Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 11 Sep 2010
Force Indias Vitantonio Liuzzi on his early exit from Q1 after car troubles; Mercedes GPs Michael Schumacher on failing to make it through to Q3 for the sixth time this season; and Fernando Alonso on clinching Ferraris first pole position of the year and the Italian teams first at their home race since 2004. All 24 drivers, and senior team personnel, review Saturdays action at Monza
Fernando Alonso (1st, Q3 - 1m 21.962s)
Pole position at last! And its come at the best possible place, here in front of all the Ferrari fans! We managed to save two sets of new soft tyres for Q3 and so we were able to post a time immediately, before giving it absolutely everything on the second run. In fact, the time on the first run was good enough. The team and I have been without a pole for too long and two Ferraris in the top three is a fantastic result. At this track, the car really gets a hard time so we must try and keep all the parameters under control. We must make the most of this opportunity to bring home a lot of points: we will try and get a good start and tackle the first chicane as cleanly as possible, which is always difficult on the first lap. We needed this result: coming off the back of a weekend like Spa, which had raised some doubts about the car, but here it has improved a lot day after day. It would be nice to get a one-two tomorrow in front of our fantastic fans: I feel at home here, just like in Spain.
Felipe Massa (3rd, Q3 - 1m 22.293s)
Today I could have taken pole, but maybe in Q3, we did not adopt the best strategy. In Q2, my time on the soft tyres came on the third lap, so for the next part, we opted to do a series of three laps, but things did not go as we had wanted. Then on my second run, I did not manage to improve enough to take pole. All the same, it was a good qualifying and I am pleased with the performance of the car, which improved yet again today. We changed various things compared to yesterday morning which saw us become more competitive. I have never been very lucky at Monza, but tomorrow I will be starting from a good grid position. It is very motivating, especially when you see how happy are our fans, and it gives you a little bit extra. It would be nice to reward them for it
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
A really great and important result. Fernando and Felipe did a fantastic job and the team delivered them a very competitive car. Its nice to have that feeling again which comes from having a car on pole, after such a long time, but we must not forget that what really counts is the race, because that is when the points are given out. Therefore we must all remain totally focussed on preparing for tomorrows race, bearing in mind how tough the Monza circuit can be in terms of reliability, which is still the crucial element in all races. It is very pleasing that this long-awaited pole has come at Monza and on a day when our President Luca di Montezemolo and his opposite number at Fiat, John Elkann were both here to witness it. Tomorrow we hope to be able to give them and all our fans something special.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
A fantastic result, for the team, the drivers and for our championship chances. Both Felipe and Fernando were pleased with the handling of their car and we had no problems of any sort today. Both of them did a great job, setting a time at the right moment and being first and third is a just reward. It has been such a long wait to see one of our cars on pole and there could be no better place to do it than here at our home race. We know that usually, one of the F10s strongest attributes is its race pace, therefore tomorrow we must try and consolidate todays achievement. From what we have seen yesterday and today, there are no particular problems in terms of tyre life: maybe the hards struggle a bit more to get up to temperature, but we dont expect to see anything different to usual in terms of strategy.
Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari team president
I am very happy about this result, which I found so exciting that I was jumping for joy on the pit wall. Having both our cars on the front two rows in front of all our fans is very nice. It goes without saying, this track has always delivered strong emotions for me. The team did a great job and never gave up trying. Now we must concentrate fully because the hardest part is still to come tomorrow.
Jenson Button (2nd, Q3 - 1m 22.084s)
Ive felt very happy all weekend running the higher of our two downforce packages. The car has felt very good and Ive been comfortable with the stability of the rear. You know youll be competitive when you keep finding small increments of time here and there. Over a single lap, the car is good, but its real benefit will be felt in the race tomorrow, when we should have stronger long-run pace. Were running more downforce than most people; thatll make it more tricky over the first couple of laps, but we should be more consistent in the race. I want to say a big thank you to the whole team for bringing a great package to this weekends race. Our car is moving forwards all the time. It will be an incredible battle at the front tomorrow, but, starting from the front row, my aim must be for a victory. A win here would be very important; Ive got the world championship trophy at home - and I want it to stay there!
