Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 25 Jul 2009
Drivers and senior team personnel report back on Saturdays qualifying at the Hungaroring, a session that was overshadowed by Felipe Massa's heavy accident towards the end of Q2...
Fernando Alonso (1st, Q3 - 1m 21.569s):
"The result this afternoon is fantastic. We knew after Germany that we were more competitive and that the car has really improved with our latest updates, so we decided to take an aggressive strategy this weekend. Tomorrow, our aim is to finish on the podium and starting from pole position gives us a good chance of doing that. Also, with three Renault engines filling the first three places on the grid, it's another demonstration of the superb work done by the whole team."
Nelson Piquet (15th, Q2 - 1m 21.389s):
"I knew that qualifying was going to be difficult. I managed to get a good lap in Q1, but in Q2 there was a lot of traffic and I couldn't repeat the lap time, so unfortunately I missed out on Q3. Tomorrow it's vital that we make a good start and I will do my best to have a strong race."
Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
"I think after Germany we regained a lot of confidence in the car and the developments we had made to it. We therefore came here intending to go racing aggressively and by taking pole position we have accomplished the first part of our task. We now need to translate that into a good, solid finish tomorrow, hopefully on the podium."
Sebastian Vettel (2nd, Q3 - 1m 21.607s):
That was good today. I had a pretty difficult start to the weekend and was struggling with the balance of the car in yesterdays practice, but overnight we made a good step forward and its now looking good for the race. However, the challenge, no matter if you are first, second or third, is the threat from the cars behind us that are equipped with KERS, as theres quite a run down to Turn one here. Todays qualifying was a bit on the edge, first there were yellow flags and then I got caught in traffic on the second timed lap, so it wasnt ideal. I was confident in the last qualifying though and weve got a good result. Lets see tomorrow, it should be a good race for us.
Mark Webber (3rd, Q3 - 1m 21.741s):
Not a great session for me in Q3, as I made a mistake in Turn 2. Sebastian did a clean lap and it should be a good race between all of us tomorrow. Well done to Fernando too, its good for Renault to have another engine up here and to be on pole. Rubens (Barrichello) didnt make it through into Q3, so Sebastian and I are in a good position to capitalise on that and hopefully get some points. The KERS cars will be arriving on the straight somewhere, we dont know when, but thats how it is.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal:
First of all, its great to hear that Felipe Massa is conscious and the initial signs look good, especially as it was quite a nasty looking accident. Both our guys did a very good job today second and third is a good team starting place. The KERS cars are going to be a factor tomorrow, especially Lewis McLaren. Well done to Renault for its top three on the grid. Hopefully we can convert our starting position into good points tomorrow.
Fabrice Lom, Renault, principal engineer track support:
A very strange qualifying session today with Massas accident and the collapse of the timing, but in the end, it was a one, two, three for Renault, so we can only be happy. It would be good to have the two Red Bulls in front, but a great day for Renault nonetheless and congratulations to Fernando. The KERS cars are on the dirty side of the track tomorrow - lets wait for the weights of the cars, but I think were in good shape for tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton (4th, Q3 - 1m 21.839s):
It was so hard out there this afternoon. Maybe we could have been closer to the front because my final lap wasnt a great one, but fourth is a good position from which to start tomorrows race. Were still not quick enough and need to keep pushing but, nonetheless, it feels great to be back up there competing for the first few rows on the grid. I have a few cars to try and boost past so I hope theres some good grip on my side of the grid it would be fantastic to get the lead into the first corner. Finally, I want to send my best wishes to Felipe. It looked quite a big crash so I just hope hes okay.
Heikki Kovalainen (6th, Q3 - 1m 22.095s):
It was harder to find grip on the track this afternoon, and the car was sliding around quite a bit. It was better on heavier tanks, but it was still difficult to get enough heat into the tyres. At one point, I overcooked them - it was tricky to get the right balance, so sixth was the best I could do today. The most encouraging thing about today is that were much closer to the front. With the same upgrades as Lewis, weve made great progress, and it shows the incredible efforts of everybody in the team. I dont know if any other team in the paddock could have made such a big step. We should all be encouraged by that - but the work starts again to get us back to the very front. I really hope that Felipe is okay. I really hope he isnt injured as it reminds me of my accident in Barcelona last year.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
Both Lewis and Heikki drove solid laps in Q3, and the result was our best overall qualifying performance of the year so far. We believe we have a good race strategy, and we should therefore be competitive tomorrow. Our goal is to have a car, or ideally cars plural, in podium positions by flag-fall - and that looks possible. Felipes accident was very unpleasant to watch on the TV monitors, and we all very much hope that hes sustained only minor injuries from which hell make a full and fast recovery.
