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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 23 Jul 2005

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 23 July 2005 Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 23 July 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 23 July 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 23 July 2005

It was a thrilling session to watch, but what was it like to drive?

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st, 1m 14.320s):
"I am happy to be on pole which is the position that the team deserves after all the hard work. Surprisingly the car wasn't handling as well as in free practice this morning. My qualifying performance wasn't perfect as I had a short moment when I slid a little too much at the second to last corner due to oversteer. Anyway it's good to start from pole position, but I expect a tough race tomorrow. Unfortunately Juan Pablo has to start from the back following his off. Obviously I would have liked him to start from the front row to make it the optimum result for the team today, but that is motor racing."

Jenson Button, BAR (2nd, +0.439s):
"I’m obviously delighted to be on the front row again - for the second race in a row. The team have done a fantastic job to make sure we took a step forward here after Silverstone and Honda have made good progress with the engine.

“It was a good lap for me today, although we did have a little too much front end on the car which meant I had a few moments, especially coming into the stadium. We have made progress since Silverstone but not quite enough to challenge the front runners yet, I don't think. We will be closer though and happy with that because it provides us with momentum to keep moving forward throughout the year. This is actually the first time I've started inside the top twelve here so it is nice to be on the front row and hopefully we can take advantage of that in the race tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (3rd, +0.584s):
“I am pretty pleased to be third this afternoon in fact - I could have been on the front row but it is actually quite good to be starting from the clean side of the track. I lost three or four tenths through the first corners: it was windier than this morning, and the first corner is very quick and I was a bit unsettled. Then, I didn't have the confidence to attack the braking zone at the next corner. I knew I was down after the first sector, and really pushed after that to make up some time, which I managed to do. We know that qualifying speed is our weak point at the moment, but the R25 is much quicker in race trim. I hope to make up a place at the start, and I am sure we have the right strategy. I want at least a podium - and perhaps we will be able to fight for the win.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th, +0.607s):
“The conditions were a bit more difficult this afternoon because the wind had increased, which makes the car harder to predict and mistakes are easier to make. That meant I didn't do such an aggressive lap as I could have done in other circumstances. Having said that, the higher track temperatures definitely improved the handling of the car. Overall, this is a good result because we have chosen a good strategy for tomorrow, which should allow us to fight for the podium at the very least.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (5th, +0.686s):
“I had a clean lap and I think I got the most out of the car, which behaved well. I don’t think we ran with a particularly light fuel load compared with the other cars. It is clear that the two top teams are quicker than us, as can be seen from our performance in free practice. As for the race, maybe I can battle with Button, but aiming for the top is unrealistic. At least I am starting from the clean side of the grid and I hope to put on a good show for all the fans here.”

Mark Webber, Williams (6th, +0.750s):
“My lap wasn’t too bad, even if I had to go out a bit early on in the session. We are doing ok here and we are definitely better than our performances in Silverstone and Magny-Cours. This track is much less sensitive and our car responds better. We have a good strategy and we need to do the best we can for tomorrow’s race. We’ll see what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, of course if it rains it will be tricky, especially due to the poor visibility but this is a challenging part of our job. It usually provides a mixed result and it’s a bit of a lottery, good for the fans!”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (7th, +1.083s):
“It looks like our car has improved and this is encouraging. My lap was all right, only in the last sector I suffered a bit of understeer and probably lost some time there. From this starting position it.s realistic to aim to collect some points in the race tomorrow. Early to say, but from this qualifying it looks like our situation is improving.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (8th, +1.181s):
“I’m pleased with my lap considering that I was one of the first drivers out on the track. It’s always a disadvantage running early in the session but I’m pleased with how it went. We had a good morning’s preparation and I think our race pace and strategy should be good for tomorrow.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, +1.212s):
"I had a slight problem with the brakes so I didn't have the confidence to push as hard as I would have liked. But I'm reasonably comfortable with where we are on the grid given that we've struggled for pace so far this weekend. It's hard to say how we can fare in the race but maybe some of the other cars will be on different strategies to us. We haven't had the best of times in the last two races so hopefully we can turn it around tomorrow and score some more points. We'll certainly be pushing very hard."

