2008 Japanese Grand Prix, qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on October 11th, 2008 at 10:41 amLast Update: October 11th, 2008 at 10:41 am

JapanRubens Barrichello: “Although my second run today was actually a good qualifying lap, unfortunately we are at the back of the midfield group where just another three-tenths would have been enough to put me in P10. I was already right on the limit with my second run so we had to take a bit of a gamble with the final run and add a little more front wing. Unfortunately this led to the tyres graining by the second sector and I was not able to improve. It’s a shame that we were unable to qualify better than this at our home race but we will do our best to make the most of any opportunities in the race tomorrow.”

Jenson Button: “It has not been the best of days for us today but hopefully the race tomorrow will be better. I have been struggling with the car for the whole weekend and have found it difficult to achieve a good balance. The car was better in the wet this morning, however the bumps and corner apexes are unsettling the car in the dry and we have not been able to resolve this. I had too much understeer on my final run in qualifying today which made the car very twitchy and difficult to get round the corners and I was unable to improve my lap time. It’s disappointing but we just have to do our best with the package that we have.”

Jarno Trulli: “We’ve done quite a good job overall this weekend preparing for qualifying and the race. I had to make some adjustments during the first part of qualifying but in the end fortunately I got the set-up right. That meant that I could find the right balance and get back on the pace. In Q2 I was 4th and Timo was 5th so it shows that the Toyotas are going well. Q3 was a bit of a mystery because as soon as we put the fuel on the car was rather unbalanced and we lost a lot of grip. So I wasn’t so happy about the pace of Q3 but maybe its down to the different fuel levels. Now we must go for a strong result for everyone here in front of our own fans and we must fight really hard until the end tomorrow.”

Timo Glock: “We have to be happy with how qualifying went in the end. This morning’s rain didn’t really help us because we would have liked to have more rubber on the asphalt. Instead it was quite low grip but still Q1 was quite easy. I was quickest and I had a really good feeling. But after that we struggled to get the most out of the softer tyre on heavy fuel and we are slightly further back than we’d hoped. There are a couple of places where you can overtake here so let’s see what happens tomorrow. What is great is the home support we’ve had here. There are so many Toyota fans and now we have both cars in the top ten we have a good chance to get both cars into the points.”

Fernando Alonso: “We can be happy with fourth place, which is a good result and the work we did yesterday certainly paid us back today. We had a bit of trouble in Q2, but in Q3 with fuel on board the car felt good, which is encouraging for the race tomorrow and I think we can realistically aim for a top five finish.”

Nelson Piquet: “I am very disappointed as I made a mistake in Q2 and I wasn’t able to make it through to Q3. It’s all the more frustrating because the car was really working well and I was feeling comfortable with it. I won’t give up, but I know that the race tomorrow will be difficult and so I will do all that I can to try and fight through the field.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “After a strong run in the practice sessions that was a difficult qualifying, but we did do our best. I don’t think that this afternoon’s conditions suited the car that much and some traffic interrupted my last run, which didn’t help me either. We now need to prepare a good strategy for tomorrow’s race.”

Nico Rosberg: “It wasn’t very nice to qualify 15th today, especially having come from Singapore where I finished on the podium, but that’s the reality. We’ve struggled a bit this weekend, but we were expecting to be less competitive here as we just seem to be missing something on these types of circuits. I’m keeping my expectations for the race in check, particularly if it stays dry, but we could have a better chance of doing well if it rains. I’m happy with my qualifying lap though, and Kazuki’s been doing a really good job all weekend. He’s been a little bit quicker than me and I’m pleased for him as he’s in front of his home crowd. But this weekend isn’t over yet; we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “I’m pleased to be back on the front row, even if I’m not totally happy as I always want to be the fastest. On top of that, I’m not completely satisfied with the handling of my car: all weekend we have worked very hard to find the best set-up but we did not get it a hundred percent right. All the same, we have improved our performance, especially with a heavy fuel load. This result means I’m in good shape for the race. Tomorrow, I will try to make the best of the situation. My aim is to finish this season in the best way possible and help the team to win both championships.”

