Qualifying - selected driver quotes 26 May 2007
Red Bulls David Coulthard and Renaults Heikki Kovalainen on their tussle for track space during Q2; Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on starting Sundays race from P15; and Fernando Alonso on scoring McLarens first pole of the season. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st, 1m 15.726s):
"I'm so happy to take my first pole position for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team here in Monaco. The car has been working well throughout the weekend, and we have been competitive in all conditions. As always seems to happen in Monaco I got caught up in traffic on my last flying lap but that is one of the challenges of this place.
"Qualifying was extremely stressful due to the constant threat of rain. We even started the third session on fresh tyres just in case. I don't know what the weather will bring tomorrow which can make for an interesting race. Obviously pole position gives you the best possible start to the race but there are 78 laps and as its Monaco anything can happen. However the car is quick, and we have a strong strategy, so I'm hopeful of a good result."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd, 1m 15.905s):
"To start my first Formula One race in Monaco from the front row is amazing and for the team to have a one-two is just fantastic. I have really enjoyed my weekend and qualifying was no exception. It's hard to explain, but around this circuit you are just constantly on the limit.
"My last flying lap was affected by traffic in Turn 4 and I lost a lot of time, but that is just the challenge of this place. The car has been super all the way through, and I believe we have a strong strategy. I think it will be a great race, and hopefully Fernando and I can provide the team with a one-two finish."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 15.967s):
"I am happy as I did a good lap, without traffic and I am in a good position for tomorrow's race. I am confident and will try for a good result. The race here is very long and it is vital to maintain concentration. If it were to rain, it would make it even more of a lottery. It was very complicated today to choose the right moment to go out on track, both in terms of traffic and the weather, with the rain threatening to arrive at any moment. I had seen the yellow flags for Kimi and it was a bit of a tricky moment at Rascasse, when I found him stopped in front of me on the track, but somehow I managed to get by with damaging my car."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th, 1m 16.285s):
This was a very good day for us, and I am proud of the job we have done not only this weekend, but also during the last weeks at the factory. The team has been working night and day to improve the performance of the R27, and this is another concrete sign that we are getting there. The car wasn't perfect at the start of qualifying, but we made some small changes to the balance, and it was handling really well during the final part. Starting fourth is very promising for tomorrow's race, but I think today also shows that we will be stronger at the next races too. Monaco is an unusual circuit, and we are not getting too excited, but we are definitely moving in the right direction.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (5th, 1m 16.439s):
"I couldn't really predict where we would end up today, so qualifying fifth was fine. I was pushing like hell out there, particularly because I had some damage to my rear suspension on the first few laps of Q2, so it was really important that I recorded such a good time in the first run even if the track wasn't at its best and this got me through to the third session.
"Starting grid position is everything in Monaco, so we did well in the most important task so far this weekend. I reckon our chances for tomorrow's race are very good. We would be happy to finish where we are starting from - fifth place would be good, but it would be great to do better."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (6th, 1m 16.784s):
The session went pretty well. I was having trouble getting into a good rhythm at the start to be honest, but as the session continued, I felt more comfortable with the car. It was a bit frantic in the last part of Q3 when there was a little bit of rain, but sixth is not bad so I'm looking forward to the start of the race tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, 1m 16.832s):
We have improved the car since Thursday's practice and the lap times in Q2 were very promising, but I am not too happy about grid position seven. In Q3 we had some minor problems. We changed early to the soft tyres because there was some light rain which worried us. This meant the track conditions were not ideal and we had a little too much fuel on board. On top of that I made a small mistake after the tunnel. From grid position seven you can't expect too much. But on the other hand - in Monaco almost everything can happen.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (8th, 1m 16.955s):
I am very happy about the car's performance, but not about the position. Let's see how we will be tomorrow compared to the others with our strategy. I am satisfied as this morning because of the weather we couldn't do more running. In Q2 we were competitive, in Q3 less, but we will see. The car was good, much better balance than Thursday, so I am really looking forward to the race as I think we are in good shape for it.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (9th, 1m 17.498s):
I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team today. We did a fantastic job to make it through to the final session. Little by little we are improving and although we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, we are encouraged. I know we will get back to where we belong. I'm very excited for tomorrow. This is always a great race but starting P9 really gives us a shot at the points.
Jenson Button, Honda (10th, 1m 17.939s):
It's great that we made it through to the third session today. Definitely a step in the right direction. My radio wasn't working properly and it was crackling the whole time so in the end I had to unplug it completely, which was far from ideal because we had to be 'on it' the whole time during today's qualifying. Monaco places a premium on qualifying position so what we have achieved today is great. The team did a good job and we can do well tomorrow so I'm really looking forward to it.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (11th, 1m 16.662s):
"Today's outcome all came down to my last run in Q2 when I slid a bit wide in turn one and I guess that cost me making it through to Q3 and a place in the top ten.
