Qualifying - selected driver quotes 10 Jun 2006
A thrilling fight for pole position at Silverstone ended with arguably the three best drivers in Formula One racing filling the top three grid spots. Alonso, Raikkonen, Schumacher and all their rivals report back on a closely-contested session
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 20.253s):
I was really pleased to get pole today - my fourth in a row. I made a little mistake on my first flying lap in the super-pole and I knew it was close with Michael. So we fitted another set of tyres, and I managed to do a better lap. I think conditions out there today were quite difficult for everybody, so we made some changes to the car before the session that gave us some more grip, and stabilised the car balance a little bit. Tomorrow's race is going to be interesting because nobody has really done any long runs, so I think there may be some surprises with the tyres. So far, though, the Michelin tyres have been excellent and I am confident. This a great pole for the team, because it proves that Renault is not relaxing - we are taking the fight to Ferrari.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd, 1m 20.397s):
"I'm really pleased being on the first row particularly at Silverstone where a lot of the guys from Woking and Brixworth are able to come and support us. The car was working well and in a way I'm a bit disappointed not to be on pole as we were so close. My final run was a bit tight I think there were only a few seconds left but we made it and were able to achieve second which is super. We made a lot of progress from yesterday, and I was really able to push. Now I look forward to the race tomorrow where we will do everything to do well. A win is possible, but so much can happen, but I'm really pleased with today's result and look forward to tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 20.574s):
Of course you always hope to be on pole and so its normal to be disappointed with third place, even if, at this track, its better to start from third than second. I did not expect such a gap to the pole time, but now we have to see what these tenths really mean, given that we dont know what fuel load our rivals have on board. I have to say that so far, its not been an easy weekend. Track conditions mean its been difficult to find the right balance on the car and the wind also added to the difficulties. The track is much more slippery now than when the test was held here a few weeks ago; at least that is what Im told. But I am still pretty optimistic about tomorrows race, as we know we can count on a package that can win, as long as we make the most of our potential and our strategy.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, 1m 20.764s):
I am pleased with the way things went this afternoon. It was definitely a good qualifying session. Of course, starting from the front row would have been better, but we still have every chance to attack off the second row. Lets wait and see what happens. What we want is to finish ahead of those who start from the front row of the grid. The entire team is working hard to close down the gap in both championships and we are doing our best.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, 1m 20.919s):
We made some changes to the car before qualifying and the car was on an edge in the first sector. I couldn't attack the quick corners properly and I was losing time in the first sector. So fifth is a bit disappointing, because we had a front row car today. Even so, I am still in a strong position, and very optimistic for tomorrow's race.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (6th, 1m 20.943s):
"We achieved our target this afternoon which was to put the car in the top six. By the end of the session, we saw that it was very close at the front and we could perhaps have achieved a little bit more and finished 5th. Overall though I'm happy. I'm truly disappointed for Jenson because of his situation and everyone knows that he should have been up there with me as well. I love to race here so I'm looking forward to tomorrow now. It should be a good race."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (7th, 1m 21.073s):
"We can be very satisfied with what we achieved today. We expected to be somewhere between 6th and 10th so we managed to secure a good position. The car was really good, too. I struggled for grip yesterday and also this morning, as with many others here. It wasn't perfect for me in the first two sessions but as qualifying went on the guys got it right so thanks to them. My last run was much better and we had a lot of fuel on board so we're pretty pleased. As in many other circuits in Formula 1 it is a bit difficult to overtake here but we are confident about our strategy so we are looking forward to tomorrow."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (8th, 1m 21.107s):
"I have not been able to get the right balance throughout the weekend and was struggling during qualifying today. I should be higher up the grid than eighth, and I'm disappointed with this. However there is a long race tomorrow, and as we have seen before anything can happen."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (9th, 1m 21.329s):
I am happy. It's really good we have got both cars in the top ten, especially if you see who is behind us. This confirms for me the impression I had after our test in Barcelona that the latest changes to the car have meant a step forward for the team.
