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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 30 Jun 2007

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 30 June 2007 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 30 June 2007 Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 29 June 2007 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 30 June 2007 Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 SA07.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 29 June 2007

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on ending Lewis Hamilton’s run of two consecutive pole positions; David Coulthard on more reliability issues at Red Bull; and Alexander Wurz on his qualifying woes for Williams. All 22 drivers report back on Saturday’s action…

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 15.034s):
"I am very happy with this pole. On my first run in Q3 I did a good lap, while on the second, maybe I went a little bit over the limit in terms of getting the best out of the tyres and could not recover from that. Obviously, I hope that the run of wins obtained by drivers starting from pole continues tomorrow! It could rain, but I think we have a car that is good in any conditions. It is great to be back fighting at the front. Already at the Silverstone test last week, we saw that the car had improved, had more grip even on the opening lap and here we have found a good balance from the start of the weekend. In free practice and in the first two qualifying sessions, I never put together a clean lap, but I did manage it in Q3."

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd, 1m 15.104s):
“I think starting from the first row is a very good basis for tomorrow's race. The team worked very well; improving in all the practice sessions and the balance of my car is extremely good. On my final lap in Q3 I braked a bit late into Turn 15 and ran wide. Without this mistake the pole position would have been possible for me today - I had it there. With our strategy we should be in good shape and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd,1m 15.257s):
"Of course I would have preferred to be in front of everyone, but third place is not so bad. We will have to see how the race evolves and the various strategies will work out. I am confident, because I know I have a car that is competitive over a race distance. On my final run in Q3, I made a mistake that probably cost me a place on the front row. I have a good feeling with the F2007, which is very well balanced and has been since the start of the weekend. It will be a very tough race and I will give it my best shot to bring home as many points as possible."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (4th, 1m 15.493s):
“It was good, a positive weekend and I am happy the car is working well. I was happy about the balance of the car yesterday, and again today as we have improved it and this morning’s lap times were very consistent. I think a better result than this wasn’t possible, but I feel we are in good shape for the race, although I think Renault here are closer to us than we are to Ferrari. Overtaking here is very difficult and that was why it was very important to qualify in front. I think we have to make a good start and keep up our speed for the whole race.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, 1m 15.674s):
“This result shows we have made more good progress with the new parts we brought here for the car. My feeling is better now, and there is more grip; the result is that the gap to the leading teams has shrunk a little bit more. It is very motivating to be driving with the team at the moment, and seeing the progress we are making at every race thanks to the hard work at the factory and at the track. We know there is the potential for more too, so everybody is feeling confident. In terms of qualifying, I was struggling with understeer this morning in practice, and even through the first part of qualifying. But my engineers did a great job to find some adjustments, and the car got better. My final timed lap was very clean, and fifth is a good starting position because we have a good strategy. I'm looking forward to the race.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (6th, 1m 15.826s):
“This has been a good recovery from yesterday, when I was struggling a bit with the car. The handling was good all day, and the times were competitive. I had a power steering problem in qualifying though, and that cost me time, especially in Q3. The car was pulling quite hard to the left, so it was very difficult braking and turning in. So for sure there was more time to come, but even so, the third row is a good starting position for me, equal to my best at the last race in Indy, and our performance shows we are going in the right direction. But it's a good starting point, now let's see what the race brings.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, 1m 15.900s):
“The qualifying was okay, but not particularly good so I am not completely satisfied with my grid position. On my last outing in the first chicane the rear was very nervous and the car was oversteering. Nevertheless, the balance of the car today was better than on Friday. My lap times from this morning didn’t reflect the true performance because I had too much traffic. My back didn’t cause me any trouble at all. It was a painful muscle cramp and this was treated successfully last night. Obviously Ferrari is stronger than us and Renault has caught up. For tomorrow the weather forecast predicts rain and I would welcome a wet race. We haven’t had one for quite a while and I like driving in the rain a lot. It could mix up the field and provide good entertainment for the spectators.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th, 1m 15.935s):
“That was a good qualifying session and I am pleased with the result. The team and I worked hard on the set-up in practice and I think we got it more or less right, so we were able to get the best out of the car in qualifying. I think I did a good job, and also the team did as well. It took some very good laps at the end of Q2 to get into the final session so I was happy with my performance there. Also in Q3 I think we got the maximum out of the car and my fastest lap was very, very close to the cars in front, just over a tenth away from sixth place. Now I am looking forward to the race. In Indianapolis I started from eighth and did a good job to finish sixth so I am hoping for another strong result.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (9th, 1m 16.328s):
“It is difficult here to get the lap right in qualifying because grip is limited. I managed to do a very good lap in Q2, one of those laps you get once in a while, but I was a bit disappointed by Q3 because something happened with the gearbox in the second to last corner and I lost a few tenths. If that hadn't happened, I think we would have been a couple of positions higher than I am. Expectations for tomorrow are, of course, for points and we are in a good position to score.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren (10th, no time):
“It has not been an easy day so far in terms of luck, but hopefully we can turn things around tomorrow. I had a brake sensor issue in this morning's practice which cost me some time, and then a gearbox problem in the final qualifying. It's a relatively new experience for me as I have had no problems for such a long time. We will look at the car when it comes back from Parc Ferme and take things from there. However anything can happen in the race, and we will work as hard as we can to score some important points. Also some people say it may be raining which will lead to some uncertainties which we might be able to benefit from.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (11th, 1m 15.534s):
“In general I am quite happy. We knew from the beginning that it would be a bit difficult to get into the top 10 but of course that was our target. In Q1 I had a good run and set two quick lap times so I easily made it into the next session. We got one car through to Q3 but the times were very close together in Q2 and I missed out by just a few tenths. My lap was okay but the middle sector wasn’t ideal and I lost a little bit of time there. But I am still positive because anything can happen in the race with the cars so close together. We have to see who has the better strategy tomorrow and also who will manage their tyres the best over a race distance. I am optimistic and my goal is to score points.”

