Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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Team and Driver Quotes following Saturday Practice & Qualifying
Jean Todt: "The changing weather conditions undoubtedly
affected the outcome of qualifying. We were worried that it might rain harder
towards the end and unfortunately, it did. Therefore, it was impossible for us
to do better, as the rain prevented us from getting the most out of our
package, with the Bridgestone tyres excellent once again. Having said that, we
cannot complain. It is expected to be dry for tomorrow's race and I believe we
will be competitive.
Ross Brawn: "Given the conditions, the fact we were still
fighting for pole is a good result. I don't think being second on the grid
tomorrow is such a problem as a racing line will not have formed on the track
by the time the race starts. We have a good dry set-up and our indications are
that we will have a dry race tomorrow.
"The weather conditions meant the session was something of a lottery, as
we had not expected that final splash of rain. I can be happy with being on
the front row in second place given the conditions when I made my run. As for
my lap, I struggled a bit at the top of the hill, going sideways into Turn 5.
"Everything went quite well, except that there was a bit more rain when
the last group of five cars went out. The last corner caught me out, even
though I was feeling the tyres were losing a bit of their performance so I was
being careful. I had oversteer and went into a slide, so I suppose to be in
the top six having made a mistake is not too bad.
Ron Dennis: "Overall the performance of the cars has been competitive with respect of the conditions, save for the inevitable performance differential between the makes of tyre. We anticipated tomorrow's conditions to be better, so consciously opted for dry settings for today's wet qualifying. This coupled with varying track conditions made it somewhat more difficult for the drivers during qualifying."
Norbert Haug: "Today was a weather lottery catching out other competitors even more than ourselves. Kimi had bad luck being out on his lap when it had started to rain heavily, and David's run on intermediates was hampered by worsening track conditions as well. However, with the forecast predicting better weather for tomorrow we should be better in the race."
David Coulthard: "I was a little bit worried at the start of my lap as it began to rain. However, the intermediates we chose to use shortly before my run gave us a good qualifying time, especially as this was my first lap on these tyres. The car has been set up for the race with dry weather in mind as is predicted, so we will have to wait and see tomorrow, but I feel we will have a strong race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Unfortunately it started raining heavily during my run. I made a mistake in the last chicane, which cost me some time. However, from our performance yesterday in the dry I think we should be looking OK in the race when the weather hopefully will be dry again. The overall performance of my car has been good from the start of the weekend, so I am looking forward to tomorrow even though I am starting from tenth position."
Peter Sauber: "It was a very strong qualifying session for us. Congratulations to Giancarlo and Felipe, and to the team for developing such a strong car. Thanks, too, to Bridgestone for their tyres. We actually had bad luck, however, as the rain worsened just before Giancarlo and Felipe went out. I believe that each of them will start a row further back than they really deserve to. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to a strong race performance whatever the conditions."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Given that the rain spoiled our chances of a really high grid placing today, I think fifth is a very strong performance. But I feel unlucky that just before I went out we had to switch from wets to extreme wets as the rain increased. That cost us performance, for sure. In the dry yesterday we were very strong, however, so I am optimistic for the race as the forecast predicts a dry day tomorrow."
"Between Juan Pablo Montoya and our runs the track got much wetter,
so we were rather unlucky today. By the time I went out for my qualifying
lap the track was completely wet and I got lots of wheelspin whenever I
encountered any white lines.
Dr. Mark Gillan: "The rain this morning limited our running
time and as it happened we went into qualifying having only completed 12 laps
between the two cars. Everyone is in the same boat though and I did feel well
prepared for qualifying after our good strong practice performances from
yesterday. During qualifying the conditions did not improve greatly and we ran
in extreme wets.
Mark Webber: "It's been quite an usual day for us here at Spa as
we entered qualifying having only completed twelve laps in this morning's
practice sessions. The weather has not been good at all and this has really
affected the amount of running that we have been able to do. Despite this the
team has done an excellent job in preparing the car and as a result the R5
felt well-balanced going into qualifying this afternoon.
Christian Klien: "I was hoping to get some more running completed
this morning and I was certainly disappointed with only having the time to do
six laps. The track conditions were really wet and very greasy out there and
this made everyone's job more difficult. The guys however have continued to
work very hard on the car and they have done a really good job with the
package. The car feels well balanced and very smooth on track so I am pleased
with our progress.
Mike Gascoyne: "With weather conditions like the ones we
experienced today, qualifying is always a bit of a lottery and so it
proved for us today with mixed fortunes for our drivers. In the first
session, Ricardo ran wide over the one of the kerbs, which caused the car
to snap away from him.
Olivier Panis: "It was a good qualifying session for us today. I did a very good lap running with full wet tyres and the team managed everything well in difficult conditions. We have opted to run a different tyre compound compared to other Michelin runners this weekend, which worked well in yesterday's dry practice sessions. To be ninth on the grid with the strategy we have opted for and the tyres we have selected, I am very confident that we can have a strong race tomorrow."
