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Qualifying One - selected driver quotes 02 Apr 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, First Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR (Right).
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, First Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2005 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB1 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, First Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2005 Tiago Monteiro (POR) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, First Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2005

They are making a habit of it – former team mates Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli battled it out for top honours in Saturday’s first qualifying session. Meanwhile, the new Ferrari F2005 gave Michael Schumacher his best result of the season so far in third.

Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 29.848s):
“The R25 was handling very well on my timed lap, and the Michelin tyres had a very strong level of performance. On the tyre side, this performance is the confirmation that they are competitive in very different conditions, on contrasting types of circuit; it also shows this is true for our chassis-engine package. I lost some time in the final corner, but I still had some margin: I will need to push the car even more tomorrow morning in order to maintain the gap.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (2nd, +0.145s):
"Another excellent result, not only for myself, but for the whole team, who have again performed magnificently. We have showed that if we perform consistently over the weekend, then we can be right up there when it counts. We have to keep up this pace tomorrow. The car is better than in yesterday's sessions, but it is still not entirely to my driving style with some oversteer, which lost me some time over the lap. All in all, we are pleased with second and hope to have a replay of our Malaysian success in tomorrow's race."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd, +0.389s):
“It is fair to say that Malaysia gave us a wake up call and I must thank the team for the great effort it has made to move the new car schedule forward. It was important to have it here in Bahrain because of the new engine rule. All the work has paid off, we are back near the top and the gap to the two guys ahead of me is quite reasonable. We and Bridgestone seem to be back on track. So far this season we have been off the pace in qualifying and a bit better in the race. Now, we are reasonable in qualifying and our race pace seems good too. Over the course of all the practice sessions here we have made steady progress with the car-tyre package.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (4th, +0.542s):
“Not too bad, really. I didn’t make any mistakes on my qualifying lap and I have earned myself a good starting position for tomorrow’s second qualifying. After Mark was quickest this morning I thought we could really make it in to the top few positions for first qualifying. I know we have a good car and also our Michelin tyres have proved to be very consistent so far. Yesterday we achieved some good long runs and I think we can have a strong race tomorrow. It will be a tough one, because I cannot remember any race where it was so hot, really.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, +0.597s):
“It is not too bad to finish fifth, because I was only the seventh car out this afternoon. The track was very dirty early on, particularly in turns 4 and 8, which cost me time. I also lost out in the final corner a little, where the wind was destabilising the cars. However, I have found a good car balance for the race and we know the R25 will be competitive. I hope I can keep my position in the second session.”

Mark Webber, Williams (6th, +0.744s):
“The track conditions changed significantly from the morning sessions and the circuit was much slower when I went out for my qualifying lap. It was very hot and a bit windy, but still I put in a good lap. The team has done a very good job both in terms of providing new parts and by finding a good balance. The timing gap between the cars is very tight, which means that we cannot afford to make any mistakes in tomorrow’s final qualifying. We could then aim to achieve a very good grid position.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (7th, +0.746s):
"The lap started well, however I lost a lot of time in the final sector when I ran wide in the final corner. Finishing seventh was not ideal and means that I have some work to do in second qualifying and the race. However I am happy with the car and I expect more to come tomorrow."

Christian Klien, Red Bull (8th, +0.798s):
“My lap was ok and I made no mistakes. I ran with the same set-up I had used this morning and the car performed as I expected and the balance was quite good. But the track seemed to have less grip than in the morning. Overall, I am pleased with this performance. Now we must wait and see what we can do tomorrow. It’s looking good!”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (9th, +0.877s):
"The track was very slippery as a lot of dust had blown onto the circuit during the break. Being the first driver out was a disadvantage, which was made worse by the windy conditions. However, I felt that the lap itself was good, and that we will be competitive tomorrow."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (10th, +1.085s):
"That was a good lap. When you consider our strategy I am very happy with it. I didn't make any mistakes. I was a little worried about qualifying, to be honest, but we made a big step forward with the car since this morning and I went quicker even though it was hotter, so I'm feeling good. We know we are going to be stronger in the race, so I hope I can keep close to this place in second qualifying and then be in a position to fight hard tomorrow afternoon."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (11th, +1.104s):
"That was a very disappointing qualifying session. I lost almost a second of time due to oversteer at the entry of turn eight on my qualifying lap and that has resulted in only 11th place heading into tomorrow's decisive session. The car is quick here and the Michelin tyres are working well, so it is somewhat frustrating not to have been able to convert our competitiveness from this morning. Nevertheless, I am happy for Jarno and the team for scoring another strong second place."

