Turkish GP 2008
MAY 10, 2008
Saturday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:27.617): "I am very happy to have taken a third consecutive pole at this circuit: it is really motivating and it would be fantastic to do the same again tomorrow in the race. Driving this track is nice and fun, with Turn 8 being exceptional, although there are others that are also very tough. Today, the car was great and I got the most out of it. Tomorrow I will have to watch out for all those who are around me on the grid. It will be important to work out the best way to manage the tyres in the light of how the track will evolve and how the temperature changes. In Q2, I had a bit of traffic, but in Q3 I was able to do two completely trouble free laps."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:27.936): "Obviously, I would have preferred to have been further up the grid, but this position is definitely not the end of the world. What matters is the race when the points are given out. We are up against very strong opposition, which is no surprise to us. Of course, there's a question mark over fuel loads and we won't get an answer to that until the first pit stops tomorrow afternoon. I am a bit disappointed but I made mistakes on my second lap in Q3 and I have to accept that: I didn't go into the final corner before the pit straight quite right and lost a lot of speed. We can count on a car that is good over a distance and we will try and make the most of it, trying to get as many points as possible. Winning is never easy, but I'll give it a go!"
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "A very nice pole from Felipe and a shame for Kimi who could have been a bit further up the grid tomorrow. In general terms we can be happy with the overall result, even if this is only the smallest step on the road to the targets we set ourselves for this weekend. Of course the biggest one is the race which we can tackle fully confident of our potential, while being aware of the great strengths of our rivals, who will make our life difficult."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "As expected, this was a very close qualifying. Felipe did a nice lap to take pole, while it was a shame that Kimi missed out on a better position by a whisker. We have a car that works well over a long run, especially on the softer Bridgestone tyres and we will do our utmost to bring home as many points as possible. The start will be important, as will strategy, while as ever the crucial element is reliability."
Robert Kubica (5th, 1:28.390): "I am quite happy with my qualifying result and hope for a good race. We were expecting a little bit more after finishing P2 in the second qualifying session, but after refuelling the balance of the car was not good in a few corners and it became difficult to drive. With the high fuel load we picked up a lot of understeer. We shall now analyse the data and try to understand why."
Nick Heidfeld (9th, 1:28.882): "Of course I'm not happy with P9, but I can also see something positive in today's qualifying -it went much better than practice did. The sun came out and this helped me to heat up the tyres. My very last lap was actually really good until the final sector when I made a mistake which cost me about three tenths of a second. I think I can move up the field in the race."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We are not satisfied with the qualifying result. While Robert was pretty quick in Q2 with low fuel, the third and crucial qualifying session did not go perfectly for him. Nick was on his last quick lap, and just as fast as Robert in the first and second sector, but then lost time in the final sector. I think the tyres have been the deciding factor today. During qualifying, depending on the fuel loads, we saw very different tyre performances."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Let's start with the positive things: on this demanding track we were able to get both our drivers in the top ten of qualifying. But we really expected more after the good performance in the second part of qualifying. Robert did not get a perfect lap, and Nick lost about half a second in the final sector of his fast lap. We expect a difficult race tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (7th, 1:28.422): "Today we made it easily into Q3 and so I will start the race in seventh place, which is more or less where we expected to be, although I think that we could have done a little better. For tomorrow, the start of the race will be vital, but I think that we should be able to fight for some points. It's important not to forget where we were just two races ago. We are moving forward, that is for certain."
Nelson Piquet (17th, 1:27.568): "I am extremely disappointed today after my performance in qualifying. I finished in 17th while my teammate progressed comfortably into Q3. So it's not going to be an easy race tomorrow, but I will give my maximum to try and recover. I will work hard with my engineers this evening so that we can try and improve for tomorrow and for the races to come. After that it will be down to me to do what I can on the track during the race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was unfortunate for Nelson to drop out of qualifying so early, especially as he had shown very equal pace to Fernando all morning. But that is what qualifying is all about; it's very competitive and it's necessary to produce the goods at the right time. However, I'm sure he can still have a strong race tomorrow. Fernando is quite nicely positioned given our current performance - let's see if we can use the strategy tomorrow to improve upon that starting position."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We probably did not have the best qualifying session today, but Fernando finished more or less where we expected. The competition was once again very tight, especially in the top ten, but I hope that we are able to fight with them tomorrow. The weekend is therefore a continuation of the progress we saw in Barcelona, which is encouraging. For Nelson, today is a bit disappointing because it will be difficult to adopt a strategy that will allow him to fully recover. So he needs to prepare himself for a difficult race, but we will do our best to support him."
Nico Rosberg (11th, 1:27.012): "It didn't go the way we expected it to today. I thought we could get into the top ten but it wasn't possible as there were a couple of things on the car I was not completely happy with. However, 11th is a good starting position and we are normally good off the line, which gives me confidence going into the first corner. On top of that, I can now choose what strategy I want to run, which gives us the opportunity to pull it back in the race and do well."
