Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 29 May 2010
Force Indias Vitantonio Liuzzi on failing to make it through to Q2; Ferraris Fernando Alonso on how the F10's lack of pace ruled him out of the top-ten shoot-out; and Red Bulls Mark Webber on scoring his third - and Red Bulls seventh - successive pole position. All 24 drivers, and senior team personnel, review Saturdays action at Istanbul Park
Mark Webber (1st, Q3 - 1m 26.295s)
Today went well. We had a problem during practice this morning so I went out late for the first prime run. It meant I was therefore a little on the back foot going into qualifying, which wasnt ideal preparation, but we refocused and got ready. Some new parts were bolted on to the rear of my car about four minutes before I went out for Q1, which was a great effort by the guys to get them on in time. Its a great position to start tomorrows race, but each event is unique and has it own challenges. We know the tyres get a hard time round here, so it should be an interesting race - Im looking forward to it.
Sebastian Vettel (3rd, Q3 - 1m 26.760s)
Q1 and Q2 were very smooth; I was happy with the car and there were no problems. In Q3, the first lap was brilliant up to Turn 12, then under braking I slightly locked the front which was no issue, but it was very weird as the inside front just kept locking and never came back. Going into Turn 13 I was turning to the right and the wheels started turning again and then the same thing going into Turn 14. I locked the inside wheel very easily, the car didnt seem to stop, so I lost time. On the second run I got confirmation in the first turn there was a problem, as I hit the brakes and went straight - I lost the ability to stop the car and the inside wheel didnt do what it was supposed to. In Q1 and Q2 we were on top of the game, but in Q3 we were not, so its quite frustrating. All weekend I have felt very good, particularly today. Third is still a good position; Im on the clean side of the grid tomorrow and its a long race. Its difficult to make up places now with the new regulations, but well see what we can do.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
Another great performance by Mark today for his third consecutive pole and the teams seventh of the year, which is a great achievement. It was difficult for Sebastian who, having been the quickest car during Q1 and Q2, experienced a car problem in the last part of qualifying. We need to understand what it was, as it cost him quite a bit of time. However to salvage third place is still excellent. I also have to say congratulations to Cengiz, one of our drivers, who delivered some last minute parts to Mark Webbers car just in time for the start of the session. So, three very fast drivers today.
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, Q3 - 1m 26.433s)
In terms of finding a good balance and getting a clear lap, today was one of the best qualifying sessions Ive had all year. My lap was as close to perfect as I could possibly get it. But were still nearly four tenths down in the middle sector. Compared with Barcelona, I dont think weve made a huge step, but were making small steps forward to close the gap to the front. Tomorrow, Im going to do everything I can to get a sensible start, get round the first corner and then challenge Mark, if I can. But Im on the dirtier side of the track, so that may make it a bit harder for me. And the Red Bulls still have a performance advantage over us, even if it doesnt show from todays times. But were going to catch them - and then, hopefully, youll see Jenson and me up there, with the Red Bulls trying to split us. Weve got to keep pushing; the guys back at the factory are doing an incredible job, even though theyre under immense pressure. We all want to win, were taking nothing for granted, and were edging closer all the time. I really do believe were the best team out there, and, once we make that next step, Im sure we can move ahead of everyone. But until then all we can do is be as close as we can and apply maximum pressure. And thats exactly what well be doing tomorrow.
