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Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 26 Jun 2010

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Karun Chandhok (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010

BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi on once again missing the Q2 cut; Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher on struggling into 12th and 15th respectively on the Valencia grid; Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg on making the top-ten shootout for only the second time; and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on his fourth pole of the year. All 24 drivers, and senior team personnel, review Saturday’s action in Valencia…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel (1st, Q3 - 1m 37.587s)

“Valencia isn’t usually - or shouldn’t be - our strongest circuit so it’s good that we are able to put the car on pole and I think our pace is looking very good. It was a tight qualifying session, and a tough one especially as we reintroduced the F-duct and I think some of the mechanics had maybe an hour or two’s sleep last night, so it’s good to say thank you by putting the cars on one and two. We’re now in a very strong position to start tomorrow’s race.”

Mark Webber (2nd, Q3 - 1m 37.662s)
“It would be nice to be the other way around but you can’t do it all the time! I’m pleased to be on the front row with Seb, and all credit to the team. This isn’t one of our strongest circuits, but we’ve had a good day and let’s see how tomorrow goes. I’m very optimistic we can have a good race.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
“The one-two was completely unexpected at a track that might have exposed some of our weaknesses. The team has put a lot of hard work into the new duct, and that combined with other bits and pieces and perfect laps from both drivers has produced a great result to start tomorrow’s race. We know the McLarens are quick in straight-line speed, but we are confident of a good race.”

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton (3rd, Q3 - 1m 37.969s)

“Ahead of this weekend, we didn’t expect to be quick enough for third on the grid. It’s a complete surprise, but it’s a fantastic result. I thought my first Q3 lap was good, but you just never knew what the others were doing. On my final lap, I was two tenths up, but I was way over the limit, locked the rears into Turn 17 and had to bail out of it. Fortunately, my previous lap was an awesome one, so I’m so happy to be third. I’m very happy with third, actually - you’re on the clean side, so it’s a better position to start from than second, and you get the clean line on the inside, so I can make it hard for Mark to get into the first corner ahead of me.Today’s qualifying could prove crucial for us; we came here determined to minimise the damage because we knew a lot of the other teams would be quick because they’d brought updates to this race. And, for tomorrow, anything’s still possible - there’s a long straight around the back of the track, and, if we can stay close enough, then there’s a possibility to use the F-duct and overtake. I’ll be relying on the guys to do the best job possible during the pitstops tomorrow - as they usually do - and I think we’re going to have an exciting race.”

Jenson Button (7th, Q3 - 1m 38.210s)
“Things were looking good until the last corner of my last lap in Q3. I was pretty happy with the car, but then I got a bit of oversteer through the quick right-hander before it, and I think that set the car up poorly for the last corner. I locked up, ran wide, and lost two tenths. And that’s massive - it could have been fourth on the grid. So, very disappointing. But I can’t do anything about it, and I’ll be pushing for a better race tomorrow. It’ll be very difficult - I just want to get a good start and not get stuck in traffic, because the pace of our car is good. It’s disappointing, as I say, but hopefully we can gain some places at the start, execute some quick pitstops and make the most of our strategy - the pits really are the only place where you can overtake around here. I’m a little surprised at the final grid - it’s very similar to what we’ve seen at a lot of other races, despite several teams bringing upgrades to this race. And that’s another positive for us.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Fast and committed qualifiers that they both are, Lewis and Jenson pushed as hard as possible in Q3 today. However, they both made small errors on their final laps. Lewis’s mistake probably made no difference to his eventual grid position, because the single-lap performance gap to the Red Bulls is quite significant here, but Jenson looked to have P4 in the bag had he negotiated the final corner of his last lap as well as he’d driven the previous turns. Even so, Jenson is an extremely smooth yet very combative race driver - and, bearing in mind that he and Lewis have notched up 86 world championship points in the past two races, we think they’re well set to score significantly again tomorrow.”

