Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 07 May 2011
Kamui Kobayashi on his very early exit after technical gremlins affected his Sauber; Williams Rubens Barrichello on almost making it through to the top-ten shootout; Ferraris Felipe Massa on why he failed to set a time in Q3; a disappointed Michael Schumacher on his eighth on the grid for Mercedes; and Sebastian Vettel on taking his fourth consecutive pole for Red Bull. All the drivers and leading team personnel report back on Saturday at Istanbul Park
Sebastian Vettel (1st, Q3 - 1m 25.049s)
Im very happy. It was a bit funny in Q3 today, as both Mark and I decided we would skip the second run and so we finished earlier than normal. It was a strange feeling, as the other cars are on track setting times and you are in the garage watching - they might beat you, but you can only watch the screens and theres nothing you can do. It was an odd feeling but a good decision to save tyres for tomorrows race. I messed up the car yesterday morning, so we missed the session in the afternoon, but the guys fixed it for today and I think they did a very good job. We have been up there with the times today, although we didnt have a trouble free morning and we had a bit to catch up. I like the track here which helps and it was nice to see that, without many laps, I was able to come back and find the rhythm, so all-in-all Im very happy today.
Mark Webber (2nd, Q3 - 1m 25.454s)
I would have liked to have got a couple more tenths to have the margin; obviously Sebastian did a very good lap for pole, but my lap wasnt too bad. We spoke before qualifying and decided that, as tomorrow is going to be a long race, every lap you could save today might help tomorrow. It turns out that were in the best possible grid positions and the team did a good job, as we have saved a set of tyres too, so its looking good. There were some good decisions from the team. Im happy with today and am looking forward to tomorrows race.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
A great team performance today and a fantastic come back from Sebastian after a challenging day yesterday. All the guys worked very hard to make sure the car was ready for this morning and Sebastian repaid them in the best possible way - with an excellent lap on his first run to get the pole. Mark was right up there too and we have secured the front row of the grid. We elected not to do a second run with both drivers; we knew it would be a little tight, but strategically we believe it was the right thing to do, as both drivers now have a new set of tyres available for tomorrows race.
Nico Rosberg (3rd, Q3 - 1m 25.574s)
"I am very happy with our performance in qualifying and it is amazing to see where we are right now. After a difficult start to the season, we are getting closer to the front and I'm pleased that we are making a small step forward each weekend: thank you to the team for a great job so far. We saved one set of new soft tyres for the race, which will be important in terms of strategy. I'm really looking forward to the race."
Michael Schumacher (8th, Q3 - 1m 26.646s)
"Understandably Im not happy at all with today's qualifying. It was just strange, it seemed that the more I pushed on my last lap, the more went wrong. I was at the limit of what I had in my hand but the car was just sliding around and therefore I never got into my rhythm. It's a real shame after this morning's promising session."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We're pleased with the steady progress that we've made over the last couple of races. At the start of the season, we said that the car had more potential then we were extracting from it, and that's now being proven true. There haven't been any dramatic changes; the team and drivers have just kept their calm, and worked hard to get our package sorted. I'm now hoping we can have a good race tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"It was a great lap from Nico and everybody in the team has done a very good job to improve the car consistently over the last two Grands Prix. Third place behind Sebastian and Mark is a good result for us and our guys have worked extremely hard. Michael did not get the perfect lap in Q3, after being second fastest during the morning session, but with a good start from his place on the fourth row, he can improve in the race."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, Q3 - 1m 25.595s)
Were starting on the dirty side of the grid - so our biggest challenge tomorrow could be getting off the line. Every year here Ive started on the dirty side here! Mercedes GP and Ferrari have picked up their pace, and it might be hard to overtake the Mercedes GP because theyre very fast on the straights; so if it pans out like that, the Red Bulls could edge away from us. We dont have an extra set of [unused] tyres, but you never know what the weather will do tomorrow. Were definitely in the fight and Ill be pushing all the way - just as we did last year. So Ill try to get a good start tomorrow - fingers crossed we can gain some places that way. Im looking forward to driving a strong Grand Prix - its a long race here and there should be opportunities to overtake.
