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

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Saturday

Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 1st , Juan Pablo Montoya - 2nd )

Sam Michael: "It is a fantastic day for us having both cars on the front row. The drivers and the engineers did a brilliant job getting the cars to where they were under these difficult conditions as the final qualifying actually was the first completely dry session. We are very confident for tomorrow's race regarding the strategy and the tyres."

Mario Theissen: "It was almost one year ago, at the Nurburgring, since we were on the first row with both the cars. After the pole and the victory in Monaco today's performance proves we definitely are on an improving curve. The key factor for our success was that the track became completely dry at noon. Both the drivers had good laps, Ralf's an excellent one. We didn't think we could achieve such good starting positions after our poor performance on Friday. Huge compliments to all the team."

Ralf Schumacher: "I had a really good lap. My car was well balanced and everything worked out well. Also the weather conditions seem to suit our Michelin tyres pretty well - it is not too cold and just a bit damp. Furthermore I believe we are on a good race strategy, but just two weeks ago I experienced what can happen and change over a race distance. Of course it is my target to win here having missed out in Monaco, especially as I really like this circuit and Montreal a lot. I am sure we are facing an exciting race."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am quite surprised we are on the first row today, we knew we could be competitive but we didn't expect to be so far up. I made a little mistake in the first sector at turn three and I lost a bit of time there and also maybe the tyres that we decided to go for with my car at the last minute were not the ideal, but all in all I believe we are in a pretty good shape. It is clear that under dry conditions our tyres are a lot more competitive than in the wet. We should have a good race tomorrow as we have a very good package and a lot of power."

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Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 3rd, Rubens Barrichello - 5th )

Jean Todt: "Once again this season, we have witnessed a very closely contested qualifying session. The warm-up and qualifying provided our only real opportunity to run on a dry track. When it comes to evaluating what we saw on the track, we have to take into consideration the different fuel levels chosen for the start of the race. Although Michael's third place and Rubens' fifth is not the ideal situation, I am confident about our chances of having a good race. In terms of the championship, which reaches the halfway point here in Montreal, we know how important it is to pick up as many points as possible with both cars."

Ross Brawn: "It is a bit premature to say the Bridgestone tyres did not work as well in the dry as they did in the wet. In qualifying the track was obviously still green and so we will have to wait until tomorrow in race conditions to see what is the real situation. We have a good strategy and I am confident. Of course, we will have to keep an eye on the cars in front of us. Naturally, I am a little bit disappointed with the way qualifying went and I hope things will go better in the race, when I am sure we will be more competitive."

Michael Schumacher: "Considering the quality of my lap, I have to be happy with third place. It was not one of my better ones. Even if I had put together a perfect lap, I think it would have been difficult to get pole. We were very competitive in the wet, but in the dry it seems much closer, but of course the fuel loads will have clouded the picture a bit. I saw that Raikkonen was off the track, but I just concentrated on doing my job. I cannot ignore the fact that having him starting from the back of the grid is important in terms of the championship fight. We had some misfortune early on in the season and we can see that with the new rules, sometimes they work for you and sometimes against you. Consistency in terms of tyre performance will be important for tomorrow's race."

Rubens Barrichello: "In this morning's free practice, I had a trouble free run in the wet. Then, in the warm-up, I had a few problems with the brakes. At the start of my qualifying flying lap, I flat-spotted the tyres and that affected the rest of my lap. Nevertheless, I believe I can have a good race. On this track, it is possible to overtake and make up some places. We will have to wait and see."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 4th , Jarno Trulli - 8th )

Pat Symonds: "Weather conditions this weekend have played a large part in the event so far. Our Friday testing has paid off once again, and we find ourselves in a competitive position. Jarno's accident at the end of the warm-up forced him to use the T-car, but this did not compromise his position as he felt the car was good. Fernando's position is particularly encouraging and we hope that he will be able to make use of our launch control to further improve on this at the start of the race."

Denis Chevrier: "In light of the circumstances we have encountered today, I think we can say this is an excellent result. We had a good day, with the exception of a single incident which didn't stop us from getting a favourable result. On the technical side, the weekend has been problem-free so far, even if the wet conditions are less demanding mechanically than in the dry. If the weather holds, I think we can challenge strongly tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso: "I am very happy, not just with qualifying but with our work throughout the day. We had a good morning, trying lots of different set-ups, and we were always competitive in the wet. In qualifying, it was definitely a small advantage to be running towards the end of the session. The car was good and I didn't make any mistakes: to be fourth on the grid is a good starting point for tomorrow."