Jenson Button (4th, Q3 - 1m 26.781s)
Fourth is not too bad, but the final run was a bit frustrating: being the last car on the circuit can be a good thing, because it means you have the cleanest track, but theres obviously more chance of somebody going off, and thats what happened with Michael (Schumacher), who was ahead of me on my final lap. And when theres a yellow flag, youve obviously got to back out of it. So I just came straight back to the pits, because my final run clearly wasnt going to be any quicker because of that. The lap wasnt perfect, but its still pretty good to be fourth. Were on the dirty side of the track, but well see what we can do from there. The only performance issue Ive really had all weekend is through Turn Eight - I was losing three tenths to Lewis there because we were running the car too low. That was my fault - I wanted to run the car low for the rest of the circuit - but its just a little bit too low through Turn Eight. Obviously, the car will be heavier at the start of the race tomorrow, but well be going slower, so it wont be pushed onto the track as much. Weve got to hope that will help. Nevertheless, we seem to be closer to the Red Bulls than I expected this weekend, so thats a positive, and I reckon we can challenge them in the race.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Both our drivers have performed really well so far this weekend, yesterday as well as today. Theyve quietly got on with the job in hand, and today they both drove excellent qualifying laps despite the fact that our cars lacked a little bit of pace in the all-important Turn Eight compared with the Red Bulls. Lewiss lap, which split the Red Bulls to land him a front-row grid slot for tomorrows race, was particularly satisfying. But Jenson, too, whose final qualifying run was compromised by the deployment of yellow flags, is also in a very strong position. Both he and Lewis are very combative racers who know how to make up positions, and we think our car will have good race pace tomorrow. As a result, I think the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix could present a very exciting spectacle for the fans.
Michael Schumacher (5th, Q3 - 1m 26.857s)
"I am quite happy with my qualifying today and I really think that we have made a step forward. If you consider that this is a track which is aerodynamically demanding, you can clearly say the hard work of our guys paid off and I would really say thank you to them. What happened in turn eight was that it was my last go, the fast lap before was a good one, so obviously you try to push even more, especially as on this lap you can win time. I went out a bit wide and off it went. In my view, the side I am starting from tomorrow is an advantage as it is much cleaner. I have tried practice starts from both sides and felt my side was the better one. As for tomorrow's race, I will certainly try to have a good start and try to achieve the best result possible."
Nico Rosberg (6th, Q3 - 1m 26.952s)
"It was a decent performance today and sixth place gives us a good opportunity for the race and we will aim to move up the field from there. I would have liked to have been a little further ahead of course. The car is feeling reasonable this weekend and although there is a very narrow set-up window, we have pretty much got there. It's clear that we have made some progress with our aero upgrades and everyone at the factory has done a good job, so thanks for all their hard work. I am on the dirty side of the grid for the race tomorrow but it should have cleaned up now and it's only a short run to the first corner. If I can have a good start and first lap, then we have the potential for a strong race."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"A good qualifying performance from the team today after a lot of hard work here at the track and back at the factory on the latest developments for our car. Michael and Nico have been very evenly matched throughout the weekend and have worked well together to ensure that we have been able to get the new parts functioning and extract the maximum performance. Fifth and sixth positions on the grid gives us the potential to have a strong race tomorrow and we look forward to seeing what Nico and Michael can achieve. We've seen just how challenging the Istanbul Park track can be with turn eight catching out many drivers over the course of the day and Michael was no exception but thankfully there is no damage done."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"That was a step in the right direction with Michael achieving P5, less than a tenth of a second behind P3, and Nico posting the sixth fastest time, less than two-tenths behind P3. Having said that, we are very aware that we are still almost six-tenths behind the superb pole time of Mark Webber and Red Bull Racing. However our speed compared to the front looks better than at the last 'normal' race track that we competed on in Barcelona. The step forward since then has only been possible through hard work, dedication and our aggressive development process. Thank you and well done to everybody in our team. We are not yet where we want to be but we are heading in the right direction."
Robert Kubica (7th, Q3 - 1m 27.039s)
I'm pretty happy with my qualifying session because seventh position is about what we were expecting after free practice. The only issue I had was with the soft tyres because I didn't feel totally comfortable on them today and so I couldn't find those final few tenths that I needed to be higher up the grid. However, my lap in Q3 was good and we can't be too disappointed with this result. It's also nice to see Vitaly up there with me in ninth and I think we will have strong race pace tomorrow, which means we should be able to score some good points.
