2008 Japanese Grand Prix, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on October 11th, 2008 at 10:42 amLast Update: October 11th, 2008 at 10:42 am

2008 Japanese Grand PrixSteve Clark: “Unfortunately we were well aware in advance  of this weekend that Fuji was going to be a difficult  track for us given our current package. That fact does not  make today’s result any less disappointing however.  Obviously going into a dry qualifying after a wet morning  was a little like venturing into the unknown as we were  reliant upon the settings we made to the cars overnight.  In actual fact, early in the qualifying session, the cars  were working quite well, certainly for Rubens. At the end  of our first set of option tyres, both cars were  comfortably in a position to progress to Q2. We then  switched to the second set of options and that’s where it  all went wrong for both drivers. The option tyres have  more grip but are also more delicate and they grained on  both cars.”

Pascal Vasselon: “This was a clear improvement compared to  last year when we failed to get our cars into Q3. Overall  the qualifying sessions went very well. In both Q1 and Q2  both drivers were very quick, with Timo the fastest of all  in Q1 and Jarno less than three tenths off in Q2. Given  that, we are slightly disappointed by the positions we had  in Q3, but as usual it’s really a matter of where people  will stop tomorrow. Considering the situation with tyres  we feel that we have the ideal strategy for tomorrow. Both  drivers did a good job and we are where we deserved to be.  This morning we had the only wet conditions of the weekend  – unlike last year – and we saw that even in the case of  rain we are competitive. Now we must look to make the most  of these positions in tomorrow’s race in front of our home  fans.”

Sam Michael: “Obviously this isn’t the best track for us.  We took both cars through to Q2, but we weren’t strong  enough to get into Q3 here. Fuji delivered a very  interesting race last year, so we’ll now work towards the  most advantageous strategies possible for our positions  and see if we can’t get something out of the race.”

Mike Gascoyne: “It was again a very, very close qualifying  with the whole field incredibly closely matched. Adrian  being just one second off the pace is a very good result  for us and just a couple of tenths would have moved both  him and Giancarlo up a couple of places. We know we have a  good race pace and set-up for tomorrow and have to look to  put in a good performance.”

Christian Horner: “While it’s disappointing not to make it  into Q3, David drove well in both sessions and was unlucky  to miss the final cut by just 0.08secs, but 11th obviously  leaves him free to pick his strategy for tomorrow. Mark  didn’t manage to string his best three sectors together,  which leaves a lot of work for him from 13th on the grid  tomorrow.”

Fabrice Lom: “That was disappointing not to get into Q3.  DC had a good session and was very, very close to getting  through to Q3, I think he was just 0.08secs off. At least  this is a track where you should be able to overtake and  gain positions in the dry, so we’ll have to make sure  we’re ready to make the most of anything that might happen  ahead of us tomorrow.”

Stefano Domenicali: “Obviously, we were hoping for a different result, especially given our potential. It’s a shame for Felipe who had been quickest in Q2 before suffering with a lack of grip from the tyres in Q3. Kimi did a good job and managed to get back onto the front row. Tomorrow, we can expect to have to fight our way up to the front, especially given the positions of our closest rivals. It will be a long race in which tyre performance, strategy and the overall team work will, as usual play a decisive role in terms of the final outcome as of course will the need for absolute reliability.”

Luca Baldisserri: “It was a somewhat contradictory session, both in terms of the final result and of the various performance levels through the field. In the first two sessions, Felipe had shown himself to be very quick and to have found the right balance on the car, while Kimi was struggling a bit. In Q3 the situation was pretty much reversed and specifically, Felipe found his sets of tyres producing inconsistent performance, offering less grip than previously. Hence his fifth place on a grid where the time differences are minimal. For his part, Kimi was more comfortable on the heavy fuel load and managed to do a great lap to get onto the front row. Tomorrow we will be up against very strong opposition and we will do our utmost to get both our cars ahead of them.”

Mario Theissen: “Qualifying didn’t go as we hoped it  would. The main reason was we estimated incorrectly how  the track conditions would improve, and their influence on  the tyres in Q1. We sent both drivers out twice on the  harder compound, while others were already changing to the  softer tyres. The unexpected big difference between both  compounds left us in the situation where Robert just made  it into Q2 and Nick didn’t. In the remaining qualifying  sessions Robert put in the performance we were expecting  and was 6th.”

Willy Rampf: “The most difficult part of today was the  first session of qualifying, during which we planned to  use the harder of the two tyre compounds. We wanted to  have enough sets of the softer one for the remainder of  qualifying and for the race. This decision cost Nick a  place in Q2. It will be difficult to score points from  16th. Robert’s performance was strong and he managed to  clinch sixth. This was what we realistically expected.”

Ron Dennis: “First and third in qualifying is clearly a very satisfying result – and represents a very strong team performance. Lewis’s pole lap was awesome in the proper sense of that often-abused adjective – in fact I’d go so far as to say that it was possibly the best lap of his career so far. Heikki’s lap was also very impressive and extremely pleasing – because it showcases the strength and depth of our driver line-up and of our whole team. Having said all that, although we’ll enjoy our qualifying success this evening, the race is what really matters and all I’ll say about that is that we’ve sacrificed nothing in our efforts to achieve advantageous grid positions and are therefore looking forward to putting in a very competitive performance tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug: “A great lap from Lewis, a great lap from Heikki make pole position and position three for us. This is a perfect line-up for the start tomorrow, but we certainly will not make the mistake and under-estimate our competitors. We should be strong in the long runs of the race as shown on Friday during the practice sessions, but Ferrari will be very quick too, so there will be no room for errors tomorrow. For today, we are perfectly happy – thank you to the team and thanks to Lewis and Heikki. It would be great of course, if we could generate the same feeling inside the team at the same time tomorrow.”

Laurent Mekies: “Having both cars in Q3 indicates that we  put together a strong qualifying performance. Both drivers  have done a very good job, closely matched throughout the  weekend. Tomorrow, we will find out what our competitors  have done in terms of fuel loads, but certainly, we are  happy with our race trim and are looking to have a strong  race.”

Pat Symonds: “Fernando’s position on the grid is as high  as we could have hoped for and so we are satisfied with  our afternoon and hopeful of a strong race tomorrow.  Nelson has had an excellent weekend as he showed with his  7th position in Q1, but unfortunately in Q2 things did not  really go as we would have wished. Nevertheless, he has  been quick and we hope we can have a strong race with him  as well tomorrow. ”

Denis Chevrier: “Once again, qualifying was very close and  the competition to reach Q3 was extremely competitive.  There are obviously still lots of unknowns at this stage  of the weekend, but we have opted for an appropriate  strategy and I think we can hope for a good result  tomorrow with Fernando. For Nelson, we will think things  over this evening and try and find a strategy that will  allow him to do something in the race, but we know we must  not underestimate our rivals in the fight for fourth in  the championship.”

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