Qualifying - selected driver quotes 05 Aug 2006
Time penalties and the prospect of engine changes have left some of the field with a lot to discuss ahead of Sundays race. The drivers report back on a hectic qualifying session at the Hungaroring
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st, 1m 19.599s):
"That was a really good qualifying session and to come out with pole position is really great. The car has been quick all weekend, and I am confident that we have made an excellent choice with our Michelin tyres. I believe we have a very strong car for tomorrow, and I am looking forward to the race where we have every chance to win. The work we have done in testing has really made a difference and improved our package over the last two weekends."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 19.886s):
It was a good qualifying and it is always important to start from the front row. Maybe I could have been on pole, but I had a bit of traffic even from the moment I came out of pit lane on my out lap for my second timed run. That meant my tyres were not up to temperature, especially going into the first corner. Apart from that, I am happy with the package I have. We have worked well over the past two days, fine tuning the car and trying to get the most out of the Bridgestone tyres. I think that even on old tyres, I will be able to maintain a good pace and I will be out to get the best result possible.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (3rd, 1m 20.085s) :
"Well I'm very pleased with our result today. It was a great effort to finish in third position and also important to be starting from the clean side of the grid. The whole Honda team have made a huge effort in the last few weeks to turn our performance around and that work and progress is starting to show now. The car is competitive, we look to be consistent on race pace and the driveability is improving. I also think that we have made a good choice on our tyres so it's looking good all round. I'm hoping for a great race tomorrow, it's certainly my best chance of the year to have a good result."
Jenson Button, Honda (4th, 1m 20.092s):
"We put in a very strong performance in qualifying today. The car is working well and the pace has been developing all weekend. I started my final quick run with confidence that I could get up there into the top three, then I locked the brakes at the first corner and lost four-tenths of my best first sector, but was still able to come back and be in fourth. It's very frustrating that I will be starting from 14th on the grid because of the engine failure this morning, even more so as the car is looking good. This is a hard circuit to overtake on but I'm going to go out there, enjoy the race and see what we can do."
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (5th, 1m 20.117s):
"I am very pleased with that result as it was generally a great qualifying session. It is very tight, but we have a very good car for the race and I am confident in our Michelin tyre choice for tomorrow. We selected the tyres which we expect to work better in the race, and so I am quite surprised that we are as high up. Our biggest strength for tomorrow will be the consistency in the tyres so I am looking forward to a very competitive race."
Mark Webber, Williams (6th, 1m 20.266s):
Starting from fifth place on the grid is obviously positive, but I am a little bit concerned about the race because the car has been a bit tricky on long runs this weekend. However, we must capitalise on this good starting position and well give our all to ensure everything goes well in the race.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (7th, 1m 20.759s):
"Considering the difficult circumstances we can be pretty pleased with what we achieved today. Everyone expected hotter conditions for this race weekend and we have all had our problems with it. The main problem with this cool weather is graining. When the tyres are working under their normal temperature range a rough surface develops which prevents the tyres from having sufficient grip. The tyre basically dissolves and you have a big grip problem. As a result you have either understeer or oversteer. But the team did a great job and it looks like we've chosen the right tyre so it's promising for tomorrow. I have a good finishing record here and our recent performances have shown that we are on the up so I hope we can continue that trend in the race."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (8th, 1m 20.924s):
We said yesterday that the grip level was very low out on the circuit and with the cool temperatures continuing today, it hasn't changed much. The balance of the car on new tyres was a bit different in qualifying compared to practice and I struggled with low grip, but things felt much better when we had some fuel onboard in the final fuel-burning part of the session. In terms of my timed laps in third qualifying, I put in one solid lap then made some mistakes on the second one, so couldn't improve my time. But I am on the clean side of the track for the start, and feeling very positive for tomorrow - much more so than in the last few races. The car is getting better and better with every lap we do this weekend, so I am expecting a fun race.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, 1m 21.132s):
"This weekend has been difficult for everyone because of the problems with tyre graining. Because it is so hard to understand how best to use the tyres it has made it difficult to set up the car so everything was a bit of a guess for me today. Throughout the session I was missing out on general grip and struggling with the balance. Still, we have done well to make it into the top ten and now we have to look to get the most out of tomorrow's race. In the past I've always done well here in Hungary but missed out on results. Tomorrow will be another hard race but at recent races we've been moving up the grid in terms of our performance so we will try to bring home a good result."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (10th, 1m 22.049s):
I know our potential and I think this is it. I was really surprised to be quicker than Nick, which is not easy. In qualifying three I saw someone waving a yellow flag. It was not a marshal and from a distance I thought it was so I backed off, which meant my first sector was not very good. However, the gap to the car in front was too big and they may have a different strategy to us. It will be a tough race for me, but I am quite positive. Tomorrow I shall be happy if I can finish the race with good pace and good driving. I can be very critical of myself and if I feel it is good then it will be good.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (11th, 1m 20.623s):