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso (4th, Q3 - 1m 38.075s)

“I am happy with this result. Here, so many teams, including Ferrari, have brought new parts and so it was important to show we are capable of fighting for the top places. We managed it and we must bear in mind that, without the updates we have on the F10, we would probably have struggled to make it into Q3. Tomorrow, we have the potential to fight for a podium place: it will be important to get a good start, choose the right strategy and not make any mistakes because the walls here are not forgiving. Obviously, reliability will be very important as this track is very tough on the cars. With the harder tyre, our car was more competitive as its behaviour inspired more confidence over the flying lap, but to have done Q3 with this compound would probably have compromised our race.”

Felipe Massa (5th, Q3 - 1m 38.127s)
“Today, we had a good car and the potential was there to do better than this fifth place. In Q1 and Q2, I was very pleased with the handling of my F10, but in Q3 I was not able to improve, mainly because of traffic that prevented me from preparing the tyres properly. It’s a shame, because I could have been starting from third place tomorrow: from fifth it will be harder to fight for a podium finish, but the chance is still there within our grasp. The updates the team has brought here contributed to making the car more competitive and they lived up to our expectations: we must continue down this route for the rest of the season.”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
“We are reasonably pleased with this result. The car proved to be competitive and everything was in place to secure an even better result but, for various reasons, we never managed to put together the perfect lap with either of our two drivers. All the same, we know that as always, the points are only given out tomorrow. We can expect a long and difficult race for the drivers the teams and the cars and, as I usually say on Saturdays, reliability will be the key. The technical updates we introduced this weekend have seen us take a step forward in terms of performance, but we must continue to push on the development front, because the other teams are doing the same.”

Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
“There is a hint of disappointment at this result. After this morning’s third free practice session, we saw that our car was very competitive on the harder tyre, while it struggled a bit more to get the best out of the softer one on the single flying lap. In the two hours before qualifying, the team worked on trying to find the right compromise and the situation improved, but not enough to put us in the fight for the very top positions, which was also down to the fact that neither driver managed to get a clean lap in Q3. That explains why Felipe and Fernando ended up where they did. All the same, it’s not a bad position for the race: from what we have seen so far, the F10 seems to be very competitive over a long run.”

Renault
Robert Kubica (6th, Q3 - 1m 38.137s)

“It has been a pretty good qualifying and the car was especially strong on the prime tyre. On the options I had a lot more movement so the car felt quite different and we didn’t really gain the lap time, but we made a decision that it would be better to start the race on the options. Although I finished higher in the first two parts of qualifying, I think the end result reflects our true position. The new updates on the car this weekend are bringing us some gains, but we still need to work to get 100% from them, which I hope we can do in the coming races.”

Vitaly Petrov (10th, Q3 - 1m 38.523s)
“It’s fantastic to get into Q3 because the times were very close today. Unfortunately I made some mistakes on my fastest lap in Q3 so I could maybe have been even higher on the grid. In the race anything can happen so I will try and look after my tyres and make up some positions. There are a lot of new parts on the car this weekend and I have had to adapt my driving style, but I can feel a big improvement with the car.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“It’s always good to see both cars in Q3 because it’s not something we have managed that often this season. After Q1 and Q2 we were expecting an even better result in Q3, but we didn’t find the performance that we expected with the soft tyres. For the race tomorrow we have a good strategy and hopefully we can get both cars in the points and make up some ground on Mercedes.”

Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
“I’m pleased to see both cars in the top ten for the second time in three races and it’s nice to be well ahead of both Mercedes, our closest competitors in the championship. We were actually hoping for a better position with Robert today, but we struggled more than we expected with the option tyre. Although it’s the softer compound, the car was moving around more and felt less together on the option. You might expect a softer tyre to have more grip, but you can’t use that extra grip if the car isn’t easy to drive. However, we felt that we needed to start the race on the option, so that we don’t have to do a long stint on it in the race.”

Williams
Nico Hulkenberg (8th, Q3 - 1m 38.428s)

“A positive Saturday; that wasn’t a bad qualifying! No one expected me to be ahead of Rubens today because he’s been quicker than me all weekend. Somehow I pulled out a good lap in Q3 and beat him by a fraction. We’re obviously happy that we have both cars in the top ten, which was the aim. Hopefully we’ll have a good race and get some points tomorrow.”