Jenson Button, BAR (12th, +1.109s):
"It was a reasonable lap, but the track is so hot and there is very little grip. At turn 8 I had a little bit of oversteer so I lost some time there but generally, given the timing of our qualifying slot and the relative track conditions, there was little opportunity to improve on my time. We will have to see what tomorrow's final qualifying brings but it seems that we will start the race from the middle of the grid. Hopefully the car will be as strong as it was when we started the race in Malaysia and if we can stay reliable then we should be able to finish in the points."

Takuma Sato, BAR (13th, +1.265s):
"It was a bit difficult to achieve good stability because we were one of the early runners on a dusty track, and because of the wind, especially when I was braking under the tail wind. It is also incredibly hot out there! The balance was much better today and obviously I achieved a lot more running than yesterday, so I am happier in the car and looking forward to tomorrow's final session and then a stronger race."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th, +1.363s):
“I still was not too happy with the balance of the car and even before I started my flying lap, I ran a bit wide at the last corner. I also had a problem with my shift in that I was not getting the light to tell me when to change gear. So it wasn’t the best of sessions, but I am not going to let that bother me as there’s a long season ahead. We had four free practice sessions building up to this afternoon, so now we must try and improve in final qualifying.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (15th, +1.978s):
“Qualifying was a shot in the dark, given that I had only done a few laps yesterday morning. I made a mistake at the first corner and locked my wheels, losing quite a lot of time. Track condition seems different to last year and, not having done any running, I was not in a position to get the most out of qualifying. But all things considered, it was not too bad and the car confirmed the first impressions I had formed yesterday. Tomorrow will be a long, tough race and I am convinced we have the potential to do well.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (16th, +2.470s):
"A very disappointing qualifying, after the progress we made this morning. The car was going a lot better for me then than at the previous races, but I picked up a lot of understeer on my qualifying lap and couldn't complete it without going wide in the last corner. Like I said, very disappointing."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (17th, +.342s):
“My lap was good in general but the air and track temperatures were very high so it will be interesting to see what will happen during the race. I really enjoyed driving on this circuit as there are lot of straights and stops. Now I am looking forward to racing tomorrow and I hope we will finish the race again.”

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (18th, +3.576s):
“It is very tricky to get everything together in only one qualifying lap, especially for a rookie. I do not seem to be pushing at the limit at the moment and I should push harder. I have to improve a couple of small things and I am sure it will come with experience. I will practice qualifying laps a lot when we are back in Europe. Now I am closer to Narain compared to Melbourne and Sepang, so I am definitely getting better.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (19th, +4.157s):
“During the last race, in Malaysia, we had a good car in terms of race set-up, but we were just missing the one flying lap in qualifying – we simply couldn’t get it together in terms of grip level. This weekend, we have been focusing a little bit on the single flying lap, and it has yielded results today. I’m pleased, and I think it was quite a good lap. The track was also slower this afternoon than it was in this morning’s practice sessions, but comparatively speaking, we didn’t lose as much time in the qualifying run as some of the others.”

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (20th, +5.000s):
“It wasn’t a bad qualifying run – I just had a bit of understeer and made a few little mistakes during the lap. I think we can improve on the time tomorrow, so we are not looking bad for the race. The guys did a really good job because they had quite a bit of work to do between free practice and qualifying, so I would like to say thanks to them.”