Saturday's Selected Quotes - Canada


Jenson Button - 1st: "I'm thrilled to be back on pole. The past few months have been difficult for all of us at BAR Honda and everyone has worked so hard to turn our performance around. It means so much to be able to reward everyone at the team, at Honda and at Michelin with a great result like today's. We came here expecting to see an improvement after such intensive testing last week but I have to admit that even I didn't expect us to be this quick. It felt like a good lap but the circuit had quite low grip so I am a little surprised to be honest. Let's be clear: we know this is only qualifying but grid position is half the battle and we have once again shown what we are capable of. I think we have a strong strategy for tomorrow and we should have good race pace. I don't know if we are quick enough yet for the victory but it will be interesting to see how far we can take today's result."

Takuma Sato - 6th: "The temperature had risen quite a lot since the last practice session so I didn't push so hard on my warm-up lap and that probably affected the level of grip. The new aero package is working really well and it seems that all of our hard work in testing last week is paying off. The team have done a fantastic job to produce the new aero parts for these two races. The whole weekend has been going well so it feels like we are making the steps to get back to the top. I am confident that we have a good set-up for the race and am really looking forward to tomorrow."

Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director: "In free practice this morning we were able to improve the car from yesterday and were looking competitive in the time sheets; which gave us cause for optimism for qualifying. However, having Jenson on pole and Taku in the third row is a fantastic result for our team. Jenson drove a beautiful lap and deserves a lot of credit for that. Starting at the front of the grid is always helpful, so we look forward to a good race tomorrow."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "A flawless lap by Jenson, and a very good performance from Takuma too. The latest spec engine has worked well so far and it will be great for Jenson to be starting with a clear track in front of him. We'll have to see how the various strategies play out, but we'll be aiming for a repeat of last year's podium position tomorrow."


Michael Schumacher - 2nd: "I am not so surprised to be on the front row, because after yesterday, we understood our problems and had a much better car this morning. In a way, it was lucky I had my gearbox problem then and not when it mattered. Given how many miles we have done in testing the gearbox, at the moment, I don't understand why we had this problem. Everyone in the team has made a huge effort to get this improvement. As for the race, I am feeling much more confident than at any other moment this season and depending on how the race develops, the long straights mean there are opportunities for overtaking. I do not expect there will be any problems with the track surface tomorrow."

Rubens Barrichello - 20th: "All I can say is that I am very disappointed. My car had a gearbox problem towards the end of my "out" lap and I had to come back to the pits. It's a real shame, because I think I could have done well this afternoon. Now, I can expect to have to fight my way up the order in the race. It will be very tough, but as always, I will give it my all."

Jean Todt: "This qualifying session left us with mixed emotions. On the one hand there is the satisfaction of seeing a Ferrari, Michael's, on the front row of the grid for the second time this season. On the other hand, there is disappointment that Rubens was unable to do a qualifying lap because of a gearbox problem. It was the second failure of this component today, after Michael suffered a failure at the end of the morning session. Now we have to analyse what happened to see if they both had the same fault or if they were two different problems. Overnight, we worked to improve our situation and we succeeded. Bridgestone also deserve credit for this. Obviously we are happy with Michael's result, after seeing this morning that our cars were capable of performing well. Of course there is the unknown factor of how much fuel the other cars had on board, but we believe we have a good package for the race. Starting from the back of the grid, Rubens has a difficult afternoon in prospect, but he has shown at other times this year that he is capable of making the best of this type of situation."

Ross Brawn: "This was quite a surprise in terms of our overall performance, because we were able to repeat the pace we showed this morning, while our opposition seemed to suffer a bit. Having said that, Michael did not even get a particularly clean lap. From where he is on the grid, he should be able to have a good race. What happened to Rubens was frustrating, because looking at other people's performance this afternoon, he would also have been in a very strong position."


Fernando Alonso - 3rd: "I am satisfied with my qualifying position. We have a good strategy and, being 3rd and 4th on the grid, things are looking good for us. Obviously, it's difficult to judge the competitors' fuel load, but we are confident. We have decided to adopt a light aero configuration because the car is very easy to drive and because our top speed can be an advantage in the race. The McLarens are behind us on the grid, but we still have to be cautious. I am optimistic however, because the Montreal circuit suits our car and we should definitely have a strong result."

Giancarlo Fisichella - 4th: "I am quite happy. I am surprised with Michael's and Jenson's performances, but I think this has to do with the strategic choices for tomorrow's race. Our goal was to place our cars in front of the McLarens and we have managed to do so. That's good. Besides, we have a good strategy and our pace is quite strong on long runs. I am confident we can have a good race tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Track conditions were a bit more slippery today than they were yesterday. Also, the wind compromised slightly the cars' efficiency. The interesting thing is that it is obvious that teams opted for different strategies, which will make for a good race tomorrow. We are confident and we should be able to get the results we're aiming for."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "Quite a good day for us: we didn't have any problem in the morning and we managed to go through a heavy programme. We were quick this morning and we confirmed it this afternoon. Our race strategy is good and we should be competitive tomorrow. Starting in front of both McLarens is certainly a positive thing, in terms of the Championship."


