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German Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Patrick Head: "It is obviously great to start from the front row with both cars and an excellent achievement for Juan Pablo to get his first pole in Formula One. All the team have done a very good job. The race tomorrow is a different matter. Everyone at BMW and WilliamsF1 will work hard on race preparation to get the cars to the finish tomorrow. It is great to see Michelin so strong again after a difficult weekend in Silverstone."
Dr Mario Theissen: "Incredible - for the first time we have both cars on the front row and what is even more satisfying is the large gap to the next cars. It is great to achieve this at our home Grand Prix. It is an outstanding result and I am especially happy for all BMW employees in Munich who kept their fingers crossed for us and especially those who are on standby in case we need anything."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Everybody worked so hard for this. This proves again we have the right package and that everyone at WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin have been doing a great job. It was a good lap. Ralf ran me pretty close, he did four runs, I did three and my second one went so well. The car was working very well and we did a change for the last run and I was two tenths up already on my time and then when Ralf crossed the line they told to back off"
Ralf Schumacher: "I am happy to be on the front row here as I have never qualified so far up the grid here in Hockenheim before. It is a really good feeling to achieve this at my home grand prix. I lost some time in the Motodrom and on my last stint I was slowed by yellow flags. Today our car was quicker than the rest of the field due to a strong performance by the whole team. I hope we can continue like this in the race and finish first and second, but the race is going to be really tough in these temperatures."
Ron Dennis: "A tough qualifying session which saw both drivers work hard to get the best result out of a very difficult and competitive situation. Tomorrow’s weather is forecasted to be even hotter, which should assist us in getting good race results."
Norbert Haug: "A very good performance from Mika. Having qualified third and fifth we have a good basis for tomorrow’s race."
Mika Hakkinen: "I’m pleased with today’s performance as we got the best out of the car and I’m the fastest of the Bridgestone runners. I had a problem during this morning’s practice and lost some running time. However the team still did an excellent job and improved the car throughout practice. The team decided to abort the third run and conserve tyres when they realised I was able to hold my third position. Now I look forward to the race."
David Coulthard: "I’m disappointed with today’s performance. My engineers and I have struggled with a balance problem, which caused my car to oversteer pretty badly. It also meant that one of my rear tyres blistered during my second run. I didn’t do my last run as I saw yellow flags being waved and my engineers wished to conserve my fourth set of tyres. We will work hard to find a solution so we can be competitive in the race."
Jean Todt: "This qualifying session was different to the ones we have grown used to witnessing this season. Actually, it is only the second time that neither of our drivers has made it into the top three. We knew it would be a fight between three teams and that it would be very difficult to get pole position. I thought we would be a bit higher up the grid. Today, the team which has shown itself capable of winning on some tracks, has dominated. Tomorrow, bearing in mind the situation in both championships, it will be important for us to bring home as many points as possible.”
Ross Brawn: "Not such a good qualifying session as we did not get the car quite right on all parts of the track. We had some problems with wheels locking under braking, which we did not experience this morning. We will have to investigate the cause. It's obviously very close behind Williams and I think it will be a very tough race tomorrow. If Williams don't make a mistake, we will be racing against McLaren tomorrow. If that is the case, then beating them will be our priority. It will be tough for the tyres in the race in this heat, as we have seen some degradation on the rears. But it's not an abnormal situation. There is not a lot you can do here in terms of a clever strategy, as there are only 45 laps."
Michael Schumacher: "I was hoping to be closer to the quickest times after this morning, but this is the situation we now face and we have to live with it. However, I prefer to have the Williams eight tenths in front of me than Coulthard. I have to look at the situation in terms of the championship. I would of course like to win the race, because I have not won here so often. But you can only do your best with what is available to you.
There was nothing wrong with the car, we were just slower than the other guys. We have performed normally, if you look at our gap to McLaren, but Williams has done a much better job than usual. Most of the difference has come from the tyres. This is one of two tracks which is pretty much tailor made for our rival’s tyre company. In the race, we must remember that to finish first, first you have to finish. So let’s wait and see what happens."
Rubens Barrichello: "I was not able to get the most out of my car in this afternoon’s qualifying session, especially when it came to getting a good top speed for the straights. Now we must take a close look at the telemetry data to understand what happened. On my fourth and final run, I could not improve as the track had got slippery and dirty after a couple of cars had gone off. As for tomorrow’s race, I’m still fairly confident, as the grid position is not that important when it comes to deciding the final result, as we saw last year, when I won the race having started from eighteenth place."
Peter Sauber: "This is a fantastic result. In this situation, at such a demanding circuit, I am really, really happy. Many thanks to the drivers and the whole team."
Nick Heidfeld: "The car has been great today, which is what I expected yesterday. We focused mainly on race running then, but today the car was just right for qualifying. We made many little changes and they worked well. I think many drivers suffered the yellows at the end. They cost me three-tenths, but I'm still happy with seventh place. And after all the work we did yesterday, I'm feeling confident for the race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It's been quite a difficult day for me, because the set-up of my car wasn't so good. The handling over the kerbs in the chicanes was really nervous - every time I hit one it upset the car. Things were better on my last run, but then I came across the yellows in the stadium so the lap was not as quick as it should have been."
