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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 23 Oct 2004

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 October 2004 (L to R): Helen Temple (GBR) Jordan Press Officer talks with Nick Heidfeld (GER) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 October 2004 Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 October 2004 Mark Webber (AUS) Jaguar.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 October 2004

The drivers give their verdict on a thrilling qualifying session that, fittingly, saw South-Americans clinch three of the top four grid positions for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (1st, 1m 10.646s):
“It was a great feeling out there today. I have lived here for around 20 years and as I was going out on the track it felt like it did in my karting days. I just went out to try my best and when I saw that I was on pole when I crossed the line, I felt my legs go numb, because it had been very high pressure. I think the crowd would have left their seats and chased me into the garage if I had made a mistake! It was great seeing their reaction on my slowing down lap. I start from the same place as last year, I have a very good car for the race and I am feeling very serene. To be honest, the pressure has gone already. Tonight I will go home and play with my son and sleep in my own bed and it will just seem like a normal day. Last year, I was very much prepared to win and I am equally prepared to win tomorrow. This result means the first big battle of the weekend is won, but tomorrow comes a bigger battle. It will be a long race, physically quite hard and a long battle. One mystery will be the weather. It was a shame for Michael, who had a big impact this morning and had to adapt to the spare car with no other running before qualifying. But I think he can also have a good race tomorrow.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (2nd, 1m 10.850s):
“It’s very nice to be on the front row here, because Interlagos is the place where I nearly won my first F1 race in 2001. Still I am very happy with this result because I think I was not able to beat Rubens anyway. I lost most of the time on my lap in the first sector where you can gain or lose it all and unluckily I did not get it right. I am pleased to give this good result to my team, since it is my last race with them and this is my way to say thank you to WilliamsF1 and BMW for all their hard work. I will do my best tomorrow to give possibly even more. The start will be interesting and we’ve definitely got a good race car. Hopefully we get it right tomorrow and achieve a happy end to what has been a difficult season for us.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd, 1m 10.892s):
“I have been happy with the car from the very beginning of my Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. The times are so close and I actually think we could have been on pole position. It was a good qualifying lap, but the rear was a bit loose at turns one and nine, so I might have lost a little bit of time. As always it’s difficult to predict what will happen in the race, but I think we are in with a strong chance of ending the season on a high.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (4th, 1m 10.922s):
“I think that was a pretty good lap! But you know, all day I had the confidence to be flat in Turn 11, and then in qualifying the car had a big snap oversteer there and I lost a tenth of a second or so and maybe even a front row position. But so soon after China it is great to repeat that grid result and I am sure I can do a very good race tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Jenson Button, BAR (5th, 1m 11.092s):
"Considering the lap, P5 isn't too bad, as I expected to be further back than that. In the final session I made a mistake in the second sector though when I got a bit of oversteer through turn five, which cost me quite a bit of time. Nevertheless, I think we can expect a strong race tomorrow and we'll all be doing our best to end the season on a high note and secure that all-important championship position we've worked so hard for this season."

Takuma Sato, BAR (6th, 1m 11.120s):
"The car was a bit twitchy into turns one and two and I was losing grip. I possibly needed a harder outlap to achieve the right temperature for the grip required at the start of the lap, but the rest of the run was quite strong so I am reasonably happy. 6th place isn't the best result but here we have good overtaking opportunities and I hope our strategy is strong. It will be a tough race but I am very much looking forward to it."

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (7th, 1m 11.131s):
“Seventh is not too bad a place to start the race from because I will start from the clean side of the track. I know we have a good race car and a good strategy which makes me confident to be in a position to collect some valuable points for the team tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (8th, 1m 11.386s):
“As usual, Ferrari came here to win the race and it is good that Rubens did such a fantastic job in getting his car together and putting together a wonderful lap. He is in the perfect position now. As for my accident in the morning, the car picked up some oversteer and I lost control. Sure the track was bumpy, but then it’s been bumpy all weekend, so I am not making excuses. I am a bit disappointed with my qualifying lap that was a bit too slow. Even starting so far back, I will keep trying to have a good race.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (9th, 1m 11.454s):
"I am confident we can be more competitive tomorrow than we seemed this afternoon. The car was understeering a bit too much in the slow corners during qualifying but the overall balance was still quite good in spite of this. We will need to wait for the race to see what strategies our competitors have but I think things will be better for us. The R24 was setting constant and competitive times on the long practice runs we did yesterday and today."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (10th, 1m 11.483s):
"I am extremely happy with our performance in qualifying. It was a very good lap and the car was well balanced. I believe that I pushed the car to the absolute limit which makes me particularly satisfied. I am also quite confident for the race because we have been consistent over the long runs in the practice sessions. We have to wait and see what weather conditions we will have in tomorrow's race because slightly hotter temperatures could affect us. That aside, we should be encouraged by this result, especially considering the greatly reduced gap we have to the front running teams."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (11th, 1m 11.571s):
“It was not too bad for me, to qualify just outside the top 10. Yesterday the car was quick in race trim, and though today it was a little strange in places with some understeer, I am confident that I have the right strategy and can achieve a good result in my last race for a great team.”