"There is not much more to add - I am now 11th on the grid, so tomorrow I will see if it is possible to score some points, which some drivers have certainly managed in the past. To do this here will be hard, but it's a long race, so let's wait and see."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (12th, 1m 16.703s):
A good qualifying, but not so good this morning, when a radiator problem meant I did not do many laps and here in Monaco it is very important to do a lot of kilometers. Q1 went perfectly, but we could have done better in Q2. We made a set up change to the front wing and that affected the handling at the rear and this cost me time. But I am confident I can have a good race tomorrow.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th, 1m 16.988s):
That was a difficult day for us. First of all we knew that in these conditions, after the rain earlier today, the track was not rubbered in and in that situation we struggle a bit compared to the others. I then had several problems during Q2. First, when I was on a quick lap at the end of the session, I had traffic and that cost me more than a second in the last sector. In the last run I had a problem with the brakes, I could not push any more because it was too dangerous. It will be difficult in the race because overtaking is so hard here but I will give it my all tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (14th, 1m 17.125s):
It was a very frustrating qualifying session for me. My laps in the first part were not great, but I was getting more and more confident with the car, and on my final run I thought I could have made it into the top ten. I came round the first corner on my flying lap and saw Coulthard's Red Bull coming out of the pits, and thought he would move over after Casino - or into the Tunnel at the latest. But he just stayed there all the way round, and ruined the lap; to say the least, I was very surprised to see that from the most experienced driver in the field. It was a session to forget, so now I need to focus on tomorrow. From P14 it will be a very tough race, but I am determined to attack as much as possible, and try to make up positions.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (15th, no time):
"There's little to say after this qualifying session. I was on my first run with soft tyres when, coming out of the Swimming Pool Chicane, I hit the barrier with the left front wheel. At first it seemed that everything was alright, but when I got to Rascasse, the car would not make the turn. I managed to get back to the pits and the mechanics tried to fix the car but we realized it could not be done in time. Here, the very slightest error costs you dear and it is a real shame because I think I could have fought for pole position. However, I will start from the seventh row so I am expecting a very tough race, but I will do all I can to get a good result for the team."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (16th, 1m 17.204s):
I didn't know Kovalainen was on a timed lap or else, quite clearly, I would have got out of the way. I did communicate with the team to find out what was happening with the traffic around me, but there was a misunderstanding so I didn't get the correct information. It's disappointing as we were progressing well though out the sessions and I was pretty confident I could get the most out of the car.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (17th, 1m 18.250s):
As was the case for everybody, we experienced really difficult conditions today. The qualifying session was quite frantic and I feel that my side of the garage did a great job in getting the car out there in a good space. It was unfortunate to miss out on not getting a final run in as we wanted to try and complete three runs because it looked like it could rain at any moment. However, I don't feel anyone did anything wrong, so I'm happy with what we did, it was just bad luck.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (18th, 1m 18.390s):
Confusion in the pits cost me a lot today, as I got called into the weighbridge and then ended up coming into the garage just before Tonio arrived in the pit stop position. On top of that, my brakes were on fire when I came into the weighbridge. Just a bad day all round.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (19th, 1m 18.418s):
It was very surprising to see my name at the top of the times after practice, but I was obviously very pleased! I had the perfect run. In qualifying later my first set of tyres were okay, but the track was not quite in so I took it a little bit easy as I hadn't used the soft tyres and didn't know what to expect. The second lap was very good and on the third I was really on the edge. The tyres performed very well and I was very close to P17. I did a good first sector, but then the tyres dropped down and I couldn't do the same again. It was a good day though and I hope in the race I can push back to the front.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (20th, 1m 18.539s):
That was a very disappointing and difficult session for me. Qualifying around Monaco with 22 cars on such a twisty track at once is always difficult and Q1 was made a bit trickier with the rain just before the session started which affected the track conditions. Unfortunately I was not really content with my set-up and I did not make it to Q2 so of course I am not happy. Thats the way it goes at Monaco sometimes. Its unfortunate we will start so far down on the grid on a track like this where overtaking is so hard but well just try to do the best job possible in the race tomorrow.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 18.554s):
Obviously the morning wet session made it difficult for everybody, but at least we collected good data for running in these conditions. Going into qualifying, the first outing was just a warm up and then in the second outing I caught some traffic, so I wasn't able to do a relevant quick lap. Then when I came back to the pit to prepare for the last qualifying lap our timing plan was incorrect and we couldn't make it across the line for a third run, which was very disappointing.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (22nd, no time):
It was a bad day for me and it's a shame for the team that we couldn't do more. This morning I had some issues and now in the qualifying with the hydraulic problem. It's sad I couldn't take advantage of the conditions but I am sure we'll get on top of them for tomorrow and have a good race.