Qualifying - selected driver quotes 21 Jul 2007
Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on his first pole position since the season opener in Melbourne; Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella on a frustrating session at the Nurburgring; and Red Bulls Mark Webber on clinching P6 on the grid. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (1st, 1m 31.450s):
"Finally! In qualifying at the last race I made a mistake in the final part of my lap, but today everything went well and I've managed to get back on pole. In Q1 and Q2, I had some problems with grip, but once the car was carrying the fuel load for the first part of the race it was very good again. The wait after Hamilton's accident made the third session more complicated but the biggest problem was that it was all going to be down to one flying lap. Now I am in the best possible position on the grid, but I am well aware that we can expect a very tough race. All weekend the car has been very good but are rivals are still very strong. Lewis' accident? The important thing is that, as far as we know, he is not badly hurt."
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (2nd, 1m 31.741s):
The most important news is obviously that Lewis (Hamilton) is okay. During my final qualifying lap I had a big moment at Turn Five and I am really lucky that I got out of it without spinning. However it cost me more than half a second so I am pleased to be on the front row. We have made good progress during the weekend and my car in contrast to yesterday was working really well. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd 1m 31.778s):
"In Q1 and Q2 I was very happy with the handling of the car. The break because of Hamilton's accident certainly did not help matters and maybe I lost a bit of the right feeling. On my final lap I was a bit slower in the first and third sectors, just by a few hundredths but it was enough to make the difference. But I am still confident because I know I have a really good car in race trim. The black arm band? It is a sign of mourning for the air accident that happened in Sao Paulo last Wednesday. It is a difficult time for my country and this is the least I can do for the families who have lost loved ones. Tomorrow, I really hope I can have a good race so as to give Brazilians a little happiness after such a great tragedy."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (4th, 1m 31.840s):
It was a dramatic qualifying. I was relieved when I saw Lewis (Hamilton) waving his hand and I hope he is okay. After he retired fourth position was my goal. I got there and my lap was good. But still it is a bit annoying to see the gap to second place was only one tenth of a second. Again I enjoyed the competition with Robert (Kubica) a lot. I wouldnt have complained if the session had been stopped instead of interrupted! First of all because I was third at this stage, and second because I would have been able to fly home half an hour earlier. Apart from qualifying I am incredibly happy today because this morning at 5:24am I became a father for the second time. I cant wait to put my arms around my girlfriend, Patricia, our daughter, Juni, and our newborn son, Joda. Of course I will be back tomorrow morning and am looking forward to my home race.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th, 1m 32.123s):
The most important thing is that Lewis (Hamilton) is okay. Qualifying was good for myself and the team, but I think we are in better shape for the race. Of course the accident to Lewis and the red flag stoppage didnt help, but we have taken an advantage because of this. It will be difficult to fight against Ferrari and McLaren, but the pace of our long runs has been quite good. Lets hope tomorrow will be dry as I think we are in a good shape.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (6th, 1m 32.476s):
It started to come together in Q2 today and we were able to get into the final top ten, which is great because the midfield is so tight at the moment. Were happy with what weve done today. Well be racing against Toyota, Renault and Williams tomorrow and trying to get some points from them.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (7th, 1m 32.478s):
My final lap in Q3 was okay, so it was frustrating to lose out to Webber by just two thousandths, as I could probably have found some more time in the first and final sectors. But our pace this afternoon wasn't good enough to fight with the BMWs, and that is our target at the moment. The new front wing is definitely a step forward for me, and the car is working better, but we are lacking grip, and missing something with the package this weekend. The balance is good, though, and we hope that our new developments will bring us better consistency in the race. The main thing this afternoon is that Lewis (Hamilton) is okay. It was a nasty-looking accident, but we saw him giving the thumbs up, so hopefully he will be fine.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th, 1m 32.501s):
It was a difficult qualifying session. We both did a reasonably good job and I think we are in good shape for the race. We will keep working hard but having two cars in the top 10 is not too bad. The first session went well and we had no trouble getting through. As you could see, I had a spin on my last flying lap in Q2 at the chicane but luckily it did not matter and we got into the top 10 again. The red flag in Q3 didnt really affect me. It is part of our job - when I saw Lewis get out of the car, I could just forget it straight away. Obviously there is quite a lot of work to do to fight the cars ahead of us but from where we are on the grid, we have a good chance of scoring points again, so as usual I will push hard and try to get the best result possible. It should be dry tomorrow but we are at the Nurburgring so anything can happen!