Rubens Barrichello (9th, Q3 - 1m 38s)
“It was a good qualifying session for the team. Ninth is a strong position to be starting from, but I could have done better than that if it weren’t for a problem with brake warm up in Q3. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and certainly feel we can achieve a top sixth finish as the car is looking competitive. We are quite happy with the improvements we’ve brought here this weekend. We still need to keep pushing, but this demonstrates that we can be fast.”

Sam Michael, Williams technical director
“To get both cars into Q3 is good progress with the whole car package. Rubens had an issue with glazed brakes, which was a shame as that pushed him down the order. Nico did a good job in qualifying today. We do still have to improve across all areas of the car, and if we do that quickly we'll feature in the top ten more regularly. Rubens will be racing the blown rear wing tomorrow while Nico will run a standard version.”

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi (11th, Q2 - 1m 38.586s)

“It’s my best qualifying result of the season and I did not expect to do so well before the start of the session, which is a reason to be pleased. On the other hand, I am a bit disappointed because Barrichello was ahead of me going into the final corner on my last flying lap and he really slowed me down. He was on his slowing down lap, but it cost me two tenths which should have seen me finish higher than eleventh. To be honest, I’m not sure why the car worked so well today, because we have not changed anything since Canada. It proves the team is doing a fine job. It’s good to start from further up the grid than usual, right in the middle of the pack, which means I have every chance of having a good race, even if it will be very difficult to overtake.”

Jaime Alguersuari (17th, Q2 - 1m 39.458s)
“I’m not sure what happened as we seemed to lack pace this afternoon. I tried to push as hard as possible, but the speed did not come, so we will need to look at the data to understand what went on. Maybe my tyre pressures were a bit too low and I struggled especially on the soft tyres, maybe I did not have quite the right feeling from the brakes, which are very important here but for whatever reason I was very slow. Today, my team-mate did a better job than me, so we will have to try and improve in order to catch up in the race tomorrow.”

Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
“The times were very close this afternoon and Sebastien had a particularly good qualifying session, although there is some feeling of regret because he could have done slightly better than eleventh place, if he had not been held up by traffic towards the end of his last flying lap. What I am particularly pleased about is that, on his final run in Q2, Seb decided to go for a single flying lap to gain the advantage of carrying less fuel weight and it paid off, which was the right way to do it. Jaime, who went for two timed laps on both his Q2 runs, also had a bit of a traffic problem and so he did not get it quite right today. As for tomorrow’s race, free practice demonstrated that we appear to have a good pace over a long run, which is encouraging.”

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg (12th, Q2 - 1m 38.627s)

"It's very frustrating to be so far back on the grid although my lap was good today. There was just no more performance to get out of the car. We had a few issues this morning so we had to make a compromise on our upgrade package and that made the difference of being in the top ten. It's not easy to understand what happened as we hoped to take a step forward here but we haven't got the best of our updates yet and we need to understand the tyres quickly. The car will be stronger in the race so we stay positive and see what will happen."

Michael Schumacher (15th, Q2 - 1m 39.234s)
"Obviously I am disappointed with my position today and it is certainly not where I want to be. I had to fight with two things. Firstly, as in Canada we have a general problem with the tyres and we can't get them to work in qualifying. Secondly, I had some difficulties with the brakes and I was locking the front right all the time. This made things extra difficult and is something we need to understand. However our new updates are definitely an advantage, although this was not evident in the performance. I could have gone maybe three-tenths quicker on my last lap if Buemi had not been in the way but it would still not have been enough for Q3. But we are fighters and we know this sport long enough. Our starts are good and with more fuel on board, things do not look so bad. We will certainly try to make the best out of our situation tomorrow."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"Clearly that was a difficult qualifying session. After Montreal, we thought that we understood our issues with the tyres but they are still proving to be a challenge. The team and drivers did as well as they could today but we do not have the pace at the moment and we are not making the tyres work well, particularly in qualifying. We are pushing very hard to develop the car and sometimes in pushing so hard, you trip over. We need to reflect, assess and see what our next steps should be."