Felipe Massa: “A shame. Today I was the quickest man on track but at the wrong moment. In Q3, I never had the right amount of grip from both sets of tyres that I used. On my first run I was a bit cautious on my “out” lap and so suffered in the first sector, making a mistake at Turn 3. On the second run, I did the opposite and found myself without grip at the end of the lap. So, I’ve ended up fifth on the grid, which is definitely not an easy place to be. I will try and work my way up in the race to score big points for the championship. All the same, the set-up on the car is good and we should be competitive. The first corner? It’s similar to the one at the Hungaroring, so I hope I can manage to repeat the good start I got there.”

Adrian Sutil: “It was very close again today. I’m quite happy with my performance as I did some really good laps and the last one was particularly on the edge. I don’t think there was any more we could do. We were just one second from pole, which was very good and competitive but still not enough. Let’s see what the race brings now, we are quick in a straight line and I think there is a chance to make up some places.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “I could improve my time quite a lot from the first run, but on my final run I hit some traffic on the out lap and couldn’t warm up the tyres in the cool conditions. Unfortunately I locked up into turn one and lost a lot of time there, so even though the rest of the lap was OK it was never going to be quick. It’s a shame but we are still very close to the fastest times. Tomorrow’s race will be exciting – you never know what the weather will bring, so we’ll look to have a good strategy and try to make up places when we can.”

Lewis Hamilton: “Usually, on a heavy fuel load, the car can be quite tough to drive on the limit, but I managed to pull all the sectors together and drove a pretty good lap. It wasn’t perfect – I made a small mistake in the final corner, where I lost a tenth – but we had a good session. The team has done a phenomenal job all weekend, and Heikki’s and my pace today really underlines that. We think we’ve got a good strategy for tomorrow and we want to finish at the front.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “A pretty good session for me – it took a little time to get up to speed in Q1, but I put two good laps together in the final session. We were very quick in Q2 as well – and, while third was really the best I could manage today, I’m still very pleased with the result. We’re still targeting both world championships in these final few races so I’ll be looking for the very best result for myself and the team tomorrow.”

David Coulthard: “It was very close today. That was one of my better qualifying sessions, each of my laps were very tidy. On the last lap I was quicker going into the final corner, but I seemed to drag more speed going into the apex, which made me very slow down to the start/finish straight. I would love to have got through to Q3, as it would have meant more driving in the car on low fuel, but I don’t think there was much more I could have got out of the car with the balance I had.”

Mark Webber: “I wasn’t quick enough today and when you don’t get the times you don’t go through. I didn’t get it together in Q2 and you pay the price. There was more to get from the car, but I over drove on the last sector. It was a shame as I had had a good feeling for the car both yesterday and this morning, but qualifying didn’t seem to work out for us today. It will be difficult from there tomorrow.”

Robert Kubica: “Yesterday we were struggling with low grip, so the rain last night and this morning definitely didn’t help us as it washed away the rubber. The balance of the car was fine, but it was just lacking grip. I tried everything I could, and this was the best I could manage. Sixth is not bad under the circumstances.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Now we know it was the wrong decision to stay on the harder tyre compound for the second outing in Q1. After my initial run on the first set of those tyres, I knew I could improve on the Prime tyres, so we took the risk and put on another set. I actually did improve, I was about half a second quicker, but still it wasn’t enough and I missed Q2 by one tenth of a second. Robert just made it. Of course from so far back on the grid it will be very difficult to do something in the race. But we have seen everything happen in Formula One and I shall never give up.”

Sebastian Vettel: “At the start of qualifying the track was still quite green because of the rain, but we made it to Q3 again which is good. Then in the final part, I was struggling a bit with the heavier car, as it did not feel as good as before and I made a couple of small mistakes. But the gap to the next fastest was a bit too big. It will be a tough race on the cars and especially the tyres, so I think the key to success will be to keep the tyres in good shape. I hope our strategy turns out to be a good one.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “It was a good qualifying and I’m happy to be close to Sebastian on a track with a lot of corner entries on the brakes which is where I usually struggle with the rear end of the car, so I had to hold back a bit. I think the car has improved a bit after the team found a couple of things on the aero side which has helped. I think we are in good shape for the race.”

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