Saturday's Selected Quotes - Bahrain


Saturday's Selected Quotes - Bahrain

Fernando Alonso - 1st: "The R25 was handling very well on my timed lap, and the Michelin tyres had a very strong level of performance. On the tyre side, this performance is the confirmation that they are competitive in very different conditions, on contrasting types of circuit; it also shows this is true for our chassis-engine package. I lost some time in the final corner, but I still had some margin: I will need to push the car even more tomorrow morning in order to maintain the gap."

Giancarlo Fisichella - 5th: "It is not too bad to finish fifth, because I was only the seventh car out this afternoon. The track was very dirty early on, particularly in turns 4 and 8, which cost me time. I also lost out in the final corner a little, where the wind was destabilising the cars. However, I have found a good car balance for the race and we know the R25 will be competitive. I hope I can keep my position in the second session."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It is a nice feeling to take see Fernando take provisional pole position once again. We are of course only halfway through qualifying, but the signs are certainly positive at the moment. Giancarlo was penalised by his early running time, when the circuit was very slippery. Looking ahead to the race, we are happy with the engine performance and the brakes, on a circuit where they are put under real strain."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "The grid tomorrow will be extremely close: the first ten cars are covered by little more than a second. In these conditions, every details counts, and we were pleased that our technical programmes ran very smoothly this morning, without problems. If we can keep our positions tomorrow, we know that we are well prepared for the race, and that should allow us to look to get at least one car on the podium."


Jarno Trulli - 2nd: "Another excellent result, not only for myself, but for the whole team who have again performed magnificently. We have showed that if we perform consistently over the weekend, then we can be right up there when it counts. We have to keep up this pace tomorrow. The car is better than in yesterday's sessions, but it is still not entirely to my driving style with some oversteer, which lost me some time over the lap. All in all, we are pleased with second and hope to have a replay of our Malaysian success in tomorrow's race."

Ralf Schumacher - 11th: "That was a very disappointing qualifying session. I lost almost a second of time due to oversteer at the entry of turn eight on my qualifying lap and that has resulted in only 11th place heading into tomorrow's decisive session. The car is quick here and the Michelin tyres are working well, so it is somewhat frustrating not to have been able to convert our competitiveness from this morning. Nevertheless, I am happy for Jarno and the team for scoring another strong second place."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director Chassis: "In the end it was a disappointing qualifying session, despite the fact that we have placed one of our TF105s on the provisional front row of the grid. Ralf made a mistake due to oversteer at turn eight and lost a lot of time, which will make thing difficult tomorrow. We have to look at moving him up the grid and into the top ten. Jarno did a reasonably good lap, but felt that he could have gained a couple of tenths. Yet again, we have a car in second position, but the team is now looking to achieve more than that. Tomorrow, we have to consolidate Jarno's starting position and aim to score at least our second podium."


Michael Schumacher - 3rd: "It is fair to say that Malaysia gave us a wake up call and I must thank the team for the great effort it has made to move the new car schedule forward. It was important to have it here in Bahrain because of the new engine rule. All the work has paid off, we are back near the top and the gap to the two guys ahead of me is quite reasonable. We and Bridgestone seem to be back on track. So far this season we have been off the pace in qualifying and a bit better in the race. Now, we are reasonable in qualifying and our race pace seems good too. Over the course of all the practice sessions here we have made steady progress with the car-tyre package."

Rubens Barrichello - 15th: "Qualifying was a shot in the dark, given that I had only done a few laps yesterday morning. I made a mistake at the first corner and locked my wheels, losing quite a lot of time. Track condition seems different to last year and, not having done any running, I was not in a position to get the most out of qualifying. But all things considered, it was not too bad and the car confirmed the first impressions I had formed yesterday. Tomorrow will be a long, tough race and I am convinced we have the potential to do well."

Jean Todt: "The qualifying session was closely fought, right to the end. On its race weekend debut, the F2005 went well. Michael did a good lap which will allow him to run third from last in tomorrow morning's qualifying. We knew Rubens would find it tough, as he did hardly any running in free practice. Nevertheless, he did a good job and has every chance of having a good race on Sunday. We can expect a very tough race tomorrow, with very high temperatures playing their part. Tyres will play a crucial role and we will have to wait and see whether Bridgestone or its competitor has made the best choice."

Ross Brawn: "It has been a reasonable day for us. I think that Rubens really did a great job, given that this was only his second proper lap in the car. His performance was fantastic and he should be able to do an even better job tomorrow, having got this lap under his belt. Michael's performance puts us in the right position from which we can really have a race on Sunday, assuming we go well in tomorrow's final qualifying. Every time we go out on track, we are learning a bit more about the F2005 and, also thanks to all Bridgestone's efforts, we are improving our performance level."


