Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 11 Jun 2011
Lotuss Jarno Trulli on managing to outqualify team mate Heikki Kovalainen for the first time this season; Jaime Alguersuari on failing to make it through to Q2 for Toro Rosso; Pedro de la Rosa on how it feels to be back qualifying for Sauber after temporarily replacing Sergio Perez; and Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel on once again taking the top slot on the grid. All the drivers and leading team personnel report back on Saturday in Montreal
Sebastian Vettel (1st, Q3 - 1m 13.014s)
Im happy with that. Weve made up some ground from last year when we committed to a different strategy and sacrificed qualifying, but this year I feel comfortable. I had a rough start yesterday morning, but thankfully the guys could fix the car and I had more practice in the afternoon, which is important here. Its a tricky track to understand, with the kerbs and the chicanes, coming from high speeds with hard braking, but we had a smooth qualifying session today and two very good runs. All in all, Im very happy. Its obviously a big step weve made today, but the big task comes tomorrow. The conditions are likely to change and Im sure well see some rain the question is when and how much. Well see, but P1 is the best position to start from.
Mark Webber (4th, Q3 - 1m 13.429s)
It was a good afternoon and I was happy with how we recovered. I couldnt have got much more out of the car for qualifying today; I didnt have KERS, which affected my performance. The guys did everything they could to get it ready after the problem we had this morning and we were confident that it was fixed, but on the formation lap it lapsed again. We tried to recover it for Q3, but it wasnt possible. A front row would have been nice to have here, but fourth is towards the front and the second row is good considering our day. Its a long Grand Prix tomorrow and theres likely to be a bit of weather coming in, so it should be an interesting race.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
Its fantastic to get our first pole position in Montreal. It was a great performance by Sebastian again today, completing two laps in Q3 that were good enough for pole. The Ferraris have been very quick here and we expect them and McLaren to be a big challenge tomorrow. Mark made a good recovery without the benefit of KERS, which we know is worth a couple of tenths here. It was a great performance from him and he will start from the second row at a track where you can overtake.
Fernando Alonso (2nd, Q3 - 1m 13.199s)
Its been a long time - since Singapore 2010 in fact - that I was last on the front row and I am pleased that Felipe is also right up close to me on the starting grid. It means the whole team has worked well, at the track and back home on trying to improve our car performance. It was important to show we can be competitive and we managed it. In Q3, we had some doubts about strategy -whether it would be better to do just a single lap at the start and then three or split the runs equally - but its hard to say which would really have been the best choice. Clearly, on a track like this, where aerodynamic downforce is not as important as elsewhere, our deficiencies are a bit masked but its equally true that the updates we brought here worked as we had expected and thats important for the rest of the championship, because we want to be fighting for the top places. It could rain tomorrow, which would make the race even more chaotic than usual: we must be ready to make the most of any opportunity. We will try to put the Red Bulls under pressure, right from the start, but we know McLaren will also be very strong, especially as their rear wing is possibly better adapted to the conditions in the case of a wet track.
Felipe Massa (3rd, Q3 - 1m 13.217s)
Its been a great weekend so far: we have always been competitive and finally we will be able to start from a good grid position. Tomorrow, the weather could be different and therefore we must be ready to tackle any eventuality. I have been happy with the way the car is handling right from yesterday and I am very confident for the race. The team is working well and we really hope we can put an end to this run of negative results. The fact the gap to the Red Bull is smaller here is encouraging, also for the future. We know that at this track, the race is very difficult, but also, from what we have seen so far, our car is more competitive in the race than in qualifying. I expect McLaren will be very strong tomorrow as will be the Red Bulls obviously. A podium would be a great result, fighting for the win would be even better. What will happen if it rains? Thats a good question, because this year we have never had a real opportunity to run in the wet. On top of that, at this track, the slightest slip up carries a very high price, therefore its important to be very careful.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
For the first time this year we managed to fight for the very top places on the grid, right down to the final second and, for once, the gap to pole position is reasonable. Its our best qualifying of the season and its great to have both cars on the front two rows, one of them with a clear view of the track ahead: this result is encouraging, because it means that our efforts are taking us in the right direction. Definitely, at the moment, our car is better suited to the characteristics of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit than it is to the one at Montmelo, but its no coincidence that we have been competitive right from the start of the weekend. Now however, we must concentrate on preparing for a race that looks like being very unpredictable. Historically, Canada produces an action packed Grand Prix, with the Safety Car usually required on track and lots of overtaking opportunities: if you add to this scenario the unknown factor concerning the weather, then its clear why tomorrows 70 laps will seem very, very long for everyone.
