Final qualifying - selected driver quotes 02 Aug 2003
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber (14th, 1m 17.169s):
"I am quite happy with my qualifying result. In contrast to yesterday I did a good lap without any mistakes. The first sector especially was good, and overall it was a good lap."
Nick Heidfeld, Sauber (15th, 1m 17.557s):
"I am not happy with my lap time. The warm-up went pretty well and things looked promising. I had problems finding a good balance this morning, but after trying scrubbed tyres in practice we were confident that would help for qualifying. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. This afternoon I had really bad understeer again, particularly in the first corner and the first sector in general, which ruined the handling."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (1st, 1m 15.167s):
"Finally I've got my first pole of this season. It's taken me a long time to get it! It's the second time I am on pole on this track, after 2001. The car was working really good today and we've pulled together, got through a lot of hard work and it's paid off. I am also confident that we are going to have a good race tomorrow. In these conditions tomorrow's race will be hard both physically and mentally. It will also test the reliability of all the cars.
Hopefully we can score some good points for both championships."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (2nd, 1m 15.185s):
"I am pleased to be on the front row, especially because I had big understeer in the last two corners, which cost me some time. Thanks to the team who did an excellent job, since the car wasn't that perfect yesterday morning or this morning. Last year I was a bit unlucky on this track and I hope I ca make up for that disappointing race. Tomorrow the tarmac could be as hot as 55°C and in such conditions anything can happen."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (7th, 1m 16.034s):
"It is good to see that we are continuing our good form with another top ten qualifying position. I am very pleased with my lap and everyone has worked well this weekend. I think we have developed a good stability within the team, which is being reflected in these positive results. This morning, we worked very well to develop the car and to find a good balance. Cristiano also did a good job and with both of us in the top ten things are looking good for the race tomorrow."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (9th, 1m 16.550s):
"Despite claiming another top ten grid position, I am really not happy with my qualifying lap today. The car definitely had a much better lap time in it, but I lost around half-a-second at the last corner. I was simply pushing a bit too hard and made a mistake. The car felt good and we improved the handling through free practice and again in the warm-up session, so it is frustrating not to be a bit higher up on the grid tomorrow, although we should be in reasonable shape in the race."
Jarno Trulli, Renault (4th, 1m 15.679s):
"It was a pretty busy day, but the result is a good fourth place in qualifying.
We tested a lot of things during the different sessions, and the car is well balanced. I am pretty confident that our race pace tomorrow will be competitive."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, 1m 16.483):
"I had a clean lap but, in the end, it wasn't particularly quick. I didn't make any mistakes and I was relatively pleased with the car's handling. However, the lap time just wasn't there: we now have to take a long hard look at the data to understand where the problem is."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 15.488s):
"The car is a lot better than yesterday and for that I have to thank the engineers and mechanics for all their hard work overnight and this morning. I was very close to pole, but I was on the limit and could not have done better and I did not want to compromise my race. Most of our improvement came in the third sector. The tyres survived well and I know they can do the same over a long distance. It seems that the race could be almost as hot as Malaysia, but I know what to do to look after my tyres in the race. So, I hope to make a good start, keep up with the Williams and then we will see who can do consistently good lap times. It might not be looking quite as good as Silverstone, but I am still confident for tomorrow. I am aiming for the top step of the podium."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th, 1m 15.898s):
"The handling of my car was not ideal this afternoon, so like yesterday, this was not one of my best qualifying runs. I lost time in the second sector and things just did not work out the way I would have liked. Sixth place is not great for the start, especially with the Williams on the front row. However, from a championship point of view, Raikkonen is alongside me so that is not too bad. However, we know that our car performs well in terms of consistency over a long run, so we will have to wait and see how things develop. As usual, I will try my best."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (5th, 1m 15.874s):
"I thought my lap was OK but not quite good enough for a top three position. During the last couple of corners I got a bit too much understeer and lost a little bit of time, but things are not too bad. We are in front of Michael and you never know what strategy the others are on for the race. The Michelin tyres seem to be working well and I'm on the clean side of the track and have made a few good starts recently so it should be an exciting race tomorrow. It's very hot out of there and they say it will get even hotter tomorrow, but it's not too bad once you are in the car working."
