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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 15 Oct 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault celebrates his pole position in Parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, 15 October 2005 Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, 15 October 2005 Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, 15 October 2005 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, 15 October 2005

Jenson Button was the only man able to get amongst the Renault-McLaren battle for supremacy in qualifying in Shanghai on Saturday. Fellow Briton David Coulthard put in the other standout performance, splitting the Ferraris to put Red Bull seventh.

Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 34.080s):
“It was a perfect lap, and I have been surprised at how good the car has been this weekend. The circuit has improved a lot, and we have made a lot of changes as well to improve the handling. We have been conservative in our developments for a lot of the season, but for these final races, we have been able to be aggressive and it is paying off. I am in a perfect position to fight for the win tomorrow.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (2nd, +0.321s):
“I am really pleased to be second, because I was struggling with the car this weekend and didn't expect to be on the front row. We did some changes at the last minute that really improved things, and I was quite pleased with the lap - maybe I was a bit conservative in the first sector, but I felt very confident after that. The new engine has performed really well, and we are on a good strategy for tomorrow.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd, +0.408s):
"We knew before qualifying that we would struggle to get pole position today, but I don't think we have anything to worry about. Our strategy should be strong and whilst the car was not perfect on the qualifying lap I'm confident that it will be as good as it has been throughout practice. Both Juan Pablo and myself are in strong positions to get the results we need to win the Constructors' World Championship."

Jenson Button, BAR (4th, +0.721s):
"I had a good lap and the car felt good, so I'm pleased to be on the second row for the final race of the season. We had a bit of understeer on the lap but generally the car has been great all weekend. We're not too far away from the competition ahead of us - only about 0.4secs - so I feel quite positive about the race tomorrow. I think we can all look forward to a great race, which I'm sure will be action-packed as the decider for the Constructors' Championship. Hopefully I can be part of that action and give the whole team a well-earned boost to end the season."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (5th, +1.108s):
"As a result of what happened in Japan last weekend I had to go out for my qualifying lap as number two which was really frustrating. The lap was OK, but there was just no grip. The circuit conditions continued to improve, so of course I'm disappointed as I know I could have probably been on the front row. My car is working well and if everything comes together I should be able to get the result we need."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th, +1.221s):
“My initial feeling about my lap was that it was not very good, but when I look at the actual lap time, I have to be happy with that. It could have been worse and, given our strategy, we look to be in a good position for tomorrow. I don’t expect to be quicker than those ahead of me on the grid, but given what can happen in the race, I think realistically, we can expect to fight for points between fourth and sixth place. On my lap, I made a small mistake, running wide at Turn 2, but it did not cost me as much time as I thought. Maybe the very best I could have done was to be ahead of Juan Pablo. But that would not have been much of an advantage as he will be quicker than me in the race anyway.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (7th, +1.348s):
“The car’s brake balance seemed quite predictable this morning, although we put more aero in the car for qualifying, to counterbalance the understeer. Despite that, I didn’t get it quite right going into Turn one on my qualifying lap, as I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The rear of the car was a little bit nervous on the warm up lap, so I took caution through Turn one and then built up my speed from there. The Porsche Supercup had run before, which meant the track was a little slippery, but it was the same for everyone and, overall, I’m quite happy with the time I set. Apart from the first sector, the rest of the lap was tidy enough, so hopefully we’re going to have a good race tomorrow and get some points. That’s how we started the season so that’s how we want to finish it.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (8th, +1.530s):
“It was a reasonable qualifying, even though the track was definitely not at its best when it was my turn to make my run. I am reasonably pleased. Maybe I could have been a few places further up, but all in all, this is okay. Tomorrow, I will give it my best shot to try and get the best result possible in my last race at the wheel of a Ferrari.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (9th, +1.643s):
"This weekend has been quite a hard one for us because the car has been understeering and we have been struggling for grip. We had the same feeling in qualifying so it was hard work out there. The track was dirty and slippery so the lap was very difficult with more understeer and some oversteer. The lap time was still decent but it could have been a few tenths quicker. The race will be difficult but as usual we will be pushing hard for another points finish tomorrow in a bid to finish off the season on a good note."

