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Brazilian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Sam Michael: "It was obviously a good session, especially for Juan who claimed his first pole this year. Ralf did a good job as well and if he could have brought his sector times together, he would have been in front row as well. The other cars on Michelin tyres are a lot closer to us than before, they are catching up. Now we are looking forward to tomorrow’s race in which we should be very strong."
Gerhard Berger: "This was an interesting and entertaining qualifying. If the conditions stay like this, tomorrow we could be fighting for the victory. We usually perform well in hot races. Juan Pablo drove a very strong qualifying and Ralf could not put together a perfect lap connecting his best sector times. But time differences are very small therefore you also need a bit of luck."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am happy to be on pole, especially because this morning I couldn’t get a clean run on new tyres and I had some understeer and I knew there was more potential in my car than my times showed. Starting the race from pole will maybe allow me to make up for my disappointing finish in last year’s Grand Prix. We are also pleased with Michelin’s performance and the hot weather is helping us here."
Ralf Schumacher: "I am very pleased with my grid position. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the set-up of my car completely right. The times are very close in this qualifying. Michael found a bit more squeezed between Juan Pablo and myself. I would prefer being on the first row, of course, but I think third place on the grid is not too bad in this case and I will start from the clean side of the track."
Jean Todt: "It was an exciting qualifying session. We expected this sort of fight and that’s how it turned out. Given the penalty Rubens picked up in this morning’s free practice session, we knew it would serve no purpose to send him out for a fourth and final run, given that any time improvement would not count towards his grid position. While respecting the Stewards’ decision, we do not agree with it. It will be a very difficult race tomorrow; the hardest so far this season, both because of the high temperatures and the fact that the track layout is very unforgiving of even the slightest mistake. Once again, the tyres will play a very important role."
Ross Brawn: "I think it was a good day for the new car which is pleasing. I believe this is a track where the other tyre company had the advantage. We have to accept that there will be tracks during the year where they will have the advantage again and others where our Bridgestone will be best. We know which are the areas where we need to improve. The decision about Rubens losing his best time was a bit frustrating and in the end there was no point in him doing a final run. I think it was a harsh decision. With Michael also only doing nine laps, both drivers have saved tyres, which will be important for the race."
Michael Schumacher: "As the car is still new, we have had to work in a different way. We have not got the maximum potential out of it yet. I don’t think the gap between my times and the Williams is a fair reflection of the performance difference between the cars. Maybe in three or four races time, we will be able to judge the car’s true level, excluding the tyre factor. But it was the right decision to bring the new car here, as it was ready. I don’t know where I would have been with the old one. On this track, we did not have the upper hand with our tyres and we have to accept it. Also, historically, in Interlagos, we have never had an advantage. On my last lap, the fastest one, I lost control of the car and I didn’t think I would make the corner, but somehow I managed to continue. I am relatively happy with second place and it is a shame that Rubens is further back. For tomorrow I expect a hard, hot, exhausting and interesting race."
Rubens Barrichello: "As far as the penalty for this morning is concerned, all I can say is that it was impossible for me to see the red light from where I was. I didn’t make a final run as I knew it would change nothing in terms of grid position. I think we had come up with a well set-up car, however I had a gear selection problem, although all in all, I don’t think it would have changed much. It certainly won’t be easy starting from the fourth row, but it will be a long hard race so I am confident all the same."
Ron Dennis: "Between yesterday’s practice and today’s timed session the team has had an extraordinary workload coming from a variety of problems, which certainly created additional pressure going into qualifying. Therefore the grid positions and more importantly the small time difference to the front is encouraging. All in all a good effort by the entire team which hopefully will be reflected in tomorrow’s race."
Norbert Haug: "A good job from both David and Kimi and particularly the team which worked hard when Kimi had to change cars. This qualifying result puts us in a good position for the race."
David Coulthard: "At the moment today’s positions are as good as we could have hoped for. I believe we will be faster in the race, as I was reasonably happy with the balance when we were running with heavy fuel loads during practice. As last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix showed anything can happen."
Kimi Raikkonen: "An eventful qualifying where I experienced some difficulties. I had to change from my race car to the T-car for one of my timed laps and back again which didn’t make things easy. It’s a pity because I think I could have achieved a better time. Under the circumstances I’m satisfied with the result and aim for a competitive race tomorrow."
