Saturday's Selected Quotes - Italian GP
Rubens Barrichello - 1st: "I am so happy with this result. The car was really good and I got the most out of it. It felt better through the Lesmos than in the last section and even if you can never do a perfect lap, I think it was very near the limit. But at Monza the important thing is to get it right rather than be on the limit because a tiny mistake can cost you half a second. It was an exciting lap for me from inside the car. I won here in 2002, I like Monza and while in the past, all the support we got here would distract me, now it gives me a boost. I am quite confident for tomorrow, when we will see what the weather brings."
Michael Schumacher - 3rd: "My lap started well with a good time in the first sector, where before I had been struggling. Then I lost the time in the final part, but Rubens did a perfect lap and I could not have matched it anyway, so I cannot complain. As for tomorrow, I am not so far away from Rubens, so we have a strong chance of transforming today's performance into a good result. Coming here having won both championships, it would be great to do it in style. It would be the perfect way to thank our tifosi."
Jean Todt: "It was a really exciting qualifying. I was worried that we would not take pole position, right here in front of our fans and our staff, who have their own grandstand at the entry to the Parabolica. But, we did it, thanks to Rubens who drove a fantastic lap. I am happy for him, as he adds another pole to the one he took in Indianapolis back in June. We have one Ferrari behind another on the grid, as Michael qualified third. Now we have to tackle the toughest part of the weekend, which is the race itself. We know we can count on a car- engine-Bridgestone tyre package that is very competitive and effective, but we are expecting a close fight. The weather forecast is uncertain, with a chance of rain, which adds another unknown element. We hope to give our fans something more to celebrate."
Ross Brawn: "All weekend, it's been difficult to know where we stood in the pecking order. Given the strategy we have chosen, I am happy with our performance today. Rubens drove a really fantastic lap, incredible. He put pressure on Michael, who made a small mistake on his lap. First and third on the grid is a great result. I think we can have a very consistent race in performance terms, thanks to our Bridgestone tyres."
Juan Pablo Montoya - 2nd: "The team did a very good job today and we had two good qualifying sessions. My final qualifying lap was not the best, because I pushed very hard and made too many mistakes, but even if it had been perfect I still think Ferrari would be ahead, Rubens put in a very good lap! It is a positive result for our team, especially because the top times are very close together here. We will see how the race goes and what strategy Ferrari are on. I also started second last year so I really cannot complain! We had three good days of testing here last week, and they seem to have really paid off."
Antonio Pizzonia - 8th: "After a very good pre-qualifying I had a slightly less successful final qualifying lap, but I am still quite happy because I know I have a good race car. Eighth is still a good position to start from and still a reasonable gift for my birthday. The top ten positions are very close. Unfortunately I made a small mistake in the middle sector which cost me probably a few positions but still I know that we have a consistent pace for tomorrow's race and a good strategy."
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "It was a good qualifying session from both of our drivers and it is good to be back on the front row. Monza is a hard circuit on the brakes and on the engine. We spent a lot of time to prepare ourselves in the test last week and also in the free practice sessions. Now we are looking forward to a good race tomorrow but it will be interesting to see what the weather will be like."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "I am satisfied so far. Setting the fastest lap times in pre-qualifying meant we secured the best starting positions for the final qualifying. Both drivers were brilliant in sectors one and three, but lost fractions in the middle sector. Starting from the front row gives Juan excellent chances for the race. Antonio was just two tenths of a second slower than him and yet he lines up only eighth. This shows how tight the competition is here in Monza. Obviously we are pleased to have shown a strong performance so far on what is known as an engine circuit par excellence."
Fernando Alonso - 4th: "I am quite surprised to be fourth on the grid. We knew things would be very tight, and I managed to take advantage of that to get a place on the second row. The timed lap was quite difficult because the car was understeering in the first part of the lap, at the second chicane and the Lesmos, but then handling really well in the fast corners in the final sector. Overall, though, the balance of the car was good and I am pretty confident tomorrow. I think we can run an aggressive race and fight for a podium position as we had hoped."
Jarno Trulli - 9th: "I am really pleased with my qualifying performance. I pushed to the limit and managed to put in a good lap. I still do not feel completely comfortable with the car, and it was nervous and difficult to drive on the lap, so I took a lot of risks and they paid off. The car is quite competitive here and from what we have seen so far, we should be consistent on the longer runs. I will definitely be aiming for a good points finish tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "At a circuit like Monza where overtaking is nearly impossible, it is important to be well positioned at the front of the field, and Fernando put in a strong performance to achieve exactly that. Unfortunately, Jarno was still not comfortable with the car balance after practice this morning, so we chose to go a more conservative route with his strategy, which explains the difference in the drivers' positions. We had predicted that the field would be very tight and the top ten are covered by just a second. Given how close everybody is, we were surprised to see Barrichello on pole by six tenths of a second, but we will have to wait for the race to understand what is going on."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This was a pleasing qualifying result for the team. Fernando gave himself a solid starting point for the race, although Jarno seems to be less well-placed at the moment. On the engine side, we have experienced no problems at all and the weekend has run to plan. Looking ahead to tomorrow, there is still a question mark over the weather and, of course, our competitors' race strategies. If, as usual, the fuel loads only vary by several laps, then we will certainly have a good idea of exactly how quick everybody is after the first fifteen laps tomorrow."
