Qualifying - selected driver quotes 06 Sep 2008
Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima on a tough qualifying session for Williams; Toro Rossos Sebastien Bourdais on clinching P1 in the first knockout session and securing P9 on the Spa grid; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on scoring his fifth pole of the season. All 20 drivers report back from Belgium
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st, Q3 - 1m 47.338s):
"I'm really happy about my pole position. We've got a great car and the atmosphere within the team at home in Woking and here at the circuit is fantastic. After Valencia we knew we had to improve and that's what we did. Today's outcome is also a result of this great preparation and I felt very comfortable when we came here. First, I decided to drive with the harder compound, but obviously the option tyre was the better one. Today I gave it my all and so did the team. At the beginning of my first lap, I locked up my right front wheel for a moment, but afterwards I didn't make any mistakes. I'm confident for tomorrow's race."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, Q3 - 1m 47.678s):
"I did a great lap, but it was not enough to be on pole position. Today, we lacked a bit of speed compared to our main rivals but the race is very long and, over a distance, we know we can be very competitive and therefore we are capable of fighting for the win. The start? It will be difficult to do a repeat of Budapest, especially as the start-line straight is shorter than at the Hungaroring. Then, we will have to see what the various strategy choices are and obviously, how the weather evolves. If it was to rain, the race could be turned into a lottery."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (3rd, Q3 - 1m 47.815s):
"A good weekend so far and we were able to improve throughout. Today's qualifying was fairly straightforward; however, in the end, I didn't quite do enough to make it onto the front row. I didn't make any mistakes on my lap, but obviously I lost a bit of time in the middle sector. Anyway, tomorrow is where it counts and I'm feeling optimistic."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (4th, Q3 - 1m 47.992s):
"On my second run in Q3 I made a small mistake, running wide at Turn Seven. A shame, as it cost me valuable time which would have seen me move slightly higher up the order on the starting grid. All the same, I am reasonably happy with my car, which seems to be behaving the way I like. Of course, I'm a bit disappointed, as I would have liked to have done better: fourth place is far from ideal to go looking for the win, but it doesn't mean I've given up hope. We know we have a good potential, especially in race trim. The weather will however be a key factor and we will have to try and assess it as well as possible."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, Q3 - 1m 48.315s):
Im happy with the qualifying result, and for me the weekend has gone well so far. It wasnt bad on Friday, this morning I was quickest and fifth was the best possible result in qualifying. For me it is very important to know the work we have done has paid off. A couple of weeks ago we found solutions to some problems, and for me this meant an improvement, but then came the race in Valencia which was surprisingly bad. Then at last weeks Monza test we were able to learn something more. I have the feeling we are a little closer to McLaren and Ferrari here. However, I think in the race it will be very difficult for us to keep up with their pace. Tomorrow the weather conditions will be an important factor and a good start for me will be crucial. I will start from the clean side of the track.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (6th, Q3 - 1m 48.504s):
I am satisfied. We know that in normal conditions its very difficult to finish in the top four and that to finish in fifth or sixth place is a good result. So that means that we have done a solid job today. We now have a real chance to get a strong result tomorrow, which is important for the championship. Im quite confident.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (7th, Q3 - 1m 48.736s):
Weve got more pace here than in Valencia. It was a stress to get into Q3, it was very tight as usual and all the drivers were pretty evenly matched so you had to find that extra few tenths to get into the final group. Well see how tomorrow goes with the strategy, were in a reasonable position to mount an attack for some points. Its good to see Alonso and me up there today, its encouraging for Renault and for our team, for everyone here and in Milton Keynes.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (8th, Q3 - 1m 48.763s):
Qualifying was difficult for me although the conditions were the best so far over the course of the weekend. The track was completely dry, but I have had problems with the balance of the car all weekend and I am lacking overall grip. This makes driving quite difficult, especially here in Spa where you have a lot of long corners.
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (9th, Q3 - 1m 48.951s):
A qualifying session when I can get out of the car and say that I drove well and that the team, as usual did a good job. The car worked well even if we couldnt mix it too much with those ahead of us. But lets see what strategies the others are on in terms of fuel loads tomorrow. A couple of tenths is all that separated us from sixth or seventh. Its beginning to come together and its been a good weekend so far. I feel this track and its corners suit me better. It was nice to see my name at the top of a time sheet in Q1. Its been a long time!