Jarno Trulli: "First of all, I need to say a big thank you to my mechanics, who did a brilliant job today. I had to use the spare car, which was originally set up for Fernando, and the timed lap was my first in that car this weekend. Taking that into account, I think I can be pleased to be starting eighth tomorrow."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 6th, Antonio Pizzonia - 13th )

Dr Mark Gillan: "It has been quite a difficult weekend up until now with Friday being the only opportunity to have done some dry testing in preparation for today and the race. We took full advantage of our two hours testing yesterday to prepare for what we thought would be a dry qualifying and hopefully a dry race. Outside of this, the rest of Friday and this morning were difficult because of how wet it was. Nonetheless, we achieved a lot yesterday on balance, wing settings and tyre comparisons and this work paid dividends today.
Both drivers did an excellent job and the team's preparation deserves strong credit too. To be starting the race tomorrow alongside a Ferrari is very pleasing but our aim is to be reliable - something we have not demonstrated to the degree required. Reliability is not something you achieve overnight and we are working tirelessly to accelerate the process. After the retirement of both cars in Monaco, we changed several internal procedures in an effort to ensure reliability this weekend but it's a long-term and on-going process. Yet again we have proved the pace of the Jaguar R4 and it's now time to see whether our reliability goals will see us through to the end of the race and subsequently some championship points."

Mark Webber: "I'm delighted to have secured P6 and I don't think there is anything more I could have done out there. That was about as perfect a lap as I could have hoped for and very pleasing given how difficult it is to get all the braking points right around this circuit. The dry track conditions have obviously helped us today and combined with the Michelin rubber, the car worked very well indeed. We changed quite a few things on the car from this morning to suit the dry conditions and combined with the thorough data we gathered yesterday from the two-hour test, the team's preparation has been nothing short of impressive.
This is a very challenging circuit and renowned as a 'car breaker' - particularly on the brakes - and our goal is simply to cross the finishing line. The team has come an awful long way in a very short space of time and our immediate challenge is to realise the full potential of this race package through reliability. We are very well placed to make a points challenge tomorrow but this will be dictated mainly through reliability. The guys haven't stopped working since our unfortunate and premature Monaco exit and let's hope we can repay their hard work with some points tomorrow."

Antonio Pizzonia: "I am pleased with my lap time, albeit I lost a couple of tenths through understeer at the first corner. As one of the first guys out, you don't take full advantage of rubber being laid onto the track but that's the way it goes. Given the strategy I am on for tomorrow's race, my overall performance today is pleasing and I am looking forward to racing around this circuit tomorrow.
It is fast, with tricky braking points and very little room for mistakes. Having never raced here before, I have to say that I enjoy the track and assuming we have reliability on our side tomorrow, we are well prepared and well placed to put on a competitive show. The weather, however, remains unpredictable and in the end, that will be the deciding factor for the race outcome tomorrow."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 7th, Cristiano da Matta - 9th )

Keizo Takahashi: "We had some trouble in free practice this morning after both Olivier and Cristiano had off-track excursions, which caused damage to both TF103s. Consequently Cristiano was forced to use the spare car and the mechanics had to work a lot on the cars in the short space of time before qualifying. Both drivers and team did an exceptional job in the qualifying hour, especially given the lack of time we have had to fine-tune the cars in the dry. I would also like to say that Michelin have once again provided us with very good tyres this weekend, for which we are thankful. All in all I am overjoyed with our best ever joint qualifying result of the season so far."

Olivier Panis: "I am pleased with the results of qualifying today - for myself, Cristiano and the whole team. We had some problems in practice this morning. I made a spin in the first session, which caused some damage to the car, but everybody in the team reacted very well to get the car in a good shape for qualifying. I would like to extend my thanks to all the mechanics for their professional and quick work today. We appear to be reasonably competitive here and starting from 7th and 9th, we are in a good position for the race."

Cristiano da Matta: "Unfortunately we did not complete much running in the drying track conditions this morning. The only dry running we have done this weekend were the few laps I completed in the warm-up. As a result, there is still some work to be done on improving my driving finesse around this track. All things considered, the qualifying lap was quite a good effort and I have gone one better than my previous best qualifying result in Monaco, and I look forward to seeing what we can do from 9th in tomorrow's race."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 10th, Nick Heidfeld - 12th )

Peter Sauber: "The 10th and 12th positions give us a good basis for the race tomorrow. Both drivers have shown once again that they can stand the immense mental pressure of the single qualifying lap. Looking at our strategy, they gave a solid performance."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I am happy with my result considering the hectic circumstances during the warm-up. In the morning the team was quite busy due to my crash and then the engine failure we suffered, but luckily they were able to fix the car just in time. Thanks to my team for their good job."

Nick Heidfeld: "Of course, my qualifying lap wasn't as good as the one yesterday, but in the changed circumstances we didn't expect it to be. Nevertheless we have finished quite well compared to other Bridgestone runners and I didn't make any real mistakes."

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McLaren (  David Coulthard - 11th, Kimi Raikkonen - 20th - No Time )

Ron Dennis: "The outcome of todayís qualifying will require creative strategy by the team if we are to leave Canada with significant points finishes. However we have faced similar challenges before and the team and the drivers have proved their ability to respond."