Mark Webber, Williams (10th, +1.659s):
“It would have been nice to have finished the one-lap qualifying format with a clean lap and I was trying to do a really good one but in the last sector I braked a bit late before the hairpin and went wide, losing three or four tenths. It’s a shame and it doesn’t help for tomorrow, but still it was worth trying. Achieving a reasonable starting position was crucial for having a good race tomorrow. Having to start from10th position means that I’m likely to be held up in traffic for quite a while.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (11th, +1.818s):
"With new tyres this morning the balance was still poor, so we took some risks with the set-up for qualifying and they paid off. The balance was much better and that was a really good lap. Almost perfect."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (12th, +1.964s):
"There wasn't a lot I could do out there today. Unfortunately I've just found the car very difficult to drive all weekend. Yesterday we suffered from understeer and a lack of grip and those problems continued into this morning's practice sessions. In qualifying the track had changed a lot from this morning and it was very dusty and slippery for me going out so early. Those are the kind of conditions in which we have struggled the most. Tomorrow's another day and I will just do my best to gain ground in the race. If we can end the season in the points it would be a good result."

Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (13th, +2.365s):
“I was among the first cars out for qualifying and the track conditions were quite bad. It was dirty, which affected the car balance. Being out so early, I didn’t expect to have the same amount of grip that I had at the end of this morning’s Free Practice sessions, but still I was quite surprised by the lack of it. Anyway, it.s going to be an interesting race, especially because there are several places for overtaking here. The first corner will be crucial tomorrow as it’s a bit tricky but it’s technically good. I like this track very much.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (14th, +2.392s):
“I think the track had changed quite a lot for qualifying from how it was this morning. The car’s balance seemed out and there was a lot of oversteer, as soon as I turned in there was oversteer, meaning it wasn’t possible to do a clean lap. I’m not happy with my performance at all and from this position it’s going to be hard to do too much in the race tomorrow. But, I’ll be pushing hard and doing all I can to get more points for the team.”

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (15th, +2.627s):
“I did a very good qualifying lap even though I have lost a little bit of time compared to this morning. Nevertheless we are satisfied with the balance of the car today. I think we have also chosen the right Bridgestone tyre compound for the race. Hopefully we can have a good Grand Prix out of it tomorrow.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (16th, +2.708s):
"That was a pretty bad lap. We were struggling with the handling this morning so we made some changes with the tyre pressures and temperatures and things like that, and they didn't really work out this afternoon. The car was just sliding around all over the place."

Takuma Sato, BAR (17th, +3.003s):
"It was a very difficult lap for me, not least because I was the first driver out on track and the circuit was incredibly slippery - very different to the conditions we had in free practice this morning. We have done all the preparation that we could and, as this is my final qualifying session of the season and my last for the BAR Honda team, I am determined to keep pushing for a good result tomorrow to express my thanks to the team."

Christijan Albers, Minardi (18th, +5.025s):
"It wasn't a good qualifying session for us, and the track had changed a lot from this morning. We had an understeering car, and I also made several mistakes on the qualifying lap, so I'm not really happy with myself. Anyway, tomorrow is race day, and we'll work hard between now and then to try and achieve the best possible result."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (19th, +5.153s):
“We have decided to go on an optimum strategy for the race so obviously we have made a few changes to the car and adapted everything to that strategy. It was therefore a more difficult car to drive as both the car and the tyres reacted differently from this morning. It was a bit of a surprise but in the end our times are not too bad compared to our competitors. We know we have a good strategy for the race and I am looking forward to it. Hopefully if we get any opportunities we could score some more points at the end.”

Robert Doornbos, Minardi (20th, +5.380s):
"It's been a busy day in the Minardi garage, as we had a gearbox problem this morning that reduced our available track time. Even with only a few laps running, though, I was able to find a good balance in the car, so we felt we were in good shape for qualifying. The lap started out well, as the initial sector time was good, but then I lost almost a second in the last sector, so we'll have to find out what caused that. We'll check the data and aim to make up for today with a good performance in the race tomorrow."