Driver quotes: Spanish GP qualifying

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12 MAY 2012

Red Bull Racing 

Sebastian Vettel

“A pretty different session today; it was extremely tight. From Q1 onwards we decided to go on the soft tyres. The first run in Q2 wasn’t good enough, so I had to go again and it was clear then that if we made it to Q3, we wouldn’t have any new soft tyres left. I think we got the maximum at the end there in Q3, we saved some sets of tyres, which we thought going in to qualifying would be crucial, but we didn’t have the pace of the top five cars today. Tyres will be important tomorrow, so let’s see what we can do.”

Mark Webber

“I’m pretty surprised by that; the guys did a good job with the car and were pushing hard all weekend. We were quick, but the track kept getting faster and we got caught out. My first timed lap in Q2 wasn’t fast enough. I was P2 after the first lap and we thought we had done enough, but in the end it wasn’t. I didn’t use two sets of tyres in Q2, which it turns out wasn’t the right thing to do. I was told not to go out again, but the way that the track improved was a surprise to all of us. We were very strong in the first part of Q2 and I was happy with how I drove my lap. It’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 

Jenson Button

“I expected quite a bit from qualifying today, so I don’t really understand what went wrong. The speed is in the car though, as Lewis showed. We were quickest on the soft tyre yesterday, and I thought we’d be reasonably competitive today too – but that wasn’t the case, and we don’t really know why. I just struggled with a very different balance from yesterday. I had oversteer all through qualifying, then, on my final run – when we actually added more front wing – I had understeer! It’s not a perfect day when you qualify in P11 [P10 after Lewis’s penalty] but I hope we can work out this evening what’s happening with the balance for the race tomorrow. I guess you’d just have to describe today as a difficult day at the office.”

Lewis Hamilton

“This is such a disappointment. Today’s qualifying session was one of the best I’ve ever driven – the whole car was just rolling so smoothly – it felt fantastic. The team had done a fantastic job to bring the updates here this weekend – so I want to say a huge thank-you to all the men and women at the MTC for working day and night to get all the new components here this weekend. But, on my slowing-down lap, my engineers told me to stop on the track, and I didn’t know why. Later, to hear that I’d been excluded from qualifying, was of course extremely disappointing. But, now, looking ahead to tomorrow, I think it’s clear that it’s going to be an incredibly tough race for us. Even so, as always, I’ll never give up and I’ll give it everything I’ve got. It would mean so much to me to get a good result here in Spain: it’s such a pleasure to come here and the support I get is amazing. As I always say, and as I always do, whatever grid position I start a Grand Prix from, I’ll always race my heart out.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 

Fernando Alonso

“This third place is not what we had expected. We were counting on making a step forward that would allow us to get into Q3 with less difficulty than in the first races of the season and we managed it. But we certainly did not think we could be so high up the grid. I don’t know if this position is a true reflection of our car’s performance – it’s definitely not normal for a Red Bull and a McLaren to be eliminated in Q2 and that the other Red Bull gets into Q3 with no sets of new Soft tyre available – but what is certain is that the new parts we have brought here have resulted in us taking a step in the right direction: sure, it’s not yet enough to fight for the very top places. It’s a good basis to start from for this weekend, but the points come tomorrow. We will try and get a good start, especially as some of my main opponents in the title fight start behind us and we must try and make the most of that. Tyre performance will be a critical factor: we will have to be careful, because the forecast is for different temperatures to today and that could throw up some surprises. Racing in front of this amazing crowd always gives me some extra motivation!”

Felipe Massa

“When qualifying is as close as this, it is vital to manage to have everything fall into place on a clean lap and I never got that chance. On my second run in Q2, I came across at least seven or eight cars that were preparing their tyres for their timed lap and the time I lost definitely cost me dear. It’s a real shame to start seventeenth in a race in which our car has shown it has made a step forward in terms of performance, as could be seen from Fernando’s result. The new aerodynamic parts which we introduced on the F2012 seem to have worked well – we have a bit more aerodynamic downforce and a bit less drag – but we are well aware that there is still a lot to do. Tomorrow, on a track as hard as this one on the tyres, strategy will be crucial: let’s hope I can make it into the points.”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team 

