German Grand Prix - Qualifying Quotes
19 July 2008
"What a lap! My first run during Q3 wasn't bad, but my final lap was very smooth and I expected to set an even better time. The wind made today's conditions quite tricky and sometimes it was difficult to stay on the racing line, particularly in the stadium section – where the wind seemed to change a couple of times. The team did a really good job to adjust to these conditions and to prepare the car perfectly. We've been fast and consistent all weekend, we have good pace, and I'm confident for tomorrow."
"I am pleased with this result. Of course you'd always prefer to be on pole position, but all weekend long we have been trading fastest times during the sessions and, in the end, our main rivals managed to find a little extra, even if the fuel load is an unknown quantity. It will be a very difficult race: our aim is still to win, but it will be important anyway to pick up many points. We must try to get a good start and make the most of what we have."
"In the final session my car felt the best it has all weekend. But on my first run I lost the rear-end entering the stadium section and ran wide. And on my final run I did a little bit of rallycrossing at the last corner. Taking that into account, it was a good lap."
"It was a very good performance so I am really happy. The car handled very well and we made many small changes through the session to get closer and closer to the perfect balance. At the very end of Q3 I put in a very strong lap to give me fourth position, which was very satisfying. I am particularly happy for the team because they are working hard at the track and at the factory so it is a pleasure for me to show such a good performance. We have a good chance tomorrow now, even if it will be difficult to battle with Ferrari and McLaren. We will do our best and we know we are competitive so I am confident we can have a good result again. Clearly the goal is to score plenty of points and fight for the best possible finish."
"Our performance today is a nice surprise because we still had some doubts this morning and the first two parts of qualifying were not easy, and the field was very closely matched, as Nelson found out. The track conditions were slightly different to this morning and there was a bit more wind. We must now aim to maintain this pace in the race, which has been our weak point so far, and, if we can do that, we can hope to have a great result in the race tomorrow."
"All weekend long, we have been struggling a bit to find a good set-up for the car. At the end of yesterday, it seemed we were on the right road and this morning we tried to improve still further down this path, but it was not the right one. Then, in qualifying, we went reasonably well with low fuel, but in the final session, the car was not as good. Clearly sixth place is not satisfying and tomorrow we won't be in for an easy time, but it's definitely not the end of the world. It will be a long race tomorrow and that's when the points are allocated. For our part, we will do all we can to get a good finish position."
"The qualifying had some ups and downs. In Q1 one of the Force India cars blocked me on my quick lap. As a result, I only finished the session on position 14 and nearly did not make it to Q2. I was satisfied with Q2 but due to the additional fuel load in Q3 I faced some problems with the balance of the car. Let's hope that good luck returns for tomorrow's race."
"We've got a bit of work to do tomorrow I think. This has been one of the harder circuits for us, in terms of getting the car balance set up correctly. It normally comes together a little easier than it has done this weekend. But, we will defend our position tomorrow, although Q2 showed how tight it now is between the cars."
"I had a very good qualifying and the whole weekend so far has been good too, although it's been difficult to find the right balance mainly because of the tricky wind conditions. Q2 was quite tight and I was pleased to make it through to Q3 with my final lap. The fact I know this track so well is helping me a bit, because the characteristics of this circuit are not the most suited to our package. It was nice to see the fans cheering on my out lap and it was only later I realised I was the only German through to Q3. We have a great grid position so now we must see what we can do tomorrow."
"I didn't manage to hook it up properly with fuel on board in Q3. I had oversteer on the prime tyres going through Turn one and then understeer on the option, so I ran off the circuit. It was a pretty messy lap and we should have been a little bit higher. However, as the fuel burns off tomorrow, we should pick up the pace."
"Up until the last lap it was not a bad qualifying because we easily made it through Q1 and we were looking pretty strong in Q2, with a good chance of getting into the top 10. But we couldn't improve on the last run when it was really important. I don't know how many times I have just missed out on Q3 by the tiniest of margins and it has happened again. It is extremely disappointing but of course I will fight as hard as possible in the race and we'll see what is possible."
"Of course position twelve is disappointing, especially since things were running well up to Q2. On my first run in Q2 I had some trouble in the last sector. It was then that the tyres started graining causing understeering. On my second run I messed it up on my own. I was a little late on the brakes before the hairpin, after the parabolika, the rear wheels locked massively and that was it. Now I will go fight for points in the race, that's the minimum target. As we are out of the top ten we can freely choose the fuel load for the start. We will work on a good strategy. Also overtaking is not impossible in Hockenheim."
"It was all pretty close today and we had a good chance to make it into the top ten but it just didn't play out that way in the end. Nevertheless, I am still quite happy with the improvements in our car and we have taken a step forward. Out on track today it was a bit difficult, especially during my last runs because we had changeable conditions, with the wind intensity and direction constantly variable, which seemed to affect the car. Let's hope that tomorrow we can have a good race and score some points, which from P13 is a real possibility."