Takuma Sato - 5th: "This is not where we felt we could be on the grid here, but the close lap times at the front of the grid have shown that it was a very competitive qualifying session. I think we can be happy with our performance today and it's good that we have split the Renaults. We tested successfully here last week and the team have really progressed well through the weekend so far. I believe that we should have a strong strategy, and as a result, a good race here tomorrow."
Jenson Button - 6th: "I had a good balance in pre-qualifying but when it came to the actual qualifying run, the car was very different. I had a lot of oversteer - some big snaps as soon as I got on the power at the exits, especially at Lesmos and Ascari. So it was pretty tough and quite disappointing, but I'm sure we can do something from there."
Shuhei Nakamoto Â Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "I am happy to have both drivers in the top six today and only being one tenth of a second from the front row should allow us to fight for a podium."
Kimi Raikkonen - 7th: "It was an OK lap. I think I was a bit too quick coming into the last corner and possibly lost some time, but otherwise it was good. Rubens is a lot faster than everybody else, but apart from him we are all pretty close. It will be interesting to see what happens in the race when it becomes clear what strategy other teams have chosen. In addition the weather might play a role as some say it could rain."
David Coulthard - 10th: "A very close qualifying session where a few tenths of a second made a big difference to where you are on the grid. My lap was a tidy one. However, I did lose a small amount of time in Ascari, but because we are so close this cost me some positions. We believe that our strategy will allow us a strong race."
Ron Dennis: "A very close qualifying session with the varying fuel loads and strategies distorting the grid. We are looking forward to the race where it will quickly become apparent as to whether we have chosen the right strategy or not."
Norbert Haug: "Everything is really close apart from Rubens' pole time, and we should have a better performance in the race than our grid positions indicate."
Ricardo Zonta - 11th: "I am very pleased with my qualifying lap this afternoon. We have worked very hard in preparation for this race, both at the test session last week and in the free practice sessions. The Michelin tyre evaluation work we carried out yesterday was beneficial for qualifying and I think the tyres will be consistent in the race. I would have liked to get into the top ten, but I am satisfied with eleventh - it is a good position from which to start the race and I hope from there we can get a positive result."
Olivier Panis - 13th: "I cannot say that I have enjoyed a trouble-free weekend up to now. After the problems we faced in yesterday's practice sessions, we were forced to change the gearbox on my car just before pre-qualifying today. The team has been working hard to fix the car quickly, but I am still not totally happy with the car. Considering all the problems that we have encountered, I think we should be content with 11th and 13th places on the grid, even if I personally expected us to be more competitive at this high-speed track. Now we simply have to be focused on tomorrow's race and hope for our fortunes to change."
Luca Marmorini - Technical Director Engine: "Overall, I think that we have achieved encouraging qualifying positions today and both Ricardo and Olivier performed well. Basically, the results are very similar to what we expected. We opted to run both sessions with more fuel in the car to make sure that there were no surprises in the important second session. The Monza circuit is particularly stressful on the engine, but so far this weekend we have had no difficulties. We studied the problem that we unfortunately experienced in Spa and we subsequently found the cause to be a broken bearing. We have taken measures to ensure that we never have this problem again. From 11th and 13th places on the grid, I really hope we can score some points tomorrow afternoon."
Mark Webber - 12th: "We had a good morning session today when we worked on both balance and race set-up. Going into qualifying this afternoon I was happy with the work that the team had done in preparing the car. I really enjoy driving this track here although there are probably too many straights and not enough corners, as I would like. The first chicane can be quite tricky though and you really need to have a perfect lap to get those extra tenths out of the car. I am pleased to have split the Toyotas and certainly, I will be doing what I can to make the most of any opportunities tomorrow. The team and I worked hard last night and we are pleased with our tyre decision and strategy ahead of the race. I think there is some rain forecast for tomorrow so it could be an interesting race. This track is incredibly fast and it is specifically tough on brakes and can also punish the rear tyres. We have come here well prepared though and we will be doing what we can tomorrow to score some more Championship points."
Christian Klien - 14th: "We made some good tyre decisions last night which has made today much easier for us. I managed to complete twenty-six laps this morning in free practice that allowed me to fine-tune the car ahead of qualifying. This afternoon the car felt good and I was generally pleased with how my final qualifying lap went. However I made a slight mistake at the Ascari chicane and this probably lost me a couple of tenths. Despite that I was pleased with where we have ended up given our strategy and the race-pace of the car. I am very much looking forward to this race tomorrow, as I am sure that there will be some excitement on track. The high speeds make it exhilarating and I will be doing what I can to make it to the chequered flag and score some more points."