Juan Pablo Montoya - 5th: "I'm quite pleased with my lap and I'm sure that we will have a good race as the strategy should be strong. The aim is to have a nice, quiet and uneventful grand prix and get on the podium. I have been unlucky this year so far and everybody has been working so hard that I just really want it to happen tomorrow as reward for all their efforts. "

Kimi Raikkonen - 7th: "Of course I would have liked a better grid position, but we have a strong race strategy which will give us every opportunity to get a good result. My battle is with Alonso, so we need to make sure we finish in front of him tomorrow and hopefully our strategy should allow us to do this. Unlike this morning, I struggled to get my tyres fully operational during my flying lap but our package has been working well so far this weekend so I'm reasonably optimistic."

Ron Dennis: "Clearly a mixed grid reflecting the various strategies adopted by our competition. As shown in previous races both drivers normally make excellent starts and if we avoid any first lap incidents we should be in a position to have a strong race."

Norbert Haug: "Today's qualifying result is a good basis for our race tomorrow. Our strategy is good and our speed was there throughout both practice days."


Jacques Villeneuve - 8th: "That was the most satisfying performance of my season so far, and I am very happy. Usually in qualifying you make a little mistake here or there, because you are on the limit - maybe you lock a wheel or miss an apex. But on that lap I didn't make a single mistake and it couldn't have been better. "We know that qualifying is harder for us than the races, which seem to suit the C24 better, so it will be down to making a strong start tomorrow. The first corner here can be difficult, but if there is any incident hopefully we are sufficiently far up the grid to avoid it. That should be an advantage."

Felipe Massa - 11th: "My lap was reasonable for the strategy that we have chosen. There was a bit less grip than this morning, but we know that the car is better in the race so I am pretty confident and overall I'm happy. Tomorrow you'll see that we are even more competitive."

Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "This is a very good result for the team, and a remarkable effort from Jacques. My congratulations to him for such a great performance. I'm particularly happy that he was able to summon it in front of his home crowd and on the track named after his father. Now we have to make sure that we convert this promise into a strong result tomorrow."


Jarno Trulli - 9th: "I missed out on some running in the morning sessions due to an electronics problem, so I'm satisfied with the lap, which was a pretty good one for me. I was struggling to get heat into the tyres during the warm-up lap, but I did my best. The Canadian Grand Prix has always been quite a hard one for us, but I remain pretty confident for tomorrow's race. Grid position here can change a lot based on what strategy you're running so let's see what we can manage."

Ralf Schumacher - 10th: "That was a decent lap and I'm relatively happy with how it went for me. It was a bit difficult to go out so early in the session because the track was obviously going to improve throughout. As for the track itself, you could feel slightly less grip where they had laid the concrete but it was not a big issue. The bigger problem was that the work they did meant the circuit was slightly dirty again. But we made the best of what we could and we will now look to convert this position into points in tomorrow's race."

Dieter Gass ­ Chief Race Engineer: "Having two drivers in the top ten gives us a good chance in the race tomorrow. It means we can fight for a decent finish. We would obviously have hoped to have Jarno a little further up the grid but the electronics problem we had on his car during this morning's practice sessions didn't help him finalise his set-up and gain the right confidence in the car. So that made qualifying difficult for him. It was also very difficult for Ralf to go out so early because the circuit was improving a lot throughout the session. So I think his lap was also quite good in the conditions. We're confident about our strategy for tomorrow so we'll look for another positive finish. A double points finish is what we have to target and that is certainly realistic from where we are."

Red Bull

David Coulthard - 12th: "As you can see from the lap times, we're struggling on this circuit. We don't seem to have the top speeds on the straights here or the same speed through turns compared to where we normally are, but it's one of those things. The car feels similar to how it did in Germany and we posted a good result there. Maybe we can hope for another incident such as the one on the first corner in Nurburgring! We'll just have to see how things turn out tomorrow."

Christian Klien - 16th: "It's never so good being first out on the track in qualifying and I think it compromised me quite a lot. From the last practice session that we drove, the track has changed massively due to the preceding Formula BMW race - I think it was about two seconds slower. My lap felt very good though and there were no mistakes. The car felt strong and was well balanced - I don't think there was much more I could do."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Christian was handicapped being first out on a circuit that was always going to improve dramatically though the session but, despite that, he delivered a pretty clean lap. David had a few moments, which probably cost him a little time and a couple of grid places, but it's not the strongest circuit here for our car and the long straights highlight our deficiencies. I think it's quite an interesting grid for tomorrow, which suggests an interesting race and I think we'll see a lot of different strategies. BAR's result shows how quickly things can change in Formula One. The fact that Jenson (Button) was struggling behind us two weeks ago at Nurburgring, compared to where he is here, just shows how quickly things can turn around."