Mark Webber, Jaguar (12th, 1m 11.665s):
“This morning’s practice was slightly shorter than we would have liked but stray dogs on the track is out of our control and everyone was affected. We made the most of the second session and I was relatively comfortable with the car’s set-up going into qualifying. My first qualifying was not ideal as I felt that there was more to be extracted from the car and it needed a bit of fine-tuning. My second session was better and I was pleased with the balance and pace of the car during the lap. I would perhaps have liked to have extracted a bit more from the last corner but it is easy to make a mistake there and lose much time so I did what I could and am overall pleased with my final positioning for tomorrow. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow here at Sao Paolo as it is usually a race packed with action and given that it is the last race of the season it is guaranteed to throw some surprises. Let’s see what we can do to finish in the points and reward everyone involved with Jaguar Racing for all their hard work this year.”

David Coulthard, McLaren (13th, 1m 11.750s):
“Obviously not the result I had hoped for in my last qualifying session for the team. I had a short moment at turn three and experienced some oversteer in the middle sector, which cost me precious time. A few people got caught out by the changing track conditions today including me. However, I know that my car has got the pace and I am looking forward to a strong race, I always go well here.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Renault (14th, 1m 11.836s):
"I had a bad lap - it was as simple as that. The car was handling better this morning but then started understeering on the qualifying lap and I couldn't hook things up as I would have liked. Tomorrow's race will be demanding but I am still hoping for a points finish."

Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (15th, 1m 11.974s):
"I was happy with the balance of the car in the morning practice, but we had to make some changes to the car to avoid wearing the floor too much. Unfortunately, the car became very understeery and although we tried to solve the problem, it was too late for the second qualifying session. On my lap, I had a lot of understeer, particularly in the slower corners, where I couldn't improve my lap time. I am disappointed because I had hoped to do a good job in front of all the Brazilian people, but the weekend is far from over. We have to remain positive for the race and try to score points."

Christian Klien, Jaguar (16th, 1m 12.211s):
“This is not an easy circuit to master and one that punishes you for the slightest error. I have been working hard with my engineers to find a good balance for the car and I managed this ahead of qualifying and was looking forward to this afternoon. My first session was ok but I needed to extract more from the car but the grip was quite low in the afternoon and this was affecting me. I did what I could to secure a good position on the grid and given our strategy going into tomorrow I am pleased with my final position of fifteenth. I have had a fantastic year with the team and I am will be doing what I can tomorrow to enjoy the race and give both the fans and the team something to cheer about.”

Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (17th, 1m 12.829s):
“I’m quite satisfied with my lap and it is good fun to drive here at Interlagos again. I lost some grip on the tyres towards the end of the lap but that’s normal, it can happen. The new tarmac here has some good grip which is positive but it’s still too bumpy really. Hopefully we will be lucky and have a good race.”

Timo Glock, Jordan (18th, 1m 13.502s):
“It has been a bit better than yesterday. We found more from the car in time for pre-qualifying, although I made a mistake in last sector. In qualifying I had a good lap without mistakes. I’m on a slightly different strategy to Nick and I think the distance between our times represents that. We had problems yesterday but we’ve found a better way for the setup now. I’m looking forward to the race and hope it’s wet because that’s would be the best position for us in terms of chances for points.”

Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (19th, 1m 13.550s):
"Generally, it has been a good day. I was quite competitive compared with my team mate all morning and I was very happy in qualifying that I could be that close to the Jordan with just half-a-tenth of a second between us. I really like the track, which may be why I have performed well here all weekend, and now I hope to have a good race here tomorrow to finish the weekend. I particularly want to thank the team for all their effort. We tried a lot of things on the car and they worked really hard to make all the changes. They pushed really hard, so I did as well, and now I will try to reward them with a good race tomorrow."

Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (20th, no time):
"I had a good run in the pre-qualifying session and set the fastest-ever lap for a Minardi around Interlagos. On the 'in' lap, however, I experienced a problem with the car and, as a result, decided not to take part in the qualifying session. Even so, I'm sure tomorrow is going to be a good race and I will try to get the best result I can in the final event of the year."