Pat Symonds: "What a difference a year makes! It was an excellent performance by the whole team. Clearly, our work yesterday didn't compromise our competitiveness for qualifying, which means we can be confident for the race. The next target must be to improve a stage further in our pursuit of the top three teams."
Dennis Chevrier: "What a difference a year makes! It was an excellent performance by the whole team. Clearly, our work yesterday didn't compromise our competitiveness for qualifying, which means we can be confident for the race. The next target must be to improve a stage further in our pursuit of the top three teams."
Jarno Trulli: "It's great for the whole team! I must admit that I think we deserved more, but we had traffic on every run. We have been competitive throughout the weekend, as our split-times show, but I didn't manage to put it all together for a single lap during qualifying. Most of all, I want to thank the whole team for giving me a very good car, which is getting better and better with every race."
Jenson Button: "A good session for me. The car was a little heavy at the start of the session, so we shifted some ballast for the later runs, but managed to keep the balance. I'm pleased to be so close to the McLarens, and to be running so competitively."
Peter Sauber: "Under difficult circumstances we were able to demonstrate our maturity by once again qualifying a car in the top 10. Nick drove well after having to switch to the T-car at the start of the session. Felipe also did a good job to take 12th place in only his third GP, especially as he is driving under the additional pressure of the expectations of his home crowd. Generally our performance is okay, especially as we have maintained the half second gap to our principal opposition on Bridgestone tyres."
Nick Heidfeld: "I had to switch to the T-car for qualifying after we discovered a water leak in my race car's engine as it was being warmed up. The two cars weren't massively different and both were set up for me, and as we made adjustments we were able to hone the balance. Unfortunately I had a persistent problem with the brakes. Considering everything I'm very happy to be in the top 10, but I know I would have been quicker in my race car."
Felipe Massa: "I wish I could also have made the top 10, but I don't think 12th place is too bad on my first appearance before my countrymen in an F1 car. The car was really well balanced in the second and third runs, but for the last one we tried a different tyre combination and I wasn't able to improve."
Ange Pasquali: "For the second race in succession we are 10th, which shows some consistency. We now have to confirm that in the race tomorrow. Allan did a good job given that he has never previously been to Interlagos. He improved his lap time from yesterday - not by enough, but he has got a good package."
Mika Salo: "I am in 10th place again, which is no real improvement on Malaysia. I am not so happy with this result, but we had a difficult practice yesterday and, even this morning, the set-up was not ideal. Brazil is traditionally a hard race, so I hope we can finish in the points."
Allan McNish: "The car was in reasonable shape and we made progress with it on each run. I went over a kerb on my last run, which lost me a couple of tenths but, overall, I had a pretty good car - better than this morning. Usually we are more competitive in the race than in qualifying, so I am reasonably happy."
Niki Lauda: "We have made a dramatic turn for the better and a lot of that is down to the team getting the best out of the package. The Michelin tyres have been good, yes, but for the first time this season, we have extracted a very good set-up from the Jaguar R3. The progress we are making is just reward for the meticulous work being undertaken and our decision to go with the Jaguar R3 has been proved absolutely correct. We have a lot of potential to extract from this package and now that we have a solid starting point, we can begin focusing in on the particular areas that need addressing. Had Pedro not been held-up by a Minardi on his last run, he would have started tomorrow’s race from 10th place on the grid. Nonetheless, we start the race from a good position and given that we have the best reliability record of the season, we will go into tomorrow’s race with the clear intention of fighting for championship points. The first corner at Interlagos is infamous for incidents and assuming we can get through any trouble that might exist there, the rest will be down to a good race strategy and of course, reliability."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I started the session expecting to qualify in the top fifteen and because of the productive work we’ve achieved over the course of the free practice and warm-up sessions, the car’s handling characteristics have been transformed into something a lot more driveable. The rising track temperature also played into the hands of the Michelin tyre today that undoubtedly helped. Nonetheless, it is clear that we are progressing and taking steps forward. I don’t think we’ve got anywhere near the full potential of this car and our Valencia test next week will, I hope, generate more advances. The good thing is that both cars are in with a points scoring chance tomorrow and we’ll do everything in our power to go out there and consolidate our fourth place in the Constructors Championship."
