Qualifying - selected driver quotes 26 Aug 2006
No one, not even his illustrious team mate, could better Felipe Massas pole-clinching lap time in Istanbul. He and his 21 rivals report back on a hectic qualifying session in Turkey
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 26.907s):
A fantastic day for me and to get my first Formula One pole is an emotional moment. I can look back and think how much I have had to fight to achieve this. I am emotional and happy and hope to get many more poles in my career. I want to thank the team for having given me a fantastic car, but thank you also to my father: without him I would probably not be here in Formula 1. Tomorrow I will drive my race thinking about mine and the teams objectives in both championships. We know we have a great package while the Bridgestone tyres are consistent and perform well over a long run.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 27.284s):
Getting myself on the front row is definitely not something I can complain about, but today I definitely did not deliver a great qualifying performance, failing to get all the potential out of the car. I aborted my first run on new tyres in Q3 after I ran wide at Turn 1 and I also made a mistake on my second run when in any case, I took a slightly more cautious approach to the lap, knowing I only had one set of tyres left and that it would be better to be second or third rather than not managing to do a reasonable time. Its better to be safe than sorry. I am very happy for Felipe on getting the first pole of his career. He drove an exceptional lap and I have to say I dont think I could have beaten him, even if I had not made any mistakes. We can be optimistic about the race as, from what we have seen so far, everything is in place for us to do well.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (3rd, 1m 27.321s):
Third position was a good result for me today. We knew that we would not have enough to beat the Ferrari package over one timed lap, but we do believe in the consistency of the Michelin tyres and what they can bring us in the race. Our preparations have been focused on the race since yesterday morning, so it is a good result for us to be high up in qualifying. I think it will be an exciting start to the race and that we will see a group of cars running together in the opening laps. But we also know that the most important thing tomorrow will be to finish, to bring home points in both championships.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th, 1m 27.564s):
We knew all weekend that Ferrari would be quick, and that it would be a tough battle to get on to the front row, but we are in the next best position. The car felt much better today on the other type of Michelin tyre, it was easy to drive and the performance was consistent on longer runs. We know that it will be a tough race tomorrow, but we will be fighting all the way.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (5th, 1m 27.569s):
"Our objective was to make the top five in qualifying so that was a good session for us. The car felt good and we did as well as we could have expected. It's obviously a pity to drop back ten places due to our precautionary engine change. Given that penalty we are on a very good strategy and I believe we are in a strong position to gain ground tomorrow. We've been competitive all weekend so we are confident with our pace and it is possible to overtake here. Last year I had a busy race and I expect more of the same tomorrow. Our target is to make the points with both cars and I believe it is possible. If we can make a good start then we will be in good shape."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (6th, 1m 27.785s):
I am a little bit surprised that everything went so well. Our performance in Hungary was, in my opinion, due to exceptional circumstances. If we compare todays result to the races prior to then the improvement is an enormous step forward. It shows the guys in Munich and Hinwil worked really well during the summer break, and here we have some more aerodynamic improvements including a modified front wing. Nevertheless I am realistic and think it is going to be harder for us in the race, but our goals are points.
Jenson Button, Honda (7th, 1m 27.790s):
"I was obviously hoping for something more from qualifying today, although we have been struggling a little bit in the last sector here - on the long straight and the three very slow corners at the end. That's where we have been losing out to Alonso. On the positive side we have been looking good on the long runs, as we demonstrated on Friday and this morning. So it's looking like we could be better off in the race, in which case P6 on the grid isn't so bad."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (8th, 1m 27.866s):
"The times are very close today so even a small improvement could have made a big difference in where we qualified. I think we had expected to be slightly higher up, but I will move one place on the grid to seventh, and as we have seen many times before anything is possible. The car is handling quite well, and you never know what strategy the others are using, so all we can do now is to wait for the race tomorrow."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (9th, 1m 27.167s):
It was a good qualifying as we have both cars in the top ten. We struggled with the set up this morning and had understeer, but suddenly in qualifying it became oversteer. It went from one side to the other and unfortunately the car was really difficult to drive. However, I managed pretty well to push on one lap and I shall see what happens tomorrow. The conditions are changing and we should have more rubber on the track, which should help to make the rear more stable.