Norbert Haug, vice-president Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
First and foremost, our thoughts are with Felipe Massa who suffered a terrible accident in Q2, which was beyond his control. Hopefully he will recover soon. After such a shocking accident, it is difficult to go back to evaluating the performance immediately after qualifying, which turned out to be due to a malfunctioning timing system more of a guessing session. But Lewis and Heikki did great laps and the team has made big steps forward during the last month. Starting from the second and third rows - even if both our drivers will be positioned on the less grippy side - is a good basis for tomorrows race. I obviously hope that Lewis and Heikki will be able to do a Nurburgring on their colleagues ahead of them by making up, in the best case, respectively three or five places to the first corner.
Nico Rosberg (5th, Q3 - 1m 21.890s):
"From my point of view, fifth place was okay today and gives us a really good chance for tomorrow. Overall, we have been looking good here and my target remains a podium. Obviously we need to see where everyone else is with fuel and we need a good start and race strategy, but I believe we have some real promise. Given all of this, I am looking forward to the race. Most importantly though, I hope that Felipe is alright."
Kazuki Nakajima (9th, Q3 - 1m 22.835s):
"Initially qualifying went well, certainly up until Q2. I was pleased to make it through into the final ten again, but perhaps I didnt make the most out of the final session. I struggled with tyre warm-up and couldnt find the lap time. It may make it a bit difficult tomorrow starting from P9, but lets see what we can achieve."
Sam Michael, Williams technical director:
"First and foremost, we all hope that Felipe Massa is okay after his incident. We had a good practice and qualifying session and the car has been quick around here all weekend. Our target now is to race for some good points with both cars, although starts will be tricky with the KERS cars around us, but thats what we will have to deal with."
Jenson Button (8th, Q3 - 1m 22.511s):
"The car felt reasonably good through the first two sessions today although none of my laps were perfect due to traffic and yellow flags. I thought we would be competitive in Q3 but unfortunately the work required on the car meant that I was only able to get one run and that was on a heavy fuel load with four more laps of fuel than we had planned. We were on the edge of the working range for the tyres today with the cooler temperatures so the car wasn't handling quite as well as in practice. Starting from eighth on the grid isn't ideal and I'm on the dirty side but we're remaining positive and will see what we can do from there. Hopefully we will hear that Felipe is ok and we are thinking of him."
Rubens Barrichello (13th, Q2 - 1m 21.222s):
"We had a great plan for qualifying today and I was confident that we could have a really good session. Unfortunately I had the problem with the rear of the car on my second timed lap in Q2 and I had to come into the pits and abandon the lap. I was unlucky to have had traffic on my first lap otherwise that might have been enough to make it into the top ten. Starting from 13th at this circuit where it is almost impossible to overtake will make for a really tough race tomorrow but at least we can choose the fuel load and we'll give everything to get some points. But my position today is unimportant. My thoughts right now are with Felipe and his family who are really close friends of mine and I hope he is going to be ok and will be fit as soon as possible."
Ross Brawn, Brawn team principal:
"A very difficult day for the team today and most importantly we hope to hear soon that Felipe is ok. Qualifying was going well for both drivers in Q1 and Q2 before Rubens' car had a problem at turn three on his final run of the session, costing him a place in the top ten. We changed the same part on Jenson's car as a precaution just before the start of the final qualifying session. The process was completed as quickly as possible but left Jenson with only one chance of a flying lap. Having already fuelled the car at the start of Q3, he was therefore considerably heavier than planned and didn't have a particularly good balance. It is of course frustrating to have qualified in these positions after a good start to the weekend yesterday but we have two good strategies and will take advantage of any opportunities which arise to score as many points as possible."
Sebastien Buemi (11th, Q2 - 1m 21.002s):
"Finishing eleventh, one tenth off P10 shows we have made progress, a very big step forward since the last race. It was a good qualifying for us, even if it is frustrating to finish eleventh because you want Q3. But it means we can run whatever fuel load we want for the race and I think we will be in good shape for tomorrow."
Jaime Alguersuari (20th, Q1 - 1m 22.359s):
"Finishing qualifying with a failure is never good - I had a problem with the throttle control system - but we have to be content because I didnt make any mistakes so far this weekend. On my first two sets of tyres I did a good job. As for the race, I am really looking forward to it and I will be happy if I finish."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director:
"First of all, the thoughts of everyone at Toro Rosso are with Felipe Massa at this time. As for our performance, obviously, the development that was introduced by Red Bull Racing at the British Grand Prix, has partly been used on our cars here for the first time. It is not yet the complete package and it has proved very effective, as can be seen by Sebastiens performance. I have to congratulate Jaime on a good job without doing anything silly. His stop was due to a problem caused by the introduction of the new hydraulic system, required to run the new modifications. We still have a long way to go with this car, but I think we can have a good race. Eleventh on the grid better than tenth? If its a choice between an egg today or a chicken tomorrow, I would always take the egg!"
Giancarlo Fisichella (17th, Q1 - 1m 21.807s):
"I'm really thinking of Felipe right now as he's a good friend. I hope he's doing OK. Personally we knew it was going to be difficult today with the low grip but to just be one or two tenths from getting into Q2 is a little bit frustrating. The only problem was the lack of grip and it was difficult to do a good lap. It's going to be a tough race, but I would still like to get a good finish to take us over the mid-season break and into the next race where we have a lot more development to come."
