Saturday qualifying - selected driver quotes 23 Aug 2003
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 21.668s):
"It is a great feeling to get my second pole position. Our car has been competitive since the start of the weekend, and I don't see any reason why that should change tomorrow. I had some problems yesterday, but the mechanics worked hard to sort things out: I want to thank them, as well as my engineers. As for the flying lap, I didn't have any problems, but I was driving right on the limit towards the end of the lap. I think we are on the right strategy for tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the race!"
Jarno Trulli, Renault (6th, 1m 22.610s):
"Sixth position is disappointing after yesterday's result. I made some mistakes on the flying lap, which must have cost me three or four tenths, and the car also lacked grip. Nevertheless, sixth isn't a bad grid slot, and I think I can fight for a podium tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (2nd, 1m 21.944s):
"Being on the front row is obviously nice. It is obviously a big relief that my
10 places on the grid penalty was cancelled and I can actually start from the place I fought for. However, I am starting from the dirty side of the track, which is not the best place to be. I was very quick in the first sector but lost quite a bit of time in sector two and three and the reason for this we need to investigate later, when we will have a look at the data. During qualifying my car felt ok, thanks to the team who could set it up at the best. I believe we have a good race strategy and also the hot weather conditions forecast for tomorrow should be helping us."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (4th, 1m 22.180s):
"The car felt really good during today's qualifying. I could have gone quicker than I actually did but after being very fast in sector one I took the conservative way and really paced myself because I wanted to make sure to get a good lap in. I am fighting for the Championship especially with Michael, of course, and the most important thing is starting ahead of him, tomorrow. I think we've got a really good race car and it's going to be an interesting race."
Nick Heidfeld, Sauber (11th, 1m 23.621s):
"I'm quite happy with my lap time even though I made a bit of a mistake in the second corner. In general, this result confirms the improvements we have made recently to the C22. This morning we did some long runs and improved there, too, so I'm optimistic for the race tomorrow."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber (17th, 1m 24.569s):
"The car was oversteering quite a bit which made the handling difficult. I think to do better was not possible. My mistake in the second corner didn't actually cost me that much time, but we need to look at the data analysis before we can understand why I lost time in the second sector."
Ralph Firman, Jordan (did not participate in qualifying following practice accident):
"I was going fine, had done a couple of laps and all I remember is suddenly I could tell something had happened - the car sped up and felt different but I didn't know why and then almost instantly I was spearing off the track. I can't really remember anything between that and then being in the ambulance but more of it is starting to come back to me. I feel absolutely great in the circumstances and I'm just disappointed for the team and for myself that I'm missing this race, I was really enjoying the weekend. I'm keen to get back out there and see everybody tomorrow and concentrate on being fit for the Monza test. I have to thank the FIA and the team for their hard work on safety and also the circuit and hospital medical teams for looking after me so well."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan (13th, 1m 23.726s):
"It's been quite a good qualifying for us, with maybe the quickest lap of the weekend for me. We did a very good job, the lap was clean and the car balance was good. We did our best."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Jordan (19th, 1m 26.678s):
"It went quite well, I was quicker than Kiesa, although I was imagining to be in front of both Minardis, I'm not that far off Verstappen. I'm happy that I didn't make any mistakes on the track and this is a great opportunity for me. I'm upset about what happened to Ralph and pleased he's okay. I'm excited about the race tomorrow and want to finish without any mistakes. I'm the first Hungarian driver to race in Formula One and that's a big aim for my country because we've had a Grand Prix for eighteen years. Everyone's dream will come true now but I didn't think it would happen this soon, and at our home Grand Prix!"
Olivier Panis, Toyota (10th, 1m 23.369s):
"I am really pleased with my lap. It was quite a strong run and I don't think we could get any more from the car. I made no mistakes and pushed to the limit, so now we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. Top ten on the grid was the aim and we have achieved that today, so from there we are looking to score more points in the race - this is the what we need to achieve in the remaining races of the season."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (15th, 1m 23.982s):
"Obviously that wasn't my best qualifying lap, but I decided to take a conservative approach after spinning a couple of times during the weekend. I have had some handling problems today with oversteer in my car and generally the grip levels have not been as good today as they were yesterday, which has affected the overall performance. From 15th on the grid, it's going to be a tough race, but nevertheless I'm going to push for points."
David Coulthard, McLaren (9th, 1m 23.060s):
"I had a small problem with the clutch when we were ready to leave the garage as it wouldn't clear. However, the guys found a quick solution and ultimately we got out on time. We know from previous experience that our race pace should be good and I believe we have chosen the right strategy.