Ricardo Zonta: "My grid position was affected a lot by the
mistake I made in the first qualifying session. There was not much grip on
the track due to the large amount of rain that had fallen all morning. I
ran over one of the white lines around the track, but it was very slippery
and I was sent into the gravel.
Sam Michael: "We have had a busy morning after Antonio's crash
at the end of the short free practice session. We were ready just in time for
pre-qualifying after a fantastic effort by the mechanics. In the main
qualifying session Antonio made a couple of mistakes on his lap.
Mario Theissen: "Qualifying was a gamble today, heavily affected by the tyre choice. The weather was favourable to Renault and they took the pole. Our drivers had bad luck, just like a few others, especially in final qualifying. Now it's all about getting a good race from these two unfavourable starting positions."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Bad luck for me in today's qualifying.
The track was starting to dry out and we decided to use intermediate
tyres, like Trulli, Alonso and Coulthard who went out just before me.
However, already on my out lap it started to rain quite hard, which made
it very difficult to keep the car on the track and as a result I lost a
lot of time. There was no grip at all!
Antonio Pizzonia: "My qualifying was disappointing, for sure. The lack of running this morning didn't help, and I even crashed in the last few minutes. The team did a really good job in putting the car back together in time so that I was able to qualify in my race car. Obviously I'm disappointed, but I'm hoping to have a good race tomorrow. It is possible to overtake here, as it's such a long circuit, so we will see what happens."
David Richards: "As anticipated, the fickle Ardennes weather has created an interesting qualifying session. Both our drivers were on the track at a time when it was a fine line between the choice of wet or extreme wet tyres and, unfortunately, the safe choice did not pay off on this occasion. Nevertheless, assuming the prediction of a dry race tomorrow proves correct, we should be capable of a strong performance and another solid points finish for both cars."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "That was clearly not a good session for us but we have been fast up to this point so I am confident we can do a good job tomorrow."
Geoffrey Willis: "Despite the morning sessions being limited to just 15 minutes of wet running, we were able to get good laps on both cars and were confident with our car performance going into qualifying. However, the conditions in the afternoon were more variable and the window when Takuma and Jenson ran was too dry for the extreme wet tyres we chose to run. With slightly different timing we might have chosen the wet tyres instead but the advantage fell to the following runners. Despite our poor grid positions, we are confident that we have a good set-up for tomorrow's race."
Jenson Button: "It's disappointing to be 12th on the grid as it has been a very long time since we have had a poor qualifying session. We made the wrong tyre choice due to the standing water that was on the track and this cost us in our performance today. However, the car is strong and we are confident for the race, so with the mixed grid I think we can all look forward to an interesting Belgian Grand Prix tomorrow."
Takuma Sato: "I'm disappointed with today's result. The rain stopped during the session and the lap and because we had extreme wet tyres on, they overheated quite quickly due to the conditions, so I had very poor grip by the end of the lap. The grid is quite mixed-up for the race tomorrow. We have good straight-line speed, so we have an opportunity to achieve a solid two-car points finish, continue to challenge Renault and maintain our third position in the Championship."
James Robinson: "In race trim in the morning we ran solidly and the Bridgestone tyres worked well. This afternoon we had a good weather forecast that said it would rain later in the session so we were hopeful of getting the best of the track conditions within the first 30 minutes of qualifying. Unfortunately an early shower forced us to stay with the extreme wets and we could not maximise our position."
Nick Heidfeld: "I'm not satisfied. Relatively speaking, the car looked really strong this morning and we were not too far off the top ten and even then I knew that there was still room to improve further. Then in pre-qualifying and especially in qualifying, I lost grip and had a very loose rear end. But that happens: obviously, it's difficult for everyone to judge the conditions with so little track time in free practice. But still we have the race ahead of us and I'm looking forward to that."
Giorgio Pantano: "I'm a little bit surprised because I don't know what changed between pre-qualifying and qualifying! It's so strange to lose 4 seconds from the first to the second session. The car was different in qualifying, it was much more slippery. I think there is something wrong, whether it's the car or me I don't know but we need to understand what happened."
Gianmaria Bruni: "This was a good qualifying session for me without any mistakes. It was a pity that I wasn't able to drive for many laps this morning, as we weren't able to find the perfect chassis set-up. The car felt a bit different in qualifying from the way it did this morning, and was not so easy to drive. If everything had been perfect, I think I could have qualified perhaps two positions farther up the grid. I have to say, though, the guys did a great job today, and I want to thank them for all their effort."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "I think it has been a good day. We ran well in the pre-qualifying session and, despite the wet weather, I felt very comfortable with the car. It was a shame in the qualifying run, though, that I couldn't equal, or improve on, my previous lap time. Unfortunately, I made a couple of mistakes in sectors two and three that cost me quite a bit of time. The car is good, though, and we hope tomorrow will be wet, as it will improve our chances of a good result."