Adrian Sutil (18th, Q1 - 1m 21.868s):
"First of all, I really hope Felipe is OK. I'm really thinking of him now. For us, unfortunately the qualifying wasn't as good as we hoped. In the morning I just made a mistake and went off line and lost some grip and went into the barriers. The guys did a great job to get the car ready but there was only enough time at the end of the session for two flying laps. All we needed was an extra couple of tenths that would have helped us go into Q2 so without the accident I think we could have been quite good. At least in 18th we have a couple of cars behind us but it's going to be a tough race."
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer:
"It was very concerning to see Felipe Massa's accident in the second part of qualifying today and the team sincerely hopes that he is OK. For us today we missed the cut by a tenth and a half, in what is probably one of the closest F1 qualifying sessions ever front to back. It shows that with another step in car performance at the next event we will again be back amongst the pack in qualifying. Adrian had a small off this morning, and to get the car back out for Q1 stretched the team, and I have to congratulate them on their effort and teamwork in so doing."
Nick Heidfeld (16th, Q1 - 1m 21.738s):
"Today's result is a true disappointment. I was hoping to make it into the top ten. Being second fastest in free practice this morning wasn't the benchmark for what was possible in qualifying, but at least it proved overall it went quite well. Then my first outing in qualifying confirmed the performance. I was sixth fastest at that period of the session. But then it all went wrong during my second outing. I didn't have a clear track on my out lap, which was why my first flying lap wasn't good. On my second flying lap I had Kazuki Nakajima in front of me, but couldn't back off because Rubens Barrichello was behind me. Then I went wide in turn eleven and that was it. It was not even enough to get into Q2."
Robert Kubica (19th, Q1 - 1m 21.901s):
"We were a little bit unlucky in qualifying. I had yellow flags on the first quick lap of my second attempt. On my second and final quick lap I had two cars in front of me. Although they moved off line they created dirty air. So I lost a lot of time as the car was sliding. This result is very disappointing. I will try my very best tomorrow but realistically this will be a very tough race."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director:
"This was a disappointing qualifying. Looking at our performance in this morning's free practice, we had the chance to achieve top ten positions. Due to what happened on the track both drivers were unable to exploit the car's full potential. We all hope that Felipe Massa has not suffered any severe injuries in his accident."
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
"Obviously everybody in the team is very disappointed with this result. On his best lap, Nick was quicker than this morning before he made a mistake and lost everything. Otherwise he would have made it safely to Q2. Robert didn't have a free lap. That was it."
Jarno Trulli (12th, Q2 - 1m 21.082s):
"I have not been particularly happy with the car all weekend and unfortunately we couldn't make it into the top 10 today. The lap times have been very close all weekend and just a couple of tenths makes a big difference in the standings. Ultimately we didn't have the pace. It's difficult at the moment to judge exactly where we were lacking but obviously we were hoping for a better result. I am a racing driver and I never give up; the race is long and anything can happen so I will do my best to score points."
Timo Glock (14th, Q1 - 1m 21.242s):
"I am disappointed with that result, especially because this morning I felt we had quite a good package and the car felt competitive, even though I lost some time. For some reason we just couldn't get the best lap time out of the car, which is a pity. On my last flying lap I caught another car in the final corner and lost a little time; I am sure I would have been able to go faster but that's how things go in qualifying on a twisty track like this. Starting from 14th makes it difficult for us tomorrow because overtaking is pretty much impossible here but we will see what we can do in terms of strategy and of course we will do our best."
Pascal Vasselon, Toyota senior general manager chassis:
"Obviously we have had a few troubles this weekend. We had various technical issues with both cars, including a loss of hydraulic pressure for Timo this morning, and this has caused us to lose some valuable track time. The field is clearly very tight at the moment and if you are not getting the full potential out of your car, it costs you a lot. We haven't performed well so far this weekend and the result today was not good enough. Still, we have to focus on the race tomorrow and look at the various options we have to try to make up positions."
Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Motorsport Tyre Development:
"Firstly, we send our very best wishes to Felipe Massa. We hope he makes a quick recovery. Lap times were exceptionally close today and we saw an interesting battle through the qualifying sessions. There was plenty of suspense even after the sessions had ended. Congratulations to Fernando Alonso for his first pole since Monza in 2007. Starting first is a very big prize here, as overtaking is so difficult. I am very interested to see the starting weights of the cars as I think we will have a fascinating race.
"The track surface continues to improve here, even though there was very heavy rain last night, and this improvement allows both tyres to work far better than we saw on Friday. Our data suggests that the super soft Bridgestone could be the favoured race tyre for many. We didn't see much running of the soft tyre in the afternoon today, but in the morning there were some driver comments that there was not as much grip from this tyre and the lap times are slower. This means that how to use the soft tyre is likely to be the key consideration for tomorrow's race."
More to follow.