Singapore: Saturday Quotes
Felipe Massa (1st, 1:44.801): "I did a fantastic lap in a fantastic car and it was possibly my best qualifying of the season. Given my margin over the others, with hindsight it's easy to say maybe I could have run with slightly more fuel, but we firmly believe we have a very competitive strategy. At every corner, at every braking point I tried to get the most out of the car and I think I managed it. The harder tires have seemed better since yesterday and that's why we went in that direction. The track is very difficult and requires total concentration lap after lap because there is no room for error: it's much harder here than in Monaco. I'm pleased to be the first driver to be on pole for this Grand Prix, taking place in such a special and unusual atmosphere: I hope I can do even better tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:45.617): "All things considered, this is a good result. Of course, you always hope to be in front of everyone but third place is not so bad. In Q1 and Q2, the car worked very well on the soft tires but in Q3, on the harder ones, it was not so good anymore. Today, it was difficult to choose the best type of tire for the decisive session because the performance difference over the first lap was not so great. I probably suffered a bit because of the time lost this morning with a technical problem which ended my free practice session ahead of time. The track is very demanding with many places where you really feel the bumps and you have to maintain concentration all the time. Tomorrow I will do my best for myself and for the team."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "A great result this evening, but it is only the first step towards achieving our objective for this weekend. Felipe produced a fantastic lap and Kimi also did a very good job. The F2008 confirmed that it is competitive in qualifying, with half this season's poles going to our drivers. Now we must not get over excited but keep our feet firmly on the ground. Tomorrow should see a long race, riddled with difficulties. In order to win, everything will need to be executed perfectly, right down to the smallest detail."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "It was an exciting qualifying session, set against a really unique backdrop. On a track with so many twists and turns, Felipe was the only one to put together the perfect lap in Q3 and his gap to the others is the proof of that. Kimi did a good job, given his set-up problems yesterday and technical issues this morning which cost him a lot of valuable track time. Tomorrow, we must not lose concentration for a moment because it's going to be a very long race full of potential pitfalls."
Robert Kubica (4th, 1:45.779): "My qualifying was quite ok. I'm happy with P4 but not with my final lap. I was struggling a little bit with the overall grip. In the last stint of Q3 I had hardly any grip in the first sector. I lost quite a lot of time there. Felipe Massa was in front of me on his out lap, perhaps the tires didn't reach the right temperature. However, the race will be a completely different story. It will be a very tough one. The track is very bumpy and very demanding. The tire degradation will be a crucial factor."
Nick Heidfeld (6th, 1:45.964): "I'm quite happy as I had a good lap. Right from the first practice sessions on Friday we have made several changes and most of them were right. The car has improved and I have familiarized myself with this circuit and also improved. Tomorrow a good start will be crucial. Overtaking is extremely difficult here because the track is so narrow and off line dirty and even bumpier. This could become the most demanding Grand Prix of the year."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "That was a very good performance by both of our drivers under difficult conditions. We had to be prepared all the time for yellow flags out on the track. Apart from that it wasn't obvious which tire would be quicker. Because of that in Q1 and Q2 we went out twice and used both types of tires. In the end Robert made it to P4 with the harder compound and Nick qualified sixth with the softer ones. We have very good grid positions to start the race from."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "It was a very exciting qualifying, and with fourth and sixth we are well prepared for the race. Under these tricky conditions both drivers did a very good job to get a perfect lap. Even if overtaking will be quite difficult, we are expecting an exciting race tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (15th, No Time): "It's a really big disappointment because we had a real chance to do something special today, perhaps not pole position but to at least qualify in the top four. Our weekend was going really well and we had big hopes for this evening. I know that starting in the middle of the pack will make for a difficult race and I will need a miracle with the strategy to be able to make progress on this street circuit where it looks difficult to overtake."
Nelson Piquet (16th, 1:46.037): "I'm disappointed with my session. The car was working well and I was happy with the balance at the end of the final free practice session earlier this evening, but in qualifying we could not repeat that. The race tomorrow will be tricky, but once again I will do all I can to fight back through the field."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "All the way through practice Fernando has shown a potential on this wonderful new circuit better than we have had all year. That makes it doubly frustrating to have this problem in qualifying which prevented Fernando and the team from showing what we could have done. But as a team we never give up, and as it is apparently difficult to overtake here, we will have to be creative!"
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "At the moment we can only look at the data on our systems and so we have to wait to recover Fernando's car to understand exactly what happened. It is of course an enormous disappointment because we were in a position to aim for a great result this evening. We now have to decide our strategy for tomorrow, but we can be sure that our drivers will do everything to progress in the race."
Nico Rosberg (9th, 1:46.611): "I am generally quite happy as it was quite a good qualifying for me, even though after progressing to Q2, I did hope for a little more than ninth place. Nevertheless, it's good for the team to have both cars in the top ten and it will help us get into a position to score points. Even though we might not see too much overtaking, whatever happens tomorrow, I think it's going to be an exciting race - the start through turn one, the battle during the pit-stops and the visual spectacle of all the cars racing through the night is going to be stunning."
