Qualifying - selected driver quotes 12 May 2007
Ferraris Felipe Massa on his third consecutive pole position; Robert Kubica on out-qualifying his BMW Sauber team mate Nick Heidfeld for the first time this season; and Mark Webber on his hydraulics problems in Q1. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 21.421s):
"I really got a great lap! This third consecutive pole shows that our car is really competitive. My first run was not perfect, but on the second I managed to get things right without making the slightest mistake. Tomorrow's race will be very close and I hope that with a huge crowd like we saw today in the grandstands, the spectators will see a real spectacle. I hope to make a good start and make the most of pole. Along with the team we are working very well and I am very motivated and also confident about the race."
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (2nd, 1m 21.451s):
A good qualifying, and Im pleased to be on the front row for my home race. There is no doubt that the race will be as close and as competitive as todays qualifying however Im confident that I can challenge for the victory. We have been strong throughout all the practice sessions and todays qualifying was the first time Ferrari was in front, so things are looking good, but I think everybody in the top four are capable of winning. The car is working well, and Im enjoying driving it in front of all the fans.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 21.723s):
"It seems that taking third place in qualifying is now becoming a habit. It's not a bad position, but obviously you always hope to be in front of everyone. On my second attempt, I was going very well but I lost time in the final sector, where the rear of the car was sliding a bit. I hope I will be able to make up some places, but I know it won't be easy. My feeling for the car is improving: there is still work to do, but it's going in the right direction."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (4th, 1m 21.785s):
Im satisfied with todays qualifying and believe that I have a strong race strategy. Anything is possible from the second row and we have been quick throughout the weekend. I have started fourth on a few occasions now, so I have an idea of what to do. Im really pleased with the balance of the car and the improvements the team has made since Bahrain. Both Fernando (Alonso) and I will be on the dirty side of the track, but I think we have shown so far this year that its not too much of a disadvantage. I look forward to an exciting race tomorrow.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th, 1m 22.253s):
I am happy after that as I think the position is good considering I struggled with the balance of my car. This morning it was looking better, but then this afternoon I picked up oversteer. I hope tomorrow the condition of the track will be better with more rubber down, which should help me with my oversteer. I am now looking forward to a good race tomorrow with no problems. We are third in the championship and today we were the third strongest team.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th, 1m 22.324s):
That was a good job by the whole team and the mechanics and today was a great result. It was a very difficult qualifying session and we managed to keep cool when it was difficult and really stressful at the beginning. We nearly missed out on making it through Q1 because I hit traffic and I had to do the time on a second lap on old tyres. Thankfully we managed it so that was a good job. I was also happy with my lap in Q2, then in Q3 I really went for it on my last run on new tyres and P6 is a great performance. We expected to go well here because we have a new aerodynamics package that seems to be working well. So we have made a good step forward but we will keep pushing to improve more and more.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, 1m 22.389s):
I am happy so far as my last lap was pretty good. The balance of my car was alright, and after yesterday's free practice we only did very minor changes. After only one run in Q2 we were already safe for the top ten, which means I have again saved a set of fresh tyres for the race. Normally my starts are quite good and luckily my grid position is on the clean side of the track.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (8th, 1m 22.568s):
The car felt good straight away in the first part of qualifying, and I thought then that we had a good opportunity to make it into the final round this afternoon. The situation should have been more comfortable in the second part of the session, but I had traffic on both of my timed laps Even so, I think I did a good job today, and got the maximum from the car. It's nice to make it through to the final part of qualifying for the first time, but you don't get any points on Saturday. The big job is still ahead of us, and hopefully we can maintain this strong pace tomorrow afternoon.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (9th, 1m 22.749s):
"I'm disappointed to have ended up in ninth position today, as I think the car's quicker than that. Unfortunately I suffered a lot of understeer on the new tyres, which made it very difficult."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (10th, 1m 22.881s):
We went with the hard tyres in the final part of qualifying, and I think it was a good choice because we have a good strategy for the race. The session this afternoon wasn't perfect for me: I didn't complete my programme this morning during the third practice session, and it meant that I wasn't totally comfortable with the car when I went out for the first laps in qualifying. I thought I had a brake problem on my first run so I aborted it, and that made it quite tight to get past the first round. After that, the performance was more normal even though I didn't have complete confidence in the car, and looking at the times, it seems that the gap to the other teams is a little bit less, so perhaps we have made a step forward. My aim now is to do a good race, and maintain my points-scoring record.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (11th, 1m 21.968s):
To be in 11th place is not ideal but I had a lack of grip on the rear of the car and reached a certain point where I couldnt get anymore out of it. We just werent going to get into the top ten today, but thats where we are. Strategy-wise, 11th is better than 10th, but of course it isnt where we want to be. It will be a long race, but hopefully I will have a good start and, from my grid position, its still possible to get some points.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (12th, 1m 22.097s):
Although we are still far away from where we want to be this is our best qualifying performance of the season so far, so I guess that points towards some small improvement and we can be slightly happier. We started to make some progress here in testing last week and I am hopeful that we can carry this momentum through to tomorrow. We have a good strategy and this should help us to have a better race.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (13th, 1m 22.115s):
It is disappointing how we finished Q2; not being able to start my second run as I stopped out on track with a fuel issue. However, we made good progress with the car through the practice session and into Q1 and both cars appeared to be running competitively. It is a shame that we were not able to carry over our momentum from the morning, but nevertheless we have had a good day and I believe that we should be able to have a strong race tomorrow.