Jenson Button (6th, Q3 - 1m 25.982s)
Sixth position isnt great, but we can still do well: Mark Webber had a good race from 18th in China, so we can definitely have a good race from sixth. Maybe I should have just done a single run for Q3 because my second run wasnt any faster than my first - and you tend to lose time if you push these tyres too hard. But to be honest I couldnt get a really good balance in qualifying. Its difficult to know peoples overall pace from Friday running because the changeable weather has mixed everything up. Id hoped for more but well see what happens. Its a pity that Im on the dirty side of the track - it might cause a few problems with the getaway into Turn One tomorrow - but were competitive. Well be in the running tomorrow.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Only six cars managed to beat the 1m 26s barrier in Q3 here at Istanbul Park today, and Im glad to say that Lewis and Jenson were both among that sextet. Its very tight, very competitive, at the sharp end of the grid this year - and its worth noting that, had Lewis managed to string together his three best sector times in a single lap, hed have been second-quickest. As things turned out, he was fourth-quickest, and Jenson was sixth-quickest, but theyre both fantastic racers and theyll approach tomorrows race with all the controlled aggression that weve come to expect from them over the years.
Fernando Alonso (5th, Q3 - 1m 25.851s)
Fifth place is not the sort of result one can be pleased about, but today I am happy because I felt the car was more competitive than it has been in the first three qualifying sessions of the season. Getting into Q2 without using the soft tyres is significant. We have made a small step forward in terms of performance: its not yet enough and we quickly need to make a bigger one, but its definitely a confidence boost for the whole team, who are working in the right direction. I would say that this the first sign of light at the end of the tunnel in this early part of the season. Fifth place also means I avoid the dirty side of the track, which is usually a big handicap here. Its hard to say what will be the best strategy for tomorrow, because we dont know how the tyres will behave: we will have to be ready for any eventuality and be very flexible. Finally, I want to take the opportunity to express my great sadness at the death of a great personality in Spanish sport, Severiano Ballesteros, who put Spain on the golfing map: I offer all my sympathies to those close to him at this painful time.
Felipe Massa (10th, Q3 - no time)
It was not a good qualifying for me: I did not manage to get a clean lap in Q3 after I made a significant mistake at Turn Nine, when I ended up going off line: we therefore decided it was better to pit and save that set of tyres for the start. In Q1, with the hards, I did not get a great lap and so as not to take any risks, we decided to also use the softs, so I only had one new set available for the final part of qualifying. Now we will see what we can do in the race tomorrow: usually our pace is better than in qualifying, but it will not be easy to do well, given that Im starting from tenth. We will see what the tyre degradation will be like, maybe it will be a bit higher than what we saw in China. A shame, as I could have been on the third row, along with my team-mate. This morning, in FP3, the engineers saw an engine parameter that they were not sure about and so it was decided to change it at the end of the session. So I went back to the engine I had already used in Malaysia and China, which according to the schedule is still meant to do three races.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
It seems that Fernando has bought himself a subscription to fifth place on the starting grid, given that once again this season thats where he starts from. The Spaniard drove a very positive qualifying and put up a spirited fight against very strong opponents. Felipe managed to get through to the final part of the session, but he did not look like setting a competitive time so he chose to pit immediately so as to spare the tyres for the start. Clearly this is not the sort of result we were looking for, but it is equally evident that all the work undertaken in these last few weeks is beginning to deliver some signs of progress. Its not yet enough, we are well aware of that, but we are moving in the right direction. Now we must concentrate on tomorrows race, which will be very long and tough, both for the cars and for the tyres. The number one priority, as always in fact, will be reliability. As for the strategy, we have seen in this early part of the season that there is a great degree of unpredictability about it, so we will have to keep our eyes wide open and a cool head, ready to pounce on any and every opportunity.
