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Canadian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Jean Todt: "Michael had a great session, getting the absolute maximum out of the car. The difference between his time and that of his brother Ralf in second place is big, with over half a second separating them. Unfortunately, Rubens had a difficult session. On his second run, he had an accident which meant he had to take the spare. The team worked very well to adapt the car to the driver, who managed to improve his time, but not his grid position. It will be a difficult race tomorrow. Reliability will be the key factor, especially as regards the brakes.”
Michael Schumacher: "I did not go out at the end of the session, because I felt it would probably be more enjoyable to watch it from the outside! You can never be sure that nobody will beat your time, but when I saw that Ralf was stopped at the weigh-in, I knew it would be difficult for the others. I am surprised at the margin I have over the others, but I am not surprised that the lap times are much quicker than last year. As for the race, the car is as good as it can be in race trim: it can never be perfect. This is a track which improves all the time over the weekend, so in the warm-up tomorrow morning we hope to make further improvements."
Rubens Barrichello: "This was not one of my better days. On my first run I had traffic, while on the second, I finished up in the wall at the last chicane having jumped over the kerb. I think I went a bit over the limit. I ran back to the pits and jumped into the spare, which had been set up for Michael. Despite the fact the mechanics did a great job, the set up wasn’t ideal for me and there was no time to change it. In the end, I did not have time to change tyres before my fourth and final run and so I was unable to improve and get a better position. I think it will be a very open race tomorrow."
Patrick Head: "Ralf's run was much better than we expected. He did a fantastic job and on his second run just got everything working together. Also the Michelin tyres improved as the track became hotter. A gearbox problem in the morning put Juan Pablo behind so had not been able to get the perfect set-up."
Ralf Schumacher: "We made a couple of changes to the car before qualifying and this proved an important step in the right direction. All of a sudden the car felt perfect and an increase in temperature helped as well. I had to watch the exciting finish on the television, but the rush for everyone to pass the line before the flag was more exciting than a race start."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "After lack of track time this morning it was difficult to catch up in time for qualifying. With every run the car was getting better and better, but in the end this was just not enough. Starting tenth on the grid is going to be difficult, but I am still aiming to score some points."
Ron Dennis: "A very disrupted qualifying session with both drivers struggling to get clear and uninterrupted laps. The sector times demonstrated the capability of the cars. Let’s hope we can put them to better use in the race."
David Coulthard: "I’m not happy with qualifying third, as the car was capable of more. However I didn’t manage to get things right and explore the limits of the car. In my first run, I made a mistake at the last chicane and the session just continued to be really messy. For my last run, I was able to get out first but was only able to improve in the last sector which was enough to move me up to third. In the circumstances, I guess we have to be happy. I’m confident that we have a good car for the race, but that said I should have been able to start from the front row."
Mika Hakkinen: "Its clear from the sector times that my first run started quite well. However I ran a little wide and hit one of the new higher kerbs hard and damaged the front of my car as well as the right radiator. I had to change to the spare car, which was set up for David and was unable to improve my time. Now we will work hard to get the best out of the car for tomorrow which I’m sure we will."
Jarno Trulli: "I'm upset because the marshals stopped me. It was wrong because the session had not finished. Being held up like that meant I couldn't do a final timed lap. But I'm very happy with the first half of qualifying as the car was well balanced. For the last run, we made some alterations to improve the car even further and I was really looking forward to my last run. I felt confident about my chances of getting onto the front row. It's very frustrating."
Ricardo Zonta (replacing Heinz Harald Frentzen - story) : "Given the little practice time I have had this weekend, twelfth position is not bad. I was gaining confidence with each run and improving my times. On the last run, I tried to push even harder but, unfortunately, I made a mistake at the first corner and lost my chance to improve further. It would obviously have been good to qualify higher but I was possibly being a little over-cautious so as not to make any mistakes. The car feels good and is suited to this track. As my confidence grows, I know I can get more out of the car, and I have a good potential to finish well in tomorrow's race."
