Qualifying - selected driver quotes 01 Jul 2006
Ferrari take their first qualifying one-two since the season opener in Bahrain, making them firm favourites for victory in Sundays race. The drivers explain how the session went
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 10.832s):
I am very happy! It would be hard to expect better from this weekend, at least so far: yesterday Germany and Italy got through to the World Cup semi-finals, today I got pole with Felipe alongside me. To complete the job, we need to win tomorrow and I will be trying my hardest to do so. Of course, I am a bit surprised at the gap to the others, but this is further confirmation that if all elements of our package are at their best, we are really competitive. The 248 F1 has been well balanced since yesterday and the Bridgestone tyres have been very consistent in terms of performance, even in race configuration. This is the start of the second half of the season and clearly every race is ever more important to reduce the gap in both championships and we will try and start doing this as from tomorrow.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 11.435s):
It was a very good day, which I hope will be rounded off with a win for Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals. I am very happy to be on the front row, as it is a very important result for the team. Now however, we must concentrate on the race. The car was very competitive. Over the course of the weekend we made various set-up changes which improved our performance. The Bridgestone tyres were very good, both over a single timed lap and over a distance. Tomorrow, it will be important to make a good start and ensure that those behind us dont manage to get between us. I am sure we have a very good chance.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (3rd, 1m 11.920s):
I am really pleased to be third on the grid because this has not been the best circuit for us so far this weekend. I was quite happy with the car today, but we still have grip problems and we don't know why. Looking to the race, I am feeling confident and we have to be optimistic about our chances. We need to fight for a good finish to keep ourselves in a strong position in the championship.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (4th, 1m 12.109s):
"I'm really happy with my position today. The car is certainly competitive and I enjoyed the qualifying session. I would like to thank everybody in the team because we have all done a good job to get the best possible from the car today. For sure the race will be tough and we have to keep pushing hard because we have some tough competition behind us on the grid. My aim now is to push for a good points finish and I think we have the car to do that. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th, 1m 12.449s):
I did the maximum possible today. The car was understeering this morning and we worked to try and correct it during practice. In the end, we were adding front wing during qualifying as well to get a better balance, but it was still difficult to drive and costing me time. The Grand Prix tomorrow will be a long one, so hopefully the strategy will work well for us and help me gain positions. I will be aiming for the podium, and trying to limit the damage in the championship.
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (6th, 1m 12.479s):
I am quite happy because in the middle of the second qualifying session it looked like it would be tough to get into the top ten, but then it worked out. We are very close to Fernando Alonso, and just needed a few hundredths of a second to be in front of him. That makes it a bit frustrating, but there were a few mistakes on that lap. However, this weekend we concentrated on the set up for the race more than for the qualifying, so I am quite confident for the race.
Jenson Button, Honda (7th, 1m 12.523s):
"I'm pleased with the way qualifying went today. The car was well-balanced and I think I have a good strategy. The challenge will be getting past the cars directly in front of me but generally I think we can have a strong race and points for both of us is certainly a possibility here. It should be a great race for the fans tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (8th, 1m 12.795s):
"In general it was a pain-free qualifying session for me. We had a very good car in the first two sessions today and we were able to push well without problems. In Session 3 we seemed to struggle a bit more with grip and balance. That made it hard to get the best out of the car on a fast lap. As a result I wasn't happy with my last run and I think I could have done slightly better. But we have still made it to P8 which is an achievement and a reasonable place to start tomorrow. Hopefully we can bring a good result home in the race."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (9th, 1m 13.174s):
"Obviously the Bridgestone runners seem to have a bit of an advantage today but that happens sometimes. We are not as quick as we would like, but we have a strong race strategy, so we will see what happens tomorrow. Ninth is not ideal but a podium should be possible in what I hope will be an exciting race."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (10th, 1m 15.280s):
We were really quick here in qualifying. Most of the time I was ahead of Jacques so a good starting position would have been possible for me. Unfortunately my car stopped suddenly, and we dont know why yet. It didnt feel like an engine problem, so I think I will be able to start from tenth on the grid.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (11th, 1m 12.150s):
"That was a shame as I should have been in the last session today. On my second flying run I had a bit of traffic, but the team reacted well and called me in to change tyres, however we missed the opportunity for a final attempt by only a few seconds. We have a strong race car, and we will now focus on establishing the best strategy possible."
