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2003 British Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday  

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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday

Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - 1st, Michael Schumacher - 5th )

Jean Todt: "Seeing Rubens Barrichello topping the time sheet here at Silverstone is very gratifying. Michael ran wide off the track, which in the end prevented him from fighting for a front row position, but nevertheless fifth place is a good position from which to start the race. Tomorrow we can expect a tough and closely fought contest. We feel that our choices in terms of the Bridgestone tyres and our fuel load for the start should allow us to bring home some important points for both championships."

Ross Brawn: "Rubens did a fantastic lap, while Michael made a small mistake. I think that the track conditions might have been a bit more difficult towards the end of the session. Our chassis-engine-tyre package has taken a significant step forward compared with the last few races. Bridgestone came up with new tyres for us, both in terms of their compound and their construction. I feel everything is in place for us to have a great race tomorrow: Rubens starts ahead of everyone and despite what happened to Michael on his quick lap, he still has a good grid position."

Rubens Barrichello: "I was in agony waiting for the session to end! Yesterday, I made a mistake and also we had tried something completely different in terms of set-up which did not work. So today, we knew we had to work in a different direction. I am very happy with the car. Ferrari is a fantastic group of people who have worked very well on improving the car. We came here with lots of new items, the car is very fast and Bridgestone has done a fantastic job. I don't think running at the beginning of the session was a disadvantage in terms of lap time, but there was a lot more pressure to be 100% committed but not to make a mistake. It was a mind game. As for Michael, it was a case of mixed feelings, because of course I didn't want him to beat me, but at the same time I wanted him to do well for reasons of team spirit."

Michael Schumacher: "Naturally, I am a bit disappointed with today's qualifying. I made a mistake, slid and ran wide at Abbey and of course, driving on grass is not very good for traction! The current top runners in the championship; Ralf, Kimi and myself are close together on the grid, which could be important tomorrow. Given the overall performance of our car this weekend, I expect us to be consistent in the race and fifth place is not the end of the world, although it will make my life more difficult. It will be a long afternoon, so let's wait and see. Congratulations to Rubens: he was quick here in the test and all weekend, so his performance was not a surprise."

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Renault ( Jarno Trulli - 2nd , Fernando Alonso - 8th )

Mike Gascoyne: "A superb result for Jarno. He had struggled this weekend, but worked hard together with his engineers (Alan Permane and Nicholas Chester) to get the car right, and they made a good tyre choice. He then drove a fantastic lap. Fernando is running a different tyre, and reported a lack of overall grip. But in general, it's a very good result, we are on the right strategy, and we are looking to win the race tomorrow."

Denis Chevrier: "After a qualifying session like that, we have legitimate hopes for tomorrow's race. Weather is obviously still an unknown, but when you are starting from the front row, anything can happen. We might regret that Fernando is not closer to his team-mate, but he is nevertheless in good company on the grid. This weekend, we have also benefited from a new lubricant produced by our technical partner Elf, which certainly contributed to this performance. We know we are competitive; we know need to confirm it in race conditions."

Jarno Trulli: "When I crossed the line at the end of the flying lap, my engineer told me I was second: I couldn't believe it! This is a fantastic result for myself and the team, especially as this is the home race for the guys from Enstone. We had some problems with the set-up this weekend, but everything was perfect for my timed lap. We're in a strong position for tomorrow, but of course, it is only on Sunday that you score the points."

Fernando Alonso: "The lap was OK. We had some problems with the set-up this morning: I'm not sure if it was because of the change in track conditions, but the overall grip was not fantastic. We tried some new things for qualifying, and they were an improvement. The race tomorrow is a long one and, starting eighth, I am in a good position to score good points."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 3rd, David Coulthard - 12th )

Ron Dennis: "Concentrating our pre-British Grand Prix testing schedule on Barcelona definitely made some of the initial set up work more difficult. Kimi's third place is a practical demonstration of the importance of a balanced car. David's lack of balance made life somewhat difficult for him. However both drivers and the team will approach the race with a view to maximise our points score."

