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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 08 May 2004

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, 8 May 2004 Mark Webber (AUS) Jaguar.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, 8 May 2004 Giorgio Pantano (ITA) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, 8 May 2004 David Coulthard (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/19.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, 8 May 2004

Who thought what of their Barcelona qualifying...

Michael Schumacher expresses his surprise at taking pole; Takuma Sato on his best ever qualifying performance; and Jenson Button rues the mistake that left him a lowly 14th on the grid.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 15.022s):
"I would have preferred to have been further down the running order for the final qualifying session as the track was getting a lot quicker towards the end, so being about halfway down the pre-qualifying order was not ideal. Towards the end of the lap, I knew I had a very good first and second sector time, so in the final sector I made sure I was safe, especially as it is very easy to make a mistake at Turn 10. But in the end it was a very, very good lap. It was also a bit of a surprise to be honest, but I am happy to take pole. It has been difficult to set up the car, mainly because of the wind changing direction. Regarding the modifications at Turn 10, I think a good job has been done from the safety point of view and it might also provide the possibility to overtake as you can put someone under pressure at this corner and maybe they make a mistake."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (2nd, 1m 15.639s):
“I am very, very pleased to have qualified on the front row again, it was about time. My car had a really nice balance in the pre-qualifying session, but I had too much oversteer during final qualifying so I lost some time. Of course you always want more, but I believe we have a very good race car. We will have to see how our tyres behave tomorrow because this track is hard on the cars, especially the tyres. It will be a long race, but we will hopefully see some good racing action. It's important for the team's motivation that we've got this result today because everyone has been working really hard. It's also nice to see Takuma at the front of the grid.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (3rd, 1m 15.809s):
"It's fantastic to be starting the race from 3rd on the grid - my best ever starting position in a Formula One race. It means a huge amount to me, to Honda and all the people who support the team. I didn't get a very good start to my weekend yesterday but I had a very successful free practice this morning and I felt really comfortable with the car, so I knew we could be strong in qualifying. This is not an easy circuit; the track conditions are constantly changing and the wind was picking up during the final run. I knew I just had to concentrate every step of the way around the track and I'm pleased with the end result. It wasn't a perfect lap; the first sector was good then the car was a little twitchy in the second sector and I probably lost a little time in the last sector as a result. This is a track I know well though and I just want to do the best job I can tomorrow. We have a strong and well-balanced car and a great opportunity to be on the podium. It won't be easy though but I'll certainly be trying my best."

Jarno Trulli, Renault (4th, 1m 16.144s):
“The conditions today were extremely difficult. The wind really affected all the drivers, I think. It’s a shame that we couldn’t make it into the top three, but I’m still pleased with my best qualifying performance of the year. The handling was hard to judge during the timed lap because it was so windy, but the car balance had been good in pre-qualifying. Starting from fourth position, I will be aiming for a strong result tomorrow.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (5th, 1m 16.272s):
"All in all, it was an average qualifying. Along with the team, we still have a little bit of work to do for tomorrow's race, but I feel there is every possibility of getting a good result. We know that we can rely on our Bridgestone tyres to provide a consistent level of performance over a long distance and this factor will play a part in the outcome of the race."

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (6th, 1m 16.293s):
“Of course I can not be happy with my qualifying result. It's clear that I didn't manage to get the best out of the car, especially in the mid-sector, as the car seemed very nervous through it. However, starting a race from sixth place, you can still finish well, as I think that we have gone for a very good strategy.”

Olivier Panis, Toyota (7th, 1m 16.313s):
"My lap today was very good and the whole team has done a great job all weekend to fine tune the car to find those crucial tenths-of-a-second. We are improving step-by-step and everyone is very focussed on the job we have to do. We know that this circuit suits our car well, which we have shown in winter testing, and this qualifying result offers us a strong opportunity to score some points in tomorrow's race."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, 1m 16.422s):
“This afternoon, the main factor was the wind. It was gusting very strongly while I was on the circuit, but most importantly it was very inconsistent: sometimes a tailwind, sometimes a headwind. It made it difficult to have confidence in the car’s reactions, because it was changing at every corner. We weren’t very quick in pre-qualifying, but we made some changes to make the rear end less nervous. It will be a tough race from eighth position, and our competitors are very close, but we know the R24 is competitive in race trim and I am hoping to run a strong race for my fans tomorrow.”

Mark Webber, Jaguar (9th, 1m 16.514s):
“My second practice session was productive this morning and I was happy with my set-up and preparation going into qualifying. My first two sectors were clean and I was going well until unfortunately I made a minor error in the final section and I lost a few tenths. The team has done a great job all weekend and I would like to have given the boys a few more places on the grid, but there you go, it's the nature of the game. We are well prepared for the race tomorrow and as this is quite a challenging track there are likely to be a few surprises along the way. I am confident that the R5 is in good shape for the race and there is no reason why I should not be challenging for points tomorrow. The car is capable of it so lets see what we can do.”

