Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes 28 Jul 2012
Jenson Button on struggling for balance in his McLaren; Red Bullls Mark Webber and Mercedes team mates Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg on failing to go through to the top-ten shootout; Williams Bruno Senna on making the Q3 grade for the first time this season; and Lewis Hamilton on taking his first pole position since March and McLarens 150th. All 24 drivers and senior team personnel report back on Saturdays action
Lewis Hamilton (1st, Q3 - 1m 20.953s)
Im really happy! Its been a really good weekend so far. After Jenson was able to demonstrate the pace of our car in the last Grand Prix, at Hockenheim, now for us to be able to come to Budapest this weekend and be really on it is just great. It was tough out there this afternoon, though, but I really enjoyed every lap and the crowd support was absolutely phenomenal. So I want to say a big thank you to all the fans. Our upgrades are working. Jenson and I always want more speed still thats natural for any racing driver but the guys back at Woking, and here in Budapest, have done a brilliant job. Our car now feels fantastic. Weve been fine-tuning its setup all weekend. Believe me: as long as we remain fully focused on developing our car, and getting good results, then anything is still possible for us this year. My feeling is that the start of tomorrows race will be extremely important. Im really hoping that Ill be able to make a clean getaway off the line and then stay ahead while looking after the tyres. Im told that todays pole position is the 150th in McLarens history. Thats a truly fantastic achievement. Im extremely proud to be able to contribute to the ongoing success of such a great team, especially as I first met Ron (Dennis, Executive Chairman, McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive) when I was just 10 years old. I remember the occasion really well. I told Ron that one day I wanted to be driving for his team. And here we are today. I cant wait for tomorrows race!
Jenson Button (4th, Q3 - 1m 21.583s)
I was much happier with the car in qualifying today than Id been in Free Practice this morning and yesterday. I wasnt quite as happy as Lewis obviously - he did a great job today so well done to him for that - but I feel pretty good, all in all. Its a pity that I just missed out on P3 at the end of Q3, because the odd-number side of the circuit is quite a bit cleaner than the even-number side. If Id stayed in P3, it would have made it a bit easier to get a good start tomorrow. But P4 isnt too bad. As I said after Free Practice yesterday, being quick here is all about getting the perfect balance. I think today proved that. I didnt quite manage to get that perfect balance here this afternoon, but Lewis clearly did. In fact I think Lewiss performance shows how real our cars pace is now.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
"Lewis totally dominated qualifying today - in Q1, in Q2 and in Q3 - which was naturally satisfying for all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. In truth, to use Lewiss own phrase, hes been on it ever since he arrived here. And his long runs, carrying heavy fuel loads, have been encouraging too. Jenson also did an excellent job to qualify in fourth spot, which makes him well positioned to mount a serious challenge for a major placing from the second row of the starting grid for tomorrows Grand Prix. He hadnt had as straightforward a time of things as Lewis had, either this morning or yesterday, but he showed real mettle, true grit and immense natural ability here this afternoon. Overtaking is usually tricky here, although its level of difficulty may be mitigated somewhat tomorrow by the pitstraight DRS zone. From our point of view, lets hope Lewis gets a good start - and that overtaking remains as much of a challenge as ever thereafter! Last but far from least, I want to pay tribute to all the men and women who, over the past 40 years, have put so much hard work into securing a grand total of 150 pole positions for McLaren. Thats right: todays was our 150th. For all you train-spotters out there, our first was scored by Peter Revson, at Mosport Park, in Canada, on September 23rd 1972, in a McLaren M19C, with a lap-time of 1min 13.6sec. Oh, and, by the way, I havent forgotten the 1968 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, where we also got the pole, but that was a non-championship Formula One race!
Romain Grosjean, (2nd, Q3 - 1m 21.366s)
Qualifying was very tight and it was difficult to see where we would end up so on the front row is fantastic. We came here after a difficult weekend at Hockenheim and to be honest I didnt get off to the best start yesterday. We worked hard to improve things overnight and the car felt much better in practice this morning. Im very happy and just a little bit surprised to be P2 on the grid. Todays job is done, lets see what we can do tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen, (5th, Q3 - 1m 21.730s)
Not a bad qualifying performance for sure, but its a bit disappointing I didnt go faster when it mattered. The car feels good, but I didnt get the crucial lap together at the right time. Lets see what happens tomorrow.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
Its been a good day. Its great to be on the front row with Romain. Wed like to have seen Kimi a little further up the order - especially as his Q2 time was better than he achieved in Q3 - but overall its been an excellent weekend so far; lets hope that continues tomorrow. Our target has been to improve our qualifying performance; weve clearly demonstrated that today. Were starting from the front row so there is good potential. Its a difficult circuit to overtake - one of the hardest next to Monaco and Singapore. A good start will clearly be very important. After the start, even with the DRS, the straight is not long enough to mount an overtaking bid unless a car ahead is suffering from tyre degradation or something else to slow them down.