In addition I'm on the clean side of the track which could be crucial at the start."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (7th, 1m 22.742s):
"Not too bad. I made a little mistake in the last sector at corner 12, which cost me some time. We improved the balance of the car from the warm up, and it feels good. I might have an advantage at the start tomorrow compared to Michael as I'm on the clean side of the track, and I'm also not too far away from Montoya. We will see what happens in the race, and at this circuit the first corner is especially crucial."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (5th, 1m 22.180s):
"It was a rather difficult qualifying session and it was surprising to see Alonso and Webber so quick. I am happy with my own lap, as it was the best I could do, especially as I had a bit of understeer at the end of the lap. I am quite hopeful that our tyre choice will be good for the race tomorrow. Given how dirty the track is here off the racing line, I think that fifth place might actually be better than fourth for the start. The changes to the track do seem to make overtaking a bit more of a possibility than in the past. A lot will depend on everyone's race pace and the different strategy choices. I am still in a positive frame of mind."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (8th, 1m 22.755s):
"Obviously, I am a bit disappointed, because this morning and in the warm-up, I seemed to be on the same pace as the others and the car felt good. Now we have to try and understand why our qualifying time did not match our expectations. The outcome of the race will now depend on strategy, which is always the key factor at this circuit and the Scuderia has usually done a good job on this front. Anything can happen tomorrow afternoon, so now all we can do is look ahead."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (3rd, 1m 22.027s):
"I am very happy with that. It was a really nice lap and one that I enjoyed immensely. The track was getting a little quicker towards the end but nonetheless, that was a very clean lap. I knew going into the first corner that the lap had potential. The car felt very good under braking and as I went through turn two, I looked at my read-out on the steering wheel and saw that I was up on my quickest time from this morning. The team did an excellent job on the car and starting from 3rd on the grid is very important for us indeed given how closely fought the chase for the last few places in the championship is. The added bonus is that I am starting the race on the clean line and maintaining position into the first corner is the challenge. It will not be easy and nor will the race itself. The grid is certainly mixed-up with the championship fighters behind us and let's hope for a good race tomorrow which rewards us with some much-needed championship points."
Justin Wilson, Jaguar (12th, 1m 23.660s):
"My lap was an improvement on this morning and I am happy although it could have been better. There was more time in the car and I just needed more time to extract that. There is an awful lot to learn in what has been a short space of time with Jaguar but I am happy with progress to date. I am starting from the 6th row tomorrow and unlike Hockenheim, I want to avoid any dramas at the first corner and make it through to the end of the race. My mileage with the Jaguar is still very low and getting through a race distance tomorrow will be very valuable for the team and me. Anything above that will be a bonus."
Jos Verstappen, Minardi (18th, 1m 26.423s):
"It was a good lap and I have to say I don't really know what we could do to go any quicker. We have to be happy with today's result, bearing in mind the resources we have available to us. I think our strategy is the right one and we'll do the best we can tomorrow. It will be a tough race for everyone, I think."
Nicolas Kiesa, Minardi (20th, 1m 28.907s):
"We've simply run into a set-up problem with the chassis, which has resulted in a lot of understeer along with rear instability, and unfortunately, I don't have the information or the experience of Formula One yet to be able to assist in fully resolving it. We need to understand the problem in order to find the best solution. I'm obviously disappointed with this performance, but I'll just try to do my best in the race tomorrow with the main aim being to get to the chequered flag again."
Jenson Button, BAR (14th, 1m 23.847s):
"My lap was a little too messy I'm afraid so I'm not too happy. We made some set-up changes since warm-up but realistically I think I was pushing a little too hard and made a few mistakes. At the exit of the first corner I tried to get on the power as soon as I could but it just caused oversteer. In a few other places also I just wasn't as smooth as I could have been. I'm comfortable with our strategy for tomorrow but we really didn't want to be this far back on the grid. We have to just hope that the car can conserve the tyres so they don't go off as quickly. It's a very difficult circuit to drive anyway but it's very dusty and the car is bouncing around all over the place. With fuel on board and the intense heat, tomorrow is going to be very demanding physically. We've demonstrated that we are quite good at fighting when we lose out on grid placings, but we have to take a hard look at what we can do to fight for something more tomorrow."
Jacques Villeneuve, BAR (16th, 1m 24.100s):
"The car was much better today and the first two sectors of my lap were good, but we didn't manage to keep the front tyres working until the end of the lap so the last sector was really poor. For the last four corners there was no front grip and that's where we lost all the time. It should be better for us in the race; the tyres will take five laps or so to clean up and start working but after that the car should be quick. It's still going to be a tough race though."