Christian Klien, Red Bull (10th, +1.315s):
“I was able to push quite hard during the timed lap, definitely more so than on the last couple of races. I think that was the most confident I’ve been in the car since Montreal. There was good balance and it seemed to work well on the tyres. All in all, I’m happy. I’m also in front of my team-mate, which is a little bit of a success for me, I think.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th, +1.359s):
“I locked up at the hairpin, ran a little wide and lost a couple of tenths there. It’s always difficult to make the time back up again after something like that, but that was a better qualifying lap than what we’ve experienced recently. We got closer to the times we set during the morning practices, and I think we’re looking in pretty good shape ahead of the race. It depends what everyone’s strategy is for tomorrow of course, and also how quick or slow they are before they make their first pit stop, but I won’t be the first in, that’s for sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to leap-frog a few positions during the race, particularly if I don’t manage to at the start.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (12th, +1.369s):
"That was a reasonably clean lap. The car was balanced well throughout and I made no mistakes. Perhaps I could have gained a tenth in the first sector but apart from that there were no problems. It's a very tight grid and hopefully we've made the right tyre choice for the race tomorrow. Obviously it will be a hard race from where we are but the package should work well in race conditions so we'll be doing our best to break into the points again."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (13th, +1.689s):
"I had a bad lap today. The car had a bit of understeer this morning, but otherwise it was okay. But straight away this afternoon it was oversteering. The track temperature had gone up a little but that really doesn't explain why the car changed so much. It can't change like that. It's very disappointing, after the way we were going yesterday and this morning."

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (14th, +1.692s):
"My only problem came after the first sector, when I started trying to brake hard. The moment I touched the pedal the front wheels just locked, and I wasn't even being aggressive. After that I had to go a little easier on the pedal to avoid that, which cost me some time. It was frustrating, but it should be okay in the race once things have warmed up thoroughly after a couple of laps."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (15th, +1.910s):
“We had two options for this session: to go really quickly in qualifying and try for a good grid position, or to think more in terms of the race. I chose the second of those options, partly because this morning I did not feel the car was perfectly balanced and also I was bearing in mind that tomorrow could be very tough on the tyres. Of course, we will now have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to see if I have made the right decision.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (16th, +3.199s):
"I think I did a reasonable lap in qualifying and produced a good time, so I'm quite happy with today's performance. We will see how we go tomorrow, but I think we have a reasonable set-up for the race."

Robert Doornbos, Minardi (17th, +3.993s):
"It was easy to wake up this morning, knowing that I would be driving today. The qualifying was pretty exciting, like the first day at school. I was a bit nervous about trying to make a clean lap, but it went fine, and now I'm very interested to see how our strategy works tomorrow. I'm looking forward to my first race in Formula One, and will be putting 100 per cent effort into doing a good job, both for the team and for myself. It's going to be another exciting adventure."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (18th, +4.279s):
“My run went ok. I had a relatively clean lap. I have had a few problems finding a good balance with my car during the weekend so we will have to find out some solutions for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. The race will be long here in Hockenheim and some rain is expected, so it could be exciting and maybe bring us some luck.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (19th, no time):
"There is no excuse really. I made a mistake and simply lost the car. It was going to be a really quick lap, possibly pole and I thought all that is left now is to get a good exit out of the last corner. As I lifted, I lost the rear and that was it. I'm really upset for the team as everybody has been working so hard to make a one-two possible, and it really is important for us in the Championship. The car definitely has the potential. I will just have to give it my all in the race tomorrow and hope for the best to try and make it up to the team."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (20th, no time):
“I made a mistake in the first corner and then I was trying to gain the time back. I was pushing harder but I made another mistake and we decided that I should go straight to the pits to save our tyres. It is a pity because the car felt ok. I was pretty satisfied with the balance of the car and I am sure we have made the right choice of Bridgestone tyres for the race tomorrow. I will now do my best to have a good race on Sunday.”