Kazuki Nakajima (10th, 1:47.547): "It was a great qualifying session for me today. Over the course of the season, I have missed out on Q3 many times by a very small margin, so it was great to make it into the top ten. After the first two sessions, qualifying with extra fuel for the first time was difficult, let alone the usual issues with traffic and just having one chance to get it right. The team gave me a very good car and we have been very competitive here in all the sessions, so we just need to make a good start tomorrow and maintain our competitiveness to the end."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was good to get both cars through to Q3 and congratulations to Kazuki on his first top ten qualifying result. We expected to be a bit stronger in the final session, but we will see how tomorrow's race materializes. We have had no problems on the cars today."
Mark Webber (13th, 1:45.212): "Obviously that was disappointing. It was difficult to find a rhythm today and neither of my flying laps in Q2 worked out. I was up on the last lap, but a bit of traffic cost me vital time in the last sector. It was a tricky session for us today."
David Coulthard (14th, 1:45.298): "I had to make it up a little bit in qualifying today, as I missed out on track time this morning. On a track like this you really need miles to get your hand in. On my flying lap I was over the top on some corners, but I think I did pretty well on others. It's not good to start the race tomorrow in the middle of the pack. The main factors for this track are getting the right tire and getting your eye in, so you turn at the right point."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "The weekend so far has been quite challenging and it's obviously disappointing to line up 13th and 14th. Traffic in the final sector of Mark's last lap cost him a place in the top ten, but I'm sure it's going to be an incident filled race tomorrow. I think this race is a welcome new addition on the Formula One calendar. The organizers have done a superb job in putting together a first class facility and it's a great spectacle to see Formula One at night time."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "I don't know what to say. It was a bad result today - for Red Bull and for Renault. It's only the second time this year that we haven't had a Renault in Q3. We need to look at the results today and understand why we weren't quick enough."
Timo Glock (8th, 1:46.328): "I did everything I could today and I am happy with eighth place. My lap in Q2 was very good and it was a pleasant surprise to be so competitive because we have had a few difficulties earlier in the weekend. We have improved the stability of the car quite a bit because it was not ideally suited to the bumpy surface, so it was very satisfying to qualifying in the top 10. It is a real challenge to get a perfect lap in qualifying here because the grip levels change from corner to corner and the weather conditions are extreme - it is very hot in the cockpit. I expect overtaking will be very difficult here so we are in a good position for the race. I am pleased with this result."
Jarno Trulli (11th, 1:45.038): "That was a difficult and frustrating qualifying session for me. I didn't get the grip or the feel from the car that I wanted and that is why I didn't make it to Q3. We have been struggling a bit all weekend on this track and we are not helped by the bumps, but it is still disappointing not to qualify in the top 10. I did my best but the lap time just wasn't there. I will push as hard as possible tomorrow and we will see what we can do."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "The circumstances were quite a challenge in qualifying. In terms of tires the situation was a little unexpected because there was no clearly preferred compound for qualifying and we used both before finishing with the prime. For the race, that decision is clearer. It was all about getting a lap at the right time and it was not that obvious, especially in the first session when there were a lot of cars on the track. At one stage we were close to missing out in Q1 but in the end it worked out reasonably well and we got both cars through. Timo did a very good job to reach Q3 relatively easily and eighth is a promising position. Jarno has had a difficult weekend and we were hoping he could find something extra from the car in qualifying. He did that but he was just out of the top 10. Starting from 11th could be very interesting in the race because we are free to choose his fuel load and it could be an eventful race."
Sebastian Vettel (7th, 1:46.244): "It was a very good qualifying for us. In Q2, we were in a comfortable position and only needed to do one run and then in Q3 I think we achieved the maximum we could do today. After experiencing some difficulties yesterday, I did not expect P7, but we did a very good job overnight and we seem to have found the right way forward. I am sure it will be a long and difficult race tomorrow and very hot. We are starting from a points position so we will be trying to bring some home."