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance "We have been reliable all weekend and I am really pleased with the way the team has prepared for this track and worked towards both qualifying and the race. This morning was good for us as although we are pleased with our long-run performance we wanted to concentrate on improving our first-lap performance. We completed this successfully this morning and we then were able to do set-up work to optimise the race performance. Going into qualifying we were satisfied and given our final positions on the grid for tomorrow I am pleased with our progress. We have made a good tyre choice and we have worked on our strategy. Mark's lap was very good and whilst Christian may have lost a tenth or so on the Ascari Chicane I am still pleased with his starting place. Tomorrow's race is going to be tough but we are certainly looking for the chequered flag and as always, more points."
Giancarlo Fisichella - 15th: "My lap was not so good. Obviously we had a fair amount of fuel, but while the first sector was very good I was too conservative in the second and then braked too late for Parabolica and got into a lot of understeer. That cost me at least three-tenths. We are, however, optimistic for the race because we know how consistent the car is on long runs."
Felipe Massa - 16th: "There was a big difference in the balance of my car between its pre-qualifying configuration and the qualifying set-up, and this caught me out a little under braking for the first part of the first chicane. I locked the rear wheels a little and ran in wide, so after that the lap was ruined. It's a pity because the rest of it was very good. I probably lost two, maybe three, positions. Now I just have to exploit the car's strong race form as much as I can."
Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "Qualifying was unsatisfactory. I hope the race will be better."
Nick Heidfeld - 17th: "Obviously it was a disappointing day for me although it was clear already that I would be starting the race tomorrow ten places back because of the engine change yesterday. I was not able to do a quick lap in pre-qualifying as I had a gearbox problem and we were not able to rectify it before qualifying so we chose to jump in the spare car. In the circumstances, I was quite happy with the lap."
Giorgio Pantano - 18th: "I was expecting better from qualifying. I lost two or three tenths of a second when I went off slightly at the exit of Ascari - I think I was pushing a bit too much. Apart from that mistake I think it was the maximum."
James Robinson - Head of Race aAnd Test Engineering: "Nick had a gear selection problem with his car in pre-qualifying which we were not able to fix before qualifying. Having already incurred a ten places back penalty for changing his engine yesterday, we chose to use the spare car given the high probability of rain tomorrow. Giorgio's car had to be repaired after his accident late in free practice so the boys worked hard and did well to get it ready in time for pre-qualifying."
Zsolt Baumgartner - 19th: "The accident this morning was very unfortunate, and I was lucky, as the speed differential between my car and the car that hit me was much higher than at Spa two weeks ago. As for my qualifying run, I locked the brakes up going into the first chicane and slid across the first part of it, losing time in the process. Otherwise, the rest of the lap was better than on the previous run. In any event, I am happy with qualifying today and with the fact I didn't suffer any injuries in the accident."
Gianmaria Bruni - 20th: "My qualifying lap was good and the car felt fine considering the strategy we have adopted for tomorrow, when it may well rain. I didn't make any obvious mistakes on my flying lap and the time was quite good, so I'm very happy with the work we've done today."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It hasn't been the greatest of days for the Minardi team. Two race weekends in succession, Zsolt was been taken out as a result of someone else's problems. This time, although the accident didn't look as dramatic as the one at Spa, the damage was far more serious, resulting in the total loss of the chassis. That's racing, however, and all in all, the team did well to get Zsolt settled in the spare car for qualifying. As for Gimmi, he's had a solid debut at his â€˜home' Grand Prix. Also on the positive side, it's good to see the encouraging lap times that have been set in preparation for tomorrow's race."
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager: "It's great to see Rubens on pole! I was very impressed with his fantastic performance. Michael was on track to be closer to Rubens but unfortunately he lost a little time in the final sector. Generally though, I'm satisfied with today's tyre performance and encouraged for tomorrow which will be an interesting race. While the other Bridgestone cars are further down the grid I wouldn't discount them and judging by their practice session results, I fully expect them to be running well."
Pierre Dupasquier, motorsport director: "Our partner teams got through an enormous amount of work and our tyres have consistently shown the same blend of speed and consistency that was evident both yesterday and during last week's test. Obviously I don't know what fuel loads our main competitors are running, but I am confident that several of our partner teams have the capacity to challenge for victory tomorrow. The track has not changed a great deal this weekend â€" but that's a traditional facet of Monza. Circuits with a greater number of corners are always prone to evolve more than somewhere with so many long straights. There remains a risk that things could change dramatically tomorrow. Rain remains a strong possibility, particularly in the morning. It is worth noting that the circuit takes a long time to dry properly here, because so much of the lap is surrounded by overhanging trees. If the adverse conditions hold off, the Michelin teams will use three different types of dry-weather tyre in the race."
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