Qualifying - selected driver quotes 14 Aug 2004
The drivers gauge their afternoon at the Hungaroring
Michael Schumacher on pole position; Antonio Pizzonia on out-qualifying Williams team mate Montoya; Giancarlo Fisichella on a superb eighth place and Sauber team mate Felipe Massa on a frustrating day at the office. All 20 drivers have their say.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 19.146s):
That was a good lap, although as a racing driver you always feel you could do better. Rubens did a fantastic pre-qualifying lap, but I was not too worried as we had both been very close in the morning. The new Bridgestone tyre possibly gave us an advantage and along with Shell, they have given us a big push, helping us to pick up performance. I am not so surprised at the grid: we expected BAR and Renault to be competitive, even if I am surprised McLaren is a bit further back, but maybe they have a different strategy. Even though it is cooler than usual here, tomorrow will be a tough race as this track requires a lot of work at the wheel, the cars slide a lot and the bumps make it unpredictable. It is hard work, but that is what we train for and I am looking forward to it. The fact that we can win the Constructors title tomorrow will have no affect on the way we tackle this race.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 19.323s):
My pre-qualifying was very good and my qualifying was good. I experienced a bit more understeer than we had expected which cost me time in the second sector. I knew it could have gone either way between me or Michael, so in a way it is disappointing not to have got pole, but Michael drove a perfect lap. This has to be the worst P2 of the year as starting on the dirty side of the track is really dirty here. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that I can have a good race tomorrow.
Takuma Sato, BAR (3rd, 1m 19.693s):
"I'm really pleased with my lap. We expected to be strong here after Germany and this has proved to be the case. I think the weather has taken everyone by surprise and the last few runners this afternoon - including myself - were lucky that the rain held off until after the session. It's a great bonus for the team that we have both cars on the second row of the grid tomorrow. I feel confident about the race and my focus now will be on achieving my objective of a podium finish."
Jenson Button, BAR (4th, 1m 19.700s):
"I'm slightly disappointed to be honest. I didn't get enough heat in the tyres on the out-lap and that compromised my quick lap. Nonetheless, locking out the second row behind the Ferraris is a good team result and we can do a good job from there tomorrow. I would have been happier to be on the front row but the Bridgestones have been working better than any of us expected. The most important thing now is to make sure we stay ahead of the Renaults tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th, 1m 19.996s):
"The grip levels of the circuit changed a lot for me between the first and second sessions, which was a bit of a surprise. I attacked as hard as possible, but after my lap I had the impression that it could have been better. The R24 was well-balanced and it handled very well. If I can make a good start from fifth position, then I think we can have an interesting race."
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (6th, 1m 20.170s):
I am fairly pleased with my qualifying lap, even if I didnt have much luck because it started to rain a little bit when I was in the last sector and this slowed me down a bit, especially going through the last two corners. My car felt better in the final qualifying than in pre-qualifying and also the track conditions improved from one session to the other. Anyway, I know I have a better race car than a qualifying car so I am confident. After all, starting from 6th and 7th position means we can score points, and this is what we are aiming for.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (7th, 1m 20.199s):
I put in a fairly good lap without mistakes but the balance of my car prevented me from setting a quicker time. We sacrificed a little of qualifying performance for the race pace. For the first time I will be starting from the clean side of the track, which is also important here. Still, starting from 7th position on a circuit where overtaking is very difficult, is not ideal. The only chance I see to pass the car in front is at turn one really, and thats it. Nevertheless, we should have a good race. Its nice to see Antonio doing well. He has been quick all weekend and he did a good job.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (8th, 1m 20.324s):
"Today was totally opposite to yesterday! We made a big improvement in the balance of the car and it was more consistent as a result so I was more confident in its behaviour. I think maybe the weather conditions also played in our favour a little. It will be difficult to score points tomorrow, but that is of course our target and starting well within the top 10 will certainly help us."