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (9th, 1m 32.570s):
The session went quite well for me today and getting into the top 10 is positive. We would have liked to have finished a bit higher but eighth and ninth is still okay. We knew it was going to be difficult to get both cars in the top 10 but the car feels quite good and I am reasonably happy with todays performance. It felt like we had a decent balance throughout the session and we had no problems with the car, so that was good. I am happy to be on the clean side of the grid for the start tomorrow - hopefully we can make a strong start because there are cars in front of us which I think we can catch. We will see how it goes but I am hopeful. The weekend has gone well for us so far and now we will hopefully score some points.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (10th, 1m 33.833s):
Im absolutely fine and we will see later if I am able to race tomorrow. Everybody has been looking after me really well. We know what caused the accident and Im just pleased that everything is OK and I really hope I can race tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (11th, 1m 31.978s):
Today I really got everything I could out of the car but I think a position in the top ten could have been possible. What cost me time was the traffic I met in the last corner of my fastest lap. I had so much understeer behind the car in front and that cost me the tenth and a half I needed to make it into Q3. Anyway, 11th is better than 10th, because we now have the option of what strategy to go for tomorrow and points are possible from this position.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (12th, 1m 31.996s):
It was so tight today. I missed Q3 by such a small margin. I was very close to Nico and looking good for a place in the top ten because Ive felt really comfortable with the car every time Ive been out on track. I was hoping to finish eighth; 12th is acceptable, but Im not really happy. Im disappointed because we are competitive and I should have done better today. The Renaults and Webber picked up some speed right at the last minute as well which hurt us.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (13th, 1m 32.010s):
After a run of good qualifying sessions, it is really frustrating not to get through to the top ten. We spent the morning trying to find a good balance with the new front wing we are running here and made good progress compared to yesterday. We are still understanding how to find the best set-up with it, but the car felt okay in the first qualifying runs. On my first lap in second qualifying, I had traffic in the first sector and that cost me three tenths - enough to get through to the super-pole session. So I knew that everything was resting on the final lap and I just went over the limit in a few places, trying to make up the time. It is tough to be starting from so far back, but that is how it goes. We can certainly make up positions tomorrow, so now we need to find a good strategy to help us do that.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th, 1m 32.221s):
Today's qualifying was tough. We needed around three or four tenths more to make the difference and it wasn't possible to get any more out of the car today. I was generally pretty happy with my runs but my quick lap at the end of Q2 wasn't so good because it was difficult to a good out-lap due to traffic.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (15th, 1m 32.451s):
That was a very exciting qualifying session for us. Taku (Takuma Sato) and I pushed each other very hard and we took the car right to the limit. I feel that we got the very best out of the car and it was a lot of fun. To beat one of the Honda cars and also Coulthard, especially in Q1, and to just get into Q2 was exactly what we wanted. We knew that once we got into Q2 it was going to be extremely hard to progress any further, but I am very happy with todays work. The boys in the garage and the engineering team did a great job to find space out on the track so that I always had a clear run.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (16th, 1m 32.838s):
It was a good practice session. We made a few changes in the morning to try to improve and we made progress. I was happy with the car in Q1 and we looked very good. At least we got into Q2 as it has been a few races since we did that, but it was unfortunate that on my last quick lap there was a yellow flag at the chicane and I had to abort. It was unlucky that I could not improve because of that, but the car showed good performance today so hopefully we can have a strong race tomorrow.
Jenson Button, Honda (17th, 1m 32.983s):
I'm massively disappointed. I thought we would qualify a lot higher but I didn't have the grip and balance that I've had on new tyres all weekend. We had reasonable pace on Friday with race fuel but with this many cars in front it is always going to be a struggle to get near the points.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (18th, 1m 33.038s):
Since yesterday, we have been struggling here and I'm not quite sure why. It's disappointing not to get to Q2 and tomorrow is going to be a tough afternoon. We have made steps forward with the car, but it has only served to keep us where we were as the others have all moved forward too. It is frustrating. We will need a bit of luck tomorrow to get something out of this situation.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (19th, 1m 33.148s):
I think that all things considered, this position is probably a fair reflection of where we are. At the most, Scott (Speed) and I might have swapped places, even if I knew I was at a slight disadvantage to him, as he was running some new aero components. I also had problems with the brakes since yesterday that we have been unable to solve. In fact on my first run I locked up my front wheels in a big way at Turn One and that meant this run was over. Then, on my second run I think track conditions were a bit worse for everyone and this was a particular problem for us as I also had traction problems. But the brakes were the main thing. The soft tyres grain over a long distance, but the harder ones are much more consistent, so I think strategy will be a key factor for the race.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (20th, 1m 33.151s):
For the first timed lap I went out behind Marks (Webber) car. He aborted the lap when he locked up, so I got close to the back of him and was held up. I started my second timed lap even closer to him than on the first, so it wasnt a clean run. We didnt get the timing quite right for me to start my final lap, I got the chequered flag just as I came round the last corner to begin it. But, its happened now, its over, and well get with tomorrow. Its not something thats happened before and I doubt it will happen again.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (21st, 1m 34.500s):
In general it's been a difficult weekend, but we improved the balance a lot from yesterday. The track is difficult for us due to the camber change of the roads - we lose a lot of grip in the front when we turn in and have some problems braking into the corners. It always seems to lock up in the front, which is not what you need in qualifying. The lap was okay but I felt I couldn't really push. In this race I think we just have to live with it and concentrate on doing what we can for this race and the next until we get the new car.
Markus Winkelhock, Spyker (22nd, 1m 35.940s):
I'm a little bit disappointed as I know more was possible today. I was already quicker than Friday, but in qualifying with the first set of tyres I did a safe lap without pushing too much. Then on the second set of tyres I tried to push but we had a little bit too much oversteer. Also in the first corner there was a Toro Rosso, it didn't block me, but already the lap could not be perfect from that first corner. I'm not really happy, but at the end of the day, it was pretty certain I was going to be on the last row and I knew I had to focus on tomorrow. The goal is to do a good job without any mistakes, with obviously the biggest target being to finish the race.