Reports & Results
What the teams and drivers said -
( Fernando Alonso - 1st, Jarno Trulli - 2nd )
Mike Gascoyne: "We had an excellent qualifying session. It
was very exciting for the whole team. Both drivers were absolutely perfect
on their flying laps. We expected our car to be more competitive here than
two weeks ago in Melbourne, but honestly we didn't go out thinking of
getting the pole. We are very pleased and confident for tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier : "We are more than satisfied to have placed
both cars on the first row of the starting grid. This result confirms the
good level of our performance and the quality of our drivers and the
excellent job the team has done in recent weeks. We didn't have any
mechanical problems today and we are very optimistic for the race."
Fernando Alonso: "First of all, a big thank you to the
whole team for helping Jarno and myself to get this fantastic first and
second positions on the grid. I have still not completely realised that
today I have my first pole position, just at the second race of the
season. I am simply delighted and very confident that tomorrow we can
finish well this special weekend, scoring more points for the team."
Jarno Trulli: "I am extremely happy for this excellent
result today for me and Fernando. It's a pleasant surprise to see how well
our car performed today. It feels great to be in front of the top teams:
this means that we have taken the right direction, improving day by day
and that we are finally getting good results for all our efforts and the
team's hard work."
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( Michael Schumacher - 3rd, Rubens Barrichello - 5th )
Jean Todt: “This afternoon's result, with one car on
the second row and the other on the third, puts us in a good position for
tomorrow's race. The new rules mean that a driver must qualify with the fuel
load which he will use when forming up on the start grid for the race the
following day. This means there are several key elements which can be taken
into account when determining strategy. In the race, tyre degradation will be
an important factor, with the heat making life difficult for car and driver.
Indeed, these are the conditions we have experienced since the start of the
weekend and the mechanics are doing a great job. Once again, they will play an
important role in tomorrow's proceedings during the pit-stops.”
Ross Brawn: “It is going to be a very hard race tomorrow,
but we will have to wait and see how it develops. The start is later than
usual, at 3pm and we have seen over the past few days that is the time when
weather conditions change. If it was to cloud over at that time, that would
probably work in our favour. From the data we acquired I think we made the
best tyre choice for the rest of the weekend. The grid positions highlight the
effect of the new rules, as teams can chose their qualifying fuel level and
carry it through to the race. Tomorrow, we will find out how much fuel the
front row runners really have on board.”
Michael Schumacher: “First
of all, I must thank the guys for doing such a good job to get my car ready,
after I had a gearbox problem in the warm-up. There was no time to actually
change settings, we just got it to work. I was happy with my lap and third was
the best I could do today. I do not want to take anything away from Renault's
achievement, as they did a good job, but I hope we have the right strategy for
the race, but will not know until tomorrow afternoon. As for the one lap
qualifying, when I am on my flying lap, I do not think about the fact it is my
only chance. I simply do the job. But with only having one chance, it does
mean that if the car could not be fixed then I would have missed my chance to
qualify. I am not bothered about my run of poles here being interrupted. Pole
is a fantastic bonus, but the new rules mean you have to focus on the race.”
Rubens Barrichello: “It
was a pretty normal day. The car seems to be in very good shape for tomorrow's
race. We worked with the race in mind, but that does not mean I wasn't pushing
hard in qualifying. Tomorrow, it will be important to be patient to see how
the situation evolves on the track and not to get involved in any possible hot
moments at the start.”
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( David Coulthard - 4th, Kimi Raikkonen - 7th )
"An interesting qualifying that has given us grid positions which
represent the varying fuel loads. It should be another fascinating race."
"An interesting starting grid. Although we possibly could have done
better today, we should be well prepared for the race tomorrow."
"It's hard with these one lap runs to be completely satisfied with
your performance particularly in these hot conditions. I made no big
mistakes but I understeered a little at turn nine and the corner onto the
back straight, so I was a little bit slower with the acceleration than I
expected. As a result we could have been quicker but probably not as fast
as the Renaults. However we hope that their strategy will see them pit
earlier than us, and I think we can have a good race tomorrow."
"My lap today wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't brilliant either. I
locked the rear of the car under braking at the hairpin, which lost me
some time, but fortunately I kept the car on the circuit. We will see what
happens tomorrow, as there is a different starting grid. As there is not a
lot of testing time during a Grand Prix weekend anymore, we will see how
everybody copes with the race distance and hopefully the people at the
front are running on low fuel levels."
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( Nick Heidfeld - 6th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - 13th )
Peter Sauber: "In Melbourne running two
different strategies in qualifying paid off for us in the race, and I
believe that the situation is the same here in Sepang. Congratulations to
Nick for his third row position, and thanks to Heinz-Harald for a strong
"This morning there were a couple of things about the car's set-up
that I wasn't happy with, but though my lap this afternoon wasn't as
smooth as yesterday's qualifying lap, I'm quite happy. We improved the
balance, particularly in the third sector, and I'm confident that we can
do something good tomorrow starting from sixth place on the grid."
