Qualifying - selected driver quotes 21 Oct 2006
Brazils Felipe Massa on clinching pole position in front of his home crowd; Jarno Trulli on beating Fernando Alonso to third; and Michael Schumacher on his calamitous final qualifying session. All 22 drivers report back on Saturday's action at Interlagos.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 10.680s):
Its a dream for me to be on pole here at Interlagos, wearing the colours of my country while sitting in a Ferrari. I will never forget this day! I am very happy and I want to thank the team for having provided me with a perfect car. Tomorrow, I will do my utmost to win. I know it will be a tough race but everything is in place for me to achieve that goal. I am sorry for Michael (Schumacher) who was really unlucky, just like in Suzuka. But I still believe we can get both our cars ahead of the others, which is vital if we are to win the constructors championship. My last lap? It was fantastic!
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd, 1m 11.299s):
"This is a great result for all of us today. We did not turn the engine up till the final session so we were not sure where we would be, but I really gave it 100% on the final lap. For sure we will be fighting for the win now, it is going to be difficult, but our pace is strong in the long runs. It would be great to finish my last race for McLaren on a high and we will be doing everything we can to achieve this."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (3rd, 1m 11.328s):
"It is obviously great to be up so high and it has been a good weekend so far for us. We have been pushing hard all season to improve the car and you can see from today that we have definitely made a good step forward. So far this
weekend we have looked pretty strong so I am confident because the car is performing well and we have everything we need to have a good race tomorrow. Our Bridgestone tyres are looking very competitive so I am looking forward to tomorrow when I hope I can challenge for the podium. This year I have been close to the podium a few times and it has slipped away with a few laps remaining so it would be great to end the season with a top-three finish. However, our first target for tomorrow will be to take fifth in the Constructors' Championship and for that we will try to score as many points as possible."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th, 1m 11.567s):
The target this afternoon was to be in the top five, so I am very happy with this position. Starting from the second row is perfect for our approach this weekend, and so far everything is going to plan. Obviously, the problem for Michael (Schumacher) is another bit of help for us, not just for me but for the team as well in the constructors championship, and we will take anything we can get. So things are looking better for us, for sure, but we cannot write him off and it doesnt change my approach. Tomorrow, my aim will be to get a good start and fight at the front. We know that the R26 has the pace to do it.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (5th, 1m 11.619s):
"I'm very happy - it's been a good day. The team has done a great job to get the car back to where it belongs after the issues that we had during practice yesterday. I was able to extract everything out of the car today and my last lap was really good, so I have to be happy with that. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow as we have a good strategy, plus we have two Brazilians in the top five which is very good for our home race."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th, 1m 11.629s):
The times are really, really close this afternoon, and I am not totally happy to be back in sixth because the target was the second row. Obviously, I am fighting with Massa for third place in the drivers championship, so it means I have a harder job for the race. Considering what happened in Suzuka, I managed to finish on the podium starting from sixth, so we are confident that the car will have good race pace. It is a long and demanding Grand Prix here and there are usually plenty of incidents, but we cannot count on that. I will need an aggressive race tomorrow to try and beat Felipe (Massa).
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (7th, 1m 11.695s):
"That was a reasonably good qualifying performance for the team. Jarno (Trulli) did a great job to get third place and seventh is a decent result for me too so both of us are in a positive position for tomorrow. From there we should be able score a good result here. Getting the right balance on the car this weekend has been a bit of a challenge but we worked at it this morning and found a reasonable set-up for qualifying. My lap in Q3 wasn't too bad, it was clean and I didn't make any mistakes but I simply was not quite quick enough to qualify any higher today. But I am looking forward to the race and I hope I can score more points to help the team secure fifth place in the constructors'championship."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (8th, 1m 11.882s):
I am quite happy because until qualifying the weekend had been quite difficult for me. I had problems with the balance of the car, which has now improved. This was because of setup changes and that higher temperatures are better for the tyres and my driving style. The fact the Toyotas have been so strong in qualifying is a damper. The fight for fifth place in the constructors championship will be extremely exciting for us.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (9th, 1m 12.131s):
It is good to be in the top ten again, my fifth time in six races that is okay. Unfortunately on one set of tyres I locked the brakes on a bump and I could not use a second set. It will be a bit difficult for tomorrows race, but it is still not bad. You have to have good pace here and I think we have a good consistent pace.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (10th, no time):
Of course I am disappointed, but these things can happen. At the start of Q3, the car had a fuel pressure problem and all I could do was cruise round slowly back to the pits. Now we have to find out how it happened and try and make the best of this situation. Sure, its a big handicap starting from tenth place. The only good part of today is that Felipe (Massa) is on pole which must be very satisfying for him here at his home race. I hope that tomorrow he can win the race.