Jenson Button, Honda (14th, 1m 22.120s):
This was a reasonable qualifying session for us today, all things considered. We are a little bit further up the grid and closer to P10 which is a nice surprise. We have done a good job of setting the car up for the race but I really struggled with the balance this morning and the pace over one lap. It was much better this afternoon, although I made a small mistake at Turn six and lost some time, which is annoying. It will be an exciting race tomorrow but unfortunately it will be tough to get into the points. We have made some progress though, which is a good sign.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (15th, 1m 22.295s):
After setting a good time in the morning I felt confident in the car and that I could do it again in qualifying. Getting through to Q2 was good as we weren't really expecting it and thought it was going to be a bit harder than it turned out to be. But in Q2 I got caught out by wind at Turn 9 and ended up spinning off and not managing to get a flying lap at all, which was frustrating. However, the speed is in the car and we know we've got a good balance from yesterday's work, so I am looking forward to the race.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (16th, 1m 22.508s):
A shame as I had managed to get into Q2. But once again unfortunately, I was hit with a mechanical problem. The car was going well after we managed to fix the problems we had in the morning session. We hope to be able to get everything working properly for tomorrow, when I hope we don't run into any more difficulties. It won't be an easy race, but I'm optimistic because to start from sixteenth is not so bad.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (17th, 1m 22.666s):
That result was a pity but this has been a difficult weekend and that was a difficult qualifying session. One reason for my struggle in Q1 was that I had traffic on my last flying run. I was on a two-lap run but I met a car on its warm-up lap in the last sector of the first lap, spoiling both that and the following lap. That means the qualifying time is not representative of what we are capable of. But Ive also found grip hard to come by both in practice and in qualifying so we obviously have work to do. Our race pace should be better so lets see how we can do tomorrow even if it will be a tough afternoon from this grid position. Barcelona is not known for overtaking but the track has been changed so well see.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (18th, 1m 22.769s):
It was a bit of disaster, worse than a traffic jam on the M25 in London. People really slowed down on their in-laps and seemed to forget that other people were still around them doing quick laps. At the last chicane I actually nearly stopped because five cars were in front of me going so slowly which caused my tyre pressures to drop dramatically. I should have been able to get into Q2 today so, to end up in P18, is extremely frustrating. Barcelona is always hard to pass on, so its going to be a difficult race for me.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (19th, 1m 23.398s):
"Saturday was a tough day for us. We didn't have a smooth practice session and the first part of qualifying didn't go to plan either. We had drive shaft problem this morning and a hydraulic problem in qualifying. Of course, we've learnt some things, which isn't ideal at race weekends, but sometimes you have to go through that to move forward. The mechanics have been phenomenal; the work they're doing before races and the practices is very good. David (Coulthard) had a good run today, which shows the car has potential, we just need to work at pulling the whole thing together now."
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (20th, 1m 23.811s):
With all the rubber laid down in the support races the track conditions had changed slightly and I had a lot of oversteer and lost a couple of tenths on the first outing. For the second lap, the balance and grip levels were much better for our car and I managed to get a good lap. Of course conditions may change for tomorrow again so the first 10 to 15 laps will be hard, but I want to have a clean first lap without any incidents in the first corner and hopefully stay with the other cars in front.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (21st, 1m 23.990s):
That was the worst qualifying of my life with traffic. On the first outing I made some mistakes and I felt I could go quicker. Then I couldn't do much with the second outing at all because of the traffic. It didn't really matter that I went off in Turn 9 on my final flying lap as I had already lost about seven tenths in the first sector. It's a shame as I think I could be quicker. I felt good in the car, the balance is good, we just have to hope for more tomorrow.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (22nd, no time):
What happened on both cars was very disappointing, because when you look at Tonio's pace and the lap time it did to get him into Q2, I think our performance level was better than what I had expected after yesterday. But the transmission problem meant I never even posted a time.
On my out lap, as I tried to change gear I got a neutral and the engine died and then as I started my flying lap, it happened again and I almost went off the track. It got worse and that was it. But I repeat, we have definitely made a step forward and there is more stuff in the pipeline. I think when all these elements are working we are going to see a better Toro Rosso.