2008 Chinese Grand Prix, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on October 18th, 2008 at 11:17 amLast Update: October 18th, 2008 at 11:17 am

2008 Chinese Grand PrixPascal Vasselon: “That was obviously a very disappointing session compared to our expectations. The practice sessions went well, especially for Jarno. Timo had been struggling a bit more but he seemed to have recovered in Q1. But then things went wrong in Q2 and Q3. Putting all the sectors together it was possible for Timo to qualify in the top ten but it did not come together at the right moment. For Jarno we only marginally made it into Q3. It’s hard to say a lot more, we have to look into what happened. At certain points we had some very bad sectors which are difficult to understand at the moment so we have work to do tonight. At least the tyre situation is relatively clear now. For qualifying the best tyre was obvious and for the race the choice is also clear.”

Christian Horner: “Despite losing track time with an engine failure in this morning’s practice, Mark did a good job to finish P6 in today’s qualifying session. Unfortunately he takes a grid penalty tomorrow due to the engine failure and subsequent engine change, but it was a good lap from him. David had the pace to go through to Q2, but an incident with Heidfeld cost him time on his last run and, with the circuit improving, unfortunately he just missed the cut.”

Fabrice Lom: “We are very sorry for Mark and apologise to him for the engine failure. It’s a shame as he had good pace today and easily got through in to Q3 to finish P6. David was blocked during Q1, so wasn’t able to show his real pace today. It wasn’t a good day, I hope Sunday will be better.”

Mike Gascoyne: “I think we knew from yesterday that it was going to be a difficult qualifying session. We have been struggling to get the tyres to work and in qualifying both drivers have struggled with the grip so we ended up pretty much where we expected. We do know though that our race pace is always better when we get the tyres to run during the longer runs so we’ll look to have a more competitive day tomorrow.”

Luca Baldisserri: “A very tough qualifying, up against a very strong rival. I would say the main problem we have at this track is the inconsistency of our car performance. We worked hard to get around it but so far, we have not managed to resolve the problem completely. We must try and do that for tomorrow’s race, but we can take heart from the fact that, usually, over a long run, we have always gone better than in qualifying.”

Steve Clark: “As we suggested yesterday, our performance wasn’t as bad as it might have appeared on Friday’s timesheets. We saw this morning that the option tyre was going to be difficult to get to work, so we took the prime for Q1. This worked well for Rubens, who got the most out of the car, but Jenson didn’t have a balance on his last run. With the track warming up in Q2 we saw that the option tyre, which Rubens was running, was a few tenths quicker, so a different tyre choice might have got Jenson through to Q2. In Rubens’ second run in Q2, the balance wasn’t perfect and he lost a few tenths. Even with a better lap it was unlikely we would have made it into Q3.”

Pat Symonds: “This morning was very difficult, but not just for us because the grip for all the cars seemed to be surprisingly low. We didn’t make major changes for this afternoon, but the circuit seemed to come to the car. Just 0.007s would have put Nelson into Q3 but Fernando’s starting position looks good for tomorrow.”

Denis Chevrier: “Fernando had a very good qualifying session and even though Nelson did not make it through to Q3 today, the potential was there and it was a good effort from him, especially his last attempt in Q2. Everything is open for the race tomorrow, but we have confirmed our overall performance from Fuji and we can now hope for a great race tomorrow afternoon.”

Stefano Domenicali: “All in all, this is a reasonable result. With both drivers on the front two rows, we have every chance of making the most of our situation in tomorrow’s race. Of course, in front of us, we have a competitor who has shown himself to be very strong all weekend. Tomorrow’s race will be a very long one and there is also some doubt about the weather. At the risk of repeating myself, the crucial elements in getting the right result here will be the usual ones: first and foremost reliability, then tyre performance, the work of the team and drivers, strategy and car performance. If all these elements come through at their best, then we can do it.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “Bourdais has done a solid performance all weekend, doing a very good job. But with Vettel we struggled through P1, P2 and P3 and then we tried something different on the car before qualifying as he was clearly unhappy and I am certainly pleased with the result those changes brought. It was impressive.”

Rod Nelson: “Naturally it was a below par qualifying session. This circuit shows up the main deficiency in the car, which we have improved but not corrected – we are slow in sector two, which is made up of high-speed corners, so with this in mind, we have probably done the best we can in the circumstances. Looking forward to tomorrow, the weather forecast is a little variable and it is possible that there may be some rain, which might mix things up a bit.”

Ron Dennis: “Lewis produced another very strong qualifying lap to record his second successive pole position – and we’re confident that he’s got a good strategy for the race. Heikki has continued the strong form he showed at Fuji last weekend and we should therefore be in a position to deliver a very competitive team performance with both drivers tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug: “Lewis kept it thrilling until the closing stages but then put his car on pole position. This was probably the most important one of all the seven he clinched this year. Heikki was very convincing in his first attempt, being fastest, but he finally missed the front row by three tenths of a second and third place by less than half a tenth. Tomorrow, both Lewis and Heikki should be in a position to run quick and consistent lap times according to our long runs on Friday. It will be a very important day and all the team wants to make the best out of it. Having said that, we certainly will not forget that we have got strong competitors that won’t make it easy for us.”

Mario Theissen: “That was a disappointing qualifying for Robert and the whole team, especially because he didn’t progress from Q2. Throughout the whole weekend Robert has not been happy with the balance of his car, and this did not change in qualifying. The only advantage in this situation is we can choose our own strategy for Robert tomorrow. From the team’s point of view we are relying on Nick for our chances. He did a good job in Qualifying and managed to set the seventh best time.”

Willy Rampf: “The result is obviously not what we were hoping for. With Robert we were not able to bring the good result from the third free practice into qualifying, which meant he was unhappy with the balance of his car and only ended up 12th. Nick did a good job and qualified where we expected him to be.”

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