Saturday's Selected Quotes - US
Jarno Trulli - 1st: "It's been a day of mixed emotions for the whole Toyota team after all the troubles we had yesterday so that makes this result all the sweeter. I did a good job and put in a great, clear lap, but I was still very happy to keep hold of pole position right up to the end of the session. It's been a strange day and I didn't do many laps in practice, but I just had to stay calm and do my work despite the limited mileage. Obviously the tyres remain a big concern for the race so we hope that we can sort this problem out for tomorrow. Hopefully we will learn more this afternoon. Then we must just look forward to the race and see what we can do."
Ricardo Zonta - 13th: "I'm happy for Jarno, but those were certainly not the ideal circumstances for my first qualifying run in eight months. There was a bit of confusion this morning after the accidents yesterday and we didn't do much running overall. Even so, qualifying went okay. Going out first is hard because that's when the track is at its most slippery, and I found myself sliding quite a lot. But I'm satisfied with my lap and happy to be have another chance to race."
Dieter Gass Chief Race Engineer: "It's great for Jarno to get our first ever pole position, and we're all very happy with that. He did another very good lap, as we've grown used to seeing from him in qualifying this year, and he just managed to edge out Raikkonen. For Ricardo it was obviously a lot more difficult being the first car out and we saw big differences between the cars in other teams which had an early car and a late car. But he still did a good job to gain some places. Now we must see what happens concerning the tyres for tomorrow. Everyone knows about the problems that we and Michelin have had here. Now we must wait for information from Michelin about the race situation tomorrow. There's talk of bringing another tyre out to Indianapolis, but we need to wait for a decision."
Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd: "I think that was a pretty good lap, and I was very close to getting pole position, but at least we got on the front row. It will be interesting to see what strategies the other drivers are using. Like a lot of other teams our preparations were made a bit difficult by the Michelin situation, but we just continue to do what we can in our fight for the Championships. The car was working well, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race. My side of the track might be a bit slippery, but we will see what happens."
Juan Pablo Montoya - 11th: "I knew that it would be difficult because I had to do my qualifying lap so early, but it was not until I got out there I realised how challenging it would be. There was no grip, and I was sliding all over the place. The lap was OK, and whilst I did lock up a bit I don't think it lost me too much time. Obviously we had to change the tyre pressure slightly following advice from Michelin, but it didn't really affect the handling too much and it's the same for everybody. I believe the car is quick enough to win the race, but starting so far back its going to be extremely challenging."
Ron Dennis: "Taking into account our race strategy, the grid positions are very good. Kimi's qualifying lap was tremendous and Juan Pablo also did an excellent job considering his strategy and the fact that he was out second for his qualifying run. A front row position and taking into account our starting performances so far this year Kimi should have a good opportunity to fight for the victory. With our Partner Michelin we are awaiting the final result of the detailed investigation that is being finalised at their research facilities. We along with the other Michelin teams will then decide the appropriate way forward for the race."
Norbert Haug: "Kimi's front row grid position is a perfect basis for the race. With 69 thousands of a second behind pole his qualifying lap was impressive, and he is starting the fifth time in the last six races from the front row. Our strategy should also help Juan Pablo to perform well. He obviously suffered from being second out in comparatively bad track conditions. But first of all we need to clarify the tyre situation together with our partner Michelin."
Jenson Button - 3rd: "It's nice to get two good qualifying sessions in a row following our pole in Montreal but it wasn't the best lap really for me today. We're definitely in better shape than yesterday and have made quite a few improvements to the car which is nice to see. However, I struggled with very low grip and understeer on my lap, so I was a little surprised at the time because it felt like a tough lap. Still, it's great to be third and I think we can do good things from here. Our strategy is a good one so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Takuma Sato - 8th: "It was a little bit difficult for me today because I used a different set-up in qualifying from this morning's practice. We needed to find a lot of speed after the Friday practice so we decided to go different ways with the two cars this morning. I had a relatively good lap but we suffered a little with straightline speed. I am hopeful for a good performance from the car tomorrow."
Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director: "We had quite a productive day. We made several changes overnight and ran the two cars very differently this morning, and the outcome was that the preferred set-up was the one we ran on Jenson's car. Taku did a good job in qualifying on an unfamiliar car, as did Jenson to qualify third. We finish today reasonably satisfied and positive about our chances tomorrow. With regards to the tyre situation for tomorrow, we await Michelin's decision and have confidence in their judgement."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "We had a better day today with both drivers doing a good job in the qualifying session. It is important that we turn our pace into points this weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella - 4th: "I had a good lap this afternoon, and the balance of the car has improved a lot today. I feel more comfortable attacking the corners and the handling is much more consistent. I had to run very early in the session, which was a small disadvantage, so I am really pleased to be on the second row. We have worked a lot to get the car strong for the race, and I am confident that we can be competitive again tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso - 6th: "My qualifying lap was a good one, without any mistakes. The car had a little bit of understeer, which slowed me down a bit on a single lap, but we have set it up like that with the race in mind. We are clearly not as competitive as we were in Canada, but after qualifying early, I think a position on the third row is a good starting point - especially as the times are very close. I can have a strong race from here."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "The disadvantage of our early qualifying slots did not prove to be too great at this circuit, and both drivers completed quick, clean laps. We had time overnight and this morning to work on the balance of the cars, and the drivers and engineers have done a good job in making an enormous improvement to both driveability and performance. We are confident that our grid positions can give us a good platform for the race, and if all things stay normal, we will be aiming for a strong finish."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "The grid is extremely close, with very small gaps between most of the drivers - and then two cars well in front of them on the front row, which may be explained by a different approach to race strategy. Our drivers put in very similar, competitive performances and we are in a strong position to challenge at the front of the field, starting from the second and third rows. We will be hoping to make up positions at the start, and our car seems to be set up for consistent performance throughout the race, both in terms of lap-time and straight-line speed."
Michael Schumacher - 5th: "I am quite happy with my qualifying performance and actually, fifth place is better than fourth on this grid as the other side is dirtier. Although I am not really sure why, it was already clear yesterday that we seem to be more competitive here than at some of the other tracks we have visited this year. I hope that we will find out tomorrow that we qualified with a heavier fuel load than our rivals, or at least closer in terms of fuel load than we were in Canada and I am hopeful of finishing on the podium tomorrow. As for Ralf, I spoke to him this morning and I think the decision not to race is the right one."
Rubens Barrichello - 6th: "I think we had a good qualifying, even if we could have done a bit better. However, a place on the fourth row is not that bad, as it is possible to overtake at this track. I expect that, as we have seen so far, we will be stronger in the race. That has been our strong point this season and also in the past at this circuit."
Jean Todt: "Strategy, reliability, consistent performance from the tyres - these will be, as usual in fact, the decisive factors in tomorrow's race. If we can operate at a maximum level for all these elements, then I am sure we can aspire to a good result. Now, we just have to see if we can attain this objective."
Ross Brawn: "We are reasonably happy with qualifying, Once again, we know we don't quite have the performance level over a single lap, but the Bridgestone tyres were very consistent in this morning's practice, so we can look forward to a good race. We just have to hope our drivers don't get stuck behind anyone at the start, because if Kimi makes a break at the front and we are trapped, it could be difficult. We can have a strong race and we have a good strategy for tomorrow."
Mark Webber - 9th: "It was a reasonable lap and I could not have got much more out of it. We have done as much as we could to prepare the car for the race and tonight we will again go through all our data. The tyre situation is obviously an issue at the moment, even if we didn't experience any problems. However, I have been through a similar situation before at Le Mans and it's important that the right decision is taken for all concerned. I am sure that Michelin will find a good solution in order to guarantee safety and a good race for everyone involved, included the pubic, of course."
Nick Heidfeld - 15th: "Qualifying didn't go as planned and I am not happy with my lap. The car was quite difficult to drive because there was very low grip. It was a lot better yesterday but this morning we struggled and again the same happened in qualifying. It is a bit of an unknown territory what we have entered in consequence of the tyre issue and this has probably also affected our performance today. However, we must say we haven't experienced any problems with our tyre so far this weekend."
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "It was a disappointing qualifying session for us, at least on the face of it. However th practice session long runs were good so we'll see tomorrow. We had to make a lot of adjustments to cope with the higher tyre pressure, now stipulated by Michelin. But this is the same for all the Michelin running teams. So far our car didn't experience any tyre faults. Now we look forward to our strategy tomorrow, when we will see where everybody is. It will be an interesting race tomorrow."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "As in previous years, Indianapolis does not seem to be a good place for our team again. Our qualifying performance was in accordance to what we have seen in free practice already. We are not able to run at the front here. Now both our drivers need to concentrate on a flawless performance in the race in order to make it into the points. One week ago we proved that this is possible."
