Qualifying - selected driver quotes 18 Oct 2008
Hondas Rubens Barrichello on making it through to Q2 for the first time in 10 races; BMW Saubers Robert Kubica on denting his championship chances with a P12 grid slot; Red Bulls Mark Webber on his engine-change grid penalty; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on taking what could be a crucial seventh pole of the season. All 20 drivers report back on the action
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st, Q3 - 1m 36.303s):
"I got a bit out of shape during my first run in Q3; I ran a bit wide at Turn Eight and oversteered onto the marbles, which put me on the wrong line for Turn Nine and left me cleaning my tyres for the rest of the lap. But I pulled it all together for my final attempt - and it was as close as I could get to a perfect lap. Our whole weekend has gone well, I can really feel the support from the team and my family and we'll give it our best shot in the race tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (2nd, Q3 - 1m 36.645s):
"Finally, things seemed to go right for me in qualifying. It's too late for the title, but we definitely learnt a lesson which will be useful for next year. All weekend we've struggled to find the right settings on the car, but then all the work we put in finally came good in Q3, when the car was pretty good. Certainly, even putting aside what the choices have been in terms of fuel loads, today it would have been difficult to beat the McLaren, but I am happy with the overall result for the team. We can count as usual on being more competitive in the race than in qualifying, so we can look to tomorrow with confidence, as we try to get the best possible result for both championships. The weather could be very changeable so we have to be ready to deal with every eventuality."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd, Q3 - 1m 36.889s):
"I can't deny I'm a bit disappointed with this qualifying: starting from the front is always important even if the race is very long, but I will do my utmost to get a great result. Today, it was hard to find the right balance for the car, especially in Q3. Tomorrow, things could change as the car has shown it is good over a long run. We will have to attack to make up positions and we believe we have a good race strategy. Sure, our competitors went well and will be very competitive: let's hope we are more competitive than they are!"
Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th, Q3 - 1m 36.927s):
"I'm very happy with my qualifying session. We had a few problems with the balance of the car this morning, but everything went well this afternoon and the car was much easier to drive. I know it will be very difficult to fight for the victory tomorrow, but my grid position means that I can hope for a great race and I will be ready to make the most of any chances that come our way."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (5th, Q3 - 1m 36.930s):
"Q1 and Q2 went very well for me and I started Q3 feeling optimistic. But, unfortunately, on my last run, my tyres didn't seem to deliver the grip levels I'd expected. It's a pity, because I was hopeful I could get a better grid position than P5. But I'm still very encouraged by the progress we've made since yesterday, particularly with the balance, and I'm confident I'll be even more competitive in the race tomorrow."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (6th, Q3 - 1m 37.083s):
Unfortunately a penalty for an engine change drops you five rows back - and its difficult enough anyway these days with the field being so tight. In Fuji I would have had a chance to make up some places during the race, as its easier to pass there, but there are some really quick corners here making it more difficult. Lets hope for some rain tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, Q3 - 1m 37.201s):
"I think this was the best I could manage today, and I'm glad the positive trend in qualifying I had in the last three races has continued. I feel sorry for Robert (Kubica). Apparently he struggled here and this grid position reduces his championship chances, but certainly we'll never give up."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (8th, Q3 - 1m 37.685s):
A difficult day yesterday and also this morning. But before qualifying we made a few changes that helped us. We can be very happy with this result, I dont think I could have done better and its better than we expected. Tomorrow in the race, I think it will be hard to catch the guys in front, so I will run my own race, do the best I can and if we can bring the car home, then we will see what we have
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, Q3 - 1m 37.934s):
"Today was a hard qualifying session. We expected a bit more but after our good performance from yesterday and today in practice. But this afternoon something must have changed with the track. The tyres were sliding more and the grip seemed to be missing so that was a bit strange. For tomorrow we will see. Our race pace has looked strong during practice here but the weather forecast is uncertain. As usual we will be hoping for warm conditions because of the way we handle the tyres. Needless to say we will push for as many points as we can."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (10th, Q3 - 1m 38.885s):
I was very happy to make it through to Q3 but then the final part of the session was pretty tough as we had no option tyres left at the end. I am very happy with this result. I think we are looking good for the race as we have a sensible strategy.
