Qualifying - selected driver quotes 25 Aug 2007
Ferraris Felipe Massa on scoring his first pole position since Julys French Grand Prix; Heikki Kovalainen on making a return to the top ten after a disappointing qualifying in Hungary; and Super Aguris Takuma Sato on suffering from poor grip in the SA07. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 27.329s):
Sensational! After a nightmare of a weekend in Budapest I am very happy to have taken pole this afternoon. It was a very hard fight, right down to the nearest thousandth of a second. In the first two qualifying sessions I was not perfect, but I gave it my best shot in Q3, when the car was really well balanced. I am optimistic, because I think we are very competitive in race trim. The final corners on this track are very important because it is easy to lose a lot of time in a short distance. In Q3, I tried not to be too aggressive. I hope I get a good start and that our strategy turns out to be the right one. It would be great to repeat last year's result.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd, 1m 27.373s):
That was a good qualifying session for me. We had been fast in practice so we were quite optimistic. In the first two qualifying sessions I struggled a little bit to get the most out of the tyres but then it all came together on my final lap. The team have done a fantastic job working hard over the summer break to continue to bring developments to the car and it shows in the fact that we have been very competitive here all weekend. I think that we will have a good race tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd,1m 27.546s):
Of course I would have preferred to have started from pole position, but it is better to be third and start on the clean side of the track, than to be second. In Q1 and Q2, the car was well balanced, but that was not the case in Q3, when I took on my fuel load for the first part of the race. I made a few small mistakes in the final two corners, which probably cost me pole. We have a very strong car in race trim, so there is every chance of getting a good result.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (4th, 1m 27.574s):
I am happy with my qualifying today. I made the decision to go out on prime Bridgestone Potenza's for my final flying lap, but I do not think this was the wrong decision. That final lap was actually quite stressful as our planned timing was for me to run at the very end of the session with only a couple of seconds left to cross the line. Then I was stuck in traffic, so all these factors probably played a role in me not improving my lap time and coming fourth today. However I think it will be a very exciting race and I am feeling confident as it is possible to overtake at this circuit. I think we have a good strategy, and the car will be strong in the race.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th, 1m 27.722s):
I think it was a good qualifying and to do better was difficult. We hope for a good race tomorrow, but it will be hot and so not easy for the tyres. There is not a big difference between the soft and hard compounds, as the soft ones are quick on the first timed lap and the hard ones quicker and more consistent on long runs. Fortunately I am pretty confident we are in a good shape for long runs as we concentrated on that yesterday. My first run in Q3 was not good, as I made a small mistake, but the second one was okay. We have to be happy and, although we could perhaps have gone a bit quicker, I think it is a lot to ask to put our car in the middle of the Ferraris and McLarens in todays conditions.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (6th, 1m 28.037s):
I am pleased with the result. My last lap was good and I was pleased to see we have been strong in Q2. I will be starting from the dirty side of the track which, of course, is a disadvantage. I am really looking forward to tomorrow, as it could be an exciting GranPrix because overtaking is possible on this circuit. But for overtaking you need to have cars in front of you which are generally slower, and this is not the case for me.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (7th, 1m 28.491s):
I needed a good qualifying session today, after failing to make it into the top ten in Hungary. We worked out the problems we had in Budapest, and we were more careful in our approach. That paid off because we were back on our normal pace. The team has done a great job throughout the weekend to improve the car, and I want to thank my engineers and mechanics for all their hard work since Thursday. The balance was consistent, and we had a good level of performance on both types of tyre. Clearly, we are still some way off the top teams, but if we keep our heads down and carry on working, then we know we will get there. First priority, though, is tomorrow's race. I think we are in a good position, and the strategy is the right one. Hopefully we can consolidate our position, and try to race with the cars in front.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (8th, 1m 28.501s):
If you had asked me on Thursday about our likely qualifying performance, I might have told you I wasnt sure that we could be strong here. Today my view has changed and I am a bit disappointed I didnt claim P7 by a margin of one hundredth of a second, which, overall, is better than I anticipated. It was very close between me and
Kovalainen right through Q2 and Q3. 7th would have been possible today, but we needed to get everything absolutely right. The first six cars ahead of us are on paper too fast to catch tomorrow, but eighth position is not bad and gives us a good chance in the race
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, 1m 28.740s):
It is good to be in the top 10 again and I think it was a positive day. It was hard work to get into the top 10 because I was struggling a bit with the handling of the car, which did not seem to suit my driving style. I had a bit of a problem under braking and couldnt attack as I wanted to. I think we did a good job to get ninth position but, of course, it is always possible to improve, especially because at this circuit overtaking is possible. For tomorrow we are expecting a good result looking at our pace in the last few races. I am hoping that from ninth on the grid I can have a good result because I am looking forward to scoring points again. I have high hopes for the race but I hope I do not have the same problems as today.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (10th, 1m 29.322s):