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
We are pleased with this result, the best since the championship began. The credit for that goes to everyone: the drivers who did not make any driving errors on an unforgiving track, the team that prepared the cars with great care and everyone at Maranello who worked with alacrity to make up the performance gap that separates us from the best. However, we have yet to bring home any points from this Grand Prix, so we must stay completely focussed on preparations for tomorrows race, which will be long and unpredictable. The rain could play a part and we will have to be ready to react in the right way to any eventuality. On behalf of the whole team, my thoughts go out to Marco Oliva, one of our mechanics who was injured during a pit stop today: these things can happen in our sport and we hope Marco gets better very soon.
Lewis Hamilton (5th, Q3 - 1m 13.565s)
Personally, I was very happy with my lap: I dont think Ive ever driven a car as hard in my life as I did this afternoon. I was right on the ragged edge and I think I even touched the wall at one stage. But, even so, I managed only P5; that was all I could do. Nonetheless, Im still hopeful that well bring further improvements to the car soon - its just a matter of time. I hope our race pace will prove to be stronger tomorrow than our qualifying pace was today: were losing a couple of tenths along the back straight, which hurt us in qualifying. Weve got a long seventh gear - a bit too long for qualifying perhaps - but that should be good for overtaking and will be a help when Im slipstreaming as it means I wont be on the limiter. That should enable me to challenge the guys in front of me, in fact. Its going to be a tough afternoon tomorrow, but its always a long and unpredictable race here and were definitely not out of the fight.
Jenson Button (7th, Q3 - 1m 13.838s)
We didnt quite have the pace that wed hoped for - and thats a little frustrating. My last lap in Q3 was looking really good - but then I overdrove, started locking up and lost a bit of time. I was very close to pipping Nico (Rosberg) at the end, but I suppose starting sixth wouldnt have been a whole lot better than starting seventh. Also, in P7 Im on the clean side of the grid for the start. Our race pace is always better than our qualifying pace, and this is a circuit where you can overtake, so weve got to hope well be able to make some progress through the field. Fortunately, our consistency on both the soft and supersoft tyres has looked pretty good. Well do the best we can - Im sure itll be a fun race.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Perhaps our cars had a little bit too much downforce for todays qualifying session, which was dry; but, if it rains tomorrow, which is what the weather forecast tells us it will probably do, then we should be in good shape. However, wet or dry, we know that Lewis and Jenson are both fantastic racers - and brilliant overtakers - and we therefore expect them to challenge competitively tomorrow from their respective starting positions of fifth and seventh. There have been 47 Canadian Grands Prix in all, and McLaren has won 11 of them. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a great racetrack, and it often produces an eventful race. So lets see what happens tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg (6th, Q3 - 1m 13.814s)
"Generally we have made good progress this weekend and qualifying in sixth position was good for us today. I'm pretty confident that we can do better in the race, certainly compared to our pace in Monaco. We've put in a lot of work on race performance and I hope we can translate that tomorrow. It's good to have saved a set of new options as well."
