Hungarian GP 2008
AUGUST 2, 2008
Saturday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:21.191): "It's a shame I didn't manage to get the best out of the car in Q3, mainly because of traffic, especially on my second run. In the first two parts of qualifying the car felt good, as can be seen from my times, but then I never managed to prepare the tyres in the best way. Clearly, overtaking isn't easy but we have a good pace and I will try and exploit that in fighting with the two drivers ahead of me on the grid."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 1:21.516): "I made a mistake on my final flying lap which cost me time, and that followed on from not having got a great lap on my previous attempt, which explains why I'm sixth. Of course I am not happy and, starting from the third row, my race will be an uphill struggle. I will try and make the most of this situation, given that the car today was not that bad. We are going through a bit of a difficult time but we mustn't give up: all we need to do is put together all the pieces of the jigsaw and then the results will come to us again."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Obviously, we cannot be happy with this result, especially when our main opponents have the front row to themselves. Our main aim this weekend was and still is to get the most out of our car-tyre-team package and today we failed to do that, especially in the final part of qualifying. Now we have to try and do it in tomorrow's race: it will be tough because our grid positions are not the best and we are up against very strong opposition, but it is not an impossible task. We have strong potential which we saw today: it will be a case of getting all the elements to come together as well as possible."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Having our main rival's two cars on the front row is definitely not the most promising start for the race, but it in no way means the race is already lost for us. Tomorrow it will be important to make a good start, trying in Felipe's case, to take advantage of starting on the more rubbered-in side of the track, and to manage tyre performance as well as possible, given that we can expect very high temperatures. On top of that come the usual parameters - strategy, reliability, team work - that have to operate at their best in order to get a good result. We have to try our hardest to bring home as many points as possible and only at the end of the race will we see if we have done enough or not."
Robert Kubica (4th, 1:21.281): "I am really happy with the result. This was certainly one of my best qualifying sessions so far this season. I was not expecting to start from fourth as the car has been quite difficult to drive over the entire weekend. We struggled a bit with the balance, but in the end I was able to make the harder tyre compound work very well and here we are. I am now looking forward to the race."
Nick Heidfeld (16th, 1:21.045): "I'm totally disappointed. It looked quite good at the end of yesterday's practice and also this morning. But on my last lap in Q1 I had four cars in my way. Most of them at least tried to give me room, but it still cost me time. Towards the end of the lap I had one car in front which was on an out lap. He saw me and accelerated. He then overtook Sebastien Bourdais before the last corner, and then Sebastien was right in my way. I was hoping it was so obvious he would be penalised right away and I could still get into Q2."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a very tight battle at the front with marginal time differences. We expected to see McLaren on the front row. Robert did a very good last lap and secured fourth, which means he will be starting in between the two Ferraris. Certainly Nick's result is disappointing. He complained several times about traffic on his last, and important fast lap and missed getting into Q2. We should be very happy if he scores a point from this grid position."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Robert's performance was faultless, and he got the most out of the car. Starting from fourth is an excellent position. Instead for Nick it didn't go as expected. He reported traffic on his last lap. For him we are facing a very difficult race tomorrow, because overtaking is almost impossible at the Hungaroring."
Fernando Alonso (7th, 1:21.698): "We knew that the qualifying session would be very close and that proved to be the case. The first part was very competitive, but we managed to reach Q3 with both cars, which is positive. But I think the race tomorrow will be difficult, that's for sure. I will try and do my best to be on the pace and hopefully score some points."
Nelson Piquet (10th, 1:22.371): "The session was very competitive and more difficult than I thought it would be. In the end I managed to reach Q3 and I am happy about that. It means we can approach the race sensibly tomorrow and I hope we can make the most of this grid position to score some points."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "As always, the homework done during our free practice sessions has paid off by getting both cars into the final part of qualifying with fuel loads that we believe can help us have a competitive race. As everybody knows, it is really difficult to pass on this track and so after a good qualifying session, pit-stops are now of extreme importance."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Our objective was to reach the top ten, and we achieved that. But the gap with the leaders is significant and as Fernando said at the start of the weekend, we had to fight hard to finish in the top ten because that is the situation we are in at the moment. With these places on the grid we are now preparing for a closely fought race, but we have a sensible strategy. Each lap will count and we must not make any mistakes."
Nico Rosberg (15th, 1:20.748): "We had a difficult start to this weekend, but we've improved throughout the sessions and learnt a lot of things along the way. We therefore weren't looking too bad for qualifying. I made a mistake on my fast lap in Q1 and lost two and a half tenths in one corner, so my Q1 time did not show the true potential of our car. We then had a good chance of making it into Q3, but a hydraulic problem meant I couldn't go out at all in Q2 which was disappointing. It's pretty interesting here tyre-wise as both are very soft on this track, but the harder ones were better for me today."