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (10th, 1m 21.599s):
I was hoping for better. After the second qualifying session the car was quick, but in the end it just didn't work out for some reason. The car was difficult to drive compared to earlier in the day, and for some reason we came into the pits one lap too early. It just wasn't a good lap. In the race the podium will be tough but scoring points is the aim.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th, 1m 21.442s):
I think we made some improvements in qualifying compared to this morning, so Im happy with that but obviously Im disappointed with what happened with Montoya. He obviously made a mistake on his flying lap and then, in trying to make me pay for his pain, he drove slowly round the end of the lap before I could start mine. So, well have a Stewards enquiry to see what happens there, but to me it was deliberate action, which impeded another driver. Regarding Ralf, his car came up behind me when I was behind Michael Schumacher who was on an in-lap. It was unfortunate, but I couldnt get past Michael, so therefore Ralf couldnt get past me. If Id moved, hed have just been at the back of Michael we were all backed up.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (12th, 1m 21.567s):
I am relatively disappointed today considering where we were in Monaco because we are not as strong here and have dropped back quite a bit. My lap time today wasnt sufficient to make it into the top ten which was unfortunate. We know we are a little bit behind on this kind of circuit, which is similar to Barcelona, both tracks where aerodynamics are important. Still, I think in the race we will look stronger than in qualifying as has often been the case for us this season. We have made a good tyre choice and our engine is quite strong on race pace compared to the competition.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (13th, 1m 21.699s):
"This was a good qualifying session for me, but I did have some problems in terms of my speed and I think I lost a couple of tenths in every section, so 13th isn't bad. The car has improved well over the two days. Now we just have to see why I was losing speed down the straights."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (14th, 1m 21.990s):
I was a bit happier with the balance of my car this afternoon. On my last set of tyres I was able to push quite hard and improve my time. I was on a good lap, but then I locked up the rears over a bump in to Turn 15. I lost the rear and my time was gone, otherwise it would have been a good lap I think. Tomorrows race should be good and we can try to fight for points.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (15th, 1m 22.076s):
"Of course, I have to be happy with making it through to the second part of qualifying for the first time since Bahrain, although funnily enough, I have started from higher up the grid, when other cars have been put at the back. In terms of car performance, I have a few problems with the rear end and I think I am going to have to fight to tame this beast in tomorrow's race."
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (16th, 1m 22.207s):
"Its been a great weekend so far. Im so happy for the team. They were so excited when I got out of the car. In fact, I think they were actually more excited that I was to get into the second session, so Im really happy for them. They all deserve it; weve been working so hard. As you can see, for the past few races - since about Nurburgring, I would say - weve been progressing, and thats very encouraging, so Im glad I was able to show our true pace today. We should have done it in Monaco but it didnt work out, so Im glad for the whole team that we could accomplish this today. It feels amazing, and the car has been handling very well since yesterday. Now weve got a long race ahead tomorrow and another opportunity to show how much weve improved."
Mark Webber, Williams (17th, 1m 23.129s):
Every now and again in this game this happens. We didnt have enough rear grip and ultimately we werent quick enough. I didnt manage to get a lap in with the balance that Nico had, so my lap time suffered. The tracks been all over the place this weekend, but thats the same for everyone and we should have been more prepared for this eventuality. I think its going to be a very long race tomorrow.
Christijan Albers, Midland (18th, 1m 23.210s):
"Its a shame, because I had a lot of bad luck today. We had a mechanical problem in morning practice and a misjudgment on my last timed run - we lost too much time in the garage, and I was pretty sure we would have been able to set a quick time. The good news is that the car feels nicely balanced and I have lots of spare tyres available for tomorrow!"
Jenson Button, Honda (19th, 1m 23.247s):
"I'm obviously massively disappointed for myself, the team and all of the fans. My first run wasn't quick enough because we had quite low grip. If the car isn't working well on the first run, you don't want to push it to the limit because the penalty for going off the track and not completing a lap is so high. The circuit was improving massively all the time and we thought we would get a second chance to do a run, but then I got called on to the weighbridge and that effectively finished my session. Everyone wants to do well in their home race and I could have done so much better today, but I believe that points are possible and I'll be doing everything I can to get back up there tomorrow."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (20th, 1m 26.158s):
It was a very hard day. During the practice session I lost it at the high-speed Becketts corner and suffered some quite serious damage to the car. It is disappointing because we had to change to the T-car, taking a change of engine penalty too. We had very little time to prepare the T-car for Qualifying, but the boys did a great job to get it ready in time. The Qualifying session was difficult because we had not completed the set-up program in the morning and had to apply the set-up to a different chassis, so the car had nervous handling. Considering what happened today I am reasonably happy with our final result, but it will be a tough race for us tomorrow.
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 26.316s):
We had a few problems this morning and I also went off the track as I was pushing the car to the limit, so not a great practice session. The Qualifying session was not too bad; we found what we were looking for and I am quite happy with my lap. For sure we are a lot slower than the rest of the grid, but with the new car it will get better.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (22nd, no time):
"Unfortunately I could not even record a time in qualifying today because I had an engine problem on my first flying lap. I just noticed smoke coming out of the back and that was the end of my afternoon's work. It means I will be starting at the back of the grid tomorrow, which is a particular pity because our new TF106B was going well here, as it did in Monaco. Yesterday we were competitive and we were confident after this morning because we didn't use any new tyres. It will be a very difficult race tomorrow because it's practically impossible to overtake around here. Still, I will stay focused, push as hard as I can and just keep hoping my fortunes will soon turn around."