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Belgian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - 3rd )
Jean Todt: "It was a great qualifying for Ferrari, with Michael Schumacher managing to take his fifth pole of the year, the eighth for the Scuderia and Rubens Barrichello taking third place. Michael was particularly keen to be quickest in qualifying for this race, given that he had never done it before on what is his favourite circuit. In terms of the battle for second place in the Drivers� championship, Rubens is in a favourable situation, given that his closest rivals are all behind him. The entire chassis-engine-Bridgestone tyre package was at its best and it is very gratifying to have secured this result on such a special circuit as Spa-Francorchamps."
Ross Brawn: "I am very happy with Michael�s pole as I did not know he had never done it here. In the past, he has often won after starting further back, so let�s hope pole is a good omen! Michael has been happy with the balance of his car throughout the weekend. It was important to get him out when the track was clear and we managed to do it twice. The start will be important tomorrow. I think it will be a very interesting and exiting race and that our opponents will be more competitive than they were in Budapest. The tyres should be okay so there is no reason not to be optimistic."
Michael Schumacher: "I am very proud of this pole, especially as it was only on Thursday when I realised that I had never been quickest here at Spa. I had a good feeling before the session as the guys had done a very good job and the set-up was perfect. As we only used one set of tyres this morning I was reasonably confident that we would have a margin over the others. I had to abort one run because of yellow flags. At the end of the session, we realised we had miscalculated the time remaining, but I went out anyway as we had made a set-up change and I wanted to understand what effect it had on the car. On the subject of the advertising on the track surface, it is true that along with the other drivers we have asked for it to be removed. There is often a chance of rain here and we know from the pedestrian crossings on the Monaco track how slippery this paint can be. As for the race, I am looking forward to it as Spa is my most favourite track and it means a lot to me because it plays an important part in my racing history."
Rubens Barrichello: "This morning I had been struggling with the set-up and the car was not balanced, giving me understeer and oversteer in the same corner. We worked hard to improve it before qualifying and so I am happy to be third on the clean side of the track. I also feel I have a good tyre choice and set-up for the race. On my final run I might have gone quicker, but I lost three tenths behind another car in the first sector, the second sector was much better, but then at the end of the lap there was just too much traffic at the chicane. It was a shame, because although I would not have beaten Michael�s time, I think I could have pipped Kimi for second place."
McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd, David Coulthard - 6th )
Ron Dennis: "A great performance from both drivers and clearly a step forward by the whole team. Hopefully we will have a dry race tomorrow which I think will be better for everybody."
Norbert Haug: "An excellent performance by Kimi. It's a pity that on his quickest run he hit sand from a competitor and ran a little wide in the middle sector - otherwise it would have been very close as his best sector times show. The whole package worked well today and David also is in a good position for the race tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Obviously I'm happy with my first Formula One front row but I believe there was a chance to further improve my time at the end. However, there was sand on the track and I also got the car a little out of shape at the double left-hander because I was pushing very hard. During my second run, there was a tricky situation when there was thick smoke at the beginning of the straight after Eau Rouge, and I didn't know at once where to go. I then saw the oil line from Panis' engine and went to the opposite side without losing too much time. Our package seems to work very well here so I'm looking forward to the race."
David Coulthard: "With the race in mind we had chosen a different tyre compound than Kimi so I was not too surprised with the outcome. I seem to lose most of my time in the middle sector, which we will investigate. We now look forward to the race when I believe that we will be in much better shape."
Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 4th, Juan Pablo Montoya - 5th )
Sam Michael: "It is obviously disappointing not to be the fastest Michelin car, regardless of the teams' compound choices. Michelin has brought two strong tyres here, evident by the number of Michelin runners in the top twelve. We have obviously lost some of our qualifying performance relative to the other Michelin runners and now we have some work to do for tomorrow's race set-up."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "Apart from Michael Schumacher�s outstanding performance the times of the drivers from second to sixth position are very close and McLaren have proved that we have to settle scores with them as well ! We didn�t have any technical problems and both Ralf and Juan improved on their positions with each run. Starting from 4th and 5th positions is ok. As we all know at Spa, the race outcome can still depend on unstable weather conditions. However, we still hope we can achieve a podium position."
Ralf Schumacher: "Our weekend hasn�t been too positive so far. It has been no easy job for us to find the right balance for our car and to take the tyres to the right temperatures quick enough. However I was quite satisfied at the end of qualifying. It won�t be easy to beat the Ferraris or the McLarens in the race."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Not at all the qualifying I expected here. I struggled with the car balance and could not improve as much as I was hoping. We tried a few things to see if we could find some more tenths but they were not enough. In my third attempt I was held up by Raikkonen�s McLaren-Mercedes and lost some time there. I haven�t qualified on the third row since Australia but still I like this track and I hope my race will be more satisfying than this qualifying."
