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Spanish GP 2008

APRIL 26, 2008

Saturday Team Quotes

Fernando Alonso, Spanish GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive


Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:21.813): "I've been chasing pole for a while now, but for one reason or another, it always escaped me. But today I got it. There is no better place to start so I will try and make the most of that tomorrow. It will be important to get off the line well, getting through the first corner without any problems. Then it will be down to exploiting the car's potential and that is definitely good. The race is what matters and tomorrow I want to bring home a nice result. So maybe it was not too bad doing so few laps in the dry in last week's test, as we were able to work on set-up with a different approach. On my first run in Q3, I lost a bit of grip in the final sector, but then on the second set of tyres everything went well. The perfect lap? You can always do better."

Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:22.058): "I got a good lap with my first set of tyres in Q3, but that was not the case on my second, especially in the final sector of the track and that meant I could not improve on my time. When qualifying is as close as this it only takes the smallest of things to lose or gain a few places. I think we will be very competitive tomorrow, but we can expect a tough race. Anything can happen and we will have to give it our best shot to bring home the best result possible. We can count on a car that is good over a long run, which has been the case from last week's test up to and including yesterday."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This was an incredibly close fight. Once again it demonstrated that you have to pay close attention to the smallest detail if you aspire to the top places, especially in qualifying. From what we have seen, for the race, we can run at a good pace over a distance and we will try and make the most of our grid positions. The crucial elements will be the same as ever: the start, the strategy, reliability and tyre performance. Our mood of cautious optimism from yesterday remains the same today."

BMW Sauber

Robert Kubica (4th, 1:22.065): "This was a good qualifying. I am very happy as I managed to do a very quick lap in both Q2 and Q3. I am especially happy about the second qualifying session as I was second fastest thanks to using only one set of tyres. I am looking forward to tomorrow's race, and I think our pace is good."

Nick Heidfeld (9th, 1:22.542): "I'm certainly not happy with P9. The first outing in top ten qualifying was reasonable, but my final lap was not good enough. It didn't help that I had graining towards the end of the lap. I very much hope I shall have a better start tomorrow than we have seen for the previous races so far this year. For me here Ferrari is as strong as expected, Renault is apparently stronger than expected, although we may guess Fernando Alonso didn't have a lot of fuel on board."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Robert managed to do a good lap and got the maximum out of the car. I consider his fourth on the grid very good. Nick did not have a good lap, as we expected him to be a bit nearer the front. Anyway, since the 2006 Brazilian GP in Sao Paulo we have been able to get both our cars into the top ten in qualifying."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We had an absolutely trouble-free weekend so far. Robert showed a strong performance in qualifying and was able to get the grid position we expected based on his strategy. He is in a good position for the race. Nick struggled to find a good set-up that was right for him on a single quick lap. However, he has a good strategy for the race. It will be crucial for him to make a good start and not lose too much time in traffic."


Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:21.904): "Today's result made me very happy. The best day for me of the 2008 season and I hope there are many more like this to come. The team has been doing a tremendous job since Bahrain. We have had a difficult and disappointing start to the season, and today is the first step ahead. We have an aggressive approach for the races to come in order to return to the level we should be at. It is not the time to relax, and instead we are even more motivated to work hard to get where we need to be."

Nelson Piquet (10th, 1:22.699): "We have worked well with the car this weekend and after a great Q2 I am happy to reach Q3 for the first time. Nevertheless, I have the feeling that we could have done better. The gaps between the cars are very small, which means that we can expect a very competitive race on a circuit where it is difficult to overtake. But I am determined to have a great race tomorrow and to attack to the maximum."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "A great result today, which vindicates all the hard work that has gone on back at base in the first few months of the year. It's great to see both cars in the top ten and Fernando's position at his home circuit is particularly welcome. But let's not forget the great job that Nelson has done - he's been with Fernando all the way through the weekend and makes it a great team result."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We now have a better idea of our performance relative to the other teams and the result is one that the team can be satisfied with. We knew as early as the start of the session that Fernando was in a position to get the most from his car and we worked hard to give him a car that would match his talent. There is still a lot we need to do to progress, but this is already a first step and that is encouraging. As for Nelson he had a super qualifying session, and was very solid in Q2. It remains to be seen what will happen tomorrow in the race, but the gaps between the teams are very small and so we need to seize our opportunities to try and score some points."


Kazuki Nakajima (12th, 1:21.117): "It was a little bit difficult out there for the team today. Personally, though, my result in today's qualifying was the best I've had so far this year so I'm fairly happy with that. I only just missed the top ten as well, which was a shame. We still have the race tomorrow, and you never know what can happen. We will see what we can do with our strategy and I will just try my hardest to get the most out of it."

