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San Marino Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
Jean Todt: "It was a very exciting session with a great battle going down to the dying moments. The F2002 are working very well this weekend, in all the different conditions we have encountered. This has been helped by Bridgestone who are doing a great job of developing the tyres in conjunction with our engineers. However, this is only the first step for the weekend and we can expect a very tough race tomorrow when changing weather conditions could play a decisive role. I am very happy with Michael for getting yet another pole and also with a great performance from Rubens, the only driver to have saved a set of tyres. It is particularly pleasing to have an all red front row in front of our fans and our staff, who were packed into their specially reserved grandstand."
Ross Brawn: "Rubens put in a tremendous lap. We only got the right set up for Michaelís car right at the end. I hope everyone enjoyed qualifying as much as I did! It was great seeing our two drivers compete like that and have a reasonable margin over the rest of the field. To have both cars on the front row is fantastic. However, tomorrowís result is not a foregone conclusion. We will have to make a good start and work on the strategy as well as ensuring we get both cars to the finish. If we can do all that, then we have a good chance of winning. The 2002 car is quite a bit better than its predecessor and it is good to be racing with all the same cars. It should be an exciting race."
Michael Schumacher: "It was a hard fight as my team-mate really pushed me. It was good fun! In the end, I was lucky that I had no traffic on my last run and I made no mistakes. On my first run I had traffic, on the second I ran wide and on the third I made a mistake. Because we had done little running in the dry, it was a difficult session, not helped by gusting wind. We made changes to the car throughout the session. I am confident about the race. Bridgestone has made a good step forward again and we seem to be well sorted for tomorrow. When I start the race, I will have competed in more races for Ferrari than any other driver. That means a lot to me as it shows the mutual confidence we have in one another."
Rubens Barrichello: "Having been on provisional pole for most of the session, of course I would have liked to have kept it. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the challenge and the fight was fun. In the morning, I was not sure about the engine in my race car, so I used the spare for the whole qualifying session, while my race car became Michaelís spare. It was a bit of a gamble as the car had not yet run this weekend. It was the car I had driven in a Barcelona test before the Brazilian GP. We decided not to do a fourth run and I was quite happy with my lap time. The car was well balanced even though we had to guess a little bit for the set up. I aborted my last run, because a car in front of me had put dirt on the track between turns 14 and 15."
Sam Michael: "We are happy that the weather conditions changed to favour our team. Looking at the gap we still have to Ferrari we have quite a bit of work to do. Mainly for tomorrow but also for the upcoming races. Today both the drivers got the best out of their cars and for tomorrow it's a case of having the right strategy. Now we have to prepare ourselves for the race regardless of whether the track conditions will remain friendly to us or not."
Gerhard Berger: "The fact that Ralf's and Juan's times are so close indicates to me that both of our drivers got the best out of the situation. Ferrari has again demonstrated a perfect performance, but we are almost there. Our starting position for tomorrow is good and I am confident that we will be able to defend our starting positions even in the rain"
Ralf Schumacher: "We can be reasonably happy as we are very close to Ferrari. I failed to improve my time in the last run due to a mistake. Last year I started third here and I had my first victory in F1, so why couldn't it be the same this year? A good strategy can take you everywhere. Lots can happen in a race but whatever happens tomorrow, we will try to get some points."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I had a pretty good qualifying today, although I was chasing the car balance throughout the session. Considering that it was raining yesterday we managed to find a reasonably good set-up for dry conditions. Tomorrow we have good chances of achieving places on the podium."
Ron Dennis: "Whilst the cars are handling reasonably well, we are clearly struggling to match the pace of our principal competition. If we have higher ambient temperatures tomorrow, which we can hopefully compliment with a good race strategy, a satisfying result should still be possible."
Norbert Haug: "A disappointing qualifying: Six tenths of a second behind our competition on the same tyres and over a second to pole position are gaps that are far too big. We expect to look better in race trim."
Kimi Raikkonen: "We did our best today and I feel I got the utmost out of the car. We seem to lose most of our time in the middle sector but we donít really know why yet. I had a small spin at Rivazza when I ran wide during my third run and had to go back into the pits. I donít know what to expect from the race, but we will aim for a podium."
David Coulthard: "A difficult session for me. After this morningís practice we had to make an engine change which cost us time just before qualifying, and I started my first run late. I was unable to extract the best from the tyres and couldnít improve my time from the morning practice to the same extent as the competition. However we will see what happens tomorrow, but it will be a tough race as we have some strong opposition in front of us."