Eddie Irvine: "We’ve made some pretty big changes to the R3 and it has paid dividends. It proves that the work we are undertaking is on the correct path and our aim now is to exploit the full potential of the package. We certainly have the upper hand over Bridgestone and our thanks must go to Michelin, but at least the R3 felt like a real racing car today. It is much better balanced and I could have squeezed into the low one minute fourteen second bracket. It’s good to go into tomorrow’s race safe in the knowledge that we have a package capable of challenging for points. The R3 may not be the fastest machine on the grid right now, but with an 85% finishing rate so far this season, we must hope for others to fall victim to the notoriously high attrition rate of this circuit."
"Obviously we are disappointed with the positions as we expected to
be higher up the grid than this. It is clear that the hot temperatures
didn’t suit our package very well. All we can do is hope we have a
better day tomorrow."
Takuma Sato: "Qualifying was always going to be difficult for me because due to the penalty imposed on me, I had one less chance to make a good lap time. We struggled with the balance and hot track temperatures, which did not work well for us. I was hoping to go quicker in the last outing but in the last corner I had a big moment and also got caught up in traffic. We hope that we can run a reliable race to the finish tomorrow."
David Richards: "Jacques and Olivier did the best job they could but at the end of the day our times reflect reality."
Jacques Villeneuve: "Generally the car felt better all weekend and things looked a little more promising in practice, but as qualifying showed us, that is as quick as it will go. Position-wise it’s very close but as far as our time is concerned, we couldn’t get anything more from the car. We haven’t had any mechanical problems so far and we’re usually better off in the race, so there’s only one strategy for tomorrow - to attack as much as we can and hope for some opportunities during the race."
Olivier Panis: "I have mixed feelings about today, some negative and some positive. On the negative side, I have to say we were slow and we were missing the power we needed for this kind of circuit, which has three straights, one of them very long and steep. I struggled since this morning to find a better set-up and I think that today Jacques and I extracted all we could from the car. On the positive side, we have had no recurrence of the mechanical problems we had in the previous race and I would like to thank the team for their efforts in resolving the reliability issues. We will have to work very hard this afternoon in order to prepare for the race, so we can make the most of any opportunities that may arise."
Mike Coughlan: “Needless to say, we are not happy with the result. We knew we were in for a fight today but to be so far down the grid is not good at all. We struggled to get the cars balanced for this track and now have a lot of work to do to make sure the cars are competitive in race trim.”
Heinz Harald Frentzen: “We couldn’t achieve the necessary balance today. Missing most of the second practice session this morning after stalling doesn’t help as that is the time you do your fine tuning for qualifying. It only accounts for a few tenths of a second but that would have made a lot of difference today. We were basically fighting against understeer and oversteer in each of the four runs. We need to analyse why we have this problem more here than we did in Malaysia or Australia.”
Enrique Bernoldi: "Naturally I am disappointed to be so low down the grid in front of my home crowd. We were able to steadily improve the car throughout this morning’s practice sessions and qualifying itself but we just couldn’t get the balance right for Interlagos. Let’s hope we have a better day tomorrow.”Paul Stoddart: "For Mark to be less than a second away from a top-10 qualifying position shows the team has made significant progress from our last event, in Malaysia. While we’re disappointed for Alex that he didn’t find the balance and handling necessary to show his true abilities today, overall we’re very pleased with what has been a highly productive session for the team. I’d also like to say a personal thank you to Michelin for producing some fantastic tyres this weekend. They certainly did the job today."
Mark Webber: "That was a good qualifying session and the boys did a great job. I could have gotten a little more out of the car at turn four, but otherwise, I was happy with my best lap this afternoon. It’s a great achievement for the whole team that we are as close to the top 10 qualifiers in terms of lap times as we are, and it gives us good reason to believe we’re making progress."
Alex Yoong: "This wasn’t a great session from my perspective. The car was in the same trim as this morning and, on that basis, I should have been into the fifteens easily in qualifying. Unfortunately, I think the track conditions changed and left us struggling a little bit. Anyway, we’ll just focus on our preparations for the race now and see how we get on tomorrow."