Nico Rosberg (15th, 1:21.349): "It wasn't a good day for us today. I've struggled with the balance of my car since we arrived, but the only things that we could adjust to try and improve it during qualifying were the front wing and the tyre pressures, but that wasn't enough so I wasn't able to do better this afternoon. It will be very difficult starting the race from 15th, but it does allow us to decide our fuel level. I'm hoping I'll get a good start and gain some positions from the outset, and then we shall see where we can go from there."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "That was obviously not as good as what we had expected considering our efforts in practice yesterday. From just outside the top ten, however, we can fight our way into the points with a strong strategy and that's what we'll be aiming to do tomorrow."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (7th, 1:22.429): "We knew it was going to be very tight here, and that's turned out to be the case. Barcelona's a track that the team's know well, but we've put ourselves in a good position for the first stint of tomorrow's race and hopefully from there we can lay the foundations to get some good points. We had a problem this morning, which we recovered from well and hopefully we can keep our points run going tomorrow."

David Coulthard (17th, 1:21.810): "I'm shocked about that. I dropped some time in Turn 12, but the problem occurred at the start of the lap. I went out in a bunch of traffic and had Sutil behind me, so I couldn't back off, which compromised warming up the tyres. We believed we were fast enough to go through the first session only using prime tyres, which take longer to warm up than the options. Under normal conditions, if you put in a hard out lap, then using primes like that shouldn't be a problem, but unfortunately it didn't work out for us today. After this morning, I thought we were looking good for making it into Q3, we took a risk and it didn't work."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a great recovery from Mark today, seeing as he didn't do a single timed lap in this morning's practice session. He got through the first session on only the prime tyres, progressed into Q3 and did a good job there. After a promising first run, David unfortunately dropped a little bit of time in the third sector, which was the difference between Q1 and Q2 today, so it's going to be a busy afternoon for him tomorrow."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Firstly we apologise for Mark's engine problem this morning, that's not the service we want to be providing. Fortunately it didn't affect him too much for the qualifying and we're very pleased with his seventh place. For David, unfortunately he missed out on Q2, but hopefully he can make up some places tomorrow."


Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:22.529): "That was a tough session. The wind was affecting the car balance a lot and this played a major role. Unfortunately in this type of conditions we have never been very strong here. We managed to make it into the top ten but I am not really satisfied with how the session went overall. I was happy with my lap in Q3 to make the fourth row but it could be a very difficult race tomorrow. The teams are tightly grouped but the season is long and hard so we have to do our best to score points at every race."

Timo Glock (14th, 1:21.230): "Clearly our goal was to be in the top ten but it didn't work out. Q1 wasn't too bad but Q2 didn't go according to plan. On the second run we didn't make any mistakes but for some reason I couldn't improve my time - and it looked like the same thing happened to Jarno on that lap. I have no explanation because the feeling was good on the out lap. But when I came through turns one, two and three I felt the car sliding more and the time didn't come. From 14th it is difficult but in Bahrain I came from 13th to 9th so it is possible to move up."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Barcelona is the circuit where we spend most of our winter time testing. Yet almost every season when we come here for the race we have to redo everything because the track conditions change so much. Yesterday we had to revisit most of the set-up directions that we had taken - like most of the other teams. We've done an average job because the final result is not too bad but not good either. Jarno did very well to end up on the fourth row. Timo had a good start to qualifying but unfortunately he did not improve in the second outing of Q2 when most of the others did improve. Now I'm curious to see where the cars will stop tomorrow because it seems there may be different fuel levels at play. The tyre situation is the only thing which will be as expected and it is not hard to know what the main race tyre will be tomorrow. Now we will push as hard as ever for a strong result."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Sebastien Bourdais (16th, 1:21.724): "Yesterday I said that if everything went our way it would be possible to get into Q2. Obviously, I was quite happy to be thirteenth in Q1 because it really wasn't the greatest lap, as I had quite a lot of traffic in front of me. Unfortunately, the track conditions kept improving and we were running out of adjustments to dial out the understeer in Q2. It was a bit frustrating, because it felt as though the car had some more in it. Then, on my last run I aborted the lap because I had a moment, which was down to the fact we tried something different to try and get rid of the understeer, but it did not give us grip and it upset the balance."

Sebastian Vettel (18th, 1:22.108): "I was always struggling a bit in the first sector of the lap. Towards the end of Q1, I was reasonably well placed, but I did not feel confident with the car as I had no feeling for it in that first sector. It seemed as though the car wasn't ready and it was sliding around a lot. As we know, it's tight in the midfield and I missed out by not very much, because the rest of my lap was okay. Sebastien made it comfortably into Q2 so there is something we need to work on. The race will hopefully be a different story, after just not having the pace in qualifying."

Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "It was worth coming to Spain just to see Alonso's qualifying lap! As for us, the cars have run reliably so far and in performance terms we did what we could with what we had."


Rubens Barrichello (11th, 1:21.049): "My final Q2 lap felt perfect and I'm pleased for myself and the team that we could put in a good time. Unfortunately we were just not quick enough to be in the top ten, but we are knocking on the door. I'm very pleased with my lap, and whilst it is frustrating to be so close, I am happy with our performance today and we are looking good for tomorrow. The new aero package is certainly an improvement, that was evident from the test last week and from the feel of the car this weekend. We are still making tweaks to find the optimum performance but we achieved a good set-up for qualifying today and I'm confident that the same will be true for the race tomorrow. We are not quite in the position to be in the top ten and scoring points yet, so we need to take advantage of every opportunity that arises in the midfield pack during the race to achieve a point finish. This gives us plenty to aim for tomorrow though."