Heinz Harald Frentzen:
"Obviously I was running a different strategy to Nick, and I was
pleased with my lap. I was pretty much on the limit, the balance of the
car was good, and I am on target for the strategy I was running."
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Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya -
Schumacher - 17th )
Sam Michael: "Even
though it is difficult to tell where everybody is because of the fuel
loads for the race, we expected to be higher on the grid with both cars.
Juan did a good job, though. Now we have to work out how to get the most
out of these grid positions."
Mario Thiessen: "Congratulation
to Renault for having placed both their cars on the first row. With
position 8 and 17 our cars are a bit far behind. We will know only
tomorrow in the race how much these positions will affect our performance.
It's mostly about the different fuel load and the tyre choice. Furthermore
here in Sepang there's always the chance of a rainstorm. I think the
viewers will enjoy an eventful and entertaining race."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I
had some balance problems, which were expected with the set up we need for
the race on this track. I was very worried when I saw Ralf's lap though,
as he was struggling with his balance quite a lot. However, I had am
pretty happy that we are quite close to McLaren and I think that we look
pretty good for the race thanks to our strategy."
Ralf Schumacher: "I
am still not happy with the balance of my car and in addition to this I
made a couple of mistakes in two corners, where I lost some time. Anyway,
I shouldn't be 8 tenths away from my team mate. It's clear that I have to
get used to this new qualifying system. Nevertheless I believe we have a
good strategy compared to the other teams and our performance will improve
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BAR ( Jenson Button -
9th, Jacques Villeneuve - 12th )
"A top 10 performance was possible for both drivers but the middle of
the grid is so tight that a couple of mistakes can make a big difference.
Nonetheless, we are still well-placed for our strategy tomorrow and it
will be interesting to see how the race unfolds."
"The target for a Saturday afternoon is to qualify to your strategy;
to get exactly where you should be for your fuel load. The drivers are
reasonably happy with where they've finished the session although both
made mistakes and feel there was more in the car today. When all the
strategies unfold tomorrow we'll see exactly what the relative performance
Shuhei Nakamoto: "We've had an encouraging day
overall, but I don't think 9th and 12th is a true reflection of our pace.
Both drivers did a good job and their performance today fits in with our
race strategy. I'm optimistic - it's a very close grid and one way or
another the weather is going to play a big part tomorrow."
"It's nice to be inside the top 10 but I didn't think the lap was
going to be as quick as it was; I was a little bit disappointed with it at
the end. The first sector seemed good to me then I made a mistake in each
of the last two sectors. I think the time I gained under braking led me to
make those mistakes so I guess I was just pushing too hard. This is
roughly where we'd expected to be after a difficult morning in which we
veered between oversteer and too much understeer before it started to come
together. I think we're running a good fuel load for tomorrow so I'm
"We've improved the car a lot during the weekend and the balance was
quite good for qualifying but I made an error in the hairpin and lost some
time. Too bad, because the car was a lot better today. I'm a little less
worried than I was yesterday but I'm starting from the 6th row of the grid
which isn't going to help but I'm confident for tomorrow having
concentrated on race set-up and strategy."
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Olivier Panis - 10th, Cristiano da Matta - 11th )
Keizo Takahashi: "In the morning practice
session, we had some problems on Olivier's car but the overall set up of
both cars was much better than yesterday. We are very satisfied with the
result for both drivers in this qualifying session. Okay, it could have
been a bit better, but we set regular top ten qualifying results as one of
our targets for this season, which we achieved today and tomorrow we have
the opportunity to realise the second of these aims, namely to win some
world championship points."
Olivier Panis: "Definitely, I feel that we
have improved the car a lot for today. We struggled with the set-up in
free practice yesterday, so we worked a lot overnight and made some real
improvements. As a result, we have been a little bit more competitive, and
I think we have worked really hard this morning to choose the best
strategy for tomorrow's race. Overall I am quite positive and happy with
tenth on the grid."
Cristiano da Matta: "It was unfortunate that we had to change
to the spare car for qualifying today. The car still performed well, but I
didn't have everything 100% tuned the way I wanted. Considering that I
changed cars and that it's my first Malaysian GP, I am happy with eleventh
place, but it could have been even better. The car has been running well
today and if we look at the big picture, I think we are looking in pretty
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( Giancarlo Fisichella - 14th, Ralph Firman - 20th )
"With the regulation changes it's very difficult to know where
anybody is until we see the race happen. Hopefully it will be a
straightforward race as we'd like to get an accurate idea of where we are,
for the first time this year, in normal conditions. I thought we would be
a little bit better in qualifying than we are. I thought we might be able
to crack the top ten but we didn't quite make it. The temperature affects
the balance and the grip and we never really got on top of it. Let's wait
and see tomorrow."