Pat Fry, Ferrari head of race track engineering
First and foremost, I want to congratulate the whole team who have worked so well between the end of this mornings free practice and the start of qualifying: in less than two hours, they changed the engine on one car and fixed a problem on the other one which also involved splitting the rear end of the car from the chassis. Its hard to regard the outcome of qualifying as positive however when we are eight tenths off pole position, but at least we can say we have made progress since the last race. We must push to the maximum on the car development front, because we are in a hurry to make up the performance deficit so that we can fight for the top places in qualifying. Tomorrow, we will see a lot of stops to change tyres during the race: just how many will depend on whats referred to as the drop-off in tyre behaviour. The pit stop boys will definitely have their work cut out!
Vitaly Petrov (7th, Q3 - 1m 26.296)
Im not fully satisfied with where I qualified today because were capable of finishing even higher than seventh on the grid. However, for both of us to secure top 10 positions should be seen as a positive thing and it is good that we dont have any mechanical problems. We can still continue to work and push hard to make sure we can be fighting closer to the front of the grid tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld (9th, Q3 - 1m 26.659s)
Its not too bad to be in P9 - I struggled earlier in the day and in Q2 I found the balance and grip from the tyres that I was looking for. It could have been even better as I had some understeer problems with the front tyres but it was ok. I feel more confident going into tomorrow, we know that with the DRS we can overtake better, weve seen that already so we can finish higher than our grid position. Usually the car is better on race pace, and we know we can get good starts so gain some strong positions.
James Allison, Renault technical director
Tomorrows going to be a very busy race. Weve seen some races with two stops, other which are borderline three. I think tomorrow will be busier than that - you only have to look at the attempts made by all the teams to conserve race tyres during qualifying to see this. Both drivers start on the clean side of the grid and with a good getaway we hope we can take the race to some of the cars ahead of us. Yesterday the challenge was to squeeze our race preparation into a single session as a result of rain in the first session. Today the challenge has been to negotiate our way into an increasingly competitive Q3 session before bullying our way as far up the grid as possible while keeping the tyres in good shape for the race. I think both drivers and car crews did a good job in achieving that today.
Rubens Barrichello (11th, Q2 - 1m 26.764s)
After all the work we have done this weekend at the factory and trackside, I have to always put a great lap together in qualifying and I'm very happy with my last lap. Unfortunately though, we just ended up outside the top ten, which is not that penalising with the tyre situation. We also weren't running the new rear wing which was one of our upgrades for this race so it was a good qualifying session for us to finish 11th despite that."
Pastor Maldonado (14th, Q2 - 1m 27.236s)
"That is the happiest I've felt after a qualifying session this season. The new parts the team have worked really hard to deliver to this race have definitely improved the car. It feels quicker and easier to drive so our efforts have paid off. Because of a problem, I haven't run KERS all weekend. If it was working in qualifying, we would have been three tenths quicker. Anyway, we need to focus on tomorrow now. It will be a difficult race and will probably be very tight, but I am confident that we can get a good result."
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
"We're heading in the right direction, thanks to a lot of hard work in the factory. Rubens starts the race in P11, and with new tyres, and Pastor in P14. The day wasn't without issue, however, as we had to revert to the standard rear wing on both cars after signs of aerodynamic separation on the new version in practice. That cost us some top speed. In addition, Pastor's KERS wasn't working, which lost him a couple of places on the grid. These are not excuses but rather that with these issues resolved, we have cause for optimism. Our target now is to get both cars in the points."
Adrian Sutil (12th, Q2 - 1m 27.027s)
It was quite a straightforward session for me with no major issues. I think we used the tyres well, there were no problems with traffic and it was a great team effort. But we should remember that the races so far this year have shown that qualifying is not as important as it used to be and it's more important to have a good car for the race. I'm pretty happy with my set-up for tomorrow and feel more comfortable with the car than I did at the last race. In terms of the tyres, the hard seemed to perform very well yesterday, but the softs are looking good in the higher temperatures so it will be interesting to see how that develops in the race.