Sebastian Vettel (3rd, Q3 - 1m 21.416s)
It was difficult session for us. We didnt get into qualifying how we would like and the rhythm wasnt there straight away. We burned more tyres than we thought in the beginning, so we only had one new set for Q3. The run we had was okay, but I didnt get the same feeling that I got at the end of Q2, which was a surprise, so we didnt seem to go with the track and make another step. Romain was in reach, but Lewis was another step. We know its difficult to overtake here, but hopefully we will have a good start. Tyre management will be crucial.
Mark Webber (11th, Q2 - 1m 21.715s)
I was happy with the car this morning, I was quick in P3, but I didnt feel happy on that last set of soft tyres in Q2 and struggled against my scrub time, which is a bit bizarre. The field is tight at the moment and its disappointing to qualify in P11 obviously. Our race pace should be okay tomorrow.
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
A very busy qualifying session. Both drivers made it through Q1 on the hard tyre and were able to abort the beginning of their timed laps on the softer compound, which they then ran at the beginning of Q2. Mark posted a good time, but wasnt below our own cut off, so both drivers went out again in Q2. Sebastian managed to improve; unfortunately the lap time didnt come from Mark -there was only 3 tenths (of a second) between P2 and P11, but that was where Marks qualifying ended. Sebastian had one set of tyres left, so we decided to run in the middle of the session and a strong lap from him puts him P3 on the grid for tomorrows race. I think P2 would have been our optimum today - Lewis time over a single lap was unreachable, but were confident weve got a good race car.
Fernando Alonso (6th, Q3 - 1m 21.844s)
We were expecting a very difficult qualifying and so it was. We saw at least eight cars two McLarens, two Force Indias, two Red Bulls and Lotus, running very competitively and therefore, just getting to Q3 was in itself a difficult target to reach. We did it and we also managed to slightly improve the handling of the car in the final part, working on the tyre pressures and the front wing. We definitely didnt get a perfect lap: we lost a handful of tenths in a few corners. The wind was stronger than this morning and I think that took everyone a bit by surprise. All things considered, sixth place is not to be sneered at, far from it. Its true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything. Furthermore theres the unknown factor regarding the behaviour of the tyres, because yesterday no one here was able to really try them over a long run. We will have to be super concentrated, especially in how we manage the tyres. In the dry, we are not yet able to fight for the very top places, and we are well aware of that. Usually, in the race, the situation improves and so we hope we can finish in the top four or five when its time for the chequered flag. Our aim will be to mark our closest rival in the Drivers classification and today we know we will be starting ahead of him. Lets see what the situation will be tomorrow evening.
Felipe Massa (7th, Q3 - 1m 21.900s)
Not an easy qualifying for the team. Both Fernando and myself struggled to put together a perfect lap, which can be seen from the fact we were quicker in Q2 than Q3. A shame, because in Q2, I had done a good time and I was expecting to improve still further, but unfortunately, I was slower: I suddenly had less grip and a lot of oversteer, so now we must find out why. It will be very hot tomorrow and it could also rain, so we will need to be on top of whatever situation arises. We will need to study carefully the little data we have relating to tyre behaviour: from the little we could see, there is a definite degradation with the Softs, which could make itself felt even more with a full fuel load. We will have to wait and see how things turn out in what will be a long race tomorrow, but I think we are still in with a chance of fighting for a podium finish, even if we are up against very strong opposition. The Hungaroring has been the scene of several important moments in my career, starting with the cruel blow of heading for certain victory in 2008 only to be robbed of it by an engine failure, followed a year later by my accident. So many people here have remained close to me and continue to support me, so I am doubly disappointed, as I wanted to reward them with a great result this afternoon. Well try and do it tomorrow!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
It was a very complicated and difficult qualifying, which is actually what we were expecting. Right from Q1, Fernando struggled a bit on his first set of Mediums, but we managed to recover from that. The fight to get into Q3 was very tight and it was important to get both Felipe and Fernando into the final part of the session, even if we got there having only one set of new Softs left, which was actually the case for all bar one of the other runners. We were not able to improve our times here, in fact we were slower by over two tenths with both drivers. The main problem this afternoon was putting together the ideal lap. Tomorrow we will find ourselves in a similar situation to the one we saw in the last two races, given that because of the weather, it was not possible to properly assess the tyres over a long run. We will have to rely totally on the predictions and on watching what happens as the race evolves. Another factor could be the rain, which might play its part. We said it before, that on all levels, we dont have the quickest car and there is still a lot of work to do to reach that target. Thats why we cant claim to be disappointed today: the numbers never lie.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
No surprises this afternoon in qualifying. We were well aware that we still do not have the quickest car in terms of outright performance, something we have said so often these past weeks. And we know just how little it takes to miss the cut to the next session when there are so many cars up against one another, all separated by just a few tenths. We managed to get both Fernando and Felipe into Q3 where they secured positions that are nevertheless not too bad in terms of the championship, given that the opponent currently posing the biggest threat to Fernando will start behind us. Furthermore, I would say again today what I said for the past two Saturdays, even though the results then were different and that is, the points are given out only on Sunday after the race and not on Saturday. We can expect a very difficult and demanding race tomorrow, on a track that does not allow the driver to get distracted for a moment and is also very tough on the cars. Theres a degree of uncertainty relating to the weather forecast, which also needs to be taken into account. As always, we will try and do the best we can.
