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Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 15 May 2010

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Bruno Senna (BRA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari walks back to the pits after crashing in the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on not participating in qualifying after his shunt in final practice; Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen on spinning as he pushed for 18th on the grid; Renault’s Vitaly Petrov on crashing out of Q2; and Mark Webber on clinching Red Bull’s sixth pole of the season. All 24 drivers, and senior team personnel, review Saturday’s action in Monte Carlo…

Red Bull
Mark Webber (1st, Q3 - 1m 13.826s)

“It’s a sensational feeling to be on pole in Monaco. It’s a vicious venue in terms of punishment for mistakes. It felt like I found another gear in terms of confidence in the car today, I knew how important it was to nail a good lap because of the competition. The last thing I wanted was to be sitting on row three or four of the grid. When you’re concentrating that hard and you’re putting everything on the edge like that your heart rate goes so high! Then you have that horrible wait when everyone else is finishing their laps and you can’t do any more. It’s a special day. I know every team works hard, but our guys were here at 5am this morning to work on some things, so this pole is a credit to them. I hope we can convert it to a good finish tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel (3rd, Q3 - 1m 14.227s)
“Even though there were only ten cars on track I got a little bit of traffic, which was quite a surprise. It wasn’t ideal to use the tyres properly, they came in nicely but when there was the peak I couldn’t use it. I got space in the end, but obviously the lap time wasn’t enough. All in all, it’s a good result for the team, congratulations to them and also to Renault; it’s great for them to have the top three cars on the grid. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s a long race and a lot of things can happen.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
“A great team result. Six out of six poles is quite an achievement and they’re evenly distributed between the drivers. Mark found a good rhythm and a good gap on track to set a time that was remarkably quick. Sebastian was only a tenth off a front row lock out, but third on the grid is a good place to be starting here. It’s important that we convert today’s result into a good points haul tomorrow. It’s testimony to the hard work that’s going on from the whole team to achieve this performance and I’d also like to congratulate Renault on a one-two-three."

Renault
Robert Kubica (2nd, Q3 - 1m 14.120s)

“Second on the grid at Monaco is a great result for us. The car has been great all weekend and I think we got the most from it today. We took a different approach to the session and saved two sets of option tyres for Q3 so I could do two runs on new tyres. On the final lap of my second run I did a very quick first sector, but for the second half of the lap the tyres were already gone so I struggled for grip and could only match my earlier lap time. When you come so close to pole, you are always a bit disappointed to miss out, but I think we can be very happy with our performance because we are in a great position to have a strong race tomorrow.”

Vitaly Petrov (14th, Q2 - 1m 15.576s)
“The balance of the car is quite good here in Monaco and we made quite big changes in time for qualifying so I think it would have been possible to make Q3 today. But unfortunately in Q2 I was struggling with the brake balance and my front tyres were locking all the time. I tried to change the brake balance to the rear, but it was too much for my first flying lap and the rear locked, I spun and touched the wall. For tomorrow my target will be to finish the race. It’s very difficult to make up ground at the start, but anything can happen so hopefully I can score some points.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“Robert’s second place today is a great result for the team after an awesome qualifying session. The car has been very quick throughout all the sessions and this performance confirms the progress we have made recently. It’s also a great to see three Renault engines in the first three places. Obviously we are a bit disappointed for Vitaly because he has done a good job all weekend and was looking on course to make Q3. It’s a reminder that it’s very easy to get caught out in Monaco. We are now looking forward to an exciting race tomorrow and hopefully coming away with a great result.”

Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
“To qualify on the front row here is an excellent result for the team. The car has been working well all weekend and Robert has been exceptional. Starting near the front is very important at Monaco so today’s result is especially rewarding. It’s also nice to see three Renault engines at the front and we are looking forward to racing the Red Bulls tomorrow. Vitaly will start in 14th and was unfortunate to get caught out at the first corner in Q2 because he was looking competitive and would have been very close to making Q3. I’m sure he will race hard tomorrow and hopefully challenge for some points.”

Ferrari
Felipe Massa (4th, Q3 - 1m 14.283s)

“Fourth is not a bad place. It will be a long race tomorrow with lots of unexpected situations and starting from the second row puts me in a strong position. Sure, I’d hoped to do a bit better because I was pleased with the handling of the car but, on my last lap in Q3, I was nearly always behind Rosberg and I was unable to improve my time. In all three sessions of qualifying, the time came at the end of the series of laps: I managed it in Q1 and Q2, but not in Q3. It’s a shame as I could have got onto the front row. I will try and pick up as many points as possible, because in this championship, it is vital to always finish in the top ten. Here, the F10 is easier to driver than at the last two races and the tyres are working very well, especially the harder ones.”