Bobby Rahal: "I'd like to extend my congratulations to Mark Handford and his aerodynamics team for doing such a good job on the car in such a short time frame. We have improved the R2's efficiency and the disparity between us and the others is getting smaller by each race. Both drivers did a solid job today, but I'm sure they could also have been higher had it not been for the yellow flag situation right at the end. Pedro was up by about three-tenths on his final run before the yellow flags came out and Eddie was up by two-tenths. This team wasn't exactly at home on these types of circuits last year and it's a credit to everybody that we have made significant progress, albeit with quite some way to go before we are satisfied."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I am very pleased to have got my first top ten qualifying place with Jaguar Racing. I hardly altered the car throughout the session with the only change being a slight wing adjustment. Apart from that, the car worked perfectly today and had it not been for the yellow flags at the end, I could probably have finished a couple of places higher. As I came into the stadium section, the on-board read-out was showing me that I was three-tenths up but I had little choice than to lift completely and lose what should have been a much higher place. Nevertheless, I am optimistic about being in a points scoring position for tomorrow's race. Starting higher up the grid compared to normal makes life a lot easier, especially because the Michelin tyres work so well around this circuit. We have found that the tyres work better in the race and combined with a good strategy, I reckon this is my best chance of the season so far to score some more points for the team."
Eddie Irvine: "To be honest, I'm a little disappointed not to have qualified higher today. My last run was by far my best, but I had to abort it as I entered the stadium section. I'm also at a loss to understand why I'm 11th yet come tomorrow's race, I know our pace will be much quicker than those guys around me and it's frustrating not knowing how to push this car further up the grid in Qualifying. BMW Williams have proved today just how good the Michelin tyres are and subsequently I'm confused as to why I was not higher-up the grid. Again, it seems that my race tomorrow will be dictated by a good strategy, a hard drive and some retirements at the front.”
Eddie Jordan: "Obviously this is our worst qualifying of the season so far and therefore it's very disappointing. Jarno was a bit unlucky because he lost an engine on his third run, which meant he lost that and his fourth run. So he had to rely on his first two runs and I'm sure he could have gone a bit quicker. It was also disappointing that Ricardo should have been badly blocked on one of his laps. He lost that run and never really regained his momentum after that. It's been a struggle for us here this weekend and we need to find more speed. So, now we have to concentrate on reliability because traditionally this is a race of attrition. We just need to try and be there at the end."
Jarno Trulli: "The car wasn't bad but it was a tough job. I was trying hard but unfortunately I had a problem and had to stop at the far end of the circuit, really far away. The marshals weren't very professional because they didn't know where to send me; I had to look for the best way back but once I had found it, there was not enough time left to get back to the pits to take the spare car."
Ricardo Zonta: "On my first set of tyres, the lap was quite good. Panis just blocked me in the stadium section at the end of the lap and I lost a lot of time. On the second set of tyres, I did my lap time. On the third try, I was up half a second but I made a mistake at the third chicane and touched a kerb, which cost me time. On the last set of tyres, the car was better but I didn't want to make a mistake. Even so, I was aware I should be more on the limit and push harder. The car was better but my lap time wasn't. In the beginning, the car had been understeering. We made some changes and it was a lot better. Since I have been given this opportunity it would have been nice to qualify well but I still hope to have a good race. I lost a lot of time this morning but the mechanics did a great job when the car had a problem and they needed to change the engine and the gearbox."
Craig Pollock: "Our qualifying position was realistically the best we could expect from the car at the moment. If we hadn't had the yellow flag on the last run then maybe Jacques could have jumped up a couple of places but that is the limit of the car as things stand. We have to be satisfied with our position on the grid for now but we can continue to make progress before the race and find a little extra performance."
Malcolm Oastler: "We had a fairly trouble-free day but our position on the grid is obviously representative of our pace at the moment. We didn't have a perfect run in qualifying due to yellow flags and traffic. However, the effect that had wasn't major and everyone has a similar story to tell of course. Our grid position will make life a bit more difficult in the race tomorrow but we've done a lot of work with fuel loads and tyres so we should be in good shape to optimise strategy."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We weren't quick in testing at Monza last week and to be honest we came here knowing we weren't going to be that competitive. Somehow though, we ended up being better than we thought today. We had a lot of ideas and tried some different things. The car actually felt good and we were able to get the balance. That means being 12th and 13th and that's as quick as we were going to go. Maybe on the last run we could have found another couple of tenths and moved up to 10th position but that's about it. We're within a tenth of Jordan this time rather than being half a second behind so that means that we've done some good work. It's always better for us in the race but it's going to be tough for us to get into the points from where we are."
