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Austrian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Jean Todt: "For the fifth time this season we have managed to get one of our cars onto pole position. On the way to his second pole of the year, Rubens once again proved that he is on great form. For his part, Michael's race car was not as good this afternoon as in the morning, which is why he switched to the spare car for his final run. We were expecting to have to fight for places on the first two rows and so it proved. Tomorrow's race will be very long and tough, especially on the brakes. As usual these days, tyre performance will play a significant role in the final result and we are confident in the work done by Bridgestone."
Ross Brawn: "This was a bit of a messy session. Rubens recovered the situation very well, doing a great job to take pole position. Michael never got a clean lap, partly because of the car. He was a bit unhappy with the brakes and as we could not solve the problem immediately we decided to use the spare. Unfortunately, he was still not able to get a clear lap. I think this is the first time this year we have not got it quite right for Michael. But anyway, third place isn't bad for tomorrow's race."
Rubens Barrichello: "In Imola and Barcelona it was close between us and Michael beat me. This time, I said to myself, "not today" and tried even harder. At the moment we are such a good team that if one of us is not on pole then the other should be able to do it. It was a very busy session with lots of cars putting dirt on the track. I had two lucky escapes: the first when there was the oil on the track and the second when the Toyota moved across on me. I was doing over 300 at the time and I thought it was going to be a big accident. That time I managed to continue and go quicker on my second lap in that run as the tyres were holding up well. Tomorrow, we start all over again and I am very happy and very confident for the race."
Michael Schumacher: "The red flag had no real effect on my performance. However, I did have a problem with my race car. We are not sure at the moment what it was, but it is unusual for me to be quicker in the morning than in the afternoon. That is why I took the spare car. Was it better? Well, I did a quicker time, but it is always difficult to tell when you jump in a car for the first time during the weekend. I also had problems with traffic on two of my runs. I have to say that Rubens did a very good job. Third is reasonable and we are looking good for the race. We have been quick all weekend and although it is closer than in Barcelona, I still feel we have a slight edge."
Sam Michael: "Well done to Ralf and his crew for getting the best out of the car and putting it on the front row. He is well placed for the race. It was a fantastic effort from Juan after he had problems with the race car, having to change to the T-Car and experiencing problems there as well. He worked quickly, thinking with a clear head how to go faster during the session. He was helped a lot by the mechanics who handled a high pressure situation calmly and efficiently."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "It was a hectic qualifying session both on the track with several offs and imperfections and also in the garage. Juan Pablo got a misfire in the first lap and he had to switch to the T-car. After a few starting problems the T-car ran all right. There were no technical problems on Ralf's car. He was very quick and we are happy we have put a car on the front row, after all the Ferrari dominance. We will analyse the reason for the misfire on Juan's car later in the day."
Ralf Schumacher: "I am definitely pleased with my result and also a bit surprised as we were expecting to be closer to Ferrari but probably not to qualify between them. I had two very similar laps. The car was very good throughout the morning and this afternoon's qualifying session and I must thank the team for the good job as well as Michelin. My only concern for tomorrow is that I will be starting from the dirty side of the track but we all have launch control, which will definitely help."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "After all the trouble I had today, this is a pretty good result. Because of technical problems with my race car I had to switch to the T-Car, which did not work properly at the beginning. It was set-up for Ralf this time and there was not enough time to change everything back, so I found it difficult to drive it. I could have been quicker on my second run, but I had to be careful not to make any mistakes. Finally I am really happy having achieved a place on the second row during my last run."
Peter Sauber: "I'm very happy with this fantastic result, which is confirmation of the performance of both drivers, the progressive development of the Sauber Petronas C21 and, ultimately, the harmonious collaboration of the whole team. Thank you to the crew here at the A1-Ring, and to those back at the factory in Hinwil."
Nick Heidfeld: "This morning we were very competitive, which was pleasing after the track time I lost yesterday. At the start of qualifying we did a little test, then I got a very good lap on my third run. Unfortunately I got held up by Button on my fourth lap. He was on his out lap and probably thought I was, too. But I'm happy to be fifth on the grid, and pleased with the performance our of latest Petronas engine. Since we are always strong in race trim I believe that the third row will be a very good place to start."