Nelson Piquet, Renault (11th, Q2 - 1m 35.722s):
"It's frustrating to miss out on a place in Q3 by just seven thousandths of a second as I would have really liked to reach this part of qualifying. I am going to work with
my engineers this evening and I'm hopeful of a strong race tomorrow. I will do my best in any case."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (12th, Q2 - 1m 35.814s):
"A very disappointing qualifying! I was struggling with the balance of the car all weekend. We made some changes before qualifying, but they had a negative effect. The car was difficult to drive and I couldn't push as I wanted. I expect a tough race because now we are not allowed to change the set-up."
Timo Glock, Toyota (13th, Q2 - 1m 35.937s):
"This has been a difficult weekend for me and this afternoon was a hard qualifying session. The whole weekend we have struggled to find the right balance in the car. The first two runs in qualifying felt okay so we made a step compared to yesterday. But I struggled to get anything out of the softer tyres and I couldn't get it right. The traffic was fine but the car felt different on every lap and it was difficult to get a good feeling. So it's been hard to get the set-up right all weekend but we will try to regain ground during the race tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th, Q2 - 1m 36.079s):
"It was a really nice lap to progress into Q2 today as I had a slow out-lap because everyone was backed up and I was worried about the lack of grip, so it was a really good effort. I then had probably my best lap around this circuit to make a 1m 36.079s by getting everything possible out of the car. I don't think we would have been able to produce anything more than that. I'm pleased with our performance today, particularly after the difficulties that we had in practice yesterday, so we can be very satisfied with our grid position for the race tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (15th, Q2 - 1m 36.210s):
"Its very dispiriting to be starting the race in 15th place like last weekend in Japan. I gave everything in the sessions and extracted the maximum out of the car, but it just didnt come together today. As a consequence, tomorrows race will be difficult starting from this far back. Apparently it may rain, and if that happens, it may help us to achieve a better result. We will all be doing our best to have a stronger performance tomorrow."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (16th, Q1 - 1m 36.640s):
Im extremely disappointed with what Nick Heidfeld did at the end of Q1 on the last out lap. All the cars were bunching up on the second to last corner, as they jostled for position, but Nick suddenly passed me on the inside into the last corner, just as I was about to start my flying lap. It was very unlikely he was going to do a better lap on prime tyres and he was on the dirty side of the track, so he wouldnt have done a faster lap by squeezing through the inside at that point - and he came in before the end of that lap anyway! He would have known he was in the top ten already, so for me it was very un-sportsman like behaviour, as all he did was screw up my last flying lap - there wasnt any intention of him doing a quicker time.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (17th, Q1 - 1m 36.863s):
"I knew it would be quite difficult today in qualifying from my experience during P3 this morning. There were some points on the track where I really needed to improve, but I didnt manage to make any headway during qualifying. Of course the outcome is not what I wanted, but I guess I now need to try harder to improve in the race itself."
Jenson Button, Honda (18th, Q1 - 1m 37.053s):
"I was reasonably happy with the balance after practice this morning, but unfortunately the car went away from us in qualifying. We just weren't able to find a good balance this afternoon with a real lack of front grip on the prime tyres and difficulty with traction out of the corners. We need to look into why this happened and why we were unable to get the best out of the car. It will be a tough race from here tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (19th, Q1 - 1m 36.730s):
The balance changed quite a lot in qualifying. Normally you would always find grip, but this time the level was lower and so under braking I had lots of oversteer and locking at the rear and the traction was very bad everywhere, which made it quite difficult to do a perfect lap. I did three laps and although they were all OK it makes you think maybe there was a little bit more in it as the car is difficult to drive round here. We do have a better race pace though so we should improve on our starting position.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (20th, Q1 - 1m 37.739s):
I'm not so happy with today as we struggled again with the balance and on my last lap I couldn't improve. I had some really big oversteer through sector two and lost around four tenths and then again through turn eight I lost some more time so I couldn't go faster than my second lap. It's a shame we couldn't start higher, but we do know we can stay with the others under race conditions so we have to look to have a good strategy tomorrow.