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

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Drivers Championship Constructors Championship
Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Friday

Renault ( Jarno Trulli - 1st, Fernando Alonso - 6th )

Pat Symonds: "Considering the balance of the cars is a long way from being optimised, we can only assume that our competitors are having more problems than us on this very low grip circuit. To see Jarno take the pole is a credit to the whole team, both here at the circuit and back at the factory, and I am sure that if Fernando had not lost time this morning, he would have been capable of matching his team-mate's pace. There are still many questions to answer, but we will work through them logically tomorrow."

Denis Chevrier: "On the engine side, we worked well this morning, and it is obviously satisfying to see one of our cars set the fastest time. There is still a question mark over performance, though, as we saw some cars go slower this afternoon than during practice. That shows how fragile a good performance can be at this circuit, and also indicates that it will be a tricky exercise to set the car up correctly for seventy laps on Sunday."

Jarno Trulli: "It is a satisfying result after a difficult day: the track is very slippery, which meant that we weren't able to get the most out of our two hours this morning. I honestly didn't expect to be so quick, because the car isn't well balanced at the moment. I need to work hard with the engineers tonight to find a better balance and improve the car for tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso: "I'm in a good position for Saturday qualifying. Given that I lost a large part of the practice session this morning, and that the track conditions changed in the meantime, sixth is pretty good. At the moment, the car hasn't got enough grip, so I'm hoping to find more of that, and a little bit of luck, for tomorrow."

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 2nd, Juan Pablo Montoya - 8th )

Sam Michael: "During today's qualifying session the change of grip of the circuit was quite significant due the dust, so it was difficult to see what our true pace actually was. Now we are looking forward to tomorrow and working on the race set-up. We can be pretty competitive here."

Mario Theissen: "We can be happy with this today's performance. The engines didn't experience any problems and this morning both the drivers could complete their set-up programme. Ralf had a good qualifying session and Juan Pablo could not qualify any better than 8th as he was penalised by his early start position. Looking at the times of the first three drivers who went out on the track for qualifying, one can tell that the track was very dirty and didn't provide very good grip. During the session the tarmac became cleaner and cleaner and allowed the drivers to set better lap times."

Ralf Schumacher: "I am fairly happy with my qualifying lap. This morning I had some problems with the set up and we made quite a few changes on the car which seem to have been in the right direction. The track is slippery as it has always been here, especially if you come off the line. For sure you don't want to be the first car to go out on track. The new track is nice, even if in a way I preferred the old corner because I thought it was a bit more technically demanding, but with respect to sorting out the bumps, they did a really good job. We should be strong here."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I didn't put together the best lap, really. My first sector wasn't good enough as I braked a bit too early into the first corner of the chicane. The balance of my car wasn't as good as I expected, especially at the start of the lap. In this morning's Free Practice I was seven tenths quicker than in qualifying. The track was very dirty when I went out but it improved during qualifying as it got cleaner and cleaner. However, I believe our package should be pretty competitive here. We've got the pace."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 3rd, Justin Wilson - 15th )

Dr Mark Gillan: "It�s been a busy day for us here at the Hungaroring with both drivers working hard to put as many laps in as possible prior to tomorrow�s qualifying. We had a relatively good morning with Mark and Justin working on tyres and set-up.
Unfortunately we did have two issues, one when Mark suffered an engine failure and then again when Justin suffered a gearbox problem. We are of course working with Cosworth Racing to ensure that we iron out these gremlins in preparation for tomorrow�s qualifying.
Justin has done a good job in the car today despite the fact that he actually missed a good deal of the end of P1, when the track was actually at its best. He is also settling into the team very quickly and we are pleased with how he is progressing. Mark as always has worked well with the team to prepare the car and in the end actually qualified in the T-car and as a result of the preparation of the mechanics secured an impressive third position this afternoon.
However, it is important to remember that the track is always much cleaner nearer the end of a session and we certainly benefited from running slightly later than some of the front-runners. We will be working hard this evening and tomorrow morning to ensure that both of our drivers approach Saturday Qualifying confident that the R4 is operating at its optimum."