Kazuki Nakajima (17th, 1:21.085): "It was a difficult qualifying for me. Aside from plenty of traffic, I didn't really manage to find the right balance on my last set of option tyres. Both factors compromised my run. We now need to go through the data and work out what's happening in order to get the most out of the car for tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was always going to be a tight qualifying session for us. Unfortunately, Kazuki didn't progress through from the first session. Nico obviously could have delivered more, but a hydraulic problem kept him in the garage for the whole of Q2. There was no sign of it during the last run in Q1, but it became apparent when we fired up for the second session. We're investigating the cause now and will resolve the problem in time for the race."
Mark Webber (8th, 1:21.732): "That was a pretty good qualifying session, quite straightforward. It would have been nice to have had a bit more pace in Q3, but Q2 and Q1 went well for us. I'm disappointed I'm on the wrong side of the grid, an odd number is always better, but we definitely have a chance to get something from where we are, so we'll see how we go tomorrow."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:20.502): "I was losing a little bit of time in each of the sectors and I couldn't deliver that last little bit of lap time because I was bringing the mid-corner speed too low. It's tough from thirteenth for sure, but the Hungarian race can be unpredictable, so let's see."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A respectable qualifying from Mark in a very tight field. We're close to our nearest rivals in Renault and Toyota, which should make for an interesting race tomorrow. David isn't far off the back of that group, he unfortunately didn't have a good second run in Q2, but we'll be fighting hard tomorrow."
Benteyn Pierre-Emeric, Renault: "Engine wise, we have been completely clear all weekend, which has allowed us to concentrate on the performance, of both the car and the engine. We would have preferred to have seen both cars appearing in Q3, but we are sure David will be strong tomorrow. Mark has a good chance for a good race."
Timo Glock (5th, 1:21.326): "That was a very good qualifying session for me and I'm obviously delighted. We made a good start in first practice yesterday. The team did a good job overnight and we made the right choice over set-up. It wasn't easy today because we had a very tight choice over tyres so we had to make a close decision for every lap. But in the end my engineers stayed cool and got it right. In Q2 the car felt perfect. Then on the very last lap it was a bit trickier again because the tyres didn't behave quite as well, but I'm happy with P5. We are in a great situation for tomorrow. It's good for all of us and after Hockenheim this is the perfect answer for the faith I have in the whole team."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:21.767): "I'm glad to be in the top ten but that was a difficult qualifying session and P9 is disappointing. Since this morning I have struggled for grip and balance and unfortunately we weren't able to find the answers in time. I had the same problems in qualifying so we will have to investigate that tonight. I'm happy for Timo, who has done a good job this weekend and it is clearly important for us to score as many points as possible for the constructors' championship. Overtaking is very difficult here but tomorrow is a very long race and we will see what we can achieve."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "From the pit wall that was a very exciting and pleasing hour of qualifying. We were fighting in the top three for all the sessions, except for the very last lap. We will investigate what happened but compared to the outings before we slightly underperformed. Still, there is no room for disappointment. Timo took his best ever grid position and he was very strong during all the sessions. We'll have to see what the fuel loads are tomorrow but when all the cars were at low fuel he was consistently in the top three. Jarno struggled for balance so we will look into the data tonight. The tyres were a very close call today but we organised our run plan so that we were able to make the right decisions at the right time and it worked out. Now we have a strong position for the race tomorrow with both drivers."
Sebastian Vettel (11th, 1:20.144): "A shame to miss out on Q3 by one hundredth, but we expected it to be tight. We can be happy though, especially given I only managed nine laps yesterday. It means we did a good job today. Now we can do what we like in terms of fuel load for the race and hopefully find a good strategy. I've yet to do a long run this weekend but I think we can find a good compromise between qualifying and race pace and we have a good set-up on the car."
Sebastien Bourdais (14th, 1:20.963): "I struggled with the Option tyre as it gave me no grip and I was sliding around more and had no feel for the car. I was very happy in a well balanced car earlier on but after that I'm not really sure what happened. I am disappointed, because even if Q3 would have been hard to reach, I could not match my Q1 time in Q2."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "I think we recovered well today from not having done enough running with Vettel yesterday. Bourdais did a good job, but did not get his last qualifying run quite right, as unlike his team-mate, he was unable to take advantage of the extra grip from the Options. All in all, I think we exploited the potential of our package and did a good job. For Vettel, the one unknown tomorrow will be driving on a full tank as he has not had the chance to try it."
