Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix
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Team and Driver Quotes following Saturday Practice & Qualifying
Jean Todt: “Having two Bridgestone-shod Ferraris in first and third places on the grid is certainly an encouraging sign for tomorrow's race. However, at the risk of repeating myself, without knowing what fuel loads and strategies our rivals have opted for, we cannot draw any definite conclusion as to the pecking order amongst the teams. In any case, today's performance, in very high temperatures, shows that the work we have done this winter in conjunction with Bridgestone is bearing fruit. The start, reliability, strategy, the fitness of the drivers: these will be the key elements in a very long and difficult race.”
Ross Brawn: “Michael did a perfect lap. Our engineers did a fine job in defining the set-up, to make the car very well balanced. Given how hard we worked after yesterday's practice in terms of analysing the data and deciding which way to go, I think this was a well deserved result. I did not expect to have such a big advantage over our competitors, keeping in mind that we don't know what fuel loads they are running. So it is difficult to predict what will happen in the race. Tyres will be crucial.”
Michael Schumacher: “I have to say it was a mind-blowing lap, really perfect and spot-on. We were not quite there on Friday, but the whole team worked very well to get the programme back on track. The main reason I picked up so much time between the two runs was that the track improved a lot with much more grip. I tried to be careful in the final sector where it is easy to make mistakes in the last two corners. Tomorrow, the car will not be affected much by the heat, but with the high temperatures the tyre grip goes down. Inside the cockpit, it will be very hard work for us tomorrow and even though we expect that here, it seems to get harder every year as the cars get quicker.”
Rubens Barrichello: “I am not worried about the time difference to Michael. Firstly, I made a small mistake in the last corner and then I made some different choices to my team-mate. So, although I was not entirely happy with my car in terms of qualifying, I have concentrated very hard on the race and am very happy with my set-up for tomorrow, when I hope everything will come my way. In this heat, it will be a very difficult race.”
Dr. Mark Gillan: "It's been a very good day all round for us here and to have
the car running as well as it is, is a reflection of our effort and that of our partners Cosworth Racing, Pi Research and Michelin.
Both Mark and Christian completed their practice sessions with good times and we went into qualifying confident that we had a good
mechanical and aerodynamic set-up on both cars as well as balance.
Christian Klien: "This morning was really productive
for me as I managed to complete a good number of laps and I was comfortable with the set- up and balance that we achieved in
preparation for qualifying. I did make a couple of small mistakes when I did my first qualifying lap but I was much happier with my
second lap and I was pleased overall with the day. I am now really focusing on the race and after finishing in Melbourne, I would
like to repeat this here tomorrow at the Sepang circuit.
Sam Michael: "It was a disappointing qualifying because our pace was strong in the other sessions, but it is qualifying that matters. We have a good race set up on both cars, and look forward to a strong race tomorrow. With the temperatures predicted for tomorrow, the race will also be challenging for everybody's reliability. It will be difficult to challenge the pace of Ferrari."
Mario Theissen: "Our drivers improved from first to second qualifying session as we expected. We will see tomorrow what everyone's qualifying time really means, after the first pit- stops. Our engines have passed with no problems the test of qualifying in such hot conditions. The laptime of Michael Schumacher proves that Ferrari is again favourite, even in the heat. The gap from his team-mate Barrichello could mean they are on a different strategy. The rest of the field is packed together, but the performance of Mark Webber is definitely to praise."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "The time I achieved in the second qualifying is a bit more representative of where we truly stand, even if I made a small mistake in the last sector. I felt I had more rhythm, anyway. However, we have shown so far this weekend that our potential has definitely improved from Australia but the question is how our competitors are going to behave tomorrow. Race wise I believe we are looking fine, we have done good long runs and the car seems to be very consistent."
Ralf Schumacher: "Certainly we were hoping to be more on the front here, even if we have definitely improved from the first qualifying session. We drove our first session in a more conservative way than other people and could then improve our time in the second. All in all my qualifying lap wasn't too bad, but I lost some time in the third sector, due to a small mistake. That aside I think we will have a good race, even if Ferrari is going to be strong again."
Ron Dennis: "Overall our speed is better than in Melbourne but more so in race conditions. It should be an interesting race with the key factor being the influence of temperature on both makes of tyres. On our cars the Michelin tyres seem to be working well and are quite consistent which should certainly further help the outcome of our race."
Norbert Haug: "A reasonable basis for the race for Kimi, and I have no doubt that David is in a position to improve tomorrow. The race will be very tough, and I hope it will be better than the last one -- both for the spectators and us."
Kimi Raikkonen: "My qualifying was reasonably OK. We have improved the car continuously during the weekend, which could be seen especially in the last sector. I'm also happy about the Michelin tyres, and expect us to be consistently quick in tomorrow's race. The race will be hot and I think tyre wear will be a crucial factor for the outcome."
David Coulthard: "Although my qualifying result is only a small improvement on my grid position in Melbourne, we seem to be much more competitive here, so it's definitely encouraging. In addition we appear to be better in race trim than some of the guys around us so I'm reasonably optimistic. Obviously during the first few laps, I will be in traffic but once the race starts to open out, we should be fast provided I get some clean air."
David Richards: "Jenson should feel pleased with sixth on the grid after what has been a slightly frustrating weekend for the team. Our recent testing has focused on longer runs and reliability, and I am confident that this will translate into a strong race performance tomorrow. Taku is going to face an uphill challenge from the back of the grid, but in a race where one can expect a high attrition rate, he could still finish in the points."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "Overall Jenson did a good job and was able to qualify well. Taku was competitive through the first and second sectors and it's a shame that he didn't manage to complete his lap. We think we've got a good set-up and tyre selection for the race tomorrow and will be fighting to score points."
