Driver Quotes: Singapore GP qualifying

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SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 

MARINA BAY STREET CIRCUIT 

SATURDAY DRIVER QUOTES 

22 SEPTEMBER 2012

Red Bull Racing 

Sebastian Vettel

“It’s hard to say what happened. I was happy until the end of Q2, but then in Q3 we weren’t able to go with the track and improve. In Q3 I couldn’t feel the grip so well and convert it to the lap time. The most important day is tomorrow and we have got pace in the car. We have been competitive this weekend and our target is to have a good race tomorrow; P3 is still a good place to start from.”

Mark Webber

“We expected to be higher than that. It was a tricky session and on every run the car felt a bit different. We didn’t have the rear-grip that we had in the other sessions; normally the super soft tyres give us a certain balance, but it was difficult to chase it in that session. It’s disappointing to be seventh, but it’s a long race tomorrow and we have a chance to get something from it.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 

Lewis Hamilton

“I’m very happy with pole position. It’s been a good weekend so far, but there are no points for today, and it’s going to be a long, tough race, so I still need to be cautious. I hope we’ve done the work we need to do to put us in a strong position for tomorrow – the key will just be to stay out of trouble and look after the tyres. Our guys at the factory have done an incredible job to bring our upgrades to the track this weekend. In previous years, we’ve often been playing catch-up on development throughout the season, but, this year, we’re right there. I’ve always believed that if we could start the season strongly, we’d be able to pull ahead. We’ve been there or thereabouts all season, but now I think we’re starting to see the real strength of my team pull through.”

Jenson Button

“I found it a bit tough today; I didn’t really feel comfortable with my car, the rear went away from me quite quickly, and I struggled to look after the tyres over a lap. I hope the balance will be better in the race than it was in qualifying. The high degradation around here will make it a tricky race, but I think we’ll be okay. It’s going to be tough for everyone on Sunday evening, but you can overtake around here. Starting from fourth means you can hope for the best – a win – but the pace just wasn’t quite there for me in qualifying. I hope it’s better in the race.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 

Fernando Alonso

“Today, pole position was absolutely out of our grasp: Hamilton was on another planet… We must settle for this fifth place but that doesn’t mean we are not hoping to improve on it tomorrow: our target is the podium. The result pretty much matches what we expected after yesterday, given that right from the afternoon we were not particularly brilliant. The only surprise this evening was Maldonaldo and it was really unexpected to see him on the front row. Here, the performance difference between the two compounds is probably the highest of the whole championship; between one and a half and two seconds, which could be an important factor tomorrow also. It’s true the Softs can last longer but it’s also true that, with such a significant difference, the Supersofts could also be an interesting option. I expect a lot of pit stops, specifically because of the tyre degradation. Honestly, before arriving in Singapore, I expected more, but we soon realised we would be tackling this Grand Prix on the defensive. The race will be very long, very hard physically and mentally, because you need to always concentrate to the maximum, with no margin for error: the slightest mistake can carry a high price on a track where the barriers are very close. Reliability will be very important and the number one priority will be getting to the finish in the best possible position.”

Felipe Massa

“It was a very difficult qualifying. I really struggled to put together a good lap, suffering particularly in the final sector, where the rear tyres were sliding and, as a result, were degrading. It’s a problem I’ve had since yesterday and we did not manage to fix it. Let’s hope we can do something for the race, otherwise it will be really hard. We must look carefully at the strategy, starting with which tyre to use for the start of the race: there’s a lot of difference in speed between the two compounds, but both seem to degrade significantly. The aim will be to finish the race in the points, which definitely won’t be easy, but we’ll give it our best shot. Not all the updates we brought here worked as we had expected and hoped for, which certainly hasn’t helped. So we must understand why with a view to the rest of the season.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 

Michael Schumacher

“I am reasonably pleased with our qualifying result, considering what we have seen this weekend. Of course, we could have tried to make up one or two positions, although this would have been very difficult. However we decided to give up this possibility in favour of the fact that we now have a fresh set and free choice of tyres going into the race. We decided this strategy after the final practice session, and after seeing who made it into Q3, we went for it. Hopefully we can make the best of this choice tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg

“Our new updates are working reasonably well this weekend, although it will definitely take some more time to optimise the package. After not taking part in Q3, we will have more opportunities for the race tomorrow, and we can decide whether we want to start on the soft or supersoft tyre. It should be an interesting race, so let’s see what we can do.”

