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2003 Canadian Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Friday  

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Friday

Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - 1st, Michael Schumacher - 2nd  )

Jean Todt: "A few laps but good ones is how one can summarise this Friday, in the light of this afternoon's qualifying result. The weather meant we did not do many laps in free practice and so it is difficult to get an idea of the pecking order, especially as the conditions were also changing during qualifying. Having said that, we are confident about the rest of the weekend. We know we have a very good car-engine package and have excellent Bridgestone tyres at our disposal."

Ross Brawn: "I hope it rains again on Sunday! The drivers are happy with the way this afternoon's qualifying went in these difficult conditions. They suffered from some aquaplaning but it was nothing serious. Track conditions changed during the qualifying session and this could have had an effect on the final outcome. Compared with the other drivers who made their runs at the start, we can say that we gained a decisive advantage because of the difference in tyre performance."

Rubens Barrichello: "Obviously I am happy with our performance today. The car handled very cleanly even with all the water on the track. We had to improvise a bit when it came to the set-up, given that track conditions changed between the morning free practice and the afternoon qualifying. The team did a great job, providing me with a very well balanced car. With so much rain, it is obvious that the tyres had a lot to do with today's result."

Michael Schumacher: "It was not easy getting used to the track conditions which were so different to this morning's. There was a lot of aquaplaning and therefore it was hard to do a time on just one flying lap. In any case, things went pretty well and it was important to ensure we start towards the end of tomorrow's decisive qualifying session. I went off on the entry to the hairpin because of a bit of aquaplaning, just when I was braking and so I ended up on the asphalt escape road."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 3rd, Heinz Harald Frentzen - 7th )

Peter Sauber: "It was an extremely interesting qualifying session. Both our drivers were able to achieve very good results. Heinz's seventh place and, particularly, Nick's third, are a great source of motivation for the whole team. We should also remember that Bridgestone contributed to this good result."

Nick Heidfeld: "This morning I was struggling with the traffic and didn't really get a clear run, but my qualifying lap went well even though it still wasn't optimal. That was not possible under the weather conditions that we encountered. I am very happy about my result, especially as it is not easy to drive with so much water on the track and the car aquaplaning everywhere. I had a very good set-up thanks to my engineers, and now I'm hoping that it rains over the next two days, too."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I hope that I have less water on the track when I start tomorrow's qualifying session in 14th position. The system of starting in reverse order for Saturday qualifying is quite hard, and it is often just a question of luck."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 7th, Ralph Firman - 13th )

Gary Anderson: "Ralph drove a good lap, did well to reap the benefits and I'm pleased for him. Giancarlo's lap didn't go quite so well, he had the heaviest rain when he went out and suffered quite a bit with aquaplaning. Anyway, we've got one car at each end of the starting order for tomorrow's qualifying and as we aren't sure about the weather prediction, it might just work in our favour!."

Ralph Firman: "I had a reasonably good lap and was a little bit luckier with the weather than others were. The important thing is not to make any big mistakes and the car felt really good on these tyres so hopefully it will keep raining for tomorrow."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "Unfortunately I went out at the worst possible moment. The rain was at its heaviest and so I am in the last few places, along with Trulli who went out around the same time. I'm not really happy but at least it's not Saturday, which is the important one."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 5th, Jarno Trulli - 19th )

Pat Symonds: "Single lap qualifying is, at all times, a difficult process for the drivers, who must find the correct balance between speed and safety, and conditions like we saw today only make the job more difficult. Fernando managed to find that balance today whereas Jarno seemed to get the worst of the rain, and suffered as a consequence."

Denis Chevrier: "A characteristically unusual wet session, with big gaps between the different runners, something which is also true of our drivers. Driving in wet conditions is always about judging the risks you can take: Fernando came out of the session as the fastest Michelin car while Jarno seemed to have more difficulty. On the technical side, the data we gathered during our two 'Heathrow' hours this morning has been our most valuable exercise today. Given that our direct competitors could only complete very limited dry running in free practice, our work today could prove significant for the rest of the weekend."

Fernando Alonso: "First and foremost, I had a pretty cautious lap today. In these conditions, the main thing is to not go off the track, which I managed to avoid; our package could have been even faster I think, but we didn't get much running in the wet this morning and my timed lap was my first proper 'quick' lap on a wet track. Taking that into account, I think we can be pretty pleased with our performance today."

