2008 Italian Grand Prix, qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on September 13th, 2008 at 8:12 pmLast Update: September 13th, 2008 at 8:12 pm

2008 Italian Grand PrixGiancarlo Fisichella: “Of course I’m really  pleased to be able to give the team its first entry  into Q2 this year and particularly here in Monza.  Conditions in the first session were bad at the start  and it was difficult to find some grip but they  improved at the end and that was when I was able to find some space and push. We went out as soon as we  could in the second session as the rain was getting  heavier and we really did the optimum – we weren’t too  far from Q3 with the quickest lap. Unfortunately then the rain just got worse and it was  going to be impossible to improve. I’m really looking  forward to the race, and with the predicted rain I  think it will be very exciting. I’m going to try hard  here – I scored my first win in similar conditions in  Brazil with this team, and although that’s going to be  difficult here, we can at least try for points.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It will take time for this to  sink in. It was my dream to one day drive a Formula 1  car and even if my target now has been to fight for  poles and race wins, I didn’t expect it today and it  feels fantastic. Doing it here in Italy is also  amazing. There are two Italian teams, Ferrari is the  bigger one, but I think today, people will also know  about Scuderia Toro Rosso. Already it’s great just to be part of Formula 1, but  to be sitting in the top spot is fantastic. It was very  difficult to see anything out there and I think all the  drivers did a good job to avoid any incidents. We  improved the car a lot and I was very happy with it  this morning and when you feel confident in your car,  then that is the key. In the second session, conditions  were very difficult and I managed to put together a  good lap quite early. I think we did the right thing to  go out and do a few laps, rather than just focus on  trying for one quick one.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “A really close session; I  missed pole by just .076 seconds. My first attempt in  Q3 wasn’t perfect and further rain later in the session  made it almost impossible to improve. On my final run,  I gave it everything but there wasn’t enough grip to  beat Sebastian Vettel. But congratulations to him on  his first pole. Nevertheless, second on the grid is  still a good basis for tomorrow; our car has shown good  pace in both the wet and the dry so I’m feeling  confident.”

Fernando Alonso: “I am pretty satisfied today  because, even if it had been dry, I don’t think that  our situation would have been any easier. The track  conditions were very difficult and we were able to  reach Q3, which has given us a good starting position  for tomorrow. Of course, the race will be tough and  there are still lots of unknowns: the weather tomorrow  could come and change things once again.”

Lewis Hamilton: “It was a joint decision to go  out on wet-weather tyres at the start of Q2 – partly  mine and partly my engineers’. We thought it was the  right way to go at the time because it was getting  dryer but the grip-level was poor so I came in and  switched to extremes. By the time I got out, it had begun to rain and I just  missed the window when the track was at its fastest; it  was also very hard to pick out the braking points. It’s  the first time this has happened to me in Formula 1, so  I can’t really complain – tomorrow’s another day and we  still have a fighting chance to make our way up the  grid. I’ll be doing the best job I can.”

Felipe Massa: “A very difficult qualifying but,  overall, I am reasonably happy. It’s true it could have  been better, but it could also have been much worse. I  am ahead of my main rivals in the fight for the  championship and I still have a good grid position  therefore. Today, especially in Q2, conditions were  very critical with aquaplaning at various points and  visibility was also poor, especially in traffic and the  situation got worse and worse. I still managed to  improve my time and make it through to Q3, which was  important. Tomorrow I must try and finish as high up  the order as possible and get some points. It will be a  very tough race, but we can rely on a very competitive  car.”

David Coulthard: “Q2 was quickest at the  beginning of the session, as it rained progressively.  We went out just after the beginning of the session,  but had to back off for a bit of traffic. We therefore  didn’t manage to get a time at the start of the session  and you weren’t going to get a faster time at the end.  As you saw with Hamilton and Raikkonen, it wasn’t  getting any quicker out there with the worsening  conditions. Congratulations to Sebastian on his pole  position, it was a great performance from him.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “There’s little to say and I am  definitely not happy with this result. I was unable to  do a time in Q2 when the conditions would still have  made it possible and then it was impossible to catch  up. On that lap, I went off at Ascari where there was a  lot of water on the track, which meant I didn’t make it  through to the next session. Now we must try and make  the best of this situation which is definitely not  ideal. Starting from the seventh row of the grid could  be a bit tricky at the start, because the entry to the  first chicane is very tight and it is easy to touch  other cars. In the dry, the car is working very well  but obviously, if it were to rain, it could give some  chances to those who are starting further back like  me.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “It was a bit crazy out  there. Seb pulled out a great lap and pole is fantastic  for him and the team and so is having both cars on the  two front rows. I was third for a moment, but I’m not  complaining. Given how things went in the dry in  practice, I certainly could not have hoped for better  than this. These conditions equalize everything and if  you have a good feeling in the car, you can attack.  That’s what we did and it paid off. The team has given  us a car that is very reliable and quite easy to drive,  especially in the wet. A super performance from  everyone.”

