Brazilian GP: Saturday Quotes
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:12.368): "It's fantastic to have taken a third consecutive pole on this track and it's an incredible emotion to see everyone celebrating in the grandstands. I got a great lap on my first run in Q3 and I could have even not bothered to finish the second one, but you never know what might happen: I was the first to take the checkered flag and I would have looked stupid if someone had improved on my time. Anyway, I know I can count on a good strategy for tomorrow. The car is working very well and now I'm in the best possible position for the start. I will try and win: that is my aim. I'm not thinking about the rest, because it doesn't just depend on me or even on the team. I feel calm: there is so much expectation around me, but all this attention gives me a very positive energy which I will try and exploit tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:12.825): "It wasn't a perfect qualifying but I am satisfied with my grid position, which puts me in a good position for the race. Starting from third is better than being second on this track. I am very confident for the race: we have a great car and the understeer that I suffered with today in Q3 should not be a problem tomorrow. We are well aware of what we have to do so that the team can reach its goals. We will try and get away in the lead and then run our race, as we did in 2007 and then we'll see where we are. Of course, we will need a bit of luck. The tires are on the limit here in Interlagos and it will be important to manage them well: from this aspect we are in good shape."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "This is definitely a great result, which puts us in a good position for tomorrow's race. However, we are well aware it's the race that counts and so there is still a long way to go. I am very happy for Felipe, who put in very strong qualifying performance. This result, along with the incredible enthusiasm of the Brazilian crowd will give him even more motivation for tomorrow, if indeed any more is needed. It will be a tough race with a further unknown hanging on the weather. Our aim is very simple: get both our cars ahead of the rest and then do the maths in both championships. It will be very tough, but we will give it our best shot."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A great qualifying with a fantastic performance from Felipe. We have taken a step in the right direction but the most important part of the job comes tomorrow and we know how this track can produce a difficult and incident packed race. On top of that, there's the threat of a sudden worsening of the weather, which would introduce another variable in terms of managing such a crucial race. Today, the F2008 showed itself to be very competitive, even in decidedly higher temperatures compared to yesterday's free practice."
Nick Heidfeld (8th, 1:13.297): "Qualifying was okay for me. In Q3 I thought in the end I could have improved more than the three-tenths of a second I managed from the harder to the softer compound, but I have to say it was a good lap and I just couldn't do any better. I really hope for a good race tomorrow."
Robert Kubica (13th, 1:12.300): "This is obviously not the best position for tomorrow's race. This is the second weekend in a row that I have been struggling with the overall grip of the car. Starting from so far behind will make the race very difficult for me."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Traditionally on this track the time differences in qualifying are very close. Sometimes five or six cars are within one tenth of a second. A driver who is not able to fully exploit the potential there and then will find himself on the back of the grid. We are not happy with our result and, especially for Robert, the situation is not easy for the race. He has been suffering from lack of grip throughout the whole weekend, and we did not completely solve the problem in qualifying. Nick did better and set the eighth quickest time. Only tomorrow when we get to the first set of pit stops shall we see what we can do from here."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We cannot be happy with our qualifying. Robert did not make it beyond Q2. Ten cars were within three-tenths of a second, so with only the slightest mistake one is out. Nick did better. Our goal is now to make up a few positions."
Fernando Alonso (6th, 1:12.967): "We thought that it would be very close and competitive this afternoon and we were not mistaken. We knew that it would be difficult to try and match the Ferraris and McLarens and so I think we have done our maximum this afternoon by qualifying in sixth place. I now hope that the strategy and the tires work as expected so that we can have a strong race tomorrow."
Nelson Piquet (11th, 1:12.137): "It's clear that I would have liked to reach Q3 today. The car was working well, I was comfortable and I pushed hard, but that wasn't enough. The times are very close, just as we expect, but I must now concentrate on the race tomorrow where I will do everything to try and move forward and score some points."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "As usual the very short lap time here produced a close grid. Nelson was very unlucky not to make Q3 as he was just a fraction slower than Fernando in Q2. But Fernando did a magnificent job as always and secured a good grid position with a sensible fuel load. We are now looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "After free practice this morning, we had realistic hopes of reaching Q3 with both cars. Nelson just missed out on a place by a few hundredths, which is frustrating for his home Grand Prix, but he will have the freedom to adapt to the conditions we get tomorrow. As this will be a 71-lap race, the strategy and starting fuel loads meant that the gaps in Q3 were especially close today. Now we have to wait for tomorrow, but we are hopeful of a positive race."