Vitaly Petrov (9th, Q3 - 1m 27.430s)
It feels really good to have made it into Q3 and to be starting the race from ninth. So far it has been a really smooth weekend for me with no problems and my engineers and mechanics have done an excellent job to give me a car that I feel really happy with. The car is easy to drive and we have managed to improve the performance with each session, so I knew that we had a good chance to be in top ten today. It's going to be a long race, but I'm looking forward to a close fight with the cars around me and hopefully scoring some more points for the team.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
To see both cars make it through to the top ten is an excellent result for the team and puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow. Both cars have run perfectly all weekend and the developments we have brought to this race have continued to add good performance to the car. Robert's seventh place continues his strong run of qualifying performances and it's great to see Vitaly join him in Q3 for the first time. He has been close to Robert's pace all weekend and has not put a foot wrong in any of the sessions. We know that the car has good race pace here so we are hopeful of seeing both cars bring home points tomorrow.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
Overall it has been an excellent day: the drivers are happy with their cars and both free practice and qualifying have been trouble-free sessions for us. One of the big decisions today was to determine which would be the best tyre for qualifying because it was very close between the soft and the hard compound. In the end the soft was slightly quicker and so that's the one we concentrated on for Q3. Robert put in a good lap to qualify seventh and it's great to see Vitaly reach Q3 for the first time and qualify in ninth place. For the race we are targeting good points finishes with both cars.
Felipe Massa (8th, Q3 - 1m 27.082s)
We were slower than our main rivals, so we will have to work very hard to get back to fighting for the top places and there can be no doubt about that. Even if this is a track I like very much, today I could not do any better than eighth place. The team and I cannot be pleased about it, but we have to react calmly and analyse the reasons that have led to this situation. Now we will concentrate on tomorrows race: it will be tough but we will try and do our very best.
Fernando Alonso (12th, Q2 - 1m 27.612s)
Nothing strange happened: twelfth place is what we deserve from what we have seen today. I did not have enough speed and, when there are nine drivers within half a second, as happened today in Q2, it takes an instant to be either fourth or twelfth and in my case it was the latter. I dont think I could have done better today: I did practically the same time three times. Tomorrow will be tough and we will be racing defensively, but we will try and get the best result possible. I dont think todays weather, with slightly lower temperatures, had an influence on this result. Already in Q1, we realised we were not competitive at the highest level and that it would be difficult to get into Q3. The car balance is okay, as it was yesterday when we were quicker.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
These are certainly not the positions from which we would have liked to start the eight hundredth Grand Prix in the history of the Scuderia, but we have to be honest and admit that today, our performance did not live up to our expectations. We have to react immediately, starting from tomorrows race, when we will try to bring home as many points as possible. Then we must accelerate the development of our car to be competitive at every type of circuit. Today, Felipe did the maximum, using all the potential available from his car and the tyres. Fernando did not have a perfect Q2 and missed the cut for the final part of qualifying: when the gaps are so close, it takes very little to be in or out.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
It was a very frustrating qualifying for us: we definitely expected a better result than this. The F10 was not quick enough to be competitive in qualifying, while, at least from what we could see yesterday, over a distance, the situation seems to be better. Tomorrow, we face an uphill race, but we must not take anything for granted and try to bring both cars home in the points. Unfortunately, both drivers will start from the dirty side of the track, which is a definite disadvantage. Felipe did a great job, managing to get into Q3 and getting every last possible fraction of performance out of the car. Fernando was right on the cut after his first run in Q2 and at the start of his second, he did not get a perfect lap and then on the next lap, the tyres were no longer at their best.
Kamui Kobayashi (10th, Q3 - 1m 28.122s)
"I'm really happy to be in Q3 for the third time. Especially after Monaco, this is very important for the team. We are back on the pace we had in Barcelona. For me driving here was much better on Saturday than on Friday, as set up changes as well as conditions played a role. In Q3 I could not fight because we hadn't a fresh set of option tyres left, as we had already used them all. However, we kept working hard and apparently it pays off."
