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Qualifying - selected driver quotes 21 Jun 2008

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 21 June 2008 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 21 June 2008 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 21 June 2008 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 21 June 2008 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 21 June 2008

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello on failing to make it through the first bout for Honda; Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica on a gloomy day for BMW Sauber; and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on what he needs to do on Sunday if he is to salvage some points from the French race. All 20 drivers report back on the action…

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (1st, Q1 - 1m 16.499s):
"I am very happy with this result, not just for myself but above all for the team. It is a pleasure to have taken Ferrari's two hundredth pole even if, at the moment, I have only played a small part in the history of Scuderia. So far, the weekend is going really well but of course we have yet to tackle the most important part which is the race, where anything could happen. The car has always been well balanced and, at least as far as the first lap is concerned, the performance of the two tyres is pretty similar, while the harder compound seems to do better over a long distance. If I was not to win, I would obviously be a bit disappointed, but the most important thing is to finish and bring home the maximum number of points, because we really need them."

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, Q1 - 1m 16.490s):
"It was a good qualifying, especially the first two parts. In the third one, maybe I went a bit over the limit to try and get out all the potential from the car and I lost enough time to prevent me from doing better. However, I am happy, because we have everything in place to pick up important points for the championship. The F2008 is very competitive on this type of track and we worked in the right direction in terms of fine tuning it. Tyre choice for qualifying was not easy but so far, we have been able to be strong in all conditions. I am happy that the team recorded its two hundredth pole position today and it's an honour for me to have made a small contribution to this milestone."

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd, Q1 - 1m 16.693s):
"I have to apologise to the team for making a couple of errors on my final runs in Q3. I felt more confident on the prime tyres but went wide at Turn Seven on the first run because I was pushing to try to get the best out of the car. It was a little bit disappointing and, while my grid penalty doesn't exactly hang over me, it doesn't help - but I'll take it on the chin. Overtaking is going to be tough on Sunday but I'm confident we're going to be quick. And, as always, I'll be pushing as hard as I can to score as many points as possible for the team."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th, Q1 - 1m 16.840s):
“The times were very tight today, in both Q1 and Q2, but I made it through to Q3 and was able to set a good time. The car has really improved and so for the first time this season we have the real chance to fight for the podium. The Ferraris are certainly a step ahead, but we will give our maximum to get a good result tomorrow.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (5th, Q1 - 1m 16.920s):
"That was a great qualifying session so I'm really pleased both for myself and for the team to get two cars into the top ten. I didn't expect to be so quick but I've been building up to this all weekend. The car was well balanced and everything went well, particularly my last lap. Early in Q3 I spun because I was pushing hard to find the limit with fuel on board. I didn't panic and I just changed a few settings for the last run. We'll have to see how it goes tomorrow but I have high hopes because so far I've felt even more confident driving the car in race trim. Clearly this is a particularly important weekend for us as we are remembering Ove Andersson and everything he has done for us. This is a good start and we want to dedicate everything we achieve this weekend to him."

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (6th, Q1 - 1m 16.944s):
"The traffic meant I couldn't put together a clean opening lap in Q1, so we did a second run just to make certain. For Q2, I found a good balance with my car and felt more confident going into the final session. I didn't feel any problems throughout today's sessions, but minor things prevented me from being quicker in Q1 and Q2. Owing to the penalty I was given following the mix-up with two other cars, I will start 10th; not ideal, but it's perfectly possible to score points from there and that's what I intend to do."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (7th, Q1 - 1m 17.037s):
"It looks like we are having a difficult weekend. After yesterday's free practice sessions I was expecting us to struggle. The balance of the car is not how I want it to be and my car has a poor overall grip. The gap to the top teams seems to have stayed the same, and at the same time the other teams obviously have made a big step forward. My goal now is to score as many points as possible in tomorrow's race, which certainly will not be easy."

Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th, Q1 - 1m 17.233s):
“I’m pretty happy with that. Of course you always want a little bit more, but it could also have been worse for us, so it’s okay. I had Jarno (Trulli) spinning in front of me on my first flying lap in Q3, so it all rested on my final one – but we got there. We’ve got both cars in the top ten, which is what want we wanted. Let’s see what we can do from there tomorrow.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (9th, Q1 - 1m 17.426):
“It’s been very close with Renault and also our sister team this weekend, both have been looking very quick, but in the end we have both our cars in the top ten. I have a reasonable fuel load, so I’m pretty happy with my performance today.”

Timo Glock, Toyota (10th, Q1 - 1m 17.596s):
"Following our problems in practice yesterday, we are happy with this result. But I am still having a hard time with the tyres. On low fuel we had a competitive pace that was similar to Jarno but on high fuel loads in Q3 I struggled a bit. So we still have to work to find a better way to manage the tyres for tomorrow. Still, this is definitely a positive result today. We have both cars in the top ten which is good for the team who have been working very hard at the track and back in Cologne. Hopefully we can score some points in the race."

