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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 28 May 2005

Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005 Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005 (L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Williams talks with Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Motorsport Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, 28 May 2005

One man was delighted with the new qualifying format - maiden pole winner, Williams' Nick Heidfeld. But was everyone else quite as happy with their Saturday efforts at the Nurburgring?

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (1st, 1m 30.081s):
“It is fantastic to get my first pole position in Formula One after so many years, and it is even more to have achieved it here at my home Grand Prix in front of my supporters. There is not much more one could ask for. I didn’t do too much running yesterday and I was a bit concerned this would affect my performance today, but obviously we made the right tyre choice. This good result today shows Monaco was not a one-off and we are obviously working in the right direction. I am very much looking forward to the race.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd, +0.116s):
“I am pretty happy with my result as we have a strong position by starting from the front row. The track conditions during the qualifying session were not as good as in the morning. I know I have a good race car and our strategy should be good. Our performance and lap times throughout both practice days were consistent. However it is difficult to say where we are compared to the other teams in terms of fuel load. As long as I get a good start in the race we should be looking good to challenge for a win.”

Mark Webber, Williams (3rd, +0.287s):
“Thanks to everyone at WilliamsF1 and BMW who did an outstanding job again coming here well prepared on a circuit which is pretty different from Monaco where we succeeded last week. Again, being among the top three feels great. It will be a tough race tomorrow and we will see how our tyres behave, since we didn’t have much time yesterday to do our homework. We need a good start of course and we have a good strategy.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (4th, +0.619s):
"That was a good lap so I'm very happy. I pushed as hard as I could, made no errors and got everything out of the car. I put in some work yesterday and today on the balance of the car, and it felt very good during qualifying. We are also confident with our strategy for the race, so now I hope to be able to keep that form going and do a good race. It's good to have so much sun and hot weather here at the Nürburgring. The weather here is often a big factor in the race and while there could be thunderstorms we hope it stays good. It's great to have so many of the team here supporting us and it would be wonderful to get a good result so we can dedicate it to the whole team."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (5th, +0.809s):
“It was a not a bad lap, but I was suffering from low grip throughout, and I made a slight mistake in the high speed chicane which lost me three tenths of a second. As a result I qualified lower than expected, which is disappointing. After practice this morning we made some improvements to the set up of the car, and we have a strong strategy, so I am optimistic for a good race tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (6th, +0.975s):
“I did a good lap, the car balance was reasonable and we have had no problems today, so I am pleased. It was a little bit surprising to end up sixth after being among the fastest cars in practice this morning, especially as our day has run smoothly, so I think the difference between myself and pole is probably down to some different strategies. I am still confident for tomorrow, and we believe in the choices we have made. I will certainly be aiming for the podium.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (7th, +1.168s):
“This morning, I did not feel we were very competitive, but my qualifying lap was quite good, even if it could have been a bit better. But at least the balance of the car seems good. We definitely look better than last weekend, so now we must wait and see how our strategy plays out tomorrow afternoon.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (8th, +1.311s):
"We would have liked to have been a bit further forward but I had quite a bit of understeer and low grip generally, so that's why the lap time slipped away from me. I have been struggling all weekend to find a good balance. But it worked well on Jarno's car so we'll have to look at the data overnight and see the difference. Of course every race is important but with so many fans, team members and people from the factory here we'll do our best to convert this into a good result tomorrow. We'll have to see what the weather does, but we'll certainly be aiming for a good points finish and if possible the podium."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (9th, +1.485s):
“There was much less grip on the circuit this afternoon than in practice this morning, and I found it difficult to feel completely comfortable with the car, so I am not totally pleased with the lap. In light of that, I don’t think ninth is too bad a position, especially as I had to run early in the session. I think we have a good car for the race conditions tomorrow, so now we need to see how the strategies work out, and make the most of our pace in the race.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (10th, +1.504s):
“I want to congratulate Nick on his first F1 pole. It was a super lap and he deserves it. On my qualifying lap, I had a bit of understeer, especially in Turn 10 and lost some tenths there. As usual so far this season, I am looking forward to the race when we should be more competitive than today. It is hard for me to predict what we can expect tomorrow, because there have been times over this weekend when things did not look too promising. But the same can be said of Monaco and we had great race pace there, so I just plan to push hard and see what happens, trying to pick up as many points as possible.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (11th, +2.124s):
"I was very happy with my lap today. It was a good one, no mistakes, and the balance of the car was reasonable. It's very good to be in front of the Red Bulls and the BARs and we seem to be good in comparison to them, so now I hope that I will make good start and can stay ahead. Starting 11th we have a chance to fight for points, and that's exactly what I'll be doing."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (12th, +2.472s):
“We’re struggling a bit here. In Monte Carlo we had the advantage of knowing the circuit very well; but we’ll do what we can. The track conditions had changed since the morning. It seemed dirtier following the Porsche Supercup race and the track temperature had increased. I think it got up to 47°C, which can affect the car’s balance. We dropped some aero out of the car after this morning’s practice, but I still had some over-steer and locked up in to the hairpin. It’s always a compromise when you have fuel on board and such high temperatures. I don’t think we could have done anymore than be in front of the two BARs.”

Jenson Button, BAR (13th, +2.513s):
"It's not very much fun being one of the first cars out for the session. There was very little grip and the balance was not what we expected at all. It's a shame because in free practice this morning the car felt pretty good. We have to look now at what we can do for tomorrow but I am confident that we can make up some ground and be strong in the race."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (14th, +2.561s):
“The balance of the car felt very good until the last section when I had a problem braking in to the chicane. The rear locked and I lost a huge amount of time there, which killed my qualifying session a little. I’m disappointed, until that point we’d done a very good lap.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (15th, +2.810s):
"I knew that the car would be difficult on new tyres so our plan all along was to concentrate on the race set-up, and in particular being as strong as possible in the second half which is the one that really matters. I think I'm in reasonable shape for tomorrow."

Takuma Sato, BAR (16th, +2.845s):
"The track conditions were totally different to how they were when we finished free practice, so it was a very difficult qualifying session. I was the first car out on track and it was quite windy with a lot of dust on the circuit, which made it very slippery. I had very low grip which caused me to slide and run wide before the back straight, which cost me a lot of time. Apart from that, the car is performing well and we hope that we have a good package for the race tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to as I think we can be strong."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (17th, +4.966s):
“I am very happy with my qualifying lap, which was very clean with no mistake. I felt confident in the car so I was able to push really hard. We have made some changes with my engineers after the two sessions this morning and it was very helpful. I am now looking forward to driving tomorrow and I hope we will be able to finish the race and maybe be in the points.”

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (18th, +5.873s):
"Generally, I was quite happy with my lap. We were struggling a little bit this morning with one or two small problems on the car, but we made some changes, which enabled me to find a good balance. I think we're in a good position for tomorrow's race."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (19th, +6.111s):
“I was the third driver to go in qualifying this afternoon so the circuit was still very dusty. Moreover, the track temperature was very high, I think it was close to 50°C, therefore my car was quite difficult to drive. I have also made a small mistake, which cost me some time. Now we will focus on improving the car for my first race in Nurburgring tomorrow.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (20th, +6.158s):
"The fuel load we were carrying this afternoon meant the car had a little bit more understeer than I would have liked for the qualifying run. As a result, I ran wide in one spot and lost a little bit of time there. Even so, it was not a bad run, and I think we have a good strategy for tomorrow. We should have a good pace in the race."