Mark Webber, Williams (12th, 1m 12.292s):
We need a lot more grip than we could muster today, a bit like the situation in Montreal, but the pace of the Ferraris is very strong, indicating the tyres are okay, so we just need to work harder with the car. We have struggled on the infield section all weekend, balancing wing level, top speed and grip. Sunday sometimes shows a different pace relative to the competition, so well see tomorrow, but it might be quite tough for us.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (13th, 1m 12.792s):
I am convinced we need to have more races in America, because we seem to have better luck in qualifying. This was the first time for several races that I didnt run into traffic. We did a good job of engineering the car today. We have a good balance on new and old tyres which is hard to get here and that should carry through to the race. Its great to out-qualify the Red Bull Racing guys! Starting this far up the grid, I think weve got a great opportunity for points.
Christijan Albers, Midland (14th, 1m 12.854s):
"The session may have looked good on paper, but we still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, because tomorrow is the day that counts, not today. Today we were able to celebrate a little bit, but we dont get points for qualifying, so we have to remain focused on running a good race. Im still finding it quite difficult to set quick times, to be honest. Im not really settled with the set-up and Im not feeling 100 percent comfortable yet with the car. So we need to work overnight and see what we can do, because Im sure we can still go faster."
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (15th, 1m 12.864s):
"I think this is a great result for the team! We finally got both cars into the second session, and thats a major boost for everyone. After our performance in Canada, we thought we might be able to do it here but we werent really sure. After our performance yesterday, we knew there was potential, so we went for it, and both cars were very competitive today. In my last run, I lost two or three tenths in the last corner that leads to the straight. The back end stepped out on me as a result of pushing so hard, but I took the risk because I thought we might even be able to get into the top ten. Still, it was a great day for Portugal today, both for myself and our football team, and Im very proud to display my countrys logo on my car and racing suit in the race tomorrow."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (16th, 1m 12.925s):
The car was actually more competitive in the first part of qualifying, when the track temperature was quite a bit lower so I was able to achieve P13. In the second session I had more oversteer and struggled in the corners. I couldnt go any quicker and its disappointing to finish in P16.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (17th, 1m 13.180s):
I was quite surprised by my first run in qualifying, the car felt more together than this morning; I was half a second quicker and set my best time of the weekend. I then put a little bit of front wing in to the car to try and accommodate for the new set of tyres, but I picked up more understeer. It made the car very unpredictable to drive and I lost time. I think were just not very good in low downforce trim, I cant get comfortable with my corner entries and use my strength, which is to carry speed into the turns. I was always going to be a prime candidate not to make it through to the second part of qualifying, based on this mornings session.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (18th, 1m 13.496s):
It was a fantastic Qualifying session. We made good progress throughout the practice sessions and the car has felt good all weekend. To be able to set our best qualifying position and to be competitive in quite gusty and very hot conditions is great. I am extremely happy to be in this position for the race tomorrow and would like to thank everyone in the team for their hard work so far this weekend.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (19th, 1m 13.506s):
Going out in the first session is not what we wanted but it was very difficult and I couldnt feel the car properly, the grip wasnt there and if I cant feel the car, I cant push for those extra few tenths without making a mistake. We dont really know where the problem is, but we knew today would be difficult for us.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (20th, 1m 13.787s):
"Unfortunately that was a short session for me today because we suffered a problem with our rear suspension on my first flying lap. We were on old tyres and the problem did not affect my lap time too much but it would have been too risky to go out again. I had to visit the weighbridge before the team could start changing the rear central element and we just didn't have enough time to complete the change before the end of Session 1. By then I was outside the top 16 so that was the end of my afternoon. It is a particular pity because both yesterday and this morning the car felt strong and we were in good shape to challenge in qualifying. Now we are in the worst possible place for tomorrow's race but we will try our best to make up ground."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (21st, 1m 14.041s):
I had a massive problem with understeer on the first lap with new tyres. At Turn 8, I went over the kerb and the car flew about one and a half metres into the air. I think I must have broken something at the front and was not able to do another quick lap. I dont know where all the understeer came from, with a big shift in balance we did not expect from what we had seen in the morning.
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (22nd, 1m 16.036s):
It has been a bad day, again. During qualifying we had another problem and this cannot keep happening every race weekend. It makes it extremely difficult to concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing because you have to focus on solving the problems and not on making progress. I hope we have a better day tomorrow but right now I am very disappointed about this Qualifying position for me.