Peter Sauber: "Another seventh place in qualifying is a good feeling, especially as it is in front of strong competitors. It's a fantastic job by Nick and the team. After Friday Felipe had anticipated qualifying higher than 11th, but it's still a good place to start and his time will come."
Nick Heidfeld: "I'm really happy. Given the strength of the three top teams, seventh place feels as good as pole position. My car was really good today, and I might have gone even quicker if I hadn't lost a couple of tenths on the grass on my best lap. Itís going to be difficult to challenge the people ahead tomorrow, but I'm confident for the race. I think we'll be okay for some more points."
Felipe Massa: "This morning I lost a lot of track time with a hydraulic problem, and I think that was reflected in my performance this afternoon. I just didn't find the balance for the car. I had oversteer in the fastest corners and under braking. I wanted to qualify in the top 10, but though I'm disappointed to miss that, 11th isn't so bad."
Mike Gascoyne: "An exciting qualifying session. Jarno and Jenson improved their times as the track got faster, and without Panisí spin, they could have gone even faster. Overall, a reasonable qualifying session, which will mean that we can race for points tomorrow."
Dennis Chevrier: "Two daysí work in one! This morning, the team had to choose our dry tyre compound as well as collecting information for qualifying and the race. We didnít have any problems whatsoever during qualifying with the engine, which is a reason to be pleased given the difference in weather conditions from the first races of the season. Once again, we have confirmed our position as challengers just behind the three top teams."
Jarno Trulli: "A trouble-free session for me from a technical point of view, but I had traffic on each of my quick laps. During the last run, I was three or four tenths up when Panis spun in front of me. It would have been better to get in front of the other Sauber, even one of the McLarens, but Iím confident that weíve got a good car for tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "Iím pretty happy with how the session went. It was a bit tricky today with the weather, but we worked well, even if weíre still a fair way from the leaders. I made a mistake at Rivazza on my last run, which cost me a couple of tenths. Itís a shame, but itís looking good for the race."
David Richards: "Iím very pleased with the way the team has performed today. After a difficult time on Friday, we produced a good solid result in the sessions this morning and in qualifying. I feel that our new structure is beginning to pay dividends in terms of the way we work at the track, and as a result weíre doing a much better job of extracting the maximum performance from the car. We need to keep up the momentum and get a good result tomorrow."
Geoffrey Willis: "We appear to have made good progress with our reliability issues and have therefore had two days of consistent running which has allowed us to gradually improve the performance of the car. In the dry running today the car has responded well to set-up changes, and as a result we have followed a planned programme steadily improving the car throughout practice and qualifying. As a result we are much closer to where we should be at this stage. The team have done a good job."
Jacques Villeneuve: "It looks like the hard work done during the last two tests is starting to pay off and I'm very pleased for the team. 10th and 12th is definitely a step forward for us. We had a difficult start to the weekend and yesterday showed us that we had a lot of work to do to improve the car for qualifying. I was a little disappointed with my own qualifying session because I don't think we found the best set-up for me. On the positive side, we have been reliable all weekend so we need to stay focused and make the most of every opportunity tomorrow."
Olivier Panis: "After the start we made to the weekend we should be very happy with today's result. We've made a number of small changes for this race and the team have done a lot of work over the past two days to get the most from them. The track seems to suit the car and we're starting from the first half of the grid, so if we can get a good first lap we should be in with a chance of getting a point."
Mike Coughlan: ďSlightly disappointed. Heinz-Harald did a good job today, however we feel we should be in the top 12, hence the disappointment. The Bridgestone tyre looks strong for the race. Iím concerned about the problem Enrique had at the start of the session but weíll have to look at the data to find out what went wrong there.Ē
Heinz Harald Frentzen: ďWell, not a bad result. I think we have shown again today that we have potential. The balance still isnít 100% as it should be for qualifying but that situation should improve soon. The car is generally better in race trim, more competitive, so Iím looking forward to having a good race tomorrow.Ē
Enrique Bernoldi: "I lost my first run and a set of tyres along with it. I wasnít happy with the balance of the T-car so that slowed me down later on. I was a bit quicker on my last run but was held up which is a shame as I feel I could have beaten both the Jaguars today.Ē
Gary Anderson: "It has been quite a trying day, and not the wet qualifying we'd hoped for. I felt Takuma did a good job and probably achieved the maximum result possible. Giancarlo lost some running time in the morning session which cost us a bit as we needed some more running time in the dry. Then he had a loss of hydraulic pressure on his second outing and so had to qualify in the T car. He would have probably qualified a place or two higher, basically the results today do reflect where we are and we just have to push to improve."
