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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 02 Jul 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault and Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault Team Principal celebrate pole position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota signs autographs for fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005

Despite the topsy-turvy running order produced by the Indianapolis result it was business as usual at Magny-Cours, with Renault, Toyota and Ferrari all putting in serious challenges for pole.

Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1st, 1:14.412
“I am delighted to be on pole, for the second time at this circuit, which I love. Even more, I am very pleased do it here in France for the team and all our supporters. The car has felt really good all weekend, after our work in testing last week in Jerez, and the balance was very stable on my lap, so I could attack all the way without any mistakes. Looking to tomorrow, I know that we have a good chance to improve the situation in the championship as Kimi will be starting quite far back, so I will be trying to score as many points as possible – but I also expect Ferrari, Toyota and McLaren to be very fast. This weekend, there are 6,000 people here from all over Renault, so it will be an important race. I hope we can deliver a good performance!”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 2nd, +0.109 seconds
"It's great to be starting on the front row again. I'm very happy with my lap because it was very clean and very quick. The car has been handling well all day, which I have to say was a bit of a surprise. Yesterday I wasn't very happy with my set-up, and we were struggling. But we changed that all around this morning, found a new direction and found a much stronger grip level. The car is working well now. This morning we were quite competitive on the long runs too so I think we can be strong in the race. Everything is certainly looking good so far."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 3rd, +0.147 seconds
(receives ten place grid penalty for engine chance, will start 13th)

"It will be a tough race starting from 13th as a result of my penalty due to an engine change. The lap was OK. The car is working well, and there is really nothing more to do than wait for tomorrow to see what we can achieve in the race. I'm confident that we have a competitive package and a strong strategy, so points and even a podium are not out of reach."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 4th, +0.160 seconds
“We felt we could do well here and I will now be starting from third on the grid which is a good position, even though I had hoped to be fighting for pole. Even so, this is a better position than we have found ourselves in at most of the races so far this season. The important thing is that we are looking good in race trim and so I expect we will have a strong pace tomorrow afternoon. It will be a tough race and it will be interesting to see how the various strategies work out. Let’s wait and see.”

Takuma Sato, BAR, 5th, +0.243 seconds
"I enjoyed my lap today and the car performed well. We have split the Renaults and the McLarens, so that is a real bonus for the team. I am very happy for everyone who has worked extremely hard in the run-up to this weekend and for carrying over the momentum from the last two races to this high downforce and very different circuit. It puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow and I am really looking forward to being on the second row of the grid and right in the middle of the action."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 6th, +0.420 seconds
“I had a really nice lap during which I pushed to the limit and I am happy with my performance. The only problem I had was a bit of graining on my front tyres towards the end of the lap. We did not see this happen in the morning so it was unexpected and I had to lift off a bit in Turn 13 because I had understeer and that lost me a bit of time. I said we could have a good race if we qualified in the top three rows and here we are, so I can be optimistic for tomorrow.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 7th, +0.475 seconds
“Obviously, I am a little bit disappointed with my position. The first and second sectors were quite good for me, but then I lost three or four tenths in the last corners, which put me further down the grid. Even so, I know we have a very strong car for the race tomorrow, so I am still feeling confident.”

Jenson Button, BAR, 8th, +0.639 seconds
"It was a reasonable lap and I think I did all I could to get the most from the car today. The circuit is in much better shape than it was this morning and the times are reasonably good for a qualifying session. I think that we are in a good position for tomorrow and that we can have a competitive race from where we are starting on the grid, as the car has been performing well this weekend."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren, 9th, +0.994 seconds
"My lap time pretty much matches what I did during practice. I haven't had the pleasure of starting late in the qualifying session this year which always makes it more challenging. However, so far I have always been able to improve in the race. I think I can have a strong Grand Prix as the car is behaving well, and our strategy should be good. The temperature tomorrow is predicted to be a lot higher, which will influence things and hopefully help us."