Mark Webber, Williams (11th, 1m 11.650s):
It was a reasonable qualifying session for us. It went pretty well, but I would like to have grabbed another tenth or two on my last lap. I was probably trying a little bit too much, but I think both Nico (Rosberg) and I squeezed quite a lot out of the cars today, although theres probably a little more left. It would have been nice to have made it into Q3 of the final qualifying session of the season, but thats where we are and well just wait for the race tomorrow.
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (12th, 1m 11.658s):
"I locked up as I was coming into turn one on my last lap and as a result I lost a lot of time. Unfortunately this meant that I have not made it into the top ten at a track where qualifying is quite important. However the car has felt good all weekend and I think that our pace tomorrow will be good. It is going to be a tough race starting from 12th but we are confident that we can improve and score some points tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (13th, 1m 11.679s):
My qualifying session wasnt too bad, even if it is a bit disappointing that I didnt make it into the third session. There was so little missing so you think: if I had braked a bit later there, or if I had been a bit smoother there, I would have made it into the top ten! Its amazing how much you have to work on the details just to get those last hundredths out of the car; all through the session we adjusted tenths on the tyre pressures and halves on the wing holes. Despite that, I still struggled a little bit with grip during my last run and so we lost those hundredths of a second that we needed.
Jenson Button, Honda (14th, 1m 11.742s):
"We had a good car today so it's very disappointing to have the electronic problem and be starting the final race of the year from 14th on the grid. The issue affected the traction control massively and the car was undriveable at the end of Q1. The team tried to address the problem but there was only time for a quick fix and it didn't solve it. I obviously wanted to end the season on a high and we had a good opportunity to do that but now we'll have a bit of a battle on our hands to fight our way through the field."
Robert Doornbos, Red Bull (15th, 1m 12.591s):
We really wanted to attack in the last qualifying session of the year and I think we did that. The sessions are a lot of fun - you can really drive on the limit and get the maximum out of the car. I think I got the maximum out of the car today. Weve gone through tomorrows race in our minds set-up wise, and were going to be pushing hard.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (16th, 1m 12.861s):
Getting through to the second part of qualifying has always been difficult for us. This time I did it, despite a few problems with my traction control and I beat Scott (Speed) by just one thousandth of a second. It would have been good to get both our cars into Q2 for the last race. Even though they have resurfaced some of the track it is still rather bumpy and so it is hard to judge the turns and hit the right braking point. But I am looking forward to the race on this track that I consider to be one of the best on the calendar.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (17th, 1m 12.856s):
It was a good qualifying for us. This morning, we really improved the car from the first day. My compliments to the guys who sorted it out with lots of hard work overnight. I made a small mistake that might have cost me Tonios (Liuzzi) ass but I got ninety nine percent of the potential of the car. Before we came here, I thought this might be our worse race, but now I think we have a chance to put up a fight, because the car is a lot better than I thought it would be. Ill be hoping to make a good start and pass a few cars on the first lap.
Christijan Albers, Spyker MF1 (18th, 1m 13.138s):
"I think we did the maximum we could do today, but it could have been better. We were good on the first run, but on the second, quicker lap we could have been even stronger but we lost a lot of grip in the final three corners. It was a bit of shame because the combination of the tyres and other issues meant we could have been much higher up the grid. I think we are still competitive against our rivals so we will see what happens in the race."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (19th, 1m 13.249s):
The balance of the car was the same as it had been this morning - and wasnt very good. On this type of track you need entrance stability in order to carry speed into the turns and I just havent been able to find it. Ive scored points from the back of the grid before and its not over until the chequered flag, but clearly this makes it a lot more difficult to get a good result.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (20th, 1m 13.269s):
It was good to have a close and competitive qualifying at the end of the season. Today, in free practice, we made good progress that we carried over from yesterday and we were happy with the performance of the car. In qualifying we improved our lap time again, but it was unfortunate that we could not beat our nearest rivals. However, I believe that we have a good race car and that we are in a good position for tomorrow.
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 13.357s):
This morning we improved the balance of the car from our limited running yesterday and made good progress on the set-up for qualifying and the race tomorrow. I am happy with my qualifying result today because I feel that I have been able to show my potential without any problems for the first time since Monza, so I am very happy and I would like to thank everybody in the team.
Tiago Monteiro, Spyker MF1 (22nd, no time):
"The day didn't start very well with a two thousand dollar fine for crossing the pit lane exit. When I got out of the car the President of Spyker, Victor Muller told me that if I made it to the second session that he would cover it! Unfortunately I made one of the most stupid mistakes of my F1 career, obviously I was pushing hard as it was qualifying but I hit the kerb on high speed corner 7 and spun the car causing it to stall. Its really frustrating as Christijan (Albers) was only three-tenths off P16 so I think we could have made it."