Lewis Hamilton (5th, Q3 - 1m 22.623s)
Im a little bit disappointed - it would appear that we took the wrong route by running without the F-duct this weekend. I just didnt have the downforce today, and the car was sliding in the corners - I couldnt push any harder because the car just wouldnt give me any more. For tomorrows race, Ill have good top speed, but the car is going to be sliding through the corners, so I wont be able to follow closely enough through the corners to try and pass, so itll be tough. But I have to congratulate Jenson on doing a great job. Today wasnt my best qualifying performance of the season, but well still push like crazy tomorrow and fight for some good points from the third row. It looks like itll be a tough race.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Today we saw a really strong qualifying lap from Jenson. He missed bagging what would have been McLarens 147th Formula One pole position by just a smidgen over a tenth of a second - and, when its that close, youre inevitably just a little disappointed that you didnt get pole. But Jenson will start from the front row tomorrow and will therefore be supremely well placed to mount a combative yet disciplined challenge for victory. Clearly, having been quick all weekend, Lewis had hoped for better than fifth place in qualifying. With hindsight, I think we sent him out just a little too close to Mark [Webber]. Its always a tricky balancing act, because you want to send your drivers out so that they have a chance of getting a tow, but you dont want to let them get so close to the cars theyre following that they encounter too much dirty air and therefore wash out in the corners; I think thats perhaps what happened to Lewis in Parabolica, hence his slightly disappointing time in Sector Three. Having said all that, Lewis is every bit as focused on scoring heavily tomorrow as is Jenson, and those who know him (Lewis) wont be surprised to hear me say that hell be aiming to make up places as soon as the five red lights go out on the start-line gantry.
Mark Webber (4th, Q3 - 1m 22.433s)
I was pretty happy with todays qualifying. Its tight round here and trying to get it all together is not the easiest; when youre pushing hard on the chicanes its easy to over cook them. The guys did a good job. We were up and down with the wing levels, but everyones in the same position trying to get the car set up in the best way for Monza. It didnt help that we got the car back quite late after we stopped out on track in P3, but we stayed cool. I didnt get many laps on the option tyre, but the engineers were able to look at what Sebastian found out on them and the team worked closely to give me some information, which helped me. The Ferraris are flying today; it should be a good race.
Sebastian Vettel (6th, Q3 - 1m 22.675s)
Im a bit disappointed. We were very quick yesterday and had decent pace this morning too. I dont know where the speed went this afternoon. I was around three-four km/h quicker yesterday than I was this afternoon with less fuel. There are a lot of straights in Monza, so it was quite costly. But we have a good race car, so lets see what tomorrow brings. With high fuel it will be different around here and were seeing different approaches, for example McLaren is running one driver on lower wing and the other on higher wing, so well see how it works on high fuel. It might be quite slippery at the beginning of the race. Were not the fastest here, we know that, but well see what we can do.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
It was a fantastic last lap from Mark to get himself onto the second row ahead of Lewis. Unfortunately for Sebastian his second run in Q3 wasnt quick enough to improve his position. But, at a circuit that we knew coming here was our worst of the championship on paper, to be ahead of the championship leader is a solid team performance. The one thing we all know about Monza is that it tends to produce exciting races, so were set for a fascinating race tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg (7th, Q3 - 1m 23.027s)
"Seventh place is definitely the best performance that was possible for us today so both I and the team can be pleased with that. However we obviously want to be further up the grid so we shouldn't get too used to being happy with such results. In race trim, we are probably a little stronger than in qualifying, so I can hopefully gain a place or two tomorrow if something happens amongst the top six guys, and look to achieve some good points."
Michael Schumacher (12th, Q2 - 1m 23.388s)
"I am obviously not very happy with our qualifying today but my position is probably what my car was giving me. We did not have a perfect balance, especially in some corners where the car was a bit loose, but then we did not come here expecting to achieve a great performance. However the race will be long tomorrow and having been welcomed so nicely by all of my Italian fans, I obviously wish to at least grab some points for them."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"The team and drivers have done a good job so far this weekend to get the most out of the car. It was a particularly good effort from Nico today to achieve seventh position with a strong run in Q3. We have a good high fuel set-up so we have done the work required for the race and can hope to pick up a place or two with both cars. Whilst we are not pushing the guys right at the front, we are maintaining our position just behind, and with our focus on 2011, that is our aim for the rest of this year."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Nico extracted the performance that was possible from the car today and it was a good job from him and the team to put the car in seventh place behind the Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes and Red Bull cars. Michael was close to making Q3 and he will start from the sixth row and hopefully be in a position to make up places and finish in the points. It looks like it is going to be an interesting race as the top three qualifiers are not the three drivers currently leading the World Championship so I am sure there will be a big fight between the top six drivers and that may help Nico to gain position."
