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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 10 Oct 2004

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams BMW FW26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, 10 October 2004 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Sauber fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, 10 October 2004 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, 10 October 2004 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Jordan Ford EJ14.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, 10 October 2004

The drivers on what proved to be a very interesting morning’s qualifying at Suzuka ahead of this afternoon’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 33.542s):

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (2nd, 1m 34.032s):
“Under these unpredictable conditions, with the track quickly changing, it was no easy qualifying. I took advantage of my poor race result in China and the consequent late starting position in pre-qualifying today, and managed to run on a dry and improving track during both the qualifying sessions. I am very happy with this result also because I know we have a good race car and strong chances to collect some valuable points.”

Mark Webber, Jaguar (3rd, 1m 34.571s):
"It's been a good start to the day for us here in Suzuka. We would have liked to have had more time to prepare the cars for today but as it has turned out I am really pleased to be in 3rd position for the start of the race. My first qualifying session made it possible for me to go out much later in the second session, which has helped us. The boys have done a great job preparing the car given the little amount of track time we have had and our third position is a good morale booster. I am really looking forward to the race and although it is a long race I will be doing everything I can to finish in a points scoring position.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (4th, 1m 34.897s):
"The conditions were very tricky but I'm pleased with my lap under the circumstances. The track has continued to get drier and faster with each car running, so I think the conditions will be good for the start of the race. The cancellation of yesterday's running was disappointing for the fans here, so I very much hope we can make up for that with a strong race this afternoon."

Jenson Button, BAR (5th, 1m 35.157s):
"It wasn't a bad lap considering the difficult conditions. Much of the circuit is dry but there are some parts that are still very wet and it is very difficult to see them. It's not just a slight loss of grip either; it's big oversteer as I demonstrated in the chicane on my timed lap. I'm happy to be a second ahead of the McLarens though and of course both Taku and myself are ahead of both Renaults which is a good place to start fighting to retain second position in the Constructors' Championship."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th, 1m 35.213s):
"Sixth place on my Toyota race debut is quite a satisfying result. It has been a tough weekend with the wet weather on Friday, then the typhoon warning on Saturday and now a drying track for qualifying. We had a bit of luck in pre-qualifying when I set the fastest time, but I expected a slightly better result in the second session. However, sixth place on the grid is not too bad, especially as I think we might struggle a bit in the race."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (7th, 1m 36.136s):

David Coulthard, McLaren (8th, 1m 36.156s):

Jacques Villeneuve, Renault (9th, 1m 36.274s):

Olivier Panis, Toyota (10th, 1m 36.420s):
"The track conditions were quite difficult after all the rain that we have had this weekend. We were lucky to go out late in both qualifying sessions because the track was always drying out, so we benefited from improving conditions. This Japanese GP is important for Toyota as our home grand prix and we have a lot of support from the many fans in the grandstands, so to have both cars in the top ten is very good."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (11th, 1m 36.663s):

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (12th, 1m 36.820s):

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (13th, 1m 37.653s):
“I had a quite bad pre-qualifying, mainly due to the fact that the pressure of my tyres wasn't ideal. I therefore had to take some risks in final qualifying and we decided to go out on dry tyres. This choice paid off, because I could slightly improve my position from first qualifying. We have a good race car and I am confident we can collect some points.”

Christian Klien, Jaguar (14th, 1m 38.258s):
"Before today's qualifying I had only managed to complete nine fast laps and those were in extreme wet conditions. I knew the guys were going to prepare the car as best they could so it was up to me to give it my best shot in qualifying. The track was drying up this morning and this has made conditions easier to drive in. My first qualifying was ok but I am pleased with my second session when I finished fourteenth. The circuit is not easy to drive and I think that this afternoon is going to be challenging."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (15th, 1m 38.637s):

Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (16th, 1m 41.953s):

Timo Glock, Jordan (17th, 1m 43.533s):

Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (18th, 1m 48.069s):
"It has been a difficult morning, as we were out first for our qualifying run. With the track still wet but drying quickly, it was a difficult choice on tyres, but in the end, we went with shallow wets. Unfortunately, the drivers whose runs came next were able to use slicks, which gave them a big advantage. Anyway, now we will just have to see what happens in the race."

Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (no time):
"It's a shame that I had a problem in the pre-qualifying run because my first sector time was not too bad. The track conditions were tricky, as the surface was drying, but still quite wet in places. The car had some oversteer in it and when the back end slid in that corner, I was just a little too late catching it. We've been a bit unlucky this weekend. This is a very challenging circuit, I have not run here before, and the track conditions have been particularly tricky. I just hope we can have a good race this afternoon."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (no time):