Takuma Sato: "The qualifying position is naturally disappointing, but I must say that I am satisfied with my performance as I honestly feel I did all I could do today. The fact is that we need to push hard to improve our competitiveness. The latest evolution engine is definitely better at the top end and has better torque. Acqua Minerale was slightly damp at the start of the hour but it dried out during the session and I was able to improve my lap time on each outing. For tomorrow, if I can make up places in the race as I did in Brazil I will be happy."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Clearly a disappointing qualifying session, especially here in Italy and after yesterday's encouraging performance. The situation is simply that we are on the limit of our performance, although I believe I would have qualified higher had I not had the hydraulic problems with my race car. When I took the T car out it did not feel as good as my car. I hope to have a better day tomorrow and finish the race, if possible in the points."
Keizo Takahashi: "We were lucky today with the dry weather conditions, but still we have not found a perfect set up on Mika and Allan's car. We must make some improvements before tomorrow's race and then finish the race as high as possible."
Mika Salo: "16th on the grid is not a bad place to be considering the problems we have had so far. We do not have much grip and the car does not ride the kerbs very easily. It is a bit frustrating at the moment, but we'll see tomorrow. I hope for a good start."
Allan McNish: "Overall it was a good day, although we are not as high up the grid as we would have liked. Having said that this is a representative position for us at this event. We made some improvements since yesterday and the car felt relatively good to drive in the qualifying session."
Niki Lauda: "We are suffering from a distinct lack of downforce and that's why we are finding it difficult to generate enough heat into the tyres. This is subsequently resulting in a lack of grip and hence the slower speeds. We faired much better in Brazil where the hotter temperatures helped the tyres. With colder conditions like we have here in Imola, we are hit twice as hard. It is very disappointing, but it's no more than we expected. Our wind tunnel programme is now up and running, but we cannot wave a magic wand overnight. Our on-going recruitment drive towards hiring the best people continues and combined with our wind tunnel programme, it will be a few weeks before the Jaguar R3 performs consistency like a racing car should. Our drivers are giving it everything, but with conditions like those we've experienced today, there is very little you can do when you suffer from a lack of grip."
Eddie Irvine: "There is nothing I can do to make this car generate a good, fast lap. It's got the potential, yes, but for some reason we cannot get it to handle properly. There's very little else to add right now. Until we make a major aerodynamic advancement, we must accept our fate at cold weather circuits. The Michelin tyres worked very well on other cars today and our problem is simply down to the fact that we are not generating enough downforce. Tomorrow's race will be an uphill task and we'll see what it brings. After this weekend, it's back to Silverstone and more testing. Regardless of the problems we are currently experiencing, we must keep pushing forward with our targets - something the wind tunnel should make a significant contribution towards."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It was a frustrating qualifying session to say the least. The weather conditions were far drier than we expected this morning and although this helped the R3, we could certainly have done with higher temperatures in order to extract the best from the tyre package. The Michelin tyre always works better in hotter conditions and with this being an aero circuit, we are having big problems in generating any heat into the tyres. The team and I will be working hard to provide the optimum set-up for the race tomorrow. Unless something extraordinary happens, we won't kid ourselves into thinking about points tomorrow."Paul Stoddart: "That was a fantastic qualifying performance from Mark, particularly considering he had to use the spare car for his last two runs, which had Alexís settings on it at the beginning of the session. We really feel for Alex, especially when you consider that in the last two races he has been within half a second of Mark in qualifying. Alexís car had a brake balance problem today, and the 2.5-second gap between him and his team mate in qualifying in no way reflects his true ability."
Mark Webber: "It was an awesome day and an awesome qualifying session for us. We had a problem on my race car today - we still donít know exactly what happened - and I had to jump in the T-car, which was set up for Alex. I just gave my last lap absolutely everything to get the time I did. I was so happy for the guys because they really busted themselves to get the spare car turned around for me, and then to do those two runs in the end was great. It was good to do it here at Imola, as I love the circuit
Alex Yoong: "I was a bit handicapped at the outset by never having driven this circuit in the dry. I felt I had it sorted after the second 45-minute session this morning, but I underestimated the levels of grip available here in the dry with the car in qualifying trim. Iím particularly sorry for the guys, who worked really hard to get me in the race. Itís very disappointing."