Jarno Trulli, Renault (9th, 1m 20.411s):
"The brief rain shower ruined my qualifying lap. The first sector was dry, and I was very quick, then I got to the second sector and felt that the car was sliding more because it was damp. The lack of grip caused my mistake in the chicane at turns six and seven, and then I tried to be as quick as possible in the final sector. I didn't expect to be ninth on the grid in Hungary, and I think it will make tomorrow's race a tough one for me."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (10th, 1m 20.570s):
"Obviously we are not where we wanted to be as following this morning's practice we were expecting to qualify in the top five. I didn't really get the set-up perfect and was sliding too much, but hopefully the conditions will be more to our advantage tomorrow. It will be a difficult race, but I qualified seventh last year and finished second, so anything can happen."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (11th, 1m 20.730s):
"This morning was really productive for me as we managed to successfully complete my practice programme during the 33-laps. The R5 is well-balanced on this track and I went into qualifying feeling really prepared and generally happy with the set-up. Michelin have done a good job today and I like to think we have made a good choice for the race tomorrow. Going into qualifying this afternoon it did look at if it may rain at one stage so I was pleased to complete my lap in the dry. My first sector was perhaps marginally conservative but you have to be careful with that first corner under braking. I made up some time in both the second and third sectors so I was relatively pleased with my time and position. This track has been historically much hotter so the lower temperatures are making it more interesting for us. I think the race tomorrow is going to be quite exciting and I am certainly looking forward to it, lets see what happens but we have laid some good foundations and points will of course be our goal".
David Coulthard, McLaren (12th, 1m 20.897s):
"I think we have been too conservative with our tyre choice and are paying the prize. It's hard to judge where the car is on the circuit and we are sliding around a bit. Unfortunately here in Hungary you have a problem if you qualify badly as it's really hard to overtake. However, we just need to get on with it and do the best we can in tomorrow's race, but it will be tough."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (13th, 1m 21.068s):
"For some reason the performance of the car in qualifying was much worse than we have shown this weekend. The only thing I can think of is that the wind must have affected us more than everyone else. The whole race team has worked well, but now we need to be fully focused on the race and keep pushing. In the last six races of this season, we need to pick up the maximum number of points we can."
Christian Klien, Jaguar (14th, 1m 21.118s):
"We have been focusing very hard today on pulling together a really good set-up for the race tomorrow. I had a busy morning and spent most of my time working on balance and set-up. I am pleased with my current set-up on the R5 and doing another 28 laps this morning really helped me feel comfortable with the package. Going into qualifying I was happy with my tyre choice and I am pleased with my final time of 1:21.118. It's my best lap of the weekend although as always I would have liked to have extracted a few more tenths out of the third sector. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it's not going to be any easy race but we knew that before we came here. Overtaking is not easy and the start is all-important. I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel for the race and I will be giving it my best shot. Points would be reward for the team's hard work so lets just see what I can do.
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (15th, 1m 21.135s):
"The weather changed a bit between practice and qualifying and that made the car slide around more. Also, it was my first experience with one-lap qualifying, so it was quite difficult to put everything together. In spite of the final result, I am very motivated. I think we have a good car and I am ready to fight for points in the race tomorrow. I have had fantastic support from the team, which has made the transition from third driver to race driver much easier this weekend."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (16th, 1m 22.180s):
I was very happy with pre-qualifying but experienced a lot of oversteer and a nervous car in qualifying itself. Under those circumstances it was difficult to get more out of it. I didnt expect so much difference between the two sessions and Im not sure what the reason is as overall this weekend we have been looking better than expected. It may be that this particular track suits our package, but I hope we can continue the trend tomorrow and in the next few races.
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (17th, 1m 22.356s):
I am a little bit frustrated with how qualifying went after seeing what we did this morning, when with used tyres the car set-up and balance were quite good. When I went out on fresh tyres though I had some problems, with the balance seeming to go completely the other way from the progress we made after free practice. I dont know what caused this but it meant we didnt find a good lap time - I lost time on the last two corners of my qualifying lap due to that. The good thing is that the balance felt better to me on used tyres so it should be okay in the race.
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (18th, 1m 24.329s):
"I'm very happy with the performance today in front of my home crowd and I hope tomorrow we will have a reliable car so that I can finish the race. That is the main goal for me this weekend, as I wasn't able to finish here last year. Once again, the team did a great job today because we worked a lot on the car balance and made good progress. I was really happy about that, and I hope we can now have a successful race."
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (19th, 1m 24.679s):
"I'm happy. Everything went well considering the sort of race strategy we have settled on for tomorrow. I was expecting a slower lap time in qualifying than I actually achieved, so now I'm hoping for a good race."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (20th, no time):
"What can I say? Of all the circuits we visit this one, together with Monaco, is the most difficult on which to overtake and therefore the worst on which to have an engine problem that loses you grid positions. It's such a shame because we made a big step forward with the set-up today. The balance was way better. And you know, I made a lot of mistakes on my pre-qualifying lap, yet still managed to set a good time. It's frustrating because this could be our strongest race of the season, but at least by not going out to qualify I saved a set of tyres and I'll be pushing to make best use of them at the start. My hopes for the race rest almost entirely on how well the opening lap goes for me."