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2003 Monaco 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 - 3rd )

Sam Michael: "An excellent qualifying for the team. All the engineers and drivers put a lot of effort into improving the car since Thursdayís practice. The changes that we made to the set-up on both cars were clearly significant. It is good to see our cars at the front on a circuit that is all about downforce and chassis performance."

Gerhard Berger: "You need to get a very good lap in order to be on the front row in Monte Carlo. Ralf has produced a fantastic performance, today. All the team has done a stunning job, congratulations to all. Since Thursday we have turned the situation to our favour and also the tyres worked very well here today. I only hope we will have a better start than last year and that there will be an FW25 leading out of the first corner. Should this happen, we can even begin to think about winning the race. I believe we look good in terms of strategy."

Ralf Schumacher: "Looking at this morningís times I really did not expect to be on pole today and obviously I am very pleased about my second pole. Driving in Monaco is a great challenge and if your car has the right balance then it is a true pleasure. I must say thanks to the whole team for the great job they have done and also to Michelin for their tyres which seem to be very consistent here. We have all had a couple of hard weeks and achieving this success feels very good now. However, tomorrow is the day that really counts. We are going to have an exciting start and race tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "The car had a good balance even if on my qualifying lap my car was bottoming and I lost some time because of it. We have a good and consistent car for the race and both Ralf and myself are starting from good positions. It is important for the team what we have achieved today. It is clear that the team now understands the car more and can better exploit the potential of the FW25."

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McLaren (  Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd, David Coulthard - 6th )

Ron Dennis: "A good performance by the team. Our grid positions are not quite what we expected but still give both drivers the opportunity to win."

Norbert Haug: "A thrilling qualifying which saw Kimi missing pole by 36 thousands of a second. The fact that the first six drivers are within less than half a second means that we can expect a tough and close race. However Kimi's front row position is a good basis for tomorrow, when strategy will be key for winning the race."

Kimi Raikkonen: "To start from the front row in Monaco is very important, so second is good and I'm looking forward to an exciting race tomorrow. However I'm a bit disappointed not to get pole position as like in Austria two weeks ago I was extremely close, but I guess it will be my time sooner or later. In hindsight perhaps I hit the kerb a bit too hard at the Swimming Pool chicane so I lost some time there. Monaco is a place where experience is important and I feel more comfortable here this year than last year. Now we will see what happens tomorrow."

David Coulthard: "I had a very good set up during this morning's free practice which was reflected by my lap time. We then made some adjustments after the warm up which was intended to further improve the car for the race. Unfortunately this caused some understeer and I also got it wrong at the Swimming Pool chicane which ultimately ruined my lap."

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

Pat Symonds: "I am very pleased indeed with the performance and the qualifying positions of both or cars on the grid, which exceeded our expectations. Bearing in mind the key factor of strategy on this circuit and the competitiveness of our car and tyres, I feel that we have a very good possibility of a strong result here in Monaco."

Denis Chevrier: "A good qualifying for both drivers which confirms Thursday session's result: a good level of competitiveness. Fernando's performance this afternoon might have been slightly hampered by his lack of practice this morning, due to his accident whereas Jarno's placement corresponds to our objectives."

Jarno Trulli: "A positive weekend for me so far with a very good qualifying position. The team has done a great job and the car has been constantly competitive. I believe we have a good strategy and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race."

Fernando Alonso: "Considering that this morning's session was spoiled for me by my spin, which made me miss a lot of track time, I am quite satisfied with my qualifying result. I did a good lap and I am happy to start in eighth position on tomorrow's grid."

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Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 5th, Rubens Barrichello - 7th )

Jean Todt: "After a closely fought qualifying session, we have recorded our least satisfactory result of the season so far, at a track where the grid position is very important. However, there is still a question mark over the amount of fuel the drivers have chosen to go to the start with. We will only find out the truth during the race. It is clear that if those who are ahead of us today can do a similar number of laps to us, then we will be in a difficult situation.
However, if we can stay out on the track for longer, then we can be in the running right to the end. Monte Carlo is the longest race of the year in terms of time, on a track which is pretty demanding on both car and driver. As usual, reliability will be the key and our main objective is to get both cars to the finish."

Ross Brawn: "It would have been nicer to be on pole of course, but until we see how the race develops tomorrow, in terms of the different fuel loads our competitors are using, it is very difficult to make an accurate judgement. The car was well balanced and we had no real problems. Now, we must just wait and see what happens in the race."

