Qualifying - selected driver quotes 24 Jul 2004
Who thought what of their afternoon at Hockenheim...
Michael Schumacher delights the German crowd with the 61st pole position of his Formula One career. Behind him, Juan Pablo Montoya wins a close Williams-BAR-McLaren battle.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 13.306s):
It is nice to be back on pole again in front of the home crowd, as was the case the last time I was quickest at the Nurburgring. To be honest, I am not so surprised to be on pole, but I am surprised at the gap to the others. In pre-qualifying, as usual I was first out as the circuit sweeper, but I cannot complain as there is a good reason for that. But it does mean you cannot push to the limit so much for the first couple of corners. Running in the mid-field in the second session was not much of a disadvantage and the circuit did not seem to pick up more speed towards the end. It looks very promising for us for tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be nice and hot and sunny, so I hope we can put on a good show for the spectators.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (2nd, 1m 13.688s):
It is really nice to be back at the front and to be in good shape again. WillliamsF1 and BMW have been working very hard and our package has improved a lot. Since Magny-Cours, we have had some new aero parts on the car and they have proved very successful. In my qualifying lap, I made a mistake in the corner before the stadium and so I lost a bit of time, which probably cost me pole position, and the chance of starting on the clean side of the track. Anyway, we have a very good race car. Actually, this is a much better car than Ive had in the last few races so I think its realistic to think we could get a podium finish tomorrow. Compared to how it handled during yesterdays Free Practice, it is easier to drive and is definitely more stable.
Jenson Button, BAR (3rd, 1m 13.674s):
"I am quite pleased with my lap today and to qualify third is great, so it's very disappointing that I'll be lining up on the seventh row to start the race tomorrow. We have a very good car here and it is performing much better than in the last couple of races. The Michelin tyres are working well - not just on one lap but on the longer runs as well. 13th place is on the clean side of track so although I will be starting with slower cars around me, at least I should be able to make good progress off the line. There are also some good overtaking opportunities here - turns two and four and also the back straight. So I'll do the best possible job from there and hope to pick up a good points finish."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (4th, 1m 13.690s):
"It was an OK qualifying as we got the best out of the car, and I didn't make any mistakes. Our package is pretty strong, and we have been able to run consistently in race trim, so I'm confident for tomorrow when we should be able to fight for a good position. I think it's actually better to start from third than second here at Hockenheim as you are on the inside."
David Coulthard, McLaren (5th, 1m 13.821s):
"I'm much happier with the balance of the car as we have taken a significant step forward since yesterday. My qualifying lap was good, and I think I could have been even a bit faster, but as our pace has been pretty consistent we should have a strong race tomorrow. However, as always it's difficult to make predictions as you never know what fuel loads the other teams are on, but I think we have a solid strategy, and I look forward to a competitive race."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (6th, 1m 13.874s):
"We had a well-balanced car in pre-qualifying: I had more grip, and we managed to dial out the understeer that I was suffering from this morning. I was pleased with my lap in qualifying, after pushing to the limit and making no mistakes. We should be happy with our positions, I think: the weekend has not been easy so far, and we were not very quick yesterday, but we have still managed to get a good position to attack from tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli, Renault (7th, 1m 14.134s):
"From my point of view it was a strong lap, with no mistakes, and I pushed 100%. The car was working well today, and the balance was good. We now must wait to see what the conditions will be like tomorrow, and how the different strategies will play out."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (8th, 1m 14.278s):
I had an okay qualifying, but I think I might have been able to go a bit quicker and improve my position slightly on the grid. My expectations for the race tomorrow are very closely linked to strategy and we will not know until the end of the race which one of us has chosen the best one. I know I can count on a very strong car-engine-Bridgestone tyre package.
Takuma Sato, BAR (9th, 1m14.287 s):
"This was a very difficult qualifying session for me. I lost most of the morning practice sessions and the only lap that I was able to do was in pre-qualifying. I did everything I could in the final qualifying run in those circumstances. I couldn't risk anything but as I got further into the lap I was more confident and was picking up speed towards the end, so I think my lap was fairly strong. I'm not really satisfied because we came here with high expectations of a better performance than in the last few races. The car is definitely stronger and we have the potential to score some good points tomorrow, so I will be doing my best to achieve that target."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (10th, 1m 14.368s):
"Yesterday, we ran the updated car for the first time with all the new aero parts and we struggled to find the right balance. Both free practice sessions were quite difficult for us and the team had to work hard last night to make some set-up changes. Today, I felt much more confident with the TF104B and the balance of the car. Overall, we had a stronger and more competitive package. We did a good job this afternoon and performed well in both qualifying sessions. After carrying out some long runs this morning, I think that the car is in good shape for tomorrow, and from ninth place on the grid, I am looking forward to a strong race."