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"It is a disappointing qualifying result today for our team. Of course it was very tight, but if you are six-tenths slower than the best lap time, then you end up in twelfth place like Nico. Michael hit traffic in the last sector of his fastest lap which prevented him from improving further. We will certainly not give up on improving our package as we have done continuously since the season began but our competitors have been doing the same. Our race pace tomorrow should be better."

Force India
Adrian Sutil (13th, Q2 - 1m 38.851s)

“This morning the car felt really good and I could push on both the prime and the option tyres, and it showed in the time I was able to do. But in Q2 I had a clean lap but the grip just didn't seem to be there. Over the whole session it was so hard and we couldn't get the tyres to work - such a big difference from the morning session. It's obviously very disappointing as we looked very strong here and we didn't change much from this morning. I'm now concentrating on the race - we had a good event here last year and, as we saw in Montreal, our race pace is very strong so there's always opportunities to make up positions.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th, Q2 - 1m 38.884s)
“This morning we were really quick and it didn't start too badly in Q1 for us so we were very positive about getting a good result. But it got very hot this afternoon, perhaps seven or eight degrees hotter than in free practice this morning, and it seemed to have a big effect on the tyres. Both Adrian and myself had big issues with the soft tyres in Q2 and had a lot of understeer. It's a real shame as both yesterday and this morning we were looking very competitive and we had hoped for more. But we're not giving up as there are so many possibilities in the race - just look at Montreal where we had the accident at the start, but fought to the end and still picked up two points.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“It's been a disappointing day as we showed a genuine pace this morning and couldn't quite deliver this afternoon. It's something to work on tonight and come back strong in the race tomorrow. We've shown good pace here before and in fact last year we started 12th and 16th and finished 10th and 12th in the race so there's still everything to work towards.”

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa (16th, Q2 - 1m 39.264s)

"Sixteenth doesn't look great, but I must say I am quite happy with what we did in qualifying. In Q1 especially our performance was really good. We improved the car after free practice and the changes paid off. We pushed hard and I think we got the best out of the package. There are limits. I think the track conditions favoured the harder tyre compound. The prime tyres were really good. With the softer option tyres I had a lack of grip and was sliding too much."

Kamui Kobayashi (18th, Q1 - 1m 39.343s)
"I am very disappointed after having been out so early in qualifying. My first run on the prime tyres was okay, and when we changed to the option tyres I was expecting a lot more from them for the second run, but there was no extra grip. Anyway I didn't exploit the potential because on my first flying lap with the softer tyres I locked the front wheels, which resulted in them being flat spotted. That's why I felt vibrations in the car and this ruined my second flying lap. It is a shame."

James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"It was a disappointing qualifying, but incredibly close. The grip level seemed to be quite inconsistent, and unfortunately it wasn't possible for Kamui to get through to the second part of qualifying. He flat spotted the front tyres and was therefore not able to put the best sector times together, which seemed to be tricky today on the option tyres. Pedro did quite a good job in Q1 where he was 13th. He then began Q2 on the prime tyres and switched to the option tyres for the second run, but again a lack of grip and a balance difference between the two compounds seemed to be the problem. Unfortunately he couldn't improve his lap time, and again the sectors tell a slightly different story. But that's where we are this weekend, so we have to improve."

Lotus
Jarno Trulli (19th, Q1 - 1m 40.658s)

“I’m feeling quite a lot happier now - things have been getting better all weekend now I have the new chassis, and as I’ve not had any real problems I’ve been able to work on the setup, which obviously helped today. I do still have a bit of an issue with the brakes, but it feels like a new start from where I’ve been and I’m pleased with the performance today. We are another step ahead of the teams behind and I think we’ll be ok tomorrow.”