Kazuki Nakajima (16th, 1:12.800): "It was a difficult qualifying session for the team. The balance of the car was there, but the track conditions were quite different to this morning as the temperature was quite a lot higher and that didn't help us. I was comfortable with my performance though based on the pace of the car and I didn't make any mistakes. We just need to find some more speed."
Nico Rosberg (18th, 1:13.002): "On the option tire, my car was really tough to drive. I just generally lacked grip on the rear. This was possibly because I couldn't warm the tires up properly due to traffic on my out lap. It could also have been caused by a compromise we made to the set-up before the session in order to help with our race performance."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "That was a disappointing final qualifying session for 2008. We'll be looking hard at our race strategy now to see what we can get out of tomorrow. There were no mechanical issues today and the drivers extracted what they could out of the car."
Mark Webber (12th, 1:12.289): "That was a disappointing day for us. We had a pretty good run yesterday, but we always knew it was going to be tight round here in terms of times and unfortunately we didn't have enough pace to get through to Q3. I did the best I could, but it's simple - if you're not fast enough you don't go through."
David Coulthard (14th, 1:12.717): "I'm not really happy with that as my last F1 qualifying session. We went reasonably well here last year and got into the top ten, so we came here thinking that might be possible again. But, in the end, we didn't manage to find enough grip in the middle sector. We are reasonably competitive in the first and last sectors, but in the middle we're struggling, as the rear has been sliding, which loses us lap time, The tires suffer a lot with graining here on the longer runs, we were hoping to keep it together for one lap and then do what we could in the race. Let's see what we can do from there tomorrow."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "After being competitive in yesterday's practice and this morning, to qualify 12th and 14th is obviously disappointing. As the temperature has risen we seem to have been adversely affected. But, tomorrow is going to be an interesting race potentially with unpredictable weather and there's a lot up for grabs, so the weekend's not over yet."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We have just lived a very special moment, David's last qualifying session in a Formula One car. David is a real Formula One legend. He started his career with Renault and is ending his career with Renault and it's been a pleasure and an honor to work with him for those years, so thank you to him. Having said that, F1 is a cruel world and even though it's DC's last race, other teams didn't give us a gift today. We're 12th and 14th, so it will be a tough race tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (2nd, 1:12.737): "Before coming here I knew this was one of those difficult, technical tracks where I could be strong and my car could be very competitive. So I have been preparing and waiting for this grand prix and now here I am. We have been competitive all weekend and I played my cards during qualifying, saving my tires and getting ready for Q3. In the end I put in a really good lap. It's ironic because for the first time in my career I thought I might not make it on Friday because I was feeling really ill with flu. So after this result I have to thank the whole team for the job - the mechanics, the engineers and also to the doctor. I am really happy for everyone and this shows the progress we have made this season. Now we hope to finish on a high."
Timo Glock (10th, 1:14.230): "We worked hard today to improve the set-up after the problems we had yesterday. In the end we found a decent balance this afternoon. During Q2 I found a good rhythm and the car felt quick. I made it under 1m 12s on my penultimate run but at the end of the session we went out again on a set of options. In hindsight we could have saved those tires for Q3, which might have helped. The top ten is not bad but we could have achieved slightly more."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Clearly we are delighted by the outcome of qualifying. For Jarno things went exactly as expected. We had several indications throughout the weekend that he was very comfortable and quick here. Then he did a very strong performance so congratulations to him. He was caught out by a gust of wind in the second outing in Q2 but the first outing was good enough. For Timo things went even better than expected. He was struggling more with the balance of the car yesterday but today he was able to put everything together when it mattered. The two cars are obviously on different strategies, which considering the unstable weather predicted for tomorrow should put the team in a strong position. The tire situation is challenging as this circuit is severe for tires but we feel that we will be able to handle both compounds well. So now we are looking forward very much to an exciting race to finish the season."
Sebastian Vettel (7th, 1:13.082): "Good to get both cars in Q3 for the final time this year. It was a fun session. I had a very strong lap in Q2. Then Q3 started very well and I got a good first run, but I'm not too sure where I lost the time on my second run, because I lost a bit of feeling for the tires."