Kazuki Nakajima (16th, 1:27.547): "It was a tough qualifying session for me, and a shame to miss Q2 by just one position. The balance on the car was ok, but we couldn't quite pull everything together this afternoon. I also struggled getting enough grip out there. We'll now work hard to try to find some improvements before tomorrow's race."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "That wasn't really what we expected from qualifying today. We thought Nico would get into Q3 based on all of the practice running and fuel loads that we did yesterday, but we struggled getting the balance right on his car in the middle sector. From a strategy perspective, however, 11th isn't a bad place to start the race from. Kazuki missed out on a place in Q2 by just a tenth. We expected him to be slightly behind as we didn't have some recent aero updates available for him. For the race, we'll be looking for both drivers to have good starts and push to get into the points with a good strategy."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:28.417): "It's good to get P6 today, after letting the team down yesterday with a bit of a shunt. The only downside of today's result is that we're on the left-hand side of the grid, but, apart from that, it went very well. We're in reasonable shape to get some good points tomorrow, we'll just have to keep our nose clean and have good clean pit stops. It's going to be an interesting race, the team has done a great job today - to get both cars into Q3 was a good effort."
David Coulthard (10th, 1:29.959): "I'm happy to be through to the top ten after problems at the last two grand prix. We used all our option tyres to get there though, two sets in Q1 and two sets in Q2, as I didn't want to take any risks. As a result, we only had primes left at the end. We only did one run in Q3 as we wanted to save fuel, so the car was very heavy."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A strong team performance in this morning's practice was converted into solid grid positions this afternoon for tomorrow's race. Mark used his head in the final session (Q3) and aborted a lap he wasn't entirely happy with, which meant he saved a lap of fuel. He then did an excellent lap and extracted everything from the car on option tyres to get P6. David did an excellent job to get comfortably through to Q3. As he had no soft tyres left for his final run, we were always adopting a strategic game with him. It was a strong team performance."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are very pleased with today's result. To have both cars in the top ten is what we have been aiming for and now we have it. The Q2 times of both drivers were very good. Sixth and tenth is a good result for us, now let's see what we can do with that tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:28.836): "It was good to make it into the top ten again and to be on the fourth row is better than I expected. But I am not really satisfied. I just couldn't get the set-up right so I had some trouble with understeer and oversteer. That meant the car was difficult to drive and I could not repeat the same lap times that I did at the beginning of the session. Maybe there was something strange happening with the wind on the track but that's the same for everyone. We're in a very tight group of teams so we will have to push hard for a result in the race."
Timo Glock (15th, 1:27.806): "That's a disappointing result because I have been happy with the handling of the car this weekend and I was able to push this afternoon. In Q2 we had a good qualifying lap until turn nine. I braked in and suddenly I felt a problem with the front right wheel. I couldn't finish the lap and I had to give up and bring the car back. It's a shame because it was a good lap and I think it would easily have been good enough to make the top ten. Instead this result clearly means we have a difficult race ahead."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "That was a very shaky qualifying session after a weekend that had been going smoothly so far. Timo in particular had been having a good weekend, consistently running well with no set-up problems. He was fast and heading for a top ten position. Unfortunately in the second run of Q2 we had a problem with the front right wheel drive pegs that still has to be fully analysed. He could make it back to the pits but he was definitely unable to finish a quick lap. So we will have to investigate exactly what has happened with him. Jarno did his usual great job - even if he only just made the top ten after his second outing in Q2 did not go as expected. Still, I remain confident that we are in a good position for the race. This is probably the first time this season that the tyre choice is not straightforward so we will see a mix of tyre strategies tomorrow."
Sebastian Vettel (14th, 1:27.412): "The track was changing a lot, the earlier rain did not help, but I am happy because at the last two races I struggled a lot to find the balance and now we are slowly getting there and I feel we have made a step forward. It's nice to give our old car a good grid position for its final appearance. In Q2, it was very close with the Hondas and unfortunately we did not progress as the track conditions improved. Overall, we can be happy with today and now I'm looking forward to getting through 58 laps tomorrow."
Sebastien Bourdais (18th, 1:27.621): "Bad traffic, basically the Force India guys, ruined my afternoon: on my first run I was held up by Sutil as early as Turn 3 and on the second, I came up behind Fisichella in Turn 8. That meant we weren't too sure about the handling of the car and I asked for an adjustment to be made for the last run which turned out not the right thing to do. It's annoying because I came within two tenths of Q2. Everyone seems to behave quite well in qualifying, but I don't know what those guys were doing on their "out" laps. It was a bit surprising. Starting eighteenth, our expectations are limited, but I will give it my best shot as usual and try and make the most of any unusual circumstances that might occur."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "I think engineers, drivers and mechanics have got the best out of our package so far this weekend. That's ironic given that with the delay on our new car, we were not so well prepared for this race back at the factory. All in all, I am very happy that we put together a good short-notice plan to run here. It has taught us a valuable lesson about planning for future races. Bourdais lost his first two runs because of the Force India cars and then it is very difficult to commit yourself fully on the third run. I guess he won't be going to India for a holiday any time soon! Vettel might have found another tenth, but not another position and he was brave enough to go over the limit at Turn 8, giving it more than the car could deal with."