Renault ( Jarno Trulli - 7th, Jenson Button - 10th )
Denis Chevrier: "A good qualifying performance for us. It is pleasing to see our leading car in a strong position between the top six and the following pack, especially since our top speeds were competitive. However, I think we could have quite realistically hoped to finish the session seventh and eighth. We experienced no technical problems, and we now must look to make as good a use of our package tomorrow as we did today."
Pat Symonds: "A reasonable session for Jarno and even though a problem meant he missed starting his final run by a couple of seconds, this probably didn't affect the outcome for him. Jenson was unfortunate to have a car spin in front of him on his third run, and we maybe miscalculated the effect of the changes we had made, which with the closeness of the grid in this area certainly cost him a couple of places. However, we are in good shape for the race."
Jarno Trulli: "It was a very good performance today, even though I didn't manage to complete my final run. Of course, it's always possible to improve if you're out on the circuit, so I don't know what we could have done on that last lap. Nevertheless, I thought we were very competitive yesterday, so things look good for the race tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "I'm a little disappointed to be tenth, especially as Jarno showed what the full potential of the car was. We made a mistake with the set-up, and took off too much downforce for the last two runs. This meant we lost out in the second sector. Having said that, we should still be able to do something from this part of the grid."
Jaguar ( Eddie Irvine - 8th, Pedro de la Rosa - 11th )
Niki Lauda: "We were expecting both cars to qualify in the top twelve today, but Eddie went one step further and produced a brilliant last lap to earn himself 8th place on the grid for tomorrow�s race. The Jaguar R3 has been performing reasonably well all weekend and given that we didn�t achieve much mileage yesterday, our qualifying performance today is all the more pleasing and impressive. Michelin have obviously done their homework for this race and combined with the much-needed dry conditions, the drivers delivered a very solid performance. It�s no secret that we have had a difficult season and given the opportunity presented to us, we must now look at taking full advantage of the race tomorrow. Points have been desperately hard to come by all season and the main reason has been not qualifying high enough. Both drivers and the team did an excellent job today and a point or two would be just reward for the relentless hard work that�s been going on back at the factory in Milton Keynes. Nonetheless, this is a very unpredictable circuit and the weather patterns are renowned for throwing up surprises. Subsequently, it�s impossible to say how things are going to shape up tomorrow."
Eddie Irvine: "We had a feeling going into qualifying that we could get it together and deliver a respectable performance. I had suffered no problems or hold-ups on any of my laps and while I could have got more time out of sector three, I don�t think it would have made any difference to the overall qualifying position. We have certainly gone quicker than even we expected and all credit must go to Michelin for producing a good compound. The race, however, will be very tough and as always, the weather will inevitably play a part. Nonetheless, we have today earned the best qualifying performance of the season so far and we must now aim to capitalise on it. After such a difficult season, we now find ourselves at the sharp end and I will be looking to put on a good fight tomorrow. The car felt pretty well balanced throughout and felt like it could deliver the lap time almost immediately. The team must also be credited for doing a great job and let�s hope I can repay them tomorrow with a similar performance and who knows, maybe even a point."
Pedro de la Rosa: "A good qualifying session for the team but if I am honest, I am a little disappointed in myself for not doing a slightly better job. The car felt very well balanced and my first two runs were encouraging. I didn�t need to make any major changes to the car mid-session and going into the last two runs, I was optimistic of doing better. In the end, my time did not improve because I locked the front wheels going into La Source during my third effort and I also aborted my final run because of a mistake I made at the end of sector three. Nevertheless, we are very well-placed to go racing tomorrow and that in itself is long overdue."
Toyota ( Mika Salo - 9th, Allan McNish - 13th )
Norbert Kreyer: "Both cars ran with the latest engine specification today, and the team is very satisfied with its performance. Spa is a power circuit that requires a strong and reliable engine, especially on the uphill section of Le Raidillon that has to be taken at full throttle. We are all pleased with today's outcome."
Mika Salo: "Low-speed circuits are behind us and we can now make full use of our engine power. We had a chance here, we took it and I am really happy with today's performance. We only did minor adjustments to the car in qualifying and changed the tyre pressures for my last run, the best one. We are back in the race again."
Allan McNish: "We continued working on the car's set-up during qualifying, but unfortunately we did not find the right tyre pressure for my last run. But the session went well for me overall. The car feels very consistent in race trim and Spa offers real chances to overtake, so I feel rather confident for tomorrow."
BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 12th, Olivier Panis - 15th )
David Richards: "We�ve made the best of another problematic day and although we�re not where we�d like to be on the grid tomorrow, things could have been much worse. It was a great shame for Olivier in particular who was running so well in practice this morning and could have achieved our top-10 qualifying target today. Once again, the mechanics demonstrated excellent teamwork in turning the T-car around and salvaging the situation. Although Jacques is the best Bridgestone runner behind the Ferraris, I�m sure he could also have got into the top 10, but now we have to concentrate on our race set-up for what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult day tomorrow."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We�ve managed to salvage the weekend a little bit. We had problems yesterday and then in practice this morning the aero wasn�t working properly so we couldn�t set the car up that well for qualifying. On my second run this afternoon, I was passing a slowing Sauber and ran wide, which caused me to spin off backwards into the gravel. Fortunately I recovered it quite well, stuck it into reverse and kept going backwards to get onto the track which minimised the amount of gravel I collected thankfully. After that we made steady improvement during the last two runs but then de la Rosa spun in front of me and I lost my only chance of making the top 10 today. We were the fastest Bridgestone runner after Ferrari again but in a fair race tomorrow it�s going to be very difficult to get close to the points. If the weather is wet though that could count in our favour."
Olivier Panis: "What can I say? I lost my second engine in two days, which cost me all the good work I did with my engineers in practice this morning to achieve a car that was capable of qualifying in the top 10. The T-car was set up for Jacques so we lost time changing the settings but I would like to congratulate the T-car crew for turning the car around so quickly. If it hadn�t been for that I would only have managed three runs today. To make things worse, the engine that was fitted into the T-car had a problem which caused a misfire and I wasn�t able to improve my time before the end of the session. So, I�ll have to focus on tomorrow now and try to make the best of things in order to get the best possible position in the race."
Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 14th, Takuma Sato - 16th )
Gary Anderson: "This is not really where we want to be, but Giancarlo spun and lost his race car and there is never the same confidence with the T-car. He managed a reasonable result given the circumstances and with both drivers we got all we could out of the car in the time available. It is quite a tight group, but we have got to accept it and get on with something different in the race tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I am very disappointed. It was a difficult qualifying as we were not competitive today and our tyres offered no advantage. I may have been able to find another half a second but unfortunately I lost my race car during braking on the second outing. When you jump in the T-car it�s always difficult as you aren�t as confident, but I did quite a good lap on my last run. 14th is not very good, but considering the qualifying session I had, it�s okay. I�m usually more confident in the race as that is where we are competitive. I had a terrific race here last year and I haven�t given up on the hope of scoring points this weekend, particularly if the weather conditions are right."
Takuma Sato: "It was a tough qualifying for both of us. The car didn�t feel too bad, although we needed some more stability and grip. Even so, we pushed the car set-up to the limit and it still wasn�t enough to get a good position. At such a great circuit that�s a shame but tomorrow we have another chance."
Sauber ( Felipe Massa - 17th, Nick Heidfeld - 18th )
Peter Sauber: "We are mystified why we have lost performance since Hungary, and our investigation into a more satisfactory set-up for the race will obviously continue."
Felipe Massa: "After Hungary, this is a major disappointment for us. I thought we had made a step this morning, but this afternoon I had the same big understeer in slow and medium-speed corners as I did yesterday. Then there was snap oversteer in the fast corners. Altogether the car felt very strange today, and after I set my time on my second run I just hit traffic every time I tried to go quicker."
Nick Heidfeld: "It's a long since time since my first qualifying run proved to be my fastest. It was quite normal, nothing special, but after that I locked up and ran wide at Les Combes on my second run, and then had a problem with the engine settings on the third. I was about to take the T-car when my engineers fixed the problem, but then I had too much understeer in the last section of the lap on my final run and could not improve. I think it's clear that we have a lot of work still to do."
Minardi ( Mark Webber - 19th, Anthony Davidson - 20th )Paul Stoddart: "Despite lining up P19 and P20 for tomorrow�s Belgian Grand Prix, today was reasonably productive for the KL Minardi Asiatech team. Both drivers experienced mixed fortunes in qualifying, Mark having a brilliant second run, but then suffering from traffic on his subsequent runs, as did Anthony. Considering this was only Anthony�s second time in the car and there has not been a chance to carry out any testing, he, too, deserves full marks for a sterling effort. Overall, to be so close to the times of the Saubers and Jordans in qualifying is particularly rewarding. As ever, we look forward to a safe and successful race tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "I�ve only done 15 flying laps so far this weekend, with four of those in qualifying, so to have finished up just over three-and-a-half seconds off the pole position time this afternoon is probably not such a bad result. I�m really pleased with the guys, who have worked hard to sort out some technical issues on the car yesterday and today. This is a difficult track for our package, so all in all, to have recovered as well as we have is pleasing."
Anthony Davidson: "Basically, it was quite a fun session in the beginning and every lap I went quicker. We made improvements to the car in the first run and just left it the same for the rest of the session. At the end of the day, though, I am a little bit disappointed to be six-tenths of a second away from Mark. I did get held up quite a lot on the last quick lap I did by Olivier Panis, of all people, but it�s just unfortunate � that�s the way it goes. My time realistically should have been about four-tenths away, and I would have been happy with that. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and I�m now really looking forward to the race."
Arrows - Missed the GP due to financial problems