Felipe Massa, Sauber, 10th, +1.154 seconds
“That was not too bad, I think. I’m happy not just that I have a reasonable fuel strategy, but also that we have the right tyre choice for the race. I was a bit concerned about getting the best out of the tyres over one lap, but that was fine and with a top 10 start I believe I can have a strong race. The car is very good over long runs, and now I just need to make a good start. We have good pace for tomorrow.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber, 11th, +1.287 seconds
“Qualifying went very well for me, and I was faster than I expected to be. Considering my strategy, I’m happy to be within a tenth of Felipe. In the first high-speed complex I’ve had understeer all weekend, but on my qualifying lap suddenly there wasn’t any. I had been expecting it, so I could actually have gone a little quicker had I known the car was going to be neutral through there, but elsewhere over the lap, apart from maybe saving a tenth under braking, there was nothing more to come. The car went really well. It was a good lap and I’m pleased with it, especially as I got the tyres nicely warmed, I’m in the top 10 and we have a good race strategy. It wasn’t an aggressive one, so to be in the top 10 with a normal strategy bodes well for the race.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 12th, +1.359 seconds
"It was a pity that I locked up on my way into the Adelaide hairpin because that lost me half a second. Apart from that, it was a reasonably clear lap and it was good to gain a few places despite going out first when the track was at its most slippery. Now we have to look forward to tomorrow and try and gain some more points out of the race, as I have often managed this year from similar positions."

Mark Webber, Williams, 13th, +1.473 seconds
“We have been trying to make the car go faster every session, but clearly we don’t have the pace to be at the front here. The car is reliable and doesn’t feel too bad, which is clearly positive, but this weekend so far has been a tough one for us. It’s a shame but we will now work hard for tomorrow in order to try and get some points. I hope our strategy will pay off in the race.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams, 14th, +1.795 seconds
“I would have thought we’d been a bit quicker today. The car felt good yesterday, especially in the high-speed corners, but we are not satisfied with our lap times. My qualifying lap was all right, even though I went out very early when the track was still slow. We should be stronger in the race, as has been the case at some other races this season, and this is what I hope for tomorrow. Also the weather for Sunday looks favourable for us, since higher temperatures are expected, and this should help our tyres.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull, 15th, +2.022 seconds
“I’m disappointed. I was hoping to produce a quicker time, something in the one minute 15s, but that’s all we could achieve today. The track was a little greasy this morning, so I was being cautious. I dropped a couple of tenths of a second in the first sector, but where I really lost time was Turn eight, the downhill left-hander. The car felt more slippery on the track there than it had done this morning. The balance of the car has been working well all weekend, but we’ve been struggling to overcome some aggressive understeer.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull, 16th, +2.135 seconds
“I lost about half an hour of track time yesterday when I had an accident and damaged the car’s new aerodynamic package. Luckily the team was able to drive new parts over from the UK, but as the guys were still working on the car this morning, I didn’t drive in today’s third practice. The team did a great job, but after losing so much track time, I don’t feel as though I’m pushing to the limit through the high-speed corners yet. My lap time was reasonable I’d say and the balance of the car felt good, but my time is a little behind David’s. We’ll just have to see what we can do in the race tomorrow.“

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan, 17th, +3.445 seconds
“My time was ok, I think. I have made some mistakes, which cost me a little bit of time but generally it was a clean lap. We worked hard on the balance of the car and I am quite satisfied with the set-up we have found. Now we have to wait and see for the race tomorrow.”

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi, 18th, +3.548 seconds
"I'm happy with today's qualifying. We did a good job and the car worked well apart from a slight problem with the downshift, which cost me a little bit of time. Generally, though, I'm pleased with the lap and with our prospects for the race tomorrow."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan, 19th, +3.635 seconds
“It was a rather good lap, my best of the weekend so far. We have had so many problems since yesterday, which delayed the programme we wanted to follow and limited my track time. Therefore I did not really know what to expect from the car. However, I have pushed really hard and I am satisfied with my time. It was also different to run later in the session as the track was definitively cleaner, I hope we will be able to do this again in the season.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi, 20th, +3.923 seconds
"It was a reasonable qualifying lap, although not perfect, and there were two oversteering moments that lost me time. I think we have a good strategy for tomorrow, however, so as usual, it will be maximum attack in the race."