Felipe Massa - 10th: "I'm pretty happy to be starting in the top 10. I think my lap was okay, no mistakes, though I was struggling just a little bit in the final sector as I lost some grip. I think we are where we should be, so it's not too bad. We can fight for points from here."
Jacques Villeneuve - 12th:: "It wasn't a bad lap but it wasn't quite as fast as I wanted. We thought we could get Juan Pablo but I guess I wasn't aggressive enough. The lap was too clean and there was less grip than there was this morning. The risk is that if you push too hard and make a mistake, you can lose half a second, so it's okay. The tyre degradation might be a little higher too with the higher tyre pressures, so it was hard to judge just how hard to push today. But it was okay."
Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Overall we are happy with our qualifying results, particularly when you look at just how close the times are here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both drivers have strong starting positions."
David Coulthard - 16th: "We've lost a little balance in the car since yesterday, after altering the tyre pressure. We've had to increase the pressure because we're competing on such an unusual track here. The actual qualifying lap itself wasn't going too badly in terms of balance, until the back straight going into Turn eight. I lost control of the back end of the car and quite a lot of time. We set some good laps yesterday, but with limited time in the car this morning, I've been prepared for a tricky weekend."
Christian Klien - 14th: "The qualifying lap was really good and the car felt comfortable through the one lap session. We had to increase the tyre pressure this morning, but it didn't affect things too much, so I was quite happy. I think tomorrow in the race, the higher tyre pressure might result in some oversteer, so we have to find a solution for that. The new engine was better and we definitely had more speed on the long straight."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "We were hoping for more from this qualifying session than fourteenth and sixteenth, but we've got a decent race strategy and I'm sure that we'll make up places tomorrow in the race. Christian drove a pretty clean lap and David was pushing as hard as possible, but had a moment that cost him a bit of time. But, we've scored points from these qualifying positions before and that's what we'll be looking to do tomorrow."
Narain Karthikeyan - 19th: "I had to start quite early in this qualifying session and the track was still a bit dusty. Therefore, I am pretty satisfied with my time and the balance of the car we have found. I think it was, as a whole, a decent lap. The wind was also a bit stronger compared to this morning but generally everything went OK. I now hope we will be able to get to the Finish line tomorrow and maybe score a point."
Tiago Monteiro - 17th: "My lap was very good and clean so I am very happy as I pushed really hard to make a good time here. The balance of the car was much better than yesterday and I would like to thank my engineers and team for that. I am quite confident about our race pace for tomorrow. Our Bridgestone tyres seem also to be working very well on long runs; therefore I hope we will have a good race tomorrow. I am also enjoying more to drive on this circuit now that I am used to it. It is really nice to race in front of such enthusiastic fans."
Adrian Burgess - Sporting Director: "Tiago had a clear and clean circuit and managed to set a reasonable time. Narain did a good job in the first and third sector but was a bit over-cautious in the middle. Overall we are looking good compared to our immediate competition and we are happy with our knowledge for the race tomorrow."
Christijan Albers - 18th: "It was a reasonable lap, but we will have to see what happens tomorrow with strategy and with the big story of the weekend, concerning tyres. Maybe events will play into our hands a little bit, but at the moment, it is not clear how the situation is going to develop."
Patrick Friesacher - 20th: "It was not a bad qualifying lap, even if there was a little bit of understeer and the traction was not as good as I would have liked. All told, though, I'm quite confident for tomorrow. The Bridgestones have been holding up well, and I think we may well race better than we qualified."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: " Both Minardi drivers performed well all day, allowing us to trade lap times with our nearest competitor, Jordan. Indeed, that is how qualifying ended up, with both teams on pretty much an equal footing. We now look forward to tomorrow's race, which could be very interesting indeed, pending discussions on tyre issues."
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport: "The Bridgestone tyres have been performing well here which is what we expected. Michael starts tomorrow from the third row and Rubens from the fourth row and I anticipate that they will both have a strong race. The characteristics of our tyres here should assist them with their race strategy tomorrow. Likewise we expect the Jordan and Minardi drivers to be fighting hard in the race. So far we have had a problem-free weekend but we are working hard with our teams to ensure all the necessary checks are carried out on our tyres ahead of tomorrow's race."
Albers Happy with Qualifying Pace
Post-Qualifying Press Conference - US
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Saturday's Selected Quotes - US
For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak