Qualifying - selected driver quotes 14 Apr 2007
McLarens Lewis Hamilton on his first front row qualifying position; Alex Wurz on just missing the cut for Q3 in the Williams; and David Coulthard on his gearbox failure. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 32.652s):
"I am very happy to be on pole once again for the second time in a row and of course I am hoping for a very different race result to the one I obtained last Sunday. I did two good laps and I want to thank the team for the fantastic work they have done and for giving me a really competitive car. I hope that tomorrow's race goes the same way as qualifying. The first two races have not gone the way I expected and I really hope that this one will reverse the trend. We have a very competitive car, both over a single lap and over a distance: now we just have to do our best to get the most out of the potential at our disposal."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd, 1m 32.935s):
It just keeps getting better and better to be on the front row in only my third Formula One weekend is an amazing feeling. I dont think that my final qualifying lap was my best lap of the session. Qualifying is so intense and you need to pull out everything. The wind also keeps changing direction here which makes things even more challenging. It looks like all the hard work has paid off and we have definitely closed the gap to Ferrari and made progress. The start tomorrow will be crucial there is a very long run down into the first corner. However I have raced here at this circuit before so I have a bit more experience than the last two races and we will see what happens.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 33.131s):
"Third place is a good result and puts us in a reasonable position for tomorrow's race. Of course I would rather always be in front of everyone, but I know we still have to improve to get all the performance out of the car over a single lap. Then, I also had a bit of traffic today on both my runs in Q3. Track conditions are better than yesterday and are closer to those we had here in testing a few weeks back."
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (4th, 1m 33.192 s):
Second row was the best we could do today but we should be in a good position to fight for a podium finish. This track provides plenty of opportunities for overtaking which means that you can really fight for positions and give the spectators a nice race. We are fighting with the Ferraris and thats more or less what we expected. They are both on the clean side of the track which might give them a slight advantage at the start. However our aim is to go for it. So far we have been strong in our long runs so Im optimistic for a competitive race tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, 1m 33.404s):
I am very happy and the team did a very good job. I had an excellent car and my last run in the final session was really good. The two teams in front of us were clearly faster. The gap is significant, but we have again been the third strongest team. To improve on these positions in the race will only be possible if a Ferrari or a McLaren has been extremely light today, or something unpredictable happens.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (6th, 1m 33.710s):
Today has been positive as this is my first qualifying this year without mistakes, so it is a step forward. I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car, however, it is still good and I am hoping for a good race tomorrow and the first points of the season.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (7th, 1m 34.056s):
I feel I achieved our current maximum today. It is so tight to get into the top ten for us at the moment and in fact, I was tenth in Q2 by just a few hundredths of a second. After that, we made the most of the opportunity to qualify seventh, ahead of our direct competitors. That is the best start for our weekend. After working hard in practice, I think we have found a consistent balance for the race, and I am looking forward to scoring more points tomorrow. That was not the target at the start of the season, but we need to the best with what we have at the moment. It is important to finish the races, achieve our potential and keep on scoring points. I did that in Melbourne and Sepang, and want to do the same again tomorrow.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th, 1m 34.106s):
I'd have liked to have done a little bit better at the end of the third qualifying session, but that's where we are. We'll see if we can get a point or two tomorrow in the race.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, 1m 34.154s):
Its good to be in the top ten again but this one was very tough. I managed to do a very good job in Q2, but obviously we had a hard time at the end of the final shoot-out. Its difficult because its slippery out there and all weekend Ive been struggling with the grip and the balance. Still, the whole team has done a good job so far this weekend and its been completely trouble-free for me. Obviously the race is a different story so lets see what happens tomorrow with the strategy. Weve done well at the first two races so we can now hope to build on that here. Its going to be a tough afternoon but we will do our best to score some more points.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (10th, 1m 34.399s):
Im happy with that because sometimes its not always easy to get into Q3. I would have liked to have been a bit higher up but from 10th on the grid everything is possible. Strategy-wise, were looking good for the race. Im looking forward to it; our car is strong, we have a competitive race pace and I will hopefully score some points.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (11th, 1m 32.915s):