David Coulthard, McLaren (10th, 1m 16.636s):
"It wasn't a very good qualifying lap, so I'm not too surprised that we are on the fifth row. My lap time was slower than what I did this morning on the same level of fuel, so I believe that we have the potential to improve our position during the race. It might not be obvious looking at our qualifying performance, but I think we are making gradual progress. At the end of the day it's where we finish in the race tomorrow that matters."

Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (11th, 1m 17.038s):
"I am not particularly pleased with my qualifying lap today. I suffered from a lot more understeer on my second run and I am sure the track and weather conditions in general were a contributing factor. I tried to compensate for the understeer from inside the car, but I pushed maybe too hard and overdrove the car a little bit. The bottom line is that we lost something from the first session to the second and we have to find out exactly what."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (12th, 1m 17.444s):
"I am pretty pleased with the way things went today, because we achieved our target. We have a good race strategy with some good possibilities, and we know that the tyre performance is consistent, so if things go our way I believe that I can score some points."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (13th, 1m 17.445s):
"The telemetry shows that until the last sector I was nearly level with my time from pre-qualifying. I'm not sure what happened but I didn't feel comfortable with the car and lost a lot of time towards the end. 13th position is not ideal but I will fight hard in the race and we will see what happens."

Jenson Button, BAR (14th, 1m 17.575s):
"My lap was very disappointing. It was going quite well early in the weekend, although I have been struggling a little bit with the set-up around here. The conditions have changed a lot since pre-qualifying as there's a lot more wind now, which is one of the reasons why I ended up having an excursion. The first sector was OK and I had lots of grip but then I got some understeer, went wide coming around turn 7, went onto the grass and had to lift off in the end, which was disappointing as it has put me down to 14th. Sometimes these things happen though. It's great for Taku, but for me it's not so good starting further down the grid. We'll have to think overnight on strategy options for tomorrow and see if we can recover some ground.”

Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (15th, 1m 17.802s):
"I’m happy to have a Jaguar and a Sauber behind me and I’m also happy with how the whole weekend has gone so far as we are now closer to the other cars’ lap times. However, I have to say I am not happy with this particular lap. Very unusually, for some reason I struggled with this individual run – I found the balance difficult and there was less grip. It was difficult to get around without throwing the car away so I’m pleased with my time, considering that."

Christian Klien, Jaguar (16th, 1m 17.812s):
“I spent most of this morning working on set-up evaluation and I completed a good number of laps. After my spin yesterday I felt that I needed to make a few more changes to the car before I would be completely happy and I managed to make these changes in the morning sessions. I then went into qualifying very happy with the balance of the car and my set-up. Both of my qualifying laps were clean, although the track was slower in the second session and you can see this in the times. I am disappointed that I did not manage to extract more but my strategy for the race is good and I am looking forward to getting out on track tomorrow. There are a few overtaking opportunities here so I will be making the most of these. I will be aiming for the chequered flag tomorrow and will capitalise on any attrition.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (17th, 1m 17.866s):
"I made a mistake in Turn Seven, and lost everything there. It was my fault completely. Without that it would have been a good lap, at least four-tenths faster. I'm not so happy with myself, but I know that I have a good car for the race, and that the tyres are pretty consistent, and I will be pushing very hard tomorrow."

Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (18th, 1m 19.817s):
"It was a difficult morning, but the guys did a fantastic job to sort out the problem, and I'm pleased for them that we were able to set a decent time this afternoon. We made our tyre choice at the end of yesterday, but the problem was that without any chance to do any real running this morning, I had no idea how the tyres would feel at the limit on the track. Fortunately, my engineer came up with something and it worked well, so I am very happy. We are certainly in better shape here than we were at Imola, and I now hope for a good, clean race tomorrow with no mistakes."

Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (19th, 1m 20.607s):
"This morning it was coming together quite well and we found quite a good car balance. We are looking at where we are losing time from the others and were hoping to make an improvement in qualifying. I was quite good on the first sector, down maybe two tenths, but then as I arrived at corner six I made a mistake and lost my best lap time. It was my mistake and that’s all there is to say."

Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (20th, 1m 21.470s):
"I think we had two reasonably good sessions this morning, although the cool temperature meant it was difficult to find a good balance for the chassis. Unfortunately, we continued to struggle with that in qualifying. I'm disappointed, because I think I could have done a better lap time this afternoon, but we'll work with what we've got and hope to have a strong race tomorrow."