Jenson Button, Honda (12th, 1m 15.584s):
“It's always so tight here at Magny-Cours during qualifying and we saw that again today. We have made a step forward and the car is certainly better than at the last race in Indianapolis, although our position doesn't really reflect that. It's nice to be in front of some of our direct competitors in the midfield though. Looking ahead to tomorrow, our race pace is definitely better than our one-lap pace, you could see that in practice yesterday. We will keep working towards the race and I think we have a good strategy, so I am hopeful that we can have a better result tomorrow.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (13th, 1m 15.761s):
“The car was definitely better in qualifying this afternoon after I made some changes during morning practice when we weren't really happy with the set-up. We took a little bit of a gamble but it resulted in a more balanced set-up and I think we worked hard to get the most from the car today. We know that our long-run pace is strong so I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull (14th, 1m 15.806s):
“The first qualifying session went pretty well, but in the second session I had a moment in the fast chicane on my first timed lap, so I aborted it. The second lap went okay, but it just wasn't quick enough. I just didn't seem to have the rear grip in the second session that I had in the first. We'll see how we go tomorrow.”

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (15th, 1m 16.049s):
“I was definitely not expecting to repeat yesterday's performance. We like to keep our feet on the ground here at Toro Rosso! I had a good run in Q1 and then the track conditions started to be a bit more difficult for our car as it got more rubbered in. We struggled a lot with the front end, trying to get the front to grip in the slow speed corners and that problem was worse in Q2. The car balance in the high speed corners is good and quite driveable and it is easy to produce a consistent performance with what I think should be a good race car.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (16th, 1m 15.915s):
“I had a problem with my car on my out lap, which the guys are looking into now. It's very disappointing as I think we were in reasonable shape this weekend. Everyone's working hard in the team to find the edge, that's the definition of Formula One, being right on the limit. Sometimes teams hook it up, as McLaren have this year, but they had reliability issues before now so I'm reluctant to be 'dummy in the dust' because I don't want to lose the attacking spirit that's in the team at the moment. Sixteenth isn't good, but that's what we have, so I'll do the best that I can from there.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (17th, 1m 16.142s):
“The main problem I had today was traffic and I had been hoping to be much higher up the order. We didn't get the right slot and paid the consequences. There was a big mess in the pit lane as our neighbours were coming in and out of their garage, causing a traffic jam. But my main problem was the Spyker ahead of me on the track that made a mistake a cost me a lot of time. I was three and a half tenths up on my first run time but I lost the chance of going into Q2 because of that.”

Alexander Wurz, Williams (18th, 1m 16.241s):
“If you ignore the fact that I went out in the first round and I'm in 18th place, I'm actually much closer to my team mate here than I've been at other races and was only a tenth away from making it into Q2. I had a clean run and made no mistakes. I had a bit of a balance issue in the last sector, but other guys were suffering with that as well. I'm disappointed, of course, but I have to keep a cool head going forward into the race.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (19th, 1m 16.244s):
“It was a tough qualifying. Everybody’s lap times were so close and we just couldn't make it through to Q2, which is extremely disappointing. We made some progress over the weekend, but it wasn't enough to reach where we wanted to be. I think tomorrow will be a very exciting race because I believe that our pace is relatively strong. I am starting at the back of the grid, but I will try my best.”

Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (20th, 1m 16.366s):
“It was a bit of a frustrating day. I couldn't get out in the last run due to getting caught in the pit-lane traffic. I had to let a whole group of cars go and because we were trying to find a gap meant that I crossed the line just a second too late to do my quick lap. The car was feeling like it had a nice balance this morning though and I was actually up on my time at the end of the session, which was a shame. But I think that we've got a good car for the race tomorrow and we'll see what we can do.”

Christijan Albers, Spyker (21st, 1m 17.826s):
“Today was tough for the team. We tried out some different electronic systems, and some different things for me to feel more comfortable set-up wise. We are getting there, so it was better from this point of view, but as far as the team is concerned, we are not so happy to be as far away from the front of the grid. We still have to work really hard.”

Adrian Sutil, Spyker (22nd, 1m 17.915s):
“Q1 was okay, I just did a safe lap at the start of the session. The car felt good and on the second run I wanted to push a bit more. It was much better than yesterday and I think I could have been about half a second quicker, but then I had a clutch problem and couldn't do any more laps. It might not have made a lot of difference, I could maybe have been P21, but our race pace is better and hopefully the rain will come so you never know what will happen.”