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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 29 Jul 2006

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 28 July 2006 (L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari after qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006

McLaren's first pole of the season, a shunt for Red Bull's Scott Speed and a very modest showing from world champions Renault. All 22 drivers describe their Saturday afternoon in Germany...

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st, 1m 14.070s):
"It was great to get pole today as the car has been working really well all weekend. We had some new developments at the test last week and it is clear that they have moved us in the right direction. Obviously today is only half the story, but I like this track, and we will have to see what happens in the race tomorrow. Unfortunately I went off the track on my last flying lap, I knew I was slower than on my first attempt, so I pushed a bit harder and ran out of space on the corner, it is one of those things, but it didn't make any difference."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 14.205s):
“We know we can count on a very strong car-engine-Bridgestone tyre which should give us a good race pace, so we can be confident for tomorrow. We had no problems at all and things have gone well all weekend. The track will still rubber in a bit more, especially as it rained yesterday. My somewhat aggressive entry into the pits? Nothing strange, I was just in a hurry, but I had a bit of graining which prevented me from pulling off the manoeuvre the way I wanted, but in the end nothing happened and that was also the case when it comes to the incident with Fernando in Q3. In certain situations, for example when you are changing tyres at the same time as your team-mate, you cannot see everything clearly and you have to rely on the team as to when to pull away from the pit stop. Even though I have not had that much success in this race in the past, Hockenheim is one of my favourite dates on the calendar and I’m looking forward to racing tomorrow in front of so many of my fans.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 14.569s):
“Third place is definitely not bad, but I felt I could have done better. I had expected to be fighting for pole, after the car felt very strong on old tyres in this morning’s free practice. But at least the good pace I showed in race trim this morning means I can be optimistic for tomorrow. We have a very strong car-engine-Bridgestone tyre package and I hope everything turns out the way we expect it to, but the competition is very close so it will be a tough race.”

Jenson Button, Honda (4th, 1m 14.862s):
"Obviously this is a very positive qualifying result for us and I'm really pleased that I'll be starting from the second row tomorrow. We've looked competitive all through the weekend but I'd prefer to wait and see how the race pans out. Generally though I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think it should be a great race."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, 1m 14.894s):
“I think we did the maximum we could today with the engineers and on the track. Unfortunately though, some other cars were quicker this afternoon. There are some big gaps to the cars in front, so maybe we can expect some variation in strategy, but we will have to race hard whatever happens. It will be important to make a good start and then keep the pace. I am confident we will be quick on the long runs, so hopefully everything will come together in the race.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (6th, 1m 14.934s):
"I really feel like I had a great lap today and I think our result shows that it's back to reality in a way. We had a difficult time in France but we are closer now to where we should be again. We had a much better test in Jerez and we seemed to have made some good progress with the car in a number of areas. I think we can translate today's qualifying into a positive performance tomorrow and we should be able to have a strong race with some good points for both of us."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (7th, 1m 15.282s):
“Today, I don't think we ever got our tyres working properly on the timed lap and even before the session, we knew it might be a little bit difficult for us this afternoon. Obviously, starting from seventh position makes our job quite a hard one, but I am still confident for tomorrow. I think we have competitive pace on the long runs, and now we need to believe in the choices we have made for set-up and strategy, and let the race unfold. Hopefully, we can make it to the podium tomorrow.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (8th, 1m 15.923s):
"The weekend was going well for me until Q3, when the unfortunate collision with De la Rosa caused me to lose a lot of time. It looked to me that he was opening the gap for me to overtake on the inside and then he just turned in the last moment, where I could not react anymore. These things can happen and are just normal racing incidents. It was just a shame because the performance until then was good and I was in third position. But I really thank the guys for working fast to get the car out again so that I move up to 8th place. I think we really could have qualified much better for tomorrow, but this position can also be promising for attaining points."

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (9th, 1m 15.936s):
"Qualifying three was a bit messy for me and ninth place is not what I expected after it had gone so well in the first two qualifying sessions. The car has been handling really well throughout the weekend and our Michelin tyres performed consistently. Unfortunately Ralf Schumacher hit me at the hairpin and consequently my right rear tyre blew, obviously this was a misunderstanding of both parties. When I came into the pits there was rubber from the incident in my brake duct which caused a small fire. However I am looking forward to the race where we should be competitive."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, 1m 16.326s):
“It’s great to get through to the top ten, it’s just disappointing that once we’re there, that’s where we stay, in tenth. I’d no fresh tyres remaining in the last qualifying stint, so I wasn’t able to attack so much. The nature of this circuit makes it tricky to drive in some of the turns. The high-speed entries to Turn one and the stadium are followed by very short apexes, so how you commit to that first phase of the circuit can be tricky to judge. It’s difficult to nail the exact position that you need to take. But, other than that, a solid day today.”