I missed out on Q3 by just a few thousandths of a second. Its very tough competition out there, which is very nice as its so challenging, but its brutal. Thats motorsport at its best. We went out early to avoid the traffic so my lap was clean. A positive to starting in P11 is that I can now choose my fuel load and strategy. Its going to be a tough one but Im hoping for a good race pace, like we had in Malaysia.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (12th, 1m 32.935s):
From my point of view, there was nothing more I could get out of the car today. I did my maximum, and I was right on the limit all the way round the lap, but we didn't make it into the top ten. I have felt a little bit off Giancarlo (Fisichella) all weekend, and we saw that in qualifying too. Of course I am disappointed, but we know we are in a very tight battle at the moment, and we had another reminder of that today. It will be another tough race tomorrow, but as always, I will be trying to race to the limit, to be aggressive at the start - and to try and score points.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (13th, 1m 33.082s):
It was a very good Qualifying session and I enjoyed it immensely. I managed to get through to Q2 and that's been our aim from the start of the year, so to do that, and to also beat my team mate, was a really good achievement for me and I'm really happy. The car balance we achieved in the morning for the long runs was also good, so I am confident for a strong race tomorrow.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (14th, 1m 33.294s):
This has been another difficult weekend for me so far, just as it was in Malaysia. The car is quick enough but Ive had problems all weekend adapting it to suit me. Ive been battling with understeer both yesterday and today and its been difficult to set it up for my needs. I missed out on some of this mornings practice session due to a problem changing our rear suspension so qualifying was a struggle. We certainly hope for a better race but its hard to predict what we can achieve from so far back on the grid. Hopefully I will be able to gain some places and it will look better come tomorrow evening.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (15th, 1m 33.624s):
This morning I had a few problems with the aerodynamic set-up of the car but this improved a little for qualifying. The qualifying session itself was straightforward enough but I am getting the most from the car as it is right now and unfortunately that is 15th position. As always we will be looking for any possibilities to improve during the race.
Jenson Button, Honda (16th, 1m 33.731s):
We've qualified roughly where we have done for the past two races, and as we have acknowledged, that is as quick as the car goes right now. In Q1 I had a problem with the front wing. My first option (soft) tyre run was quite good and then during the next run on the option we lost masses of front downforce and at every corner I was locking up the fronts. I kept moving further rearwards on the brake bias but it didn't really help. In Q2 we tried a different front wing but it didn't improve things. I think we got the best from the car again today so it's down to what we can do in the race now.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (17th, 1m 33.984s):
It is disappointing that I did not get into Q2 today. We completed positive work in the morning and made the car good with regard to race pace in the long run situation, but I could not introduce that pace into qualifying. It is a shame that I did not have good grip, had a slide and lost time. For me the grip level was lower than expected, but I believe that I have strong race pace, so hopefully I will be able to make up some positions.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (18th, 1m 34.024s):
We are just too slow at the moment and the car is missing a lot of downforce. Even if I have said it so often, this is partly due to the fact we need to do more testing to understand the car better. The car balance was good but track conditions had changed a lot since yesterday. Last week, Malaysia was more of a driver circuit where I could try and make a bit of difference, but here it is just down to the car.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (19th, 1m 34.333s):
This afternoon was the first time today I ran the option tyre and it felt quite a bit different. In general, it felt as though the car was more unstable under braking. The car balance was much better than yesterday, because the gap to Tonio has closed and I am running a similar pace to him, while yesterday he was quite a bit quicker than me. So we have managed to get the balance right but for whatever reason I was not happy with the rear of the car. This was not what I had expected.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (20th, 1m 35.280s):
It was difficult to put together the perfect lap out there, but I am happy with the performance and can improve tomorrow for sure. We worked on the car in the first practice session and as the track conditions did not change a whole lot to the afternoon, we knew what to expect. I think we're in pretty good shape for the race, we've got to try to make a good start and overtake in the first corner to get some cars behind us, but the goal's got to be to get through the race without any mistakes.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (21st, 1m 35.341s):
"The car seemed to lose seventh gear at the end of my first qualifying run, at Turn 12. We thought it was a sensor failure so the team changed something and I went back out. However, it appeared that the car had lost fifth, sixth and seventh gear, which is not ideal when you're trying to qualify!"
Christijan Albers, Spyker (22nd, 1m 35.533s):
The first outing in the practice session this morning was a little bit difficult and we changed a few things for qualifying, although I still found it difficult to turn in and I lost some time there. It's disappointing to be at the back again, but we know that during the race we've more of a chance of staying with the field.