Norbert Haug: "A solid job by Kimi, and his third place is a good basis for tomorrow's race. It will be interesting to see who will be out for how many laps before the first pit stops. A shame that David will start from 12th position, but I'm sure the race will see him performing well."

Kimi Raikkonen: "I had already changed out of my overalls before the end of qualifying as I wasn't expecting to do the top three interviews. I'm very pleased with my lap as we were really struggling with the balance yesterday. We improved the car throughout practice this morning and even made a few more adjustments after warm up and the car felt really good. I'm confident of a good result tomorrow."

David Coulthard: "I was really struggling with the balance of the car. As a result I ran wide at Stowe, locked up the front under braking at Club and lost a lot of time. I was generally not hitting the apex of the corners, and we tried to make a few more changes after warm up but they didn't work out. It will be a challenging race for me in front of my home crowd. However I have started in similar positions before and still managed to finish in the points or even on the podium."

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 4th, Juan Pablo Montoya - 7th )

Sam Michael: "It was a reasonable qualifying session for the team but we are pretty confident that we are going to have quite a good pace in the race and a good strategy."

Mario Theissen: "Starting fourth and seventh reflects the fact that both the drivers were not too happy with their cars during qualifying. Indeed, the first four rows of the grid are quite unusual . Furthermore, it's usually remarkable to see such a gap between team-mates. We will see in the race if this has something to do with different strategies as well as validate our true qualifying pace in the race tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher: "I believe we are well prepared for the race even though my qualifying result wasn't excellent, mainly due to the fact that I was struggling with the balance of my car, so as a consequence I am not too disappointed. Ferrari have again proved to be very strong here but nevertheless Michael is starting behind me on the grid. However, today's qualifying result was quite unusual."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am disappointed with this result because my car was very good and very stable this morning, and then it turned out to be not as positive in the warm-up and in qualifying. I didn't seem to have found the right balance as I was experiencing plenty of oversteer in some of the corners and generally poor traction. The car was very difficult to drive and very snappy. Now we must consider this in some detail before tomorrow. Anyway, we knew that this track was going to be tough for us. I am happy for Rubens who made it on pole, after he started so early on the session."

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Toyota ( Cristiano da Matta - 6th,  Olivier Panis - 13th )

Keizo Takahashi: "Cristiano did a great job and we are pleased for him getting his best ever qualifying result. When Olivier took to the track for his qualifying lap, the track conditions had changed a little bit from the first half of the session. He lost a lot of time in the final sector, but we don't really know why. In general our car performance has been very good in Silverstone this weekend and we hope to continue in this direction for the race. We have a really chance to get some championship points tomorrow, hopefully with both cars."

Cristiano da Matta: "I think the effort was pretty good, given the circumstances. We had a problem with my race car during the warm-up, which meant that we got no running prior to the qualifying run and I had to switch to the back-up car. Consequently I had no knowledge of the track conditions with different wind and different temperatures, so I couldn't really tune the car for the session.
Overall, I think the whole team has shown that we have a competitive package this weekend and to get my best ever qualifying result and a top-six grid position in the spare car is very pleasing. We are really in the hunt for points tomorrow."

Olivier Panis: "I had a big oversteer under braking in the last sector, which lost me a lot of time, but that happens occasionally when you are on the limit. I am not sure of the actual cause, so we need to go through the data to find out why this happened. Of course, I am not happy, but we have to remain focussed on making up positions in the race. We need to continue to push and aim for points - the car is certainly competitive enough. I want to say thanks to the team and well done to Cristiano for such a great lap today."

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 9th, Jenson Button - 20th - No Time )

David Richards: "Jacques' lap was excellent. Both he and his team have worked hard all weekend to extract the maximum from the car, and P9 bodes well for the race. Jenson's suspension failure is highly frustrating for everyone as he was also on a roll this weekend. But who knows, tomorrow it might rain and he might not be in such a bad position after all."