Mark Webber: "I am very pleased with how today has gone. The team and I have been working hard on set-up and balance and the car feels generally quite good. The fact that we actually went out in tenth position today did play into our hands somewhat as we benefited from a cleaner track. The rising temperature, however, was almost too much as it meant that we spent much of this morning chasing the set-up as the temperature rose.
We have lots of work ahead of us before Sunday and I know that Cosworth will be pulling out all of the stops in a bid to provide us with a reliable engine. 
The track, despite its new layout remains fairly twisty and narrow so I have no doubt that the race is going to be tough for us. I am pleased however to be back behind the wheel and I am looking forward to tomorrow already when we can go back on track and push the R4 some more."

Justin Wilson: "A frustrating morning for me as I was forced to miss quite a lot of the first session because of a gearbox problem. Despite that I have enjoyed driving the car as the balance and set- up is good. I am working well with the team in order to understand more about the R4 and Friday testing certainly helps.
I enjoyed qualifying although the car was quite lively and on my in- lap I suffered an issue that forced the team to ask me to switch the car off and park it. I am not too sure what this was at the moment as the team are looking into it. I am generally pleased with 15th position although of course it will be tomorrow that really counts."

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McLaren ( David Coulthard - 4th, Kimi Raikkonen - 12th )

Ron Dennis: "With the circuit having been modified, and as a result of the debris from the earlier support race practice, the nominal advantage that the morning testers have increased and the early qualifiers struggled. Of course, as always it's about tomorrow afternoon."

Norbert Haug: "This circuit here is becoming significantly faster from lap to lap. The top three in the World Championship had to start the session -- a handicap that resulted in bad lap times."

David Coulthard: "A tidy lap and I'm sure we can work to find more speed to further improve the package overnight. I was a bit tentative going into turn one on my qualifying lap as the circuit had a bit more grip than previously, but apart from that an OK lap. The new track lay out might provide a few overtaking opportunities as it slows down the cars at two significant corners, but the circuit surface is so dirty that it would be risky to go off the line to try and overtake. All in all a good start to the weekend."

Kimi Raikkonen: "We went through a lot of work during practice this morning, but we still have some way to go with the set up of the car, which we will look at before tomorrow's qualifying session. There is no doubt that the track was very dirty particularly after the support race just before the start of the session, which affected the people who were out early today. As a result I will start mid way through tomorrow's session, which is not ideal, but at least it will be the same for most of the other main championship contenders, so we will see what happens."

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Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - 5th , Michael Schumacher - 9th )

Jean Todt: "This first day at the Hungaroring has allowed us to form initial impressions on the handling of the cars and performance of the tyres. Obviously, the results of first qualifying were heavily influenced by track conditions, which improved significantly after the start. We know we still have work to do on defining the cars' set-up, which is not yet at its best. We also have to work with our partners at Bridgestone to make our tyre choice. We still have ninety minutes of free practice tomorrow morning in which to do that. The decision as to how much fuel to run with in qualifying will be very important, both as far as deciding the grid positions and also in terms of strategy for Sunday's race."

Ross Brawn: "We had the usual difficulties, especially with Michael, that go with being first out on a track like the Hungaroring, which is always dirty. Neither driver was completely satisfied with the balance of the car, which was different to the morning free practice. It is therefore difficult to get a clear picture of the true situation from this afternoon's performance, given the track conditions. We will work on the set-up and will wait for track surface conditions to evolve before making a tyre choice for qualifying and for the race."

Rubens Barrichello: "We did not exploit all of the car's available potential, but a place in the top five today puts me in a good position to fight for a front row place on the grid tomorrow. In qualifying, the balance of the car was very different to the way it was in free practice this morning. In the end, my quick lap wasn't too bad, although I had a lot of oversteer. We still need to work on the car set-up. The track was very dirty, especially on the new part of the circuit."

