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Friday qualifying - selected driver quotes 26 Sep 2003

Jarno Trulli, Renault (1st, 1m 09.566s):
"Of course, I am extremely happy with this result. Everybody did a very good job this morning, and this result is based on that good work during testing and practice. I was happy with the handling of the car straight away this morning, and we seem to be very fast. Looking ahead, I am very confident for the rest of the weekend."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (7th, 1m 10.556s):
"No dramas for me on the timed lap. I have been suffering from understeer all day, and that improved slightly on low fuel for this afternoon's qualifying session. Overall, I think we did a good job this morning and Jarno has shown that the car is competitive here. We still have some work to do on set-up, but with the information we gained this morning, I think we will be strong for tomorrow and Sunday."

Nick Heidfeld, Sauber (15th, 1m 17.768s):
"I think it's quite impossible to have more bad luck! It started to rain just before I left the pits and so I was the first driver on the wet track after the break. Usually we are quick in the rain, but not under these conditions."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber (13th, 1m 13.541s):
"By the second and third sector of my lap the rain had set in and the track was soaked. I was on dry tyres, which therefore weren't ideal for these conditions. Obviously I wasn't able to attack. However, I can say that the car felt better than it did this morning, when we had some problems with the balance."

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (4th, 1m 10.222s):
"I am reasonably happy with what we have achieved today and I feel reasonably well too. My lap wasn't very good. I braked too late into turn one due to some understeer. It's a shame we couldn't find the optimum balance this morning, but we had very little running in dry conditions. However, it's still very encouraging for tomorrow. I believe we have the strongest package, no doubt about it and it's going to be a very tough race for Ferrari if they want to win."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (5th, 1m 10.372s):
"It was a bit of a gamble to know if the set-up of the car was ok for qualifying, since this morning I didn't get much running in the dry. I lost a bit of time in a couple of corners because I braked too early. However, I hope it will be dry tomorrow and on Sunday notwithstanding the fact that Michelin has brought here some very competitive wet tyres. I am very pleased with my car, I think we've got a very good package for this weekend, I wasn't the quickest today but I am in front of my main rivals and this is the most important thing."

Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (11th, 1m 11.949s):
"It's great to be racing here at the Speedway this weekend, although the weather could be better. We performed quite well in this morning's practice and the car seems to handle pretty well at this track. I am not too concerned with the outcome of this afternoon's qualifying session because we were unlucky with the rain on our run, so we cannot really read anything into the times. In the wet-dry conditions this morning, I wasn't able to learn the track completely, so I hope we can get some good running in the dry tomorrow."

Olivier Panis, Toyota (14th, 1m 17.666s):
"We were not at all lucky with the weather conditions in qualifying today. It started to rain heavily on my run and I did the best I could in the circumstances. I was very happy with our performance in free practice this morning. We showed that we have a good car for this track and we were quite competitive, setting the third fastest time. I am still confident for the rest of the weekend - all we need is a bit of luck with the weather!"

David Coulthard, McLaren (6th, 1m 10.450s):
"We only managed to do one proper run on dry tyres in this morning's practice before it started to rain, so qualifying was a bit of a journey into the unknown. It was spitting with rain as I was starting my lap, which always makes you a bit apprehensive. I went a bit sideways in the last corner before the start, so there is still room for improvement. However, under the circumstances I think it was a reasonable result and I look forward to tomorrow."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (9th, 1m 10.756s):
"I'm not too worried about today's result as the car felt good despite us only having limited running in the morning due to the rain. In addition I didn't do a very good lap and had a moment early on, so I'm sure we will do better tomorrow."

Nicolas Kiesa, Minardi (19th, 1m 21.973s):
"It was difficult to decide on the best strategy for qualifying. It was the first time I had driven an F1 car in full wet conditions and I didn't know what to expect. I wanted to set the best possible time, but I didn't want to push so hard as to risk going off, as I needed the experience of the full lap. In addition, with Jos not able to complete his qualifying run, I didn't have any sort of benchmark to work with. In the end, I didn't push hard enough, but I also know where significant improvements can be made. I also know the oval section of the track can be taken flat, even in the wet. By the end of this morning, we had a really good car for the dry conditions and I felt we had a realistic chance of challenging one or two of our nearest rivals in qualifying. Still, we've now got a good wet set-up as well, which we may be able to improve further tomorrow."