Fernando Alonso (24th, Q1 - no time)
“This is the worst possible place to have to start from the pit lane, given that overtaking is always problematic. It is a real shame, because the car was going very well. It was my mistake but, it was also very unlucky, because with an impact at ninety, you don’t normally write off a chassis! Unfortunately, the angle of impact with the barrier was such that the damage could not be repaired and the rules don’t let you use the spare chassis. So, I had to watch qualifying from the garage, along with the team, hoping to see Felipe end the Red Bull domination: it was very close and tomorrow we will do our best to bring home some points that can be useful for the classification. Do I think I’ve made too many mistakes this year? In Barcelona, where I am maybe under the most pressure, I did my best qualifying lap and had my best race. If after ten years in Formula One, I still have to prove that I do not feel pressure, then it’s not worth talking about it anymore…”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
“The way this day has ended is very regrettable. We had the potential to do very well, but Fernando’s accident immediately diminished our chances. It’s a shame, as we had shown right from the start of this weekend that we were very competitive. Tomorrow, we will effectively run two races. Felipe is perfectly placed to get a good result, while Fernando, who starts from pit lane, will have a mountain to climb, a veritable Alpine peak. We will try and bring home as many points as possible and then we will see where we stand in both championships.”

Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
“It’s been a very difficult day for us. We had a car that had the potential to fight for pole on a difficult track like this one, but we were only able to do so with just one car. The rules do not allow the use of a second chassis on the same day and the damage to Fernando’s car, after his accident this morning, was too serious to be fixed. Felipe did very well in Q1 and Q2, but he did not manage to put together the perfect lap in Q3 and had to settle for fourth place, which is still good enough to have a strong race tomorrow. Fernando will start from pit lane: a few years ago, someone in a similar situation managed to finish fifth in a Ferrari, so we hope we can improve on that performance!”

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton (5th, Q3 - 1m 14.432s)

“I put everything into those three qualifying sessions, especially on my last flying lap, when I literally got every last drop of performance from the car - there was absolutely nothing left! Today, I touched all the barriers I could possibly touch and used all the road I could possibly use, so I’m happy with my performance. But it’s clear that the Red Bulls have more downforce than we do, particularly in the middle sector, and it’s evident that we need to find a decent step in performance to keep up with them in future. They can get onto full throttle earlier than we can, and they can carry more speed into the corners, and that gives them greater confidence to attack. But we’re definitely getting there, and it’s very close on the grid ahead of me. It would have been great to have been on pole, but the race is tomorrow, I’m on the inside line for the start and it’s not over ’til it’s over.”

Jenson Button (8th, Q3 - 1m 14.637s)
“In Q1 my car felt pretty good on the harder tyres, but we didn’t run them in Q3, which was a little bit of a shame as it was probably the better option. Like everyone else, we ran the softer tyre at the end, and I struggled on it - there was a lot of movement at the rear and understeer in the low-speed corners. It didn’t feel great, to be honest. I don’t really know what Felipe was thinking in Q3 - there were only 10 cars out there, so it should have been relatively easy for him to keep out of the way of other cars. I guess he obviously wasn’t looking in his mirrors. I don’t know what my lap time on that lap would have been, but it was annoying because that lap was compromised. The next lap was compromised as well because I obviously got a bad run onto the pit straight. Our race pace has looked great all weekend, so it’s frustrating to be where we are now, because the likelihood is that we simply won’t be able to deploy that pace in the race. To sum it up, then, I’ll just say that today was a tough day.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Over the weekend so far, we’ve seen strong long-run pace from both our drivers, but we’ve found it a bit more difficult to get sufficient pace from the tyres in the early laps. Unfortunately, we couldn’t rectify that issue to the extent that we’d ideally have liked prior to qualifying, and the consequence was that both Jenson and Lewis had to dig very deep to get through Q1 and Q2 and into Q3. As always on race day at Monaco, grid positions will be crucial, and undoubtedly we’ll have a battle on our hands tomorrow. But, as I’ve said before and don’t apologise for saying again, both Jenson and Lewis are supremely combative race drivers - and, even at Monaco, where it’s notoriously difficult to overtake, they’ll be doing their utmost to convert their starting positions into the maximum possible points haul for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg (6th, Q3 - 1m 14.544s)