Pastor Maldonado (8th, Q3 - 1m 21.939s)
My qualifying performance was quite good, especially in Q2, but then in Q3 I came across traffic twice. I am happy for the team as we both did a good job to put the team near the front so it's looking positive. It's going to be a tough race here but an important one as getting points is our priority. The gaps are very close but we are both in the top ten and now we need to push for a better position in the race. We have the car and qualifying place for a good finish tomorrow.
Bruno Senna (9th, Q3 - 1m 22.343s)
Its been a good weekend so far and Im really happy to be in the top ten for the first time this season. Q2 was extremely close but we were able to get through. I could have done a better lap in Q3 but Im pleased with the result and having both cars in Q3 is great for the team. The car has felt consistent and our long run pace is looking good. Were in a strong position for the start of the race, so from here Ill be pushing to bring home some good points for the team.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
Both drivers did very well today in qualifying in what is an extremely tight and competitive grid. We are very pleased to get both cars into the final session of qualifying for the first time this season and look forward to the race tomorrow. The forecast indicates that the race is likely to be wet and the rain could be heavy, especially towards the later stages of the race.
Nico Hulkenberg (10th, Q3 - 1m 22.847s)
Im happy to be in the top ten but not satisfied with my quick lap in Q3. I tried too hard and made a mistake, got some dirt on my tyres and couldnt recover the lap. Its a bit frustrating because my laptime from Q2 would have been good enough for sixth on the grid. So Im a bit disappointed, but at the same time Im focussing on the positives because we looked competitive during the session. Now we need to do the same in the race and pick up points.
Paul di Resta (12th, Q2 -1m 21.813s)
I think there was more potential in the car today, but I couldnt get the laptime when it counted during Q2. The main issue was trying to find track position and I had to push very hard on my out lap to make some space, which probably took too much out of the tyres. Its a shame because we were very quick in Q1 and the car has been working well here. We can still have a good race, but it wont be easy with the high temperatures and the fact that its never easy to overtake here.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
We showed good pace today, but we didnt quite maximise our performance when it mattered. Nico did a superb lap to make Q3, but a small error on his final quick lap cost him several positions on the grid. Paul has a similar situation in Q2 when the tyre performance dropped off at the end of the lap and he missed out on making the top ten. The good news is that weve shown that we have a quick car here in Budapest and hopefully we can demonstrate that again tomorrow when it really counts.
Nico Rosberg (13th, Q2 - 1m 21.895s)
That was a difficult qualifying for us today, and we need to analyse why it turned out like that. Qualifying is always a compromise and I was focused on finding a good race set-up for tomorrow as we may have more tyre degradation on our car than others, but it is still disappointing not to make Q3 by two-tenths.
Michael Schumacher (17th, Q2 - 1m 22.723s)
It was quite a tough and difficult day for us. We have to clearly see that we did not have the pace to be in the front. I could have done a faster lap probably, without the dust having been brought to the track by Maldonado, but then I still do not think it would have brought me into Q3. I don't think we could have done much more. This morning we practised for long runs as yesterday we could not do that due to the rain but I don't think it compromised our performance. You have to accept the gap is quite big. We know the combination of track layout and temperature does not suit us too much, and we will try to make the best out of it tomorrow.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
A very disappointing qualifying for us today. The car hasn't been great so far this weekend, and with the margins being so tight, it didn't help us today. We didn't quite get it together with the balance and the tyres, and with the times being so close, this is where we have ended up on the grid as a consequence. Michael was especially unfortunate not to get a proper clean lap with his new tyres in Q2. We are working very hard to improve our position and will continue to do so.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
We made changes to both cars after P3 which lead us in the right direction. However we certainly have not been sorted out like we should and had to pay the price. In Q2, Nico was two-tenths down to P10, and half a second to P2.