Nico Hulkenberg (8th, Q3 - 1m 23.037s)
It was a very, very positive qualifying and I really enjoyed driving here today - the car feels good, I really enjoy the track, so you might call it harmony! This gave me a lot of confidence and meant I was able to put in a mega lap in Q3, even though I could have been quicker in Sector One. Overall I am really pleased and I must thank the factory who developed a great aero package that works well on the straights for top speed, but is also perfectly balanced under cornering. This afternoons performance means I am now really looking forward to the prospect of the race tomorrow.
Rubens Barrichello (10th, Q3 - 1m 23.328s)
Its been quite difficult for me to find an ideal set-up here despite the fact that at I am at home on this track as I won here last year. I think we hoped for better, around P7, which should have been possible, but we have not quite optimised our potential so far. However, the race still provides plenty of opportunity tomorrow and I am sure we have the possibility of a good result.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Nico has done an excellent job throughout all the practice and qualifying sessions this weekend. He's starting the race in a good position to score points tomorrow. Rubens couldn't get the same lap together as Nico this afternoon, so we're looking through that now, but we expect both to be solid in the race tomorrow. We had no mechanical problems today.
Robert Kubica (9th, Q3 - 1m 23.039s)
We knew that the best we could hope for today in a normal qualifying session was P7 on the grid, but the battle was very tight with Mercedes and Williams. I managed to set a good time in Q2 and get through with just one run, so I saved a set of option tyres for the final session. On my first run, I was two tenths up on my best when I took the decision to pit, so that I would have time to do two timed laps on my final run and hopefully improve even more. But unfortunately, I wasnt able to repeat my time - and I ended up two hundredths away from seventh. Its not ideal, because the cars around us are very competitive on top speeds, but we know that it will be a long afternoon for everybody, so I hope we can make the most of any opportunities that come our way.
Vitaly Petrov (15th, Q2 - 1m 23.819s)
It was a tough qualifying session this afternoon with very small gaps between the cars around the top ten. Our car is not as competitive as at the last race, and I have been learning how to find the right rhythm, and get the most from the tyres, with this low level of downforce. As for the incident with Timo, I can only apologise to him if I held him up. I didnt see him coming up behind me and didnt see any blue flags as I came out of the pits. My grid penalty will make things even harder in the race but, as we saw in Spa, tomorrow is another day and a lot can still happen.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
Following on from a strong weekend in Spa, its clearly a bit of a disappointment to find ourselves ninth and 20th on the grid in Monza. We knew this circuit wouldnt suit us as well as the last one, but we also clearly had the potential to do better in Q3 with Robert. Unfortunately, there is a big gap between our two cars, and both are behind each Mercedes, so its clearly not the most promising of positions to start from. But we are still looking forward to a good race, with strong, aggressive first laps and the right strategy, to at least finish in front of Mercedes.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
It was another solid qualifying performance from Robert to once again make it into Q3 - something he has achieved at every race this season. If he had managed to repeat his time from Q2, he would have started seventh, but we know how tricky and inconsistent the cars can be to drive here. I am confident he can still have a strong race. As for Vitaly, he lost running time both yesterday and this morning with brake problems, which also recurred in a different form during qualifying. This has made it even more difficult for him to get to grips with the car in low downforce trim. He obviously has a difficult afternoon ahead of him tomorrow, compounded by his five-place grid penalty, and we will try and get him as close to the points as possible.
