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Saturday's Selected Quotes - Italy


Kimi Raikkonen - 1st: "Unfortunately, I can not make the best use of my qualifying performance which would have been pole position. Having to start from 11th position I face a difficult race but it was the best I could achieve. However the speed of our car is so good, which means I still see a chance of moving up the field and you never know what happens."

Juan Pablo Montoya - 2nd: "A clean and fast lap and I am pretty happy with my performance. It is good to start from the front, and I now need a trouble free run to the first corner. To get through there without problems is crucial. Unfortunately Kimi has to start from 11th, but a lot is still possible. We will give it our all to win the race and close the gap in both the Drivers' and Constructors' World Championship.

Ron Dennis: "Today's qualifying session has shown how strong our team is. Juan Pablo had a great, clean, well driven lap doing exactly what was necessary to put him on pole. Both drivers' strategies give them every opportunity to win but of course it is going to be somewhat easier for Juan Pablo. Kimi's lap was sensational, but due to the penalty after the fourth free practice session we had to change our strategy, making Kimi's performance more impressive. He is still in with a chance of winning if he can keep out of trouble in the run to the first chicane. With Juan Pablo on pole position we have a solid basis for fighting for the victory tomorrow."

Norbert Haug: "Kimi's and Juan Pablo's qualifying laps were first class and starting with both cars from the front row would have been the best reward for all the efforts the team has put in. Following Kimi's engine change due to an inlet valve failure, the team altered their strategy. Taking this into account Kimi's lap time is even more special. With the speed and performance of his car Kimi can still achieve a top result if there will not be any problems at the first or second chicane after the start. Everybody in the team will remain positive and give it their all for top results tomorrow. In the meantime it is very clear that we have to improve our reliability. This is clearly being addressed within Mercedes-Benz in Brixworth and I am sure that everybody will do a thorough job to achieve total reliability in the same way as we have achieved the speed of our package."


Fernando Alonso - 3rd: "It was a nice lap for me. We have had a few more problems with the car than we expected this weekend, after a good test, but we worked quite a lot this morning to prepare for the race and improve the handling. Even so, I had some doubts about our speed over one single lap, but I showed the speed was there this afternoon - which makes me even more confident for tomorrow. Obviously, I have been helped by Kimi's problem but that doesn't change anything for us: we know we need to finish the race with no problems, and hopefully get on the podium. That's what I will be doing tomorrow afternoon."

Giancarlo Fisichella - 9th: "I am very disappointed after that lap. I locked up under braking for the first chicane, and lost at least half a second in that corner and on the straight afterwards. Without that, I think I could have certainly been in the top five, so obviously I am quite a long way from the potential this afternoon. But I am still positive for tomorrow - wee will see how much fuel the other cars have for their first stint, and I think our strategy will help me to climb some more positions."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "After a good test last week and a strong performance in practice, it was disappointing for Giancarlo to lose out so much in qualifying. Fernando put in a good, clean lap and his position on the front row tomorrow is well deserved. Of course, that position comes as a result of Kimi's penalty, which will put him in dangerous territory tomorrow in the opening laps. The drivers around him will know that they can afford to be very forceful with him on the way to the first chicane."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "This afternoon's qualifying session confirmed that McLaren are the team to beat this weekend. From our point of view, it was disappointing that we were not able to put both cars where they should be, on the front two rows, in order to capitalise fully on Raikkonen's problems. Both RS25 engines have run reliably so far, after our preparation in testing last week, and the cars have been very competitive in terms of their straight line performance."


Jenson Button - 4th: "I am pretty happy with that! After suffering with the set-up of the car a bit this morning, and having to slow up in the final free practice session because of the two yellow flags, I was a little disappointed before qualifying. Alonso and I were extremely close for 2nd, but 3rd here does have the advantage of being on the cleaner side of the track. It's nice to be near to the front on the grid again and hopefully we have a reasonably good strategy and pace so we can keep it there!"

Takuma Sato - 5th: "I enjoyed the lap and I'm very happy to be starting 4th tomorrow. I was very pleased with the car balance this morning when we were very consistent through the longer runs during free practice. We have a strong package now after making some changes since yesterday and I hope tomorrow we can repeat the success that we had here last year. Traditionally we always have a good race in Monza so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director: "Today was a much better day for us than yesterday and most of the credit for this great improvement should go to our engineers and drivers, who came up with a revised set-up which worked much better. Both Jenson and Taku did a great job in qualifying, producing two really good laps. Starting on the second row should bode well for us in the race."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "A good solid job. Both of the guys did really well on their qualy laps today - when it mattered most. I always enjoy the race here and I am looking forward to tomorrow."