Mark Webber, Williams (11th, 1m 15.094s):
“We weren’t as competitive in qualifying as we will probably be in the race, although it seemed to be going well for us this afternoon until we looked at the lap times of the other cars. I think our pace this afternoon was compromised by understeer and grip levels and if we had solved this, we would have definitely made it into Q3. I enjoyed myself out there and was happy with how the sessions went, but now I am looking forward to the race.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (12th, 1m 15.141s):
“I expected to be in the top ten today, as this morning was so good, but I finished the second qualifying stint just one tenth away from it. It’s a bit of a shame that I didn’t improve on my second new tyre run - I had a little bit of traffic. The car was well balanced, so I was pretty happy, and the tyres worked well meaning we were quite competitive. From P12 on the grid, we still should have a good race tomorrow.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th, 1m 15.150s):
"This weekend seems to be challenging for me. Yesterday I could not go out as much during practice and then things started out problematic today during the third practice session. I went out to do some installation laps and noticed that the engine was feeling strange and then had to stop the car. The engine needed to be changed out and therefore decided to prepare the T-Car to save time in order to be ready for qualifying. Q1 started well for me and my pace was really good. The T-Car set-up was feeling ok, but during Q2 we decided to go out only once. It will be a difficult fight from the back, but I am confident we can make the best of it and push to the front."

Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (14th, 1m 15.329s):
“We knew we would not be that quick, but this was disappointing as that was a mistake free lap. The balance of the car was good, the set-up of the car was good but I just could not go any faster. We improved the car a lot overnight. However, we still definitely need to work on the engine and the chassis.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (15th, 1m 15.380s):
“This morning I really felt very comfortable in the car, so it’s hard to identify what was missing in qualifying. I was expecting to be a lot quicker, especially as the session went on. I didn’t seem able to improve on my second set of tyres and I couldn’t find the confidence I wanted under braking, which is important here. I am sure our tyres are strong and the difficult thing here is always finding a compromise between qualifying and race set-up, so for sure tomorrow we will be looking a lot stronger and will have a good race pace.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (16th, 1m 15.397s):
“I was hoping for a bit more from today, but I didn’t expect us to make it into the top ten. Currently we are just not fast enough, and at the same time the Bridgestone tyres have become stronger. My car had slight oversteer, but in general it was okay. I discovered the tyres work better on their second lap and that is why I didn’t drive on the limit on my first flying lap.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (17th, 1m 16.399s):
“It was a difficult qualifying and you can see now how we are beginning to suffer because of the lack of development on the V10 engine. We are struggling more and more. But overall, I think I did the best with what I had, even if I am disappointed not to have made it into the next part of the session. I can’t blame Scott’s red flag for my result. It was a shame for him.”

Christijan Albers, Midland (18th, 1m 17.093s):
"We are pushing to turn around what has been a terrible weekend for us so far. We had bad luck on Friday morning with our engine problem. Then, of course, the rain in the afternoon limited us to a few laps and basically wasted the second session for everyone. This morning, we had electronic problems, so it's been one thing after another. But looking at the positive side, I can see this qualifying effort as a victory, because I think I did a pretty good time on the set of tyres I had, compared to my team mate and the strategy he was running. In that sense, I think my engineers and mechanics did a good job. Now, we'll do our best to run a smart, consistent race tomorrow and see what happens."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (19th, 1m 17.185s):
“This was an absolutely fantastic team effort and it feels great. I know how hard it has been to bring the new car here on such a tight schedule and overnight the boys worked so hard. We had a few minor problems, which is usual with a new car, but I think the SA06 is performing very well. We have split the Midland car times straight away in our first proper qualifying, which is a stunning job from everybody in the team. I think that, considering this is just our first step in the SA06, potentially this car could be very good.”

Tiago Monteiro, Midland (20th, 1m 17.836s):
"This was the second time in as many qualifying sessions that Mr Coulthard, who's been around long enough to know better, blocked me on my flying lap. He did it to me in qualifying at Magny-Cours, he did it to Christijan in practice yesterday and he did it to me again today. It's unbelievable, because he's the first one to moan about it in the driver briefings when he thinks someone's done it to him, and yet he thinks he can do it to everyone else. Obviously, this time we're going to complain to the stewards about it, because it's just too much. It's a shame, because I think I could have had a decent run, based on the speed I had on my first aborted lap, when Speed shunted. But unfortunately, we couldn't do it because of Mr Coulthard. Looking ahead, I still think we'll be OK in the race because we've made the right tyre choice. So with a good strategy and some luck, we might be able to salvage something this weekend."

Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 20.444s):
“This morning we were practicing for the qualifying session and we had a good car set-up, so during my first run I was able to set really good lap times. We then tried a new set of tyres and set-up and I wanted to know where the limit of the car was, so I used 100 percent of the car’s performance, but unfortunately I left the track. I am so sorry that the team now has to work on my SA06 for tomorrow, but I am very much looking forward to my first race.”

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (22nd, no time):
“When you’re running towards the back of the field, you have to find new ways to get media coverage and I guess I did that today! But seriously, I had been riding that kerb all weekend with no problem, but then today in qualifying, I didn’t do anything different in the way I tackled it, but the car seemed to get much more upset and I lost control of it. At first, I kept my foot down on the throttle, because everything felt normal, but then I had a hard time bringing the car back into line and it spat me across to the outside. How bad is the car? I didn’t look!”