Michael Schumacher (8th, Q3 - 1m 13.864s)
"We can be quite happy with today's qualifying. I had lost drive momentarily after turn four during my last lap but otherwise I had a clean lap. We will have to analyse why that happened, but all went pretty well other than that. We have developed our set-up in the right direction over the weekend, and the long runs looked quite good this morning, so we should be ok in the race."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We had very solid qualifying session today with both the drivers and team doing a good job. We have given ourselves a decent chance with the tyres and have a set of new options left for both drivers for the race, so overall it was a pretty decent afternoon. We know for the future that we have to find some lap time but so far, we have made the best of what we have this weekend."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"It was a respectable performance from our team and drivers. Nico in sixth place was eight-tenths behind Vettel's pole time, while Michael was five-hundredths, and two positions, behind his team-mate. In practice this morning, we focused on race simulation work and our lap times looked quite ok; as a result, we saved tyres in qualifying. With two runs in Q3, we might have been able to climb a position or two on the grid. However, a fresh set of tyres for tomorrow will be even more beneficial - even if stays dry, of course."
Nick Heidfeld (9th, Q3 - 1m 14.062s)
I am extremely happy because I think I achieved the maximum I could have done today. We actually drove with more downforce than normal, as we were gambling a bit and hoping for wet conditions tomorrow. We made some minor adjustments with the car today and certainly got what we could have done from it. Im also happier with how Im driving on the supersoft tyres; yesterday I was not satisfied but today I really got used to them, and I think that showed through my lap times. Obviously you always want to be higher up than P9 but being in the top ten is satisfying and we will try to improve on this tomorrow by securing a good pace and gaining some places.
Vitaly Petrov (10th, Q3 - 1m 14.085s)
The track temperatures were much lower than yesterday and it was very difficult to warm-up the tyres properly throughout qualifying. As a result, I was lacking grip out there and I lost a bit of time during my quickest lap. This said, Nick and I got to Q3 and this is a good thing considering the problems we had in Monaco. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it is really difficult to make any prediction. Montreal is almost always a crazy race and the safety car is often a part of it. Also, the weather forecast is looking unsettled so we can expect anything. As a result, tomorrow will be a case of adapting ourselves to the conditions and taking every single opportunity.
Alan Permane, chief race engineer
In a way, were pleased to have both cars in the top 10 today. It shows that weve uncovered the problems we had in Monaco, and that the solutions weve brought here are the right ones. However, we cant be happy with a fifth row. We need to work harder and get more performance out of the car. Its difficult to say, really. However, its true to think that the weather conditions could play a big role in tomorrows race. This is the reason why we have chosen two different set-ups. Even if their lap times were very close today, Nick and Vitaly are carrying different levels of downforce. As you know, when it rains, were only allowed to change the cooling of the cars. Nick will carry more downforce than Vitaly tomorrow and, depending on the weather, this could be a very strong position to be in. Their cars are not identical but they did a good job and could play on different strategies tomorrow.
Paul di Resta (11th, Q2 - 1m 14.752s)
We were very close to making it through to Q3 today, but in the end we had to settle for P11. Maybe the tyre strategy we opted for was not optimal for qualifying, but Ive managed to save a set of new options for the race so hopefully that will help us tomorrow. I also lost a couple of tenths at the second chicane on my final lap and without this I could maybe have squeezed into Q3. But to be honest there wasnt much more to come. P11 is a good place to start from and its probably better to be on the clean side of the track. Weve been competitive here since the start of the weekend and Im sure we can have a good race tomorrow and hopefully score some points.
Adrian Sutil (14th, Q2 - 1m 15.287s)
It hasnt been the easiest of weekends so far, but I was still hoping for a bit more from the qualifying session. Unfortunately I made a mistake in the hairpin on my last lap. I hit a bump under braking which caused the rear tyres to lock and I slid wide. The race tomorrow will be a little bit of a step into the unknown for me because I didnt manage to do any long runs on high fuel during practice and its difficult to judge race pace. We also dont know what the weather will do, but there is a high risk of rain. I will be pushing hard whatever the weather.
