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

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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday

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

Pat Symonds: "A great lap from Fernando to take a well-deserved pole position. Unfortunately, Jarno seemed to get oversteer in the second half of his lap, which compromised his time. It's a great shame, because the two drivers have been running at a similar speed all weekend. Not only does this put him down the grid, it also forces him to start from the dirty side of the circuit. In spite of the changes to the circuit this year, we still expect it to be difficult to pass, and therefore pole position is all the more valuable."

Denis Chevrier: "Firstly, it is pleasing to confirm the promise we demonstrated yesterday: we are competitive with the very top teams at this circuit. However, the gap between our pilots demonstrates that the balance between getting the right set-up and the correct rhythm is extremely delicate. Tomorrow, we will have to maintain our pace for seventy laps on a demanding circuit for both cars and drivers. The new engine spec also met our expectations, and it is a bonus to christen a new development by taking pole position."

Fernando Alonso: "It is a great feeling to get my second pole position. Our car has been competitive since the start of the weekend, and I don't see any reason why that should change tomorrow. I had some problems yesterday, but the mechanics worked hard to sort things out: I want to thank them, as well as my engineers. As for the flying lap, I didn't have any problems, but I was driving right on the limit towards the end of the lap. I think we are on the right strategy for tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the race!."

Jarno Trulli: "Sixth position is disappointing after yesterday's result. I made some mistakes on the flying lap, which must have cost me three or four tenths, and the car also lacked grip. Nevertheless, sixth isn't a bad grid slot, and I think I can fight for a podium tomorrow."

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Williams (  Ralf Schumacher - 2nd, Juan Pablo Montoya - 4th )

Sam Michael: "It looks like this starting grid promises an interesting race. We are reasonably happy with our qualifying positions. It is obviously good to be in front of our direct rivals in both Championships. We have a good strategy for the race and the race set-up works well."

Mario Theissen: "We are pleased with the qualifying result, although there were surprises at the top of the grid. Alonso was fantastic, especially in the second and third sector. Whereas Ralf set a faultless lap, Juan's was not as perfect. However, grid positions two and four do provide good chances for tomorrow's race, although it means that both our drivers have to start from the dirty side of the track."

Ralf Schumacher: "Being on the front row is obviously nice. It is obviously a big relief that my 10 places on the grid penalty was cancelled and I can actually start from the place I fought for. However, I am starting from the dirty side of the track which is not the best place to be. I was very quick in the first sector but lost quite a bit of time in sector two and three and the reason for this we need to investigate later, when we will have a look at the data. During qualifying my car felt ok, thanks to the team who could set it up at the best. I believe we have a good race strategy and also the hot weather conditions forecast for tomorrow should be helping us."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "The car felt really good during today's qualifying. I could have gone quicker than I actually did but after being very fast in sector one I took the conservative way and really paced myself because I wanted to make sure to get a good lap in. I am fighting for the Championship especially with Michael, of course, and the most important thing is starting ahead of him, tomorrow. I think we've got a really good race car and it's going to be an interesting race."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 2nd, Justin Wilson - 12th )

Dr Mark Gillan: "A good day all-round that has seen us suffer no reliability problems and some pleasing results in the form of 3rd and 12th place on the grid for tomorrow's Hungarian race. After a frustrating day yesterday we managed to achieve some good laps this morning that allowed us to work on our race strategy and balance. The qualifying pace of the car has been good for some time now but it was the race pace over the last couple of races that has let us down. I know that the team are working very hard to prepare the cars and it appears to have paid off today.
Mark had a stunning lap and to be honest, there wasn't much left that he could have extracted. With Justin we made a few mechanical changes to the car just before qualifying and these again appeared to improve the car's performance. I know that Justin was slightly disappointed with his lap as he feels that there was more he could have taken from the package.
With that said, we are pleased with where we are on the grid for tomorrow and of course we will be making the most of any opportunity to grab some points. Our aero package has improved dramatically since last year and coupled with the steps-forward taken by Michelin we are certainly more confident about the package that we have."

Mark Webber: "I am very happy with that. It was a really nice lap and one that I enjoyed immensely. The track was getting a little quicker towards the end but nonetheless, that was a very clean lap. I knew going into the first corner that the lap had potential. The car felt very good under braking and as I went through turn two, I looked at my read-out on the steering wheel and saw that I was up on my quickest time from this morning. The team did an excellent job on the car and starting from 3rd on the grid is very important for us indeed given how closely fought the chase for the last few places in the championship is.
The added bonus is that I am starting the race on the clean line and maintaining position into the first corner is the challenge. It will not be easy and nor will the race itself. The grid is certainly mixed-up with the championship fighters behind us and let's hope for a good race tomorrow which rewards us with some much-needed championship points."