Mark Webber, Williams (10th, 1m 27.436s):
Qualifying ended up okay. We made it into Q3 even if we finished 10th in the end. To try and move our pace on, we had to use a new set of tyres in the last session which means I wont have them for the start of the race tomorrow, so it could be a tough day ahead, but well see.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (11th, 1m 27.852s):
"I'm very happy about the qualifying result. I think I'll start tomorrow in P10 due to another driver's engine change. Every time I went out on new tyres today I improved. We changed the front wing a little, as there was some understeer when we tried to push harder and by the end I had quite good balance. I think we got everything out of the car that we could. My team did a good job and supported me well, and hopefully we can have a good race from this position tomorrow."
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (12th, 1m 27.897s):
"Not qualifying inside the top ten obviously allows us to be a bit more flexible with the strategy, so it's not all bad. I will also move up one position on the grid due to Ralf's engine change. On my flying laps in the second session I hit traffic which affected my times. I'm sure that we have made the right decision with regards to our Michelin tyres. The car was working well, and I look forward to the race."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th, 1m 27.973s):
"That was a difficult day's work for me. I hoped to make it into Q3 but it was hard to find a good balance today. Still, I remain confident for the race because I have made a conservative tyre choice and I was quick and consistent both this morning and yesterday. I'm thinking more about the race than qualifying and I hope that risk will pay off tomorrow. It will still be a hard race and the start will be crucial here because the first corner is downhill and very tight. But if we can make it through unscathed then we should have a good chance to progress. We have been steadily getting more competitive and edging closer to the top teams so if we can stay reliable I believe with the race pace we have we can do well and challenge for a strong finish."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th, 1m 28.257s) :
"Unfortunately I didn't have a good balance with the car for the whole qualifying session today. It was quite strange because the car felt much better this morning throughout practice, so we have to look at that and see what has happened. So that was my qualifying today but we know that the car has a good race pace, plus we can choose our fuel level from here, so I am hopeful that we can have a decent race tomorrow and I can fight my way through the field."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (15th, 1m 28.386s):
I was pretty happy with my car in this mornings Free Practice. For qualifying we made quite a few set-up changes to find some more pace and moved towards Marks set-up, but I didnt feel comfortable or confident with the car. My final position is disappointing, but I am sure the race will be better because we are looking good from a tyre perspective.
Christijan Albers, Midland (16th, 1m 28.639s):
"Today was much better. We made a lot of progress since yesterday, which was a bad day for both Midland and Toyota, and I think we did a fantastic job of making the most of our time on the track today. So many thanks to the team and Toyota for their efforts, and let's push hard to do a good result tomorrow."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (17th, 1m 29.136s):
"Under normal conditions, I think I would have made it through to the next session today. My first run was a little bit messy, but on my second, a Super Aguri went off the circuit in Turn eight in front of me, so I had to lift off. As a result I dropped half a second and couldn't win it back through the rest of the lap. I tried to push again on the next lap, but by then my tyres had lost performance, it's just one of things unfortunately."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (18th, 1m 29.158s):
I am not too happy with this result as for some reason there was a big difference between our pace in practice and qualifying. But the car is still really good and I expect us to have a better race pace. We have good top end speed though and the car is good in the top speed corners. Turn 8 is really special, where you pull 5Gs laterally. It hurts but I love it!
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (19th, 1m 29.250s):
A shit qualifying for me which did not go as I had expected. Specifically on my car we seem to have a problem that we cannot solve, which has made things worse. I am disappointed because I thought that this weekend we could have been in the top fifteen on the grid.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (20th, 1m 29.901s):
I think we made the right choice for the race. Obviously, it's not ideal for qualifying, but we need to look beyond that and concentrate on going well over a race distance. At the end of the day, that's where you score your points, and that's what we're aiming for. With that in mind, we're reasonably satisfied with our performance today."
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 30.607s):
This morning we continued with our car set-up plans from yesterday and progressed with the new tyre options. The car balance changed between FP3 and Qualifying, mainly due to the track conditions, and so we had to adjust our set-up again during Qualifying. We were unable to find a set-up that would give us a good lap time in the short amount of running that we had, so our times were much slower than those in the morning. However, I am looking forward to tomorrow and to hopefully finishing my first race with the team in the SA06.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (22nd, 1m 30.850s):
It is a disappointing result. We had a new front suspension on my car today and this morning we made good progress during the session with only a small issue towards the end. In Qualifying, however, we had a major chassis related problem which caused me to struggle with the handling and I therefore could not set a good lap time. I have a good feeling from the SA06 from this mornings session, so I hope that we can have a good race tomorrow.