Qualifying - selected driver quotes 20 Mar 2004
All 20 Formula One drivers explain what went right and what went wrong for them in Saturday's two-part qualifying session for the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 33.074s):
"I have to say it was a mind-blowing lap, really perfect and spot-on. We were not quite there on Friday, but the whole team worked very well to get the programme back on track. The main reason I picked up so much time between the two runs was that the track improved a lot with much more grip. I tried to be careful in the final sector where it is easy to make mistakes in the last two corners. Tomorrow, the car will not be affected much by the heat, but with the high temperatures the tyre grip goes down. Inside the cockpit, it will be very hard work for us tomorrow and even though we expect that here, it seems to get harder every year as the cars get quicker."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (2nd, 1m 33.715s):
We are all very happy here at Jaguar Racing today after I managed to secure 2nd on the grid for tomorrow. The car has been good all weekend and my engineers and mechanics have done an amazing job in preparing the R5 for this circuit. We did not expect second today but I am more than pleased with the outcome. We have all been working so hard on the R5 and to start to see some of the results of this work pay off is fantastic motivation for the team. I know that we will all be giving it our best shot tomorrow and I will be fighting for points every step of the way. The circuit here is not easy by any standard but the car is competitive and the balance and set-up has been fine-tuned. Its going to be a tough afternoon for all of us out there but I am so excited that I cant wait. Michelin has done a great job on the tyres that they brought and to say they are working well on the car would be an understatement. Again, Cosworth are with us every step of the way, so roll on the race.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 33.756s):
"I am not worried about the time difference to Michael. Firstly, I made a small mistake in the last corner and then I made some different choices to my team mate. So, although I was not entirely happy with my car in terms of qualifying, I have concentrated very hard on the race and am very happy with my set-up for tomorrow, when I hope everything will come my way. In this heat, it will be a very difficult race."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (4th, 1m 34.054s):
The time I achieved in the second qualifying is a bit more representative of where we truly stand, even if I made a small mistake in the last sector. I felt I had more rhythm, anyway. However, we have shown so far this weekend that our potential has definitely improved from Australia but the question is how our competitors are going to behave tomorrow. Race wise I believe we are looking fine, we have done good long runs and the car seems to be very consistent.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (5th, 1m 34.164s):
"My qualifying was reasonably OK. We have improved the car continuously during the weekend, which could be seen especially in the last sector. I'm also happy about the Michelin tyres, and expect us to be consistently quick in tomorrow's race. The race will be hot and I think tyre wear will be a crucial factor for the outcome."
Jenson Button, BAR (6th, 1m 34.221s):
"I'm a bit disappointed with 6th to be honest. I had two really good first sectors, especially the second sector - the high-speed part. Then I lost quite a bit of time in the final sector because I had too much oversteer, and two tenths overall on my best time this morning. We've struggled to find the right set-up here and we're not there yet, so it's going to be a case of wait-and-see for the race. I'm feeling reasonably positive though and we have a good chance of a points-finish tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (7th, 1m 34.235s):
Certainly we were hoping to be more on the front here, even if we have definitely improved from the first qualifying session. We drove our first session in a more conservative way than other people and could then improve our time in the second. All in all my qualifying lap wasn't too bad, but I lost some time in the third sector, due to a small mistake. That aside I think we will have a good race, even if
Ferrari is going to be strong again.
Jarno Trulli, Renault (8th, 1m 34.413s):
"I am disappointed with my result. We had expected to do better, but I made a number of mistakes on my lap and that cost me several tenths. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic for the race: the car will be quick on the long runs, and I think we can get back tomorrow, what we lost today."