Geoff Willis: "The track conditions were tricky this morning with the gusty conditions making it difficult to find a good set-up. Despite the engine problem on Jacques' car, he was generally happier with his track time than Jenson. We were able to find a good balance for both cars in warm-up and Jacques put in an excellent lap to a well-deserved ninth place.
Unfortunately, Jenson ran slightly wide on the exit of Becketts, hit the kerb rather hard and the front-left push-rod failed. For Silverstone we bring specially-reinforced components and we are surprised that we have managed to exceed even the enormous loads that these parts are tested to. We are happy that Jacques has a good strategy for the race so we now have to think about how we are going to get the best for Jenson from the back of the grid."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "It's good to see Jacques qualify in the top ten despite the fact that he lost a lot of track time this morning due to an engine failure. The team worked fast to get him out at the end of the second free practice session, and Jacques did a good job this afternoon."

Jacques Villeneuve: "I'm very happy. Today's qualifying was much better. Normally this year we have had a good car for the race but couldn't qualify the car, but this weekend we seem to have both. We had an engine failure at the end of the first session this morning but the team deserve a lot of credit for turning around the engine change so quickly. It gave me five minutes' running at the end of the second session, which made a big difference for qualifying.
They did an amazing job and this shows they're one of the best in the pit lane. The car performed well on one lap and it was also working well this morning on the long runs, so I'm feeling confident for the race. We changed our tyre option overnight, which was a big help. Even though we are still behind Ferrari, the gap is not as big as it has been in previous races. Overall, I'm feeling optimistic for tomorrow."

Jenson Button: "I'm very disappointed because the car was working so well. We changed a few things from warm-up and the high-speed corners felt great. We had a lot more grip and more speed through Copse and Becketts. You always have to push hard in qualifying so I thought I would push it a bit harder through the last corner before the Hangar Straight. I ran a couple of inches wide, hit the kerb at a different angle, there was a loud bang and I couldn't continue. We now know that the front left push-rod failed under the load which is surprising because we have done a lot of work on load-bearing in testing.
It's obviously a great shame because this is my home race and the new car package has been working very well, so this was a good chance to have a strong qualifying position. We could have been right up there but instead we will be starting from 20th tomorrow. I'm sure we can salvage something though. At the Nurburgring we saw Heidfeld finish eighth after starting from the back of the grid, so all is not lost. We just have a lot of work to do tomorrow."

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Jaguar ( Antonio Pizzonia - 10th, Mark Webber - 11th )

Dr Mark Gillan: "This morning's session was very busy for us as we worked through a comprehensive programme, looking at set-up, balance, and tyres. Both drivers had relatively good runs through the free-practice, despite Antonio suffering from a gearbox issue. Fortunately this was near the end of the last session and so it did not cost us too much time. The weather conditions, however, have been changing throughout the day and to be honest, we have been chasing for the optimum set-up.
Qualifying was again in different conditions with the wind picking up nearer the end of the session. Both Mark and Antonio did a good job, although I know that Mark would have liked to have got a bit more out of his lap. As a result of a chassis issue on his race car Antonio had to swap at the last moment to the T-Car. Fortunately this was already set up for him and we were able to prepare it in time.
I am pleased with our positions for tomorrow and taking our race strategy and reliability into consideration I will be looking to make the most of any opportunity to score points. However it is our home race and as history dictates anything can happen."

Antonio Pizzonia: "I am happy about starting tomorrow's race from the 5th row of the grid but it could have been better for me. We suffered a problem on the chassis of my race car prior to qualifying warm-up session and I had no choice but to switch to the T-car. We have an optimum race strategy for tomorrow given the fuel and tyre combination we have opted for and I am reasonably happy with the balance of the car.
Today's qualifying wasn't helped either by the strong crosswinds across the circuit and I'm sure there are many other drivers who suffered the same. Nonetheless, we have had reliability on our side recently and given how hard this race can be on cars, we have a lot to play for tomorrow."