Olivier Panis: "Once again, Jacques and I are together on the grid tomorrow. Everyone has worked hard to get the best car we could for qualifying. The balance is not bad but we haven't found the perfect solution yet. We need to find more grip and more performance because we aren't quick enough at the moment. Tyres are a major factor - the cars running Michelin were much quicker and more competitive today so that doesn't help. I also lost a little time at the end because of the yellow flags and maybe that could have been my best lap. We all need to stay focused now to improve for the race - I'm sure we can do better tomorrow."
Alain Prost: "Even though our positions on the grid remain a bit too low, it is interesting to see that time gap is close today and that both drivers feel satisfied with their cars behaviour. Since yesterday, everything went well for our team, and the outcome of these first two days gives us further motivation to elaborate a more aggressive race strategy than usual. We will fight for the best possible result – and for points if we can."
Jean Alesi: "Unfortunately today's position does not reflect the very good feeling I have with my car. I am indeed very satisfied with its balance and with the settings we have chosen. I am therefore quite happy with this qualifying session and I feel even more confident for tomorrow's race than I have ever been this season. We have a real potential to go into the battle, and we will take the best advantage of tomorrow's warm-up, in order to identify the best race strategy for our team."
Luciano Burti: "I am a bit disappointed. We managed to improve the car a lot after the difficulties we faced yesterday, and we improved again from this morning. My first run was already quite good but we tried something for the second one, which went in the wrong direction. On the third one, things were getting better but I could not go faster. Then, unfortunately, I made a mistake on my last outing at the first chicane. This cost me some time and I pushed very hard to improve the end of the lap, and I lost the car in the fast chicane of the Stadium. I think I just tried a little bit too hard. But I am not worried at all for tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne: "It was a disappointing qualifying session today, particularly after we showed such promise yesterday. We had a very difficult free practice session this morning. Neither driver did many laps, because Giancarlo had an engine problem, that necessitated an engine change, then a fuel pressure problem and Jenson had gearbox trouble, so we also had to change that. This meant that we did not have any time this morning to do the kind of development running that would have allowed us to get more from the car. As a result, we were always playing catch-up in qualifying. What's more, both drivers were effectively restricted to three of their maximum four runs. Giancarlo was caught in traffic on his last lap and Jenson had an engine problem that forced him to pull off at the end. We showed yesterday that the car has clear potential - but we just didn't have a chance to prove as much today. Now we must focus on what will be a long, hard race. Our aim, as always, is to get both cars to the finish - and if you manage that you never know what you might achieve. Previous years have shown that anything can happen at this track."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Today has been very difficult compared to yesterday. I had an engine change after this morning's free practice and had to go straight into qualifying with a race engine. On my fourth and final qualifying lap I was a couple of tenths up, but one of the Saubers was going slowly ahead and held me up. But for that, I think I might have been a couple of places higher up the grid."
Jenson Button: "Everything looked so much better yesterday, but we were unable to realise our potential for a variety of reasons. I stopped on my first lap this morning with gearbox trouble and that set the scene for a tough day. Racing can be like that sometimes. When it happens you just have to accept it and concentrate on doing better tomorrow."
Mike Coughlan: “Well the cars are well-balanced and both drivers improved their times throughout the session. As you can see from the grid it's in power order. Although the differences are very small they are amplified at a track like Hockenheim.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “We improved the balance of the car and the times were getting better with each run. My last fast lap was wasted as Jenson Button's engine blew up in front of me. I definitely think the set-up is much better now so I'm looking forward to the race. We've done a lot of work on the car, especially the brakes, so let's hope for a good one.”
Jos Verstappen: “That was a pretty hard session for us. The handling of the car was not so good this morning but we did manage to improve it for qualifying and again during the session. My last run was looking good, with a good second sector time, but you have to take a gamble on your last flying lap and unfortunately I spun. So, it could have been better but that's racing.”Paul Stoddart: "Despite finishing P21 and P22, the European Minardi team is pleased with its performance today. To qualify within four seconds of the pole position time on a power circuit like Hockenheim is a good effort. Both drivers extracted the maximum from their cars this afternoon, although Tarso unfortunately encountered traffic on his last run and was unable to improve his time further. Nevertheless, we now look forward to tomorrow’s race with enthusiasm and will be aiming for a top-10 finish."
Fernando Alonso: "It is a shame that we often start from the last row of the grid, but we are aware that this track in particular is extremely hard for us, especially because it is so demanding on the engine. We are not that far from the two Arrows, however, and I would not exclude the possibility that we might have a good race tomorrow. After doing back-to-back tests with the two tyre compounds available to us this weekend, we found there was one that worked well for us. Naturally, we have chosen it for the race and I feel confident that our performance will benefit accordingly."
Tarso Marques: "We improved the car quite a lot during the qualifying session. When I was on the first three sets of tyres, though, I lost some time with a gear selection problem. This was rectified for the last run and we also made some changes to improve the set-up of the car. Unfortunately, when I went for my final attempt, I found the track blocked by Jos Verstappen’s car, which had spun, and lost the opportunity of setting what should have my fastest lap. It is a bit disappointing because today my car definitely had the potential to go faster."