Heikki Kovalainen (20th, Q1 - 1m 40.882s)
“It was a little disappointing for me out there today. I didn’t feel as comfortable as I did yesterday, when I was very happy with the car. Today it seems I had to fight the car a bit, and I really had to attack to get some good times. But it’s ok. I’m not too worried, and tomorrow I will push again and try to bring the car home to the end of the race.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
“I’m very pleased with qualifying today - it was a very solid effort from the whole team. We were actually 2.5 seconds off the quickest time in Q1, and percentage wise that’s our best performance of the year so far. We’ve moved further away from the competition behind us, so overall it was a very solid performance, with the whole team continuing to move forward. Now we’ll have to match that with a two car finish in the race tomorrow.”

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
“There’s a lot of good points that have come out of today - the main one is that we’ve finished quite comfortably ahead of Virgin and HRT, and it was great to hear Jarno happy over the radio - his new chassis looks like it may have brought about a change in luck, so let’s hope that continues tomorrow. Our engineers tell me we’ve taken another step forward today, and hopefully we’ll get even more out of the new Cosworth engine in the race - it’s very encouraging to see the performance of both of the Cosworth powered Williams cars today, so hopefully we can keep pushing like them and get both cars home tomorrow.”

Virgin
Lucas di Grassi (21st, Q1 - 1m 42.086s)

“I’m very happy to be the fastest Virgin Racing driver today. This is my debut year in F1 and I’ve been learning a lot with each Grand Prix. I’ve been getting closer to Timo’s lap times and to be able to keep pace with someone with his ability and experience is a good measure of the progress I feel I am making. Your team-mate is always your easiest comparison but we are not fighting each other - we are working together to make Virgin Racing the best of the new teams. We have a lot of work to do to improve the car and our pace, so while I’m very pleased with the result today, that is where our focus lies.”

Timo Glock (22nd, Q1 - 1m 42.140s)
“Unfortunately we made the wrong decision with the tyres today. We thought things would work out with the option tyre with a small set-up change, but I had one run on Primes and they were definitely much quicker. Unfortunately I made a mistake out of the last corner and lost around 0.5 secs, otherwise I would have been quicker than Lucas and closer to the Lotus cars. Now we have to look at the opportunities for the race tomorrow.”

Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
“Lucas and his engineers continued to have a smooth weekend and he did a good job in qualifying. I think he’s having a great rookie year so far. Timo wasn’t happy with some overnight set-up changes on our new development parts, and that made the tyre comparison in FP3 harder to judge. We successfully went back to the Friday settings for qualifying, but the choice of the Option tyre for his first run was incorrect and he didn’t get the most out of his last run on Primes. As ever, we’ll be chasing a two-car finish in the race tomorrow.”

HRT
Karun Chandhok (23rd, Q1 - 1m 42.600s)

“I am very pleased with how it went today. We had a far more productive practice session this morning and played a lot with the electronic settings on my car which was very useful for qualifying. My fastest lap was pretty good - it's never neat and tidy around here but I think I got the maximum from the car this afternoon. The temperature is expected to be quite high again tomorrow so it will be a tough race for the cars, tyres and drivers. Our race pace has generally been good so I am looking forward to a long race tomorrow.”

Bruno Senna (24th, Q1 - 1m 42.851s)
“It was a difficult qualifying session today when the track improved a bit. But I didn’t get my lap together and I lost a lot of time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t end up with a better result than this. But it is going to be a long race tomorrow and I hope to do a better job then.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“We expected more than the result we did today. Even if we could fix the problems we had on both cars yesterday, unfortunately, we couldn’t perform as well as we did in the races before. The lap times of the new teams are close and if you do a small mistake on a street circuit like this, you get pushed back on the grid. But we will be well prepared for tomorrow’s race and we hope to fight for positions with the other teams again.”

Bridgestone
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development

"Today the track condition continued to improve and we saw a new record set for pole position. The morning session did not point to a clear pace advantage between the two tyres, with the super soft offering more grip but less rear stability than the medium. The cooler temperatures this morning and the rapid track improvement made it difficult to analyse the data so qualifying was interesting for different approaches in use of the super soft or medium compounds. Tomorrow has potential to be quite interesting as the super soft appears to give quite good durability here, which offers the possibility for longer stints from this tyre than we have seen in many races, and certainly greater durability than we saw in Montreal. As overtaking has been difficult here in the past, track position and the timing of the pit stops will be crucial."