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Qualifying One - selected driver quotes 05 Mar 2005

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 2 March 2005 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF105.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 4 March 2005 Felipe Massa (BRA) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 3 March 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari sneaks into the pitlane gantry.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 5 March 2005

Delighted or gutted? There were plenty of both...

It was a day of highs and lows in Melbourne where the weather played its joker in first qualifying. With a second session on Sunday morning and the times then aggregated, the grid is already looking very interesting indeed, with Michael Schumacher in 18th place.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (1st, 1m 33.171s):
“I did a very good lap in difficult conditions: the track was still damp in lots of places, and I had to push right to the limit without going over it. Running on dry tyres in the damp always makes it difficult to find enough grip, but the car was well balanced for my lap. I am looking forward to tomorrow; with the unusual order today, the second qualifying session and race will be very interesting.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (2nd, 1m 35.270s):
"I could not have asked for a better start to the new season with my new team than to be second quickest in what was a very hectic qualifying. We were lucky with the track conditions, but even though I had a benefit, it was still a quick lap compared to the runners who were out in similar conditions. We have been working on different testing in the practice sessions and the car has been strong. The performance is certainly there. With the new aggregate qualifying rule, we have a big advantage today, so I hope to translate that into points in tomorrow's race. But first we have second qualifying in the morning and as we have seen today, anything can happen."

Mark Webber, Williams (3rd, 1m 36.717s):
“It was a tricky session today, with the track actually changing before my eyes. Not typical Australian weather, really! Anyway I am happy with my lap and I am happy I put it behind me when the track was drying. It's been tough to get the car right for qualifying, as you've got to pick the right tyre, the right tyre pressures, the correct balance and one lap is not easy on anyone, neither drivers or engineers. In such conditions it's very easy to look stupid, if you get it wrong. I can say now I am halfway through my qualifying attempt I am going to sleep well tonight and will finish it off tomorrow.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (4th, 1m 36.984s):
"The weather made things pretty difficult for us today. When it was my turn it was a very tough decision which Michelin tyre to go for. It was a choice between intermediates and dries, so we went for the latter. As you saw, it was slippery on them during my out lap but I was fortunate not to hit anything when I spun. After that I wasn't too aggressive on my qualifying lap. It was pretty good, so in the end I guess it was our lucky day."

Christian Klien, Red Bull (5th, 1m 37.486s):
“In the final seconds before going out, it is always difficult to make your tyre choice in conditions like these. It was very wet and I was the eighth car out, but I made a late decision to go out on intermediates and think that was the right call. I went out not really knowing what to expect, but my lap was all right and I don’t think I made any mistakes. Obviously it is difficult to say whether the chassis balance was better than before but I was happy with the set-up given the conditions. But this is just the start. I’ll have to see how I do in tomorrow’s final qualifying. ”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (6th, 1m 38.320s):
“Although my position is good, my lap time was quite disappointing. My car had quite a lot of oversteer throughout the lap so I wasn't able to attack fully. If conditions had been like that during a test session I would have come straight back in, but obviously you don't have that luxury in qualifying – you just have to deal with it. Tomorrow is another day, though, and I'll do my best to finish and give the team some points in its first race.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (7th, 1m 39.717s):
“I wasn't happy with my lap because I went wide and consequently off track at turn 12, and lost quite some time there, but in hindsight I must admit it wasn't bad as the track was still dry. We decided to use intermediate tyres and that was definitely the right choice for the track conditions at that time. Let's see now what the weather conditions will be like tomorrow for the second qualifying.”