Paul di Resta (13th, Q2 - 1m 27.145s)
I think it was another great team performance today and we are roughly where we expected to be. There were no problems in Q1, and in Q2 I only did one run because we thought it would optimise our race strategy and save a set of tyres. I'm happy with my set-up for the race and I think we've sacrificed a bit more today to have a better car tomorrow. Hopefully that will put us in a reasonable position to fight the cars ahead of us and pick up some more points.
Robert Fernley, Force India deputy team principal
A pretty good day overall. Starting in P12 and P13 puts us in a great position to race strongly and hopefully challenge for more points. It was a shame that we just missed out on getting ahead of Barrichello, but ultimately Williams were just a little quicker today. For the race I think we can expect more of what we saw in China with lots of action throughout the field. It will be interesting to see how the tyres hold up, especially with the demands of turn eight, and we know there are some good overtaking opportunities in the lap which should make for some exciting racing.
Sergio Perez (15th, Q2 - 1m 27.244s)
Of course Im disappointed about todays qualifying result. In Q1 my lap time with the harder tyre compound was okay, but then in Q2 the run on the softer compound was not good. Generally we did some changes after Fridays practice sessions. It was quite difficult to do the set-up because of the changing weather conditions. Some changes were in the right direction and others were not. However, my car was ok in qualifying. It will not be an easy race for us but I still hope to manage to score a point tomorrow.
Kamui Kobayashi (DNQ, Q1 - no time)
I went out to do a first run right when Q1 started because I wanted to check another set up option. But then on the middle of the back straight the engine suddenly stopped. It was a problem with the fuel system. I hoped to make it back into the garage but I stopped before the pit lane entrance. Anyway, for me the session would have been over even if I had make it into the garage because it takes a lot of time to change the fuel system. I have to accept that it was bad luck for me and I want to do a good race tomorrow. Although I like overtaking a lot, I must admit there are an awful lot of cars between me and the first point.
Peter Sauber, Sauber team principal
A problem in the fuel system hindered Kamui from setting a lap time in Q1. That was it for him. The result of Sergio was disappointing for me. Based on his competitive lap time in the first part of qualifying on the hard compound we expected him to make it into Q3, however, for some reason he was not able to extract the maximum from the soft tyres. We calculated a diffrerence of app. one second, but this was finally not the case.
James Key, Sauber technical director
In the morning we carried on with the work from yesterday with some set-up changes to the cars and working still on some mechanical parts. Sergio was quite happy. We had a little bit of work to do with bouncing the car. Sergio didnt quite get the most out of his run on the soft tyres in the morning. Kamui wasnt particularly happy. It seemed that the consistency of the car was a bit tricky for him. Missing the soft tyre rund yesterday didnt quite help. For qualifying we changed Kamuis set to where he was the night before. We sent him out early to check the car, but then he had a sudden drop in fuel pressure. It looks to be fuel problem on the high pressure side which we need to investigate because its something we havent seen before. That was a shame for Kamui. That presents him with a big challenge for tomorrow, but hes a fighter and he as a lot of new tyres. There are still opportunities int the race. Sergios Q1 lap was on prime tyres and was pretty competitive. In Q2 he used two sets of option tyres but he didnt find the benefit that we needed to go through to Q3. We just found half a second of the one second plus we expected. This we need to understand. Overall a disappointing qualifying, and we need to work hard to head towards the top then as best we can.
Sebastien Buemi (16th, Q2 - 1m 27.255s)
Its a bit hard to understand why we are so far off. I would say that this morning, the track was quicker for us and I am not sure why I could not do the same lap time this afternoon as I managed in the morning. Maybe its down to the drastic increase in temperature that we seem to have lost some grip. Overall, I am therefore disappointed with this qualifying session as I feel we could have done better and maybe been higher up on the grid, as one tenth of a second would have made a big difference. Lets see what happens tomorrow, when apparently there is a chance it might rain and that could change everything.