Michael Schumacher: "At the start, when it was my turn to do my run, the track was very dirty, partly because of the cars which ran on track in between free practice and qualifying. All in all, the result is not too bad, especially in terms of the battle for the title. In fact, my main rivals are pretty close to me. Therefore ninth spot can still be good for tomorrow. I am confident for the rest of the weekend and I think that overall, the situation is better than the one we experienced in Hockenheim."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 7th , Cristiano da Matta - 20th - No Time )

Ange Pasquali: "First of all, it was surprising to see how much the track conditions changed in the two hours between the practice and qualifying sessions. It was a shame that Cristiano's car span after a good start to his lap, but that's all part of racing. Olivier lost some time from this morning's practice, and that can probably be attributed to the state of the track, but we have to understand from the data exactly how much the lap time was affected. All in all, we have got a top ten result on the first day of the Hungarian GP, and the real qualifying comes tomorrow, so we should be quite satisfied."

Olivier Panis: "Seventh place is a respectable result, however I am not really satisfied. I was really impressed by the competitiveness of the car this morning and the grip that we had, but for whatever reason the grip levels were not as good as we had this afternoon. The Hungaroring is very dusty of the first day of the weekend, so it is not unusual for the track to change so much between sessions. Although I expected to do a bit better, we should still be encouraged by the start to this weekend."

Cristiano da Matta: "I don't really know exactly what happened to cause me to spin towards the end of my lap. It could have been a failure of the traction control. It didn't feel like I made a mistake, but it happened so quickly we'll have to look into it. I had already gone through the difficult part at the entry of the corner, where the car can be a bit oversteery, so it was quite a strange spin. It is only the first day of this race weekend and we did some good work this morning, so I hope we can turn this result around tomorrow"

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 10th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - 11th )

Peter Sauber: "Friday qualifying is a pleasure again. The hard work of the last few weeks has reaped a dividend and I thank our development team and, of course, our drivers, for doing their jobs with such effective commitment today."

Nick Heidfeld: "I am happy that now it has become obvious how much we have improved the C22's performance, because it was not so clear in the last two races. I have mixed feelings about today's qualifying because of my mistake in the first corner this afternoon, when I got into the dirt off line. I was able to learn quite a bit about the tyre performance from the other drivers who did their flying lap before me, and therefore chose to run a rather conservative out lap to conserve my tyres as they can start to grain quickly under these track and weather conditions. This decision turned out to be right and allowed me also to score this fast lap, but I could have been faster still."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I think Nick and I have done a really good lap! Unfortunately I lost some time in the third sector due to graining and so the tyres' performance decreased and I wasn't able to attack any more. In the morning I also suffered graining, particularly on the new sections of the track surface."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 13th, Jacques Villeneuve - 14th )

David Richards: "A very difficult qualifying session in which both drivers were unhappy with the balance of their cars. We always expected this to be a difficult circuit for us and we have come prepared with a range of options which we will work through during tomorrow's sessions in order to find the optimum set-up. Nevertheless, we can't avoid the fact that there is a lot of work to be done ahead of final qualifying."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Once again the times are pretty close today and the increasing track temperature made for an interesting session. Our guys definitely could have finished higher and I think we'll be up there tomorrow which is when it really counts."

Geoffrey Willis: "We have struggled all day to generate good grip, particularly dealing with the differing characteristics of the front and rear tyres in order to get one good lap on new rubber. Jenson found that, despite the set-up changes we made from the morning in anticipation of higher track temperatures, the car still had a big oversteer balance and although we had also made some traction control changes, these did not prove beneficial. Jacques had a better balanced car, although again suffering from low grip. Clearly we are disappointed with the performance this afternoon and know that we have a lot of work to do before tomorrow's running."