Lotus F1 Team 

Kimi Raikkonen

“The car was much better overall today than it was yesterday. We were quick with the used tyres but for some reason struggled for grip with the new ones in the second session and we were actually slightly slower. For sure P12 is not the position we wanted ; we don’t seem to have the speed to challenge the leaders here but the car is definitely quicker than that. We’ll see what we can do in the race.”

Romain Grosjean

“The result is not as good as we wanted, but this is a very hard track to get right and we’ve been struggling for ultimate grip throughout this weekend so far, so overall it was good to be in Q3. After Q1 and Q2 we felt positive but it didn’t quite come together in the final session. I pushed a little bit too hard on my last lap ; it felt good in the car, but it wasn’t good for my lap time and there was one moment where I lost most quite a lot of time. It was pretty close but I don’t think I touched the wall ; I’ll have to check to see if the Pirelli tyre markings are still there !”

Williams F1 

Pastor Maldonado

”We’ve been working really hard as at the beginning of the weekend we were struggling for pace. We continued improving throughout qualifying and we found a good balance in the car. I then had to put together a good lap in Q3 and I knew we could be right up at the front. I’m really looking forward to the race as we’ve shown consistently good pace on our longer runs throughout practice. We have all the tools to be competitive tomorrow, so it should be a good race for us.”

Bruno Senna

“It wasn’t ideal today. I was pushing very hard to get a good lap but I pushed a little over the edge. This place isn’t very forgiving so we broke the rear suspension. Unfortunately that brought an early end to qualifying but we now we need to focus on tomorrow. We have extra sets of new tyres now which I think everyone is going to need. We have a good car and it’s a long race. It isn’t easy to overtake here but we’ve raced from the back before. I’m going to need to push really hard to get some points out the race tomorrow.”

Sahara Force India 

Paul Di Resta

“I was very happy with the balance of the car yesterday, but struggled this afternoon during final practice and we seemed to lose our way. So we went back to basics and built up our speed again during qualifying and managed to deliver the laptime when it mattered during Q3 – in fact, it was my best lap of the weekend. So we’re in a strong position for tomorrow and hopefully we can come away with some big points. We looked quite competitive yesterday during long runs so we will focus on the strategy tonight and make sure we make the right calls tomorrow with the tyres.”

Nico Hulkenberg

“We had a car capable of reaching Q3 today, so I feel disappointed to miss out on the top ten. I just didn’t find a good rhythm in Q2 and my last lap was not good enough – I made a few small errors which cost me time and a place in Q3. Now I need to focus on making the most of tomorrow and doing what we can with the strategy. Starting eleventh means I get a free choice on tyres and we’ve seen already that tyre performance and degradation will be a big factor in the race. I need to get a clean start, get through the opening lap and see what I can do.”

Sauber F1 Team 

Sergio Pérez

“We have obviously had a difficult weekend here in Singapore. The main issue is that for some reason we didn’t get our new package to work. This comes as a surprise because so far all the development steps have paid off. There is a lot of downforce missing. My last lap in Q2 was clear and I think I got the most out of it. We have tried a lot to improve the car’s set-up and everything else, but it didn’t work out.”

