Qualifying one - selected driver quotes 07 May 2005
It could not have been closer - only a second covering the top ten and less than a tenth between the top four. The drivers give their verdicts on a thrilling first qualifying session in Barcelona.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (1st, 1m 14.795s):
"I'm delighted to be on provisional pole, and especially so because this is the first time Panasonic Toyota Racing has managed the feat. My lap was nice and clear but I must say I'm surprised to have taken such a perfect result. I was struggling to find grip this morning, but in the end things went much better in qualifying. I have no doubt that the race will be hard tomorrow as the front of the grid is so tight, but we will do our very best to convert this result into pole position tomorrow morning. Then I will give everything I have in the race."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, +0.016s):
It was a special qualifying session for me, to be competing in front of all the fans and see their support around the lap today. In the car, I made a couple of small mistakes on my timed lap, so I am pleased to be in the top three for tomorrow morning and, probably, the race. There was a little more grip out there than I had expected, so I am encouraged because the car has the potential to be faster. But it has felt good all weekend, and I think we are set up well for tomorrow in second qualifying and the race, when I will be able to attack even more.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd, +0.024s):
"A pretty good result considering that we started quite early in the session. I'm upset as I made a mistake at Turn Two by going wide and I lost probably around half a second - without that we would have been quickest. However it's tomorrow where it really counts and I can't wait. The car has been working well and we have the pace so with a strong lap we should be in with a chance of a good starting position."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (4th, +0.075s):
"I'm happy with my lap, which was good and clear. Perhaps I was a bit too cautious in the windy final sector, but to finish so close to the front is great news. I ended up only 75 thousandths of a second off pole, so I can't complain! In the end, it could have gone either way but even though I am not on provisional pole I am still confident looking ahead to tomorrow. The performance is there, the car is there, the tyres are there and I'm very confident with the car on race fuel. So now I will look to capitalise on this good start in the race. Tomorrow's another day and that's what counts."
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (5th, +0.243s):
I am happy with my lap today, although I didnt push flat out knowing that I will have to start my race from the back. With regards to the set-up of my car, it was much better in qualifying compared to this mornings free practice sessions. Since we have known that I will have to start from the back we have concentrated even more on race set-up and I am quite confident that we have the potential for a strong race tomorrow. We are going to try our best on Sunday but its not going to be easy starting from the back.
Mark Webber, Williams (6th, +0.247s):
I had a pretty clean lap notwithstanding that this place is incredibly sensitive to the wind. Anyway, its the same for everyone else. I didnt have any running at all yesterday, due to the engine issue and of course I would have preferred to have put a few more laps under my belt in order to get better prepared for the race, but thats what Ive got and 6th is not too bad. Since they laid the new tarmac, this is a different Barcelona circuit to what we were used to in the past. Its pretty good and a lot easier on the tyres compared to what we had before.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (7th, +0.603s):
It was a reasonable performance in this qualifying session. I was looking strong in the first sector, but then lost about four tenths in the last two. If we look at my pace this morning, it is obvious we have made up some ground this afternoon, closing the gap to the others. Whatever happens in final qualifying, this is not the ideal position on the grid. So we will have to rely on our race performance. I am much happier with that and I think we are much more competitive in race trim. It is fair to say, we are still struggling with our single lap performance.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (8th, +0.806s):
I did a clean lap, maybe a little conservative, but the important thing for me was to make up positions and get into the top eight. I think things will be better tomorrow morning - Heidfeld will lose positions with his penalty, and Michael (Schumacher) is only two tenths ahead of me, so I hope I can climb up into the top six in qualifying. For the race, we have a good pace in longer runs and a good set-up for tomorrow afternoon. The podium is a long way to go from eighth, but I certainly think I can score a good points finish.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (9th, +0.951s):
Obviously, Im a bit disappointed that we had to change the engine on my car before this qualifying session. The car seemed to be difficult to drive over the one quick lap even though the balance of the car was quite good. The situation was not helped by the fact I made my run in the early part of the session. I think the car is good in race trim, although of course I will be losing ten places on the grid, which will make life difficult. It is a similar situation to Imola in some ways, in that we seem to struggle in qualifying, but on old tyres in the race, I am sure we will be much stronger.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, +1.000s):
I was a bit too cautious in the final sector of my lap, so I think I could have got another half second out of the car. We have done a slightly better job in qualifying here than we did in Imola, but I think we still need to get more out of the cars potential. That is the only way for us to move forward. Having said that, I am reasonably comfortable with the race balance for tomorrow.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (11th, +1.068s):
"I had a good lap and the balance was okay, a bit of understeer here and some oversteer there, probably because of the wind, but nothing too bad. With a similar performance in tomorrow's final qualifying I think we can do a good job in the race."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (12th, +1.107s):
"It's always a disadvantage to be one of the first cars out on the track as the conditions will improve throughout the session. My engineer actually said earlier today that we would be lucky to be in the top ten. It was my first run on new tyres and the circuit had changed from this morning, particularly the direction of the wind and I had a lot of understeer. However there is another qualifying session in the morning and I think we will be in a good position for the race. I'm feeling fine and have experienced no problem with my shoulder and am looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (13th, +1.493s):
Qualifying did not go too well for me. I had a problem with the brakes at turn 10. We changed something on the brakes before the session and it obviously did not do the job. Also, I locked the car in the hairpin and went straight otherwise the car was not too bad. But I think it will be very difficult for us tomorrow, in terms of moving up the grid. We will have to wait and see how the race pans out.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (14th, +1.999s):
"The balance of the car was not too bad this afternoon, so really I expected to be faster. Sometimes this season it's been a problem for me getting the best out of the tyres over a single lap, but the gap was quite big today. The car felt okay but that grip situation seemed to be a little bit extreme here, so I'm mystified."
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (15th, +3.762s):
It has not been my quickest lap since the beginning of the weekend but I am nevertheless still satisfied. It was a bit difficult to warm up the tyres, but then the car balance was ok. The race tomorrow will be very exciting, as all drivers know the Circuit de Catalunya quite well and I hope we will finish the race in a good position.
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (16th, +4.245s):
The car was different to drive compared to this morning as the track temperature was warmer, but I did a good lap. I am sure that we have chosen the right Bridgestone tyres and the right car set-up for tomorrows race. Now we have to put together the different bits that we have learnt and see where we can improve.
Christijan Albers, Minardi (17th, +4.768s):
"It was a reasonable qualifying lap, even though we had some understeer. It is also a satisfying result, as we had some bad luck yesterday and this morning. Everyone is working really hard, and we are definitely going in the right direction - I think we will have a good car for the race."
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (18th, +5.511s):
"I'm not so happy with qualifying, as I was more than a second quicker in free practice this morning. I had more understeer for this afternoon's run and there just wasn't enough grip, so I couldn't really push the car hard in the way I would have liked. We'll have to see if we can improve tomorrow."