Jenson Button: "That was a very bad qualifying for me. We changed some settings following practice this morning and it worked against us. We switched to a lot less traction control for the session and the result was no rear grip and a lot of oversteer, as you could see in the slide through the first corner. I've lost a lot of time and we've made things harder for ourselves tomorrow, but at least we know which direction we have to go in from here. The track, as always, is very dusty and it doesn't tend to improve a great deal as the weekend progresses, so it's going to be tough but we can definitely improve from here. Following the track changes it will be interesting to see if are any more overtaking possibilities."

Jacques Villeneuve: "That was not a very good lap. I didn't manage to keep the front tyres working for the last three corners of the lap but then I couldn't get the rear tyres to work for the first part of the lap, so I think we are going to find it difficult to make the car work for a full lap in qualifying. It was important not to make mistakes today because the first few cars tomorrow will have a slow and slippery track. It's a very dirty circuit and the balance changed quite a lot from this morning but that's life. In terms of the changes they've made to the circuit I like the last part of the track but in my opinion the first section was better to drive before. I think the changes should make the circuit better for overtaking opportunities though."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 16th, Ralph Firman - 17th )

Gary Anderson: "Giancarlo was only able to do a few laps in the private testing session as he had two engine failures, however Ralph and Zsolt had a reasonable session and got through the programme which included some set-up and tyre evaluation. In free practice Giancarlo had to use the spare car as there wasn't enough time to carry out the second engine change, so we had a bit of work just getting up to speed and doing some set-up work. In qualifying Giancarlo lost a bit of time in the first sector compared to this morning - the track was very hot and these slippery conditions offer us very little grip."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I had lots of problems this morning and as a result we didn't have the opportunity to run my race car to try out and improve the set-up. I was using the t-car and the circuit was difficult during qualifying as it was very hot. I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow."

Ralph Firman: "Once again, it's my first time at this track. We had a good morning session but in qualifying I took it a little bit cautiously in the middle sector as the circuit has some quite blind and difficult corners. All in all the car's a bit more predictable than at other races but obviously we're not quick enough. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 18th, Nicolas Kiesa - 19th )

Paul Stoddart: "The day started out on a positive note when Jos finished the morning test session as the fastest Bridgestone runner -- a very creditable performance, indeed. Mechanical gremlins put paid to Nicolas's session, however, with a spectacular smoke display down the pit straight. In the first official session, Jos also stopped in the same place with a fuel pump problem. P18 and P19 is not where we would have liked to be today, but given the conditions, it was not totally unexpected. We will just have to work harder tomorrow."

Jos Verstappen: "That wasn't the perfect qualifying lap, as I made a mistake in the first corner that cost perhaps 0.6 secs -- if not for that, I think a lap time of 1 min 25.3 secs or 1 min 25.4 secs was possible, which would have been good. As it worked out, that 0.6 secs wouldn't have gained us a position today, but it's just a shame for both the team and me that we didn't get the best lap possible. Anyway, we know there is more in the car, but with a heavier fuel load tomorrow, we'll just have to see what happens."

Nicolas Kiesa: "All told, it has not been a great day. We had a major engine problem this morning, which meant I lost the whole of the practice session while the engine was changed. I then had to use the spare car for qualifying, and it felt quite different from the race car. That, plus the fact the circuit had changed a lot between this morning and this afternoon, meant we just didn't get the best out of the car today. Still, we'll aim for a better outcome tomorrow."

Gianmaria Bruni: "For me, it went very well this morning. My times were good, especially considering I don't know this circuit and we had only the soft compound tyres available. The car had a good balance, though, and we spent some of the time in the session comparing a new design of floor with the existing one. I am happy with the job I did for Minardi today, and I am now looking forward to Monza, which is almost like a 'home' track for me. It will also be the first circuit I have driven the F1 car on that I actually know. There will then be a further chance to work with the team during the Monza test, on September 3 and 4, and we'll have a bit of fun at Rockingham next weekend, driving one of the Minardi F1 two-seater cars. It's all F1 seat time, which is great."

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What the teams and drivers said
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