Jaime Alguersuari (17th, Q2 - 1m 27.572s)
All things considered, this is not such a bad result as at least we have saved a set of new tyres for the race which is a positive point. Maybe we could have improved the balance of the car on another set, as it changed a lot from this morning to the afternoon, which was down to the change in temperature and track condition. I did not do so much running in the morning which obviously did not help. But I must be positive and am looking forward to having a good race tomorrow as we have enough tyres to do well, so lets see what happens.
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
I am not surprised at this result: the gaps have got smaller between the teams in our part of the pack. However, I do not understand yet why we did not improve our times from this morning, although one can assume that the increased temperature has changed the balance of the cars. Jaime has had a difficult time so far here and we had to change his set-up dramatically from yesterday to today, when he improved a little but not enough and he lost time with his spin. Sebastien looked a bit better this morning, but there was already a hint that Williams had made some more progress. We came here with a few new parts, but it has not been enough. In Q2, we did not want to put all our eggs in one basket, so while Seb tried a second run to see if he could improve his performance, with Jaime we opted to save a fresh set of tyres for tomorrows race. As things turned out, it seems Jaime has come off best in that particular decision.
Heikki Kovalainen (18th, Q1 - 1m 28.780s)
"I'm happy with that. We only have to find a little bit more to join the fight in Q2 but today we had a good strategy and got everything that we could from the tyres. I'm pleased with my own performance - the quick lap was right on the money with no mistakes so it's a good feeling to keep edging closer. We're all looking forward to the Barcelona upgrade package where hopefully that will deliver a greater performance gain compared to what the opposition will bring but we're nearly there so for now it's just about keeping up the effort and putting in another strong performance tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (19th, Q1 - 1m 29.673s)
"I'm pretty much satisfied with my run today. Unfortunately I had a DRS issue which obviously costs a lot of time on a circuit like this but I think that all round we did as good a job as we could today. Our race pace definitely gives us a chance to fight with the cars ahead so hopefully we can sort out the DRS issue and replicate what we did in the race in China."
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader for Lotus
"It was quite a good day when you look at the result, especially for the engine because the weather yesterday had limited our running. This morning we worked on the driveability characteristics of the engine and have had some very good feedback from the drivers on that, so that's another step forward. Cooling-wise, the car was okay because it was colder today than the usual ambient conditions in Turkey, so the engines ran well in the qualifying session."
Riad Asmat, Lotus chief executive officer
We keep edging ever closer. Half a second now from Q2 is another improvement and I think its a measure of our ongoing development that we keep pushing the teams ahead. Were still 18 months old and the fact we have, relatively, made the biggest performance gains of any of the teams this season is a sign of the fact we are now an established team ourselves and will keep progressing to make good on that title as the season progresses.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
"I think we can be reasonably happy with qualifying and both drivers got the most they could out of the car. Unfortunately we went into qualifying knowing that we had a problem with the DRS on Jarnos car and that costs quite a lot of time around Istanbul Park which explains his final position. However, we know that we are kinder on the tyres in the race than the cars in front of us so I think we can have a very competitive Sunday and take the fight to the cars in front."
Jerome DAmbrosio (20th, Q1 - 1m 30.445s)
Another good day for me although we had hoped for something a bit better in terms of performance. But that's where we are at present with the new package. We need to keep our heads down and keep pushing forward, keep improving and fine-tuning it to the track. In terms of my own performance I'm happy because I maintained the level I was at in Shanghai, which shows I have learned a lot and also applied what I've learned. But it's a long road for me, I still need to understand why sometimes things go well and sometimes they don't, so I will continue to keep working hard and keep a cool head.