Sergio Perez (14th, Q2 - 1m 21.895s)
Basically this was all that was possible for us today. For some reason all weekend we have been struggling with the balance of the car and how to understand how the tyres work on this track. I feel on my car we made a big step forward in regard to the balance between free practice this morning and qualifying. Q1 actually didnt look bad at all, but the car still behaved inconsistently and in Q2 it was so difficult to put a perfect lap together that I didnt make it into Q3.
Kamui Kobayashi (15th, Q2 - 1m 22.300s)
Well, after we have been struggling in all free practice sessions since we got here the qualifying result doesnt come as a complete surprise. To me getting through to Q3 would have been a miracle today. We dont understand why we cant manage to get the tyres to work at this track, and this goes for both compounds as I cant find the grip I need. Perhaps it is track related and has to do with bumps or dust or even something else. It will be another tough race for us because overtaking is particularly difficult here, but certainly we wont give up and will try our best tomorrow.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
Its certainly a difficult weekend. Overall we are struggling quite a lot. Compared to yesterday, we recovered significantly with regard to the set-up of the car, but unfortunately it was not enough. Timewise Checo is not that far back from fourth and fifth. Kamui seemed to struggle more today. We also gave him an additional set of soft tyres, because we realised he was in trouble. We still dont quite understand why things were so difficult for us. However, tomorrow is another day, and we know we are stronger in the race than in qualifying.
Jean-Eric Vergne (16th, Q2 - 1m 22.380s)
I feel I got the most out of the car we have at the moment and dont think I could have gone much quicker. We improved our performance in the dry conditions and got a bit closer to those guys ahead of us. Its always hard to overtake here, but there are many factors to take into account at this track, including tyre degradation. As far as that is concerned, the long run we did this morning looked quite good. Plus, when you look at the way the gap between us and our rivals is always less in the race than on Saturday and, as we seem to have found a bit more performance here, I think we can expect to have a good race tomorrow.
Daniel Ricciardo (18th, Q1 - 1m 23.250s)
Its frustrating and a bit disappointing not to have made the cut to Q2, as this is the first time Ive been stuck in Q1 all season and it would have been nice to keep that sheet clean. The time I set on my first run on the Prime tyre was not too bad, but I was not completely happy with the car so we made a few changes before the Option run. It immediately felt pretty good but as I came down the main straight, I had a Lotus come out the pits in front of me and it stayed there for most of my lap. From the outside, maybe it doesnt look like traffic, but to have someone a couple of seconds in front for a whole lap, can really affect you, especially in qualifying, when you need all the help you can get. It didnt help my cause. In terms of our strategy, it was the right call to only go with one set of Option as I am confident we could have made the cut with a clean first lap. Ill try and make up for this disappointment tomorrow.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
Overall, today, our performance is a slight improvement on yesterday, as we are a little bit closer to those who are usually ahead of us, even if we have not caught up yet. But the gaps are definitely a bit smaller than those we have seen recently in dry track conditions. Specifically here, we were not happy with the car set-up we ran yesterday and so we changed it overnight, which has produced this improvement. Nevertheless, it has not taken us much further up the grid order: Daniels time is not so representative as he got traffic on his fast lap. Jean-Eric made the cut to Q2 and had a fair fight in that session, during which we only ran one set of Options, so maybe we could have done something marginally better with another set, but we will see where having those extra tyres will take us tomorrow. Its a long race here and that leaves the door open for various different strategies, which should produce another interesting race.
Heikki Kovalainen (19th, Q1 - 1m 23.576s)
Its been a positive day today. In FP3 the car immediately felt better balanced and there was more grip so that was a good step from yesterday. In qualifying I think I got as much out of the car as I could today. Im very happy with that last lap, as we made no mistakes and Im pleased with the final balance of the car. Well look ahead now to tomorrows race and keep pushing as always. It could get interesting if there are showers, but overall I feel were making the most of what weve got and we just need to work on improving the performance of the car.
Vitaly Petrov (20th, Q1 - 1m 24.167s)
The day started well with the changes we made overnight improving the overall handling of the car. In qualifying I think we made exactly the right calls on strategy and with the decision to do two runs on the option tyres. I had a good first run but on my second run we went for one flying lap to make the most of the track conditions and unfortunately I ended up losing time in turn eleven which affected my final lap time. Despite that, Im very happy with the set up of the car, and I feel we have progressed well this weekend. Tomorrow is another day and I think we can have a good race, as we have had all season.
