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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 22 May 2004

Pole sitter for the first time Jarno Trulli (ITA) Renault in the FIA Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte Carlo, 22 May 2004 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams BMW FW26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte Carlo, 22 May 2004 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte Carlo, 22 May 2004 Cristiano Da Matta (BRA) Toyota TF104 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte Carlo, 22 May 2004

Who thought what of their Monte Carlo qualifying...

For the first time Jarno Trulli will start a Grand Prix from P1 on the grid on Sunday. Second fastest was Ralf Schumacher, but he is demoted to 12th thanks to an engine-change penalty.

Jarno Trulli, Renault (1st, 1m 13.985s):
"It's wonderful to get my first pole here at Monaco: it's the right place to do it from a strategy point of view, and a fantastic reward for the whole team. My lap was fantastic: I wasn't particularly quick in the first sector, but the next two were nearly perfect. The car is very competitive in race set-up, very consistent, and we know that we are on the right strategy. I am felling very optimistic for tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (2nd, 1m 14.345s):
“It’s a bitter-sweet result, of course, but all in all I am more pleased with my qualifying performance rather than depressed about the penalty. We got the best out of the car and I am sure we have a competitive set up for the race, but it’s going to be difficult from where we’ll be starting on the grid. I’m not worried too much about the penalty, though. The important thing is that we keep our morale at a high level. Our car looks better here than it did in Barcelona, as we were expecting, since we thought we had a good package for this track. Let’s hope we collect some points tomorrow.”

Jenson Button, BAR (3rd, 1m 14.396s):
"It feels great to be starting the Monaco Grand Prix from the front row. This is a race everyone wants to do well in and to be in with the best chance of winning, or even on the podium, you have to be on the front row - preferably with the competition behind you! That might be the case with Michael, but I am sandwiched between the Renaults, and as we've seen here today, they are looking solid at the moment. We expected to be strong here, but I was struggling a little with set-up this morning. Thankfully we were able to address this for the start of qualifying and the car felt so much better, although I was still unable to get the best out of sector two. I'm pretty happy with everything though. I love it here and I think we can do a good job tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th, 1m 14.408s):
"Even thought I am fourth today, I know that I will start from third tomorrow, and that good grid position is crucial here. I think I can run a very strong race - the car is easy to drive here, and very constant on the long runs. I am very happy with the work we have done today and tomorrow, hopefully we can have a competitive Grand Prix and score another podium finish."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (5th, 1m 14.516s):
“This qualifying session was a little bit of a disappointment. That was the result of a difficult pre-qualifying when I found the track to be very slippery. It was much worse than expected, as you can see from the fact I was much quicker in the morning. The result was that I was a long way off where we wanted to be. It meant I had to make my second run very early. That certainly did not help. Because of my brother’s problem I will be starting from fourth and we will have to try and get the best out of this situation tomorrow.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (6th, 1m 14.592s):
"For sure this has been our best Grand Prix weekend so far this year, and it's nice to be closer to the front again. A perfect lap might have gained us one more place on the grid, but the car and my Michelin tyres were working well. I think we have a good strategy for the race, but what will happen depends on what the other teams are doing strategy wise. I'm close to Michael on the starting grid and so far this year I have made some good getaways to gain quite a few places. In addition I'm on the right side of the track which I hope will prove an advantage."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (7th, 1m 14.716s):
“I expected to be a bit further up the grid, but I don’t feel that all is lost as far as tomorrow is concerned. I am reasonably happy with the handling of the car and I think we will be very competitive in the race. It won’t be easy, but we could get a good result.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (8th, 1m 14.827s):
"It's a great shame because I was on a really good lap until I had a moment in sector two coming off the kerb. I wasn't able to pick up grip straight away so I locked up into the chicane after the tunnel. Everything locked up - the front and the rears and I lost a lot of time. This unsettled me in sector three also. I'm not very happy because I could have been closer to the front row today, but I have to be positive and rely on what I think will be a strong strategy for tomorrow's race.”

