Qualifying - selected driver quotes 13 Sep 2008
Giancarlo Fisichella on taking Force India through to Q2 for the first time; McLarens Lewis Hamilton on enduring his worst qualifying of the season; and Sebastian Vettel on clinching his maiden pole position at Toro Rossos home Grand Prix. All 20 drivers report back on the wet-weather action
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (1st, Q3 - 1m 37.555s):
It will take time for this to sink in. It was my dream to one day drive a Formula One car and even if my target now has been to fight for poles and race wins, I didnt expect it today and it feels fantastic. Doing it here in Italy is also amazing. There are two Italian teams, Ferrari is the bigger one, but I think today, people will also know about Scuderia Toro Rosso. Already its great just to be part of Formula One, but to be sitting in the top spot is fantastic. It was very difficult to see anything out there and I think all the drivers did a good job to avoid any incidents. We improved the car a lot and I was very happy with it this morning and when you feel confident in your car, then that is the key. In the second session, conditions were very difficult and I managed to put together a good lap quite early. I think we did the right thing to go out and do a few laps, rather than just focus on trying for one quick one.
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (2nd, Q3 - 1m 37.631s):
"A really close session; I missed pole by just .076 seconds. My first attempt in Q3 wasn't perfect and further rain later in the session made it almost impossible to improve. On my final run, I gave it everything but there wasn't enough grip to beat Sebastian Vettel. But congratulations to him on his first pole. Nevertheless, second on the grid is still a good basis for tomorrow; our car has shown good pace in both the wet and the dry so I'm feeling confident."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (3rd, Q3 - 1m 38.117s):
I didnt have a very good run on my first lap in Q3 and thought Id messed up the session, as I was told it was going to rain again. It was difficult to get the lap in at the end with the conditions as they were, but I knew I had to do it. It was crucial to get both of the chicanes right and I really had to focus on the Ascari Chicane because it was like running on rail tracks. I drilled that though and it helped me to get my lap time. It should be a pretty interesting race tomorrow if the conditions are like this again! Toro Rosso have been fast in the last couple of races and they did very well today."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (4th, Q3 - 1m 38.445s):
It was a bit crazy out there. Seb pulled out a great lap and pole is fantastic for him and the team and so is having both cars on the two front rows. I was third for a moment, but Im not complaining. Given how things went in the dry in practice, I certainly could not have hoped for better than this. These conditions equalize everything and if you have a good feeling in the car, you can attack. Thats what we did and it paid off. The team has given us a car that is very reliable and quite easy to drive, especially in the wet. A super performance from everyone.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (5th, Q3 - 1m 38.767s):
"I am really pleased with the result today. It was a good qualifying session and I was consistently able to be at the front and, despite the conditions, I felt comfortable in the car. On top of this, we didnt compromise too much for qualifying and we have a good strategy plan for the race. As tomorrow goes, I would rather we didnt have as much rain as we did today as it was pretty dangerous in terms of aquaplaning. Ultimately, I dont mind if it is dry or wet tomorrow as long as the amount of rain is reasonable as I have the benefit of a good start position."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (6th, Q3 - 1m 38.894s):
"A very difficult qualifying but, overall, I am reasonably happy. It's true it could have been better, but it could also have been much worse. I am ahead of my main rivals in the fight for the championship and I still have a good grid position therefore. Today, especially in Q2, conditions were very critical with aquaplaning at various points and visibility was also poor, especially in traffic and the situation got worse and worse. I still managed to improve my time and make it through to Q3, which was important. Tomorrow I must try and finish as high up the order as possible and get some points. It will be a very tough race, but we can rely on a very competitive car."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (7th, Q3 - 1m 39.152s):
"That was a hell of a session. It was really hard to drive the car and visibility was really poor. At one point in Q2 Sebastian Vettel slowed suddenly on the straight in front of me. In these conditions we were very lucky not to have an accident so that was a dangerous moment. Still, on our side we managed to do a good qualifying so we are happy. It is a good way to prepare for tomorrow and now we will do our best in the race. There is always a special atmosphere here in Monza because there are a lot of motor racing fans. Now we will try really hard to earn a good result in front of my home supporters."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, Q3 - 1m 39.751s):
"I am pretty satisfied today because, even if it had been dry, I don't think that our situation would have been any easier. The track conditions were very difficult and we were able to reach Q3, which has given us a good starting position for tomorrow. Of course, the race will be tough and there are still lots of unknowns: the weather tomorrow could come and change things once again."