Sebastien Bourdais (17th, 1:46.389): "I don't know what happened in this session. Every time I braked, the car went sideways. It was pulling to the left and alternately locking one of the rear wheels. The car behaved completely differently to FP3 but we have not changed anything. My first run was messy and my second run was just weird and there was no way I felt I could attack as I had no stability or grip, with the car running asymmetrically. I also came up behind Sutil in the chicane. Just a bad qualifying. On top of all this has come the very sad news that Paul Newman has died. He was a great man and he will be dearly missed, but he has no doubt gone to a better place."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: <"Before the session I thought seventh and tenth was possible and I still believe Bourdais could have done it. As yet, we have seen nothing in the data to indicate an anomaly, so now we will check everything very carefully to understand the situation better. I am happy with Vettel's performance, although I didn't expect to have Heidfeld in front of us, so maybe he is going shorter on fuel. In Q2, we decided not to send Vettel out for a second run, not so as to save a set of tires for the race, but to have the possibility of using an additional set in Q3. In the end, his first run was good, but it was still a wise precaution."/p>
Jenson Button (12th, 1:45.133): "I'm pretty happy with our qualifying performance today and it is certainly a big improvement on the last few races. My final lap was compromised with too much understeer and very low grip in the first sector, but it was reasonable and it's nice to have the pace to compete in Q2 again. We got to grips with the circuit pretty quickly at the start of the weekend, which has provided a good foundation for qualifying today and our race preparation for tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello (18th, 1:46.583): "Unfortunately qualifying did not work out for us today with traffic costing me an improved grid position. On my second run I was stuck behind Heidfeld, which compromised my lap, and then on the last run Alonso spun ahead of me and there was a yellow flag which meant I was unable to improve in the last sector. It's a shame because I would have improved my qualifying performance."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "Singapore is a maximum downforce circuit, on which the RA108 is certainly more competitive. Getting the set-up right has been a challenge but we made some improvements overnight and we have seen the benefit of that today with Jenson, who had a strong qualifying session and was certainly in contention for the top ten today. The weekend has been more frustrating for Rubens, who was unlucky today when traffic compromised both his runs in Q1 because he certainly had the pace to progress to Q2. Tomorrow's race is going to be very interesting indeed. This is much more of a street circuit, which will pose some real challenges in race conditions. The unusually bumpy nature of the track, coupled with the potential for overheating brakes could easily cause problems and we could expect incidents which might force a safety car situation. The race is also going to be a big challenge for the drivers as 61 laps in these conditions will be hard on their concentration. We must stay focused and be ready to make the most of any opportunity. Above all, both our team and our drivers are very excited about tomorrow's very first night race here in Singapore."
Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:47.940): "I think this is probably one of our worst qualifying performances so far this year. We don't really know where the problem is, but it just seemed the grip was not there and the balance wasn't right. It might be an issue with the tires as we just can't bring them to a real peak. We just have to try our best and find the problems. The race tomorrow will be tough but I am happy with the pace of our long runs so I think we are stronger under race conditions."
Giancarlo Fisichella (20th, No Time): "Unfortunately today wasn't my day! I had an accident over the curbs in turn 10 in practice - the curbs in that corner are very dangerous as I launched over them and went into the barriers. The mechanics did a fantastic, fantastic job to get the car repaired and out for qualifying in the last five minutes. Unfortunately then I had a puncture and then another crash as the steering wasn't right because of the puncture. I'm really disappointed, not for myself as I think it would have been a tough qualifying anyway, but for the team as they worked so hard. We will look to have a better day tomorrow."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Both drivers have had their problems, but the team did a tremendous job to get Giancarlo's car out in time for qualifying, something I think we can all be very proud of. As a small team, such knock-backs can be tough, but everyone dealt with it admirably. Hopefully we've had all our bad luck this weekend and can look to picking up some positions tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A very difficult day for us. Adrian struggled all day with the balance of his car. Giancarlo looked reasonably competitive in the morning, but unfortunately he just took off over the curbs at the chicane and went into the barriers, which caused a lot of damage to the car. The team did an absolutely excellent job to get the cars back out and even though we are at the back of the grid, we should hold our head up high for the effort that has gone in today. It will be a long, hot race tomorrow and if we can get two cars to the finish we can still get something out of the weekend."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:45.465): "After I ran wide in the second part of qualifying I decided to play it safe on the one remaining run and fortunately I moved up to Q3 and managed a place on the front row. At the last sector I was really fast, but I still have to improve in the first two sectors; particularly at turn five I lost a bit of time. We had a good set-up; however, the tire decision was not easy today as I felt no big difference between the prime and the option tire."
Heikki Kovalainen (5th, 1:45.873): "The balance of my car was excellent especially in Q1 and Q2. Obviously the option tire didn't work as well as the prime today. In Q3 on my last run I touched the wall slightly three corners from the finish which cost me some time. It's so close and competitive nowadays that even a minor mistake can cost me a few places on the grid, despite having a well balanced and quick car. The aim now is to score as many points as possible for the team. With our speed and fine handling we should be in a good position in the race."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Well, that was a pretty stressful qualifying hour! Lewis was hampered by a yellow flag on one of his runs and by traffic on another, which made things a little too close for comfort in the second session, but then did a very good job in the final session. Heikki did a very good job too, but he also had a problem; in his case it came in his first run in the final session. From now on, though, it's all about race strategy. Fuel weight is a very significant factor in terms of lap time on this circuit, so let's just say that we're looking forward to a close and competitive race tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Lewis had problems with his brakes in the second part of qualifying, then was called in for a weight check and, when he was finally back on track, he hit traffic in the last sector - but fortunately he moved up to Q3 - possibly some good luck was on our side. Afterwards Lewis qualified second which is okay. Our basis with Lewis in second and Heikki in fifth positions on the grid respectively is not quite ideal, but the race is tomorrow. Today we didn't get it 100 per cent right, but tomorrow we want to do a better job, and I think our strategy will help us to do so."