Michael Schumacher: "Obviously, I am not happy with this result, but I am not particularly concerned about it. I drove a lap which was error free. Right from this morning, we could see we were not as competitive in the second and third sectors. One explanation could be that, over the course of the weekend, the track has picked up more rubber and the performance level of the tyres over a single lap seems to have changed. However, this does not necessarily mean that the situation will be the same tomorrow. In fact, I still believe we have made a good choice for the race and we will only find out tomorrow how much fuel the cars have really got on board."

Rubens Barrichello: "This was not our best qualifying day. The car was going well, but it just was not fast enough. Now we will have to see what level of fuel the cars ahead of us are running. This result has not affected my confidence as far as the race is concerned."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 9th, Antonio Pizzonia - 13th )

Dr Mark Gillan: "Itís been a very satisfying weekend so far and I am more than pleased with the reliability of the R4. The team have been working hard to iron out the last of the gremlins and we certainly seem to be achieving that. We completed a race this morning in terms of number of laps that both Mark and Antonio achieved together and that is encouraging going into tomorrows race. Last year this was a difficult race for us and to be where we are today is testament to the teamwork both on and off-track. Our strategy tomorrow should make us well placed to aim for a good finish, but as we know from experience, this track continues to challenge even the most experienced of drivers and teams. Mark and Antonio have both produced good lap- times and a lot of hard work has gone into this preparation. Lets hope we get rewarded for those efforts!."

Mark Webber: "Again a productive day all-round that started with me completing a good number of laps in this morningís session and working on race set-up and tyres. The team has done a thorough job on the carís preparation both here this weekend and prior at the factory so we are pleased that the hard work is paying off and all three cars remain intact with 100% reliability. Being in the top ten is encouraging and given our strategy I am confident that we can aim for points. Strategy here is so important and looking at the times I am sure that there a few interesting strategies out there in front of us, but of course, until tomorrow we just donít know. Michelin has done another outstanding job for us and this coupled with our strategy will hopefully put us in a good position to move up the grid."

Antonio Pizzonia: "Today has gone well for me and I am pleased with my qualifying lap. This morning was spent working on race set-up and strategy and the thirty-nine laps that I completed have provided us with some good data. The circuit is notoriously tight and as we have seen this weekend mistakes can be easily made and very costly. The team and I are pleased that we have suffered no issues on the car despite clocking up a high number of laps. The reliability here is as important as the pace but I am certainly looking forward to getting out on track tomorrow and at a circuit that usually has high attrition, there is no reason why we will not be looking to score some points. This is my second home race so lets see what I can do."

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Toyota ( Cristiano da Matta - 10th, Olivier Panis - 17th )

Keizo Takahashi: "Looking at our performance from Thursday, I have to be satisfied with today's result. I think 10th place is better than we expected, and given the problems we have had with the lack of grip this weekend, we could not have done much more. Cristiano drove an excellent lap, particularly as it is his first time driving in Monaco this weekend, and it is fitting that he has achieved his best qualifying result of the year at this track. Olivier took a different strategy to the session today, with more focus on the race, and we now have to see what tomorrow brings."

Cristiano da Matta: "I didn't expect to be so high up on the grid, let alone getting my best qualifying result of the season. During the lap, I already felt it was going to be a good one. We have made some improvements over the weekend, but there is still a problem with the grip level and we still have a big margin to improve. My driving at this track has been getting better and better and I am very pleased with my lap today. It will be a long and tough race, but our priority should be to complete the race, hopefully in a good position."

Olivier Panis: "This morning, we noticed that, although we made some small improvements to the car from Thursday, we still have the same problems with a lack of grip. I was really not happy with the car, so we decided to opt for a strategy that is more focussed towards our performance in the race, rather than in today's qualifying. With this in mind, I am pleased with my qualifying lap and we will wait to see how things turn out tomorrow."

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 11th , Jenson Button - Did Not Qualify - Crash in practice )

David Richards: "First and foremost, we are all obviously very relieved that Jenson wasnít injured in what was a very heavy crash this morning. Itís a great tribute to the safety of a modern formula one car and all the work that the FIA has done in this respect over the last few years. Jenson is disappointed that he was unable to take part in final qualifying after making such a positive start to the weekend here, but we are optimistic that he will be fit and well for the race tomorrow. Track conditions have obviously changed significantly since we were so competitive at the start of the weekend, but Iím confident that Jacques will be in a strong points- scoring position tomorrow."