Pedro de la Rosa (13th, Q2 - 1m 27.879s)
"Overall we have made progress. The balance of the car in general was very good. It was actually best on the harder Prime tyres, therefore I could not get the extra grip out of the softer option compound. My last lap, I have to say, wasn't brilliant. I lost some time in the final sector. I believe we have quite a consistent car for the race, because our long runs in free practice were good. Also I regard it as an advantage to have a grid position on the clean side of the track, as with all the dust here this really makes a difference."
Peter Sauber, BMW Sauber team principal
"Looking at our performance, it's obvious we are back on track. This is a great achievement for the drivers and the team. Kamui's P9 in Q2 in particular is a fantastic result. Looking at who was behind him in Q2, he can really be proud of his lap. Congratulations to everybody in the team."
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"That was a good day for the team. We made some good progress in the areas we knew we needed to improve from yesterday, which seemed to work pretty well. In the morning session Pedro was much happier with the balance of his car, and that was reflected in the lap times. We still had some work to do with Kamui's car, however, we did a few changes between FP3 and qualifying which also paid off. It's great to be back in Q3 which is what we hoped for. Kamui did a great job, as he put in an excellent lap and really picked up his pace in qualifying. It was also a very good session from Pedro, but it was a great shame he couldn't make it to Q3, because by rights he could have been there. He had a set of new options left, which sadly Kamui didn't, so his lap was compromised. But both drivers showed a strong performance, and we can look forward to a good race tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (11th, Q2 - 1m 27.525s)
This morning I couldn't do any running because of a hydraulic problem on the car and as we had some problems yesterday as well, I didn't really know what to expect out there in qualifying as I hadn't done so many laps before. All the same we had a good balance on the car and I was quite happy with the final lap time. We were very close to Q3 again, just under a tenth, so I think it's all open for tomorrow. Eleventh on the grid, and the good side as well, I think we can be very confident. It will be a tough race with the heat but I think we have a good chance to score some points again.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (18th, Q1 - 1m 28.958s)
We didn't get the most from qualifying today and should have been in a better position. We have been struggling with the grip since the start of the weekend and had a pretty similar issue to Barcelona. We don't seem to have the right balance or get the tyres to work, particularly at the rear of the car. We are trying a couple of things and once it is sorted we will be competitive for sure, so it's not worth dwelling on today. The new switchable rear wing has been a big step forward so we can be pretty confident about the race. So although it's disappointing for now, tomorrow we should be able to move up the field and do as much as we can.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
It's been a difficult weekend with various issues to contend with, but it's tomorrow that counts. Adrian is still in a very good position, on the clean side of the track and able to run new tyres, and he has scored points from further down the field before. Tonio also has the use of our new SRW device and should be able to make the most of it on the longer straight here. So, overall, we can remain positive and look to make the most of whatever comes our way.
Sebastien Buemi (14th, Q2 - 1m 28.273s)
I am not particularly happy, because again today, Q3 was out of our reach. I expected a bit more than fourteenth place, as in the morning we were ahead of the BMW Saubers, so I was hoping to qualify eleventh, but they got ahead of us this afternoon. The track changed a lot from yesterday afternoon to this morning, but not so much in between todays two sessions. It will be a tough race so lets wait and see what we can do. In free practice, our pace over a long run was good, which is a positive sign, however, overtaking is not so easy here.
Jaime Alguersuari (16th, Q2 - 1m 28.540s)
I think there was more potential to do better, especially on my last lap, but I was held up by De la Rosa at Turn Seven who was on the outside of the corner which meant I had to change my line, which cost me a couple of tenths. However, it was a valuable experience as I am still not a hundred percent tuned into the tyres and I need to learn more. I had to park the car at the side of the track at the end of Q2 because I decided to do one more lap than planned on my final run, when I thought I could improve my time.
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
We can be reasonably satisfied, because we have worked hard over the past couple of weeks and our car has progressed. However, it was clear this afternoon that Sauber has also worked hard and progressed more than us. The cars ran reliably and generally, we have done a good job, but we did not get the most out of our package this afternoon, because we treated Fridays free practice more like a test session, to evaluate some new parts, rather than optimising the car to suit the characteristics of this track. Therefore we did not get everything right today and the verdict of the qualifying time sheet is the correct one in our case.
