Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 08 May 2010
Williams Rubens Barrichello on just missing the cut for Q2; Renaults Vitaly Petrov on how he made it to qualifying despite his big accident during morning practice; and Red Bulls Mark Webber on clinching his second pole position of the year. All 24 drivers, and senior team personnel, review Saturdays action in Barcelona
Mark Webber (1st, Q3 - 1m 19.995s)
"It's always tight between Seb (Vettel) and I, it's a good battle. Seb's had a solid run recently, but today was my turn. The car is performing really well, but we're taking nothing for granted. We know McLaren and Ferrari are strong opponents and will continue to be until the end of the season. It's still early days in the championship, but a lot can happen over the next two back to back races. I am pleased that we've laid the foundations to make good all the hard work that has gone on at the factory over the last three weeks. This pole is for the team - there was a massive effort from the guys before the race and then at the track this weekend. They have worked so hard, you really can't believe how much work can go into two cars! It's a great effort and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Sebastian Vettel (2nd, Q3 - 1m 20.101s)
"Congratulations to Mark, he was unbeatable today. It was close. I had good laps throughout qualifying, especially at the end, but it was not enough. A tenth is not that much, but unfortunately it was too much for me today. Still, it was a good qualifying session from us and I think starting on the first row is a good result. We know there are no points from today, that all comes tomorrow. At the moment it looks comfortable, but we know how quickly things can change, so we have to stay focused. There might be some rain. The team has made such a huge effort to bring the updates here - the factory has been flat out over the last few weeks, so congratulations to them."
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
"A fantastic team result. It was a brilliant lap by Mark, the drivers have been closely matched all weekend and there's literally just been hundredths of a second between them. It was a dominant Red Bull display, which is testimony to a superb team effort. The amount of work that's gone into the components that have been bought out here has been immense, with members of the team giving up their bank holiday weekend and time at home. Our performance today is very much due to that."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd, Q3 - 1m 20.829s)
Weve been very competitive this weekend, and weve brought a strong package out here with us; but, clearly, Red Bull has made a very good step forward too, and it looks like their car is slightly more aerodynamically efficient than ours is. Im still very motivated for tomorrow though. As ever, Sunday is a different story, and we generally enjoy better pace in the race than we do in qualifying. And lets hope our reliability can top theirs tomorrow, too. Anyway, third on the grid is almost as good as pole position here, if not a little bit better: its a long way down to the first corner, and you can get a good draft and pass people. So Im hoping to get a decent start, make good progress early on, and then drive a strong but straightforward race in which Im able to do something good and get up near the front. Looking further ahead, weve got a fantastic team behind us, and we know that the car has a great deal of potential. We just need to try and close that gap as quickly as possible.
Jenson Button (5th, Q3 - 1m 20.991s)
We struggled a bit this morning, and yesterday we didnt think wed be where we are right now, so, all in all, this afternoon wasnt too bad. On my final lap in Q3, I ran over one of the green sections of Astroturf; there wasnt much grip there, so I got wheelspin and hit the rev limiter, which lost me a bit of time. Even so, Im fifth and Im satisfied with that. Okay, Id rather be a bit further up, and I think I probably could have been, but its not a bad place to start. I still I think the Red Bulls are going to be pretty tough to beat tomorrow, though. We came here hoping to close the gap, but instead its gone slightly in the other direction, which is surprising. So weve still got a lot of work to do, but I know that everyone in the team will be digging as deep as they possibly can to make that extra effort, and that well get there. For tomorrow, if were good off the line, we might be able to pass some cars into Turn One. Its a bit more difficult for me, but theres definitely a possibility for Lewis. And our race pace is usually better than our qualifying speed, so Im still extremely hopeful for another good showing tomorrow. If all goes well, I hope to be able to maintain my position at the head of the drivers world championship points standings and hopefully Lewis and I will score heavily enough to keep Vodafone McLaren Mercedes at the top of the constructors world championship table, too.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Both Lewis and Jenson drove really well in qualifying here in Barcelona, and the result was an uneventful session for us. Ideally, wed been aiming to sew up the second row, but in the end we narrowly failed to achieve that, finishing up third and fifth. Even so, were in a strong position from which to launch an ambitious race effort tomorrow. We expect to be closer to the Red Bulls on race pace than we were today and, spearheaded by the proven ability of our two world champion drivers to deliver superbly gritty race performances under pressure, well be pushing as hard as ever to bag as many world championship points as possible tomorrow.