Jarno Trulli: "What can I say? As I left the garage, it was as if a thunderstorm had just started -- it was raining much more heavily, which meant my lap was much slower than our rivals. The car was aquaplaning everywhere on the circuit, and especially in the left-hand curve after the second hairpin. Obviously, I'm very disappointed with today's result, but the consolation is that this is only the Friday session. Things can only get better tomorrow."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 6th, David Coulthard - 8th )

Ron Dennis: "Variable weather conditions with the inevitable aquaplaning problems somewhat distorted the outcome of qualifying. Hopefully the weather will improve for tomorrow and allow everybody to optimise their cars."

Norbert Haug: "The gaps to the leading cars in these difficult conditions say it all. In the rain we havenít been competitive today."

Kimi Raikkonen: "There is no doubt that today was quite difficult because of the weather conditions. Iím getting used to being the first car out for qualifying but it does make it more difficult as there are no lines to follow. I ran wide during my lap but it was really not a big problem and in the circumstances I think we did the best we could."

David Coulthard: "Not a lot to say as it was just too wet for anything, really. There was no grip and I think we were all just aquaplaning and concentrating on getting the car back in one piece. However letís see what happens tomorrow when hopefully we will get a chance to run the car in drier conditions."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 9th, Antonio Pizzonia - 17th )

Dr. Mark Gillan: "The whole day has actually gone quite well for us. The two-hour morning test was completed with both cars and our job list was fully achieved. We covered set-up, balance and tyre options as well as undertaking some work in preparation for Sunday's race. Mark had a slight off this morning at the last corner which was a combination of driver error and to be honest, balance, which at the time wasn't at it's optimum because of some wing sweep work we were doing.
We gave Mark the T-car while his race car was repaired but nonetheless, we achieved a lot of mileage this morning and it's a shame the qualifying session was so wet. We are, however, very well prepared for the weekend ahead and credit to both drivers today for doing a good job in what were atrocious conditions."

Mark Webber: "I'm pleased with what we achieved out there given the terrible conditions. It's extremely tough for any driver just to go out there and manage a quick time. The track has no grip anywhere and aquaplaning was a big problem. Our two-hour test session, however, proved very valuable today and while the rain has spoiled qualifying for everyone, our preparation work from this morning should hold us in good shape for the weekend ahead - providing we have some dry conditions to take advantage of."

Antonio Pizzonia: "That was quite frightening to be honest. Just keeping the car in a straight line was a challenge because of its tendency to aquaplane in a straight line. The aim of sessions like this is to bring the car home and not get over ambitious. We saw several drivers suffer and spin off today and my goal was to nurse the car home.
It is a little disappointing given the good work we achieved this morning and had it been a dry qualifying session, we could have reaped some reward from our testing and Free Practice work. It was, of course, very nice to finish P1 after the Free Practice session this morning but the changing weather conditions played a big part. The team is well prepared for the weekend ahead and assuming it's dry tomorrow, we should be able to go out there and realise our full potential around this race track."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 10th , Cristiano da Matta - 16th )

Ange Pasquali: "We are happy with how we have started this weekend. We had a wet, but trouble-free practice session, which meant we could get our car in a good shape to suit the wet. We are obviously pleased with the qualifying results of Olivier and Cristiano given the awful state of the track today. With the track as wet as it was today, it is impossible to gauge the overall performance of the cars because no driver completed his flying lap on the same track, but generally it was a good day with no major problems. If the weather continues like this tomorrow, the rest of the weekend could be a bit of a lottery."

Olivier Panis: "For everybody, it was incredibly wet out there today, but I tried to do the best lap possible to put us in a good position for second qualifying tomorrow. I think we have done a good job, especially considering that I have never previously tested the Michelin tyres we put on today. In these conditions, things look promising and it is a positive start for the first day. Of course, I hope it gets even better tomorrow. We are certainly going in the right direction."

Cristiano da Matta: "It wasn't such a good day for me today. The conditions varied so much throughout the practice session that it was difficult to do any meaningful work. It was wet this morning, but it was even wetter in qualifying, which didn't help grip levels on my flying lap. It is always a tough challenge in the wet; there is absolutely no room for error and it is much harder to put a perfect lap together. It was quite a benefit knowing the track, particularly as we didn't have any proper dry running this morning."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 11th, Justin Wilson - 17th )

Paul Stoddart: "Weíre obviously ecstatic about todayís performance, although sadly, it has come on a weekend that has so far been somewhat overshadowed by Formula One politics. In the equalised conditions created by the rain, where all the Bridgestone teams are on the same tyres and the Michelin teams likewise, Minardiís true potential was able to show through. I must particularly thank Bridgestone for the fantastic wet tyres they provided us with today."