Justin Wilson: "My lap was an improvement on this morning and I am happy although it could have been better. There was more time in the car and I just needed more time to extract that. There is an awful lot to learn in what has been a short space of time with Jaguar but I am happy with progress to date. I am starting from the 6th row tomorrow and unlike Hockenheim, I want to avoid any dramas at the first corner and make it through to the end of the race. My mileage with the Jaguar is still very low and getting through a race distance tomorrow will be very valuable for the team and me. Anything above that will be a bonus."

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Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - 5th, Michael Schumacher - 8th )

Jean Todt: "It was a disappointing qualifying. After this morning's free practice and the warm-up, I thought that getting both our cars onto the top three rows of the grid was within our grasp. Unfortunately, that is not how things turned out, with Rubens fifth - with the same lap time as Montoya - and Michael eighth. It is clear that in this situation, we can expect a difficult race, considering that despite the changes to the layout, there are few overtaking opportunities. We will do our all to get the best result possible."

Ross Brawn: "I am not very happy with the result of this session as I thought we were going to do better than we did. Michael did not feel he had the same level of grip which he had found during the warm-up and had too much understeer towards the end of his run. We did not really optimise the car and the tyres for qualifying. It is disappointing, because up until now, the cars had been going well this weekend. Rubens had very good first and second sectors but then also had too much understeer in the third sector. Now we have to wait and see what we can do tomorrow."

Rubens Barrichello: "It was a rather difficult qualifying session and it was surprising to see Alonso and Webber so quick. I am happy with my own lap, as it was the best I could do, especially as I had a bit of understeer at the end of the lap. I am quite hopeful that our tyre choice will be good for the race tomorrow. Given how dirty the track is here off the racing line, I think that fifth place might actually be better than fourth for the start. The changes to the track do seem to make overtaking a bit more of a possibility than in the past. A lot will depend on everyone's race pace and the different strategy choices. I am still in a positive frame of mind."

Michael Schumacher: "Obviously, I am a bit disappointed, because this morning and in the warm-up, I seemed to be on the same pace as the others and the car felt good. Now we have to try and understand why our qualifying time did not match our expectations. The outcome of the race will now depend on strategy, which is always the key factor at this circuit and the Scuderia has usually done a good job on this front. Anything can happen tomorrow afternoon, so now all we can do is look ahead."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 7th, David Coulthard - 9th )

Ron Dennis: "Traditionally it's been impossible to overtake at the Hungarian Grand Prix due to the nature of the circuit. It's therefore understandable that some of the teams have adopted extremely 'racy' strategies. I very much doubt that the finishing order tomorrow will reflect the grid positions. It should be a great race."

Norbert Haug: "A grid which promises an exciting race. It will be interesting to see what influence the various strategies have had on the grid positions."

Kimi Raikkonen: "Not too bad. I made a little mistake in the last sector at corner 12, which cost me some time. We improved the balance of the car from the warm up, and it feels good. I might have an advantage at the start tomorrow compared to Michael as I'm on the clean side of the track, and I'm also not too far away from Montoya. We will see what happens in the race, and at this circuit the first corner is especially crucial."

David Coulthard: "I had a small problem with the clutch when we were ready to leave the garage as it wouldn't clear. However the guys found a quick solution and ultimately we got out on time. We know from previous experience that our race pace should be good and I believe we have chosen the right strategy. In addition I'm on the clean side of the track which could be crucial at the start."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 10th, Cristiano da Matta - 15th )

Keizo Takahashi: "We came into this Hungarian Grand Prix expecting it to be the hardest of the four remaining races of the year, so I think that to get a seventh consecutive top ten qualifying result today was a good result. Going out second in the running order, Cristiano suffered a bit with dustier track conditions, but also had some oversteer, which affected his overall lap time. Olivier had a trouble-free lap to take tenth, achieving our top ten target for qualifying. I am hopeful that we can also achieve our race target, namely more points."

Olivier Panis: "I am really pleased with my lap. It was quite a strong run and I don't think we could get any more from the car. I made no mistakes and pushed to the limit, so now we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. Top ten on the grid was the aim and we have achieved that today, so from there we are looking to score more points in the race - this is the what we need to achieve in the remaining races of the season."

Cristiano da Matta: "Obviously that wasn't my best qualifying lap, but I decided to take a conservative approach after spinning a couple of times during the weekend. I have had some handling problems today with oversteer in my car and generally the grip levels have not been as good today as they were yesterday, which has affected the overall performance. From 15th on the grid, it's going to be a tough race, but nevertheless I'm going to push for points."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 11th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - 17th )

Peter Sauber: "Nick was able to endorse the upward trend we have shown recently and was able to achieve a strong lap ahead of our two direct competitors, Jordan and BAR. Heinz-Harald couldn't use the potential of his C22 to the full. We are now looking forward to an exciting race, which is surely guaranteed when you look at the mix of the starting grid."