Nico Rosberg

“That was a tricky Qualifying session this afternoon, and seventh position was about the most that we could have achieved. It was a challenge to find the right set-up for the tyres and some of the others did that better than we did today. However with a good strategy tomorrow, we can hopefully gain some places. This has been a mixed up season so far and it’s interesting to see that there are some new guys on the front row tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher

“We wanted to save tyres this afternoon, which dictated how we managed Q3. I did not complete a timed lap, and now I still have the choice of what tyres to start on tomorrow. Equally, I thought it was better to start from ninth on the grid than eighth, and be on the clean side. It’s clear that some teams have taken a step forward after the three-week break. And I would also say that the field is now even closer together. It’s going to be a tight race tomorrow, although the forecast says it should be cooler, and it will be interesting to see if our choices today pay off at the end of the race.”

Lotus F1 Team 

Kimi Raikkonen

“I think we had a chance to be in the top three but we’ve been fighting with the set-up quite a bit today. We changed the car for qualifying and actually it was the correct call in the end; it was just a few small mistakes which cost me some time on my Q3 lap. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow in the race; the car has usually been better on Sunday than it has been on Saturday, so if that’s the case tomorrow we’ll be pretty happy. A lot of small details will decide the race and the tyres are one aspect of course. Our long runs were promising yesterday, so we’re not looking too bad. Hopefully we get a reasonable start and we can be up at the right end and go for it. I think we’ve got a good car and that’s the main thing.”

Romain Grosjean

“It was a good performance from the team, especially as I didn’t run in FP3 because of a fuel pressure problem. For the set-up we went from what we’d found out yesterday and it worked pretty well. Everyone did a good job to get the car ready for qualifying after the problems of the morning. We can be happy with what we have achieved – of course you always want more but this is the result for today. I think that I could have been a little bit quicker, not too much more. Tomorrow is going to be long; our race pace did not look too bad but, of course, we’ll have to manage tyre degradation.”

Williams F1 

Pastor Maldonado

”We have been working so hard all year to understand these tyres and with the updates we have brought to this race we have made a very good step forward. The car is very consistent and its race pace is good so I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow. There has been a really positive atmosphere in the team all season and this is a great result for them and Venezuela.”

Bruno Senna

“It was a disappointing qualifying for me and I had back luck with traffic when on the soft tyre. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow if I want to score any points but I have had good races from the back before and our car is looking competitive this weekend.”

Sahara Force India 

Paul Di Resta

“It has been quite a difficult weekend so far trying to get the car dialled into the circuit. In fact, it was only during the my final qualifying run that we made a change to the aero balance and I felt that the car was really hooked up. It’s close throughout the field once again, but we’ve been fairly aggressive on set-up and our pace over longs runs has looked quite competitive so far this weekend, which gives us a reason to be optimistic for the race. The goal will be to make up ground tomorrow and I think it will be a big achievement if we can pick up some points.”

Nico Hulkenberg

“I’m pretty satisfied with my final lap in Q2 because I don’t think we could have achieved much more from the session today. That’s just where we are at the moment in terms of qualifying pace. We are still getting to understand the upgrades we have on the car, but it’s also clear that everyone else has made a step forward here and so the midfield remains extremely tight. The races so far this year have shown that grid position is not as crucial as it used to be with a lot of movement in the races, so I think we can still have a good race.”

Sauber F1 Team 

Kamui Kobayashi

“We really had a good performance in qualifying, and I could feel I had not extracted the maximum potential out of the car yet. In Q1 I had a bit of traffic and also on my fastest lap in Q2 there was still room for improvement from me. I believe I could have been fighting for a top five position, and this was what I was looking forward to. But then, after the chequered flag at the end of Q2, I was told on the radio that I had to stop the car because of an hydraulic problem. Nevertheless the team did a great job here to get both of us in Q3, and I am very positive for tomorrow’s race.“

Sergio Pérez

“After the free practice sessions hadn’t been so easy for me, in qualifying the car really felt good. I think the result is what we were hoping for and perhaps a little bit better than expected. The competition is so close that a tenth of a second can really make a big difference, and you always think you could go a bit faster. In this regard it is almost frustrating having finished sixth, because a slightly better position was within reach. However, I think we can have a strong race performance. A lot will be down to tyre degradation tomorrow, which is quite high here. I want to do a perfect race and get the maximum possible points, or even come home with a nice surprise.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso 

Daniel Ricciardo

“This was not an ideal session for me. From yesterday I felt we were trying to chase a better balance front and rear on the car and although we made a substantial change overnight, it did not have as much of an effect as we had hoped for in terms of lap time or feeling in the car. In Bahrain I had a great Saturday and a poor Sunday, so Iet’s hope it’s the other way round this time. I’m not going to dwell on today’s performance and now I’m just focussed on having as good a race as possible.”

