Formula 1 Europe Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday
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Team and Driver Quotes following Saturday Practice & Qualifying
Jean Todt: “We dedicate this pole to Umberto Agnelli, who would have been proud of Michael's achievement today. We are pleased to renew our acquaintance with pole after Michael's run of five was interrupted in Monaco. All things considered, Rubens also did well and is in with a chance of a good result tomorrow. There are so many parameters to take into consideration: the start, the strategy, tyre wear. In this area Bridgestone has provided us with tyres that are very consistent not only in terms of performance, but also reliability, without which you are nowhere and that also applies to Shell, who I thank for their work on the crucial area of our lubricants.”
Ross Brawn: "Michael had a fantastic qualifying session today with a really unbelievable lap! We were a little bit unsure about the performance of the tyres on the first laps, so this morning we worked a lot to get the best out of them in this area. Michael did an impeccable job. Rubens made a few mistakes, which given how close the times were, cost him a few places on the grid. We are happy with the handling of the cars and tyres which are performing very consistently. We are looking forward with optimism to tomorrow's race.”
“I had the perfect lap, but I am surprised at the gap to the others,
although I am not surprised to be on pole as I expected to be very competitive
here. It was nice not to be first on the road in pre-qualifying as that helped
in being able to run towards the end of the session. As for the race, I am
looking forward to it, as there is always some extra motivation from the fans
at a home race.
Rubens Barrichello: “Apart from Michael, who did a great time, we are all within a few tenths of one another, so it only took very little to be higher or lower on the grid. I think we have a car and tyre combination that will be very competitive in the race and so I am reasonably confident about tomorrow. It will be a tough race and we have everything in place to get a good result.”
David Richards: "One can't help but share in Taku's excitement and all his fans in Japan will be thrilled to see him become the first Japanese driver to line up on the front row of a Formula One grid. Let's hope we see a similar start from him as we saw in Monaco!!! We need to understand how Jenson lost out on his potential for a far better grid position but I'm confident that he'll soon put today behind him and set his sights on another podium."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "Good stuff! Both guys up towards the front will give us a chance to fight for the podium again tomorrow. Congratulations to Takuma for his first front row start."
Geoffrey Willis: "The car has been working well here all weekend so we were confident of qualifying well today. Takuma drove a faultless lap to gain his first-ever front row grid position. Jenson was disappointed with his second run after being fastest this morning but a small mistake in sector one lost him several tenths as his tyres took a while to clean up. Given the closeness of the grid this dropped him to 5th place. With the strategy we have in place we are confident for tomorrow's race."
"Qualifying on the front row of the grid is a fantastic result. I'm
so excited! Qualifying third in Spain was a great moment but I just wanted
to keep improving from there and this is the next step. I'm thrilled with
my lap because it felt very clean. The track has been changing a lot but
for me the conditions were similar to my pre-qualifying run so I knew that
I had a good lap in my grasp.
Jenson Button: "I'm very disappointed with my lap because we could have done much better today. I came into the weekend expecting to make the front row but lack of grip has been a big problem and that was the case in qualifying. The track conditions have been quite changeable so we'll have to wait and see what tomorrow holds, but we have a good car and I'll be doing what I can to make the most of the overtaking opportunities."
Pat Symonds: "Jarno qualified very well once more, on a track that is very different from Monaco. It looked like a clean lap, and his starting position should blend well with our strategy. Fernando also did a good lap, and will start from a strong grid position. I am sure that he will, as always, translate this to an even better finishing position."
Denis Chevrier: "Today's results demonstrate how similar many of the cars are in terms of performance and strategy, if we omit Michael (Schumacher) from the equation. The final position confirm the order we saw develop yesterday, with some very small gaps. We did a good job preparing for the race during practice, and this result is a nice continuation of our recent competitiveness. It is very encouraging for tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli: "It's hard to believe that I am here, in third position. I particularly want to thank my mechanics, who did a fantastic job preparing the car after an electrical problem in free practice. Honestly, I believe we have the best mechanics in the paddock here at Renault. It was a decent lap, and the car was handling well. I think we can be very strong in the race."
Fernando Alonso: "I did a good lap, without any problems: the car balance was fine, and we are consistent on the long race runs. I think I am in a good position to finish in the top five tomorrow. Overall, I'm happy with my performance."
Ron Dennis: "We have been going well so far here at the Nürburgring, so David's engine failure was disappointing as I believe we had the package to have two cars in the top six. Our race strategy should allow both Kimi and David to perform strongly. The team's performance is improving step by step, and we remain focused and committed to continue to enhance our competitiveness."
Norbert Haug: "A good performance by Kimi and the entire team with fourth place and a starting position on the second row. Sorry for David following his engine change he must start from the last row. Our performance is slowly moving forward, but the reliability has to be further improved."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Our best qualifying performance this season, so I'm satisfied. We were even hoping to get in the first three with a perfect lap, but whilst we were close it wasn't to be. Now one half of the job has been done, and we need to see what happens in the race, but so far it's looking good. The circuit seems to suit our car as we have showed improvement throughout the weekend, but there is still a race to complete."
David Coulthard: "On my way back to the garage after my first qualifying run, I suffered an engine failure. We took the decision to stick with my race car rather than using the T-car because we felt more comfortable using the race car, and the difference in actual qualifying position would be minimal. As a result we will move the engine from the T-car to the race car, which means I will start from the back of the grid. There is no doubt that our performance is improving. Obviously its disappointing as my first run was encouraging, and I think we could have qualified well for the race."