Jos Verstappen: "I think this was a good performance for us, and it could have been even nicer if it hadnít rained hard again late in the qualifying session Ė I think maybe even a top-five position would have been possible. Still, these are the best positions Minardi has had in qualifying so far this season, and although there is no doubt the rain helped us with that today, it was very difficult out there this afternoon. We were struggling a bit with the set-up of the car this morning, but then improved it significantly, and it worked well on the heavy wet tyres. Iím very happy with this result, especially for the team, and now we will see what happens tomorrow."

Justin Wilson: "The conditions were very difficult this afternoon, just trying to work out where the grip was and where to push, and where not to. I locked a wheel at the hairpin under braking, which caused a bit of a moment, but the biggest problem was just trying to keep the car going in roughly the right direction on the straights. Tomorrow is, of course, another day, but this result is a great boost for everyone on the team."

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Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 12th,  Ralf Schumacher - 15th )

Sam Michael: "When Juan was running he locked up the wheels into turn 7 and that cost him about one and a half seconds. He was running in quite difficult conditions. Then when Ralf was out on track it looked as if the rain was a bit heavier, but anyway these could be the conditions we are going to have for the weekend and we've got a bit of work to do on the set-up for tomorrow."

Mario Theissen: "The decisive factors in this qualifying session were obviously the weather, the very little time one had to set up the car for these conditions and of course the tyres. Our two drivers used different tyres, Ralf the shallow wet, Juan Pablo the full wet, but the result was similar. Neither of them is really happy with their times."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "Not really the ideal condition for a qualifying lap, today. We decided to go for the full wet tyre at the very last minute after we saw the other Michelin drivers who had started before me were struggling on shallow wet tyres, but it wasn't good either because it was raining too hard. I had poor grip and the handling of the car was very difficult. We can work on this and improve our car for tomorrow, when track conditions could possibly be very different. Anyway, this is what we've got at the moment."

Ralf Schumacher: "I was quite unlucky in my fast lap, as just before I went out onto the track it started to rain even harder. If you compare my times to those of Jarno Trulli who ran right after me, he was three seconds slower, so it is easy to figure out just how difficult it was to keep the car on the track in that phase. In the morning's free practice, when it started raining hard, I was actually one of the quickest. This means that we should be capable of being competitive in such weather conditions, even if this wasn't evident in today's qualifying."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 14th, Jacques Villeneuve - 20th )

David Richards: "It's good to see Jenson back in the cockpit after his enforced lay-off since Monaco a couple of weeks ago. I dare say that, like the rest of us, he was hoping for a bright sunny day today to settle back into the car, but conditions here have got progressively worse. In the morning session we were fairly competitive in the wet and therefore it's disappointing that we didn't translate this into a better performance this afternoon. The engineers are confident that they understand the problem and, with similarly wet conditions expected tomorrow, I'm sure we'll be in a better position for final qualifying."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Both drivers pushed hard today in difficult weather conditions. It's a shame Jacques spun at the end of his lap as he was looking good through the first and second sectors. Hopefully we'll be able to show how competitive we are in final qualifying tomorrow."

Geoffrey Willis: "This was a disappointing first qualifying session for us, both drivers struggling for grip despite the Bridgestones being the better tyre in this afternoon's tricky conditions. In this morning's free practice session we had a sensor problem on Jenson's car which lost him some track time, otherwise both drivers are reasonably happy with the balance in the damp conditions. Clearly we need to understand our poor performance this afternoon in order to rectify it for tomorrow."

Jenson Button: "It was pretty manic out there because there was so much standing water and we weren't able to generate the tyre grip. My main objective was to get the car to the finish and it was a fairly tidy lap under the circumstances. We haven't yet had the conditions to be able to weigh up where we are, but it looks like it's going to be a wet weekend so it's certainly going to be interesting. It's good to be back in the car after Monaco. I haven't had any dry running yet but I'm feeling good."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It wasn't a bad lap for these conditions. It's very wet and I just got caught out at the end there. Today's session doesn't really count so all we can do is push hard and see where the limit is. I guess I found the limit in the last corner but the crowd seemed to enjoy it! Tyre-wise we seem OK in the wet, so I'll be hoping for more of the same conditions for final qualifying tomorrow."

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2003

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Friday Practice Results Report Results
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What the teams and drivers said
Friday - Saturday - Sunday

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