Qualifying - selected driver quotes 27 May 2006
In the end, the Monaco session didnt turn out to be quite as chaotic as everyone had predicted - until the very end, when Michael Schumachers mistake in the final corner appeared to prevent his rivals bettering his time. The men involved explain their afternoon
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 13.898s):
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, 1m 13.962s):
I would have been on pole for sure today, without the problem on the final lap. I think we had a very good strategy for qualifying and the performance from the Michelin tyres was fantastic. So to lose my fastest lap through an accident for somebody else is not a good moment, but I suppose these things happen in Monaco... For the race, I am optimistic that we have a good set-up, and something more in the Michelin tyres that will help us against our rivals. The car was excellent today, so I hope I can fight for the win tomorrow.
Mark Webber, Williams (3rd, 1m 14.082s):
Saturday has turned out to be a reasonable day for us. We qualified pretty well in 3rd position and I think we were maybe improving a little bit until we got the yellow flag due to Michael Schumachers stoppage, which of course hurt everybody. Anyway, the crucial thing for us is the race and we want to get to the end and get some of the points that I think we deserve. Its been a strong effort from the team in the last few days. We now need to capitalise on this starting opportunity, at a track where qualifying is so important.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (4th, 1m 14.140s):
"I'm very happy with the car and was really able to push throughout qualifying. I believe that I could have claimed pole position, but then I hit traffic on my second and last flying lap but that is Monaco. We are still on the second row and with a good start and a strong strategy we are definitely in with a chance for a good result."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, 1m 14.396s):
This qualifying session turned out pretty much as we expected, with a lot of traffic and then yellow flags on the last timed lap, when I found Schumacher in the middle of the penultimate corner. Fifth position is not what I had expected from qualifying today, but this is a long race where everything is possible. The balance of the car is good for the race, and the R26 has been easy to drive. I am still very confident for the race.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (6th, 1m 14.664s):
"I struggled a bit with traffic as well as understeer, so could probably have qualified a bit higher up the grid. However we have a good car here and a strong strategy for the race, so we will see what happens. Third row is not the end of the world, and I'm confident that it should be a good Grand Prix which I'm looking forward to."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (7th, 1m 15.804s):
"It was crazy out there, just like everybody predicted. I was trying very hard to avoid getting in other people's way and they were doing the same for me, which was nice to see. I want to thank the team for a fantastic job today and making the right decisions and quickly. Seventh is not a bad place to start tomorrow and it should be an incredible race."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th, 1m 15.857s):
"The team did a good job today but it was a tough qualifying session. We made some adjustments to the tuning to avoid a bit of understeer and the car reacted pretty well. It was hard work to find a good clear lap out there with the new qualifying format but we managed better than expected. At one stage in Q2 I was going even quicker when I was blocked by several cars in the middle of the lap, but we still made it through to Session 3. Then at the very end I was on the second of a two-lap run when I saw a yellow flag and the car in the middle of the track so I stopped my lap. In the end I'm happy with where I am as well as our race strategy. It is obviously difficult to judge a new car on this kind of circuit but first we have a tough Sunday ahead and I just hope we can run a good race tomorrow."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (9th, 1m 16.426s):
"I'm actually really pissed off. I've had no traffic all weekend and then, on my last flying lap, I got held up. Ninth is our position and I don't think it's the reward the team deserves for all their efforts this weekend. The car can go quicker and it would have been nice to have had a clear lap today. This circuit provides a real opportunity for us to get up the grid. No great surprise that Michael had to stop "
Nico Rosberg, Williams (10th, 1m 16.636s):
Q3 was not good for me today. I made it into the top ten and then traffic just prevented me from setting a faster lap. I was behind Coulthard when he was on a flying lap, but then he didnt let me by when I was on my flying lap, and basically spoilt my qualifying. Its a shame, because there was definitely more in the car today than a 10th place.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (11th, 1m 14.398s):
"Our times were not impressive this morning because we have spent the whole weekend doing race set-up work so we were confident we could pick up the pace in qualifying. The traffic was not as bad as we feared going into the session with the 2006 qualifying rules so the team did well to find some relatively clear laps. So it's a reasonable job so far and with the race strategy that we have chosen and the tyres that we have, we should be strong tomorrow. It is a very long race and because you have to be 100 per cent concentrated all the time it certainly feels like it. But the challenge is to push to the limit for 78 laps without going over it."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (12th, 1m 14.747s):
"The first session started pretty good. I improved a lot from this morning and was pretty pleased with my lap time. Going into the second session I thought we could get into the top ten, but when I went out on my first set of tyres, I had a problem with the brake system and had a very soft brake pedal. I managed to complete the lap and came back to the pits, where we tried to sort out the problem, but we couldn't fix it in time. It's frustrating as the car is pretty quick here and I think we could have gone for a top ten position."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (13th, 1m 14.969s):
Its fantastic because Monaco is such a special race and we came here really motivated. At the beginning of the session I struggled a bit but then it got better in the second. This is a great starting point for tomorrow and Im really happy. It was hard out there: you have to fight to avoid not only the traffic but also the walls. Its twice as hard as anywhere else. I enjoyed this afternoon. I love Monaco because you need balls to go within millimetres of the wall and thats what I love.