Geoffrey Willis: "We have had a difficult day trying to find a good compromise set-up for qualifying and tomorrow's race, but we were reasonably happy with the cars by the start of the second qualifying run. We targeted a top-six grid slot so we are pleased with Jenson's qualifying position. Takuma unfortunately spun off into turn 10 and will be starting the race from the back of the grid, which is obviously disappointing but I'm sure he will fight hard to recover from that in the race. Tomorrow will be tough on the drivers and the cars, but we have worked hard on reliability and we believe that we will be able to score points from sixth place."
Jenson Button: "I'm a bit disappointed with 6th to be honest. I had two really good first sectors, especially the second sector - the high-speed part. Then I lost quite a bit of time in the final sector because I had too much oversteer, and two tenths overall on my best time this morning. We've struggled to find the right set-up here and we're not there yet, so it's going to be a case of wait-and-see for the race. I'm feeling reasonably positive though and we have a good chance of a points-finish tomorrow."
Takuma Sato: "I'm obviously very disappointed to finish qualifying like this. I hit a bump in the high-speed turn 11 and just couldn't catch it. I was pushing hard and could feel that it was a better lap. After such a difficult start to the weekend I felt we had made good progress this morning and it all started to come together in that qualifying lap. The car wasn't damaged thankfully but I will be starting the race from the back row of the grid which is very frustrating. I feel we have a strong race package and I will certainly be fighting hard to improve my situation tomorrow and get as close to a point as possible."
Pat Symonds: "This was certainly not the way we anticipated finishing qualifying. It does not appear that Jarno was able to reach the full potential of his car. Fernando's lap looked good for second position until he spun. However, motor racing is not about 'ifs'."
Chevrier: "Naturally, we are disappointed with the result from qualifying. The sessions this morning demonstrated that the
fight would be close at the front of the field, so our objective was to finish in the top eight: in that light, we rather seem to
have drawn the short end of the stick.
Jarno Trulli: "I am disappointed with my result. We had expected to do better, but I made a number of mistakes on my lap and that cost me several tenths. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic for the race: the car will be quick on the long runs, and I think we can get back tomorrow, what we lost today."
Fernando Alonso: "I made a mistake under braking for Turn 14, lost the back end and the car spun. Of course it's frustrating, particularly for the team who have worked hard this weekend, but I'm still confident. We know the car is quick and even starting last, I think we can fight for points. You can be sure it will be an aggressive, attacking race."
Mike Gascoyne: "Unfortunately, a disappointing qualifying for Olivier today. We made some balance changes to his car after the first qualifying run, but he then suffered from a lot of oversteer, which meant that he couldn't get the most out of the car on his second lap. Well done to Cristiano! He has had a difficult two days, however he drove an excellent lap to qualify in the top ten. Overall, it is pleasing to have closed the gap to the cars in front of us by quite a lot and we now have to look to get both TF104s to the chequered flag in tomorrow's race and hope to get some points."
Cristiano da Matta: "I had a lot of understeer on my first run and after all the spins I have had this weekend, I was not 100% confident with the car. We made some changes in the short break and the car was much improved for the second lap and I was able to push more. I am very happy to have scored a top ten grid result - the progress we have made since Melbourne is quite encouraging, and with a bit of luck, maybe we can pick up a point or two in the race tomorrow."
Olivier Panis: "I am very disappointed with my lap time this afternoon. In the morning, the car balance and handling was good, so I am not really sure why the behaviour of the car changed so dramatically for the qualifying session. Now, we will look into the cause of the problem by cross-checking the data with the other car. I am pleased for Cristiano and congratulate him on his lap. We have worked hard this weekend, so I am still hopeful for the race."
Peter Sauber: "Eleventh and twelfth positions are fine with us and are a result of a solid performance by both drivers. Of course it is annoying that we couldn't leave da Matta behind, but I'm hoping that we can make this up in the race."
Felipe Massa: "My car's balance was very good in the first two sectors, but I was struggling quite a bit in the third one. It was like that this morning, and a bit worse this afternoon. The back end of the car lacked grip and stability. But 11th isn't too bad a place to start, and I know that we have a very good set-up for the race, so I think we can do a good job tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "My car was better today and I was quite happy with the balance. Unfortunately I lost the back end a couple of times in the last two corners and lost around three-tenths of a second. Without that we could have been in the top 10, so that's disappointing. On the other hand, our race pace has been good, so I'm quite confident for the race."
James Robinson: "Today was a bit
disappointing with Giorgio's gearbox problem, which we tried to fix during the first session so he would have still used his race
car in the second session. However when we couldn't get it resolved in time we swapped him to the T car, which was set up for Nick
and it was the first time Giorgio had driven it. Nick did a good solid run and we'll see how we go and where other people are in the
race tomorrow in terms of actual speed and race pace. It will be hot and heavy going tomorrow and we are confident our Bridgestone
tyres will deliver results."
Gianmaria Bruni: "It was good, as we matched our best lap time this morning in qualifying. Personally, I was very pleased to finish my first Formula One qualifying session after the problem we had in Melbourne, and I will admit I was just a little bit nervous before qualifying started. On my second qualifying run, I had good times in the first two sectors, but then made a mistake in the last sector and missed an apex, which probably cost me two-tenths of a second. Everyone on the team did a really good job today, and although I'm sure it will be a tough race, we will try our best."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "I'm not too happy with this afternoon's result, as we did a faster lap this morning. I made a mistake in the third sector on what should have been my fastest lap and lost quite a bit of time as a result. I really thought we could have done better. It's good that we're starting in front of three other drivers tomorrow, though, and my hope now is for a reliable car and a positive race result."