Qualifying - selected driver quotes 22 Mar 2008
Ferraris Felipe Massa on scoring his first pole position of 2008 at Sepang; McLarens Heikki Kovalainen on edging out team mate Lewis Hamilton to take third on the Malaysian grid; and Giancarlo Fisichella on just missing out on Q2 for Force India. All 22 drivers report back on Saturdays action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, Q3 - 1m 35.748s):
"I am very happy! In the final part of qualifying, I managed to put together two really good laps after struggling a bit in Q2. Right at the end there were a few drops of rain, but it had no effect whatsoever on the performance. It is very important to start from the front and I hope I can have a good race. We know our car is very competitive over a long run, but it is also clear we face a long tough race. All the same, we can only be confident about tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (2nd, Q3 - 1m 36.230s):
"Of course, I would prefer to have taken pole, but second place is definitely not bad and I am happy that the team got the best result possible. In Q3, I was not able to get the tyres to work as well as possible, especially on my second run, after having had a good lap in Q2. The track seemed to be a bit more slippery and I was not able to get everything out of the car. Tomorrow's race will be very tough: I made a good start in Melbourne and I hope I can do the same tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (3rd, Q3 - 1m 36.613s):
"I am pleased to have qualified third for the second consecutive time. Of course, we would have preferred a position on the front row, but Felipe and Kimi have been strong here all weekend and as a result third place is the maximum we could achieve. I have improved step by step throughout all the sessions, and my lap in the third qualifying was really good. Now we have to wait and see how the strategies will unfold in the race. With rain expected tomorrow anything could be possible."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (4th, Q3 - 1m 36.709s):
"There didn't seem to be as much grip in the tyres during the final session, and I just struggled a bit. Also it was tough finding a gap in the traffic, which had an effect on my ability to warm up the brakes and manage the tyres. To be honest I didn't do a perfect job today, and I will study the data to see how I can go faster tomorrow. We have to stay positive though as we are still in a good position and anything can happen in the race."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (5th, Q3 - 1m 36.711s):
This has been quite a satisfying weekend so far. We have run without problems and the car has performed well and looked competitive. Today's lap time just shows that it's a big improvement compared to last year's car. So we are all very pleased with this result and it is definitely looking good for tomorrow's race. Timo has also done a very good job over the weekend too so I'm pleased for him because this gives a lot of motivation for the whole team to push hard with development work to improve the car. I'm confident for tomorrow because I've always performed well at this track. We just have to make sure that we finish the race without trouble because I believe we can score good points.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (6th, Q3 - 1m 36.727s):
"I'm quite happy with today's performance, although just a little was missing for me to be on the second row of the grid. The unpredictable weather brought an additional thrill to the qualifying. With the set-up I chose, I knew that qualifying would not be easy for me, but over the weekend we have put a lot of effort into the race preparation so I'm optimistic for tomorrow. "
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, Q3 - 1m 36.753s):
"I'm very disappointed about the outcome of Q3. The first corners of my last lap went smoothly, but then there were several cars driving very slowly on their in-laps. Apparently they had no information that the qualifying was still going on. Before turn four I lost a lot of time because both McLarens were cruising on the racing line. I think this has cost me about two tenths of a second, which would have meant being third instead of seventh. I just couldn't drive on the line I wanted and, even more importantly, could not brake were I wanted. However, I was very happy with my car in qualifying."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th, Q3 - 1m 37.009s):
"Today went better than expected to be honest. We worked hard on the car yesterday and the guys did a great job to make the improvements that they did, so weve laid the foundations ahead of tomorrows race. Q3 was quite tricky for a lot of people, as the grip level was lower than in Q2, but were in a sensible position for the start of the race. If its half as wild as Melbourne it will be interesting to see.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (9th, Q3 - 1m 38.450s):
We achieved our first objective today, which was to get into Q3. We can now concentrate on our second objective which is to improve our pace in the race and to finish in the points. I could have done better in Q3 this afternoon as I was with Heidfeld on a fast lap while the others were going slowly, and that affected me a bit, which is a shame. I am sure that the race tomorrow will be interesting and I hope we can find our way into the points, just like in Melbourne. We must now concentrate on our preparation for the race tomorrow.
Timo Glock, Toyota (10th, Q3 - 1m 39.656s):
I'm happy to have made Q3 but that was a difficult qualifying for me. In free practice this morning I had a better feeling for the option tyres in a qualifying set-up but this afternoon I struggled to get the most out of them again. It was difficult to find the right set-up for it. In the end I was happy that I had a really good lap and a really good last sector to get into the top ten. Now we have to see how the weather goes but if it's dry it will be hard for me to get the most out of the tyres. This is a really wide circuit and that means there are more possibilities to overtake. But I'm keeping a lid on my expectations. Hopefully we can finish in the top ten or break into the points. That would be a good result.