Timo Glock, Toyota (9th, Q3 - 1m 39.787s):
"Today was going well right up to Q3. This morning was good and that continued during the first two sessions this afternoon but it was a difficult last ten minutes. It was pretty strange but the car didn't work as well as the session before. I think I was struggling with tyre temperatures and I just couldn't really get a clean lap. So that was a pity but we are still in good shape for tomorrow and we will do our best to come away with a strong result."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (10th, Q3 - 1m 39.906s):
"The conditions were quite difficult during qualifying, but in the beginning it went pretty well for me. Once I made it into the top ten of qualifying I was expecting more. The last laps were disappointing. Instead of more grip I got less. We now have to figure out why this happened."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (11th, Q2 - 1m 36.697s):
"We were a bit unlucky today as the gap to position 10 and the third qualifying session was very narrow. We put a new set of tyres on the car for the second qualifying session, as we planned not to make a pit stop in the session. You need two or three laps to make the tyres work. The track dried up after the first laps, but then it started to rain heavily so unfortunately I was not able to improve the lap times. Congratulations to Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel for their first pole position."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (12th, Q2 - 1m 36.698s):
"Of course I'm really pleased to be able to give the team its first entry into Q2 this year and particularly here in Monza. Conditions in the first session were bad at the start and it was difficult to find some grip but they improved at the end and that was when I was able to find some space and push. We went out as soon as we could in the second session as the rain was getting heavier and we really did the optimum - we weren't too far from Q3 with the quickest lap. Unfortunately then the rain just got worse and it was going to be impossible to improve. I'm really looking forward to the race, and with the predicted rain I think it will be very exciting. I'm going to try hard here - I scored my first win in similar conditions in Brazil with this team, and although that's going to be difficult here, we can at least try for points."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th, Q2 - 1m 37.284s):
Q2 was quickest at the beginning of the session, as it rained progressively. We went out just after the beginning of the session, but had to back off for a bit of traffic. We therefore didnt manage to get a time at the start of the session and you werent going to get a faster time at the end. As you saw with Hamilton and Raikkonen, it wasnt getting any quicker out there with the worsening conditions. Congratulations to Sebastian on his pole position, it was a great performance from him.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (14th, Q2 - 1m 37.522s):
"There's little to say and I am definitely not happy with this result. I was unable to do a time in Q2 when the conditions would still have made it possible and then it was impossible to catch up. On that lap, I went off at Ascari where there was a lot of water on the track, which meant I didn't make it through to the next session. Now we must try and make the best of this situation which is definitely not ideal. Starting from the seventh row of the grid could be a bit tricky at the start, because the entry to the first chicane is very tight and it is easy to touch other cars. In the dry, the car is working very well but obviously, if it were to rain, it could give some chances to those who are starting further back like me."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (15th, Q2 - 1m 39.265s):
"It was a joint decision to go out on wet-weather tyres at the start of Q2 - partly mine and partly my engineers'. We thought it was the right way to go at the time because it was getting dryer but the grip-level was poor so I came in and switched to extremes. By the time I got out, it had begun to rain and I just missed the window when the track was at its fastest; it was also very hard to pick out the braking points. It's the first time this has happened to me in Formula One, so I can't really complain - tomorrow's another day and we still have a fighting chance to make our way up the grid. I'll be doing the best job I can."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (16th, Q1 - 1m 36.510s):
"I'm very disappointed as we had the opportunity to have a good qualifying session today. Unfortunately there was a miscommunication on the radio as I wanted to stay on the existing tyres with more front wing when I came in. However the team changed to a new set of tyres as they were concerned about the temperatures and took off some wing, and this set did not work as well for me. It's a shame as I think we could have progressed into Q2 and had a much better qualifying session."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (17th, Q1 - 1m 36.630s):
"I'm disappointed with my qualifying session today. Since the start of the weekend, we haven't really been on the pace and I was expecting a difficult session. The weather this afternoon didn't help. It's a shame and I know that tomorrow we will have to fight hard in what looks certain to be another tricky race."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (18th, Q1 - 1m 36.653s):
"It was very difficult and disappointing qualifying today and I just struggled to find a clean lap in the traffic. We had wet conditions in the third practice today and I looked okay, finishing the session in P5. As the track conditions and weather were similar this afternoon, it makes my qualifying result even more disappointing."
Jenson Button, Honda (19th, Q1 - 1m 37.006s):
"We were expecting these conditions to help us, so I am surprised that we have ended up so far back in qualifying today. The biggest problem seems to be that we can't get the car and tyres to work in the wet conditions with very low downforce. The first set of tyres that we ran seemed to be working okay and I was running just outside the top ten, however on the new set that we used for my last three quick laps the car was just undriveable. It had no balance and I couldn't find any grip, so every time I hit the brakes, the front and rear wheels would lock. We'll have to have a look at the data and find out why the car was so difficult to drive, but it's obviously very disappointing to be starting the race from so far back on the grid."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (20th, Q1 - 1m 37.417s):
"A bit disappointing as I had a good balance in the rain. The first set of tyres worked really well and we were very competitive but then I changed tyres and suddenly we lost all the grip and I was about six tenths a lap slower in better conditions. We have to figure out what went wrong, but all the same I think that we've got every chance of making up for this tomorrow."