Craig Pollock: "It has been a difficult day. The team have worked extremely hard to make progress after the problems we had yesterday. Both drivers did an exceptional job under the circumstances and look as if they will be very competitive during the race. For us the objective is to put ourselves in a points scoring position and we will be looking to achieve that tomorrow."
Olivier Panis: "I am happy for the team with the qualifying position that we achieved today. I am disappointed for Jacques as he had a bad day yesterday which has set him back slightly. This is my best qualifying position so far this season so I am happy with that. As always the team and my engineer David Lloyd did a great job. I am looking forward to the race."
Jacques Villeneuve: "After the problems we had yesterday we have made some progress so I am relatively happy with the outcome. I have not had much running time so we had to work on set-up throughout the qualifying session so it has been very tough. We have still not achieved our ideal set-up so we have a lot of work still to do."
Peter Sauber: "Our new electro-hydraulic differential made a significant contribution to our competitiveness this weekend, and we improved Kimi Raikkonen's car a lot since yesterday. He did a great job to qualify seventh. Nick was unlucky in the last corner when he was launched by the kerb, but we are happy that he is okay."
Kimi Raikkonen: "My car was great today. Yesterday we had a lot of little problems, with the set-up on the differential and traction control, and with the brakes, but everything came right today and the balance and traction were fine. On my best lap I lost a bit of time over the kerb in the last corner. I had a couple of close shaves there yesterday. When you are launched too high you can't steer in the air, but I got away with it although on one occasion I just missed the wall by a millimetre! Today there was no risk of that, but I lost a bit of traction there. Without that I think I could have been sixth."
Nick Heidfeld: "The car was really well balanced this morning and we had made only minor adjustments for qualifying. Unfortunately you have to push hard over the kerb in the last corner, and your landing position depends on luck. I got launched too high to be able to do anything about correcting the car, and I went into the wall. I'd lost time at the beginning of the lap behind Alesi, so I was trying to make it up. I'm okay, but disappointed not to start higher than 11th where the car belongs"
Mike Coughlan: “That was the best we could expect today as the next position up the grid is sixth tenths of a second away from us. Jos did a very good job, steadily improving. He lost his last run due to the red flag but I don't think we would have found enough time to improve our position. We decided to put him in the T-car for a couple of installation laps during the last minutes of the session but time got the better of us. Enrique is still learning the circuit. It's his first time here and he's naturally disappointed not to be closer to his team-mate. We could be in for a good race tomorrow so we are all looking forward to it.”
Jos Verstappen: “Well I'm happy with the result. We went quicker than we did in practice and we managed to improve the car throughout the session. Our lap times were consistent and we were able to improve little by little. Everyone did a good job today and we're all really looking forward to a good race. It would be good to get a great start tomorrow.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “I'm disappointed as I just couldn't put it all together to get a good lap today. Yes, I am still learning the track, but I was hoping to do better than that. We didn't make any changes to the car during the session as it felt good but it just didn't go my way today.”
Bobby Rahal: "This is a pleasing result for us after a difficult season so far. In particular today was a reflection of the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes back at the factory and in the wind tunnel. I am also pleased to see that the processes and communications within the team are working well. Of course I'm delighted for Eddie but Pedro did a good job today after having precious little track time during Thursday's Free Practice sessions. We will build from this."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We expected more out of qualifying and at least equalling our pace from Free Practice. We have, however, worked well today in that the car has felt better for each run. While these improvements have been well received, it's clear that we're not quick enough yet and that's why we were so cautious with our predications after Monaco. The new aero package is certainly an improvement and has helped close the gap but there's still more work to do before we begin reaping the rewards of this development. We are currently sitting amongst a very tight pack and even the smallest gain in performance can translate into a big jump – especially during qualifying sessions. I'm sorry about spoiling Eddie's last run but I had little choice but to lift or hit the wall. I simply came into the last chicane too fast and unfortunately spoilt it for myself and Eddie."