Jenson Button, Honda (11th, Q2 - 1m 35.208s):
"I'm happy with P11 and to be starting on the right side of the grid for the race. The weather was looking changeable with the risk of rain, so we ran early in both sessions to get a banker time in. My final run in the second session was on the option tyres and I'm really happy with the lap as we just missed out on going through by less than 0.1sec.
"The main challenge was choosing between the prime and the option tyre. I was struggling to get the options to work so I was running on the primes for most of the session but pretty much everyone else was on the option tyre. So with that much option rubber going down on the track, we had to give it a go for my last run in Q2, and we were 0.25s quicker. That was as quick as the car is today and I put in a good lap, so I'm pleased with our position."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (12th, Q2 - 1m 35.408s):
I was a bit surprised as in qualifying I was slower in the first sector than I had been in the morning practice. Id lost some mechanical grip, which made it difficult to nail the middle sector. Whats happened this weekend doesnt concern me, as a racing driver you never think youre going to have a car failure, so you dont think about it, and I have complete faith in the team too.
Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault (13th, Q2 - 1m 35.562s):
I am relatively satisfied with my qualifying this afternoon. I made good progress in the last free practice session this morning and my qualifying went without too many problems. Of course I must still improve, but I am not too far away from my teammate and I cannot wait to see how the race goes tomorrow. My objective will be to do better than Melbourne and to reach the end of my second Grand Prix, and if possible to score some points.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th, Q2 - 1m 35.622s):
"It was unfortunate that we had a problem this morning with the gear selection which limited my running and therefore when you go into qualifying, you are playing catch-up all the time. However it was a good effort this afternoon and I'm happy with how our session developed to eventually finish in 14th position. It would have been nice to have more time this morning to set the car up a little better but we made the best of a difficult situation.
"If the changeable weather continues into tomorrow, then being outside of the top ten provides more of an option to fine tune the strategy. Considering my lack of practice this morning, I'm pleased with my qualifying and 14th is a good position from which to attack the points tomorrow."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (15th, Q2 - 1m 35.648s):
Today, Q3 was definitely out of our reach. Unlike Melbourne this is a circuit where you have a lot of fast corners and so it did not suit us as well. All the same, I think we did pretty much the best we could. Unfortunately, on my last flying lap I made a mistake at Turn 14. Of course I was pushing hard to get as close as possible to Q3, higher up the grid at least and it cost me about two tenths. But we can be reasonably satisfied. I think we have a good set-up for race conditions.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (16th, Q2 - 1m 35.670s):
Cant believe how it went today. I came here from a podium finish a few days ago and now I qualify 16th, although I felt my last flying lap was pretty good. Our car doesnt seem to like the new asphalt they laid on this track at all. Its just too smooth and it doesnt make our tyres work properly, so I am just sliding everywhere. It will be tough tomorrow starting from this position, but our car should be better in racing conditions. And maybe some rain might help us!
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (17th, Q1 - 1m 36.240s):
Just five hundredths away from Q2, it was very close! I am a little disappointed with not getting there, but I did my best and did a fantastic lap. Let's say it's very encouragaing - just five hundredths from the top 16 and Q2, and just under a second from the quickest lap time of that session - it is very promising for the future. The team has done a fantastic job so far. Of course we have a lot of work to do but looking forward we are going in the right direction, which is just great.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (18th, Q1 - 1m 36.388s):
It was a difficult qualifying and because it was tight on lap times, when I made one mistake, it stopped me progressing into Q2. I have a grid penalty for tomorrow in any case, so I want to have a consistent race and make sure I finish. As far as performance is concerned, we will look at a strategy plan to see what we can do, but it will be a tough race.
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (19th, Q1 - 1m 36.677s):
I was in P15 on my second run and the car felt good so we should have had a shot at Q2, but then I had a brake problem at the second corner, I pumped the brake pedal but when I got to Turn 4, the pedal went to the floor again and there was nothing I could do. Its been a tough weekend so far, as I did not get too much running yesterday. The stars do not seem to be aligning in our favour. Hopefully, I will have better luck tomorrow, maybe if the weather turns crazy.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (20th, Q1 - 1m 37.087s):
I think that the team did a great job again, under the circumstances. We showed good speed in the morning as I did qualifying simulation and I was happy with the balance. During my first run in qualifying the grip level was quite low and I had traffic, but then on the last run I hooked up everything I needed and I enjoyed the lap. I will certainly try to make a good race tomorrow.
Adrian Sutil, Force India (21st, Q1 - 1m 37.101s):
It was not a good qualifying, but to be honest I was expecting this as we had not had a great practice in the morning. We had problems again trying to get the soft tyres to work, my car is just not behaving how it should be with them and I even tried a hard set. The car felt much better but for sure with them I can't race the other cars. In the race and over longer runs I think we are better. In Melbourne it was okay and I have a good feeling there is more in the car.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (22nd, Q1 - 1m 37.481s):
Another difficult qualifying session today for us. I think that we have improved slightly since the last race. My middle run this afternoon was good, but I struggled to find the right balance in the car for the last run.