Qualifying - selected driver quotes 19 Jun 2004
Who thought what of their Indianapolis afternoon...
An all-Ferrari front row for the US Grand Prix, but this time its Rubens Barrichello on pole. Another excellent performance from Takuma Sato, a season-best eighth on the grid for Olivier Panis and a frustrating afternoon for Jarno Trulli. The drivers explain
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (1st, 1m 10.223s):
It is great to take pole here at Indy where there were so many Brazilians cheering, I could even hear them in the cockpit. The car has been good all weekend, although I think Michael made a bit more progress than me today. Before pre-qualifying, we made a small change to my car that was an improvement. In the first sector, the car did not feel so good but then it improved in the second sector, which is important, as it is the longest. I think I am driving better now than at any point this season. Although I am naturally a right foot braker, I have been using my left also now and like a footballer who can score with both feet has an advantage, it means my driving has improved. Now I am looking forward to having a great race tomorrow.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 10.400s):
I cannot complain, because I am on the front row with my team-mate alongside me, so we have to be happy with that. Of course I would prefer to be first, but Rubens has done a better job than me and to be honest I expected to be further back. I lost the lap in the second sector where the car was sliding around too much, especially in a couple of corners, where Rubens obviously found a better solution than me, But that is our strength in that we always push each other and that means we have to give 100% all the time. I will still be aiming for the win tomorrow and I expect an interesting fight between us and also with whoever else comes along.
Takuma Sato, BAR (3rd, 1m 10.601s):
"I'm pleased with third on the grid for tomorrow. It was a shame that we couldn't reach the Ferraris as we were looking good in practice this morning. I'll settle for third and an all-BAR second row is great for the team. It was a little bit gusty out there so maybe our lap time was affected by that. Obviously I have a great opportunity for tomorrow which I intend to make the most of. My first priority is to finish the race but I would really like to finish it at least where I started. I'm really looking good for tomorrow's race and fighting for my first podium."
Jenson Button, BAR (4th, 1m 10.820s):
"I wasn't very happy when I got out of the car but fourth is better than I thought we were going to end up. When Taku did his first run, obviously he was running after me when the circuit was cleaner and he had more wing than me, so we tried that setting and it was pretty awful actually. Loads of oversteer. In hindsight I wish we had kept the car as it was. It's difficult when you are going out third in for the first run to know what to do with the balance, so I thought we would have learnt more about the conditions from Taku's run but obviously we didn't and I had a lot of oversteer. It should be a good race however and it's great that both Taku and I will line up together tomorrow."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (5th, 1m 11.062s):
I am a little bit disappointed with this result, because I believe theres more in the car than fifth position. In my pre-qualifying and qualifying laps the balance of my car wasnt perfect and this cost both Ralf and myself a better grid position. . But all in all I believe we have a good race car and starting from the third row is still promising. I would really like to give all the Colombian fans which have come here to support me, something to cheer about.
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (6th, 1m 11.106s):
It was a decent qualifying, nothing special really, I would say I drove a reasonable lap. It looked a bit better for us in pre-qualifying, but still I had some problems with the balance of my car, which has been the case all weekend. The continuously changing wind and the dust are obviously not helping the situation, but then its the same for everyone. Lets wait and see what the race brings.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (7th, 1m 11.137s):
"We did better than expected as the car has been quite difficult to handle so far this weekend. However we managed to find a good balance and an overall improvement in time for qualifying, which is what it's all about, so overall I'm pleased. It will be a difficult race tomorrow, but we have a strong strategy and will do our best, so hopefully we will be reliable and score some points."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (8th, 1m 11.167s):
"During yesterday's practice sessions, we set a solid base for the weekend gathering valuable data about the tyres. In today's sessions I felt comfortable in the car and my qualifying lap went well. I am quite happy with my starting position for the race and from eighth on the grid, it is certainly a realistic target to score points tomorrow. We are getting the full potential out of the TF104 and everyone continues to do a great job. On the one hand, to be only one tenth from the top five is a shame, but on the other, it shows the positive development of the entire team."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (9th, 1m 11.185s):
"We have improved the car a lot since yesterday, and the engineers have done a great job to give us a much more competitive car. I didn't have any problems on my lap, and made no mistakes; in fact, I am feeling quite confident for tomorrow. I am only starting from ninth, but the times are very close and given our fuel load, I think we are on a good strategy. The tyres are working well, so everything is in place for a strong race."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (10th, 1m 11.286s):
My first practice session this morning was productive and the car was feeling good. The second session was however, cut short when I braked late on corner six and ended up in the gravel. The damage was not too extensive and the team did a great job making the repairs in time for my qualifying session this afternoon. Going into this afternoons qualifying session I was confident that the car was well set-up and balanced. I am really pleased with my qualifying lap. It felt good out there and the car is in good shape. You have to be careful to control your aggression here as pushing too hard only slows you down. The track temperature was also increasing this afternoon and with that the grip was decreasing. The balance in particular is good on the long runs and I am in looking forward to the race. We believe we have a good strategy in place and we are in a points fighting position.