Jenson Button, Honda (14th, 1m 14.982s):
"The balance of the car was reasonable on old tyres but I had an unexpected amount of understeer when we switched to new tyres. I was quicker on old tyres than new. Right now we don't know why so we will have to look at the data but everyone knows that qualifying well here is crucial for the race and I'm obviously extremely frustrated to be starting so far back here for a race I felt confident we could do well in."
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (15th, 1m 15.052s):
It is very disappointing. We were competitive on old tyres and then when we put new tyres on to qualify we just couldnt use them.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (16th, 1m 15.137s):
I dont know what happened. I went onto the throttle and got no response. I dont know whether we would have made it into the top ten, but on that last lap the car felt quite good and I had reasonable grip.
Christijan Albers, Midland (17th, 1m 15.598s):
"First of all, I have to thank all the guys in crew for keeping their faith in me and working hard to sort out all the problems we've had the last two races. Now we're focusing on moving forward - we're not looking backwards anymore. I'd also like to thank Toyota for the power they've given us here. I think tomorrow will be a difficult race, but today we had a lot of fun because we're quite competitive here. It was a shame that I struggled in the first two practices on Thursday, but we kept our heads cool, we learned about our tyres, and we made the right choice today. That's why our performance continues to get stronger, so thanks again to everybody."
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (18th, 1m 15.993s):
"What can I say? The car has been great all weekend but unfortunately, I was blocked in three corners while attempting my fastest lap and I lost about half a second, so I'm pretty upset about that. The first run was good, considering the track conditions. My second lap was going to be even better, but as I said, I was blocked. It's frustrating for the whole team, because everyone worked so hard to get our pace up to where it is. We've shown so much potential and so much genuine improvement this weekend, there's no reason why we should be 17th and 18th. We really should have been in the second session. In any event, I have to thank my team for giving me such a well-balanced car all weekend, which is very positive and will be even more important come tomorrow."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (19th, 1m 16.236s):
Montagny blocked me for my first two laps on new tyres and after that, my tyres were past their best and I was well off the pace with no chance of improving my time.
So coming in before that part of the session was over did not make any difference, because Montagny was still in front of me. Its a shame because my pace was better than Tonios (Liuzzis) at one point and he ended up thirteenth. Ive had horrible luck in qualifying this season, just the worst. But well done to Tonio who did a great job today.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (20th, 1m 17.276s):
Free practice went smoothly for us this morning. We tried both race set-up and performance runs and I was satisfied with the balance of the car. For Qualifying we were able to complete our planned runs, but unfortunately I got caught in traffic on my quickest lap, which is a little disappointing but normal for Monaco. However, from my point of view, we did the best we could during a busy Qualifying session. It is going to be a long and tough race tomorrow and I am looking forward to the challenge as anything could happen!
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 17.502s):
I think that this was my best Qualifying session since I started with the SAF1 Team. I tried very hard but unfortunately I had traffic on the first lap of my two runs, so I had to do my quick lap during my second run, but this went ok. The car is quite hard to drive and it is going to be a tough race for us, but I am looking forward to it.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (22nd, no time):