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Qualifying One - selected driver quotes 23 Apr 2005

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren (Left).
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice, Imola, Italy, 22 April 2005 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Preparations, Imola, Italy, 21 April 2005 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari on his scooter.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Imola, Italy, 23 April 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Imola, Italy, 23 April 2005

McLaren give championship leaders Renault something to think about, as their other rivals also close the performance gap. The men in the cockpit explain their afternoon's work at Imola.

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st, 1m 19.886s):
"The car has felt really good all weekend here. I pushed as hard as I could, and I am pleased to finally have completed a good qualifying lap. The car suits this circuit better than the previous tracks. It will now be interesting to see how the fuel loads of the competition will influence qualifying and the race tomorrow. However I feel positive as we have demonstrated this year that we are strong in the race."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, +0.003s):
“We prepared for the race a little bit differently this weekend, not running many laps, but everything was ready for qualifying. Historically, this has been quite a tough track for our team and so it is a nice surprise to be not only competitive, but fighting for pole position. Looking at our rivals, it's not just McLaren and Ferrari that we need to take into account, but Williams and BAR too who looked very fast today – and will be tomorrow as well, I am sure.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd, +0.374s):
“I am very pleased with my lap time this afternoon, especially considering I went out quite early in the running order and given that, if we have a slightly weak spot, it is in the one lap performance. But it is clear we have improved in this area. Everyone in the team was very motivated to work hard having seen the performance potential of the F2005 in Bahrain and today’s performance is a result of all their hard work. I think we can be in the fight for the win on Sunday, It will be tight and tough, but the opportunity is there.”

Mark Webber, Williams (4th, +0.556s):
“I am pleased to have set the fourth fastest time. From my perspective, I didn’t make any mistakes across the lap, but I could have done better in the first sector because I feel I braked too early for turn one, but I had a very good last sector, which balanced the lap. Thanks to the team who did a great job and prepared my car really well.”

Jenson Button, BAR (5th, +0.578s):
"I am reasonably happy considering the position we started in for qualifying. My lap was going really well until the last sector, when I had too much understeer. At least it has shown that we are have made some big improvements and are on the pace. It would have nice to be on pole here, but if we are in the top five tomorrow I will be very happy because I think the car is strong enough for us to make the best of every opportunity in tomorrow's race."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th, +0.606s):
"That was a pretty good qualifying session for me, and I managed to put together a clear lap to keep up my record of top six finishes from first qualifying this year. Obviously we knew this would be a tougher weekend than the last two races, but we are still in a strong position on a very tight grid. Now we hope to capitalize on that tomorrow so that we can add a few more points to my season's tally so far."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (7th, +0.707s):
“I’m really, really happy with the work the team has been doing on the car, which has improved a lot since Bahrain. I’m also really satisfied with my lap. It was clean and I didn’t make any mistakes, so we were able to show our true potential. But I’m very disappointed that we had to change the engine last night, so I have to lose 10 grid places. That’s very frustrating. Without that I think I could have made an excellent race. But, even starting so far back, I think it will still be possible to do a good job, and even to dream of points.”

Alexander Wurz, McLaren (8th, +0.746s):
"I was very happy with my lap today as I did not make any mistakes. Unfortunately I was at a disadvantage as I was going out very early in the session when the track was very slippery. As a result my time was not as quick as the one I had previously achieved this morning. However I am confident that I can improve in tomorrow's qualifying and race as our set up suits this circuit well."