Robert Fernley, Force India deputy ream principal
The high-speed layout of this track always seems to suit our cars and once again this year weve been running in or close to the top ten in most of the sessions. Paul has done a good job of learning the track and has steadily built up his pace throughout practice. He only narrowly missed out on making it through to Q3, which is a great effort considering this is his first visit here. Adrian has done well to recover from a lack of running following his problems yesterday, although he lost a few tenths on his final lap, without which he could have been alongside Paul. Overall I think we can be pleased with our showing today, which leaves us well place to bring home a strong result tomorrow.
Pastor Maldonado (12th, Q2 - 1m 15.043s)
I got 100 percent out of the car this afternoon so Im happy with my qualifying performance. For sure its better to be in the top ten, but there are plenty of variables expected in this race. Our pace is good and the field is very close. We are not too far from the points and, with overtaking possible here, theres every chance we can have a good day tomorrow. I think its going to be an exciting race.
Rubens Barrichello (16th, Q2 - 1m 15.361s)
Unfortunately, we had with a problem with the front disc in Q2. It wasnt coming up to temperature so the car was pulling to one side and eventually caused me to go off the track. In the end, it cost us a lot of time and forced us to change our strategy. We actually have a very good car that is capable of better things but there are overtaking opportunities here, and we have the pace, so there is every reason to be positive for a strong race.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
We weren't quick enough for the top ten today but Pastor did well to get the most out of his car. He probably could have gone better but he ran out of KERS on his fastest lap as we werent able to re-charge it quickly enough. Rubens had some brake warm-up issues on his car and so he wasnt able to get his best lap together. This race always presents opportunities, however, and the team will be pushing hard for more points.
Kamui Kobayashi (13th, Q2 - 1m 15.285s)
It is a difficult weekend for us. After I crashed yesterday the team had to build up the spare chassis for me. My biggest problem here is driving over the kerbs. I have an overall lack of grip and find it really tricky to get to the limit with the car. Nevertheless today the balance of the car improved a bit. I could have gone a few tenths quicker on my last flying lap. I was attacking quite hard and it was good until the middle of the second sector, as I then had a problem with using the rear wing and almost lost the car before the chicane. Our race pace should be good and Im focusing on getting points tomorrow.
Pedro de la Rosa (17th, Q1 - 1m 15.587s)
It is obviously a very eventful time for me. Yesterday morning I didnt expect to sit in a racing car, and this morning I actually didnt expect a lot from qualifying. It is not easy to familiarise yourself with the car and all the new buttons in such a short space of time. Of course, the crash I had this morning didnt help either. I lost the car and then also a bit of confidence goes. I am very happy the team managed to repair the car and I want to thank them. Anyway, every time I jump into the car it goes better. Im quite pleased with the outcome of qualifying and Im optimistic for the race. The Sauber C30 is always stronger in the race than in qualifying. I want to get points for the team as that is what Im here for.
Peter Sauber, Sauber team principal
First of all Id like to thank the mechanics who have had a lot of work this weekend, and did a fantastic job to get two cars ready for qualifying. Kamui finished qualifying in P13, and thats the same position he had in Monaco where he was able to deliver a great result. Considering Pedro only learned yesterday after one oclock that he was going to race this weekend, he did an excellent job making it into Q2. Congratulations!
James Key, Sauber technical director
We had a busy morning to try new set-ups on both cars. For Kamui the priority was to help with the kerbs and warming up the tyres. He just felt a lack of grip yesterday, so we did a lot of work last night to try to improve the car in that respect. It got a little bit better, but we still struggled with making the tyres come in early enough for a good performance in qualifying. Thats something we needed to work on in the latter part of FP3. For Pedro it was important to get some more laps in the car and learn a little bit more about both tyre compounds, as well as the cars behaviour, the systems on the car and the set-up changes we made for him overnight. For Q1 we put him on two sets of super softs, because he didnt get a full run in the morning, and he had no feeling for the super soft tyre in terms of grip. He did a good job making it into Q2, where he ended just three tenths behind his team mate. A really good effort considering he hadnt driven in race conditions since last season. It was a very short call yesterday, and we thank him for all his efforts. Kamui did well to get the tyres to work a little better, although his best lap wasnt quite optimal. I believe theres more to come for tomorrow. I dont think we could have made it into Q3. We are not a hundred percent satisfied, but under the circumstances its still okay where we are. The race is a totally different story.
