Formula 1 News

Drivers' quotes after Japanese GP qualifying

Alonso: “I am not very surprised by this result: at the end of the day, McLaren and Red Bull have been quicker than us all weekend long and at least we have managed to get ahead of Webber."
Saturday, October 8, 2011

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel (1st)
“I went off in the free practice yesterday and damaged the front wing, so it wasn’t ideal to prepare the car for today. We suffered a bit from that this morning regarding the car’s balance and were too slow. We sat down after P3 and looked at where we could improve and we were able to extract everything out of the car in qualifying, which was crucial. There wasn’t much between me and Jenson! I want to say thanks to the team and the factory for getting another front wing out for me, I would not sit here now without them, so I’m very happy and very proud. Regarding one point or no point tomorrow, I’m not focusing on that. I had a lesson yesterday where for a little moment I wasn’t 100 percent focused and lost the car. Tomorrow is a long race and it’s challenging; I’m looking forward to it. We really love to come here, it’s a special atmosphere and the fans are so passionate and crazy. When we leave the hotel in the morning, it’s full of people and they’re all screaming, so it’s a nice feeling to be part of that and starting from pole tomorrow will be special. It’s a long race and a lot of things can happen.”

Mark Webber (6th)
“I’m very surprised to be sixth. I did my best, but it wasn’t quick enough and it was a bit of a surprise that I couldn't go with the pace there at the end. Seb obviously did a massive lap for pole so he got on the front row just, which was a great effort. I’m disappointed to be on the third row. The car was pretty good yesterday on the long run - and it was good on short runs too, up until the end there – so clearly I didn't get the most out of it today. I’ll wake up and push tomorrow.”


McLaren

Jenson Button (2nd)
“This is the closest I’ve been to pole position all season, but it’s still not pole: tomorrow’s grid will still be the same distance from first to second place. But I’m satisfied, because I didn’t leave anything out on the track today - I feel like I got everything I could from the car; there was nothing left. I think the whole team feels encouraged because we didn’t come to this race with any significant upgrades, we just got the car working well all weekend. We have a more efficient rear wing, particularly with DRS, but we’ve just made this car very quick on high-speed circuits. We were quick at Spa, and we’re quick here too, so it’s no surprise. Our Friday long-runs on high-fuel were less than ideal, but we’ve seen the form vary significantly between Friday and Sunday, so tomorrow should be very different. Sunday’s the important day: we start second, but it’s so, so close. I really hope we can take the fight to Red Bull tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton (3rd)
“I’m happy to be third - I’ll be starting from the cleaner side of the grid, and we can have a good race from there. And I’m pleased that we’ve been extremely competitive all weekend. We’ve definitely shown an improvement: to be so close at a high-speed circuit like this means we’re doing well. It’s very encouraging, because if we’d had this car at the beginning of the season, I think the championship could have been a different story. In Q3, my final attempt at a lap was compromised when I entered the final corner on my out-lap and, from out of nowhere, Mark shot up the inside of me. Then Michael came past on my outside and went across the grass. Those incidents delayed me, so I couldn’t reach the start line to begin my lap - it was an interesting situation but we were all up against it to get across the line. I might be starting third, but I know I’m as quick as the two guys in front of me. It’s not been a fantastic weekend for me so far, so hopefully that’ll change tomorrow."

Ferrari

Felipe Massa (4th)
“It was a difficult qualifying session but at least we managed to keep one of the four best cars behind us. It’s never easy here to put together the perfect lap and my last run was very good, even if I lost a little bit in the final sector. Tomorrow, it will be important to get a good start. Hamilton alongside me on the grid? It makes no difference to me if it’s him or anyone else. The race looks like being a complicated one, with a lot of stops to change tyres that show significant degradation here, so it follows that strategy will play a key role. It will be vital to find the right pace, so as to be quick, but at the same time, save the tyres. Overtaking will not be easy, despite KERS and DRS: maybe tyre wear will count for more, given that you come onto the main straight off a very slow chicane. Our aim is the podium: we’re starting one place off it, so it’s a realistic expectation.”

Fernando Alonso (5th)
“I am not very surprised by this result: at the end of the day, McLaren and Red Bull have been quicker than us all weekend long and at least we have managed to get ahead of Webber. I seem to have a season ticket for fifth place this year and at least it means I start from the clean side of the track.Tomorrow I expect significant tyre degradation to be a key feature of the race, with the possibility of several pit stops, which means strategy will play a very important role. We hope we won’t have the same problems as in Singapore two weeks ago. We will try and make the best choices and fight for a podium finish, which is a realistic target. The win is certainly less so: as we saw in qualifying, McLaren seem very close to Red Bull here. The start will also be an important moment: both myself and Felipe will try and put pressure on those closest to us and then, if we happen to make up some places we will try and have our say. My first run in Q3? I was pushing to the maximum but, after looking at the lap time analysis, I don’t think I could have done much better than my second run.”


