Sat team by team: Part 1

Autosport.com's Formula 1 editor Jonathan Noble gives a rundown of what was happening up and down the pit-lane during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix

Sat team by team: Part 1



A day of complete mixed fortunes for the Ferrari team, with everything going right for Rubens Barrichello while Michael Schumacher will just want to forget about it all. Barrichello soaked up the local pressure to grab a brilliant pole position, while Schumacher had to qualify in the spare car (with new engine) following a hefty practice smash. Heavily fuelled up for qualifying he could manage no better than eighth - and will therefore start 18th.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO: "It was a great feeling out there today. I have lived here for around 20 years and as I was going out on the track it felt like it did in my karting days. I just went out to try my best and when I saw that I was on pole when I crossed the line, I felt my legs go numb, because it had been very high pressure. I think the crowd would have left their seats and chased me into the garage if I had made a mistake! It was great seeing their reaction on my slowing down lap. I start from the same place as last year, I have a very good car for the race and I am feeling very serene. To be honest, the pressure has gone already. Tonight I will go home and play with my son and sleep in my own bed and it will just seem like a normal day. Last year, I was very much prepared to win and I am equally prepared to win tomorrow. This result means the first big battle of the weekend is won, but tomorrow comes a bigger battle. It will be a long race, physically quite hard and a long battle. One mystery will be the weather. It was a shame for Michael, who had a big impact this morning and had to adapt to the spare car with no other running before qualifying. But I think he can also have a good race tomorrow."

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: "As usual, Ferrari came here to win the race and it is good that Rubens did such a fantastic job in getting his car together and putting together a wonderful lap. He is in the perfect position now. As for my accident in the morning, the car picked up some oversteer and I lost control. Sure the track was bumpy, but then it's been bumpy all weekend, so I am not making excuses. I am a bit disappointed with my qualifying lap that was a bit too slow. Even starting so far back, I will keep trying to have a good race."




Williams once again proves it is well on the road to recovering its ability to challenge for race wins when Juan Pablo Montoya delivered a front-row slot with a great qualifying effort. Ralf Schumacher had a less successful time, ending up seventh overall, but both drivers are optimistic of their chances for Sunday's race.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "It's very nice to be on the front row here, because Interlagos is the place where I nearly won my first F1 race in 2001. Still I am very happy with this result because I think I was not able to beat Rubens anyway. I lost most of the time on my lap in the first sector where you can gain or lose it all and unluckily I did not get it right. I am pleased to give this good result to my team, since it is my last race with them and this is my way to say thank you to WilliamsF1 and BMW for all their hard work. I will do my best tomorrow to give possibly even more. The start will be interesting and we've definitely got a good race car. Hopefully we get it right tomorrow and achieve a happy end to what has been a difficult season for us."

RALF SCHUMACHER: "Seventh is not too bad a place to start the race from because I will start from the clean side of the track. I know we have a good race car and a good strategy which makes me confident to be in a position to collect some valuable points for the team tomorrow."




An afternoon of mixed fortunes for McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen proving that his confidence of being able to challenge for victory was well justified as he took third on the grid - just four hundredths of a second slower than front-row man Juan Pablo Montoya. David Coulthard had a less happy time, with a twitch through Turns 2 and 3 costing him valuable time and leaving him too cautious for the rest of the lap.


KIMI RAIKKONEN: "I have been happy with the car from the very beginning of my Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. The times are so close and I actually think we could have been on pole position. It was a good qualifying lap, but the rear was a bit loose at turns one and nine, so I might have lost a bit of time. As always it's difficult to predict what will happen in the race, but I think we are in a strong chance of ending the season on a high."

DAVID COULTHARD: "Obviously not the result I had hoped for in my last qualifying session for the team. I had a short moment at turn three and experienced some oversteer in the middle sector, which cost me precious time. A few people got caught out by the changing track conditions today including me. However, I know that my car has got the pace and I am looking forward to a strong race, I always go well here."




Renault looks certain to finish third overall in the constructors' championship after Fernando Alonso and Jacques Villeneuve were comprehensively outpaced by their BAR rivals in qualifying. Alonso will start eighth and Villeneuve 13th after both complained of understeer throughout qualifying - although they have not given up on their hopes of scoring decent finishes on Sunday.

FERNANDO ALONSO: "I am confident we can be more competitive tomorrow than we seemed this afternoon. The car was understeering a bit too much in the slow corners during qualifying but the overall balance was still quite good in spite of this. We will need to wait for the race to see what strategies our competitors have but I think things will be better for us. The R24 was setting constant and competitive times on the long practice runs we did yesterday and today."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: "I had a bad lap - it was as simple as that. The car was handling better this morning but then started understeering on the qualifying lap and I couldn't hook things up as I would have liked. Tomorrow's race will be demanding but I am still hoping for a points finish."




BAR had been looking at challenging for pole position, but those hopes were dashed when Jenson Button and Takuma Sato both hit minor trouble on their qualifying laps. Button had a wild moment through Ferradura, while Sato got it a bit messy through the first and second corners. Despite that, their third row grid positions should leave them well placed for a shout at a podium on Sunday.

JENSON BUTTON: "Considering the lap, P5 isn't too bad, as I expected to be further back than that. In the final session I made a mistake in the second sector though when I got a bit of oversteer through turn five, which cost me quite a bit of time. Nevertheless, I think we can expect a strong race tomorrow and we'll all be doing our best to end the season on a high note and secure that all-important championship position we've worked so hard for this season."

TAKUMA SATO: "The car was a bit twitchy into turns one and two and I was losing grip. I possibly needed a harder out lap to achieve the right temperature for the grip required at the start of the lap, but the rest of the run was quite strong so I am reasonably happy. 6th place isn't the best result but here we have good overtaking opportunities and I hope our strategy is strong. It will be a tough race but I am very much looking forward to it."

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