Nelson Piquet, Renault (11th, Q2 - 1m 15.770s):
“It’s frustrating to miss out on Q3, but we didn’t anticipate the behaviour of the soft tyres which turned out be slower than we thought. But at least we have the chance to adopt the ideal strategy for the race tomorrow and I hope we can benefit from that because it is particularly difficult to overtake here. The times were very close today, but the car behaved well and I think we can be on the pace in normal race conditions, and I will do my best to try and score my first points tomorrow.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (12th, Q2 - 1m 15.786s):
"The circuit here in Magny-Cours is completely different to the one in Montreal, and right from the beginning of the weekend here we were not as good as we have been recently. But still we were hoping for a better qualifying. I'm 12th and Robert just made it into the top ten of qualifying - this is, of course, not what we at the BMW Sauber F1 Team expect from ourselves.

"If I just look at my situation I can see significant progress. I was much closer to getting the best out of the car. There were just hundreds of a second between Robert's and my lap times. I will be starting from 11th because Lewis Hamilton has to move back, and I can choose my fuel strategy for the race. Although even the best strategy doesn't improve the pace, we want to have a good race tomorrow."

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (13th, Q2 - 1m 15.816s):
“That was very close and I think we can be happy to have both cars in Q2. I came very near to making Q3 and although I can’t say I’m angry, when you get so close it is disappointing not to have done it. My laps were not perfect but they were pretty good. We struggled mainly in the second sector and were unable to improve on that. Overall, we can be happy with the way the car has run with its new package for the first time and I was quite surprised with its pace since the start of the weekend.”

Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (14th, Q2 - 1m 16.045s):
“It was very tight today with around half a dozen of us within a tenth and it’s at times like these that the smallest thing can make the difference. I was thinking 12th place was doable but the track changed quite a bit as the temperature went up, which accentuated the oversteer we already had in the slow corners. I still have to get the car to my liking as, at the moment it does the two things I don’t like: oversteer in the slow turns and understeer in the fast ones! As for tomorrow, if the conditions are stable, then not a lot happens at this race, as it is difficult to overtake and very difficult to stay in touch with the car in front through Estoril. The main thing will be to get to the finish.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (15th, Q2 - 1m 16.235s):
"I knew it was going to be slightly hard for us here, but to be so far off the pace is quite surprising. If everything had gone perfectly, I may have been in P14, but that’s not good enough. We had to compromise our pace this afternoon because of the grid penalty, but that should only have cost us a tenth, not this much. We’ve had a good car in the last two races, and have been running in the top six, but there are some tracks, such as Magny-Cours, that don’t seem to suit our car very well. We started to address this problem at the last test, but it’s going to take some time to resolve it. Getting a decent result from P15 would be difficult enough but, with the ten-place penalty, it’s going to be even harder. That’s just how it is, though, and we need to work out how we’re going to play it."

Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (16th, Q3 - 1m 16.243s):
"Being knocked out in Q1 is really disappointing, but there was so much traffic during my last flying lap. Everyone was so close to each other out there and that basically compromised my lap and prevented me from doing any better today. If that situation happens when it’s your last chance to set a quick time, it’s over. It’s now going to be a really tough race for me because it’s so hard to overtake round this track, but I will do my best and really try to get something out of it for the team."

Jenson Button, Honda (17th, Q3 - 1m 16.306s):
"A very disappointing qualifying session today. The car was well balanced and we are pretty much getting the maximum performance from it, however unfortunately our pace reflects where we are at this track. My last run was slow as I was called into the weighbridge and then had to wait in the pit box as there was not enough time to go back into the garage before my final run. That meant that my tyres had cooled down which compromised my lap, although I don't think we could have improved enough to go through to Q2 anyway. Hopefully we can be more competitive in race trim but it's disappointing and unexpected as we thought that the car would perform better around this circuit."

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (18th, Q3 - 1m 16.330s):
"A pure lack of performance from the car today. The lap times have been very close all weekend but unfortunately we are at the lower end of the grid. We are really pushing the limit of the car to try and achieve more pace but it is evident from how close Jenson and I have been all weekend that there is no more to come from the car. Having achieved a good balance after practice, it's hard to accept the lack of pace, but we just have to try and do our best from here and see what the race will bring."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (19th, Q3 - 1m 16.971s):
“It was a difficult qualifying session for us as the whole field is very close. We did three single lap runs, one on the harder tyre and two on the soft, to try and get the most out of the tyres and the car felt better balanced than this morning. We still have some understeer issues, particularly when it gets hotter as it did this afternoon. We will have to see for the race now as we know that we are more competitive under race conditions.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India (20th, Q3 - 1m 17.053s):
“The general balance of the car was okay and it was quite nice to drive particularly after the problems we had yesterday, but it's so close. We need to improve so that's why we're at the back of the grid for now. We know though that our race pace is good compared to the others and we can stay with them so now we need to concentrate on getting to the end of the race and having a good finish, that's what is important.”