Eddie Irvine: "Not a great qualifying session in any shape or form. My first two runs were OK but the third was compromised because the anti-stall system cut in for some reason. My fourth run was good and I was up on my best time until I came across Pedro at the final chicane. We were both pushing hard but Pedro's approach into the final chicane was too fast and he had to lift in an effort to avoid hitting the wall on the exit. Given that I was right behind him, I too had little choice but to lift. The Michelin tyres have a lot of work to do here against the Bridgestones and I hope they perform better in race trim. Fifteenth position on the grid is not good by our standards but we knew this circuit was going to test us. It would be unfair at this stage to write off the new aerodynamic package, particularly as it has been working so well in testing. We need to examine the reasons for our lack of pace and look at ways of rectifying this before Magny Cours. We have always done a better job in race trim anyway and assuming we can stay out of harms way tomorrow, there is still a slim chance of salvaging something from this race.”
Alain Prost: "Since yesterday, we have made adjustments and modifications which improved slowly our performance, despite suffering from under steering on both cars. But today's qualifying was more unfortunate, as Jean lost his last and quickest lap, and Luciano had not found the best compromise on his car. However we are very satisfied to see that the brakes, which are particularly put to the test on this track, perform well, and after having run a lot of laps on heavy fuel during the last two days, we know our car's balance is quite good. We feel ready for the Grand Prix and our positions on the grid, although below our expectations, do not affect our confidence before tomorrow's race."
Jean Alesi: "Since this morning, I have been fighting with a power under steering car, and unfortunately, a red flag was waved during my last qualifying lap which caused me to lose the benefit of my last set of tyres. Had I been able to push to the end, for sure, I would have been several places up on the grid."
Luciano Burti: "It was a difficult day. We have tried many things to improve the car and we managed to do it to a certain extent, but we have not been able to optimize its handling with only set-up modifications. I found the car more and more difficult to drive. I think that on this track, I could not have been much faster than what I did. It is a pity for Jean because I know he would have been faster, but as for my position, we were pretty much at the limit."
Mike Gascoyne: "This is more or less what we expected, although a few more tenths would have gained us a number of places. We now have to concentrate on making sure the cars are reliable and getting them to the finish. The car certainly looked more competitive with full tanks on Friday, when we were able to get the tyres working more efficiently. I think that we will be in much better shape for the race."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I expected a better result after our performance yesterday, when I was quite happy to be 15th given that we were running with a lot of fuel. Since then, however, the car's grip characteristics have changed and we have picked up a lot of understeer. We did the last runs with less downforce in an effort to generate more straight-line speed, but that made life a bit too difficult in the corners."
Jenson Button: "I am not happy at all. We didn't get the best out of qualifying and it didn't help that the second red flag came out when it did. This morning I thought that the balance of the car was good, although we had a touch of understeer. We have to make sure that we get to the end tomorrow so that we get some more valuable mileage under our belts. This can be a race of attrition and if you are there at the end there is always a chance of some points."Paul Stoddart: "Today was disappointing for the European Minardi F1 team as, once again, valuable time was lost in the morning sessions. This left both drivers struggling to show their true potential. It’s particularly frustrating because the mechanical issues that have afflicted the cars have not been consistent. We can only hope that tomorrow witnesses an improvement in the team’s fortunes."
Tarso Marques: "It has been a difficult day. In the qualifying session, we found the car was losing power from the engine, as also happened in the second session this morning. As far as the balance of the car is concerned, it’s acceptable, but there’s not a great deal more we can do to it. The problem today was that our straight-line speed was low and therefore the car did not perform as well as it could have. As ever, all we can do is try our best in the race tomorrow and see what is possible."
Fernando Alonso: "This morning, we could not do as much work as we would have liked due to an engine problem. During my third qualifying run, when I should have been able to achieve a better position on the starting grid, the session was stopped. Finally, I went out for the last run available, but another red light meant I missed the opportunity to do a final timed lap by a mere three seconds. Now I learn I have been disqualified, as the front wing of the car was found not to be in compliance with the regulations, and will have to start from last place on the grid. I know it doesn’t make a big difference, but I have still lost a position."