Jenson Button (12th, 1:20.332): "I'm happy to have qualified in P12 today after a good lap on the final run in Q2 pushed me a few places up the grid. We've definitely made some progress with the new developments to the car and in particular the new rear suspension is working well and this has enabled us to improve the car step by step over the weekend. I got the most out of the car today and it's encouraging to see we were only three-tenths away from the top ten as it has been a while since we were that close. I'm on the dirty side of the grid, which is a disadvantage, but I am sure we can have a good race tomorrow from here nonetheless."
Rubens Barrichello (18th, 1:21.332): "Choosing which tyre to run was a really tough decision today and it was a difficult qualifying session. I felt the super-soft option tyre was working slightly better with the car so I stayed with that for my final run. After a good first sector, I went in too quick for turn 11 and made a mistake which ruined my lap. With that went the chance to progress to Q2 and the time from my previous run puts me in 18th place on the grid. The lap was going quite well but a mistake at turn 11 meant that I had to abort the lap. I have to settle for 18th place today and turn my focus now to the race."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "P12 is where we hoped to be today so we have moved a little closer to the middle order again. The new mechanical developments have brought us improved stability and that has enabled us to achieve a better balance on the car this weekend. Due credit to Jenson as he delivered a particularly good lap when it counted and we have reason to feel optimistic about tomorrow's race. Unfortunately both cars will be starting from the dirty side of the grid, so holding position into the first corner will be key. From there, with a free fuel allowance Jenson is in a good position to target the top ten with a good strategy and strong pitstops. For Rubens it is likely to be a difficult race in the absence of safety cars or other incidents, so we have to stay sharp and be ready to take advantage of whatever opportunities may present themselves."
Giancarlo Fisichella (19th, 1:21.670): "Conditions today were tough but actually that was the maximum we could do. The target was to do a 1min 21.7 or 21.8 and we did a 21.6 so that was the most we could get out of the car. The balance was not too bad, but unfortunately the grip level is still very poor. I think we're not particularly quick round here and we have to accept that, but we are still quite close we are to the others."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:22.113): "It was a hot, tough qualifying and I am not 100% happy with the session. The tyres did not behave as we expected and I had lots of graining, which meant we couldn't get a good balance out of the car. I decided to run the harder set of tyres in the end for my fastest lap, but at least I didn't get the effects of the graining with them. Overall I'm not that happy, but let's see what happens tomorrow."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It would be very easy to say we're on the back row again, but we've been eliminated from Q1 with a BMW, a Honda and a Williams, so clearly this is a very competitive field here yet again. One second from the top 10 shows we're getting closer. Although we have had to revert back to the standard shift box for the weekend, we are very optimistic about running the seamless shift gearbox and look forward to actually racing it in Valencia."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "I think we expected to slip back a bit from our closest rivals due to not running the seamless shift, and that proved to be the case. Giancarlo pretty much got the most out of it he could, but unfortunately Adrian couldn't get a decent lap together so was a way off his optimum time. We know our race pace is better than our qualifying pace and although this makes life difficult at this track, we have to get two cars to the end and do a professional job."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:20.899): "The team has done a fantastic job of continually improving the car over the past few weeks, so I'm really proud of what we've achieved today. It's great to have locked out the front row with Heikki - we've been threatening to do it for a number of races, so to achieve it at a track where it's tricky to pass is really satisfying. There's a great harmony within the team at the moment and we really deserved this. I couldn't ask to be in a better position, we've both got good strategies for tomorrow and we'll be challenging for the win."
Heikki Kovalainen (2nd, 1:21.140): "It was difficult to choose the right tyre for the final session and I felt I could have done a slightly faster lap in Q3, but I was a little cautious in Turn Two. Still, we've found a great direction with the car and I've got a great opportunity to win the race tomorrow. It's fantastic to be starting on the front row alongside Lewis. I hope that starting on. the dirty side of the track won't be a disadvantage and I fully expect us to look out for each other in the first corner tomorrow. This result really repays the team for all its efforts over the past few months."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today's all-Vodafone McLaren Mercedes front row is a fitting tribute to the phenomenal amount of hard work carried out by the whole team in the lead-up to the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix. We brought to Budapest the developments that were originally destined to be incorporated into our Valencia-spec car, and the signs are that it has been an effective move. A qualifying one-two is a rare and pleasing achievement, so I want to say a big 'thank you' to all the people who worked so hard to make it possible - and that includes everyone in Woking (McLaren), in Brixworth (Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines) and of course in Stuttgart (Mercedes-Benz). Now we hope to convert our excellent qualifying performance into an equally solid race result."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A great performance by Lewis, Heikki and our team - a dream and our third pole in a row - one from Heikki, two from Lewis. I hope we will be able to turn our grid positions into a similar result in the race tomorrow."