David Coulthard, McLaren (9th, 1m 14.951s):
"My approach to my qualifying lap was much too conservative, and at the last part of the swimming pool section things were not perfect, which lost me some momentum and consequently time. As I love this circuit I'm a little disappointed not to have qualified higher up as it's so difficult to make up positions in the race."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (10th, 1m 15.039s):
“My car felt much better in qualifying than in pre-qualifying, after we made some changes to it. But I had a big moment in the last corner, and lost some time there. The set-up is pretty good and I think we have got a very good race car, but again we are not quick enough. It would be good to get some points tomorrow. It is going to be a tough race, though.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (11th, 1m 15.352s):
"I'm pretty happy with the way things went this afternoon. It was a very good lap, apart from the first corner, Ste Devote, where I braked a little bit too late and locked the front wheels. Considering the level of fuel we have I am very satisfied. It is a great feeling to be right on our target here, especially as I love the Monaco circuit. Our tyre degradation was better today than on Thursday and it will be better still in the race, so I am optimistic I will be able to score some more points."

Mark Webber, Jaguar (12th, 1m 15.725s):
“It's been quite a busy weekend for us here in Monaco and the team has been doing a fantastic job on the cars. Although we have been up against a few tough deadlines we have learnt so much this weekend. There was a small hydraulic leak on my car today but we easily changed the engine over to the T-car and the guys did a good job on the balance and set-up. I really used my first qualifying session to check that all was good with the balance and I went into second qualifying hopeful of a good run. I am pleased with my 12th place considering the changes we have been making over the weekend to the car and if Ralf is penalised and moved ten places then I will be 11th. Tomorrow is going to be a good challenge and I am going to enjoy it and make the most of the R5.”

Olivier Panis, Toyota (13th, 1m 15.859s):
"Through this morning's sessions, I had some problems and did not feel too confident in the car, but this afternoon was much better. All the engineers and mechanics reacted very well after the practice to prepare a good car for me in qualifying. We did not expect to be fantastic at this circuit, but we did the job we needed to do and I am quite happy with my qualifying lap."

Christian Klien, Jaguar (14th, 1m 15.919s):
“I am really pleased with how today has gone. This was my first time here at Monaco and the car feels good around here. I was certainly a bit nervous going out there to start as there really is no room for error. The team has done an amazing job this weekend on the car and they provided me with a really good set-up for my qualifying lap. I am looking forward to tomorrow and my first race round here, I have no doubt that there is going to be lots of activity on track.”

Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (15th, 1m 16.169s):
"I felt that my lap was actually quite good considering our general lack of grip and I think we extracted all we could from the car today. Of course, there is always a little bit to gain here or there, but I don't believe we would have been able to achieve much more. In terms of performance, I hope that we can be a little bit better in the race, we just have to see what tomorrow brings."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (16th, 1m 16.248s):
"To be honest, I wasn't very happy with my lap. The car did not feel as good as it did this morning. The balance was not stable and the handling was more nervous on turn-in. For sure I lost a lot of time up to the chicane. It wasn't any one major thing, I just lacked grip all the way round. We'll just have to see what happens tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (17th, 1m 16.488s):
“I’m reasonably happy with qualifying especially after we successfully addressed the brake problems I had on Thursday and some balance problems this morning. We made a couple of changes on the car, which were of benefit. I’m also very happy with the qualifying lap I did so I suppose that this position just reflects where we are at the moment. It’s a Grand Prix where anything can happen so I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (18th, 1m 17.443s):
“The car felt very different in qualifying compared to the weekend so far and we need to understand what’s happened. Since this morning and Thursday, something changed and it was too slippery but only during qualifying – not before. All the weekend until now it was very good and we had no problems. It may have been the conditions so I hope that the good balance we found will come back to give me my best chance in the race.”

Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (19th, 1m 20.060s):
"It has not been a great day. I made a mistake this morning and lost quite a bit of running time. As a result, we were still struggling with car set-up this afternoon, and I lost time on my qualifying run when I locked the brakes up after the swimming pool. I could definitely have driven a better lap because I have set quicker times this weekend. The most important thing now, though, is to concentrate on getting the best we can out of the car in the race and to keep it on the track. There is the possibility of rain tomorrow, which could also affect things a lot."

Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (20th, 1m 20.115s):
"We had a problem this morning, and there was a lot of time lost in the garage while my car was repaired. As a result, we really just used the qualifying runs to check the car for tomorrow. I'm upset I couldn't have done better, but this is my first time in Monaco, I've done perhaps 50 laps in total here now, and it's difficult to find a good chassis balance. I have to thank the mechanics because they did a great job today and tried their hardest. We'll do our best tomorrow, and hopefully have a good race to make up for the disappointment of today."