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (10th, Q3 - 1m 50.319s):
Im quite happy and we can be satisfied to get both cars in Q3, which we did not expect at this track. It was a strong qualifying performance. I was struggling a bit on those sections where the driver doesnt have to do much. I could not find the pace my team mate had. I messed up my last run a bit but it didnt affect the result in the end. I think we have a good strategy for both cars so lets see what happens. At the moment, Im starting on the dirty side of the track but if it rains for the race it becomes the clean side.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (11th, Q2 - 1m 46.949s):
"We knew we would be struggling a bit today given these low temperatures and it was a difficult qualifying for us - this has been the trend of the weekend so far unfortunately. It was very hard to get the temperature into the tyres in order to make them work properly so it is then not easy to judge the car balance. As well as that I am on the second race with my engine and that is particularly important here because you have the long straights. Normally on the second race the engine loses a little bit of power and here this makes a difference to the lap time. But tomorrow is another day and I will do my best. The only positive point is that we can choose our strategy just before the race."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (12th, Q2 - 1m 46.965s):
Im disappointed not to make Q3 as I was in a position to be able to do that. I was on the pace, but my final run in Q2 just wasnt enough to get me through to the top ten. I am now going to work with my engineers to be well prepared for the race tomorrow, and I will do my best to progress in the race and aim to finish in the points.
Timo Glock, Toyota (13th, Q2 - 1m 46.995s):
"It was quite a difficult session for me today. In practice we were struggling a bit to bring the tyres to the right temperature and we suffered from this again in qualifying. It was particularly hard to get the heat into the tyres on my first flying lap, so we were not able to get the result we wanted. We are not getting the performance out of the tyres in these conditions and it is difficult to get a feeling for the car when that happens. It was really tricky to get it right today and it's hard to see it changing dramatically tomorrow; maybe the temperature rises a bit or it rains, you never know here. It would be good for me if it was wet because I like those conditions and our car performs well if there is a bit of rain. We will have to wait and see but whatever happens we will push as hard as we can to achieve the best possible result."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th, Q2 - 1m 47.018):
Im not so happy with that. Fourteenth doesnt look good, but its so tight in the mid field and were separated by such a small margin. Lets see what we can do tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (15th, Q2 - 1m 47.429s):
"I didnt really expect us to struggle so much in qualifying today. While we knew that Spa was not going to be our best track, being this far back is unexpected and very disappointing. In one respect, my car was okay from a balance perspective, but there was a serious lack of grip which meant I couldnt go any faster. Obviously looking ahead to the race tomorrow, some rain would give me a small chance to achieve something, otherwise its going to be very difficult."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (16th, Q1 - 1m 48.153s):
"We have to be pleased with what we achieved in qualifying today, particularly given that we have been pretty much at the bottom of the timesheets so far this weekend. It was a good lap and a good effort from the team. It's just a shame that the car is not able to be more competitive here."
Jenson Button, Honda (17th, Q1 - 1m 48.211s):
My first lap in qualifying was the first lap that I did today so in a way it was nice to be able to beat some of our competitors and be close to my team mate. It was a decent session for us, at the level of performance which the car is showing this weekend, and we will at least be starting from the clean side of the grid. Rain tomorrow would make the race more interesting but unfortunately it's not looking likely."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (18th, Q1 - 1m 48.226s):
"It was a very close qualifying today, with seven hundredths to the two Hondas and also very close to 16th place. I think we expected to be at this pace and we can be quite happy with the performance. We knew that Honda would be our closest competitor and it was close. We know we have a fast car on the straights here and I think we can do some overtaking and have a good race tomorrow."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (19th, Q1 - 1m 48.268s):
"I felt our car was better in practice this morning despite the fact that the dry conditions for qualifying made the circuit better this afternoon, but when we got into the qualifying session, I just couldnt find any grip and I am still not able to understand why. Its going to be a long race tomorrow and starting 19th will make things more difficult."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (20th, Q1 - 1m 48.447s):
"We were struggling a little with the grip level in the qualifying session, but the balance wasn't too bad. I had a bit of traffic on the last run and also some problems with the rear tyres graining and I lost the rear end in three places, so I lost at least three to four tenths. I think there was a possibility to get 16th position, but tomorrow there is a good chance to move up some places."