First qualifying - selected driver quotes 21 May 2005
An eventful day in Monaco sees Kimi Raikkonen sitting pretty ahead of final qualifying. Less happy was Ralf Schumacher, the only man to put it into the wall. All 18 men explain their days work.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st, 1m 13.644s):
"I'm happy with my qualifying lap and the gap to the opposition. The car has been working well from the start of running so I knew we would be in with a good chance for provisional pole position. I could probably have gone even faster but was a little cautious at the Tabac corner where the track was still slightly slippery following Ralf Schumacher's accident and as a result I took a slightly different line. Pole position is always important but especially at Monaco, so we will continue to work hard to maintain our advantage. Well done to the entire team and let's continue our fight tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, +0.481s):
I am extremely happy with P2 after that session. The circuit conditions were unknown for me after Ralfs accident, because I did not have the chance to see anybody else run on the circuit before me as I was on my out lap when Jarno (Trulli) was qualifying. That meant it was a question of staying flat on the exit of Tabac and hoping the car got through, but it worked. The lap was quite good from my point of view and although the gap to Kimi is big, I am pleased to be on the front row because that is where you need to be at this circuit. We will have to see if there are areas to improve for tomorrow, but I am feeling confident in the cars performance and consistency.
Mark Webber, Williams (3rd, +0.940s):
I am definitely happy with my lap and to be in the top three again, even if the gap from Kimi is quite big. I was fourth fastest in the morning practice and I wasnt sure I could do as well in qualifying because the track conditions seemed to have deteriorated. But there you go! This good result is mainly down to the people back at the factories in Grove and in Munich, they have been pushing very hard to catch up and if you look at the top positions it is obvious that Michelin is providing their teams with great tyres.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th, +1.139s):
The circuit seemed a bit more slippery than it was this morning, and in the last corner, I had a lot of understeer which cost me at least three tenths of a second and put me behind the Williams of Webber. I am feeling confident for the race though: we know the car is quick over the long runs, and we were fast this morning on old tyres. I believe we will have a very competitive afternoon tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (5th, +1.484s):
The track conditions were a bit worse than this morning and I had to go out quite early but I still set a quicker lap. I struggled a bit with low grip in the first sector, but after that it was fine. The set up of my car was good. Monaco is my second favourite track after Suzuka, so I am confident we can do a good job here.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th, +1.545s):
"I'm happy that Ralf is okay after such a big accident. For me, though, it was tough to be the first driver out after an accident like that. Because of the wait it meant that the temperature of the track went down a lot. On my warm-up lap I also found that the track was dusty and slippery. I had no problems with my car but I didn't have enough faith to push as hard as usual, especially through the second sector. All in all, this was not a lucky day and it leaves us a bit further back than we would have liked. But tomorrow is another day, we have another qualifying session in the morning and we will hope to do our best to improve our position."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (7th, +1.685s):
Not bad, that was quite a tidy lap considering all the new parts that had to be fitted following this mornings incident with Montoya. He gesticulated at Ralph just before Turn three near the Casino, which ended in a multi-car pile up. I think that he should perhaps receive some sort of penalty for that. It can be difficult to start from the middle of the grid here, so I hope to move up the starting order tomorrow.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (8th, +2.277s):
"That was better than I expected. To begin with we changed the car quite a lot since Thursday, but otherwise we left the set-up alone as the day progressed. The balance was neutral, and it was just a matter of doing the laps and getting used to the car and the tyres, and then taking some risks. It was a hard lap but I didn't make any mistakes, so I'm happy so far."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (9th, +2.498s):
I had a good start to my lap, the balance of the car was reasonable, but the fact I did not make a run on new tyres this morning meant I did not have a feel for them straight away. We knew we would be struggling particularly here at Monaco with our one lap performance a problem that has been with us all season. This is not a problem that we can sort overnight, even if the work we have done has seen us improve by tenths of a second at a time. But this is not a disaster: I have won with Ferrari in the past, I have lost with Ferrari in the past and we will win again. I dont think we can improve much in second qualifying, but we know that in the race, after fighting for grip on the opening lap, we will have a strong package.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (10th, +2.542s):
This was definitely not a good session for us and obviously, I am disappointed. This morning we were only about 0.7 to 0.8 too slow, but this afternoon the gap was much bigger. We know we are not so good when it comes to our one lap performance and the fact I went out quite early in the session meant the track was very slippery and so it was even more of a handicap. Tomorrows qualifying will probably be the same situation, with little chance to improve. However, in race trim the car is much better and we will have to see what strategy we can come up with to make the most of that fact. In general terms, we just have to keep working hard to improve.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (11th, +2.574s):
"I couldn't run a fast lap with new tyres until I went out this afternoon, and to be honest I wasn't 100 percent confident. I couldn't get a feel for the level of grip at times and that was just enough to make the difference. It would have been very easy to make a significant mistake and damage the car. But from where I am it is still possible to fight, both in qualifying and the race tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (12th, +3.173s):
Unfortunately it was not so good being first out on the track. The road surface was really, really dirty and it was quite difficult. Im not so happy with my time and think it was quite slow compared to those that I set this morning. For sure, Ill be looking to make up some positions on the grid tomorrow.
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (13th, +4.930s):
"I think it was not a bad lap. I made a couple of small mistakes, but generally, it was pretty good. We've been able to get in front of the Jordans today, and I hope we are now able to stay in front of them for the rest of the weekend. The guys have again done a really good job, so thanks to them for all their efforts."
Christijan Albers, Minardi (14th, +5.585s):
"I'm not as happy as I could be, since I lost time against Patrick on the qualifying run, but I think it's due, at least in part, to not having as much time on the track. I lost time in the practice sessions on Thursday and this morning with technical problems, so all things considered, there's not really that much between us. I'm also happy that we were able to improve the set-up of the car steadily, and as a result, I was able to improve my lap times with each run. We'll hope to carry on with the improvement tomorrow."
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (15th, +5.764s):
We struggled a bit with the balance and the set-up here and it is quite tricky in street circuits if your car is not well balanced. However, we will now analyse the gathered data and I think we will go in the right direction for the race tomorrow. The race is very long in Monaco so everything is possible.
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (16th, +5.830s):
I had problem warming up the tyres this afternoon and I also struggled because I missed quite a lot of running on Thursday after I made a small mistake and touched the barrier. This is my first time on this demanding and challenging circuit so I find it difficult to familiarise myself. However, I will push very hard tomorrow and try not to make any mistake during the race.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (17th, no time):
"First of all I would like to apologise to the whole Panasonic Toyota Racing team for my mistake today. They have done a great job throughout the whole weekend and I'm sorry that they have no result to show for it. The car was fine around the lap but I clipped the inside of the barrier at Tabac with my left front wheel, which sent me into the other side of the barriers. Thankfully I'm perfectly okay. I got out of the car without any trouble and I have no other problems. But it's been a bad weekend for me and it means that we will be starting from the back tomorrow. Monaco is the hardest race on the calendar to pass but I will give everything to try and end the weekend on a better note."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (18th, time deleted):
"A decent qualifying lap, but I suffered from lack of grip through Casino Square and slid a bit. However our Michelin tyre should be excellent in the race and in general the car is working really well here. It should be an interesting session tomorrow. Our target now is to improve our place on the grid in order to get a good starting position. A lot of people have been asking about the incident in this morning's second practice session. Basically I slowed down to avoid hitting Ralf and tried to move out of the way because I knew Villeneuve was behind me."