David Coulthard, McLaren (10th, 1m 16.666s):
"Until this morning's second free practice session everything was going according to plan and I felt we were making steady progress. Unfortunately I went off during the second session following a set up change, the effects of which we underestimated and had to qualify in the spare car. I was not as comfortable and seemed to be losing out at the low speed sections of the track. However I have started from the fifth row before and made my way up the field during the race so let's see what happens tomorrow."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (11th, 1m 16.775s):
"A relatively clean lap but I lost time in the penultimate corner that cost me around three to four tenths. I could have been up there with Alonso and Coulthard but that's one lap qualifying for you. There simply isn't any margin for a mistake and when it does happen, the price to be paid is high. We've done a lot of good preparation in the run-up to this session and it is disappointing not to have got the maximum out of it. On the other hand, if you don't push to the limits, you may as well go home. Today, I pushed but slightly over-stepped the fine-line. Nonetheless, we are running an honest race strategy for tomorrow and we'll endeavour to do our absolute best in the search for any points that the front-runners leave behind."
Justin Wilson, Jaguar (16th, 1m 18.021s):
"Like Mark, I just pushed way too hard towards the end of the lap to give my lap time a push. I lost a fair bit of time in the last sector but that's where my inexperience with Jaguar and Michelin comes in. While I am not making any excuses, the fact is that I have never driven the car in anger until this weekend and consequently my knowledge of the Michelin tyre performance is limited given that I have come from a Bridgestone team in Minardi. Understanding what the car and tyres are capable of will take a bit of time but in the meantime, I am very pleased with the way things are going at Jaguar. The car is great to drive and I am certainly looking forward to going racing with it tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan (12th, 1m 16.831s):
"The car today was better than yesterday and I did a very good lap, I honestly did my best. I'm pleased compared to yesterday and I hope to score points tomorrow - it will be very difficult but we're going to do our best."
Ralph Firman, Jordan (18th, 1m 18.341s):
"Today was very disappointing. I had a good day yesterday but I couldn't capitalise on it, and ended up with a lot of oversteer in qualifying, although the car had understeer in warm-up. Let's see how we go in the race."
Jacques Villeneuve, BAR (13th, 1m 17.090s):
"The car is lively and the balance is not bad so I could push hard today. The hardest thing was to get temperature into the tyres for one lap because they take around five or six laps to really start working. I lost some time in the last two corners when I picked up a bit of understeer and the tyres grained a little. We had the choice of a tyre that was better on one lap for qualifying but which we couldn't race well, or a tyre that would get better with the race. We chose the latter and I think we'll see the benefit of that tomorrow."
Jenson Button, BAR (17th, 1m 18.085s):
"It was a pretty terrible qualifying and very disappointing because the car is strong here. I had too much oversteer throughout the lap and the car was just skating around at the back. Then in the second to last corner I made a big mistake when I got a lot of oversteer and ended up running off the circuit. It's strange because we haven't made any changes from warm-up, when the car was quick and we still had more to come. I think that the track temperature increasing by six degrees probably had a big influence as that can really unsettle the handling. We should have been inside the top 10 today so this has compromised us for sure, but I'm confident that we'll be better in the race. I had a good race at Silverstone against all the odds so I'll have to pull another one out of the bag here tomorrow now!"
Jos Verstappen, Minardi (19th, 1m 19.023s):
"I chose the harder compound tyre on offer because this morning we tried both compounds and the softer tyre ended up developing blisters. As a result of going with the harder tyre, we suffered a slight penalty in terms of our qualifying lap time, but we still managed to go as fast as on the hard tyres this afternoon as we did on the softer ones this morning. The car was reasonably well balanced for the qualifying run, and although the grip was good in the first sector of the lap, we were definitely losing grip over the remaining sectors. If we have heat like this tomorrow, then I think the race will be very interesting, bearing in mind the number of spins and incidents we had today. The main thing will be to bring the cars home."
Nicolas Kiesa, Minardi (20th, 1m 19.174s):
"At the corner just coming into the Mercedes stadium, I was slightly early on the brakes, and that's where I lost most of my time on the qualifying lap. The car was definitely better than me today - I'm just not experienced enough yet with F1 performance to get to the limit of the car in qualifying. On the one hand, I was very conscious that I needed to set a time after yesterday's qualifying problem, and on the other, I wanted to get as near to Jos's time as I could. In the end, I was nearer than I thought I might have been."