Jenson Button (13th, 1:21.211): "Qualifying was just so close today and it was a tough session for us. A lot of our work this weekend has been trying to understand the aero on the car as I missed out on testing last week. On my last run, I took some front wing off as the rear end was twitchy and I had too much understeer. This was really useful as we found it made the rear end more stable and didn't give me any more understeer, so it's a question of trying to understand the car and catching up on the time that I missed last week. In the circumstances, I'm pleased with our position today. I felt a lot more comfortable with the balance of the car on my final run and we are certainly making progress. I need a bit more time with the car to understand the new aero properly and find out how to get the most out of it, but I'm happy with our position going into the race and we'll see what happens and what we can take advantage of."

Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "The top 10 times were all very close and Rubens was just 0.065s away from making it into Q3, so a top 10 place was certainly within our grasp. We have certainly improved the car with our latest developments, however the same is true of our near competitors and the goalposts are moving all the time. We know Barcelona very well as the teams test here all the time. The field is very tight and with it being so close we are probably seeing the absolute pace for the first time this season."

Super Aguri-Honda

Anthony Davidson (21st, 1:23.318): "Today was quite an tough qualifying for everyone in the team. The boys did a great job; I put a great lap together and I'm very proud of everyone and the job we have done all week. The car had quite a good balance, as good as it could be for qualifying, and I would like to personally thank my engineer Richard Lane for doing such a great job all weekend."

Takuma Sato (22nd, 1:23.496): "I think we made some improvement from yesterday. The first and second runs in Qualifying seemed to be getting better all the time, but I was surprised that on the very last run there was a change in balance and I had understeer. I then couldn't improve my time as much as I wanted as it wasn't the cleanest lap. Overall we did make the right progress, so it was quite a good day."

Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "It was actually quite a good Saturday for us. The cars ran reliably and the team went about their business in the normal manner. Anthony found the best balance for his last run in qualifying, whilst Takuma just lost out. The Super Aguri F1 Team once again showed determination by being even closer to our next opponent than in Bahrain. We are all looking forward to racing tomorrow."

Force India-Ferrari

Giancarlo Fisichella (19th, 1:22.516): "I had some problems on my first run with reduced grip and understeer, so the obvious way to go was to do two timed laps on the first run, but it did not prove to be the best you solution in this case. It is a bit disappointing after yesterday. It was difficult to make the tyres work properly so now we will see what will happen in the race. We've had some strong performances so let's see."

Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:23.224): "I was unlucky. The first run was okay, I did a 23.1 that was quite good for a first lap. On the second run the grip level was much better and I had a good feeling, but then into turn three there was a car coming out of the pits. I lost all the downforce and got some huge understeer and basically had to lift off and break up the lap as there was no point driving it after that. On my final run, again I had a very good first sector, but then my brake disc seemed to develop a problem and it was quite difficult to get the car to slow down for corners. It's very disappointing as I thought it could have been one of my best qualifying this season as I feel good in the car, and we looked good until this point. Let's hope for more tomorrow."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Qualifying and really the whole of today has been very disappointing for the team. Adrian only got his first run in on a dirty track and then had traffic on his second run, before a brake problem on his last outing, which meant he couldn't set a representative time. Giancarlo was slightly more fortunate in that he got in some reasonable runs, but the car hasn't had the same grip we had yesterday and basically, fuel corrected, we were about a second slower than we were able to be yesterday. It is very difficult to understand why we have struggled so much with the tyres today, but we have to work on it tonight and look to have a better race tomorrow."


Lewis Hamilton (5th, 1:22.096): "I am actually quite surprised that we are not higher up the grid as the car felt very good, and I put in some strong laps. Throughout qualifying one and two the car felt extremely well balanced, but it's so close which means that it will be an exciting race tomorrow. Being on the third row is not the end of the world as we are surrounded by good drivers who all want to finish the race. The key is now to make a strong start and hopefully gain a couple of positions, and I am confident as I believe our race pace is competitive, and we have a good strategy."

Heikki Kovalainen (6th, 1:22.231): "I didn't expect to be on the third row as I thought the last part of qualifying wasn't too bad. However the times are very close and with just a tiny bit more I would have been able to gain a few positions, but that is life. We will now dig deep, and tomorrow is another long day where anything can happen. I don't know if the lack of running yesterday had any influence as the more laps you have the more confident you are - but I don't think it would have made too much of a difference, and the team has done a great job in getting the car ready and competitive. I believe we should be able to go for it in the race tomorrow."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Of course we would have preferred to be higher up the grid, but from row three anything can happen. We are well prepared, and I believe our strategy will prove competitive. The race will be interesting as there are a number of drivers capable of winning which is great for the fans, and I am sure that Lewis, Heikki and the entire team will put in strong performances."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Positions five and six are not our dream result and as less than three tenths are missing to pole position we have to wait who of the four or five competitors ahead of us are running how long in the first stint. Both Lewis and Heikki feel confident in the car, our long runs during testing produced consistent lap times, so the aim is to get better positions tomorrow in the race than today in qualifying."