Rubens Barrichello (12th, 1:27.219): "It was a good effort from everyone today however unfortunately we are not as fast as we thought we might be here in Turkey. It is a balance problem, rather than the tyres or grip levels, and I believe we achieved the best that we could today. I could not get the car to perform well over the whole lap. The first and second sector were good, but the third sector was not working for us. Realistically this is where the car is at the moment. We need another step to make us a regular qualifier into Q3."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:27.298): I have to be reasonably pleased with 13th as we were struggling to get the tyres working in qualifying today. Q1 was not too bad and we completed both runs on the prime tyre. We switched to the option for my first run in Q2 as everyone seemed to be going quicker on that tyre but for some reason the option didn't work for me and I had no grip. So we went back to the prime which should be about three-tenths slower around here so 13th is not too bad. It's annoying that we can't get the option to work but our prime tyre pace is very good, particularly over longer runs. It's a long way forward to get points from here but this is a tough circuit on engines so we'll see what happens. I've always had fun racing here as it's a great place to overtake so I'm looking forward to the race."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "The issues we had were with the tyres and trying to get grip from the prime or a balance on the option tyre. We saw this morning that the two tyres behaved differently and the two drivers split their strategy in Q1 because of this. In the second session neither car had the pace to get into the top ten. We had no problems aside from being able to get the most out of the tyres, so obviously this is a disappointment as we felt that we had made a little more progress here. The race may be very interesting tomorrow. This is a very difficult track and many drivers have been running off the circuit so far in the event. With heavy fuel loads and worn tyres I expect to see quite a few mistakes and incidents. Both Jenson and Rubens are happier with their cars in race trim, and neither has had an off-track excursion so far. If we can have a tidy race with a consistent pace then we may still make it into the points. That is certainly the outcome we will be striving for."
Giancarlo Fisichella (19th, 1:27.807): "I did a clean lap and the team did a good job with the car. The balance is not bad, but we just need more grip and more downforce to move forward with the grid position. I am looking forward to a better race tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:28.325): "Actually I had quite a good qualifying and we made a big improvement from practice. My car in the free practice had a few problems with the balance so we did a few changes between the sessions and it was better for the afternoon. On the last set of tyres I couldn't improve my time and didn't get the grip I expected and locked up into turn 12, but it was not so bad overall. From a performance perspective, to better to the practice pace and to get close to the rest of the field is positive."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "I think in Giancarlo's case he got the most out of the car today considering his penalty. Adrian had a small lock up on his last run which cost him some time, but overall that is where the car is on this type of track. We've shown that our race pace can be more competitive than the one lap pace, so we can certainly look to race the cars in front of us tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen (2nd, 1:27.808): "The two weeks following my accident in Spain have been a little bit like a rollercoaster ride and I am really happy to start from the front row here in Istanbul. I have felt comfortable in the car since my first lap yesterday, and everything has been running smoothly. In my second run in the third part of qualifying I attacked as much as possible, and the lap was absolutely clean which was great. The tyre choice this weekend has been extremely tricky. I am starting from the dirty side of the circuit but don't think this will be a problem, and we have a good basis for tomorrow's race."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd, 1:27.923): "I am not completely satisfied with third place today, as I think I could have gone a bit faster and also didn't make the right tyre choice as I was on the harder Bridgestone tyre for my final run. I did a great lap in Q1 and felt the car worked better there than in Q2 which was why I made the tyre decision I did. My final lap wasn't that great either, so all in all I am a bit disappointed. However looking forward we have a very good technical package and will push hard tomorrow to fight for a good result. I think we are close to Ferrari, but it will be a tough race. As this circuit provides some overtaking opportunities it should be a good one for the spectators and the fans as well."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A competitive qualifying session from the team, and it looks like we have closed some of the gap to our main competition, but we have to see how the race unfolds. Obviously we would have liked to be on pole, but at the end of the day both drivers did a great job. Heikki has been consistent and quick since his very first lap on Friday. Lewis made the decision to use the prime tyre for his final run as he felt the option was going off a little bit at the end of the lap. With two cars in the top three we look forward to a competitive race tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Second place on the grid is a great re-start for Heikki following his accident in Spain, whilst Lewis is one place behind his team mate. Positions two and three are a good basis for tomorrow's race, but of course ideally our aim was to start from the pole."