in Monaco so even after a difficult Thursday he was able to recover well and put the car on row four. He was under half a second from the top car in Q2 so it shows the gaps are getting closer. We are really disappointed for Timo, who so narrowly missed out on Q3. He has been strong all weekend and did a good job in all the sessions - both in the dry and in the wet. Still, he's in a good position for tomorrow because he has the first car that is free to decide on strategy overnight. That could be a significant advantage given the uncertain weather conditions so we can be hopeful for the race."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Sebastien Bourdais (16th, 1:16.806): "On my first lap I got caught up with Massa and my second was definitely going to be better, but that would not have changed anything. I am finding it very difficult to read what the car is doing, especially under braking when I am locking wheels a lot. In fact that was what caused the problem on my next run, because as I knew I had been locking the rear coming out of the tunnel, I moved the balance just one click to the front and sure enough, this time I lost the front. Also, as a general comment the car feels loose on the entry to most corners. Our situation was not helped by the fact we still lack experience with the new car and had nearly no dry running this morning. You have to pick up the pace by around a second and a half and when you've never done it in an F1 car in Monaco, it's a bit harder than anywhere else."

Sebastian Vettel (18th, 1:16.955): "My first lap time looked quite promising. After that, I feel we should have stuck with the prime tyre as the option was giving up during the first timed lap. I was unable to maintain a good level of grip over the whole track, so I was losing time, especially towards the end of the lap. It's a shame, because with my penalty I will be at the back of the grid. So I'm hoping for rain‘‚..lots of rain!"


Jenson Button (12th, 1:16.101): "We spent the session working on the balance, trying to remove understeer from the car in the high-speed corners, which we achieved and the balance was improving. On my last run, the car felt good and I gained almost two-tenths in the first sector on my previous best time, then in the second sector Coulthard had his incident which unfortunately meant I couldn't improve my time because of the yellow flags. The car was well set-up for my final run in Q2 and the last sector is where we would have improved further, as we had a better front-end for the high-speed corners. Sadly the yellow flags prevented us from realising our full potential. We're not in the top ten and it's disappointing. That's Monaco for you and what is important is that we know the car was quick enough to have improved."

Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:16.537): "It was certainly a disappointing second session for us. Unfortunately I didn't have a good first run because of traffic and then my second outing was interrupted by the yellow flags. It's a shame as the car was certainly competitive enough to get into Q3. However there is no place for 'if only' in Formula One and we are down in 15th, so it will be a tough race from there."

Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "Unfortunately it was 10 minutes shorter. Because of the wet morning session we elected to do an early run in Q1 on the prime tyre, then use the option for a single lap at the end. This worked well for us with both cars comfortably through to Q2. The second session was always going to be difficult for us as neither driver had a perfect balance on their first run. However changes to the front wing and tyre pressures had improved the car and they were both on a lap fast enough for the top ten when David Coulthard had his accident. We were running very late in the session in order to get the very best track conditions, so an incident at the last moment was a known risk which cost us dear on this occasion. A dry race tomorrow would be a very difficult and frustrating one for us. Both drivers are qualified below the potential of their cars and as we know overtaking here is pretty much impossible. If the race is wet then I think our chances of points are much higher. We have two very experienced drivers, both of whom are exceptional in the wet. Rubens has previously finished second here in an uncompetitive car and Jenson won his first race in the wet. Predicting a result in the wet is very difficult as there are so many scenarios that are possible, especially in changing conditions. A wet race here is likely to be full of incidents so if we can stay clear of them and get everything right then a good result is not out of the question."

Force India-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:17.225): "I felt my first laps were quite good, but then I had to pass a couple of cars in the first sector. It is really only two tenths or so, but from that point on it's difficult to get in the rhythm. We had planned to do two laps but you never know whether there will be traffic so we left some margin with the fuel and I could stay out for a few more laps to get some better ones in. There were some positives though: at least we have got the tyre problem fixed and they are working well now."

Giancarlo Fisichella (20th, 1:17.823): "It was a disappointing qualifying session and, in fact, whole day. This morning I had a problem with the gearbox and we had to change it, so I would have been penalised five places anyway, but then it was only ready about 14:05 so we didn't have enough time to do three runs. My first run was not great, but the second was better but then I lost the chance to do a quick lap as I got caught behind Barrichello just after the swimming pool as he was slowing down. Very very frustrating."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A very disappointing qualifying session, especially for Giancarlo on his 200th GP. A gearbox problem this morning limited his running and then he hit traffic on his fastest lap, which would have been very close to putting him through to Q2. Adrian has done a steady job today, improving in each session, but overall I think we had a car that shouldn't be on the back row. It will make the race very difficult, but anything can happen here."


Lewis Hamilton (3rd, 1:15.839): "Obviously I would have preferred to be on pole, but I am pleased with how the car felt and our strategy. The team did a solid job, and I didn't have any problems with traffic. My two flying laps in the final part of qualifying were good, but I lost a bit of time in the second sector, because I lacked a bit of traction accelerating out of turn eight, and in the third sector, at the last corners, I did not brake as late as I should. But we have a good strategy, and I am quite confident for the race - tomorrow anything can happen particularly with the weather forecast promising rain."

Heikki Kovalainen (4th, 1:16.165): "I am little disappointed as I put maximum effort in my last qualifying run. The car felt good, so I don't know where the small gap to the cars in front comes from. I did not put a foot wrong in all three sessions. I want to thank my team who had repaired the damage from this morning's incident well, so I could make best use of my car without any problems. The race is a different affair, and I expect us to be in good shape."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "An exciting qualifying with the lap times of the top drivers very close together. Of course, we would have preferred to be on pole; however, in the race we should be looking good with our strategy, consistency and pace. Especially in Monaco you can destroy your race with a smaller fuel load and it is easy to make a wrong decision in that respect. With a good start, and if we can stay out longer, even from the second row it is possible to win here. We have a good strategy and I expect a very hard fought race in hopefully good weather conditions."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Lewis is third, half a tenth of a second away from pole. However, with Heikki lining up alongside him on the second row, both drivers still should be in a position to fight for victory tomorrow."