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British Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Jean Todt: "I am happy with this great qualifying performance from Michael, which is the first time he has been on pole in Silverstone and it is also our eighth pole of the season. The result is particularly pleasing as it has been achieved on what is the home track for our main rivals. I am disappointed about Rubens’ position, as it is not a true reflection of what he was doing. Unfortunately, traffic prevented him from improving on his third and fourth runs. It will be a very tough race tomorrow. The changeable weather will make choosing the right strategy even more difficult than usual.”
Ross Brawn: "It was an exciting last twenty minutes, ending with another great pole for Michael. We made some changes to the car last night, but obviously we had no opportunity to try them in the dry before qualifying. In fact, the balance of the car is still not perfect, but it is something we can work on now for tomorrow's race. Rubens just seemed to hit traffic, which was a shame as he was happy with the car. He just didn't find a clear lap. As for the race, the weather will be a big factor, but I am not worried if it rains because the Bridgestone tyres have an advantage in these conditions. The race should be between us and McLaren and also Jordan."
Michael Schumacher: "This
was a difficult and interesting session as everyone waited for almost half
an hour before leaving the pits. This meant there was not much time to get
in the four runs and improve the car. This was complicated by the fact we
had no dry running this morning. Then the timing monitors failed and
although we knew the lap times, we could not see the sector times which
can be useful in analysing where we need to improve. So it was quite an
Rubens Barrichello: "It was a very difficult session. But as we all went out a bit late in the hope that track conditions would improve, it was predictable that there would be a lot of traffic for the last two runs. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Bernoldi, who was on his in lap blocked me twice, which prevented me from improving my time. It’s a real shame, because I had a well balanced car. Tomorrow’s race will be difficult, given that I am starting from the third row. The uncertainty over the weather could make for an action packed afternoon."
Ron Dennis: "Mika and David both did a good job in today’s qualifying. Their grid positions and the performance of our cars will allow us to contest the race tomorrow with a justifiable expectation of success."
Norbert Haug: "An exciting qualifying session and with second and third positions Mika and David have a good basis for tomorrow’s race especially since Mika was less than a tenth of a second away from pole position."
Mika Hakkinen: "I’m pleased to be back at the front and also to be so close to pole position. What makes it even better is that the car is performing well and is extremely enjoyable to drive. I’m confident for the race tomorrow as we have found a consistent performance from the car and the tyres are working well. Today I was able to drive flat out and the front end worked really well and I could push hard."
David Coulthard: "It would have been nice to have been on the front row for my home grand prix, but it was an extremely close session. The changing track conditions we have experienced so far here at Silverstone made it difficult for me to find the optimum balance. I hope it stays dry tomorrow particularly because the spectators deserve a dry and sunny race."
Eddie Jordan: "It was a good day because we were full of expectation. A good morale booster for the team, coming on the back of France where I really felt that we made some improvement with both cars showing reliability and finishing, with Jarno earning points. It was frustrating today not to have the times up on the screen because we weren't exactly sure where we were for most of the session. Fourth and fifth in front of one of the Ferraris? That makes it a very good day for the team. Silverstone is a very special place for us; our factory is 100 yards from the front gate and it gave everyone that boost because, goodness knows, we needed it this year. If I remember rightly, we had very few points going into the second part of the season in 1998 and we finished fourth in the championship. Fingers crossed, who knows, Lady Luck may be on our side tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli: "Great qualifying for me and for the team. It's a shame because the car was really running well but it was a difficult because I was running completely blind thanks to having no computer readout of the lap times. So I was completely blind and unable to know where I was losing and where I was gaining. I was improving every run and the last run was a very good lap but unfortunately at the exit of Becketts, going over the kerb, we had a problem with the front suspension and so I had to slow down and stop. I'm sure I could have beaten Coulthard's time because I had a bit left for that last run. Anyway, a very good result for the team, especially at Jordan's home Grand Prix."
Heinz Harald Frentzen : "Certainly qualifying was confused a little bit because we were expecting some rain. That's why we tried to do our runs early but then we received information that there would not be any rain. So we were able to focus and concentrate on the end of the session when the track would be at its best. So everyone was running more or less to the same plan. But we had a well-balanced car for qualifying and I had a good feeling we would be competitive here. That's the way it has proved and I'm quite happy."
Peter Sauber: "I'm very happy to have two cars in the top 10 again, especially here at Silverstone. Kimi Raikkonen did a very good seventh fastest time, and the sector breakdowns make it clear that without the problem with Ralf Schumacher at the end of his final lap, Nick would have recorded a similar lap to Kimi's. I'm disappointed for Nick, but we have to be satisfied with such a strong overall performance by the team on a circuit that has not in the past favoured our cars."
Kimi Raikkonen: "We made some good progress with my car during qualifying, just by making very small but important changes to its balance. Our new aerodynamic package has been working very well here, and I'm happy with my lap time and seventh position on the grid."