Nick Heidfeld: "I'm quite happy with my lap time even though I made a bit of a mistake in the second corner. In general, this result confirms the improvements we have made recently to the C22. This morning we did some long runs and improved there, too, so I'm optimistic for the race tomorrow."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "The car was oversteering quite a bit which made the handling difficult. I think to do better was not possible. My mistake in the second corner didn't actually cost me that much time, but we need to look at the data analysis before we can understand why I lost time in the second sector."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 13th, Zsolt Baumgartner - 19th - replaces Ralph Firman)

Gary Anderson: "A very trying weekend so far to be honest! Ralph had an accident very early on today and I'm pleased to say that he's fine, which is the most important thing. Things like that shouldn't happen but unfortunately sometimes they do. I'm very pleased for Zsolt that he is able to step in, having done the running here yesterday, he did a competent job given how few laps he's had.
Fisichella did a good solid job. I think we've got a very good tyre for the race, very stable and we are really looking forward to it. We're in a reasonable position to have a go at some points. Unfortunately for Zsolt he accidentally switched to the fuel-saving map on his timed lap rather than his in-lap an easy mistake for a novice to make with so much going on - that possibly cost him a second."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "It's been quite a good qualifying for us, with maybe the quickest lap of the weekend for me. We did a very good job, the lap was clean and the car balance was good. We did our best."

Zsolt Baumgartner: "It went quite well, I was quicker than Kiesa, although I was imagining to be in front of both Minardis, I'm not that far off Verstappen. I'm happy that I didn't make any mistakes on the track and this is a great opportunity for me. I'm upset about what happened to Ralph and pleased he's okay. I'm excited about the race tomorrow and want to finish without any mistakes. I'm the first Hungarian driver to race in Formula One and that's a big aim for my country because we've had a Grand Prix for eighteen years. Everyone's dream will come true now but I didn't think it would happen this soon, and at our home Grand Prix!"

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 14th, Jacques Villeneuve - 16th )

David Richards: "We came here expecting to face a tough task and unfortunately today's qualifying performance has rather proven the point. The race tomorrow will test everybody's stamina and in this respect I feel confident that the car and our drivers are up to the challenge, although starting on the dirty side of the grid will not make their life very easy. Track temperatures are expected to be in the mid-forties, therefore tyre endurance and general reliability will be critical factors. On the face of it, challenging for points looks a tall order but we've proven before that we make the most of opportunities."

Geoff Willis: "Our day started reasonably well and we were expecting a stronger performance in qualifying after better practice sessions than yesterday. There is no denying that this is a poor qualifying result for the team. We have found a good balance on old tyres but are struggling to get the car to work consistently in each sector for one lap. Jenson lost nearly four tenths in the middle sector as a result of errors and, like Jacques, suffered from far too much understeer in the last sector. We have had excellent reliability from car and engine so far and we know we will be stronger in the race, but we will be starting from the dirty side of the track so it will be a difficult."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Starting from 14th and 16th on the grid is going to be tough. However, I know Jacques and Jenson will push hard in the race - we must take every opportunity to pick up some more points."

Jenson Button: "My lap was a little too messy I'm afraid so I'm not too happy. We made some set-up changes since warm-up but realistically I think I was pushing a little too hard and made a few mistakes. At the exit of the first corner I tried to get on the power as soon as I could but it just caused oversteer. In a few other places also I just wasn't as smooth as I could have been. I'm comfortable with our strategy for tomorrow but we really didn't want to be this far back on the grid. We have to just hope that the car can conserve the tyres so they don't go off as quickly.
It's a very difficult circuit to drive anyway but it's very dusty and the car is bouncing around all over the place. With fuel on board and the intense heat, tomorrow is going to be very demanding physically. We've demonstrated that we are quite good at fighting when we lose out on grid placings, but we have to take a hard look at what we can do to fight for something more tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve: "The car was much better today and the first two sectors of my lap were good, but we didn't manage to keep the front tyres working until the end of the lap so the last sector was really poor. For the last four corners there was no front grip and that's where we lost all the time. It should be better for us in the race; the tyres will take five laps or so to clean up and start working but after that the car should be quick. It's still going to be a tough race though."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 18th, Nicolas Kiesa - 20th )

Paul Stoddart: "Despite the hot and windy conditions today, both drivers did the best possible in this morning's interrupted practice sessions to prepare for final qualifying, the result of which was P18 and P20 for Jos and Nicolas respectively. I think tomorrow's race is going to be a test of both man and machine if these weather conditions prevail. Hopefully, if we stay reliable, we can score a point or two."

Jos Verstappen: "It was a good lap and I have to say I don't really know what we could do to go any quicker. We have to be happy with today's result, bearing in mind the resources we have available to us. I think our strategy is the right one and we'll do the best we can tomorrow. It will be a tough race for everyone, I think."

Nicolas Kiesa: "We've simply run into a set-up problem with the chassis, which has resulted in a lot of understeer along with rear instability, and unfortunately, I don't have the information or the experience of Formula One yet to be able to assist in fully resolving it. We need to understand the problem in order to find the best solution. I'm obviously disappointed with this performance, but I'll just try to do my best in the race tomorrow with the main aim being to get to the chequered flag again."

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