Jean-Éric Vergne

“I have mixed feelings about this qualifying, because from a personal point of view, I feel I did a better job than I have done in the other sessions this year and for the first time this year, I have out-qualified my team-mate. On the other hand, I think we were lacking something from the car side. Everyone in the team has worked hard to bring updates for this race, but the others have done the same and apparently a bit more than us. We still have some work do to, but on the positive side, we improved the car from yesterday and I feel that our pace over a long run is pretty good, so we will have to see what happens tomorrow. I don’t feel it is too unrealistic to try and aim for some points.”

Caterham F1 Team 

Heikki Kovalainen

“I’m not unhappy with today’s performance but we could have definitely got more out of the car this afternoon. I made a mistake in turn three that cost me some time but overall I’ve not really been able to find a setup I’m happy with all weekend. We’ve tried a few different things to find a decent balance but for some reason we just couldn’t find a compromise for qualifying today. We’ll put that behind us now and move on to tomorrow where we’ll aim to maintain the sort of race pace we’ve shown in the first four Grands Prix this season. If we can look after the tyres I think we’ll be ok.”

Vitaly Petrov

“I am very happy with today’s performance. It feels great to have it all come together in qualifying today and I want to thank the team for doing a great job and helping me put together a final lap like that. There was even more time to come as I made a small mistake in sector two that maybe cost me two or three tenths, but between FP3 and qualifying we found a good balance on the softs and a KERS map that I could really get everything out of, so it’s great to see it pay off with that sort of performance. Tomorrow’s going to be an interesting race. I think a lot of it will come down to who uses the rear tyres best and as we’ve already seen earlier this season, we can fight with the cars ahead on Sundays, so hopefully we can carry through this afternoon’s performance to tomorrow, and who knows what could happen.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team 

Pedro de la Rosa

“The day went very well, especially this afternoon, so I’m very happy with what we achieved. We completed two very good laps in qualifying, getting under the 1.28 mark which we hadn’t achieved neither yesterday nor this morning. I know that our position seems the same as always but, in terms of performance, we have progressed and that’s what I’ll take away with me. As I always say, we’ve still got a lot of room for improvement but we’re on the right path and that’s what matters. Tomorrow’s race won’t be easy because it’s a tough track and the rear tyres wear out a lot. We have to get off to a good start, give the Marussias a good fight and finish the race in front of all our fans”.

Narain Karthikeyan

“It’s been a very unlucky weekend for me so far. In the morning everything went smoothly but in the afternoon, with the first set of tyres I was pushing really hard and spun on turn 3 and, as a result, I flat-spotted a tyre so I had to come back in to the garage. We were going to go on the second set of tyres but we discovered some problems and due to safety concerns, not only for myself but the others, we decided that the best thing was to not go back out. It seems like my bad luck continues to follow me this weekend and, although I’m disappointed about that, there’s nothing else I can do but keep giving it my best shot”.

Marussia F1 Team 

Timo Glock

“A much better day today than yesterday. I think we got on top of the problems a little bit and in Free Practice 3 this morning I had a good feeling. Unfortunately qualifying wasn’t great for me. I made a mistake on my first flying lap, which was then not quick enough, and on the second flying lap on the first set of tyres I ran into yellow flags at turn 3 where one of the HRTs spun, so I couldn’t do much on first set of tyres. On the second set of tyres I just couldn’t get the lap together. The first sector was good; in the second sector I got a bit of traffic; and for some reason I dropped tyre performance in the last sector. It just didn’t come together today and I will have to sit and analyse it and hope for better things in the race tomorrow.”

Charles Pic

“I am quite happy to be honest. I think for me all round it is quite a good qualifying. We managed to improve the package for this weekend, but the gap to the cars in front today did not reflect that. I don’t think we really know where we are yet because the car was not 100%. I feel there is more to come for sure. We always seem to be better in the race versus our competitors and I hope that will be true for tomorrow. For now though I am happy with my position and I look forward to the race.”

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