Adrian Sutil (11th, Q2 - 1m 23.199s)
The times have been so close today that we knew qualifying would be tight as well. All the same we were very, very near to getting into Q3 - just a couple of hundredths of a second - so we can be happy with the performance. Starting P11 means we will get to start on a new set of tyres and the clean side of the grid, which can be an advantage. I think we're still looking good for a points' finish tomorrow.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (20th, Q1 - 1m 25.774s)
We had a problem in the morning's session where the car seemed to lose drive and did just a few laps. We did some analysis between the sessions and tried to solve the problem but then in qualifying a similar issue occurred. On the first lap we lost power and then we had to stop completely once I got it back to the garage so I couldn't get a real flying lap in. It's a shame but tomorrow's the most important - we've got a good car here and you never know what can happen so we won't give up until the end.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
It's been such a close day of action today that I think we can be pretty pleased to be P11 with Adrian, less than a tenth of a second from Q3. From that position anything's possible as we've seen so many times this season. Tonio had a more difficult day with problems in FP3 and then qualifying, which is obviously frustrating on his home track. However he's a fighter and more motivated than ever to move up the field. Given the pace yesterday I think that is very possible.
Kamui Kobayashi (13th, Q2 - 1m 23.659s)
I had no problems in qualifying and I think with regards to my lap time and position this is what was possible today. Michael (Schumacher) is ahead of me in 12th, but he is three tenths of a second faster, which is quite a big gap. Compared to the first free practice session here, the cars balance is better, the grip level has increased and I feel more confident. Of course I will try to score points in tomorrows race.
Pedro de la Rosa (17th, Q2 - 1m 24.044s)
It was a tough qualifying for me. Since this morning I havent felt comfortable in the car, and it just didnt feel like it did yesterday. We put on more downforce, but we never managed to get a good compromise between rear end stability and top end speed. However, I think the car will perform better in the race and I will see what I can do.
Peter Sauber, BMW Sauber team principal
We expected the characteristics of this high speed track wouldnt best suit our car, so under the circumstances Kamuis 13th position is really good. Pedro struggled today, so we have to analyse everything to understand why.
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
We worked hard overnight looking at the problems we had on Friday. We found one on Kamuis car with some aerodynamic components, which didnt help, and also the brake system was a bit problematic for him. So we made the respective modifications on his car and some minor changes on Pedros. This morning Kamui was happy with the car and had more confidence. Pedro struggled a little bit with a lack of consistency, so we had to work on this before qualifying. In Q1 a Force India went out, so it was just a matter of putting in a decent lap time to make it to Q2 and save some tyres. In Q2 P13 for Kamui was okay, as the best we expected was P12, and he lost a couple of tenths on his last run. The race speed of the car and its top speed are competitive, so given his strong race performances we can look forward to a good day for him tomorrow. Pedro continued to struggle with his car. We added some downforce before qualifying, but things were looking a bit tricky, particularly under braking. We have to look into it to understand why it was more of an issue for him today than yesterday.
Sebastien Buemi (14th, Q2 - 1m 23.681s)
I am reasonably happy with my performance, because I think I got almost the maximum out of the car and I am quite confident that we can have a strong race tomorrow. The important thing is that generally this weekend, we seem to be a bit more competitive than we were at Spa and in previous races, which is a positive step. It proves the updates we brought here are having an effect and that the team is doing a good job. Its a bit disappointing to be only three hundredths behind Kobayashi, as maybe I could have been thirteenth, but overall its not bad.
Jaime Alguersuari (16th, Q2 - 1m 23.919s)
I am quite satisfied with the way things went this afternoon, after having some problems yesterday. Today, we also made a few changes to the car and I think we ended up pretty much where we expected to be. I am not sure what we can do in the race, as yesterday I did not manage to do a long run on high fuel to see what the tyre degradation will be like. So, it will be a new experience, but Im looking forward to it anyway.
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
With everyone so evenly matched in terms of lap time, it was very tight in Q2 this afternoon. We looked a bit better this morning and that was also the case up until our final run in qualifying. However, when the difference is down to just a couple of tenths, there is not much more to say. Maybe we could have done better, but not by a significant amount. As for the new developments we introduced here and have run through the weekend, I hope they perform reliably during the race.
Jarno Trulli (18th, Q1 - 1m 25.540s)
It was a great qualifying session for the whole team today because both cars are in front of a Force India and its looking good for tomorrow. The mechanics sorted out a little problem on the car just before the session, and theyve been working really well all weekend so its good to repay that with the result. Its always good to be able to perform like this at your home race and being best of the new guys means its been a good day.