Kamui Kobayashi

“We have tried everything but could not get rid of the huge oversteer. I have no confidence in the car and this is really the last thing you want to have to cope with on such a street circuit. The problem I have here reminds me somehow of the one I had in Budapest, where I also struggled with the car. Given how the car is, I don’t see how I can recover in the race from where I am starting, but I will not give up, this is certain. Sometimes a safety car deployment or whatsoever can play into your hands and I still hope for the team that we can score some points tomorrow.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso 

Daniel Ricciardo

“I was actually happier with my best lap in Q1 than I was with my best effort in Q2, therefore I had been hoping to be a little bit further up the grid, maybe jumping both the Saubers, but this position is not too bad and overall, I’d say we’re making progress. Certainly, thanks to the work we did overnight, the car was better in FP3 than it was yesterday, so I hope we can have another good race tomorrow, on a track where we know anything can happen.”

Jean-Éric Vergne

“For my first time in Singapore, I feel I can be satisfied with the way qualifying went this evening. Ever since Monza, I have had to deal with some neck pain and I managed that situation well, so that I could deal with all the kerbs and bumps at this track. Finishing within a tenth of my team-mate, who has raced here before is another reason for me to be pleased with my performance, when I consider I was over a second slower than him yesterday. It’s a long race tomorrow, during which I expect to improve even more and I really hope we can make the most of any opportunity that comes our way.”

Caterham F1 Team 

Vitaly Petrov

“I’m really happy with how quali went today. It’s my Father’s birthday and the performance is my present for him. He told me this morning “don’t push too hard” and then I went and crashed the car in P3! The boys did a fantastic job in the garage to repair the car and it was actually all ready 15 minutes before Q1, so thank you very much to them for putting in such a great effort.”

Heikki Kovalainen

“Honestly it’s been a tough weekend for me so far and today’s performance wasn’t really any better. I’ve been struggling to find a decent balance in every session and that definitely affected me today. Despite that this is the type of race where anything can happen so I hope we can have a better Sunday and leave here on a positive note.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team 

Pedro de la Rosa

“Overall my sensations are positive because the car has improved but we didn’t complete a good qualifying session. We were using a new set of tyres and they were blocking a lot so we were unable to complete a clean lap. Although I already knew that tomorrow I would be starting last because of the penalty, I tried to complete a quick lap, but it wasn’t to be. I take with me the fact that the car has improved quite a bit and that is important ahead of tomorrow because it will be a tough race. It will be tough for everyone but we have to race intelligently to not overwork the brakes and manage the tyres well. As always, we will give it everything to do the best we can”.

Narain Karthikeyan

“I’m happy because in qualifying I completed an almost perfect lap. I’m pushing very hard and I think that right now I’m driving very well. I’m very comfortable within the team, they help me a lot and make me feel at home, and when the atmosphere is that good it’s easy to perform well. I’ve done two good consecutive qualifying sessions and I hope to keep that momentum. Tomorrow’s race will be tough physically and mentally but we will fight to achieve the best possible result”.

Marussia F1 Team 

Timo Glock

“A disappointing start to the day in FP3 and then in terms of the knock-on effect this had on qualifying. To not have a proper run this morning cost us quite a bit, which is a shame as I had a good feeling in the car but not the confidence in terms of the tyres. Obviously the tyres are pretty critical here, especially the Supersofts – getting them to warm up and in the right window for the flying lap. It was a bit of a struggle with the brakes also, which were not great. We had a good start yesterday and into the weekend, and we were actually looking quite strong. At least we were only a couple of tenths behind in qualifying and now we need to try and race Caterham hard tomorrow. In general the team did a good job with the challenges we faced and also the heat and humidity, which is a struggle. I hope we can do something better for them tomorrow.”

Charles Pic

“Overall not a bad qualifying after a positive FP3 earlier today. I lost some time in sector 3 due to traffic but I am reasonably happy apart from that. Although I feel I have adjusted quite well to a track that is difficult to learn, running here for the first time, there is always room for improvement as I progress through the weekend to find a better lap. I hope there is more to come tomorrow and we can continue with our current strong performances in the races. With regard to the penalty imposed by the FIA after FP3, I have seen the information and I would like to say that I completely agree with it. It was a mistake on my part and I will use the experience wisely.”

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