"Realistically we got the best out of the car today, although it is frustrating that we were not quite able to put a complete lap together. On my first run in Q2, the tyres were graining during the last sector, so we tried to look after them on my second run. Unfortunately that meant that they did not work fully in the first sector, putting me two-tenths down on my best lap time halfway round the lap. Once the tyres started working well in the middle sector I was able to gain all of the time back and improve my lap time. So it's a little bit disappointing. However we improved all the way through qualifying today and have generally been working well over the weekend. It's a nice feeling as I haven't felt totally confident with the car for the last couple of races."
"On my last run, I tried to push harder, knowing I was chasing four tenths of a second to get into Q3 and I wanted to get the most out of the car. Unfortunately, I locked up the right front for no apparent reason. But given where we were yesterday, when I was in the garage for much of the day, only managing twelve laps and not being able to evaluate a qualifying set-up, it's not too bad. Generally, there is quite a bit of overtaking at this race and it can get pretty hot on the opening laps so I hope I can make the most of any opportunities that come my way."
"Unfortunately today I don't think I managed to get everything out of the car in the last lap, especially in sector three where I realised I was being too conservative. Because it was so tight at the end of Q1 today, it cost me quite badly, but with every lap, the feeling I have with the car is improving, so hopefully I will have a better race."
Nelson Piquet Jr:
"After a very promising practice session this morning, I am of course disappointed not to have passed through the first stage of qualifying. During my lap, Vettel was in front of me, which unsettled me a little, although the FIA felt that he did not impede me."
"The last time that I started 18th on the grid at Hockenheim I won the race in 2000, so you never know what might happen tomorrow! Realistically the car was just not quick enough in a very competitive midfield today. We were losing a couple of tenths in the first sector but it was the long middle sector that really cost us time. We are having to run a compromised downforce set-up because of the straights and that then impacts the third sector through the stadium complex, so it is difficult to hook up a consistently good lap time. We are so close to the limit of the car's performance that if you don't quite get it right, you can lose a lot of places, and that's what happened today. I'm not sure that it is going to rain tomorrow but that's what we need to have a good race."
"I'm a bit disappointed to be honest with this qualifying as I think we could have done a bit better. My second run was looking good, the car felt well balanced and I was comfortable, but then I ran a little bit wide on the last corner going into the straight and lost a couple of tenths. My last run was not so good as the balance had changed a little, but I did improve a bit, just not enough. It's a shame, but as we look better in race conditions we will see for tomorrow."
"We did three runs today, and on my fastest lap I hit some traffic in the last sector and couldn't record the time I think we could have done round here, so I'm quite disappointed. Of course we don't know what's going to happen in the race tomorrow, there are some overtaking possibilities at this track so we can try and make up some places like this."
Ron Dennis (McLaren-Mercedes - team principal):
"Today we saw another excellent team performance by all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Clearly, we're delighted for Lewis, who drove a great lap to take pole position in what I'm sure most people will agree was a gripping end to today's qualifying session. But we're equally pleased with Heikki, who recovered very impressively after his 'off' earlier in the session. He pushed hard, kept his head and carved a fast but disciplined lap that placed him third on tomorrow's grid. As regards tomorrow, we believe we have a competitive strategy and are therefore looking forward to putting in a strong performance in what is the second successive home Grand Prix for our team."
Norbert Haug (Mercedes - motorsport director):
"That was a thrilling qualifying and Lewis made things clear at the last possible moment. A great lap which led him to the best position to start our second home Grand Prix after Silverstone. Heikki was on pole a fortnight ago, now it's Lewis's turn. With Heikki in third place on the clean side of the track, we are in a good position for tomorrow's race – but we certainly are not underestimating our competitors."
Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari - team principal):
"On the one hand, we are satisfied with Felipe's position as he produced a good qualifying performance, while we cannot feel the same about Kimi, who never managed to find the right balance on his car. It's true that to analyse this afternoon's result objectively one would need to know how much fuel the others have on board, but clearly, starting from the third row won't make life easy for Kimi. We can count on having a good race pace with both types of tyre and will have to work with scrupulous attention over the next few hours to prepare for a race that looks like being a very tough one. I am sure both our drivers will give it their best shot and have a great race."
Luca Baldisserri (Ferrari - technical director):
"Felipe produced a fine qualifying performance and is in a good position for the race. A shame for Kimi, who didn't manage to find the best set-up for his car and will have to start from the third row: we will have to investigate what happened. To get a complete picture of this afternoon, in terms of tomorrow's race, one has to take into account the usual parameters and the fact that this track allows for more strategic flexibility than usual. The F2008 has a good pace over a long run and we will try and make the most of that to come home with a good result."
Pascal Vasselon (Toyota - senior general manager chassis):
"We are very happy with this result, which is in line with a very good test session we had here last week. We were busy in preparation for qualifying because the grip conditions changed massively compared to the test and we had to adjust our set-ups to reflect this. We were a little bit cautious before qualifying because of the disappointment we felt at Silverstone when we were not where we expected despite a very strong test. This time we got it right and thanks to a great lap from Jarno we are in a very good shape for tomorrow's race. Unfortunately Timo missed out on the top 10 when there was no doubt he had the potential to be there. He just lost a little time on the second sector of his last lap but at least he can decide his fuel strategy for tomorrow's race and that will help, especially if there is a risk of rain."