Rubens Barrichello (15th, Q2 - 1m 28.392s)
In a way, we did well to achieve a good balance on the car for qualifying, but we are suffering with our top speeds here. The track doesnt suit the car as much as Monaco did so we are struggling a little bit more than normal. We are far away from where we want to be, but Williams are fighters. We need to keep that spirit up and keep pushing to get to where we want to be.
Nico Hulkenberg (17th, Q2 - 1m 28.841s)
It was tough going today. On my second run in Q2, I picked up some oversteer at the exit of Turn Seven which put me off line and unfortunately cost me my lap. We are pushing really hard at the moment and trying to squeeze all we can out of the car but we still have plenty of work to do. A lot can happen in the race so Ill be giving it everything I can."
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Todays result is clearly not where we want to be. We're going through the data to look for the main differences to our competitors, but the obvious target is to bring more performance to the car for the forthcoming races. The track engineers will now concentrate on getting a good start tomorrow with a view to getting into the points.
Jarno Trulli (19th, Q1 - 1m 30.237s)
Im pretty pleased even though it was a bit of a difficult day. I had a minor problem this morning which meant I couldnt really use all the time available to focus on setting up the car, so I just got in and got on with it. In qualifying I used both sets of hard tyres and it felt like the track was quite slippery, particularly in the braking zones, so I changed my driving style a bit and think I did quite a good job to be best of the new teams. I think we are catching up with the guys ahead, even though we are still a bit off. But we will have another big step when we go to Silverstone, and were also now working hard on next years car, so were definitely going in the right direction.
Heikki Kovalainen (20th, Q1 - 1m 30.519s)
It was good out there today. On our first run we went with the soft tyre which was probably the wrong choice as it wasnt working quite as well as yesterday, but the second run on the primes was good. The car felt particularly stable around the high speed corners and the balance felt great so Im happy. Jarno did a better time today, but Im pushing hard - Im always pushing to the limit and am looking forward to the race tomorrow. I feel confident, and hope we can close the gap again to the other guys ahead.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
Im pleased with our performance in qualifying this afternoon. There was a question mark from this morning whether to run the prime or option tyres - we felt the car was more stable on the primes and that decision paid dividends with us being only 3.2 seconds away from the Red Bulls who used the same tyres in Q1- that shows just how much progress weve made as a team from the start of the season, and thats very satisfying. So - a good solid performance today and well look forward to the race tomorrow where we want to get both our cars to the finish line.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
All in all todays been another good day and it proves to me that our future is very bright. To be honest I was starting to dream about Q2, and while we may still be a little bit off that were clearly getting closer and closer, and thinking back to where we started, thats incredible. We need to work on giving Jarno more confidence in the car, and perhaps today we could have got more from Heikkis tyres, but I think theres still more to come from the 2010 car - maybe even another 0.5 seconds. Tomorrow will be all about getting two cars home, and I know our team has the experience and strength to do that. Today we were just 3.2 seconds off the pace of the Red Bulls in Q1 and if you cast your mind back 10 short weeks to Bahrain you can see just how far weve come. There we were over five seconds away from the outright Q1 pace and anyone in the sport will tell you what an achievement it is to find nearly two seconds in just seven races. We were also just 2.4 seconds off Ferrari, celebrating their 800th race in Turkey, which is pretty spectacular for a team who are only seven races old - I think that shows to all those who expressed doubts about our participation that they were wrong. Were also now in a position to turn our attention to the 2011 car, but were still here and fighting hard for this season - I want, in the nicest possible way, to take this fight to my mentors Frank Williams and Patrick Head and their team, from whom Ive learnt an awful lot over the last few years, and compete with them and the likes of Toro Rosso and Sauber, and todays yet another example of how we really can dream of doing just that. Im now off to order a kebab for Jarno and Heikki. Well, maybe a kebab pizza for Jarno, and a reindeer kebab for Heikki, if anyone in Istanbul can find them one...