Sebastien Buemi (15th, Q2 - 1m 15.334s)
I would say we are more or less where I thought we would be, fighting with the Williams and the Saubers. My best lap was pretty good, but Im a bit disappointed that half a tenth of a second cost me two places. It was the right decision to go for a final run in Q2 because without it I would have been further back. Now we must wait and see what happens tomorrow, because I think our race pace is a bit better than what we could produce in qualifying today.
Jaime Alguersuari (18th, Q1 - 1m 16.294s)
Ihave been struggling under braking and, after the morning, we changed something on the set-up to try and improve the car for qualifying. It looked a bit more positive, but I locked up the brakes and flat-spotted the front left tyre which limited my performance on that lap. That kept me out of Q2 which is a shame as the car had the potential to be fifteenth. I still believe we can have a strong race tomorrow, but its important that we try and learn from this session, to see why we are struggling so that we can improve our qualifying performance in Valencia in two weeks time and give me a better feeling from the car.
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso technical director
The result of qualifying is pretty much where I expected us to be, although maybe a little bit better than expected with Sebastien. With Jaime, we are still struggling, as we have not found a way of giving him a car in which he can trust. In terms of race pace, free practice has shown we are in reasonably good shape. I am hoping for a dry race tomorrow, because if it rains, I think we will be at a disadvantage.
Jarno Trulli (19th, Q1 - 1m 16.745s)
I'm pleased with the performance today. It was very windy out there, and a lot cooler than yesterday which maybe affected our ability to get the most out of the tyres, but I think I got as much out of the car as I could on the final lap in qualifying. The gap to the guys ahead keeps coming down and I think with the rain tomorrow it's going to be an eventful race, and hopefully we'll be in a position to take advantage of whatever happens.
Heikki Kovalainen (20th, Q1 - 1m 16.786s)
A pretty good session for me today. The car felt fine and the strategy worked out as we wanted it to so I think we did what we set out to. Little by little we keep on improving and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow - it's going to be eventful and I think what we've shown all season is that we can fight with the guys ahead, so let's see what happens.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader
We can be pleased with the performance today but it was more difficult than yesterday to extract the maximum pace from the car. I think we have some more work to do to get the most out of it but as there is only a small gap to the teams ahead and we have had good speed in the races all season I think that is encouraging for tomorrow.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"I am very happy with today. From my perspective that was the best qualifying of my short career in Formula One because we showed that we did not have to rely on other teams making mistakes or using different tyre strategies to finish the session with a very small gap to making it into Q2 on merit. That is a clear sign that the hard work being put in across the team is paying dividends as we are genuinely edging ever closer to the midfield."
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
That was a good qualifying session for us and overall it has been a very solid weekend so far for the whole team. Both drivers drove well in qualifying - Jarno struggled a bit with the brakes and Heikki couldn't improve on his second set of tyres as he reported that they had lower grip levels than the first, but we finished the session with a small gap to the cars ahead and I think we will have a good race tomorrow.
Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st, Q1 - 1m 18.424)
It will be an interesting Sunday. We showed today that we have made a step forward; were ahead of our closest competitor so weve got an interesting race ahead. The race might be under rain so it could be different to what we expected beforehand but it will make it more exciting and we will have to push hard to get the best out of the car. For me the 107 percent rule is not a problem anymore but, for sure, in this kind of circuit where KERS and DRS make a difference, we werent that far off it but its not something that should worry us for the future, we must just focus on beating our rivals. The new exhaust seems to be working well but we still have to get the best out of it. It takes a few races to optimize this, we have to understand the system a little more and make it work better for the future.
