2008 European GP (Valencia), qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on August 23rd, 2008 at 10:54 pmLast Update: August 23rd, 2008 at 10:54 pm

2008 European Grand Prix, ValenciaWilly Rampf: “This was a very exciting qualifying. In the first part there were some rain drops, and in the second part the times were close. It’s positive that we were able to get both cars into the top ten qualifying. Nick drove a very fast lap in Q2 and was able to qualify easily for Q3. Robert also had a very strong performance. Starting from P3 he is in a very good position for the race, and Nick will also have his chances. I’m pleased all the hard work we have done since the race in Hungary has paid off.”

Stefano Domenicali: “We are very happy with Felipe’s first place and he really drove very well. It was a shame for Kimi, who could have been a bit higher up the order, even though fourth place cannot be considered a bad result. All things considered, a good day for the team, even though we are well aware that it’s the race that counts. Tomorrow, we can expect a sweaty afternoon and not just because of the heat! We will have to pay great attention in managing all the possible scenarios that could occur. The decisive factors will be the usual ones – reliability first and foremost, strategy, performance and the work of the team and drivers. On top of that there will be the unknowns that go with a track being raced on for the first time. For our part, we will do our utmost to try and bring home the best possible result in terms of the championship.”

Steve Clark: “Our free practice pace was genuine and we have definitely made some improvements to the car over the break and here this week. Today I felt we could have had one car in the top ten. Rubens has been struggling with the car all day and we never really managed to overcome those problems. Jenson however had the car working very well as we saw with his first run in qualifying when he was using the prime tyre. He then switched to option tyres but they didn’t work at all for him and he could not match his early time. With the mid pack being so close he was just squeezed out of Q2 contention. From our grid positions the race will certainly be a challenge. If the car is working well tomorrow the drivers will be up against slower cars ahead and we think overtaking is going to be difficult. However race incidents are likely here. It could be very tricky off-line and, as we have seen from the other series, there are places from which cars are difficult to recover so safety cars are a real possibility. We now need to focus on making our strategy as robust as possible to ensure we are well-placed to take advantage of any opportunities.”

Patrick Head: “It’s good to have at least one car in Q3 which we’ve missed for quite some races. Both drivers did a good job. Unfortunately, Kazuki just missed out on his first Q3 by the smallest of margins. The important thing now is to prepare for the race and make sure we’re happy with our strategy. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Mario Theissen: “On this new and demanding track Robert had a great qualifying again and fought his way through to P3 on the grid. Nick improved in the second part of qualifying and made it into Q3 with the third best time overall. His last lap wasn’t perfect as he lost some time in the second sector. Anyway, eighth is good. What these positions are worth we shall see tomorrow during the first pit stops. We had no technical problems during qualifying.”

Pat Symonds: “Considering all the preparation involved for this new circuit, it’s very disappointing not to have any of our cars in the final part of qualifying. I am sure we had the potential to do so, but potential is not an ultimate result. However, I’m sure it will be an interesting race tomorrow. In the event here several weeks ago, we saw that the safety car can play an important role, and we will think hard about our strategy to try to make the most of our situation.”

Christian Horner: “A very disappointing qualifying. We seem to have struggled for pace here all weekend despite having been very fast in the last sector and it’s frustrating for the drivers to finish in 14th and 17th. An incident filled race is the only way we’re likely to achieve any points this weekend, so we’ll wait and see. Congratulations to Toro Rosso who got both their cars into the top ten for the first time.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “We must be doing something right but I’m not sure what it is! Seriously though, this is our best qualifying performance with Sebastien making his first appearance in Q3 as we got both our drivers into the final part. The fact this is a new track meant we didn’t have to pay our usual tax in terms of our drivers’ lack of experience, as it was the same for everybody. We brought a few new things here and everything worked, so we can be happy.”

Fabrice Lom: “A bad day and a bad result. It was bad beginning to the week with the plane crash in Madrid and the death of Dino Toso, chief aerodynamicist for Renault, which puts things in perspective. But, life goes on and coming back to our present work, we have to work like hell now to bounce back from here. We already need to be thinking about the next race in Spa.”

Pascal Vasselon: “Altogether it has been a very difficult day and a disappointing qualifying result. Yesterday we had a very competitive Friday, especially with Timo, and now things have turned around. Jarno did a fantastic job because he could not run in P3 this morning due to a gearbox oil pump problem. But that did not stop him and all his laps apart from his last lap in Q3 were very good. For Timo, today was not as successful as yesterday. He was on the pace in Q1 but Q2 did not go as expected so we will have to investigate what happened. After the overnight rain the track was green again today but the tyre situation is clear. The positive thing for us is that we are in good position to defend against safety cars tomorrow and make sure that both cars are not caught out by the same safety car period.”

Luca Baldisserri: “A good qualifying session, very close and made even more uncertain because of the weather. A first and a fourth place is a good outcome, even if it could have been better. Felipe did two great laps in Q3, while Kimi missed out by a whisker on being able to start from the clean side of the track. In fact, the start will be one of the decisive moments of the race. Tomorrow it will be important to try and pick up as many points as possible with both drivers. We have a car that is competitive over a long run and we will try and exploit that as well as possible. We must pay careful attention to managing all the possible scenarios that arise: as on all street circuits, the risk of a safety car period is always hanging over the race.”

Ron Dennis: “Today we saw another very good afternoon’s work from both Lewis and Heikki, characterised by strong lap times that reflect their respective race strategies. All in all, therefore, we’re well prepared for the first Grand Prix to be held on this exciting new racetrack. All the drivers did an exemplary job today, in fact, avoiding the walls in the tricky conditions. We hope that tomorrow’s race will be equally incident-free, and that in time the Valencia event will become a regular, integral and much-admired element of the Formula One calendar. I would like to offer our congratulations to all concerned, and to the Valencia authorities in particular; with appropriate promotion, this Grand Prix promises to become a fabulous adjunct to our sport’s existing harbourside spectacular, namely Monaco.”

Mike Gascoyne: “I think a good effort from the team, and Giancarlo got the maximum out of the car in qualifying. It’s the first race with our quick shift box and I think we have clearly taken a step forward in competitiveness and it’s nice to start out-qualifying some of the works’ cars in the progress. I am very proud of the team, now we are just 1.3secs from the fastest time of the day and really pushing to move into the midfield. For tomorrow’s race we know there will be a lot of incidents and potentially a lot of safety cars, but we know our race pace is normally better than our qualifying pace so I think we can genuinely race with the midfield and look for a potential opportunity to score.”

Norbert Haug: “A very exciting qualifying session here on this completely new and impressive circuit. Thanks to everybody involved for doing such a superb job in such a short period of time. I think we are well prepared for the race, and it will be interesting to see which of the frontrunners will drive the longest first stint tomorrow. Both Lewis and Heikki did a good job, even if Lewis unfortunately lost more time in the first sector than he is now behind the pole time. Our German friend Sebastian Vettel and his Toro Rosso team showed a great performance today – really well done.”

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