Jos Verstappen, Minardi (20th, no time):
"Initially the car didn't feel particularly good this morning, and as a result, we changed a lot, which lost us time. A spring change improved the situation, but on what should have been my fastest run in the two-hour test session, the car stopped with a fuel pick-up problem. We changed the brakes for the one-hour practice session, as they had been locking quite badly, and I was reasonably happy with the balance of the car in the wet conditions. Unfortunately, the engine wouldn't pick up in qualifying, and I failed to set a time, which is pretty disappointing. We'll just hope for a better day tomorrow."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan (12th, 1m 12.227s):
"I didn't get enough laps in the morning, because I had a problem with the gearbox oil tank in testing and an engine blow-up during free practice. As I lost most of today's track time there wasn't enough time to do all the work we wanted on set-up. Considering that, qualifying was okay, the last part of the circuit was a bit damp when I went out. I hope we have these wet conditions again on Sunday."

Ralph Firman, Jordan (17th, 1m 19.383s):
"It's great to be driving the car again and I'm feeling fine. I was a bit unlucky with the timing of the rain in the qualifying session but hopefully it will do the same tomorrow! I think perhaps the deep grooved tyres weren't the best choice and the intermediates would probably have been quicker. It was good experience for tomorrow."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 09.835s):
"Overall, I am happy with this result. The car went well and I was lucky to be out on track when the conditions had improved. Theoretically, second place gives me a very good start position for tomorrow afternoon's qualifying, but the unpredictable weather could change everything. We still have some work to do on the car set-up in the dry, given that we only managed two runs in the dry before the rain arrived this morning."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (8th, 1m 10.736s)::
"Once again, the early runners in qualifying were slightly disadvantaged, especially after the rain which fell in the morning, which meant the track wasa bit dirty and lacked grip. This goes some way to explaining my time and position. However,if you look at the times set by Rubens and Ralf, it is clear that the situation is very close between us and our main rivals. As we expected, we look competitive. This morning in the dry, I was quite happy with the performance of the car, even though the rain meant wecannot draw too many conclusions about set-up. Hopefully, we can all run in the same track conditions tomorrow and have a good fight for the front row."

Mark Webber, Jaguar (3rd, 1m 10.081s):
"I'll take that! Given that our low fuel runs this morning were compromised by the rain, qualifying was the first real stab in dry conditions and it was a little difficult to judge the braking point at turn one. The car however felt very good and while it was a little greasy in places, the overall lap was clean, tidy and very pleasing in the end. We have been consistently quick over one lap this season but the bigger picture for us is Sunday and that's what we are really concentrating on. The race set-up is critical and we will work hard to prepare ourselves for what will be a hard race. We didn't have the best weekend here last year and the progress Jaguar has made in twelve months has been nothing short of impressive, albeit we still have a good climb ahead of us before we are truly satisfied. A good start to what will no doubt be a long weekend and hopefully, a productive one for all concerned."

Justin Wilson, Jaguar (18th, 1m 19.491s):
"At some point my luck has to change but obviously not today. Mark set a brilliant time on his qualifying lap and while I had a few niggles to contend with this morning, my overall feeling going into qualifying was good, albeit until the rain gods arrived. The team took the correct decision to switch to full wet tyres but there was little I could do out there today apart from setting a clean lap. The car felt quite good but in those conditions, it was impossible to make an impression on the pace. Tomorrow's qualifying session will dictate the order for Sunday and all I can do is hope for a fair crack at the whip unlike today."

Jenson Button, BAR (10th, 1m 11.847s):
"Not a great first qualifying for me. I didn't really make any mistakes and the car balance is good, but there was very little grip and we just seemed to be slow today. We worked through our tyre options this morning but I think we made the wrong choice for qualifying. There's definitely room for improvement during the rest of the weekend but it looks likely that the weather is going to play a big part."

Jacques Villeneuve, BAR (16th, 1m 18.547s):
"For the second time this year I went out just as the rain started to fall and in those conditions there's nothing you can do. You still drive as hard as you can but you know you're going to be slow and way down the timesheet. The car is quite good in the wet and we did some laps in the rain this morning, but there's no way you can get close to the times set by those who were running on a dry track. Wet weather makes qualifying a bit of a lottery and if it continues tomorrow then it only takes a few seconds to make the difference between a good or bad grid position. If it's wet for everyone then I think we have reason to be optimistic."