David Coulthard, McLaren (9th, 1m 34.602s):
"Although my qualifying result is only a small improvement on my grid position in Melbourne, we seem to be much more competitive here, so it's definitely encouraging. In addition we appear to be better in race trim than some of the guys around us so I'm reasonably optimistic. Obviously during the first few laps, I will be in traffic but once the race starts to open out, we should be fast provided I get some clean air."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (10th, 1m 34.917s):
"I had a lot of understeer on my first run and after all the spins I have had this weekend, I was not 100% confident with the car. We made some changes in the short break and the car was much improved for the second lap and I was able to push more. I am very happy to have scored a top ten grid result the progress we have made since Melbourne is quite encouraging, and with a bit of luck, maybe we can pick up a point or two in the race tomorrow."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (11th, 1m 35.039s):
"My car's balance was very good in the first two sectors, but I was struggling quite a bit in the third one. It was like that this morning, and a bit worse this afternoon. The back end of the car lacked grip and stability. But 11th isn't too bad a place to start, and I know that we have a very good set-up for the race, so I think we can do a good job tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (12th, 1m 35.061s):
"My car was better today and I was quite happy with the balance. Unfortunately I lost the back end a couple of times in the last two corners and lost around three-tenths of a second. Without that we could have been in the top 10, so that's disappointing. On the other hand, our race pace has been good, so I'm quite confident for the race."
Christian Klien, Jaguar (13th, 1m 35.158s):
This morning was really productive for me as I managed to complete a good number of laps and I was comfortable with the setup and balance that we achieved in preparation for qualifying. I did make a couple of small mistakes when I did my first qualifying lap but I was much happier with my second lap and I was pleased overall with the day. I am now really focusing on the race and after finishing in Melbourne, I would like to repeat this here tomorrow at the Sepang circuit. My engineers and mechanics have done a fantastic job all weekend in preparing the car and both Cosworth and Michelin are working very hard to support us. I would like to reward them all in the race with a good finish but we will just have to wait and see. The conditions at the track are really challenging but after my extensive training in Langkawi I should be in good shape for the race, and I am more than looking forward to it.
Olivier Panis, Toyota (14th, 1m 35.617s):
"I am very disappointed with my lap time this afternoon. In the morning, the car balance and handling was good, so I am not really sure why the behaviour of the car changed so dramatically for the qualifying session. Now, we will look into the cause of the problem by cross checking the data with the other car. I am pleased for Cristiano and congratulate him on his lap. We have worked hard this weekend, so I am still hopeful for the race."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (15th, 1m 36.569s):
Im quite happy with my qualifying laps although I had a little oversteer at the second last corner during the first qualifying. Second qualifying was better and we improved the car significantly through the weekend. We now have to work hard to improve the car to move forward up the grid. Tomorrow we need to focus on finishing the race.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (16th, 1m 38.577s):
"It was good, as we matched our best lap time this morning in qualifying. Personally, I was very pleased to finish my first Formula One qualifying session after the problem we had in Melbourne, and I will admit I was just a little bit nervous before qualifying started. On my second qualifying run, I had good times in the first two sectors, but then made a mistake in the last sector and missed an apex, which probably cost me two-tenths of a second. Everyone on the team did a really good job today, and although I'm sure it will be a tough race, we will try our best."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (17th, 1m 39.272s):
"I'm not too happy with this afternoon's result, as we did a faster lap this morning. I made a mistake in the third sector on what should have been my fastest lap and lost quite a bit of time as a result. I really thought we could have done better. It's good that we're starting in front of three other drivers tomorrow, though, and my hope now is for a reliable car and a positive race result."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (18th, 1m 39.902s):
Unfortunately I had a problem with my race car which we found shortly before qualifying started and we werent able to fix it in time. I had to drop from the race car to the T car and it was not the same as my race car, also the track was different from this morning and it was a very difficult lap. The rear was very slippery and we need to see if there is anything we can do. In the race we will be relying on our strategy to compete and honestly I think we will come up a little bit from my starting position.
Takuma Sato, BAR (no time):
"I'm obviously very disappointed to finish qualifying like this. I hit a bump in the high-speed turn 11 and just couldn't catch it. I was pushing hard and could feel that it was a better lap. After such a difficult start to the weekend I felt we had made good progress this morning and it all started to come together in that qualifying lap. The car wasn't damaged thankfully but I will be starting the race from the back row of the grid which is very frustrating. I feel we have a strong race package and I will certainly be fighting hard to improve my situation tomorrow and get as close to a point as possible."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (no time):
"I made a mistake under braking for Turn 14, lost the back end and the car spun. Of course it's frustrating, particularly for the team who have worked hard this weekend, but I'm still confident. We know the car is quick and even starting last, I think we can fight for points. You can be sure it will be an aggressive, attacking race."