Guenther Steiner, Technical Director: "We worked to get the best aerodynamic efficiency during this morning's practice sessions, but it seems we're not the fastest car here. Qualifying was disappointing, but we showed what we can do during a race in Nurburgring and we will try to do the same tomorrow."


Nick Heidfeld - 13th: "I am not happy with my lap. I made a big mistake at the hairpin which cost me a lot of time. My position and lap time definitely don't reflect the potential of our car, but I think it will be more difficult for us to achieve a good result here than it has been in the last two races."

Mark Webber - 14th: "Due to my DNF in the last race, I had to go out second in today's qualifying which didn't really help, but it's the same rule for everyone. I didn't have an ideal lap because I braked a bit too early at turn six. However, our car can do better in the race than it can in qualifying, which is unusual, considering our record. Here we don't look so strong in the first few laps, but we are more competitive in the long runs, which makes us confident for the race tomorrow."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "We had a disappointing qualifying session today, but a lot of things can change in the race. We have done our homework on brakes, tyres and strategy and expect to see a good improvement in tomorrow's pace. We had no mechanical problems."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "After the good results we achieved in the last two races, this was a disappointing qualifying. Neither of the drivers managed a flawless qualifying lap. Our starting positions for tomorrow's race are quite unfavourable, so we will see what outcome can come from these positions. We had no technical problems."


Christijan Albers - 15th: "It's a good result and I'm really happy. We were struggling a little bit at the beginning of the weekend, as we were driving on worn tyres and saving the engine, but then this afternoon we got it together over one lap with new tyres and maximum power. It felt good and the team did a great job. It's definitely our best qualifying effort since the beginning of the season."

Patrick Friesacher - 19th: "I'm disappointed by our qualifying performance, as we were nearly two seconds slower than in free practice this morning. As soon as we went out for the qualifying run, the car felt strange, even on the straights, and there was quite a lot of oversteer in the chassis. We'll have to look at the data now, and aim to improve things for tomorrow." Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "That was a 'mega' lap by Christijan. It's always pleasing to see such an effort when it really counts, and P15 in qualifying is slightly better than we had expected. Sadly, Patrick struggled this afternoon to find the pace that he's had over the last two days of practice, but I'm sure he will do better in the race. All in all, it was a good team effort, and we look forward to tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix."


Narain Karthikeyan 17th: "My qualifying time was OK. I think I did a clean enough lap. I had the impression that the track has changed quite a lot since this morning, it was a bit more slippery and the track temperature was high. It is also very hard on the brakes. I am sure we have made the right choice of tyres and I hope I will have a good race tomorrow."

Tiago Monteiro - 18th: "My lap was pretty good; I was pushing really hard until the last corner where I made a mistake which cost me some time. However, I am quite satisfied with the balance of the car. It will be a long and challenging race tomorrow, especially if it is that hot but I think we will be OK. I am looking forward to that."

Adrian Burgess - Sporting Director: "We had a balance change for both drivers from this morning and we are reasonably happy with the preparations and car set up for the Grand Prix tomorrow. The race will be long, we are satisfied with the decisions made and hope we will be there at the end."


Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "Am I satisfied with the way tomorrow's grid will line up? Absolutely. It is clear that there will be a real fight here in Montreal and we thrive on that. Several of our partner teams will be involved, too. "The track appeared to be about one second slower in qualifying than it was during this morning's free practice, but generally it has evolved as we expected. The fresh patches that were put in place overnight have not made any significant difference - the transversal loads F1 cars put through the circuit cause a sort of viscous effect, whereby a recently-laid track surface shifts gently, but the chemicals laid down should stabilise things for the balance of the weekend. I saw exactly the same thing happen at Dallas in 1984, when the organisers knew how to deal with it."

Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities: "All three of Michelin's available tyre compounds will be used in tomorrow's grand prix - and the three fastest Michelin cars are using two of them. Despite the fierce heat and the high loads this track can place on tyres, we have not experienced any technical problems. Our tyres have been extremely consistent over long runs and our partners should be in good shape tomorrow."


Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager: "The track has been evolving as the day has gone on, particularly the areas which were repaired overnight and we expect tomorrow to really see our tyre performance develop. It was nice to see Michael back on the front row of the grid. As always, having better grip does give you a better chance of a good result. Today's conditions have been quite hot with high track temperatures and it has been good to see that our tyres have the speed and consistency in these conditions. I am only sorry that Rubens had a problem which ruined his qualifying run. Christijan Albers, however, put in an impressive run. His hard work in the practice sessions in terms of car set up seems to be paying off."

Previous article Stoddart Praises Albers' "Mega" Lap
Next article Dennis: Australian GP Hurt McLaren