Sam Michael: "It obviously was a disappointing qualifying session. We have had no real mechanical problems with either car and were hoping for a better result. We now will work hard tonight to see what we can do on our strategy to get some points tomorrow."
Mario Theissen: "In today's qualifying Michael Schumacher has again proved he is in a class of his own and he is obviously the favourite for the race. Behind the first row, there are seven drivers in three tenths of a second. Among them, Juan Pablo and Ralf have unhappily achieved position eight and nine. We had hoped to be more at the front, but both the drivers were not completely happy with their car in the final qualifying. Now we have to try and make up for the lost ground."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I was one of the first cars out in the pre-qualifying session and that held us up a bit, but it looks like we are just not quick enough at the moment. I have been struggling a bit with the balance so far this weekend and it looked like in qualifying I had got it right, finally, but still, we lack of speed. Several teams seem to have improved their car quite a lot and we haven't improved enough. We'll see how the race goes, let's hope to get some good points out of here."
Ralf Schumacher: "Ninth place is not where I expected to be, really. It was quite difficult to get the balance right for qualifying and I decided to go for something different, but it didn't work out particularly well. We tried our best but it's clear that we are struggling at the moment, since our car hasn't developed enough. At present we lack performance but I am sure we will definitely come back soon. With a good strategy I am confident I'll be able to collect some points in tomorrow's race."
Mike Gascoyne: "Qualifying today was very close indeed and we are right on the tail of the group in front of us. Based on our performance during the weekend, I am sure we can have a competitive race tomorrow and look to score more points to add to the ones we picked up in Monaco. Both drivers are reasonably happy with the car and I think our grid positions of 10th and 11th, and the gap to those ahead of us perfectly demonstrate the progress that Toyota is making."
Olivier Panis: "It has been an encouraging weekend so far, and I think what we have achieved today is a true reflection of the strength of our car. Me and Cristiano both did very good laps and the result is very positive for the team, who have again been concentrated all weekend and shown a good performance. We are using everything we have and pushing each other all the way to get the best out of the car. From tenth on the grid, I will obviously be trying to score some points tomorrow."
Cristiano da Matta: "I am reasonably happy with today's results, although I feel that I could have found a few tenths more from the car. I missed a little bit through some corners, especially turns four and five, but generally I think my lap was not too bad. I was a bit worried about the tyre degradation in yesterday's sessions, but that appeared to be much better today as more rubber went down on the track. Michelin has done a good job for this race; the tyres are quick over one lap and also seem to be consistent during the longer runs. This is a positive aspect for tomorrow, although it could be a hard race for us."
Dr. Mark Gillan: "We have been working hard this morning
preparing our cars and the work seems to be paying off. I am satisfied with
Christian and Mark's position of twelfth and fourteen respectively and given
our strategy for tomorrow we should be in for an interesting race. The balance
of the R5 around here has been good and both of the cars are set-up well. We
were of course not happy when we heard about Mark's one second penalty for
setting a fastest sector time under a yellow flag but that's the rules and we
Mark Webber: "After having a good day yesterday I heard from
the FIA Stewards last night that I had been given a one second penalty on my
qualifying time from today as a result of not braking under a yellow flag. We
have to respect these rules as they exist for safety reasons but of course it
is frustrating for all of us. Today though we have had a productive day on
track as I spent this morning in the two practice sessions working on tyre
preparation and also on qualifying and race set-up. The R5 is feeling pretty
good around here and I completed twenty three laps this morning so I have had
a good amount of running time.
James Robinson: "We are pleased with P13 and P15, our best
qualifying so far in 2004 and it's good to be ahead of the Saubers, a Jaguar
and one of the McLarens due to their problems. We had trouble-free practice
and qualifying and both drivers responded well to the pressure this afternoon.
We continued to improve the car all weekend and we are looking forward to the
race. We have ordered rain but it may not come!."
Giorgio Pantano: "I'm disappointed that I didn't deliver my
best on that lap. I was not completely on the limit and although for the
first two sectors I was just a few hundredths of a second off Nick's time,
I messed up the last sector when I made a mistake on the last corner at
the chicane. When you know you could have been better it's very
frustrating and I think I would have been at least three tenths quicker if
I had got a perfect lap.
Willy Rampf: "It made good sense to us to conserve Giancarlo's car by not participating in the official qualifying session, as this will keep his tyres in premium condition for the race. Felipe's result was not what we expected, and both starting positions are disappointing."
Felipe Massa: "I made a mistake in Turn 7 which cost me at least a couple of positions. This morning it was difficult to find a good set-up but we improved the car for qualifying so I know that I will have a good car for the race."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "It was a tactical decision to conserve the tyres and not take part in the qualifying session, given that I have to move back 10 places on the grid because of my problem on Friday morning. The car is still improving from race to race, and though it won't be an easy race at least you can overtake here and I know we can be competitive."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "Overall, I think it has been a good weekend so far. I was not particularly happy with the first sector on my qualifying run, but the remainder of the lap was not bad, and in general, I think we have made some useful progress over the last two days. I believe we have a good race strategy, so we will see what we can do tomorrow."
Gianmaria Bruni: "It has been a bit of a confusing day in that we started with the spare car, which felt quite different from my normal chassis, and then switched back to the race car. I especially want to thank the guys, who worked like crazy to get my race car ready in the final 15 minutes before the qualifying run. It's going to be a tough race tomorrow, but I'm going to push as hard as I can, and hope to finish with a good result."