I am a little disappointed as Robert has shown it was possible to go a bit faster, although we are only in the top ten because Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher were penalized. When I went out for the first time Felipe Massa hampered my lap, as he was on his outlap when I came across him. In the second session the balance of the car was good on the first flying lap, then later the tracks grip increased and I could not make use of it. The balance of the car just did not suit the changed conditions. Now we will see what we can do in the race, but I know we have chosen the right tyres.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (12th, 1m 20.875s):
I prefer not to go into a long explanation of what happened this morning. Everyone can form their own opinion, looking at the replay. I would rather just concentrate on preparing for tomorrows race as well as possible in these unfortunate circumstances. Eleventh place was the best I could hope for, taking into account the penalty given me by the Stewards. At least it means I start from the clean side of the track. I hope to make a good start and move up a few places and I will be trying to make the best of it tomorrow.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th, 1m 20.890s):
"The qualifying session didn't go quite as we hoped. On each run, I was going quicker and the final lap was looking good, but unfortunately I came up behind Tiago Monteiro and lost some time. I dropped about eight tenths of a second, so I didn't even finish it."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (14th, 1m 21.207s):
"Luckily I was able to get through the first part of qualifying using just one set of tyres. In the second part, I improved my time on both new sets of tyres. It was actually quite tricky to drive in today's sessions, as the car was quite nervous. We need a good race tomorrow to make some progress and hopefully I'll finish the race in a higher position than I did in today's qualifying."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (15th, 1m 21.364s):
This was a really unusual qualifying session for me, but everything went well. It is a shame to have lost positions with the penalty, but now is the time to stop talking about it and look forward to making the most of the race. It hasn't changed anything for me, apart from the starting position, but with Michael penalised as well we have not lost so much. We know the Renault is working well with the Michelin tyres because I was able to set competitive times, and I think it will be even better tomorrow. Nobody has really done any long runs at all yet this weekend, so it will be a learning experience for us all in the race. I have the feeling we will be quite strong thanks to the tyre consistency, so let's keep our fingers crossed, stay positive and focused, and see what the race brings.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (16th, 1m 23.767s):
"I'm very pleased to be back in second qualifying, obviously. We had been struggling since the beginning of the weekend with tyre choices and set-up issues, so it's great to be able to give the team that much-needed boost. The balance of the car was so much better today than it was yesterday, and although I got held up by traffic on my first timed run, I put it to the back of my mind and just went all out on the second. The improved handling allowed me to push the car much harder than I did previously, and it showed in the time. In the second session, we went out on used tyres because we decided it would be more important to have the new ones for the race tomorrow than to try and gain one more place, if any. I think the team made the right decision, and I congratulate them because they overcame a lot of tricky obstacles to get us to where we need to be."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (17th, 1m 22.068s):
"I had a lot of problems with the rear tyres on my run, as they were degrading. During qualifying, it felt as though I had no traction at all, which is strange because I had been hoping to at least move on to the next part of the session. The cool weather did not help us. It will be a long tough race tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (18th, 1m 22.084s):
It was generally difficult for me today because I was experiencing much more grip on my new tyres than I had in the morning and I had to get used to everything very quickly. It was going well until the final sector of my last lap, but then I pushed too hard and braked too late and lost about six tenths, which put me out of the top 16. The track conditions we are experiencing here are unexpected so its definitely going to be an interesting race. It wont be easy for me starting from behind, but we will see how it goes.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (19th, 1m 22.317s):
"We knew we were going to struggle in qualifying, so we concentrated on getting as well prepared as possible for the race. Given our tyre choice, I think we are looking quite good, especially as I think we will have an excellent race pace for tomorrow. Overtaking is hard to do here but you never know how things can turn out. We've been slow all weekend, but for us on this side of the garage, we are looking in reasonable shape for the race."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (20th, 1m 22.967 s):
We had a chassis problem during this mornings practice session and lost some running time in addition to the red flag situation on the track. It was then difficult to make further progress during the session, but towards the end we made our tyre choice for tomorrow. For Qualifying I caught some traffic during my first run and it was not a particularly good lap. I also had to stop at the weigh bridge which lost us quite a bit of time and because of this we had to make a pit stop instead of returning in to the garage. Unfortunately this made the tyres cool down too much and I struggled with the warm up. But in the end we should be happy with what we achieved in terms of lap times today.
Christijan Albers, Midland (21st, 1m 22.146s):
"Knowing that we had the engine penalty, we chose to adopt a pretty conservative approach today, one that would save both the tyres and equipment, so we ran very few laps in practice this morning. My first qualifying run was pretty good and showed we're moving in the right direction, but I made a slight mistake on the second run that cost us a bit of time. Thankfully, it wasn't what I would call an expensive mistake, and I would prefer to make it when I know have a 10-place penalty rather than when I have a legitimate chance to qualify well. I'm not a robot, and human beings can make mistakes. But it's OK, we know we can be a little bit quicker, and tomorrow's when it counts for real."
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (22nd, 1m 24.016s):
We analysed the data obtained from yesterdays sessions and changed the car set-up for FP3. During the session we maintained consistent laps and everything seemed to be okay. I am a little bit disappointed with my Qualifying because I made a mistake on the second set of new tyres and I was not able to improve on my first run time. It is a shame, but I have learnt a lot from today and I will try not to make the same mistake during the next Qualifying in Turkey. The car set-up for tomorrow is comfortable so I am looking forward to what will essentially be my first race here in Hungary.