Qualifying - selected driver quotes 22 Apr 2006
Michael Schumacher stole the headlines on Saturday with pole position for Ferrari on the teams home soil. It was also his 66th P1 grid slot, breaking his and Ayrton Sennas record. Schumacher and the rest of the field explain their qualifying performances
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 22.795s):
We have worked very hard in recent weeks, so its wonderful to see it all come right for us. But to be honest, I am not surprised that we have done well. It is very nice to be back on pole again and of course, the fact it is my 66th and so a new record is something very special for me. At the moment, I am concentrating totally on this weekend so I think I will only really appreciate fully what I have done at a later time. Yesterday, I said I was aiming for pole and the win. Today we have reached the first target and I hope I can make the second one tomorrow. I am convinced we have a good chance of winning.
Jenson Button, Honda (2nd, 1m 22.988s):
"I'm very pleased with the result today and to see both of us in the top threeis great for the team. The car was a lot better in qualifying than this morning and the first half of the weekend generally, especially in terms of grip and with the handling over the kerbs. We did a lot of work overnight and through this morning and I'm much happier for the race. We'll have to see how things pan out though because we won't know until then what everyone has been doing through free practice but I think we should feel quite confident. The team have done a great job in addressing the issues from Australia and I think we can have a good race tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (3rd, 1m 23.242s):
"I'm obviously delighted with qualifying today and I have to say a very big thank you to everyone in the team for their hard work in helping me to achieve this result. We have had some problems in the early races but today's qualifying shows the amount of effort we have all put into getting the car more to my liking has paid off. We've had two very good tests to get ready for this race and the team has really been listening to me about what I need for things to improve. I'm much happier with the car now. It's not 100% but we're getting there and I think we can have a much better race tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, 1m 23.702s):
To be honest, Im not happy. On both my laps with new tyres I had traffic and did not make the most of what I had to work with. The car, the engine and the Bridgestone tyres were certainly worth a place in the top three. Fourth is definitely not a disaster, but I cannot be happy with it. All the same, I am optimistic for the race. We have what we need to get a good result.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th, 1m 23.709s):
I don't think fifth is the perfect place to start at this circuit because overtaking is so difficult, but we are not in such a bad position either. There was a lot of traffic during the third part of qualifying and I came quite close to the 110% time on some of the laps, but when I did my timed laps at the end of qualifying, the car felt good and the track was clear. The balance is better than it was yesterday and feels correct for the race, so now we need to try and make up positions at the start, and believe in the strategy we have chosen.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (6th, 1m 23.772s):
"We achieved more than we expected today, but I am still not satisfied because I did not do a perfect lap in the traffic at the end of the session. That's a pity because the extra tenth of a second to reach the second row would have been easy to find. Still, this is a very good result and both Jarno and I have done our best. Last year I struggled in qualifying but this car and tyre combination is working better for me. Now we must aim for the points tomorrow. We are not very far away from the top teams and we will do our best to move further forward, but it is very difficult to overtake here. Hopefully we can have our usual good pit stops and then we can see where we end up."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (7th, 1m 24.021s):
"Today's qualifying result was OK for me particularly considering the limited amount of running I have done so far this weekend. My car developed a fuel pressure problem in practice this morning, and as a result we decided to change to the spare car which was not an issue. However to try and cure the understeer I experienced yesterday, we had made some quite dramatic set-up changes for this morning's practice, but as we never got an opportunity to evaluate them, we went a bit more conservative with the car for qualifying. I think this will pay off in the race because the car is very consistent. There are a number of strategy options, but I think we have chosen the right one and podium positions should definitely be possible."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (8th, 1m 24.158s):
"I'm a bit disappointed as I could have done better today, and I didn't get the opportunity to show the full potential of our package. Everything went well in the first two qualifying sessions, but things didn't go according to plan in the last part of qualifying where I did my two flying laps. On the first run I used the best of my Michelin tyres, but I drove a better lap on my second run but still lost time in the last part of the lap. However I think if things go our way in the race we should be OK."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, 1m 24.172s):
"It was a good afternoon's work for us but it would have been even better if I hadn't hit traffic on my quickest lap in Session 3. Unfortunately on my last run I was behind Michael Schumacher who didn't let me by when he was on a slow lap. He just came out of the pits and held me up all the way around his out lap, which I don't think was fair. Up to that point the sessions had gone well. The car handled well throughout the afternoon and that gives me a lot of confidence for the race. Ralf's podium in Australia shows that we can compete at the front so the atmosphere in the team is good. This race will give us another chance to check how our form is improving. I certainly hope to enjoy better fortune tomorrow than I have had in the first few races."