Fernando Alonso (4th, Q3 - 1m 20.937s)
I am pleased with this result. We knew the Red Bulls would be untouchable, so to be fourth is more or less what we expected. As usual, tomorrows race will be long and we must try and get the most out of what we have to work with. Something unexpected can always happen, as was the case for me this morning when I got a puncture coming out of the garage for my first run. I dont think we lost any valuable time, concentrating on the development of the blown rear wing: here and in China, we had so many other new components that we have been able to gain a few tenths in performance terms, without which we would be much further back on the grid, because the others are also working very hard. We are moving in the right direction and we have to continue like this. Tomorrow, it will be very important to get a good start: recently they have not gone so well for me and so this would be just the right moment to get one!
Felipe Massa (9th, Q3 - 1m 21.585s)
In qualifying I had a lot of trouble finding the right grip level, especially in the second and third sectors, which contain the slowest corners on the track: I felt as though I was rally driving, always understeering. Already yesterday, I realised this would not be an easy weekend and so I was not surprised at what happened today. We worked on different set-ups for the car and chose the best one, but it was not enough: we have to work out why, but without panicking, but by calmly analysing the situation. Maybe I didnt put together the best possible lap, but even so I dont think I would have been in the fight for the top places. The Red Bulls are much quicker than everyone else here and we will have to do our best to try and get a good finishing position.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
First and foremost I want to congratulate Fernando. He drove a really fantastic lap, getting every last thousandth of a second of performance out of the package he had today. Felipe never managed to find the right feeling for the car this weekend and today he did the best he could: we have to analyse the reasons that led to this situation. On this track, so far one team has been untouchable, while the other top three teams are all very close. We will see if this will still be the case in tomorrows race, especially in terms of tyre performance. Points are handed out on Sunday and before jumping to conclusions, its best to wait for the chequered flag.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
We cannot be happy to find ourselves almost a second off pole position, thats for sure. Both Felipe and Fernando have struggled all weekend, especially in terms of grip levels. On his last qualifying lap, Fernando produced an exceptional lap and getting the car at least onto the second row was down to his talent. Tomorrow, it will be vital to manage to get a good start, given that, on this track, overtaking is very difficult. One unknown factor is tyre behaviour: from what we have seen so far, there might be some surprises over the long runs.
Michael Schumacher (6th, Q3 - 1m 21.294s)
"Today's qualifying was straightforward in my view. We had a good car yesterday meaning that conditions were quite ideal for us in terms of balance and so on. Today admittedly, the car was not as perfect. It is little things that can trigger that change one way or the other, and whatever happened today just triggered us to fall over the edge towards the downside a little. Nevertheless, I feel a lot more comfortable driving the car that I have in my hands now. But there is a maximum that you can get out of it and that is what we have achieved today."
Nico Rosberg (8th, Q3 - 1m 21.408s)
"It's been a difficult weekend for me and we need to look into the reasons for this and understand why. The changes that we have made with the car are obviously good and we have made a step forward but I haven't really been able to use the improvements so far. Considering that I have found the car difficult to drive and haven't had the best of set-ups, our performance today was acceptable but it's not where I wanted to be fighting this weekend."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"I am pleased with the performance of our drivers today with Michael and Nico doing a good job. Michael has continued the progress that we saw in the first three races whilst Nico hasn't been completely happy with the car this weekend and that reflects in his position. I am comfortable that we have made progress but other teams have also moved forward so we have further work to do. I'm not happy with the overall performance, but I am confident that if we hadn't done all of the work that we have, we would have been much further back. It's evident that this has happened to the teams who have not made progress since the last race. There are some positive signs but we need to be faster."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"We have certainly improved our car considerably since the beginning of the season but other teams have improved as well and the third and fourth rows are not where we hoped to start this important first race of the European season. Michael has done a very good job since the first lap here in Barcelona with Nico closing the gap to his team-mate from half a second yesterday to just over a tenth today. But of course sixth and eight places are not where we want to start a race from and we will be working very hard to improve that position as soon as possible."