"My pace has been really good here throughout the weekend and in the first two qualifying sessions today, so it was a disappointing result to only qualify in sixth position. I was hopeful of competing for the front row after our performance in Q2 but the final session just didn't work out for us today. I had a lot of traffic to overcome and made a mistake on what should have been my fastest lap. Unfortunately the tyres were not at their best then for the final quick lap. It's difficult to make up positions in the race here as overtaking is almost impossible. However you never know what can happen and we will work hard to try and finish in a better position tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher (7th, Q3 - 1m 14.590s)
"Qualifying confirmed that the gaps between the teams are smaller here but not small enough to really get some profit out of it, which is what we would have wished obviously. We all had some concerns about qualifying because of the number of cars but I have to say that from my point of view, everybody did a great job. I had a clean situation most of the time, except for once unintentionally with Nico. I think we got out of the car what we could today and the positive news is that I am on the inside which is a good starting position and our starts have gone well recently. So we can at least hope to make up one or two positions for the race."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We had the chance for a better position today so we are disappointed with our performance in the final qualifying session. We didn't quite get the track and the tyres together at the right time for both drivers and we didn't keep them well enough informed of their relative track positions in Q3. The performance in Q2, particularly from Nico, is more indicative of what we should have been fighting for and it is obviously frustrating that we didn't realise that potential. However the car is going well here in Monaco and it is a long race tomorrow so we are still in a reasonable position to have a good outcome to the weekend."

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Not the qualifying results that we wanted to achieve here in Monaco. Nico posted the fastest time in Q2 with just a single outing which proved that our speed is there. Traffic in Q2 for both Nico and Michael, and a slight mistake in Nico's only fast lap he could do under these circumstances, made it impossible to get better places on the grid than sixth and seventh. We certainly had the speed to end up in row one or two but could not use it as planned. This was today and tomorrow can possibly be a different story. Lots of things can happen during the race on this traditional street circuit and we certainly will not give up too early."

Williams
Rubens Barrichello (9th, Q3 - 1m 14.901s)

“I enjoyed myself out there today and I’m happy with ninth. I took everything out of the car that I could and I don’t think we could have done much better. We all thought traffic was going to be an issue this afternoon, but really it was fine. Monaco is a good track for our car so hopefully we will do well tomorrow.”

Nico Hulkenberg (11th, Q2 - 1m 15.317s)
“As expected, it was a bit busy in Q1 but everyone seemed to get a lap in. The car felt pretty competitive, but my lap wasn’t perfect and I’m disappointed to have missed out on Q3 by a fraction. Eleventh is not bad, but when your team mate is ahead of you it’s never very pleasant. It’s still possible to have a good race from 11th though and I’m hoping for a decent result in my first Monaco Grand Prix.”

Sam Michael, Williams technical director
“It was a good effort to get one car into the top ten, but we were not quite fast enough to get both through. Rubens extracted everything he could from the car and Nico performed well considering it's his first time in a Formula One car around Monaco. The development parts worked well here and we have more coming to the next three races. We'll now focus our attention on getting good starts in the race.”

Force India
Vitantonio Liuzzi (10th, Q3 - 1m 15.170s)

“It's been a good day for us, Q3 was definitely the target and we got it, which is really great after the last two difficult qualifying sessions. I think we could even have got P9 as I was going quicker on the last lap but just locked up into the chicane and lost a little bit. But I love Monaco - it's such a special event - and it's good to start so high up. Being in the top 10 puts us in a strong position for tomorrow's race as overtaking is so difficult to do here. We are positive we can fight for points this race, which is the most important for the team at this point in the season.”

Adrian Sutil (12th, Q2 - 1m 15.318s)
“Today was a difficult session as the car was very fast but I just couldn't manage to get any lap in Q2. There was a lot of traffic and then the Renault crash in turn one came just at the wrong time and hit me quite badly. I'm quite disappointed as when I did get some clear air my tyres were cold and the lap I did was not enough. We just missed getting to Q3 but it should still be a good race. P12 is right in the middle of the field and I like the circuit, the car feels good and I'm going to try my best to get some points tomorrow. You never know what can happen here.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“Tonio had a very strong qualifying and really deserved to be in the top 10. He has had some issues with traffic in the past but today he and the team negotiated it well and he was able to get the most out of the car. Adrian was not so lucky with the traffic however P12 in Monaco is still quite a promising position to start the race from. We could see a double points finish from where we are, this has got to be the aim, so we'll put everything into making it happen.”