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (9th, +0.921s):
“I had to go out quite early for my qualifying lap, when track conditions were not ideal. My lap was average but I lost a bit of grip towards the end, but it was reassuring that I didn’t experience any back problems at all today. I feel that my muscles have fully recovered after the problem I experienced during testing.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (10th, +0.965s):
"We had good pace in free practice this morning. We knew we were going to be affected by running early in the session with the track conditions certain to improve for the drivers running later. Although I struggled with grip a little, I am reasonably pleased with my lap and everybody's lap time in the top ten is so close together. Because of this, I feel that tomorrow morning I have a good chance of improving my position on the grid for the race. The two weeks' testing in Barcelona and Paul Ricard is paying off though and we are confident that we will be able to get our season started here in Imola."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (11th, +1.006s):
“We have made a major step forward compared with Bahrain, both in terms of development of the F2005 and the Bridgestone tyres. We are definitely more competitive in relation to the others. On new tyres for qualifying, I was not as happy with the balance of the car as I had been in this morning’s free practice on old ones. There is not much of a time difference between me and those directly ahead of me, so I still have the possibility of moving further up the grid order.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (12th, +1.108s):
"That was a very tight qualifying session. It was obviously not a perfect lap from me, and it ended up slightly slower than I would have liked. I took it slightly easy in the first sector, but apart from that it was a pretty clear lap with no real mistakes so we will have to take a look at the data to try and see where we lost time. Nonetheless I think our car performs well whatever the fuel load so I'm looking forward to the race and confident that we can push and make the points. That would be a good way to keep up our strong form so far this year.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (13th, +1.113s):
“This was a much better qualifying than I’ve had so far this year (Melbourne apart), and the new aerodynamic parts that the team has brought here have made a big improvement. Together with more work on the mechanical and electronic side, the car is a lot better. I made a small mistake which cost me a couple of tenths, and the way that things were this afternoon that cost me a couple of positions, but overall it was a much better day.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th, +1.746s):
“Not really a good one this afternoon. I was a bit cautious going into Turn 1, because Tonio had said he picked up some understeer there and if you overshoot there, you can lose about half a second. So although the rest of the lap wasn’t too bad, I’d already lost the time. Generally, we seem to be struggling a bit here. On a more positive note, it’s fantastic that the team has secured a Ferrari engine deal for 2006.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (15th, +1.822s):
“We haven't found an explanation yet in the data, but going into turn 15, the rear brakes locked and that caused major oversteer - I did everything the same as in practice, braking in the same place, so I don't think it was a mistake, but we are not sure yet. Obviously, it is very disappointing, because we know the car can be quick here, so I am hoping for a much better day tomorrow and some points.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (16th, +1.918s):
“I am reasonably happy with my lap, but as I was going out first the track was really dirty. In the first chicane it was difficult and the car was tricky to stop when braking. But for the rest of the track it was good. I was quite happy but unfortunately we are too slow and also I actually think I might have lost half a second because of the dirt. ”

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (17th, +3.237s):
“The track here at Imola is quite tricky as you need to use the kerbs a lot if you want to make a quick lap. I have lost a bit of time in the first sector but otherwise I think I did a decent lap. We have made some progress and if we keep making similar steps, we will improve. I am pretty positive for the rest of the weekend and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (18th, +5.214s):
“I am a bit disappointed with my lap. I made a few mistakes this morning in both free practice sessions and I lost maybe 40 minutes of running which would have been very useful. The car felt different with new tyres and low fuel so I had to get used to it while still pushing. Otherwise I am happy with the progress we have made on the car even though I have some catch up to do tomorrow.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (19th, +6.035s):
"I'm a little bit annoyed with myself, as I made quite a few mistakes on the qualifying lap this afternoon, but I'm happy that we've been going quicker every time out so far this weekend. There is no doubt we have made progress with the car, which certainly felt better today with the changes we made, and I think we should be able to go quicker again tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the race, which hopefully, we'll be able to finish, and to next week's test, when we will aim to find more time in the car. Finally, I just want to thank the guys again. They've been working some really long shifts, and it's impossible to say too much about the huge effort they've been putting in."

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (20th, +6.598s):
"We found a little more grip today, and the car felt good. I think it has a lot of potential even though, so far, we have done such a small amount of running. There is more work to do on the set-up, but we are definitely heading in the right direction. As for the qualifying lap this afternoon, everything was going well until I slid slightly wide at the last chicane. If not for that, I think we would have had a reasonable time. Tomorrow is another day, though, and our aim will be to have a good second qualifying session and to finish the race."