Jarno Trulli - 5th: "I was not expecting to be so quick or to be able to put together a lap time like that. You have to be very precise with your braking here, so to get it right in qualifying when you only have one lap is very difficult. But the car behaved well and the lap was clean, smooth and just aggressive enough. We have a good strategy for the race, so I am confident we can convert this into a good result. It is always special to be at home with so many supporters, and I have always been competitive here but I have not had much luck, so I hope to turn that around tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher - 11th: "That was a pretty good lap from me, particularly because I had some trouble finalising my set-up this morning. We made a set-up change in the break before qualifying and that was a help. I didn't feel totally comfortable over the kerbs but it was a clean lap and I had no particular problems. Our grid position certainly leaves us in good shape to chase another strong points finish tomorrow."

Mike Gascoyne ­ Technical Director Chassis: "It's always nice to have both cars in the top ten so that was quite a pleasing qualifying result. Jarno was reasonably happy with his car all weekend and he managed to put together a good lap in qualifying. Ralf was less happy with his car after this morning's free practice, but he made some changes which improved the car slightly for qualifying. We've aimed our strategy firmly at having a good race tomorrow, so given our starting positions and the pace we've shown all weekend we can be fairly confident for a strong points finish tomorrow or maybe even a podium."


Michael Schumacher - 7th: "Considering I had to make my run early in the session, which is definitely a disadvantage, I am quite happy with my lap time, which owes a lot to the work we did here last week. Although we should not really use our performance in Turkey as a reference point, this is an improvement. We have worked well and, if you leave out one team, who are just too dominant, we are in the frame. Tomorrow, our realistic target is to fight for points. Although it would be wonderful to end up on the podium in front of all our home fans, I feel that is a bit too optimistic."

Rubens Barrichello - 8th: "I think that today's performance shows that we have done a good job of improving the car since yesterday. But I drove a good lap which started very well, until I had a bit too much graining on the front tyres, which caused the car to understeer and I lost time in the two Lesmo corners. Considering the problems we have encountered so far, I think I can be relatively pleased with today's result and I am happy with my last good qualifying lap for Ferrari at Monza."

Jean Todt: "Today's result is a pretty faithful assessment of the situation, even allowing for the unknown factor of the various fuel loads carried by the other cars. We are well aware that we continue to suffer from the problem which has been with us all season, namely poor grip. We are working intensively with our partner Bridgestone to try and resolve it. Of course we would have preferred to be higher up the grid, particularly for the benefit of all the Ferrari employees who, today and tomorrow, have their own grandstand here, and for all our fans. We can assure them we will, as always, give it our best shot. The key factors will be strategy, reliability and the behaviour of the tyres throughout the course of the race. We hope that the excessive wear we encountered in the past few races will not happen again tomorrow."

Ross Brawn: "Considering our limited expectations for this weekend, I think that our qualifying performance was not too bad. Yesterday, we were not so happy with the balance of the car and the engineers and drivers have done a good job to improve that situation. Another reason for optimism is that this morning the tyres seemed to perform consistently. Therefore, we can be hopeful of having a good race. But in order to do that, it will be important to overtake the cars directly ahead of us on the grid."

Red Bull

David Coulthard - 10th: "No big events during that lap; the balance of the car was good, but it was capable of going quicker. I wasn't entirely happy with my performance in qualifying and think it's fair to say that Christian wasn't either. I wasn't really able to feel the car enough on the warm up lap, it felt a bit numb, so I couldn't tell how hard to push. As a result, I was a bit too conservative going into the first chicane and lost a couple of tenths by braking too early. It's frustrating when that happens, as once you've taken the decision, it's difficult to make up the time after. Nonetheless, I think we've got good experience of the car on this track and it's certainly possible for the team to score some points."

Christian Klien - 13th: "I don't think that was such great lap. I suffered with understeer in two different places, including the last corner. It meant I had to back off and lost some time. I think it could have been better, as overall feeling of the car is good, but a few small mistakes make all the difference."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Tenth and thirteenth is a respectable performance. Both drivers felt there was more time to be extracted from the qualifying session, but the absolute optimum would have been ninth for us today. Looking to tomorrow, we've got a good strategy and, as we tend to race better than we qualify, I think we can look forward to an interesting afternoon."


Jacques Villeneuve - 12th: "We are only two positions off our ideal position, which would have been 10th, so it was not too bad for me today. The lap was quite good."

Felipe Massa - 16th: "Starting in the first three in qualifying is definitely not great! When my turn came the track was still quite slippery. But looking at our strategy the lap was actually pretty good and we know that our car is going to be better in race trim, so the situation is a lot better than it appears to be."

Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Overall today was good. We improved the balance of the cars after this morning. And taking into consideration the fact that Felipe had to start the session so early when track conditions were not optimal, and the race strategy that we have chosen for each car, we have achieved a reasonable qualifying result."


