Qualifying - selected driver quotes 24 May 2008
Ferraris Felipe Massa on overcoming his Monaco demons and scoring pole in the Principality; Red Bulls David Coulthard on his dramatic Q2 crash; and Williams Nico Rosberg on an excellent sixth place. All 20 drivers report back on the action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, Q3 - 1m 15.787s):
"Incredible! I have got pole on a track where I have always struggled. Now I am beginning to like it a bit more... I managed to do a perfect lap with a great car: this result shows that, if you work hard and with attention to detail, you can do it everywhere. After finishing the lap, nobody said anything to me on the radio and then, unexpectedly, Rob (Smedley, Felipe's race engineer) screamed, "incredible, you're on pole!" and I was laughing all the way around my in lap as I just couldn't stop. Now we have to maintain our concentration for the race tomorrow, which will be a very difficult one. It could rain which would complicate things even more. Starting at the front means I have the best possible conditions, but we will have to do everything perfectly. We worked a lot on the set-up to improve on the situation compared to past years and I think this decision has paid off."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (2nd, Q3 - 1m 15.815s):
"Obviously, I would have preferred to be on pole and there's no point denying it, but two Ferraris ahead of the rest is a great result for the team. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so the race could be a lottery and it might mean more overtaking opportunities, because in the dry the race risks turning into a boring procession. Overall, I am happy with the car: we just struggled a bit to get the best out of the tyres on the first timed lap, so that I was finding things a bit difficult through the first few corners on my second run in Q3. We had some doubts about our true potential on this track before the weekend, but this result confirms we have worked well and we have made a step forward compared to last year."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd, Q3 - 1m 15.839s):
"Obviously I would have preferred to be on pole, but I am pleased with how the car felt and our strategy. The team did a solid job, and I didn't have any problems with traffic. My two flying laps in the final part of qualifying were good, but I lost a bit of time in the second sector, because I lacked a bit of traction accelerating out of turn eight, and in the third sector, at the last corners, I did not brake as late as I should. But we have a good strategy, and I am quite confident for the race - tomorrow anything can happen particularly with the weather forecast promising rain."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (4th, Q3 - 1m 16.165s):
I am little disappointed as I put maximum effort in my last qualifying run. The car felt good, so I dont know where the small gap to the cars in front comes from. I did not put a foot wrong in all three sessions. I want to thank my team who had repaired the damage from this mornings incident well, so I could make best use of my car without any problems. The race is a different affair, and I expect us to be in good shape.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th, Q3 - 1m 16.171s):
Again we showed we have a good pace. I was pushing on every single lap of qualifying and this was all I could do today. Unfortunately on my last flying lap I had Lewis Hamilton in front of me. He did not hold me up, but whenever you have another car in front of you there is some kind of a risk. On my out lap I tried to widen the gap to Lewis so as to have no traffic. My tyres cooled down too much and I was very slow in the first sector of my quick lap.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th, Q3 - 1m 16.548s):
"I am very happy, I got the most out of the car and this is a good result. I really enjoyed it out there today. It was good fun and I was really pushing it to the limit - I imagine it would be pretty exciting to watch my on-board camera footage because I was really attacking every bit of the lap. Qualifying in Monaco is different to anywhere else and being able to get to the limit here is just great. If it rains tomorrow it will be madness, so Ill just have to be very careful and keep it on the track. With a good strategy, I can have a good Monaco Grand Prix."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (7th, Q3 - 1m 16.852s):
In Monaco qualifying is more important than anywhere else and our goal today was to make it through to Q3. It is very difficult to overtake, but I think it is quite an open race and as we are not fighting for the championship we can approach this race aggressively and take a few risks. It will be a competitive race, that is for sure, but we just have to wait and see what the weather does.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th, Q3 - 1m 17.203s):
Today was a good qualifying but it was tough. All weekend I've had some problems with getting the most out of the package and even during qualifying I wasn't completely happy. Here in Monaco if you don't have confidence it is difficult to push to the limit. So I am glad to be in the top ten again and I also have high hopes for the race. A big thank you to the team and the mechanics because they worked really hard during Thursday practice when we had several problems so it's good to give them a good qualifying session.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (9th, Q3 - 1m 17.343s):
We had a clear run with no problems. I was locking up quite a lot, but there was no particular sector of the lap that was worse than the others well just have to see how things go tomorrow. Seventy eight laps is a long race and theres some uncertainly over the weather, so hopefully we can get some points.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, Q3 - no time):
I was doing around 185kph when the incident happened, and I went into the wall quite hard. When I hit the brakes the car turned, I was going over a rise so its possible I locked the rear axel, but normally when that happens, you can just release the brake a little bit. Well check the car and see if anything was going wrong at the rear, as it turned very quickly. Its normal for the rear to go light when you brake there, as we dont have engine braking or anything like that, but you drive with that in mind, so Im surprised what happened was so violent. But, well get the car back, look at the data and then well know.