Geoff Willis: "Obviously Iím very happy that Jenson did not sustain any injuries from his heavy crash in morning practice. He was badly shaken up but we hope that he will be fit to race tomorrow. After a good start on Thursday we spent today focusing on race set-up and old tyre running. We were making good progress but unfortunately, at the beginning of the second session, Jenson was pushing hard on his first lap on new tyres and clipped the Armco on the right side at the exit of the tunnel. He bounced across the track and then hit the tyre barrier sideways. This accident has shown that, even with this kind of impact, the combination of tyre wall and chassis strength did a good job of protecting the driver. Unfortunately Jenson was unable to take part in qualifying, but Jacques was happy with his car this afternoon. We are optimistic that we can look forward to a strong race performance tomorrow and, hopefully, a points-finish."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Most importantly we're all pleased that Jenson is okay after such a big shunt this morning and I hope he can race tomorrow. Jacques ran well in qualifying and we have shown how competitive we are this weekend so I'm confident of scoring some more points."

Jacques Villeneuve: "First of all it's good news that Jenson is OK after his crash this morning. On my side, the weekend is shaping up a little bit like Barcelona; we started badly on the first day and then we've continued to improve throughout the weekend. We were able to do some good work with the tyres and we've ended up with a car that was competitive in qualifying and race trim, so the day went well. This was roughly where we expected to be given our strategy so I'm just looking forward to the race now."

Jenson Button was unavailable for comment due to his crash in practice

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 12th, Ralph Firman - 16th )

Gary Anderson: "I'm disappointed with our positions. It all fell apart a bit when it got hotter and we lost a lot of grip. We have experienced this all year and it's something we've got to chase down. In reality we have to wait until tomorrow and see how the strategies all work out - we've done what we think is reasonable for the race."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "On Thursday our performance level wasn't too bad so I was expecting to be in the top eight today so naturally I am a little disappointed with 12th. We lost a lot of a grip just in the qualifying session and the car was very nervous. Because of that I made quite a few mistakes. I'm more optimistic for the race."

Ralph Firman: "I had a bit too much understeer towards the end of the lap but things were looking relatively good until then. I'm looking forward to the race as I've really taken to the circuit here and am quite happy with how it's going. I'll push hard tomorrow, try not to touch the walls and hope to score some points."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 14th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - 15th )

Peter Sauber: "Without knowing about the strategies of our competitors I had expected better results today. Nick's slow time in the last part of the lap is explained by the heavy tyre graining his car suffered."

Nick Heidfeld: "I had some graining on the rear tyres which gave me a lot of oversteer and cost me time in the last corner. My mistake in the middle sector also cost me time. However, we were able to improve the car since Thursday and it felt quite a bit better."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "We decided for a rather conservative approach today. The most important thing is to have a solid race. If we can make that we can certainly score points tomorrow."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 18th, Justin Wilson - 20th )

Paul Stoddart: "European Minardi Cosworth's final qualifying positions slipped lightly by comparison with yesterday. Nonetheless, we feel we are in good shape for tomorrow's race with the strategy we have chosen. Jos drove a great qualifying lap this afternoon, his experience and knowledge of Monaco obviously contributing to his impressive performance. Justin struggled a bit to get his car handling to his liking, and in the end, perhaps just pushed a bit too hard on his flying lap. Even so, he has done a tremendous job so far this weekend at what is undoubtedly the most mentally demanding circuit on the F1 calendar."

Jos Verstappen: "That was a good lap with a heavy fuel load, so I think our position for the race tomorrow is not looking too bad. The strategy we are using compromised our performance a little today, but there should be a benefit in the race tomorrow. I think the engineers definitely made the right call on this. Anyway, I was very pleased with my qualifying lap, and hopefully, we will now have a good race tomorrow."

Justin Wilson: "The track was very slippery first thing this morning, but then got quicker and quicker as the day wore on. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a moment going through the swimming pool section on my qualifying run and hit the steering lock stops in both directions trying to correct the resulting slide. The car had understeered through there for most of the morning practice, so I was more aggressive with it in qualifying and used more curb, but the car just didn't like it. Anyway, what's done is done, and now we'll just have to see what happens tomorrow."

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

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