Timo Glock (22nd, Q1 - 1m 30.813s)
Not a perfect qualifying for me for sure. I suffered some engine hesitations in Turns 12-14, which we will address for tomorrow, but otherwise from my side it was okay. For some reason though, I wasnt able to get the same from the car as Jerome today, so well have to look at the data and see if there is something we did wrong, maybe between practice three and qualifying, but there wasnt so much to change so right now I cant say. I have to focus on tomorrow now when we hope for better things and to bring both cars to the finish.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
Jerome continues to impress with his rapid development and again achieved two clean qualifying laps, finding time on his second lap in run one and again in his second run. Overall a grade A performance with no faults. We are however disappointed that he will have to start the race from the back of the grid as a result of a yellow flag infringement yesterday, for which we the team must also take some responsibility. Having said that he faces a real racers race tomorrow to recover and based on what we have seen so far I have no doubt that he will be exciting to watch. Overnight we made a big change to Timos car to remove the exhaust and floor elements of the new upgrade. Although there were clear signs that the downforce levels at the rear of the car had improved with it, yesterday we experienced a number of teething problems, especially with heat management, and it was clear that continuing to run it wouldnt be an option for Qualifying and the race. Unfortunately this is just a natural consequence of not being able to test developments prior to bring to bringing them into the field. It is also clear that there is a big difference between the way the car is balanced for the old package versus the new upgrades and I think this goes some way towards explaining why Timo struggled a little in qualifying. FP3 is always a tough session to get the car balanced before qualifying. Timos car is also using the tyres slightly more aggressively than Jerome and his second laps didnt yield an improvement when it looked like this lap had the best potential. He faces a tough race tomorrow as well but we have shown ourselves to be stronger in the race and Im hopeful that we can use a better race pace and the kind of drive he demonstrated towards the end of the last race in particular to turn things to our advantage.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st, Q1 - 1m 30.692s)
We were motivated coming into this weekend with the upgrades and were pushing for more in the future. Were all pushing every race and every hour back in the factory so this result is important as it is a reward for that work and confirms that the gap is closing with the rest. Were nearly ahead of both Virgins which is our aim, theyre pushing as well so it wont be easy. But were closing the gap with the leaders, which is very important for us. I struggled a bit at the beginning with the first set of tyres but the second set had a really good performance, the car reacted very well. We had a few problems in the morning, we were a bit worried we didnt have the right balance for qualifying but in the end it all went well. 21st position is a great result for tomorrow where we will try to finish ahead of both Virgins which is our target. It is important to keep in this line.
Narain Karthikeyan (23rd, Q1 - 1m 31.564s)
I shouldve done better today considering that my team mate did quite a good lap. My first set of tyres was alright but with the second set I couldnt feel any grip, the car was sliding all over the place so we must try and find out what went wrong. Its my third race back in Formula One and Turkey is not an easy track, there are a lot of bumps and its quite technical. So the longer I spend in the car the more comfortable I will get. The car is improving a lot, reliability is good so once again my aim for tomorrow is to try and finish the race.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
Qualifying was not bad today, as predicted yesterday we made a step forward. We were ahead of one Virgin car and very close to the other one, it wouldve been possible for Tonio to be ahead but nevertheless were very happy to be close to our main competitors and also to the top, being 3.6 seconds off the quickest time in Q1 is very positive. Tomorrow were hoping for a nice race in which we can fight with others to finish in a good position.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
"It's been a great qualifying session, and I'd like to congratulate not only Sebastian Vettel but also Mercedes for a fantastic performance. All the ingredients are there for an exciting race tomorrow, and the teams are already thinking about their tyre strategy. In terms of tyre wear here, the front-right tyre is the limiting factor, but we've already seen teams completing up to 20 laps here with this tyre, so we're confident that this shouldn't be an issue. We're expecting dry weather, which means that we should see about three pit stops, but different teams are likely to try different things: just one of the elements that has made Formula One so interesting this year."
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