Mercedes GP

Michael Schumacher (7th)
"It was a tricky ending to my qualifying session today, but at least we have saved a set of tyres for the race tomorrow. We are still in a good position for gathering some important points, and obviously that is what I am geared to do. I am very happy with how we worked as a team to improve our performance this weekend, and I am really looking forward to having a good race at this great track which is one of my favourites."

Nico Rosberg (23rd)
"On my first lap out in Q1, the team advised that I had a problem and asked me to come back into the pits. We tried to fix it in time for me to complete a lap, however the hydraulic systems are quite complicated and there just wasn't enough time. So for the race, I have a promising strategy with all the new tyres that I have! But seriously, I will push and try to get into the top ten. That will be my aim tomorrow."


Renault

Bruno Senna (8th)
“It was a bit of a squeeze getting my car together in time for qualifying but the team did a fantastic job to mend it after my mishap in practice this morning. I haven’t been able to get as much track time as I would have liked yet this weekend, however the car performed flawlessly throughout qualifying, and the strategy we deployed helped put us in a strong position for the race tomorrow. I am really looking forward to lining up on the grid, as it should be an exciting race. As I’ve said several times this weekend, I love this track and I am very well supported here so I hope to be able to give the supporters in the stands something to shout about.”

Vitaly Petrov (9th)
“I’m pleased with lining up ninth on the grid. We are looking much stronger here than in Singapore, and we’re demonstrating the potential of the R31 at high speed corner tracks once again. The car has felt progressively better each time I’ve taken to the wheel this weekend. It felt good in FP1 and FP2, and then FP3 this morning confirmed my sense that there will be a good opportunity for us to perform well here. The stability of the car improved around the high speed corners and the traction was better too, so I’m feeling confident going into tomorrow. A lot of different strategies will be played out during the race but I’m glad we are back in the hunt again.”

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi (10th)
“I am really happy we made it into the top ten qualifying in Suzuka. I very much enjoy seeing all the fans here. In free practice we struggled quite a lot with the balance of the car, but the set up changes we made for qualifying worked out well. I think from the pace of the car you can see now that the new aero package is starting to work. My laps in Q1 and Q2 were good, and I can’t complain. We still have some good tyres left for the race tomorrow, and the race is what counts. I want to score points in front of this crowd.”

Sergio Perez (17th)
“As you can see from Kamui’s result the car is quite competitive, and I was optimistic t I would also make it to Q3. But then on my last lap in Q1 in sector two I suddenly had a hydraulic problem, I lost everything, starting with the power steering. Therefore I could not go out in Q2, which is obviously disappointing. The mechanics worked very hard and tried to fix it, but we have to do some further investigations and I’m sure we will be alright for the race. For me the weekend isn’t that easy because I also have a cold. However, looking at it positively – I have plenty of good tyres for tomorrow’s race.”


Force India

Adrian Sutil (11th)
“Overall I think today’s qualifying session went pretty well. I was a little bit disappointed to miss Q3 because we were not too far away from it, but everybody knows P11 is a very good place to start, especially because of the free choice of tyres for tomorrow. I was happy with my laps and I don’t think I could have found much more. Also, we opted to do just one run on the soft tyres in Q2, which means I have a fresh set available for the race. So I think we can make the strategy work tomorrow and have a good race.”

Paul di Resta (12th)
“Given the weekend we’ve had I’m pretty happy to be starting P12 – just a place behind Adrian. I’ve struggled to get fully up to speed here and find the ideal balance, which is why we’ve opted for a set-up more suited to the race. Hopefully that will pay off tomorrow because I think tyre wear is going to be a major factor in this race. Also, I’m feeling a bit under the weather today with a sore throat, so I’m pleased to come away with a starting position that should allow us to fight for points. I’ll get some rest tonight because this is one of the more physical tracks of the year and will give it my all tomorrow.”


Williams

Rubens Barrichello (13th)
“First of all I want to thank the team for working so hard on making the changes I wanted. The car wasn’t behaving well in practice this morning so we changed almost everything on it before qualifying. Everyone did a great job turning it around in time. The changes really transformed the car and we pulled off a strong lap this afternoon.”