Felipe Massa: "I made a mistake on my first run and got on to the gravel, so I aborted the lap. I'm really disappointed that I couldn't hold on to fifth place after my third run, but on my last one I made another small mistake, otherwise I would have been even quicker, for sure. The balance of the car was neutral in all but the really high-speed corners, and I jerked the steering wheel just a little bit too much and got some oversteer that cost me time. Seventh place is my best qualifying position so far, though."
Ron Dennis: "Two trouble-free days with our grid positions purely reflecting our current state of competitiveness, but as always our motivation and efforts are focused on winning."
Norbert Haug: "Our qualifying result today shows where we currently are with our performance, but we will fight for better places in tomorrow's race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "We would like to be higher up the grid but it was just not possible today. I remember from last year that the Saubers are quick around this track, but we will see what happens in the race. We can't expect drastic improvements overnight, but we will work hard. My aim is to finish the race and score points."
David Coulthard: "Realistically our positions reflect our current level of performance. The session was always going to be quicker at the end with more rubber on the track, but unfortunately one of the Arrows cars spun in front of me, so I was unable to improve further. However we qualified in a similar position last year, and I won the race. I'm not saying that tomorrow will be a repeat performance, but it shows that you never know what might happen."
"Olivier’s 9th position was as good as we could have
expected in qualifying and it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to
get the same out of the car for Jacques.
Olivier Panis: "I'm really happy to qualify 9th today; it's great news for the team. I've been pushing hard all weekend and we've made good progress through each of the sessions. I almost completed a race distance yesterday and worked through various options to get the car to where it needed to be. There's a chance I could have bettered that in my final run but De La Rosa was slowing on his in-lap and blocked me. Even so, I'm delighted with what we have. We've put a lot into testing recently and that has helped me to get a good set-up for the last two Grands Prix. Last week's test in Estoril was very positive and I have been able to build on that progress here. I'm optimistic about tomorrow's race and ready to push for some points."
Jacques Villeneuve: "I've struggled to find the right set-up all weekend and for one reason or another we haven't been able to make much progress. We had some improvement in practice this morning but I went into qualifying with a car I wasn't comfortable with. I decided to run on new tyres for the session and everybody else seemed to be better off on used tyres. The laps weren't very clean so clearly the tyre choice was a mistake. Once again, we'll be relying on the car being better off in the race."
Gustav Brunner: "I am very pleased that we have made our third top ten qualifying position in only our 6th race. The A1-Ring has tended to suit our car a bit better than other circuits and this has been reflected in the excellent 10th and 14th positions that Mika and Allan managed today."
Mika Salo: "Qualifying was very close as expected with every hundredth of a second counting. I couldn't get the lap done I wanted and suffered from understeer, which we have to improve on. I am sorry for holding up Rubens on his final flying lap. He was in the blind spot of my mirror and I just didn't see him."
Allan McNish: "The car has been pretty good and consistent so far this weekend. The qualifying session today was extremely positive from my perspective. We have found a good set-up on the car for the race and I am looking forward to making the most of it tomorrow."
Mike Coughlan: “I'm disappointed as we should have had both cars in the top ten. Heinz was held up on what would have been a very good lap at the end of the session. To be fair though, traffic was a problem for everyone today. We're all looking forward to tomorrow though as we have good balance on fuel and old tyres. We also have the upgraded Cosworth engine for the race here as well as qualifying so it will be interesting to see how we get on.”
Heinz Harald Frentzen: “I lost my rhythm slightly after the spin on Trulli's oil. I got the car back to the pits and, after changing a few parts, could get on with the session. The car was definitely a lot better by the end of the session but like everybody else I had traffic trouble. Unfortunately I stopped Enrique on his last flying lap. My fault, and I have apologised. Looking forward to tomorrow now as, although we should have both been in the top ten today, our positions are no disgrace.”
Enrique Bernoldi: "At the end of the day 12th place is a good result - my best yet. I'm still disappointed a bit though as we could have been in the top ten today. We improved the car a lot from this morning's sessions and I was pretty happy with the balance. I enjoy racing here so tomorrow should be fun.”
Pat Symonds: "We are extremely disappointed after a session during which we found neither the necessary balance nor speed on both cars. Our work was not helped by Jarno's engine failure, which forced him into the T-car. We now have a lot of work to do if we are to score points tomorrow."