"The lap was okay. We have chosen to go with the hard tyres which
maybe is not fantastic for qualifying but it could be good for tomorrow.
So I hope the race will be a better reflection of our potential."
Ralph Firman: "The circuit has changed
a lot from this morning with the temperature going up, and as a result I
experienced a lot of oversteer in the last sector. But I'm reasonably
satisfied with that and hopefully tomorrow will be good."
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( Antonio Pizzonia - 15th, Mark Webber - 16th )
Dr Mark Gillan: "We are quite pleased given
the frustrating issues we have suffered here all weekend. Both Mark and
Antonio did a good job out there. In Antonio's case, it was particularly
impressive given his lack of experience on this circuit and because he was
also the first man out today, he held his composure well. We obviously
have a clear strategy in mind going into tomorrow's race and given the
pace of our cars today, we are quite encouraged. You only need look at the
sector times and they speak for themselves. Mark's sector two time is only
a tenth slower than the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher and unlike
yesterday, we suffered no fuel pick-up problems.
The team worked till very late last night in an effort to find an interim
solution to the fuel pick-up problem and we believe we have one. Back at
the factory, however, the guys are already on the case with a view to
finding a proper fix prior to the Brazilian Grand Prix. Either way, we are
in pleasing shape for tomorrow and coupled with the strength of the
Michelin tyre over a race distance, our aim is to cross the finishing line
with both cars. We have optimised our strategy for tomorrow and unlike
yesterday, we have successfully completed the first phase of that today."
Antonio Pizzonia: "Given the problems that I
suffered during qualifying in Melbourne and not getting a run yesterday, I
am very pleased to have bagged my first clean qualifying lap for Jaguar.
It wasn't ideal being the first driver on the track, particularly as it
was quite dirty in places. Compared to this morning, the track was also
much hotter and this made it slower. Nonetheless, I wanted to complete a
clean lap and didn't aim for anything too special. I didn't make any
mistakes during my run but it was a little conservative.
I wanted to do a good job and given our strategy for tomorrow's race, it
was very important not to make any silly mistakes through over-exuberance.
The car felt pretty good throughout the lap but let's now see what happens
in the race tomorrow. The fuel pick-up problem we suffered from yesterday
bit this morning a few times during the warm-up sessions but the guys seem
to have found a short-term fix which I hope keeps us going through to the
chequered flag tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "A day of mixed emotions for me. I was very
pleased with how my qualifying lap was going up until the final hairpin
where I lost around three-tenths of a second. It's a shame but I'll just
have to push that much harder tomorrow. The team have done an admirable
job over the past 24 hours given the problems we had but there is still a
race distance to get through tomorrow, albeit a very tough race indeed
given the extreme heat and humidity. The Jaguar R4 was quite well balanced
today and this makes my final lap time all the more disappointing when you
look at my sector one and sector two times. Nonetheless, it is pleasing to
be alongside my team-mate for tomorrow's race and as was the case in
Melbourne, our strategy should, I hope, stand us in reasonably good stead
over the race. It's all to play for."
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( Jos Verstappen - 18th, Justin Wilson - 19th )
Paul Stoddart: “First of all, our heartiest congratulations go to
Fernando Alonso and Renault. There was a big cheer in the Minardi garage when
it was clear he had taken his first-ever Formula One pole position, as we
still consider him 'family'. This afternoon's qualifying session was also a
classic demonstration of the excitement the new Formula One rules have brought
to the sport. Minardi had an almost trouble-free day, apart from a slight
issue with one of the wheels on Justin's car. Despite the problem being
quickly rectified, it cost him valuable time during his preparations for the
final qualifying session. As usual, Jos delivered everything asked of him
today, and the qualifying laps for both drivers were realistically the best we
could expect, given our strategy for tomorrow's race. All in all, a job well
done by both Justin and Jos today.”
Jos Verstappen: “Today's
qualifying session was more difficult than yesterday's, when I had a pretty
good balance in my car. This afternoon, we experienced a lot more oversteer,
and I think I lost considerable time in the middle sector, where normally it
should be good. If the weather tomorrow is like today, my feeling is that we
will be heading for a tough race.”
Justin Wilson: “We improved the car as the day progressed,
and although the time this afternoon isn't quite what we had hoped for, I'm
not too disappointed, all things considered. It's also nice personally to have
completed my first Formula One qualifying session. Now we'll just have to wait
and see what happens in the race tomorrow.”
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