Timo Glock (21st, Q1 - 1m 30.744s)
After a difficult opening day here yesterday, we really managed to turn things around for ourselves overnight and because of that we were able to have a much stronger day today. The difference in the car since yesterday was like night and day, so I have to thank the team for that. The car was performing well in practice this morning and I was very motivated going into Qualifying, because its great knowing that you have a car that will give you the chance to beat the immediate competition. I had a great second lap and felt that we had the car bang on for my final lap. Unfortunately I made a mistake in the first sector and that was that, but Im much happier with the car and looking forward to the race tomorrow.
Lucas di Grassi (23rd, Q1 - 1m 31.989s)
Despite the improvements that we made to the car set-up overnight, today has been very frustrating for me as we had an issue with the engine. Timo was able to demonstrate the true potential of the package and so it was disappointing for me to end up so far away because of the problem. I hope we can look forward to something more representative tomorrow and have a good race because I think we can have a good day.
Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
A very encouraging day. After a detailed analysis of yesterdays running, a strong team engineering effort with a lot of clear input from both drivers yielded the improvement that I was looking for. Timo was much happier with the car today and its clear that the development parts that we brought here are working again. Its a bit unfortunate that Timo didnt manage to complete his last qualifying run as we believed it was possible to get in front of at least one of the Lotus cars. Weve closed in on them since Barcelona and we normally have a strong race pace in comparison, so the objective is to fight for every opportunity and get both cars to the finish. Were all very sorry that Lucas day has been blighted by an issue with the engine that we fitted to his car last night, which had already completed two Grands Prix. The power loss from this engine is the sole reason that Lucas is so far behind Timo and having discussed the issue with Cosworth we have no other option but to change the engine for the race tomorrow.
Bruno Senna (22nd, Q1 - 1m 31.266s)
The qualifying was good today and the lap was quite decent. We still have our best performance in qualifying. We were close to the Virgins and could split them. Maybe tomorrow we have an interesting race. The car balance was better and we progressed on that. The car was good and we managed to find a compromise in the setup and so the car was good to drive. It gave me a lot of confidence today and I could push. I felt quite comfortable in it and and hopefully we can keep this for the race and then fight more with the other teams. It is going to be a very tough race, for sure. Depending on how everything is going. You can rest a little bit on few laps and then you can push harder again. It will be a long and tough race tomorrow with 58 laps. It is this first anti clockwise circuit of the season and not easy for anyone. But we are all fit so we are fine.
Karun Chandhok (24th, Q1 - 1m 32.060s)
We seem to have a straightline deficit to Bruno which is costing us about four tenths. It's been a tough choice on which tyres to use and unfortunately for me, the prime tyre that we used wasn't the right one as Bruno found a chunk of time on the option tyre. The guys are looking into the straight line issue for tomorrow and we'll see how it goes. Certainly as a team this weekend we're more competitive than we have been all season and are closer to Virgin so let's see how tomorrow.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
I am pleased with the times of Bruno Senna. In qualifying he improved from the morning session. I was hoping for the cars to be a bit higher. Things are looking good, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna kept their cars out of trouble which is a good step towards a safe race.
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"This morning was certainly cooler than yesterday which affected grip levels from the tyres. However, by the afternoon the temperature was much warmer. The changing temperatures made finding the best set-up even more difficult for the teams at this venue where this is already a challenge due to the track surface evolution over the weekend. The difficult to judge grip levels meant that many people found the limit as they danced on the edge of adhesion today. Mark Webber proved the best at this when it mattered most, so congratulations to him for his third pole in a row. Track surface evolution will continue to be a factor tomorrow so judging when which tyre compound will deliver the best performance during the course of the race will be tough. The difference between the soft and the hard compound is difficult to tell here as they are very close, and the track conditions and temperatures have been changing. This is a big challenge for teams and drivers. Our microscopic analysis of yesterday's tyres did not highlight anything untoward, however teams and Bridgestone will remain vigilant as we face Turn Eight for the 58 laps of tomorrow's race."