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
The final practice session was positive for us. Both drivers reported that the car balance felt much better today, and that the work we did last night, here and back at the factory, had improved the overall feel. In qualifying we ran both drivers on the option tyres on both runs and maximised the knowledge gained from the practice sessions. Our result was what we expected it would be, so now tomorrows focus is on taking every opportunity presented and bringing both cars home with a positive result.
Riad Asmat, Caterham CEO
Overall it has been a positive day. Both drivers performed as well as could be expected with the performance levels that we have at the moment. Its good to see we are a little bit closer to the teams ahead, but we know we still have a lot more work to do to get to where we want to be. We have performed well on Sundays throughout the season, and there is no reason why we cannot sign off for the August break with a positive result from both sides of the garage.
Charles Pic (21st, Q1 - 1m 25.244s)
On the whole, I am quite happy with my qualifying today. On the first set of Soft tyres it was not easy as I made and adjustment to the front flap and experienced a lot of vibration. On the second set I was much happier with the balance of my car but I did not get a clean lap, especially in sector one, much like Hockenheim. It was very hot today and the race will also be tough, but I hope we have the chance to improve tomorrow as is often the case on Sunday. Im looking forward to it.
Timo Glock (22nd, Q1 - 1m 25.476s)
Not a great qualifying for my side. The Free Practice 3 session was quite good but for some reason we didnt make the right changes between the two sessions. In qualifying the car was more nervous again under braking and turning in, so it was definitely not the right direction to take. On my best lap on the first run I hit traffic. On the second run my lap was not so good; I made a couple of mistakes due to the front wheel locking and I lost the rear end, so all in all its not great today.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
FP3 was quite a productive session on both sides of the garage. Wed identified overnight that tyre temperatures were key to achieving performance today and some changes we made overnight appeared to work as we experienced improved warm-up on the Medium tyre. Our experience on the Soft tyre was limited due to yesterdays weather conditions and perhaps this has hurt us slightly with the balance, particularly on Timos car going into qualifying. Consequently we are disappointed with where we stand relative to the cars immediately ahead of us, but we are clearly moving away from the team behind. Operationally, we need to look at where we placed the cars on the track in the first run of qualifying and learn from it, to resolve the issue seen in Timos first run. We know were much stronger in the race and tomorrow will hopefully present the opportunity to keep moving forward.
Pedro de la Rosa (23rd, Q1 - 1m 25.916s)
"I think it was a good qualifying session. Im happy because, step by step, were improving. Today we managed to get down to 125 and we overcame the heating issues with the tyres. We were able to push and, if were objective, this is our time. The Hungaroring is a circuit which I really like and it brings me good memories, but we have to be realistic and tomorrows race will be a tough one. Its a similar circuit to Monaco so overtaking wont be easy. Weve got a good car, which is quite consistent with the tyres, and thats the important thing. We must head into the race fully motivated and concentrated because its very long and physical for the driver because of the heat, so well have to wait and see what happens.
Narain Karthikeyan (24th, Q1 - 1m 26.178s)
"In the morning I managed to make the most of the entire session and run consistently. Given the high temperatures today, the car was overheating a bit, so we had to make some slight cut-outs on the bodywork and that made us lose some points of downforce. That cost us a couple of tenths. But weve made a big effort and Ive got the satisfaction of having given everything Ive got. Theres a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow and it will be a tough race, but were prepared for the challenge.
Toni Cuquerella, HRT technical director
"Since we werent able to do all the tyre tests we would have liked yesterday, we dedicated the free practice session to preparing the race, both in terms of set-up and tyre evaluation. In qualifying it is vital to do the lap in the tyres optimal moment, but here its more complicated because its one of the shortest circuits in the championship and the traffic is an added difficulty. But the drivers did a great job. The result was what we expected and weve made progress with respect to the last two Grands Prix. As for tomorrow, its not 100 percent certain that the race will take place in dry conditions so we need to have different strategies prepared, which we will apply depending on the circumstances.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren on a dominant performance; well done also to our former test driver Romain Grosjean, who claimed his best ever qualifying position with second. There was plenty of track evolution over the course of the day, despite the dust that is a characteristic of this circuit, exacerbated by a couple of off-track excursions in qualifying. In the final session, we saw some different tactics, with McLaren, Lotus and one Force India opting for two runs, while the rest just did one run. Were expecting to see two pit stops tomorrow from what we can tell so far; although the comparatively low wear rate means that some might even attempt a one-stop strategy. There is still a risk of rain tomorrow, and that could obviously alter the whole complexion of the race.
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