Robert Kubica (7th, Q3 - 1m 21.353s)
Overall it was a good qualifying session for me. Seventh is a strong place to start and I think I got the maximum from the car. We dont have a big package of updates for this race so its encouraging to be ahead of one Ferrari and one Mercedes, which is not what I was expecting. I know that it will be a tough race tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how the soft tyres cope with the heavy fuel load in the opening laps. I think our race pace will be similar to our qualifying pace so Im hopeful of a strong race and scoring some good points tomorrow.
Vitaly Petrov (14th, Q2 - 1m 22.139s)
It was a very close session today and I only missed out on Q3 by three tenths, which shows that we have improved again this weekend - both myself and the team. To begin with it wasnt certain that I would make qualifying after my accident this morning when I ran wide onto the kerb and hit some standing water on the approach to turn four. So I have to say a big thank you to my mechanics because they did an excellent job to repair the car in time. I know the race tomorrow will be difficult because its not easy to overtake here, but anything can happen in the race and I will try my best to move forward.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
Robert did an excellent job to qualify in seventh and if somebody had told us before the weekend that we would qualify ahead of a Ferrari and a Mercedes, we would have been very happy. Obviously our expectations are changing with every race and we are now aiming even higher up the grid compared to the start of the season. Vitaly was unlucky to get caught out with his accident this morning, which affected this preparation for qualifying. Even so he only missed out on Q3 by three tenths and without losing the track time Im sure he could have made it into the top ten. So its encouraging to know that both cars have the potential to make it into Q3. Again I want to say a big thanks to the team for their hard work to get Vitalys car ready in time for the start of Q1.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
A lot of the teams have brought updates to this race, but overall our relative position remains similar to the first four races. Robert is in seventh, ahead of one of the Mercedes, which is good to see because we thought they might move away from us this weekend. Vitaly had an accident in final practice this morning, but the crew put in a tremendous effort to get the car ready for the start of qualifying and Vitaly was very close on pace with cars around him in Q2. For the race tomorrow we dont have any particular concerns with the car in terms of tyres or brake wear, so were looking forward to a strong performance and hopefully scoring another good haul of points.
Kamui Kobayashi (10th, Q3 - 1m 21.984s)
"I already knew from the morning session that my pace here was good enough for Q3. The team did a really good job - not only in qualifying, but also over the last three weeks. We have changed the direction for the car's development and as a reward we made it for the second time this season to Q3. The performance of the car is a lot better. We have aero updates and also an engine upgrade for reliability. I won't set myself targets for tomorrow. I just hope to finish the race and everything else, I believe, will be okay then."
Pedro de la Rosa (12th, Q2 - 1m 22.026s)
"I'm not happy. In Q2 I was sixth and it obviously was possible to get into Q3. I don't really understand what went wrong. I had a bit of understeer here and there and out of Turn Two I was sliding. However, the positive thing is we have made a big step forward since the Chinese Grand Prix, and we are a lot more competitive."
Peter Sauber, BMW Sauber team principal
"If you want to move forward on the grid, you have to take two steps, because the competition is not standing still. And that's exactly what we achieved. A great compliment and thank you to the whole team. We can be happy with what we achieved today."
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"That was an excellent qualifying result for our team, along with a genuine pace from both drivers, which was very encouraging. We weren't sure how far we could push forward in qualifying, but I think after Q1 we realised we had a good chance of doing well, and I think in Q2 that proved to be the case. Pedro was just a few tenths of a second shy of Q3, but Kamui put an excellent single lap together to get through. We didn't have any new tyres for Q3, but we decided nevertheless to give it a go. A great performance from both drivers, and a well deserved result for the team. The updates worked, which was very much a team effort, and we can be proud of the step we made. Now we have to keep it going."