Heikki Kovalainen (19th, Q1 - 1m 25.742s)
Im very happy with the performance today. Its been a really good qualifying for both me and Jarno and were both in a good position for the race tomorrow. I had a great long run in yesterdays practice and Im looking forward to the race, perhaps more than most of the races this season. Weve had a few races this season where we havent got the most out of the Friday sessions, but we did so yesterday, and that, combined with the promise of a dry race tomorrow and a very good race car, means I think well put in a strong performance.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
It was an excellent qualifying session. I think we managed to get the most out of both cars today so well done to both drivers and the whole team. Overall Im happy that we have the right level of wing for the race and after a trouble free session today were now looking forward to a solid two car finish tomorrow, ahead of our closest rivals.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
What an awesome qualifying session! Im so happy today - what a great way to bring up our first year anniversary! I always felt this would be Jarnos day, but thats taking nothing away from Heikki who also did an immense job out there. We are 1.1 seconds off Pedros BMW Sauber, and on a power track like Monza that is incredible. Im so proud of the whole team - they have worked brilliantly all weekend, and it has paid off today with a great performance from everyone. Tomorrow is going to be special, but the goal remains the same - get both cars home and make sure we stay ahead of the other new teams.
Timo Glock (21st, Q1 - 1m 25.934s)
Im a little disappointed to end qualifying the way we did because we had good pace early on in the session. On the very first run my lap was penalised by Vitaly Petrov, who came out of the pits and pulled out on to the racing line into turn one. On the second run I had good pace and we were ahead of Lotus, but on the third set of tyres there was no grip on the rear. Everyone was able to improve but we didnt. We have incurred a grid penalty for tomorrow as a result of taking the decision to change our differential, but it was the right thing to do. In general I am happy with the car so we will see what the race brings tomorrow.
Lucas di Grassi (22nd, Q1 - 1m 25.974s)
A good Saturday overall. Im satisfied with my lap time in qualifying and I extracted the maximum from the car today as our set-up is a compromise for the long race tomorrow. So far the whole team and car has run really smoothly this weekend so I can see a lot of progress in this area and I hope it continues for tomorrow.
Mark Herd, Virgin head of performance and race engineering
Today has been another relatively smooth day. The cars went in a slightly different direction in terms of aero setup. We werent happy with the differential on Timos car and chose to change it before qualifying, thus incurring a five-place grid penalty. Timo was unlucky to be blocked on his first run and then seemed to have an unexpected loss of grip on his final set. Lucas had some small gear-shift issues. It was disappointing that were unable to displace Lotus but the gap to them is small and we look forward to a very close race with them tomorrow.
Bruno Senna (23rd, Q1 - 1m 26.847s)
"I am happy that the problem we had yesterday has been fixed and I want to thank the team for the good job they did. In the third practice session, I had traffic on all of my best laps. That's why I could not manage to be further up. The qualifying was okay and we did the best we could. My team mate and I are close together and we hope to have a good race tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (24th, Q1 - 1m 27.020s)
"Yesterday, we couldn't get enough mileage due to a mechanical problem. In the third practice this morning, we had a problem on the drive shaft and I had to stop before the end of the session. Because of this, I couldn't use the option tyres in a session before qualifying. I want to thank the team, who managed to get the car ready and prepared it well. We will try to do our best tomorrow and are looking forward to the race."
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"It was a positive day for us. We could fix the problems we had on both cars yesterday and therefore I want to thank the team for their great job. Bruno Senna showed a good development during practice three and was close to the other new teams in between. This is a good effort as he couldn't do many laps yesterday. On Sakon Yamamoto's car, a drive shaft boot was broken, which forced him to stop prematurely. In qualifying, both of our drivers performed well and are starting the race from positions 22 and 23. We have a good car balance and we found the right set-up for the race tomorrow."
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"Today we saw an exciting qualifying battle and the Italian fans must be very happy with a Ferrari pole position thanks to a great lap by Fernando. Although we saw drivers' fastest laps set on the soft compound the lap time difference between the two compounds here is not very big. This leaves good strategy options for tomorrow's race and there is also good interest with different car set-ups on the grid. Even though we have seen high track and ambient temperatures, both of our allocated compounds look to offer strong performance over a stint duration. In terms of strategy, I predict first stops around lap 14, however even those in the top ten who will start on used option tyres could go much further than this without significant performance drop off should they choose to do so."