Nick Heidfeld - 4th: "Not too bad, really. I didn't make any mistakes on my qualifying lap and I have earned myself a good starting position for tomorrow's second qualifying. After Mark was quickest this morning I thought we could really make it in to the top few positions for first qualifying. I know we have a good car and also our Michelin tyres have proved to be very consistent so far. Yesterday we achieved some good long runs and I think we can have a strong race tomorrow. It will be a tough one, because I cannot remember any race where it was so hot, really."

Mark Webber - 6th: "The track conditions changed significantly from the morning sessions and the circuit was much slower when I went out for my qualifying lap. It was very hot and a bit windy, but still I put in a good lap. The team has done a very good job both in terms of providing new parts and by finding a good balance. The timing gap between the cars is very tight, which means that we cannot afford to make any mistakes in tomorrow's final qualifying. We could then aim to achieve a very good grid position."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good first qualifying from Mark and Nick who did not make any mistakes in difficult conditions. It looks like we are experiencing the hottest ambient temperatures we have ever raced in. Due to this reason, we have spent a lot of time in practice working on the cooling systems and strategy for the race. Now we have to finalise our grid positions in the second qualifying session and then we can look forward to the race."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Looking at this afternoon's times it was evident that the track had become slower compared to this morning. The reason for this was the increased temperature that reached 42°C for the air and 55°C for the asphalt, topping the hottest temperatures we had two weeks ago in Malaysia. This means the engines are again reaching their heat limit. This weekend it is a true challenge especially for Nick's engine, which is the only engine in the whole field that has already endured the hot Malaysian race."


Kimi Raikkonen - 7th: "The lap started well, however I lost a lot of time in the final sector when I ran wide in the final corner. Finishing seventh was not ideal and means that I have some work to do in second qualifying and the race. However I am happy with the car and I expect more to come tomorrow."

Pedro de la Rosa - 9th: "The track was very slippery as a lot of dust had blown onto the circuit during the break. Being the first driver out was a disadvantage, which was made worse by the windy conditions. However, I felt that the lap itself was good, and that we will be competitive tomorrow."

Ron Dennis: "Kimi's entry speed into the last corner was a little optimistic and the resulting understeer cost him a significant amount of time. However trying hard and sometimes getting it wrong is what life is about. Hopefully tomorrow we will see him move up the grid. Pedro's performance was exceptionally good taking into consideration the very difficult track conditions that often prevail at the early part of qualifying. His current grid position should give him the opportunity to move forward tomorrow. "

Norbert Haug: "Kimi entered the last corner a little bit too fast, and as a consequence he lost about half a second according to our data, which resulted in his seventh place. Pedro being out first on a dusty track achieved a respectable time under the difficult conditions. Tomorrow is another day; we can improve in both qualifying and the race"

Red Bull

Christian Klien - 8th: "My lap was ok and I made no mistakes. I ran with the same set-up I had used this morning and the car performed as I expected and the balance was quite good. But the track seemed to have less grip than in the morning. Overall, I am pleased with this performance. Now we must wait and see what we can do tomorrow. It's looking good!"

David Coulthard - 14th: "I still was not too happy with the balance of the car and even before I started my flying lap, I ran a bit wide at the last corner. I also had a problem with my shift in that I was not getting the light to tell me when to change gear. So it wasn't the best of sessions, but I am not going to let that bother me as there's a long season ahead. We had four free practice sessions building up to this afternoon, so now we must try and improve in final qualifying."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Obviously a good session for Christian, being 8th on a very close grid. He likes this circuit, did a good job here last year and has done the same again today. David is still unhappy with the balance so far. We have a bit of homework to do tonight to find more speed in his car. However, another car in the top ten provides us with a good attacking position for tomorrow."


Felipe Massa - 10th: "That was a good lap. When you consider our strategy I am very happy with it. I didn't make any mistakes. I was a little worried about qualifying, to be honest, but we made a big step forward with the car since this morning and I went quicker even though it was hotter, so I'm feeling good. We know we are going to be stronger in the race, so I hope I can keep close to this place in second qualifying and then be in a position to fight hard tomorrow afternoon."

Jacques Villeneuve - 16th: "A very disappointing qualifying, after the progress we made this morning. The car was going a lot better for me then than at the previous races, but I picked up a lot of understeer on my qualifying lap and couldn't complete it without going wide in the last corner. Like I said, very disappointing."

Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "Felipe did an excellent lap and was the only driver to improve his time from this morning, even though the track temperature went up some 13 degrees. We are very happy with this result. It gives us another top 10 qualifying position with the C24, which we have been able to improve further since Melbourne. Unfortunately, Jacques struggled with understeer after a competitive first sector, which led to him losing more time in the last corner."


Jenson Button - 12th: "It was a reasonable lap, but the track is so hot and there is very little grip. At turn 8 I had a little bit of oversteer so I lost some time there but generally, given the timing of our qualifying slot and the relative track conditions, there was little opportunity to improve on my time. We will have to see what tomorrow's final qualifying brings but it seems that we will start the race from the middle of the grid. Hopefully the car will be as strong as it was when we started the race in Malaysia and if we can stay reliable then we should be able to finish in the points."

Takuma Sato - 13th: "It was a bit difficult to achieve good stability because we were one of the early runners on a dusty track, and because of the wind, especially when I was braking under the tail wind. It is also incredibly hot out there! The balance was much better today and obviously I achieved a lot more running than yesterday, so I am happier in the car and looking forward to tomorrow's final session and then a stronger race."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "Given our early qualifying slots, our result today was much as we expected. We have not been as happy with the car's handling here as we were at Malaysia, so during this morning's running we ran through a busy programme of set-up changes on both cars. The important thing for us this weekend is to get a good race finish, so we have concentrated on getting a consistent balance for the race tomorrow."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "We had a productive morning and did a lot of work on our race set-up. Qualifying shows our true speed at this point over a single lap but I think we can fight for some points in the race tomorrow."


Narain Karthikeyan - 17th: "My lap was good in general but the air and track temperatures were very high so it will be interesting to see what will happen during the race. I really enjoyed driving on this circuit as there are lot of straights and stops. Now I am looking forward to racing tomorrow and I hope we will finish the race again."

Tiago Monteiro - 18th: "It is very tricky to get everything together in only one qualifying lap, especially for a rookie. I do not seem to be pushing at the limit at the moment and I should push harder. I have to improve a couple of small things and I am sure it will come with experience. I will practice qualifying laps a lot when we are back in Europe. Now I am closer to Narain compared to Melbourne and Sepang, so I am definitely getting better."

Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "We are slightly disappointed not to be a little bit closer to the ultimate pace as we had a very good morning run with both cars. Maybe the higher temperatures have just affected our balance, but we still think we have a good set up for the Grand Prix tomorrow."


Christijan Albers - 19th: "During the last race, in Malaysia, we had a good car in terms of race set-up, but we were just missing the one flying lap in qualifying - we simply couldn't get it together in terms of grip level. This weekend, we have been focusing a little bit on the single flying lap, and it has yielded results today. I'm pleased, and I think it was quite a good lap. The track was also slower this afternoon than it was in this morning's practice sessions, but comparatively speaking, we didn't lose as much time in the qualifying run as some of the others."

Patrick Friesacher - 20th: "It wasn't a bad qualifying run - I just had a bit of understeer and made a few little mistakes during the lap. I think we can improve on the time tomorrow, so we are not looking bad for the race. The guys did a really good job because they had quite a bit of work to do between free practice and qualifying, so I would like to say thanks to them."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "All things considered, to be less than a second from our nearest rival with the old car is pleasing indeed. It inspires hope and a renewed sense of confidence in the team when we know how much quicker the new car should be in the coming races. We believe Minardi's goal for this year, of finishing ninth place in the World Constructors' Championship, remains realistic. As usual, both drivers, and the entire team, put in a sterling effort today."


Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "Everything has gone to plan so far this weekend - but the hardest part is yet to come, particularly if conditions remain this hot for tomorrow's 57-lap race. Our main opposition has clearly upped its game, but Michelin and its partner teams have retained the competitive edge that has been apparent since the start of the season.

"Between them, our seven partners have opted to race both available Michelin compounds and it will be interesting to see how they perform over a full race distance. Depending on circumstances, it is possible that some drivers might have to take care to preserve their rubber in the closing stages. Although temperatures are very similar to those at Sepang, the tracks are very different in terms of character. I anticipate that tyres will be subjected to some gruelling punishment."


Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport: "Well, it's good to see a Ferrari back near the top of the [provisional] grid. We do need to see what happens in tomorrow's final qualifying session but based on the practice and first qualifying data it looks as if the package could be quite competitive this weekend. Rubens unfortunately has not had much running at all so his knowledge of the car's characteristics is not as in depth as Michael's at the moment but under the circumstances he did a good job. Jordan and Minardi put in their best efforts too, so overall I am quite happy with today's first qualifying."

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