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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 29 Sep 2007

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 with Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 in Parc Ferme after qualifying
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007

A disappointed Anthony Davidson on not making it through to Q2 for Super Aguri; Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen on struggling for grip in the Renault; and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on clinching an all-important fifth pole. All 22 drivers report back on Saturday’s action at the Fuji Speedway…

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st, 1m 25.368s):
“A very good qualifying for me and also the team. I really like the Fuji circuit. We looked strong already yesterday during practice when it was dry. Obviously today’s wet conditions made it a very challenging session particularly as this morning’s free practice had been cancelled - this makes today’s result even more satisfying. The car ran perfectly, and the team has done a great job in making sure we were as prepared as possible. My final lap was quite good. I managed to improve my style in a couple of corners which made a difference but lost a little bit of time in the exit of the last corner. Today’s pole position is important, but tomorrow is when it counts.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren (2nd, 1m 25.438s):
“Today’s qualifying was okay for me. Of course, pole position would have been better, but I am satisfied to start from the front row which will be a good basis for the race. I have always liked driving in the wet, so I enjoyed today’s qualifying. It’s very challenging, and I think it will be an exciting race tomorrow as our main competitors are incredibly close and have been both in the dry and wet conditions. The Bridgestone wet tyre has been working well for us today. Obviously I will do what I can to take the lead but also be sensible as it’s not in anybody’s interest not to finish the race. I am happy with the team’s performance, and the work we have done so far this weekend and look forward to the race tomorrow.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 25.516s):
“Quite a good qualifying session. I could probably have got a better grid position but I came up against a bit of traffic and also had a small problem with the electronic management of the gearbox which cost me precious time. Of course it was something of a gamble starting qualifying in the wet without having ever run in these conditions but it only took a handful of laps to find the right line. I expect tomorrow's race will be very tight. As we could work out from yesterday's practice, it is very close between us and our main rivals. Overall, the car worked well and I think I can be competitive in the wet or dry.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, 1m 25.765s):
“Qualifying produced a very close fight between us and our main rivals. In Q1 and Q2, I was very pleased with the handling of my car but something changed in terms of balance on new tyres and less fuel, given that it gave me a bit too much oversteer. A shame, because even at the start of Q3 I was going well, but in the end, with new tyres, I lost time with this oversteer. All the same, fourth place is not a bad position. There are four of us in the same two tenths of a second and all sorts of things could happen tomorrow.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, 1m 26.505s):
“I am very happy with fifth. I hoped at the start I had a slight chance of catching one of the Ferraris in the wet conditions, but it didn’t work out. Qualifying wasn’t easy, but in general the grip level of this circuit in the wet is pretty good. During the final laps I couldn’t improve, as the last set of new tyres degraded too quickly. The weather forecast currently varies, but if I had my choice I would wish for a race under wet conditions.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th, 1m 26.728s):
“It was quite a difficult qualifying today, especially because there was almost no free practice this morning and we could have used this time to get the car right for the wet conditions. In the first two qualifying sessions this afternoon, my visor was misted up, so I could barely see where I was going. By the time I got to Q3, everything was sorted and it all went pretty well in the end. I am happy with the result but it’s very disappointing because without an engine change, I would have been starting the race in a fantastic sixth place. I think I am going to do a rain dance in my hotel room tonight as I think a lot of rain tomorrow would help me from my starting position further back.”