Mark Webber, Williams (10th, 1m 24.795s):
Qualifying was pretty interesting today and, as always, it was pretty fraught in the first two sessions. We managed to get into the last session and although I was fifth, it was very, very tight time-wise. The last session was pretty tricky for us, much as it was in Melbourne, so it will be interesting to see how the strategy will unfold, but the race will be interesting.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (11th, 1m 23.771s):
What can I say? I am very disappointed to only start eleventh at my home race. The balance of the car felt much better than yesterday, so we should have been in the top ten for sure. I think we may have made a mistake in how we managed the second session, because I think we could have run again at the end, but this is something we will learn for the future. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we now have a lot of options for our strategy, and we will work tonight to find the best one. The speed and consistency are there to have a good race.
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (12th, 1m 23.887s):
I am very disappointed because less than two tenths of a second was P5 and I know there was that time in the car. The second lap was quick, but the yellow flags caught us out. That really does your race and finishing P5 or P12 in the session means the difference between finishing on the podium or not. It is a little bit rough but we are at the wrong end of the tenths today big time.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (13th, 1m 23.966s):
I didnt know what to expect from qualifying today because this morning it didnt go too well for me. I had a crash at the end of the session but prior to the accident, I didnt feel the set-up of my car was quite right. I must say thanks to the mechanics who managed to get the T-car ready for me in time for qualifying. When we got into Q2, it was difficult as the balance of my car had become a bit worse and I made two mistakes going wide, which wasted some valuable tenths The important outcome is that my final time today is not too bad because the pack was bunched quite tightly.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th, 1m 24.101s):
What can I say? We hoped to get into the final ten, but we werent quick enough. Its disappointing what we understand the challenge we face and were not scared of it. We just need to get on with working to make the car go faster. From back here, its going to be very difficult to get any points, but as usual, we will do the best we can.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (15th, 1m 24,129s):
I really wanted to make it into the top ten and tried everything I knew, but lost the rear of the car and went into the tyres, which unfortunately has damaged the car quite badly. All in all qualifying was disappointing, especially as I felt good after the results of the three free practice sessions yesterday and today. With new tyres I just could not get the necessary grip, but the positive side is I fell well again yesterday after my stomach problems yesterday.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (16th, 1m 24.520s):
We got off to a good start in this mornings practice and you could see we had the pace, with a tenth fastest time. So we were well prepared for qualifying and we expected to do well. This afternoon wasnt too bad, with me ending up eleventh in the first part. The car was responding very well and we had sorted out all the problems we came up against yesterday. But this afternoon, the others seemed to be flying, but we had already reached our maximum. It was a reasonable result but we still need to improve our qualifying pace. Tomorrow should be better as we seem to be stronger over a longer distance.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (17th, 1m 25.410s):
I had an electrical problem with the pit lane speed limit button, which came on during my out lap, so I couldnt accelerate any more. That went on for two or three corners and so with the slow speed, my tyres cooled down and I could not get them up to temperature for my flying lap.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (18th, 1m 25.437s):
I would have easily made it into the second part of the session but I got held up at the chicane by someone trying to get a good lap. Its unfortunate but thats the nature of qualifying this year and we have to deal with it. The team is improving every day, as the whole set up was new at the start of the year. Now we have three races under our belt and are back close to home the improvement in the way everyone is working is clear to see and theres still more to come. The race? Im going to be aggressive. Ive got nothing to lose.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (19th, 1m 26.820s):
"It hasn't been an easy weekend so far, that's for sure. But with the exception of this qualifying session, we had been improving every time we were out on track, closing the gap to the others and trying to improve the car. It's somewhat disappointing, because we solved the tyre issues we had yesterday and we were looking forward to a breakthrough today. Still, I remain confident that if we can make a good start tomorrow, we should have a strong race. The race team has done a great job all weekend and I hope Christijan and I can deliver the results they deserve."
Christijan Albers, Midland (20th, 1m 27.088s):
"I'm extremely disappointed with our qualifying result today, because I know we could have been so much quicker. It's always frustrating to encounter technical problems, but unfortunately, that's the way it goes sometimes. Now, we have to remain focused on what's important, and that's the race tomorrow. Hopefully, we can fix whatever the problem is and perform at the level we're capable of."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 27.609s):
It has been a good day for the team. We made encouraging progress overnight and this mornings practice session went very smoothly, so I was able to put in a good performance in Qualifying. I am very pleased with my lap as I think that we got the best out of the car and the team is very much looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Yuji Ide, Super Aguri (22nd, 1m 29.282s):
"The car had a bit of oversteer since yesterday so I changed the set-up for Qualifying but it had a negative effect and I did not make as good a time as I wanted. If we could find a way to use the new tyres better, then I think we could have improved a little on my time. However, we did not have any problems with the car so I should be able to do well tomorrow and I am looking forward to the race."