Jenson Button, BAR (8th, 1m 41.512s):
"The weather conditions haven't exactly given us the best start to the first qualifying session of the season. Judging by the way the weather turned again after my run I was luckier than I thought I would be. The car was very bad this morning when the track was damp and we were off the pace. We changed the rear-end for qualifying and it was a big improvement. The weather has thrown things slightly for us but at least we know we are heading in the right direction again. I won't make any predictions for tomorrow though because I'd say today has left everything wide open."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (9th, 1m 44.357s):
“Qualifying was a bit tricky for the rookies today as it was so slippery. I am happy with what I have done. Obviously I could have pushed a bit harder but I am learning step by step.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (10th, 1m 44.997s):
“Unfortunately my run was affected by the weather, and we are all disappointed as we have been looking strong so far this weekend. The gap to the front is too large for us to achieve any major improvement in the qualifying session tomorrow. However in the race anything can happen so we will see. At least we were the fastest of the cars in the last part of the qualifying session."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (11th, 1m 45.325s):
"That was a real shame for us today, and I think the only guy who is really happy is Fisichella. I did my best but it was so slippery out there and the car went sideways a couple of times. We will of course do our best tomorrow and despite probably having to start the race far down we should have a good chance, and as today has shown anything can happen."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (12th, 1m 45.481s):
"It was a tough day as it was difficult just to keep the car on the track. Myself and Michael faced the same problems, Michael even more than me. It will be impossible to recover all the lap time we have lost today in tomorrow's session. But we are in good shape. I think the new weekend format means that qualifying is less important in terms of its effect on the race and so I am still optimistic about our chances of getting a good result."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (13th, 1m 46.846s):
“It was quite tricky as you do not know what to expect and you have to push on your first lap out. However, the wet conditions were the same for everyone, but as a rookie it is not the easiest solution. I have made a few mistakes with braking and almost went out twice as I was pushing and trying to do my best.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (14th, 1m 47.708s):
“The conditions were almost impossible: even with full wet tyres, the car was aquaplaning on the straight and it continued raining until the end of my lap. I did my best to do a clean lap, but as I am likely to start in the lower half of the grid, it will be a difficult race.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (15th, 1m 49.230s):
"I made a couple of small mistakes on my run this afternoon, but I think it was not too bad for my first F1 qualifying session, particularly as the track was so wet. Despite the fact we have no experience with the full 2005 aero package, I felt it was okay in the running we did today. We can certainly work with it."

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (16th, 1m 50.864s):
"This is my first time at a Formula One race, and I have never done anything like it before. It was quite difficult, and I know I have a lot to learn. It is the first time we have run the car in full 2005 specification, added to which, it was raining and this is a new track to me. I particularly want to thank the guys - they did an awesome job to modify the car to 2005 specification in the time available. As far as my performance today is concerned, it is always possible to do better, but generally speaking, I am satisfied with what has been accomplished so far."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (17th, 1m 51.495s):
"It was a bit difficult today with the session turning into a real lottery for everyone. Some drivers got luckier than others and unfortunately I was one of the guys with the bad luck. The track was extremely wet and there was a lot of aquaplaning. With the new qualifying format and the huge difference in lap times, it could be that Giancarlo and Jarno will make up the front row of the grid tomorrow. Although it was a day to forget for me, it is obviously good for the team that Jarno has such a strong position ahead of the decisive qualifying in the morning."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (18th, 1m 57.931s):
"All I can say about today is that we were unlucky. The weather has so often played in my favour that I can accept it was not the case this time. I had seen the rain clouds approaching and I hoped they would stay away a bit longer, but it didn't happen and we only just had enough time to fit the normal rain tyres, when extreme wets would have been a better choice. Obviously this result will impact greatly on the race. All the same we will try and bring home some points or even something better. I don't think a podium is out of the question, but it will be very difficult. Who knows what the weather will bring tomorrow! The race is long and all we can do is try our best to remedy this situation."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (no time):
"There's not much to say. It was a clear decision to go for dry tyres by the time my turn came about, but it began to pour with rain literally as I came past the pits on my quick lap. It was very slippery, and of course there was no point to finish the lap. I just hope I am luckier in the race."

Takuma Sato, BAR (no time):
"It's been a very mixed day for us. The car stopped at the end of free practice with an electrical problem and the wet weather didn't help our progress. The track started to dry again early in the qualifying session but when it was time for me to leave the garage the rain started again and was very heavy. With intermediate tyres it was impossible to drive the car in those conditions. I tried my best in very difficult circumstances but there was nothing I could do. All I can do now is try my hardest from the back of the grid for the race on Sunday.”