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (11th, 1m 11.691s):
"I was expecting more from qualifying today based on our performance in the practice. I suffered with less grip than in the previous sessions, which prevented me from attacking as much as I have been able to throughout the weekend. Nevertheless, we have demonstrated more competitiveness at this track than at any other all season, so I remain optimistic for the race."
David Coulthard, McLaren (12th, 1m 12.026s):
"I was reasonable happy with the balance of the car in the first run. We didn't make any changes between sessions, so I was a little bit surprised when the car felt different. I got out of shape in the corners and used more traction control which just soaks up the time. It will be a tough race tomorrow, and a lot will depend on track temperature."
Christian Klien, Jaguar (13th, 1m 12.170s):
I was enjoying my practice sessions this morning and the cars pace was improving all the time. Going into qualifying my car was well set-up and the balance feels good. My first qualifying sector was encouraging and an accurate reflection of the cars pace. My final qualifying was not perhaps as good as I would have liked and slightly slower than the first but I am still pleased with my 13th position. I will be looking to make a good start and given our strategy going into tomorrow I feel that we are in a good situation. I will certainly be doing what I can to score points and I am really excited about competing in my first US race here in Indianapolis tomorrow.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (14th, 1m 12.470s):
"We suffered with lack of rear-end grip in qualifying, which we expected after yesterday. Although my lap today was not perfect, I know we have a good race strategy. In other races we have had good race pace and proved that we can do well, so I'll be pushing hard again tomorrow."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (15th, 1m 12.721s):
"Considering the performance over the whole weekend I think I had a reasonable lap. The race will be very tough for us, but others have also been and we still scored points in them, which of course is always our goal."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (16th, 1m 13.147s):
We have struggled slightly with our car balance here for some reason, although we have improved it over the weekend so far thanks to the engineers hard work. During qualifying it was a little bit difficult as the car was nervous to drive. It has been cooler today which has suited us a bit better than yesterdays conditions and it will be interesting to see what happens in the race tomorrow.
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (17th, 1m 13.375s):
Im pretty happy with my qualifying although I know I made a little mistake on corners 7 and 8. I had a car problem this morning and lost a little bit of time because of that, which hurts a little bit as I am learning the track and every lap is valuable. Im happy still, because Im not far away from my team mate Nick and thats a promising position for having a good race.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (18th, 1m 14.010s):
"This morning, in the first practice session, we got a good balance in the car, but then in the final session, the car developed a lot of oversteer, possibly because the track temperature went up quite a bit, affecting the grip. In my qualifying run, the first sector was not bad, but then I struggled with traction on the infield section. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow, as we are reasonably close to our nearest rivals in terms of lap times. It should be interesting."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (19th, 1m 14.812s):
"My best time this morning was good, and it's just a shame I couldn't repeat it this afternoon in qualifying. I made a couple of mistakes on the final run and the car also developed quite a bit of oversteer. I'd like to thank all the guys, who have put in a lot of effort this weekend. I think it's going to be a difficult race tomorrow, but I'll try to reward them with a good result."
Jarno Trulli, Renault (20th, no time):
"Naturally, I'm extremely disappointed. I had trouble exiting the garage because first gear would not engage, and then the car would not change gear properly on my lap; at this time, we think the problem was caused by the steering wheel. Looking ahead, it will be tough race tomorrow but we can still look to score points."