Pat Symonds (Renault - executive director of engineering
"Fernando ran some excellent laps in Q2 and Q3 and we are confident that our third row starting position has been achieved with a competitive fuel load. Nelson had some difficulties in the first part of qualifying, but we expect him to have a solid race. The weather predictions seem to be better for tomorrow and so we are looking forward to a good race."
Denis Chevrier (Renault - head of engine track operations):
"We saw once again that qualifying can be difficult, but we can be happy with the superb qualifying performance of Fernando. This fifth position allows us to have solid hopes for the race tomorrow, even though we know the battle will be very competitive towards the front. It should not rain tomorrow, and so the track should not change radically, which will certainly make things easier for the drivers. Nelson must prepare to approach the race aggressively, and we will do our best to help him move forward."
Mario Theissen (BMW - motorsport director):
"Obviously we expected more from qualifying. Both our drivers had not been happy with their cars in the free practice. In addition to this, we faced further incidents. In the first part of qualifying Robert got stuck behind a car. Nick spun off in the second part of qualifying which may have cost him Q3. From the given positions it will not be an easy race for us. The weather predictions are unstable. In our situation a wet race would certainly help."
Willy Rampf (BMW Sauber - technical director):
"Without a doubt we expected more from this qualifying. Nick was struggling on his second fast lap in Q2 and therefore didn't make the cut. In Q3 we knew that the top cars were out of reach for us and that it would be tight for Robert to beat Fernando Alonso, but Jarno Trulli was a real surprise to us. Starting from P7 and P12 it will definitely no be an easy race."
Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing - team principal):
"A solid qualifying performance from both drivers to start 8th and 10th. We're reasonably placed for tomorrow's race and hopefully we'll get two cars to the finish in point scoring positions."
Fabrice Lom (Renault - principal engineer, track support at RBR):
"It was a difficult one today - it was so tight between all the cars. The Toro Rosso was quick - we're happy to have Vettel next year if he's always as fast as that! Engine related it's a complicated track for drivability and we're struggling a little, so we're working to ensure we have a consistent race tomorrow. We're a bit further back than we would have liked, but we'll work tomorrow to come back from there."
Giorgio Ascanelli (Scuderia Toro Rosso - technical director):
"I had a feeling in Vettel's second run in Q1 that it might not be enough to get into Q2 and I was proved wrong by seven hundredths of a second. I didn't believe the kid could do it, so I took the decision to send him out on a second set of Option tyres, which we could have done with at the end of Q3. It was a very strong performance from Vettel, who in his home grand prix has not missed a beat and I am also glad that Bourdais has found a positive way to move forward. If he had not run wide, he could have been higher up. Also, he suffered from the lack of track time on Friday, which was the team's fault not his."
Sam Michael (Williams-Toyota - technical director):
"We are where we expected to be after the pre-GP test and the practice sessions here. The grid is exceptionally close and being on the bottom end of that tight pack means it will be a difficult race. We had no mechanical issues with the cars today. We will turn our attention to the race and see what we might be able to get out of it with a good strategy tomorrow."
Steve Clark (Honda - head of race and test engineering):
"We have made progress overnight and improved the car from yesterday by adapting the set-up to the prevailing conditions. This is the case for Rubens and Jenson as their pace was very similar during qualifying today. Rubens lost time in turn 6 on his final run which cost him a place in Q2. Jenson's 14th position was the maximum that we could have achieved the car today, but we are pleased to have had one car progress to Q2."
"With both cars starting fairly well back from the start, there is an increased risk of incidents on the first lap and it will be difficult to gain positions. We do not expect any rain during the race tomorrow so the drivers will have to be patient and take the opportunities which may arise during the race. The track seems very inconsistent with a number of mistakes evident so far this weekend. With this, and the fact that the grid is very close in the midfield, there will be many cars fighting over the points positions."
Mike Gascoyne (Force India - chief technical officer):
"Giancarlo struggled really for balance all day and the windier conditions in qualifying upset the car a little bit, while Adrian had similar problems and ran wide on one of his quicker laps. We did expect to be closer to the group in front, but once again we know we have a stronger race pace relative to the others so we have to look for more tomorrow."
Dr. Vijay Mallya (Force India - chairman and managing director):
"Throughout the season we have never demonstrated a good qualifying pace, however we have always shown a good race pace. I'm therefore looking forward to showing this tomorrow."
Hirohide Hamashima (Bridgestone - director of tyre development):
"We have an interesting line-up in the top ten from today's qualifying and tomorrow's race should be fascinating in terms of tyre strategy from the data we have seen from the last two days and from last week's test. Track conditions this afternoon were better than yesterday and this morning. The medium compound appears to be quicker by around 2-3 tenths of a second, even when the cars are running with heavy fuel loads. The difficulty in Hockenheim for the race is likely to be the weather as it has varied considerably since we have been here. In terms of tyre strategy, we should see some variation tomorrow depending on how long competitors can maintain the speed advantage of the medium tyre."