Mark Webber - 14th: "The car seems to be reasonable so far this weekend. Last week in the test here we showed some positive steps in performance in relation to the outright pace. Clearly the people working back at the factory have done a good job in the wind tunnel with such a low down- force package which you need in Monza and also BMW is pushing hard for this race. Having to start as second qualifier didn't help, but I am happy with my lap anyway. The race in Monza is usually hard on the tyres and the cars are sliding a lot around the corners, but it's the same for everyone and it should be an interesting race tomorrow."

Antonio Pizzonia - 16th: "I was still sleeping when the telephone rang this morning at 8:30 and they told me to rush to the track. I have been away from the car for nearly three months and the last time I drove an F1 car it was fitted with a V8 engine, which makes a big difference. Obviously it was a bit tricky to get used to the car so quickly, but I am happy to have the opportunity to race for the team again. Knowing that I was going to be the first car out for qualifying, today we concentrated more on race set up but I am happy with my qualifying lap, considering the situation. There is a lot more to come from me and hopefully I can do a good job tomorrow."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "This is more or less what we were expecting from today due to running first in qualifying. After last week's testing and the four free-practice sessions held this weekend, I believe that we are much stronger than the qualifying positions would suggest. We have a good strategy for the race tomorrow and our target is to get the cars into the points. We did not have any mechanical issues today. Under the circumstances Antonio did the best he could at such short notice and with little practice."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "The result of the qualifying this time does not reflect the potential of our cars. Our drivers had to start first for qualifying and therefore provided the vacuum cleaner to the track. For Antonio this came on top of the fact that he was told only this morning that he was driving here and he had to jump in at the deep end. The task for this race is to gain some positions and considering that overtaking is possible here in Monza and that we have shown good performance in practice, this should be feasible. Technically, both cars ran trouble-free."


Narain Karthikeyan - 19th: "My lap was ok considering the accident I had this morning when I spun the car under braking, trying to get heat into a new set of tyres. I am still feeling a bit sore. The mechanics worked really hard to fix the car and they did a great job. However, in qualifying, the car was a bit unstable so we decided to take it a bit easier. Nevertheless, I am pretty confident for tomorrow's race."

Tiago Monteiro - 17th: "I am quite satisfied with my lap in qualifying today. The new car felt ok, however Monza is not the easiest track to gain a greater benefit but we had more stability in the entry of the corners. We are looking forward to tracks with more downforce where we will be able to use the advantage we have with the new package. Here the track is tricky for everyone as the low downforce set-up naturally makes the car a bit unstable. I am happy with the new car and we know there is still much more to come."

Adrian Burgess - Sporting Director: "It was not the best qualifying session after the work we have done beforehand. Both drivers struggled a bit to get heat into their tyres for their qualifying runs. Narain's case was made worse by having a small off this morning. We had to rebuild the car quite significantly in the gap so it made his job a bit more difficult. We know we have a good strategy for tomorrow and if we keep our heads down, we should be in a good position for a competitive race."


Robert Doornbos - 18th: "It's been a strong weekend so far for the Minardi team, and also for me. We have been able to find a good set-up for the car, and I have been able to be quick in every practice session. I was a little bit apprehensive about qualifying, as we had a technical problem in Turkey and I was a bit too enthusiastic in Hungary, but we had a good, clean lap today. It's nice to see that we can really fight with the Jordans, and I hope it continues this way for me tomorrow."

Christijan Albers - 20th: "It was a shame about qualifying today, but it can happen when you are driving on the limit - sometimes you go over it. I'm sorry for the boys, as well, since they worked hard on the car. Anyway, tomorrow's a new day, and you score points for the race, not qualifying, so we'll see what we can do."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Both drivers did very solid jobs today. It was a shame about Christijan's mistake in the second sector of his qualifying lap, because clearly, both Minardis are again on the pace of the team's nearest rivals. As ever, we look forward to an interesting race tomorrow."


Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "Both our compounds have worked very well here, but in the end most of our partner teams have chosen to run with the same type of tyre tomorrow. Despite the heat and extreme straight-line speeds, which have a habit of increasing rear tyre temperatures, we have had no signs of undue wear or blistering. There have been no real shocks today, with a clutch of Michelin runners at the front. There is always the chance of the race throwing up a few surprises, of course, but come what may I know that our tyres will be in good shape for what will be the fastest race of the year."


Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport: "Both Michael and Rubens were setting competitive and consistent lap times this morning which was good to see. From that point of view the car-tyre package is showing good performance in race trim and given that this is the fastest circuit on the calendar I am pleased that we have not experienced any problems with our tyres so far this weekend. Combined with their grid positions set this afternoon, I think they could have a good race. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Jordan and Minardi drivers race tomorrow as we are quite pleased with their runs in the practices and qualifying."

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