Pastor Maldonado (14th)
“Quite a difficult qualifying for me, primarily because we lost a lot of track time during yesterday’s practice. We made a few changes after this morning’s session and we managed to get a good lap out of the car in qualifying. I don’t have the balance I’d like, but we have time go through everything and do some more work ahead of the race.”


Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi (15th)
“I got a super lap in Q1, but I cannot be happy with Q2, because I made a mistake on the exit of Turn Nine, hitting the kerb a bit too hard which sent me off into the grass, costing me around half a second. I am disappointed about that because I’ve ended up behind the Williams, when we could easily have been ahead of them. They don’t give out any points for qualifying, so we took the decision to save tyres for the race and we will see if that was the right choice tomorrow. Tyre degradation is quite heavy, which means that having new tyres will be important in the race.”

Jaime Alguersuari (16th)
“We could have had a much better qualifying in performance terms, but we had concentrated on the race in terms of our set-up and aero balance. Therefore, even if the grid position is not so good, I am quite happy because I feel that tomorrow I will have a car strong enough to score some points. I could have gone quicker this afternoon, but we decided to save tyres as well as run with a race set-up. I expect we can see a situation similar to Valencia and Monza, being very quick in the race. We have tried to focus a lot on the race in terms of getting consistency from the tyres, even if that was going to penalise us this afternoon. Thanks to the mechanics who did a good job of sorting out a problem on the car after Q1 in order to get me back on track in Q2.”


Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen (18th)
"I'm pretty happy with that, particularly as it was one run, one lap to get it right, and I nailed it straight out of the box. We took the riskier strategy with the tyres, went out late in the session and I think I may have even been able to find a bit more in the first sector, but overall I'm pleased. I went through 130R with the rear wing open which was pretty hardcore, but having been bold with the tyres we're in a good position for the race tomorrow. There's been quite a lot of talk about the tyre wear here but I'm not sure the degradation will be as big a problem as people thought. The long run on the soft tyres yesterday was good - I think we can get maybe up to 15 laps out of them, and as we have a few new sets ready to go tomorrow it'll be an interesting afternoon."

Jarno Trulli (19th)
“That was a good session. The car felt much better this afternoon as we made the right changes to the setup and even though I made a couple of mistakes on my quickest lap I still don't think I could have got much more out of it. Tomorrow we'll fight as hard as possible in the race and give our Japanese fans something to cheer for. Our pace in the races has been good all season, so I hope I can make as good a start as I have been in a lot of the races this year, play with the tyre strategies and see where we end up."


Virgin

Jerome D’Ambrosio (20th)
“It was a good Saturday. We had a very good last lap, something which is difficult to achieve here. You want to push hard, but you still have to think, as it’s all about priorities and working out which corners to sacrifice. I’m pretty happy about today, especially because we turned it around – yesterday was a difficult day and we managed to do well at a track like Suzuka. I’m really happy. I worked well together with the engineers and I think that thanks to this combination we improved the car and my driving.”

 

Timo Glock (21st)
“For me I think it was a good qualifying session. Going from free practice three to qualifying was a bit blind again because we tried something overnight which didn’t really work out as we had hoped, so we had to go back on that between sessions. In the end the car was really good and my lap was pretty spot-on. There’s not much to say apart from I think today Jerome was slightly quicker and he did a good job. I’m happy with the car so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

 


HRT

Daniel Ricciardo (22nd)
“From my point of view it was not a bad session. I approached it well and did what I had to do. In qualifying you have to push 100% and I definitely did that. I went a little bit wide in some areas from pushing too much but I’d say I only lost about a tenth which isn’t enough to get in front of our rivals. I am satisfied because the balance of the car was the best it’s been all weekend but the others have also improved and we have to keep on working. Anyways it’s time to focus on the race where I’m keen to put in a good performance.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi (24th)
“It’s been a terrible start to the weekend. Yesterday I could only do four laps, eight this morning after an engine issue and this afternoon again problems so in the end I’ve hardly done any laps in two days. We’ll start from last position, which isn’t very positive, and it’s a shame because the few laps we did weren’t too bad. But this is one of the best races of the season with a great atmosphere so I’m hoping to put this behind me and have a good race tomorrow.”
 

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1 Lewis Hamilton 384
2 Nico Rosberg 317
3 Daniel Ricciardo 238
4 Valtteri Bottas 186
5 Sebastian Vettel 167
6 Fernando Alonso 159
1 Mercedes 701
2 Red Bull Racing 405
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4 Ferrari 214
5 McLaren 187
6 Sahara Force India 152

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2
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