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi (13th, Q2 - 1m 15.413s)

“I am a little bit disappointed, because I had hoped to do a bit better, maybe getting into Q3, based on what I had done in this morning’s practice. So, if you don’t get the maximum out of the car, you cannot be satisfied. I did not have too much trouble with traffic, but I don’t think we managed well the situation regarding the change of temperature between the morning and the afternoon, which meant the tyres were working a bit differently. My aim tomorrow will be to get into the points, which means getting ahead of at least three cars. It’s a very long race here, so before doing that, the most important element will be to make sure we get to the finish. On the positive side, our pace over a long run has been good so far this weekend.”

Jaime Alguersuari (17th, Q2 - 1m 16.176s)
“I can be satisfied with the fact that I tried my best, but I’m not happy about how much traffic I met on every lap, especially on the last run, when I really had to back off in the last two corners, which means my day ended in Q2. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race, which will be very long and to a certain extent on this very special track, my main aim will be to finish, as that will give me plenty of experience for next year.”

Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
“There’s not much to say after today’s qualifying. I would not describe it as disappointing, because when all is said and done, this is Monaco which sets its own challenge. In Jaime’s case, it was his first time here in a Formula 1 car and he struggled a bit and Sebastien’s result shows pretty much where we are. We did not get it completely right, but then nobody really does here and we had our share of traffic and mistakes, but it was not a major drama."

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa (15th, Q2 - 1m 15.692s)

"Fifteenth doesn't sound fantastic, but actually I'm satisfied of what we did. We have changed the car a lot since the first practice and the set-up and balance are as good as possible. Qualifying here was never meant to be an easy one for us. We still struggle in the low speed corners, but we did a good in qualifying. I gave everything I have and the team did very well. We now have to concentrate on the race and finish it."

Kamui Kobayashi (16th, Q2 - 1m 15.992s)
"It is really hard for us, and probably our hardest weekend of the season. Monaco is exceptional. I expect us to perform a lot better in Istanbul. I find it tough here. However, on this circuit anything can happen in the race and I will try my hardest to make the most of any chance I might get."

James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"Ultimately a bit disappointing where we are after Barcelona, but this was always going to be a more difficult circuit for us. The competition was very, very close, within a few tenths, and I think that the car had those extra tenths in it. But with the traffic and all the difficulties in qualifying, unfortunately on the last run we just couldn't quite put the sectors together to be closer to the top ten. It's very tight, and we have to keep it as clean as possible tomorrow, bring the cars home and make the best of our position."

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen (18th, Q1 - 1m 17.904s)

"The first run was very good so on the second run I decided to go for it, take some risks and see what happened. The gap to the next car was about nine tenths so I thought if I really nailed a lap we might break into Q2, but to be really honest it was a bit out of control and it was just going over the edge and it became untidy. In the end I was able to put myself ahead of all the other new teams so I think that's fine."

Jarno Trulli (19th, Q1 - 1m 17.134s)
"It was a bit difficult out there today as I'd lost quite a lot of track time yesterday, which meant my last setup change was right before qualifying. Despite that, I did my best out there and we are much closer than a lot of people expected to the cars ahead. We have also shown a good improvement from where we started the season, so I'm reasonably happy with where we are."

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
"A good day out there for us. We took another step forward in performance terms, showing in final practice and in qualifying that the upgrades we brought to the last race, combined with a good engine package, continue to help us close the gap to the teams ahead, this time to under three seconds. In qualifying I think we did as well as we could have hoped for - Heikki put in a very strong lap early on, and Jarno did the same at the end of the session to take us further away from the other new teams, so I'm very pleased."

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"I'm very happy, and I know I keep saying that after every qualifying session. Today we again finished best of the new teams but there was a real drive from Heikki and Jarno to try and get into Q2. In the past few races there's been an inevitability that we're not going to get there, but today there was a real belief that we had a chance, which caused Heikki to push really hard. He spun, but that showed that he was pushing. So it's been good today - to be 2.3 seconds away from the best time in Q1 is something we should all be proud about. It's also important that the whole team is very pumped up, they feel like we're making progress every race and after six races morale is very high. Looking forward to tomorrow, anything can happen here - obviously from where we're starting we need to make up seven places to get a point, and that's quite a hard task, but who knows, we may be able to spring a surprise. The drivers are very pumped up, we're learning a lot about the car, and after six races we are clearly moving forward and closer to the pack. Well done to Heikki, Jarno and the whole team."