Mark Webber: "Not the best lap I have done around this circuit but you can't win them all. I not in the habit of making excuses and I certainly don't want to start now. Suffice to say that it could have been better but there is still a long race ahead of us tomorrow. There was probably a little more to be squeezed out of the lap time but that's one-lap qualifying for you. It's been a tougher than expected weekend for us so far and probably one the hardest weekends we have had this season.
We have been scoring points regularly over the past few races but this one will pose a much tougher challenge for us tomorrow. The balance and set-up of the car is good but it could be better. I know there are thousands of Jaguar fans here this weekend and we'll just have to see what we can pull out of the bag tomorrow. It's not a conventional grid order for tomorrow's race and it will be very interesting to see how the strategies come into play."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 14th, Nick Heidfeld - 16th )

Peter Sauber: "We cannot be satisfied with the starting positions 14 and 16, but this is what we had to expect. In recent years Silverstone has had some turbulent races and this could make the Grand Prix tomorrow particularly interesting and the result difficult to predict."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I think I had a good lap although I must admit that I made a mistake braking into Abbey, which is why I didn't hit the apex there. I already had a good warm-up and could improve my lap time thanks to a well balanced car. Today we had sunny weather, but I must confess that I'm hoping and counting on rain for tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld: "I'm not quite happy with my lap. It was my most difficult qualifying of the year! I didn't get the balance of the car right and was struggling a lot. It was also very windy on the track which put things topsy-turvy. But we will see how it goes tomorrow."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 15th, Ralph Firman - 17th )

Gary Anderson: "That wasn't too bad compared to our expectations. For what we're doing, Giancarlo did a reasonable job and Ralph was fighting with a bit of understeer - round here that loses lap time. I think we'll find a bit of activity in the pit road tomorrow, perhaps more than you would normally expect at Silverstone. It's a hard race and a bit of a lottery to be honest but the tyres look consistent so we'll have to see what unfolds for us."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I did a good lap with no mistakes. The grid position could have been worse I suppose so although I would like to be further up the grid, I'm hopeful that we might be able to do something in the race tomorrow. You never know what's going to happen."

Ralph Firman: "It was a productive morning, although the car had a little bit of oversteer. We made some changes before warm-up and ended up with massive understeer which we didn't cure before qualifying. I didn't really want to change the car too much because I want to keep a good race car, but that compromised our qualifying performance. I'm quite disappointed with my lap time but have a good car for tomorrow so let's see how we fare in the race."

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Minardi ( Justin Wilson - 18th, Jos Verstappen - 19th )

Paul Stoddart: "Both European Minardi drivers put in a solid performance today, and despite lining up in P18 and P19 for tomorrow's British Grand Prix, the team is not unhappy, as the cars were carrying significant fuel loads. As usual, we are hopeful that, in the right circumstances, a Championship point or two can be had tomorrow. As this is Justin's home race, it would be particularly rewarding if he could take a point, especially considering the fantastic effort he has put in for European Minardi so far this season."

Justin Wilson: "We made some useful progress this morning, and I gained confidence with the car throughout the two sessions. For the warm-up, I wasn't quite happy with the car, so we made a small change and it was spot-on for qualifying. The lap itself I felt was neat and tidy, and I'd like to thank the guys for all their hard work. Okay, we're not at the front of the grid, but I'm happy with the way it's gone so far this weekend."

Jos Verstappen: "We made slight progress in the morning sessions today and have made some small changes to the car for the race, which should improve matters. We have chosen the harder compound tyre, which we feel should be good for the race, but perhaps wasn't the best for qualifying. As for the lap itself, we ended up with more understeer this afternoon, because the wind changed considerably compared with the morning, but I think the track was slower, too. Because of the understeer, the car tended to run a bit wide in places, and that lost me time, so there was definitely room for improvement. The race tomorrow will be a tough one, as I have been suffering with a neck problem this weekend, but we'll just have to see what we can do."

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