Adrian Sutil (11th, Q2 - 1m 21.985s)
It was still a good qualifying for us. Force India has done a great job all year, we have brought some updates to this circuit that work really well and we're very consistent. I believe we have a top 10 car and I think we could have got through to Q3 again today, but you need to have a perfect lap and I got a bit of traffic with a Renault in the last sector and lost a couple of tenths, which was all we needed for Q3. I'm not really disappointed but obviously it could have been better. Eleventh is good for the start though as from there we can still have a good race tomorrow.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th, Q2 - 1m 22.854s)
For me it was a really difficult day as we lost 90% of the earlier free practice session with a throttle problem so we couldn't improve our set-up. Then we jumped straight into qualifying with a lot of expectations, but we couldn't get the right balance and struggled a bit with overall grip, which is why we are where we are. It was a shame as we expected a lot from Barcelona, it's an important race at the start of the European season. There's still a lot we can do from where we are though and if we get a wet race, which we could do, there's still everything to aim for.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
I think the positions we are in today don't really represent our true form and pace here. The updates we have brought to the track are performing as expected and we have been consistent over the longer runs in practice. Tonio has had a hard day in the office and couldn't get the most out of the session after he struggled to find a balance following his earlier practice problems. Adrian was unlucky to get caught in traffic on his fastest lap, which would have given us enough to make Q3 for the fifth consecutive race. From where we are points are definitely still possible and we'll look to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way to get them.
Nico Hulkenberg (13th, Q2 - 1m 22.131s)
Personally, Im happy with my qualifying laps. We are of course aiming higher than P13, but that is where our performance is at the moment. I went off in Q1 which caused some minor damage to the car but the mechanics fixed it really quickly, and thanks to everyone at the factory who worked so hard to get the updates out in time for my qualifying session.
Rubens Barrichello (18th, Q1 - 1m 23.125s)
Unfortunately, I didnt have a clear run during any of my outings; I just kept getting caught out by traffic. Its going to happen to everyone at some stage this season; it was obviously just my turn today. Its disappointing because I thought we had a shot at Q3 this afternoon. I was also carrying some car damage from stones thrown up by other cars which we will have to fix tonight.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Overall, that wasnt a good qualifying performance for the team. Rubens failed to make it out of Q3 after issues with traffic, while we were unable to convert Nicos pace in Q1 to take him through Q2 and into the top ten. We'll look at the data to understand why and work on further improvements.
Sebastien Buemi (15th, Q2 - 1m 22.191s)
I expected to get a better grid position than this, as we could have got more out of the car, but I had a lot of traffic, including one incident with Rosberg on my very last lap. It was very close with myself and the three cars that qualified ahead of me all in about one tenth of a second. So, in general, I am not very satisfied with my performance. However, now we must just focus on tomorrow, when we can expect a long tough race. My first aim is to finish the race without any crashes, as has happened to me so often this season and then my next goal is to bring home some points.
Jaime Alguersuari (16th, Q2 - 1m 22.207s)
We have to be happy with this position, as we knew some of the other teams would have upgrades for this race and we had to be realistic in terms of what we could achieve. This is a long season and we know we too will get upgrades at some point. I did my best and at the end of Q2 I tried for just a single lap run and got a good time, maybe good enough to get me into the points tomorrow as our race simulation in free practice on Friday went well. So I am confident for tomorrow and hope the weather stays dry.
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
We can be quite happy with this result. It was to be expected that we would struggle a bit here, as we have not brought a major update, because we currently do not have the capacity to do so. However, in some ways, we did better than expected, even if its a shame that Sebastien was unable to produce a clean lap in Q2 as both of them were affected by traffic: while with Rosberg it was simply unfortunate, with Petrov it seemed to me to be deliberate on the part of his team. Having said that, traffic is the same problem for everybody. As for Jaime, he did a good job.
Jarno Trulli (19th, Q1 - 1m 24.674s)
A pretty good qualifying session today. The result itself hasnt changed, but we have significantly reduced the gap to the cars in front. Yesterday I had better pace, so Im not that happy with my performance today, but we now have a good gap to our direct competitors, and can start thinking about taking on those in front, which is thanks to the guys in the team. We still have a lot of work to do, and I think theres even more to come from the car, so lets see what happens tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen (13th, Q1 - 1m 24.748s)
I think it was a good session today and Im happy. We achieved all the targets we set ourselves and we can see the gaps growing in the right direction - nearer those in front, and further away from the other new teams. We won't have these kind of upgrades every weekend, but I think the car will get quicker and quicker and we'll keep improving all the time. For the race tomorrow I think we can do well and I'm looking forward to being out there and seeing what were like on a long run.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
Im really very happy. Weve talked a lot about Barcelona, so turning that talk into results has been important and we have clearly made a big step forward. I think were about a second and a half away from the established teams, and obviously pulling away from the other new boys, so hopefully that speed, with consistent reliability, will see us able to challenge higher up the grid. Its obviously good to see the results of the efforts that have been put in, and when you think where weve come from, about nine seconds off the pace when we first went out on track in testing in Jerez, its a huge accomplishment to the whole Lotus Racing team.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
It was an excellent session for the team today, and a very good job by both drivers. Jarno has been a bit less happy with the balance of his car today than in practice yesterday, but still put in a great performance, whereas Heikki felt the balance had improved. Overall, our times today show how the package weve brought to Barcelona has helped us move ahead, so we can all be very pleased. Now were all looking to close the gap to the teams ahead, and take the race to them.