Virgin
Timo Glock (20th, Q1 - 1m 17.377s)

“It is quite frustrating that I was only able to complete three laps in this morning’s Free Practice session, because it meant that I had to go into qualifying blind. So I was quite surprised about how close we were with Lotus but then I felt my lap was really spot-on, with the car almost kissing the Armco in places to get the best time possible. I’m pleased with my time and happy with the job I’ve done today. As for the rest of the weekend, only some of that is in my hands now because in Monaco you never know what might happen. I’m optimistic for the race as our car looks better on heavy fuel, so we have to think about what we can do through the strategy and make the most of every opportunity. I think it’s worth having a gamble here. We have Chris Ferguson, the professional poker player, with us for the race, so I might ask him which way we should roll the dice!”

Lucas di Grassi (21st, Q1 - 1m 17.864s)
“In Free Practice this morning I had another good session. The car was reliable and performed well – we had no issues at all. In Qualifying, I expected to do a better time but the car felt different at the rear end, so we’ll have a good look at the data tonight and make sure everything is good for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. Spain was my last race with fuel-saving techniques. This is a track where I will be able to push very hard without that issue and then I get the new car for Turkey and the rest of the season. I’m expecting a better race for myself and the team in the Monaco Grand Prix.”

Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
“Overall, an encouraging day. Lucas had a good trouble-free morning session whilst Timo was put on the back foot by a steering rack leak which stopped him on-track and lost him the whole session, which at Monaco is very difficult to recover from. Nevertheless, both Lucas and Timo did a good job in Qualifying and despite Timo's lost time, it was very encouraging to again measure the downforce gains that the new parts fitted to Timo's car yesterday which gave the expected boost in aerodynamic performance. There is now a substantial difference in performance between the old and new cars and I'm looking forward to Lucas getting that spec the next race in Istanbul, as the data clearly shows he would have been faster than he was today with the new car. The next step is to build on the two-car finish from Barcelona again tomorrow with a solid and reliable race.”

HRT
Bruno Senna (22nd, Q1 - 1m 18.509s)

“Today was a good day. For a while I have been struggling with a lack of performance in high speed corners and I would like to thank the team for working tirelessly to analyse and trace that issue. With some new parts for today my car came back to life and I could drive more naturally with confidence again in qualifying. We are working hard with what we're have and I am hopeful of a brighter future."

Karun Chandhok (23rd, Q1 - 1m 19.559s)
“I am mystified by the lack of pace. It is a bit confusing considering our relative pace in practice both today and on Thursday. I will sit with my engineers tonight and try to understand why we are losing so much time. They are now looking at the differential to try and understand the time deficit to the other cars. We have a 78-lap race tomorrow, so a really long one and we will do the best we can."

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"Before the third session, we changed some parts and the gearbox on Bruno Senna’s car and we could see clear improvements that reduced the difference to the leading time. In qualifying, times improved from the morning session. Overall, to avoid the walls and to bring the car home in one piece to qualify in Monaco is one of the toughest exercises for a driver and I am pleased with our result."

Bridgestone
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development

"Today was all about learning the track condition after a day of no Formula One Bridgestone rubber being laid on the surface yesterday. In the morning, track temperature was quite cool, so it took a little longer for both compounds to warm up to their ideal operating temperature. In qualifying, finding a clear track was very difficult. In practice and qualifying, once drivers got their tyres up to temperature they were rewarded with good performance from both compounds. Mark Webber was very fast, setting a new pole position record. Qualifying was so exciting today, particularly the last two minutes, and we are proud to support this excitement with our Bridgestone Potenza tyres. The top ten drivers will all start the race on the super soft Bridgestones, so it will be interesting to see when the first pit stops will be made. Track position before and after the pit stops will be very important as it is so difficult to overtake. The front runners will not want to be held up by their rivals or back markers so could pit to avoid this. They also will want to exit the pits in clear space too. The track temperature will be a strong factor too as it has generally been cooler than expected here.
Maintaining the condition of the super soft tyres at the start of the race, as always, will be a crucial point, and the track condition improvement is likely to be very noticeable during the course of the race. It will also be interesting watching the tyre strategy and progress of Fernando Alonso, as he seems to have a fast car, but will not start from where we would usually expect him to do so, due to missing qualifying."