Qualifying - selected driver quotes 07 Apr 2007
Ferraris Felipe Massa on his first pole of the season; Nico Rosberg on Williams improved form in Malaysia and Red Bulls Mark Webber on making it into Q3. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 35.043s):
"I am very happy with this pole. On my second run I had a bit of traffic but on the last one, I got a really clean lap and I got a hundred percent out of the car. At Turn Seven and in the final sector there were a few drops of rain, but luckily it did not get worse and I was able to finish my run without any bother. Obviously, tomorrow I want to finish the race in the same position in which I start it. We know we are up against some very strong opponents and that this is always a hard race, both from the physical point of view and in terms of the stresses on the car. In these very high temperatures, it is like racing in a sauna, and the track became very slippery, but I was able to put together my best lap right at the last minute."
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (2nd, 1m 35.310s):
"All in all Im very pleased as I think we have closed most of the gap to Ferrari. We made some improvements overnight and also between running this morning and qualifying, and the car is working well. I think we can have a strong race tomorrow, but the heat and humidity makes it tough on everything and everybody, but we will push 100 percent. A lot of work took place at the test last week but also back in Europe, and the car has definitely improved so we are going in the right direction."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 35.479s):
"All in all, today's result is what we could have expected. The balance of my car was better than in yesterday's free practice, but still not perfect for a single timed lap. But it is very good over a long run and so I think I can be a frontrunner in tomorrow's race. The battle was very close but we saw already in Melbourne that the McLaren is competitive in qualifying. The heat? It's the same for everyone so it should not be a decisive factor tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (4th, 1m 36.045s):
"The car is working well and I think we could have had two cars on the front row. However when I came to Turn Seven it had started spitting with rain a little bit. I had experienced this at the test last week and knew it could be slippery, so I eased off a small amount. Apart from that everything went smoothly, and Im confident for the race tomorrow. Im on the clean side on the track and will aim to make a good start."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, 1m 36.543s):
"I am very happy starting from fifth on the grid. It was the best I could achieve today as the balance of my car is better, but still not ideal, so under the circumstances the result is fine. Timing was quite difficult in the session when the sky became darker and darker, and on my last outing in two of the corners the track was already slightly wet."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th, 1m 36.829s):
"I dont think we couldnt have hoped for much better than P6 today. I am pretty pleased, especially because yesterday we seemed unable to find the form we had showed here at the test. However, since this morning, my car has been feeling better and everything started to go in the right direction. As the grip level rises, the car gets stronger, just like in Melbourne. Starting from sixth is a good position for tomorrow, even if the gap to those around me is tight. The most important ambition for us tomorrow is trying to maintain our consistency and continue gathering points."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (7th, 1m 36.896s):
"The car is as competitive as it was in Melbourne and I could have been in the top five, but we made a mistake. In the end we could have had a better result, and that is what counts. After free practice I was happy with the balance, as I was after the last test here. The car improved because the condition of the track improved and, though we had a few problems yesterday, we did not have these in qualifying."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th, 1m 36.902s):
"That was a good result and again we were able to exploit the car in qualifying trim, which has often been the case. I missed some running this morning due to an electrical problem but I still had a better balance than yesterday. Now we have to see how we can do tomorrow. Im confident because Ive always done good races here in Malaysia and the car has always performed better here than at some other circuits. Its always hot here so this is an issue both for the drivers and the cars, as the heat can lead to mechanical and technical issues. But we were reliable in Australia so we can hope for more of the same. Obviously we now have to make the best of our positions and aim for more points."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (9th, 1m 37.078s):
"In general that was a good qualifying session for us and its good to get both cars into the top 10 again. This weekend has been relatively difficult for me because there has not been much grip out there and Ive had a few balance problems. Thats why Ive been struggling a bit but overall Im happy. Weve had no major problems and no reliability issues so we can look forward to tomorrow. The field is close together and it will be a long, hard race but our goal is to make the points with both cars. We are expecting a dry race but the likelihood of rain increases as the race unfolds. When it really starts to rain here you need to use the full wet tyre but the track can dry quickly so there will be a lot of activity around the pits which should be interesting for the spectators."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (10th, 1m 37.345s):
"It would have been nicer to be a bit further up, but that's probably where we are. It was very tight in Q2, but we managed to put in a lap in that got us in to Q3. In the last qualifying session, we decided to pit early, as we thought it was going to rain. Ten minutes either way, and it could have been a good call, but you have to make decisions when you're out there and that's what the guys thought was the right thing to do at the time. We're in the middle of the field for tomorrow's race, so we'll see what we can do then."