Nelson Piquet: “I’m disappointed with my  qualifying session today. Since the start of the  weekend, we haven’t really been on the pace and I was  expecting a difficult session. The weather this  afternoon didn’t help. It’s a shame and I know that  tomorrow we will have to fight hard in what looks  certain to be another tricky race.”

Nick Heidfeld: “The conditions were quite  difficult during qualifying, but in the beginning it  went pretty well for me. Once I made it into the top  ten of qualifying I was expecting more. The last laps  were disappointing. Instead of more grip I got less. We  now have to figure out why this happened.”

Adrian Sutil: “A bit disappointing as I had a  good balance in the rain. The first set of tyres worked  really well and we were very competitive but then I  changed tyres and suddenly we lost all the grip and I  was about six tenths a lap slower in better conditions.  We have to figure out what went wrong, but all the same  I think that we’ve got every chance of making up for  this tomorrow.”

Mark Webber: “I didn’t have a very good run on my  first lap in Q3 and thought I’d messed up the session,  as I was told it was going to rain again. It was  difficult to get the lap in at the end with the  conditions as they were, but I knew I had to do it. It  was crucial to get both of the chicanes right and I  really had to focus on the Ascari Chicane because it  was like running on rail tracks. I drilled that though  and it helped me to get my lap time. It should be a  pretty interesting race tomorrow if the conditions are  like this again! Toro Rosso have been fast in the last  couple of races and they did very well today.”

Nico Rosberg: “I am really pleased with the  result today. It was a good qualifying session and I  was consistently able to be at the front and, despite  the conditions, I felt comfortable in the car. On top  of this, we didn’t compromise too much for qualifying  and we have a good strategy plan for the race. As tomorrow goes, I would rather we didn’t have as  much rain as we did today as it was pretty dangerous in  terms of aquaplaning. Ultimately, I don’t mind if it is  dry or wet tomorrow as long as the amount of rain is  reasonable as I have the benefit of a good start  position.”

Jarno Trulli: “That was a hell of a session. It  was really hard to drive the car and visibility was  really poor. At one point in Q2 Sebastian Vettel slowed  suddenly on the straight in front of me. In these  conditions we were very lucky not to have an accident  so that was a dangerous moment. Still, on our side we managed to do a good qualifying  so we are happy. It is a good way to prepare for  tomorrow and now we will do our best in the race. There  is always a special atmosphere here in Monza because  there are a lot of motor racing fans. Now we will try  really hard to earn a good result in front of my home  supporters.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “It was very difficult and  disappointing qualifying today and I just struggled to  find a clean lap in the traffic. We had wet conditions  in the third practice today and I looked okay,  finishing the session in P5. As the track conditions  and weather were similar this afternoon, it makes my  qualifying result even more disappointing.”

Robert Kubica: “We were a bit unlucky today as  the gap to position 10 and the third qualifying session  was very narrow. We put a new set of tyres on the car  for the second qualifying session, as we planned not to  make a pit stop in the session. You need two or three  laps to make the tyres work. The track dried up after  the first laps, but then it started to rain heavily so  unfortunately I was not able to improve the lap times.  Congratulations to Torro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel for  their first pole position.”

Jenson Button: “We were expecting these  conditions to help us, so I am surprised that we have  ended up so far back in qualifying today. The biggest  problem seems to be that we can’t get the car and tyres  to work in the wet conditions with very low downforce.  The first set of tyres that we ran seemed to be working  okay and I was running just outside the top ten,  however on the new set that we used for my last three  quick laps the car was just undriveable. It had no balance and I couldn’t find any grip, so  every time I hit the brakes, the front and rear wheels  would lock. We’ll have to have a look at the data and  find out why the car was so difficult to drive, but  it’s obviously very disappointing to be starting the  race from so far back on the grid.”

Timo Glock: “Today was going well right up to Q3.  This morning was good and that continued during the  first two sessions this afternoon but it was a  difficult last ten minutes. It was pretty strange but  the car didn’t work as well as the session before. I  think I was struggling with tyre temperatures and I  just couldn’t really get a clean lap. So that was a  pity but we are still in good shape for tomorrow and we  will do our best to come away with a strong result.”

Rubens Barrichello: “I’m very disappointed as we  had the opportunity to have a good qualifying session  today. Unfortunately there was a mis-communication on  the radio as I wanted to stay on the existing tyres  with more front wing when I came in. However the team  changed to a new set of tyres as they were concerned  about the temperatures and took off some wing, and this  set did not work as well for me. It’s a shame as I  think we could have progressed into Q2 and had a much  better qualifying session.”

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