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (11th, 1m 14.556s):
Obviously this is a disappointing result, especially when we did so well in pre-qualifying. In my final qualifying lap, the car felt different as we made some changes to it between the two sessions which made it unexpectedly hard to drive. I think we have a good race car though so we will try and score points tomorrow.
Mark Webber, Jaguar (12th, 1m 14.802s):
We have been working extremely hard this weekend preparing the cars and despite our time on track being cut short yesterday, the team has done a good job on the R5 set-up. I did 25 laps this morning working on balance and some fine-tuning, so I was geared up going into qualifying. My first session this afternoon was satisfactory and the car was balanced. When I went out for my second session I did not quite get the right gear going into the first corner, so I was chasing my time for the rest of the session. My overall lap was good but not perfect so my final position of 11th for the grid is ok, but as always further up would have been even better. We are now focusing on what we need to do tomorrow during the race to fight for a points-finish. It is more and more difficult to score points as we progress through the season so any points achieved are hard fought. We have some first-rate people in the team so we will all be looking at our strategy to ensure we are racing for points from the start.
Christian Klien, Jaguar (13th, 1m 15.011s):
The weekend has been going well so far and I am enjoying driving the R5 around this circuit. The team and I have spent most of today looking at balance and set-up and I did 20 laps this morning that really helped me get the car reacting the way I wanted. Going into this afternoons sessions I was very focused and my first qualifying lap was clean and I was generally pleased. My second and final session was again ok, although I made one minor error that swung the back of the car out slightly but I recovered and pushed really hard for the remainder of the lap. My 12th position just behind Mark is good for me and I am pleased that I am keeping up with my teammate. I am looking forward to the race here tomorrow as I am sure that it is going to be interesting. There are some overtaking points that I will be looking to make use of so lets see what happens.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (14th, 1m 15.395s):
"Our qualifying positions are what we expected with the fuel load we were carrying, but it's important that one of the Toyotas will start behind us. It will also be important to get by the Jaguars as soon as possible tomorrow, then get on with our race. We know that our tyres are very good in race conditions, and I was very pleased with the balance, and in particular the stability of the car under braking, today. It was much better than yesterday. With all that in mind, we have the potential to repeat the result we had at Silverstone so I am feeling relaxed and optimistic."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (15th, 1m 15.454s):
"I am not happy with either of my qualifying laps today. In this morning's practice, we were looking quite good and had found a clear direction with the updated car, but I was not able to get everything out of the car this afternoon. I was expecting to do a lap time similar to what I did in the morning - in the mid-to-high 1m14s - but on both of my runs, I had difficulty entering turn two, as well as some problems braking into turn 6. We have to look into this, because I experienced no trouble there in practice. The TF104B has shown that it is a better car with improvements on the aerodynamics side, so it is frustrating that I couldn't show its potential in qualifying. We have another 67 laps in tomorrow's race to put that right."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (16th, 1m 15.616s):
"I think I drove a good lap this afternoon. The balance was good and everything went according to our strategy. Usually if you see P16 it is very bad but in our case appearances are deceptive and we will be strong tomorrow. It's difficult to overtake here but not impossible, so we have a great chance to be in the points."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (17th, 1m16.192 s):
Im quite satisfied but a little worried about missing practice this morning because we didnt have the opportunity to check our race set-up so I dont know how the car will be tomorrow. We went with our set-up and I didnt know how it would turn out this afternoon, I just did my best and as it happened the balance was alright and I did a good lap.
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (18th, 1m 16.310s):
Im happy with my lap, and qualifying was better than pre-qualifying. We had a bit of front tyre graining towards the end of the lap but it wasnt a big issue. I think I am in fairly good shape for the race tomorrow. The work we did this morning showed that on long runs our tyres have promising performance with no major degradation.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (19th, 1m 18.055s):
"I'm quite happy. I had a good qualifying lap, considering the fuel we were carrying, and we were quite close to the right balance for the load we have. The guys also did a really good job today, and now I'm looking forward to the race."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (20th, 1m 18.400s):
"As far as the qualifying run was concerned, we were missing a bit on chassis balance today and, as a result, I was struggling particularly in the Stadium section. My first two sector times were similar to Gimmi's, but then I lost quite a bit in the final section. Generally, today we weren't able to find a satisfactory balance as quickly as we did yesterday, and the situation wasn't helped by the fact I made a mistake in the first session this morning and lost time while the car was repaired. As a result, I wasn't able to do as much running as I would have liked. Even so, I think we can have a strong car tomorrow and a good race."