Norbert Haug: "A disappointing outcome of qualifying and certainly the worst basis for Kimiís race tomorrow. However all the team will do everything to make the best of the situation and fight for good results in the race."

David Coulthard: "Iím not happy with my qualifying position. I suffered from oversteer coming into the last chicane and lost about half a second. I think that without that I would definitely be further up the grid. However there is nothing I can do about it now and I will focus on tomorrowís race."

Kimi Raikkonen: "Of course Iím disappointed with todayís qualifying. I ran wide at the first corner as I had a bit more understeer than in warm-up which I wasnít prepared for. The exit of the corner was very slippery and I hit the kerb and went off the track. Iím not sure yet how much damage was done to the car, but I donít expect it to be too much. I donít know what will happen in the race tomorrow but I know that anything is possible and that we will do our best."

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 14th , Jenson Button - 17th )

David Richards: "Having pinpointed our problem in yesterday's running, we made a positive step overnight which saw us improve to third and fifth in free practice this morning. Unfortunately we were unable to translate that progress into this afternoon's session and we are obviously disappointed to be starting so far down the grid. Having said that, this is renowned for being an eventful race and we will now be looking to optimise our strategy in order to make the most of every opportunity tomorrow."

Geoff Willis: "We had good free practice sessions this morning with the opportunity to run both the extreme wet and normal wet tyres. We felt that we had improved substantially since first qualifying and both drivers were very competitive. The warm-up session was the first time we were able to use the dry tyres but clearly have not made the best of the car's potential this afternoon. Jacques ran first, which is a disadvantage, and his last sector was disappointing compared with warm-up. Jenson made a mistake in that final sector, missing the final chicane. The forecast is for a dry race tomorrow and we are confident that we will be stronger in the race than we have been in qualifying."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Both engines ran well today and our grid positions don't really reflect where we are this weekend. Going out later in the running order would have benefited us as the track conditions improved throughout the session. It was unfortunate that Jenson made a mistake towards the end of his run as he was quick through the first sector. We're all hoping for better results tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It wasn't a bad lap; there was a couple of tenths still to be had but at least there were no mistakes. Like most of the teams we only got a few laps in the dry so the set-up isn't optimised. I think we'll be stronger in the race - not as strong as we would be in a wet race but we can certainly improve on qualifying. This is always an exciting race so I'm looking forward to it."

Jenson Button: "We had a very good free practice this morning with Jacques and I swapping places in the top three at one point. As the track has continued to dry though we've struggled to keep up with the Michelin runners. My qualifying lap was poor from the beginning. I had very low grip throughout and the car wasn't handling at all well, then the rears locked up in the last corner. Even without that problem it wouldn't have been a very impressive lap. It's very disappointing to be starting the race from 17th. It looks like it's going to be dry as well so from this position we have a lot of hard work to do to make the best of things tomorrow once we are able to get more heat into the tyres."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 15th, Justin Wilson - 18th )

Paul Stoddart: "What a fantastic performance from our drivers -- they both drove mega-laps in qualifying this afternoon. It's a shame about Kimi, but these things happen. It's just racing."

Jos Verstappen: "It was a fantastic lap, like the one in Monaco two weeks ago. We had some difficulties with the car in the wet this morning, and I certainly preferred that we had dry conditions for qualifying this afternoon. I'd like to thank the mechanics, as they did a great job with all the changes we made to the car today. The qualifying lap was a good one, with no mistakes, and I'm very pleased with the time."

Justin Wilson: "It was a pretty clean lap. I had a bit of moment halfway round when the car hit a damp patch, but I was generally happy with my qualifying run this afternoon. The two hours of testing on Friday, which took place in dry conditions, may have helped us today, as I certainly know the circuit better than I otherwise would have. It gives you the confidence to push just that little bit harder."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 16th, Ralph Firman - 19th )

Gary Anderson: "Both drivers made mistakes at the first corner and when you do that you lose everything because you're under pressure trying to play catch-up for the rest of the lap. When you flat spot the front tyres the brakes don't work right afterwards so it's not good to do it at the beginning of the lap. I don't really know what to say other than it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. We'll see what happens tomorrow with fuel strategies and just do the best we can."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "Obviously it's been a very frustrating qualifying session. I went into turn one and locked up the front tyres in a big way and lost the line. Then it happened again just under the bridge and I went into the grass, losing quite a lot of time. I am very disappointed because maybe with a good lap I had the possibility to be in the top 10. Anyway the race is a long one, so we'll see."

Ralph Firman: "That was disappointing. I had a good day yesterday but clearly today was not so good. I locked up the wheels at the first corner and then had a flat spot on the tyre all the way round the circuit. We'll have to try our best in the race and wait and see what happens."

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2003

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What the teams and drivers said
Friday - Saturday - Sunday

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