Narain Karthikeyan (23rd, Q1 - 1m 18.574)
I struggled with the warm up on my first set of tyres, something changed in the car from yesterday to today. My front left wheel locked up when braking hard so I lost a bit of time on that, apart from that Id say it was not the best lap but were very close to both being ahead of our nearest rivals. Ive made some progress in the last few races, Im only a tenth away from Tonio so, after five and a half years out of Formula One, it is a good feeling to be so close. I need one last push which will come as the season progresses. Looking ahead to tomorrow, our rear tyres are wearing very quickly but I guess a lot of cars are having the same problem so we will try our best to keep it under control.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
I think it has been proven that we have made a step forward, we qualified ahead of the Virgins and the gap with Lotus is smaller than in previous races and it couldve been even smaller. Tonio was two tenths quicker than in his fastest lap when he spun on his last lap and I assume he couldve been between two and four tenths quicker if he would have finished the lap. All in all its quite positive, we have to keep pushing and improve the car For tomorrow we dont know the weather conditions, the forecast is rain but this could change. If it rains it will be a crazy grand prix, it could turn out to be a lottery which traditionally favours the smaller teams.
Timo Glock (22nd, Q1 - 1m 18.537s)
Quite a tough day for us I think. We tried to concentrate on getting a setup for wet conditions as the forecast was strongly indicating rain and so our downforce level is more suitable for wet conditions than for dry. The predictions are still uncertain but we hope this will work in our favour. It will probably be quite difficult to turn it around tomorrow, but at least we have enough downforce to save the tyres. We just have to see what tomorrow brings.
Jerome DAmbrosio (Q1 - 1m 19.414s)
Its been a tough 24 hours since my crash yesterday - both for me and the team. Getting the car built overnight and running again was a huge task for the guys but only half the battle as we then had just this mornings free practice session to try to arrive at a setup that would enable us to qualify. In the end it wasnt enough and Im just very disappointed for myself and the team to have missed out. The car felt completely different to yesterday and clearly Timos time is more representative of what we should have achieved in qualifying. I am very appreciative of the fact that the Stewards have permitted me to race and Im now focusing on tomorrow.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
It was a long night for the team but in the end both cars were ready to run in time for Free Practice Three this morning. Jeromes crew did a fantastic job to prepare his car to our usual standards, so all credit to them. With the disruptions in the session yesterday we devoted some of this mornings Free Practice 3 session to preparing for the race and perhaps in hindsight we should have allocated further time to our qualifying setup. Weve seen quite a few varying weather forecasts over the last few days and on Friday afternoon, when deciding on the ratios we would run for the rest of the weekend, we opted to use our high downforce rear wing as at the time weather forecasts for Saturday and Sunday indicated a chance of rain. Overnight these forecasts changed slightly to say the qualifying session would be dry so we knew it would always be tough for us in these conditions. As they always say you can never predict the weather and the latest forecasts are suggesting that the conditions may swing back in our favour. Despite the fact that Jerome failed to qualify today we are grateful to the Stewards for permitting him to race, having considered that he did set a suitable lap time during a free practice session, that he has consistently met the criteria under Article 36.3 this season and the extent of the overnight repairs required by the damage incurred in Free Practice Two. After the disappointment of qualifying it is both a relief and a justifiable reward to the mechanics for their substantial efforts through the night. It will be a tough race for him having been so unhappy with the car this morning so we will spend the evening looking at what we can do to help him have a better race.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
There were a number of tactical choices for the teams to make today and the weather certainly kept everyone guessing. This obliged the teams to run the supersoft tyres maybe earlier than they would have done normally, and this is sure to affect race strategy as well tomorrow. Ferrari have shown themselves to be consistently quick all weekend so far, and weve seen in the past just how strong their race pace is. With a high chance of rain as well, we are all set for a very exciting and unpredictable race tomorrow.
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