2008 Belgian Grand Prix, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on September 06th, 2008 at 5:47 pmLast Update: September 06th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

2008 Belgian Grand Prix, SPASam Michael: “It was obviously a disappointing session for Nico not to make it through to final qualifying and for Kazuki not to progress into Q2. Nico got the best out of the car and he was competitive in sector one and sector three, but he couldn’t improve in sector two which is where our weakness lies. We did expect that Spa would be one of our difficult tracks. From here we will work on strategy to, as always, keeping pushing and see if we can get into the points tomorrow.”

Steve Clark: “That is certainly the case. Following our poor showing yesterday we had to make some pretty significant changes to the cars overnight, both aerodynamic and suspension. Our Friday was not very productive, which is obviously not the best way to go into a Grand Prix weekend. This morning Rubens found the overnight changes to be beneficial but Jenson stopped out on the circuit with a mechanical problem. While P16 & P17 was not where we hoped to be, the reality is that it is a reasonable result given how the weekend started. The cars were well balanced and it seems unlikely that the drivers could have found enough to take them through to Q2. Starting from the latter half of the grid the strategy has to fairly conservative. Since the circuit modifications a couple of years ago there isn’t a high expectation of any safety car periods. The weather forecast is for dry conditions tomorrow, but in Spa there is always the possibility of an unexpected shower so we need to be ready to take advantage if that should be the case.”

Norbert Haug: “A very impressive pole lap by Lewis. With him being in first and Heikki in third position on the grid, we have achieved a great result. It’s Lewis’s 11th pole in his 30th Grand Prix and his 17th start from the front row, which is quite an impressive score. Hopefully we can make best use of these positions tomorrow. Thanks to everybody in the team – first and foremost to Lewis and to Heikki for a very good job.”

Christian Horner: “That was a good qualifying session for Mark, which sensibly places us on the grid for tomorrow. We dropped a bit of time at the Bus Stop chicane, so we could have been even quicker. In such a tight qualifying session, David missed out by the smallest of margins. The field continues to be as competitive as ever.”

Mike Gascoyne: “It was a very close session today and I think both drivers did a good job. It is a shame that a tenth would have picked up several places on the grid, but overall we have shown that we have closed the gap to the Williams’ and the works Hondas so a good effort from the team. Tomorrow we have to look to beat them out on the track.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “Better than expected, as I’d predicted tenth and thirteenth. It is the second race in a row that we get both cars into Q3 and they have run reliably. Clearly our guys are on two different strategies, so Vettel didn’t get the full potential out of the car as he is clearly heavier and he didn’t have the benefit of a first sighting run in Q3. Anything can happen at this track and for the race we wanted to have our cars positioned differently: the fastest driver and today that was Bourdais, gets the fastest strategy in Q3. Overall, it was a strong performance.”

Pascal Vasselon: “This was one of our worst qualifying results this season and it means that obviously we got something wrong in our preparation work. We will be busy tonight and tomorrow morning trying to understand what has happened here. Qualifying in 11th and 13th is obviously not what we expected and it is not a satisfying result. From a tyre point of view, not surprisingly the medium and hard compounds are not really suitable for these conditions and we had a difficult time running around on quite a cold track. However that is the same for everyone and it is for us to handle the situation. On the positive side the tyre choice itself for the race is pretty clear.”

Stefano Domenicali:”Overall, it’s a reasonably satisfying result. Of course, we always hope to be ahead of everyone, but it’s not always possible, especially as we are up against some very strong opposition, which we always knew was the case. When evaluating this session we also have to take into consideration that the difference in fuel loads, has a greater effect here than at other tracks. Tomorrow, apart from the usual factors, the weather could play a key role. As always, we will be doing our utmost to bring home the best possible result.”

Willy Rampf: “Although we struggled yesterday to find the right set-up, today we managed to get both cars safely into Q3. Nick in particular has made a big step forward since yesterday and he was very strong in qualifying. Robert struggled with the car’s set-up in all the practice sessions, and sector 2 was particularly difficult for him. I think we are well prepared for the race. Now we have to see what the other teams’ strategies are.”

Denis Chevrier: “Once again, we saw that qualifying is challenging. The first four places are still out of reach, but the sixth place for Fernando is a reason to be satisfied because it means we can hope to score some points tomorrow. Of course, we must not make any mistakes and look after our tyres because all the teams are close here, but I think it will be an interesting race on a circuit that is challenging for the cars and the drivers. Nelson must get ready for a difficult race, but we will do everything to help him progress in the race.”

Fabrice Lom: “It’s a good result for Mark to finish in P7 on this very difficult track that demands a lot from the engine. It’s good, especially after our difficult experiences in Valencia. For David, it will be a bit more complicated, fourteenth is not so high up and it’s not easy to overtake on this track. But it’s a difficult race for everyone here, so let’s wait and see, especially as changing weather conditions may affect things. We are beginning a cycle of two very difficult races for the engine, so even after this one we will still have to cope with Monza.”

Pat Symonds: “Our optimism from yesterday was fulfilled in qualifying with a very competitive session from Fernando. Nelson also looked strong, but he missed reaching the final part of qualifying by a very small margin. Spa normally produces good race and we look forward to it tomorrow.”

Ron Dennis: “First and third is a pretty good qualifying result by anyone’s standards, and it has set us up for what we hope will be a highly competitive showing tomorrow. We think we’ve worked out a decent race strategy, and we’re confident that both Lewis and Heikki will therefore be in good shape. There was a bit of a fuel difference between them today, so you can conclude that both of them did a fine job.”

Vijay Mallya: “I think today we have maintained the momentum we gathered in Valencia. Again we were very close to works’ cars and I feel we performed as well as we could have done at this track. We all know Spa is a classic circuit with several places one can overtake, and I am sure that the hungry drivers we have will not be hindered by their starting positions for long. Add the unpredictable weather to the mix and I think we could have a fantastic race on our hands!”

Mario Theissen: “I’m satisfied with today’s performance. We obviously didn’t have the right basic set-up yesterday, and, with the changing weather conditions, it was not easy to get it right. However, we saw this morning we were able to make a significant step forward. Nick confirmed this in qualifying with both low and high fuel loads. He is now in a strong position for the race. For Robert things were just not right this weekend, and in qualifying he wasn’t able to put in a perfect lap.”

Luca Baldisserri: “My compliments to Felipe, who did a fantastic lap on his second run in Q3. It’s a shame that a mistake at Turn 7 probably cost Kimi at least one grid position. We knew our main rivals would be very strong, especially in qualifying, but we are still convinced that we can be on the pace tomorrow in the race, which is when the points are given out. It will be a tough race, in which it will be vital to manage any situations that might arise as well as possible. If it is run in the dry, it will be important to monitor how the tyres perform over a long distance, given that neither yesterday nor today was it possible to do a lot of laps consecutively. The F2008 worked well and also the performance of the tyres over the first timed lap was up to our expectations.”

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