Nick Heidfeld: "I'm really unhappy with Ralf Schumacher. I was nearing the end of my final lap and was improving my times, when I found him and the McLarens going really slowly in the last section as they completed their warm-up laps. It was like a slow-speed traffic jam. I had to go up the inside kerb and on the grass, sideways, to avoid Ralf, and that ruined my chance of improving. I lost three-tenths of a second, which made a big difference to my grid position. I'm very disappointed because the car has been really good here all weekend."
Patrick Head: "We have to be honest and say generally it was a pretty poor qualifying performance. It has been a difficult day altogether, with the wet weather this morning when we were extremely uncompetitive during the whole of that running. Juan Pablo did a very good job of recovering and getting into the T-Car to improve on his time from the first run. We will be working hard to try and maximise our position for the race, but we are well away from being a competitive team here at Silverstone and we will have to look at that and try and understand why."
Dr Mario Theissen: "With this qualifying result we can't be happy. We have been aware in advance that we would not be among the fastest on this circuit and under these conditions. Furthermore we had difficulties, as Juan Pablo had to change to the T- Car, in which he did a remarkable time, and I am sure Ralf would have improved at the end without the traffic problem. We have had no engine problems this weekend."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "On the first run I hit a kerb on the exit of Becketts and bent a pushrod, so had to get into the T-Car that was set up for Ralf. We did a run and made a couple of adjustments and it worked out quite well. The car was good, for the start of the final run I managed to get by Jenson on the last corner and that really helped. I want to thank the guys on both my car and the T-Car for the great job they did for me today."
Ralf Schumacher: "This qualifying did not go well for me. I did my best lap in my second stint and as everybody could see all the other drivers managed to improve at the end of the session. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to do the same as I got stuck in traffic on my last run."
Malcolm Oastler: "We were much slower than we would have liked today. We had a fairly trouble free run with Olivier and no problems with traffic. He put in two identical lap times and that's as fast as we could go today. Jacques had a minor engine problem with his race-car on his first run so he jumped into the T-car. We did another run in the race car again when the problem was fixed but he wasn't happy with the car and preferred the way the T-car was running. So, jumping between the two cars prevented us from making the sort of progress we should have made throughout the session."
Olivier Panis: "I’m a little disappointed with how qualifying went for me today and disappointed for the team because we thought we were stronger today. I had a traction control problem on my first lap but the engineers identified and fixed it very quickly so the rest of the session was fairly trouble-free for me. The team did a lot of good work in testing together recently and we made some real progress. We just weren’t quick enough today so we need to continue to make progress here to help us in the race. I’m sure we can improve our performance and do much better tomorrow."
Jacques Villeneuve: "Today was a difficult day for us. I had problems in both sessions; this morning with the gearbox then I had an ‘off’ in this afternoon’s session. So, I did very little running in practice only 6 laps. In qualifying, I had an engine problem on my first run so we quickly prepared the T-car and I jumped into that. When the race-car was fixed I swapped back again but I wasn’t happy with it it felt a little slow. So I did two runs in both cars and jumping between the two cost us time. It’s frustrating that we weren’t able to do any set-up work but we usually do better in the race and I’m sure that will be the case tomorrow."
Bobby Rahal: "This is the best performance we've had at Silverstone which as many people know, isn't our favourite circuit. The BMW Williams cars are usually further up the pecking order and on that basis, we too would have been further up the grid when you consider that we're a second off them now - quite an improvement when you think back to where we were a few races ago. Scoring points from 13th and 15th place is no easy task but it's not impossible either."
Pedro de la Rosa: "That was a pleasing Qualifying session and the increasing track temperature certainly helped our cause. The car felt well balanced throughout and I think that's the closest we have ever been to the top Michelin runners. The new aero package is definitely a step-forward and because we hadn't even done a proper test with it, I'm sure there's more pace to extract from it - something we will work on next week at the Monza test. I could maybe have squeezed an extra tenth from my last run, but Bernoldi slowed me up on the exit of the Hanger straight. There's a positive mood in the camp and as always, we will be looking to exploit our strong race pace tomorrow."
Eddie Irvine: "We have never been that close to the BMW Williams boys before and I'm encouraged by that. There's no point in benchmarking our package to the pole position time and the best yardstick of our development has to be the top Michelin runners. It could have been better if I hadn't switched to the T-car. Not only was it set-up for Pedro, but it didn't have the latest elements of the new aero package either. Combine that with the fact that I missed the last two tests and I'm sure I could have got into the 22-second bracket. As for the problem with my car, it's been diagnosed as a push-rod failure on the front left - same problem as Montoya I believe. Nonetheless, I feel quite positive about the package we have right now and as we've proved in recent races, you can't rule the Jaguars out of points contention from where we are starting.”
Alain Prost: "It was an interesting and productive qualifying session for us. We have been able to find quite a good set-up for our cars, and both drivers achieved a very good job. Times are very close today, and being about 1s behind the Williams, which also run on Michelin tyres, is a quite encouraging reference. We know we can improve the car further on this track and we have the potential to look for a good result in tomorrow’s race despite our positions on the grid are still average. The key will be to anticipate perfectly the track conditions on the set-up side. On this aspect we can already feel satisfied to have found a satisfactory balance for both dry and wet conditions."
Jean Alesi: "I am happy with this qualifying session because we have been able to work quietly, and every change we made on the car went into the right direction. It is all the more positive as nobody could run on a dry track this morning and we had to adapt to very different conditions this afternoon. I have been held up a bit on my last run, which is always a pity. But the most important thing is that we learnt a lot in two days about this difficult track and all the information collected will surely help Henri Durand to continue developing and improving the car."
Luciano Burti: "Even if it sounds easy to say that, it could have been better. At the start of the qualifying session, no driver wanted to go out and clean the track for the others after this morning showers. So we had to wait quite a lot, and unfortunately, we ran short of time to make the set-up changes that we wanted in the end. Therefore I went out for my last run knowing it would not be perfect. Until the end, I had indeed massive understeer in the car. At least, we know what area we have to work on for tomorrow which gives me confidence for the race."
Mike Coughlan: “Enrique had a throttle problem on his first run which meant he had to abort that one. He improved on the next two runs and on his last run he was blocked by his team-mate. Jos is sorry but it was unavoidable because of the amount of traffic out there. Overall for our home Grand Prix the positions are a little disappointing but our performance is always better in the race, especially in the wet, so let's hope for a typical English summer's day tomorrow.”
Jos Verstappen: “We got everything we could out of the car today. My fastest time is similar to the times we were setting on low fuel loads during testing here but, as the track was green from this morning's rain, it shows we are making a bit of progress. I was able to steadily improve during the session so we are moving forward but not enough. Rain would be better of course but maybe we will be luckier with the weather tomorrow.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “I had a problem with the throttle on my first run so that messed up my programme a little. I was able to improve my time but on my last run I was blocked by Jos. There was a lot of traffic out there though so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm not happy being 20th on the grid but all I can do now is concentrate on our preparations for tomorrow's race.”
Mike Gascoyne: "For qualifying we decided to use the harder of the two tyres available, because we feel this will be a much better race tyre. The balance of the car was generally good, but as the track improved we failed to pick up as much time as our competitors. Giancarlo encountered traffic in the final sector on his fastest lap, which cost him half a second. Neither driver was able to improve significantly on his final run because of traffic. Both drivers struggled in sector one, which confirms to us that we need further to improve the car's aerodynamics. I am sure we are on the right tyre for the race tomorrow, however, and we must look for a strong, reliable race performance."
Jenson Button: "Things looked a bit more promising yesterday and earlier today. We switched tyre compounds this morning, which improved the car considerably, but we were unable to put a time together in the end, During my first run I had understeer in high-speed corners and we need to look hard to identify why. I am naturally unhappy with my position, even though I am ahead of Giancarlo. There are a number of issues we need to look at before we take our next step forward."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I didn't do many laps in the dry yesterday, but even so things wouldn't have been too bad if I hadn't been held up by other cars during my last two runs. I think I could have been about 16th, which doesn't sound great but we have closed the gap to some of the teams ahead. Silverstone is one of the circuits that least suits our car at the moment, so I am a little bit more confident for the future."Paul Stoddart: "On a day of cold wind, rain and sunshine, European Minardi F1 personnel had hoped the changeable weather conditions might allow its drivers to qualify higher than their normal positions. Unfortunately, it was not to be, although it was definitely not for want of trying on the part of the drivers. Unfortunately, Tarso fell victim to an engine problem that affected what should have been his fastest run, while Fernando, who has driven exceptionally well all weekend, gained scant reward for his efforts with 21st place on the grid. In any event, that is what we have to work with, and as ever, the team will do its best to get a good result in the race tomorrow for its many supporters around the world."
Fernando Alonso: "We made some good progress on the car’s set-up during this morning’s free practice session. This was despite wet weather conditions that were a bit difficult for us because we haven’t done many tests in the wet so far this season. In qualifying, we waited until the track was almost dry in order to have the same dry conditions as yesterday. The car set-up was right and, when I went for my third run, I drove what I feel was a very good lap. Of all the qualifying sessions so far, I think this has been one of my best because the whole package was good - the car, the set-up, and my fastest lap. The grid position may be the same as usual, but I still feel happy because I know we did a very good job today."
Tarso Marques: "Today has been extremely disappointing, but at least I can take comfort from the fact that I know I drove as hard as I could. Unfortunately, a throttle problem with the engine after the second run prevented me from improving my time in the way I normally would have expected. Making matters worse, there was insufficient time remaining to change the settings of the spare car from Fernando’s to mine. I therefore went back out in my normal race car for the final run, but was unable to improve my lap time."