Timo Glock (21st, Q1 - 1m 25.475s)
It wasnt an ideal qualifying for us today as we were unable to secure the position of best of the new teams. In qualifying the car didnt work quite how I expected and so while it is a good basis there is still more that we need to bring to the car through our development plan with the revised VR-01. Were getting good at sorting out our problems and were starting to go in the right direction, so we just have to keep pushing very hard to see the return we need.
Lucas di Grassi (22nd, Q1 - 1m 25.556s)
I had a reasonably positive qualifying session today. Although it isnt ideal that I dont have the new car also, I was pleased that I was able to get a good lap and end the session just a tenth away from Timo. Generally Im pretty pleased with my performance so far this weekend and Im confident that we can have a strong race tomorrow.
Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
Overnight we analysed the data from our first day with Timo's new car and added some late arriving parts to complete the package. The aero characteristics of the new car are different from the original version, and so we completed our first round of investigations with Timo in P3 and we ended up happy with the results - the on-track measured downforce gain of the new configuration coming in a little bit ahead of our CFD predictions, which has been the same with all our upgrades this year. In qualifying, we chose to save a fresh set of option tyres for the race and both drivers did a good job. For obvious reasons, the new car is a bit heavier than the old one, and we are still fine-tuning its new characteristics, so we haven't shown the true difference in pace that the car gives, but that will come soon. Considering that our major performance steps are yet to come in the next races, I'm pleased by how close our sector times are to our competitors. The team and our major suppliers have been completely focused on improving our transmission and hydraulics reliability in the lead-up to this race, so I'm hoping we can show a step forward in this respect by late tomorrow afternoon. Finally, I must pay tribute to the guys in the garage for their incredible work this weekend.
Karun Chandhok (23rd, Q1 - 1m 26.750s)
"Qualifying went as expected so we are quite happy. Our deficit to the other two new teams was what I thought it would be after FP3. For me personally, I'm pleased with the job I did and I think there was potential to be a bit quicker. I really have to thank the mechanics and engineers on my car who worked till 5am to get us out on track today. However we have a penalty for changing the gearbox which will put me back behind Bruno but I look forward to another strong race like the one we had in Sepang tomorrow."
Bruno Senna (24th, Q1 - 1m 27.122s)
"The qualifying today was not as good as planned. In the morning we could not finalize our preparation as much as we would have liked as we had some hydraulic problems. So, we only had a little test this morning session. The gap to Karun's car was big today in qualifying. We hope to understand what problem it is for a better race tomorrow and try to improve it. We want to finish the race again and of course finish well at our home Grand Prix. We will push for it."
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"We are currently investigating how we can produce a more satisfactory set-up for the race. This morning the red flag interruption hampered our work and we generally suffered from a lack of grip from overnight rain. What we need tomorrow is another two cars finish."
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"There was significant rain last night and also stronger wind today at the circuit so there wasn't as much improvement in lap times from yesterday as we would often see. The rain washed away a lot of the rubber laid on track and the wind affects the cars so it was a challenging day for teams and drivers in that respect. Every driver in the top ten will start on the soft compound so managing this tyre with heavy fuel loads will be a challenge. Initially, drivers will have to be mindful of graining on the front left tyre, then as the race goes on they will have to be careful about rear traction. It will be rear tyre degradation which is the primary consideration for pit stop strategy so it will be interesting to see the different approaches to tomorrow's race. Even today some drivers were finding rear traction was deteriorating in the rear sector when they pushed too hard."