Sebastien Bourdais (9th, 1:14.105): "Naturally, you want to end the season on a high note and this result is super, to be in Q3 again for the sixth time this season. Things have been getting better over the past few races and this performance today confirms that. My lap was probably the best Q3 lap I've done this year, so I am very happy. My first run in Q1 was a disaster and on the second one I caught a curb, so I was really worried it was all over. Then in Q2 I just managed to do a good enough lap to make it into the top ten. Tomorrow, there's a strong chance of rain and I think our strategy is flexible enough to deal with that."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "Two cars in Q3 again which is excellent. Both drivers did a good job and the car, while not perfect is in reasonable shape. Obviously, we are on two very different strategies to cover all the options for tomorrow, because of the uncertainty concerning the weather. Therefore it's equally obvious that the car on the fastest strategy is ahead of the other one. Definitely a very good job from the whole team."
Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:13.139): "I'm pleased that we were able to make it into the second qualifying session here in Interlagos today. We had a perfect lap on my second run in Q1 with the option tires working really well. Unfortunately we couldn't get the same grip level in Q2 and were really struggling with understeer. Despite tweaking the pressures to try and improve, we weren't able to make any further progress. Without the understeer, I could have hoped for 14th or maybe even 13th but we were right on the limit of the car's performance."
Jenson Button (17th, 1:12.810): "The car was a definite improvement from practice this morning as I had much more front grip. Unfortunately I made a mistake on my second lap in turn dour, which cost me some time. We made some adjustments to the pressures to help the front end grip before my final run and we were able to go quicker but not by enough. In any case, my car stopped out on track on my in-lap."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "Obviously we are very satisfied with Rubens getting through to Q2 for the second time in as many race weekends. Realistically he extracted the maximum from the car with the performance we have today and so this was, in his own words, a fantastic lap. For Jenson, the session was very tight and he didn't quite have the balance to make it through. After progressing through to Q2, with an evolving track, we were just unable to get the balance back with the single set of options he had remaining. The weather may well play a pivotal role in tomorrow's race. Forecasts vary but rain seems extremely likely. From our grid positions, rain, and the chaos it brings, is not unwelcome for us as the conditions hand more responsibility to the driver and both of ours are extremely good in the wet."
Giancarlo Fisichella (19th, 1:13.426): "The balance felt pretty similar to this morning, but I had front locking and some oversteer through the second sector, which affected the lap time. My second run was a little better, but we struggled in particular through turns eight and ten. Perhaps I could have improved by a couple of tenths, but it would not have made a great difference, maybe one position. We'll look to the strategy to improve tomorrow and try to be flexible to be ready for whatever comes."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:13.508): "I did three runs and even though each lap was quicker, I'm a little disappointed as my sector times were quite good and I thought we could have done a 13.2 lap time, a couple of tenths quicker. It would not have made a difference to our position, but at least we could have been closer to the other cars in time. It's not been the best qualifying for us."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A slightly disappointing qualifying as both drivers missed their ideal lap times by a couple of tenths. I don't think it would have changed our position, however I think on race pace we can be very competitive with the Hondas and Williams and we have to look to try and beat them in tomorrow's race. The weather may also change and as Giancarlo proved here in 2003, it could really mix things up."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:12.830): "Congratulations to Felipe for achieving pole position in front of his home crowd - he did a great job today. But, tomorrow, I will be focusing on my own race: it will be a tough afternoon but I'm comfortable with the fuel strategy we chose; the guys in front are probably on a different strategy. But we're in a good position to finish in the same place as we are today - and that's got to be our aim. We don't need to do anything spectacular."
Heikki Kovalainen (5th, 1:12.917): "I think we had a straightforward qualifying. My car felt good from the beginning of Q1 and the good balance and performance have been demonstrated by my overall fastest time in Q2. For sure, we'd rather be on the front row - however we'll have to see which strategy the competition in front of us will have in the race. We feel confident about our strategy and should have a solid baseline for a good race tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "We're comfortable with the outcome of today's qualifying session. There may be rain tomorrow - and, if there is, we may well see the deployment of the Safety Car. That being the case, it's possible that aggressive race strategies may be affected by those unpredictable variables. We've therefore opted for a race strategy that ought to allow us to protect against such interventions. Now, our focus is to avoid any trouble at the start, after which both our drivers should be in a position to put in strong, competitive performances."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "With Lewis on the second row and Heikki on the third we have a good basis for tomorrow's race. We will probably see different strategies once the race unfolds and I am confident about ours. Our speed is good as we showed in Q1 and Q2 when Heikki was fastest of the day and, if our reliability and performance is there, we will get the job done."
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