This wasn't a brilliant session for me. I was struggling with the balance as it was quite windy and the car was understeering for a lot of the lap. In terms of competitiveness, we are in our usual position behind the top three teams. The conditions tomorrow will be extremely hot, and I am expecting a tough race. The target will be to out-race the cars immediately around us, and to try and make up some positions to get into the points.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (11th, 1m 28.002s):
The day started off well. After free practice this morning we were looking pretty strong to challenge for Q2 in qualifying, and we got through reasonably easily. Before the session I was a bit sceptical as to whether we could get through or not, but the guys worked hard and everyone did a great job and we did it in the end, even challenging for Q3! It was a really good day, and I am going to remember that lap for a very long time.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (12th, 1m 28.013s):
Its disappointing not to get into the top ten today - I thought wed go better here. The conditions out on track for qualifying were very similar to this morning, but we need to improve the consistency of our car from lap to lap and we need more grip.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th, 1m 28.100s):
The balance of the car is teetering on the edge between a little bit of understeer and a little bit of oversteer, so I cant really say theres a fundamental problem with the balance. That was as quickly as I could drive each corner. Maybe I could have gone one or two tenths quicker by doing a tidier lap, but no more than that. We really need more downforce or less drag.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th, 1m 28.188s):
"It was a good qualifying. I think we were at the very limit of the car, as we could see for both myself and Jenson. It's frustrating to be so near to the top ten, yet in some ways still a little too far. We seem to have solved a few of the problems we saw in Hungary, so a better weekend so far. We will now have to see what tomorrow brings in terms of results but for sure it will be a tough and very hot race."
Jenson Button, Honda (15th, 1m 28.220s):
"The first three runs in qualifying went well. On the last run I tried to push the car a bit more but I just ended up with a big snap of oversteer and lost quite a bit of time. That's where we're at though. You either drive the car round and do OK or try to push and then you're on a knife-edge. That's what we're dealing with I'm afraid. We'll have to see what we can do in the race."
Alexander Wurz, Williams (16th, 1m 28.390s):
The first session went okay and the car felt fine, in the second session though I was fighting with the balance, which I tried to ignore, but on top of that, I made a few little mistakes which you cant afford when it is so close, so overall I am disappointed.
Well see what tomorrow brings.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (17th, 1m 28.798s):
That was a shame to miss out by being just a few thousandths slower than Barrichello. On my final run I might have been able to go a little bit better but I went out in traffic and was not able to get my front tyres up to temperature and that made me lose out a bit in the first three corners. I lost a couple of tenths and that meant I had no chance of making it to Q2. Apart from that, my lap was actually almost perfect, so I have nothing to complain about really. Unfortunately, we still lack a bit of development and, for example, we have a new front wing on the way. The balance of the car was good, so I am still looking forward to the race.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (18th, 1m 28.809s):
That was a frustrating session and a disappointing result. We had some problems on my first flying laps in Q1. Twice my rear tyres locked and we dont know why yet, we will have to investigate. That was why my times were not as good as we expected after my third place in practice yesterday. Then we changed tyres and made an adjustment to the front wing but I had a lot of oversteer. The car was nervous in the middle sector and I couldnt push as hard as I wanted to. It was definitely a shame because we had the potential to start much higher. We have to analyse what went wrong. In the race anything is possible. Last year I started towards the back and managed to finish seventh because it is possible to overtake on this track. It is a long race so we will wait and see.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (19th, 1m 28.953s):
I was happy with the car balance during Free Practice and the car felt good. But in qualifying, although the balance itself was fine, we were lacking the pace and I did not have good grip, so it is difficult to really understand what happened. It is disappointing qualifying in this position, so we shall have to see what we can do tomorrow.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (20th, 1m 29.408s):
Of course I am disappointed because we should have and could have been quicker. My first problem was caused by the fact that I was pulled into the weighbridge which meant we had to change our programme for the session. After that, I went out quite late for just one last run and I was the last car on track. This meant I had a very slow out lap, so by then, I had low tyre temperature and pressure which cost me a lot of time. It's not as good as we expected, but life goes on and we will have to see what will be possible in the race tomorrow.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (21st, 1m 29.861s):
We can be quite happy here, the gap is not that big and we did the best we could with the old car. We found a good set up and the lap came together in qualifying. During the session though it was very difficult to find a space in the traffic and I only just crossed the line ten seconds from the flag, but I think we can be happy with the time and hope for more in the race.
Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker (22nd, 1m 31.479s):
I am disappointed for us as we had had a fairly good weekend so far and I think we had a reasonable set-up for qualifying. I was really looking forward to driving in it, but unfortunately in the session we had some problems; I spun and then were some problems with the gearbox and I couldn't recover as usual as gear selection was a bit strange. It's a disappointing result but I will try to do my best in the race. Our race speed is always much better.