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (11th, 1m 35.630s):
"The grip levels were improving with every run, and I think we had the pace to get into the top ten this afternoon. But I didn't manage to put my best three sectors together into one lap, so it's a little bit frustrating to end up eleventh - and outside the final shootout. From a personal point of view, though, this was a much better qualifying session for me compared to Melbourne. I think our race will be with Williams, Toyota and Red Bull tomorrow - and I am optimistic that I can do a good job."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (12th, 1m 35.706s):
"The car has been tricky to drive all weekend: the balance is not too bad, but we are lacking grip, and that makes the handling quite unpredictable, which means it is hard to put a clean lap together. Just like in Melbourne, we are a long way from the leaders, and we know that we need to improve. Looking to tomorrow, it will be a tough race, as always - and we are starting quite far back. We need to make the right calls on strategy, and see how things unfold."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th, 1m 35.766s):
"I was reasonably satisfied with the car today, so it's a shame not have got into the top ten. We had a few problems through practice, but a couple of tenths would have put me in the final qualifying session. I didn't go quick enough on my final lap and lost the back end in Turn four. I think we've had fewer issues with the car here compared to Australia, and other teams have shuffled around the order too. Renault seems to have dropped down a little and Toyota has popped up, I think people are moving around in these warmer track conditions."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (14th, 1m 35.945s):
"It was a tough qualifying. Having had a difficult free practice session, I missed the opportunity to do the soft tyre run properly in the third finall practice. Going into qualifying you really need to focus, and I did the best I could but unfortunately, as a team, we made a mistake for the tyre choice in the first session which knocked my confidence, rhythm and lap time. It was very hard to go through Q1, however I re-focussed and we just made it through to Q2. We improved in the second session, but the whole of qualifying was tough. We should be happy with our result today, but it could have possibly been better. We are where we expected to be because this is such a demanding circuit, so even though I am slightly disappointed, at the same time I am happy and looking forward to tomorrow with hope."
Jenson Button, Honda (15th, 1m 36.088s):
"I'm obviously very frustrated. We know where we are at the moment and we're doing the best with what we have, but qualifying 15th is still difficult to accept. We made it through to Q2 but the car isn't good enough to get us
through to the final session at the moment. It was unbelievable how much grip I lost towards the end of the second session. So we start from the second half of
the grid and we'll have to see what the race brings, but this is always a tough race and tomorrow will be no exception."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (16th, 1m 36.145s):
"It's quite good to make it into Q2, but unfortunately we still do not have the pace to go to Q3. We are learning and improving every time we go out on track and we have already made a step forward from the last race and we will continue to improve. Tomorrow afternoon we will not have an easy race with the hot conditions, but today I think I got the maximum out of this car. I think we can run better in tomorrow's race than we did in the last one, because we are using a bit more of the car's potential, but it won't be easy."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (17th, 1m 36.578s):
"We have definitely made a step forward with the car this weekend, which is good. But I did not manage to get everything out of it on my last run, as I made a mistake in the final corner. Without that, maybe I could have also got through to the second session. In any case, our pace is better, even though we have a long way to go. I think that as far as tomorrow's race is concerned, maybe we can run a bit more competitively than we did in Melbourne."
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (18th, 1m 36.816s):
"I'm a bit frustrated with qualifying because I had traffic on my lap on the soft tyre. The first run was okay, my banker lap on the harder tyre gave me P12 at that time, so I was confident I could improve on that easily in my second run. But the Toro Rosso held me up on his out lap and my flying lap and that was enough to ensure that I didn't improve on my time and didn't make it out of the first session, which is a shame."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (19th, 1m 36.827s):
"There is very little I can say, I am so disappointed. Given our current performance level, qualifying well was always going to be a struggle but to find myself where I am is so frustrating. Immediately before the session we had
the problem with my race car so I had to switch to the spare car. That car wasn't set up for me, so in many ways it was like starting from the beginning again. At least by the end of free practice today my race car was well-balanced but obviously I wasn't able to benefit from the small improvement we had made with that car this morning which is very frustrating. Starting from the back of
the grid tomorrow I can only see what opportunities arise in the race and that is the best we can expect."
Alexander Wurz, Williams (20th, 1m 37.326s):
"Unfortunately in Q1 the car developed a problem before my final runs, so I was not able to set a time to get through to the following sessions. I couldnt select gears, but we are not sure yet why that is. Its a shame because this area of the car has been working faultlessly all the way through winter testing, on the dynos and into last weeks test, but thats how it goes. Tomorrow Ill just have to see what happens and just make the best of it."
Christijan Albers, Spyker (21st, 1m 38.279s):
"After the disappointment of yesterday's runs, we changed the whole car overnight and I got my head a little clearer. My team worked flat out just to get the best out of the car, which seems to be suiting me more and more as we go through the practice sessions. I'm obviously not too pleased with the level of the qualifying though, I made some mistakes, although I did make it up in other corners. From now on we can only go up and get better."
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (22nd, 1m 38.415s):
"It's been a difficult day today. We tried some different things to reduce the oversteer, but it seemed to be in the wrong direction and I wasn't happy with the overall balance. I felt I couldn't get the maximum out of the car and I had a few difficult moments. At the moment we are losing about a second to the guy in front over one lap but, as we showed in Australia, I think we will be much closer in the race."