Timo Glock, Toyota (11th, Q2 - 1m 15.907s):
It was frustrating to miss out on Q3 today because the weekend had been going well. I don't know what happened. I did a decent first lap in Q2 but on the last set of tyres it just didn't work out. I had a good first sector but the last two sectors didn't come together and I missed Q3 by less than a tenth of a second. The consolation is that I have a free strategy for tomorrow. The weather could still play a part and we'll push to make up ground.
Jenson Button, Honda (12th, Q2 - 1m 16.101s):
"We spent the session working on the balance, trying to remove understeer from the car in the high-speed corners, which we achieved and the balance was improving. On my last run, the car felt good and I gained almost two-tenths in the first sector on my previous best time, then in the second sector Coulthard had his incident which unfortunately meant I couldn't improve my time because of the yellow flags. The car was well set-up for my final run in Q2 and the last sector is where we would have improved further, as we had a better front-end for the high-speed corners. Sadly the yellow flags prevented us from realising our full potential. We're not in the top ten and it's disappointing. That's Monaco for you and what is important is that we know the car was quick enough to have improved."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (13th, Q2 - 1m 16.455s):
Unfortunately I don't have much to say: my qualifying result is disappointing. Here in Monaco I can't heat up the tyres quickly enough.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (14th, Q2 - 1m 16.479s):
"It was a difficult qualifying for me because I was having trouble hooking everything up on my quick laps. I made some mistakes on one of my clean laps, so I need to go away and think about that and see how I can improve. Nico did really well today. He set a really good lap time, so I think I should have been better. Conditions were slightly different out there this afternoon in comparison to this mornings practice session, and the forecast isnt settled for the race, which could make it interesting."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (15th, Q2 - 1m 16.537s):
"It was certainly a disappointing second session for us. Unfortunately I didn't have a good first run because of traffic and then my second outing was interrupted by the yellow flags. It's a shame as the car was certainly competitive enough to get into Q3. However there is no place for 'if only' in Formula One and we are down in 15th, so it will be a tough race from there."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (16th, Q1 - 1m 16.806s):
On my first lap I got caught up with Massa and my second was definitely going to be better, but that would not have changed anything. I am finding it very difficult to read what the car is doing, especially under braking when I am locking wheels a lot. In fact that was what caused the problem on my next run, because as I knew I had been locking the rear coming out of the tunnel, I moved the balance just one click to the front and sure enough, this time I lost the front. Also, as a general comment the car feels loose on the entry to most corners. Our situation was not helped by the fact we still lack experience with the new car and had nearly no dry running this morning. You have to pick up the pace by around a second and a half and when youve never done it in an F1 car in Monaco, its a bit harder than anywhere else.
Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault (17th, Q1 - 1m 16.933s):
I am very disappointed. I had a small problem with the brakes in Q1 and I was not on the pace. The car was very sensitive, but we saw with Fernando that it improved gradually throughout the session, which is all the more frustrating for me. A race from the back of the grid is always difficult, especially in Monaco, but I will give my maximum tomorrow, although my only real chance is to hope for rain, which will mix things up.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (18th, Q1 - 1m 16.955s):
My first lap time looked quite promising. After that, I feel we should have stuck with the prime tyre as the option was giving up during the first timed lap. I was unable to maintain a good level of grip over the whole track, so I was losing time, especially towards the end of the lap. Its a shame, because with my penalty I will be at the back of the grid. So Im hoping for rain ..lots of rain!
Adrian Sutil, Force India (19th, Q1 - 1m 17.225s):
I felt my first laps were quite good, but then I had to pass a couple of cars in the first sector. It is really only two tenths or so, but from that point on it's difficult to get in the rhythm. We had planned to do two laps but you never know whether there will be traffic so we left some margin with the fuel and I could stay out for a few more laps to get some better ones in. There were some positives though: at least we have got the tyre problem fixed and they are working well now.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (20th, Q1 - 1m 17.823s):
It was a disappointing qualifying session and, in fact, whole day. This morning I had a problem with the gearbox and we had to change it, so I would have been penalised five places anyway, but then it was only ready about 14:05 so we didn't have enough time to do three runs. My first run was not great, but the second was better but then I lost the chance to do a quick lap as I got caught behind Barrichello just after the swimming pool as he was slowing down. Very very frustrating.