Jenson Button, Honda (7th, 1m 26.913s):
“I love these wet conditions! A really good qualifying session today and I am obviously pleased that we put in a strong performance at our home race and in front of all the Honda fans here at Fuji. They were pretty tough conditions out there with the track getting greasy towards the end and it was difficult to know which tyres to be on. The team did a great job in deciding our strategy and we definitely got the best of the car in Q1 and Q2. The third session was more difficult as we were running our race fuel levels but I'm happy to have qualified seventh but be starting from sixth on the grid tomorrow. The driver can really make a difference in these conditions so we will be hoping for a wet race as we have a great starting position and there is everything to play for at this end of the grid. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow and if it is wet then we have a chance to score some points.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th, 1m 26.914s):
“That was a pretty good session for us. It would have been nice to be a bit further up on the grid, but at least we’re in the top ten, I don’t think we could have got much more from the car. The conditions weren’t great out there, but it was the same for everyone and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (9th, 1m 26.973s):
“Definitely a good day and a great experience for the team to get to Q3 for the first time. Fantastic! It was difficult not having any free practice this morning and it was the first time for me driving this car in the rain this afternoon. It feels good and I looking forward to tomorrow now. I think if I had managed that final run, I could have improved by up to two places but we went for a last minute strategy change which meant I lost the last lap. When you start high up the grid you expect a better than usual finish position. Hopefully there will be some more rain which would help us and then we will see how far we can go.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (10th, 1m 27.225s):
“It was not very good for me at all during qualifying. Unfortunately we missed some experience of running in the wet. I had graining and I don’t think our timing was right in qualifying three. We now have to see how the weather is tomorrow, although on today’s performance I would prefer dry.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (11th, 1m 26.033s):
“It was a very tough qualifying session for me. The car's grip level was not great, but I could probably still have made it through if I had changed to my second set of tyres a lap earlier. But the main problem was the pace of the car in this configuration, which was not quite strong enough today. Tomorrow is another day though, and we have already moved up a position thanks to Rosberg's penalty. If the conditions develop in the right way, I think we can have a strong race.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (12th, 1m 26.232s):
“The balance of the car was pretty good, and I did some good clean laps in difficult conditions, but the grip just wasn't there: the car was sliding on all four wheels in almost every corner. There's not much more to say, because our positions reflected our pace and we were not strong enough to get into the final part of qualifying. However, we know that we made some deliberate choices because the cars are now in parc ferme until the race, and hopefully they will pay off tomorrow.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th, 1m 26.247s):
“The conditions were very inconsistent through the first session - but, of course, it was the same for everyone. There was some light drizzle, so you had to try and get clear track at the prime moment for your tyres, which tended to be the second lap. Even a light amount of rain creates a lot of spray on the track, so if there’s traffic you don’t see the braking zone until about 200 yards from the end of the first straight. I had a lot of under steer for my final timed run and the car was performing badly under braking.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (14th, 1m 26.253s):
“We pushed as hard as possible. The first session was pretty good in terms of car balance and grip. The conditions were acceptable but there was a lot of spray. We started with a completely wet track but in the middle of the second session it dried up a bit. I was actually more competitive in the wet conditions than at the end with a drier track. Tyre wear and the tyre pressures getting a little high at the end of the session made it hard, even though the track itself was getting quicker if you look at other people’s lap times. We just couldn’t set a better time. It is unfortunate and certainly disappointing but we will just have to see what we can do in the race. I hope we can get a better result tomorrow.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (15th, 1m 26.948s):
“This result is okay. We took a gamble in terms of set-up strategy and I set off with quite low wing, as if for dry conditions, while we put Sebastian on wet settings. We knew it would be difficult in the wet, but we are hoping for a dry race tomorrow for which we now have the right settings. Overall it was a good qualifying as I don't think I could have got more out of my car. More rear wing definitely helped Sebastian make it to Q3. But I am really positive about tomorrow if it is dry, so the real situation for me could be better than it seems.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (16th, 1m 27.191s):
“The conditions out there were not too bad but visibility was quite poor. In general it wasn’t a problem for us to drive but there was obviously not much grip and with the water on track there was a lot of spray. There’s not a lot to say about the incident with Yamamoto at the end of Q1. I thought he had seen me. He moved to the outside and seemed to decide fairly late to turn in - I guess he hadn’t seen me. I expected him to leave the door open and when he didn’t that was it really. The car felt okay so it was disappointing not to be able to take part in Q2. It will be hard from where we are on the grid but I will do my best and hopefully make up some positions.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (17th, 1m 27.323s):
“I am very frustrated to have lost the chance to go into the second qualifying session by only 0.1sec today. The car was capable of a lot more performance in these wet conditions. Nevertheless I am happy for the team as Jenson did a good job today. It will be a challenging race from here but this track does have some overtaking opportunities so I will put up a good fight to do my best in the team's home race.”

Alexander Wurz, Williams (18th, 1m 27.454s):
“It was a really disappointing session for me as normally these kind of weather conditions really suit me. However, everything happened at the wrong time, I was called onto the weighbridge by the FIA, I had bad traffic and I didn’t manage to run my full programme. Of course you get quicker with every lap, so with these problems, it just didn’t work out today.”

Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (19th, 1m 27.564s):
“It is disappointing not to get through to Q2. I felt that I did everything right with regard to tyre choice in the session. The car basically did not have the pace in these conditions, which is a shame as I felt as though I drove a clean lap and got the most out of the car. I hope that we have dry conditions tomorrow because we know the car worked well yesterday, so if it is dry we should be able to have a good race.”

Adrian Sutil, Spyker (20th, 1m 28.628s):
“Yesterday was much better than today. We had no real running in the morning in the rainy conditions, so it was hard to set-up the car. We hoped that we would go better but we had so much understeer in the high speed corners, there was no way we could carry the speed through. When the car is wrong it is difficult to do anything in Qualifying; you just have to live with it, but we will check what the problems were and work overnight to be ready for the race tomorrow.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (21st, 1m 28.792s):
“We were fortunate that we were able to run in qualifying today with such foggy conditions. During the first few minutes my pace was competitive, but I wasn’t happy with the balance and so came back to the pit. Unfortunately I was also called to the weigh bridge and that cost me a bit of time. However, in the second outing, we didn’t have any grip at all and it was a real shame because if we could have kept up our pace from the first outing to the end we were looking strong. Obviously we need to understand why we could not improve our time as this is so important before our race start tomorrow.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker (22nd, 1m 29.668s):
“Today was a strange day as the morning session was cancelled after we had done just one installation lap and we had to go without any data into Qualifying. We tried the extreme weather tyres and I felt the track conditions might allow more grip with wets so we changed, but I struggled to get a good balance on the car and couldn't improve my times. It is a shame, but as always I am going to try to do my best in the race.”