Dennis Chevrier: "Quite simply, everything happened which shouldn't during qualifying! Having spent time honing the car for the session, this kind of engine problem for Jarno leaves us unable to challenge our competitors, as we should be capable of doing. It also gives us reason to be disappointed and worried. Jenson also had a difficult afternoon, during a session in which we were unable to fight with our usual rivals. Tomorrow, we will have to use the most powerful race configuration possible, whilst taking account of the potential for technical and sporting incidents at this circuit."
Jenson Button: "It was all about traffic! I lost my first run because of the red flag, but gradually improved the car during the hour. At the end, I just went out at the wrong time - the car felt good, but there was traffic in front of me and behind, and I lost a lot of time at the start and the end of the lap. There was nothing I could do - I was unlucky today."
Jarno Trulli: "First of all, I want to apologise for the red flag. The engine let go suddenly, and there was really nothing I could do to control the car. I then jumped into the spare, which was set up for Jenson, and even though the team managed to change almost everything, I still struggled a little with brakes I'm not used to. I did the best I could in the circumstances, and I particularly want to thank the team for doing a great job."
Gary Anderson: "I thought we would have done better than that. We changed the engine on Giancarlo's car before the qualifying session, and the track conditions were difficult. We just couldn't really get it right. This is where we are roughly, though, within two tenths of a second. We need to work a bit harder to move forward, I'm afraid - that's life."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "We had a difficult qualifying session today, with quite a few problems. We found the best set-up compromise was to use scrubbed front and new rear tyres, but one of the front ones had a flat spot on one of my runs. We put on new tyres and it seemed fairly good but I think the scrubbed front set-up was quicker. At the very end of the session I was doing my quickest lap, which I believe would have put me in the top 10 or 12, and I was held up by Frentzen moving quite slowly. I don't know why, but he wouldn't move out of the way and that held me up."
Takuma Sato: "That was a tough qualifying. We struggled to get the right balance with oversteer and understeer. We've got warm-up time tomorrow but there's a fair bit of work to do. My time is only about a tenth of a second away from Giancarlo's so there wasn't a lot more to come."
Niki Lauda: "We expected a tough race this weekend and while we could probably have done a little better today, I don't think we could have expected anything much different. Both our drivers pushed the car to its' limits and apart from a couple of minor problems, we didn't experience anything today that we haven't already been through so far this season. A tough race beckons, I know, but we must keep pushing forward on our development and that's exactly what we are doing."
Eddie Irvine: "I should have been quicker, but it would only have put me ahead of Pedro today. I aborted my first run because of an understeer issue. The team made some adjustments and sent me on my way. My lap times were getting better over each run and I think my best would have been the last run had it not been for Bernoldi in the Arrows. As I was approaching turn three, I darted towards the inside of Bernoldi and for some inexplicable reason, he turned right into me and took the front end of my car with him! Nonetheless, it would not have made a big difference to my qualifying position and there's subsequently little point in making a big issue of it."
Pedro de la Rosa: "The team did a good job today given the circumstances and despite where we have qualified, our motivation towards getting our problems solved is high. The car felt good, the balance was there, but it's simply too slow right now. In addition, I only really had one clean flying lap. We suffered from a minor heating issue after my first run and the team did well to fix it and get me out again. To be honest, I was pushing hard and looking to extract time out of the car that didn't exist. My third run, however, was the best and tomorrow's race will no doubt be another tough one for us."Paul Stoddart: "On a slippery track, P21 and P22 may not sound terribly exciting, but both drivers did a creditable job, given the circumstances. We now look forward to tomorrow's race. Who knows? Unexpected things have been known to happen when starting from those positions."
Mark Webber: "I think it was quite a difficult session because everyone waited until the track cleaned up. I thought we might as well go out because we had only a small amount of running on the tyre we were going to use in qualifying. When we did go out, the track was very bad, plus we also had a number of balance changes to do with the new type of tyre. Then Jarno (Trulli) lost his engine and the session was stopped. When it restarted, there was only 20 minutes left, there was a lot of dirt on the track, and I just had to do the best time I could. We got a better balance, although still not perfect for qualifying, but at least I think we have the right tyre for the race tomorrow. We're not sure, but we think we're maybe in better shape than others. We'll see."
Alex Yoong: "I'm disappointed, as I felt we could have had a good result in qualifying today. The balance of the car was good, but the rear brakes were locking up at times, which destabilised the car going into corners. We're now going to make some changes and we expect the situation to be significantly improved for tomorrow."