2008 Singapore Grand Prix, (night) qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on September 27th, 2008 at 7:02 pmLast Update: September 27th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

SingaporeFernando Alonso: “It’s a really big disappointment because we had a real chance to do something special today, perhaps not pole position but to at least qualify in the top four. Our weekend was going really well and we had big hopes for this evening. I know that starting in the middle of the pack will make for a difficult race and I will need a miracle with the strategy to be able to make progress on this street circuit where it looks difficult to overtake.”

Lewis Hamilton: “After I ran wide in the second part of qualifying I decided to play it safe on the one remaining run and fortunately I moved up to Q3 and managed a place on the front row. At the last sector I was really fast, but I still have to improve in the first two sectors; particularly at turn five I lost a bit of time. We had a good set-up; however, the tyre decision was not easy today as I felt no big difference between the prime and the option tyre.”

Adrian Sutil: “I think this is probably one of our worst qualifying performances so far this year. We don’t really know where the problem is, but it just seemed the grip was not there and the balance wasn’t right. It might be an issue with the tyres as we just can’t bring them to a real peak. We just have to try our best and find the problems. The race tomorrow will be tough but I am happy with the pace of our long runs so I think we are stronger under race conditions.”

Nico Rosberg: “I am generally quite happy as it was quite a good qualifying for me, even though after progressing to Q2, I did hope for a little more than 9th place. Nevertheless, it’s good for the team to have both cars in the top ten and it will help us get into a position to score points. Even though we might not see too much overtaking, whatever happens tomorrow, I think it’s going to be an exciting race – the start through turn one, the battle during the pit-stops and the visual spectacle of all the cars racing through the night is going to be stunning.”

Felipe Massa: “I did a fantastic lap in a fantastic car and it was possibly my best qualifying of the season. Given my margin over the others, with hindsight it’s easy to say maybe I could have run with slightly more fuel, but we firmly believe we have a very competitive strategy. At every corner, at every braking point I tried to get the most out of the car and I think I managed it. The harder tyres have seemed better since yesterday and that’s why we went in that direction. The track is very difficult and requires total concentration lap after lap because there is no room for error: it’s much harder here than in Monaco. I’m pleased to be the first driver to be on pole for this Grand Prix, taking place in such a special and unusual atmosphere: I hope I can do even better tomorrow.”

David Coulthard: “I had to make it up a little bit in qualifying today, as I missed out on track time this morning. On a track like this you really need miles to get your hand in. On my flying lap I was over the top on some corners, but I think I did pretty well on others. It’s not good to start the race tomorrow in the middle of the pack. The main factors for this track are getting the right tyre and getting your eye in, so you turn at the right point.”

Jarno Trulli: “That was a difficult and frustrating qualifying session for me. I didn’t get the grip or the feel from the car that I wanted and that is why I didn’t make it to Q3. We have been struggling a bit all weekend on this track and we are not helped by the bumps, but it is still disappointing not to qualify in the top 10. I did my best but the lap time just wasn’t there. I will push as hard as possible tomorrow and we will see what we can do.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “It was a great qualifying session for me today. Over the course of the season, I have missed out on Q3 many times by a very small margin, so it was great to make it into the top ten. After the first two sessions, qualifying with extra fuel for the first time was difficult, let alone the usual issues with traffic and just having one chance to get it right. The team gave me a very good car and we have been very competitive here in all the sessions, so we just need to make a good start tomorrow and maintain our competitiveness to the end.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was a very good qualifying for us. In Q2, we were in a comfortable position and only needed to do one run and then in Q3 I think we achieved the maximum we could do today. After experiencing some difficulties yesterday, I did not expect P7, but we did a very good job overnight and we seem to have found the right way forward. I am sure it will be a long and difficult race tomorrow and very hot. We are starting from a points position so we will be trying to bring some home.”

Robert Kubica: “My qualifying was quite ok. I’m happy with P4 but not with my final lap. I was struggling a little bit with the overall grip. In the last stint of Q3 I had hardly any grip in the first sector. I lost quite a lot of time there. Felipe Massa was in front of me on his out lap, perhaps the tyres didn’t reach the right temperature. However, the race will be a completely different story. It will be a very tough one. The track is very bumpy and very demanding. The tyre degradation will be a crucial factor.”

Timo Glock: “I did everything I could today and I am happy with eighth place. My lap in Q2 was very good and it was a pleasant surprise to be so competitive because we have had a few difficulties earlier in the weekend. We have improved the stability of the car quite a bit because it was not ideally suited to the bumpy surface, so it was very satisfying to qualifying in the top 10. It is a real challenge to get a perfect lap in qualifying here because the grip levels change from corner to corner and the weather conditions are extreme – it is very hot in the cockpit. I expect overtaking will be very difficult here so we are in a good position for the race. I am pleased with this result.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “All things considered, this is a good result. Of course, you always hope to be in front of everyone but third place is not so bad. In Q1 and Q2, the car worked very well on the soft tyres but in Q3, on the harder ones, it was not so good anymore. Today, it was difficult to choose the best type of tyre for the decisive session because the performance difference over the first lap was not so great. I probably suffered a bit because of the time lost this morning with a technical problem which ended my free practice session ahead of time. The track is very demanding with many places where you really feel the bumps and you have to maintain concentration all the time. Tomorrow I will do my best for myself and for the team.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I’m quite happy as I had a good lap. Right from the first practice sessions on Friday we have made several changes and most of them were right. The car has improved and I have familiarised myself with this circuit and also improved. Tomorrow a good start will be crucial. Overtaking is extremely difficult here because the track is so narrow and off line dirty and even bumpier. This could become the most demanding Grand Prix of the year.”

Rubens Barrichello: “Unfortunately qualifying did not work out for us today with traffic costing me an improved grid position. On my second run I was stuck behind Heidfeld, which compromised my lap, and then on the last run Alonso spun ahead of me and there was a yellow flag which meant I was unable to improve in the last sector. It’s a shame because I would have improved my qualifying performance.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “The balance of my car was excellent especially in Q1 and Q2. Obviously the option tyre didn’t work as well as the prime today. In Q3 on my last run I touched the wall slightly three corners from the finish which cost me some time. It’s so close and competitive nowadays that even a minor mistake can cost me a few places on the grid, despite having a well balanced and quick car. The aim now is to score as many points as possible for the team. With our speed and fine handling we should be in a good position in the race.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “I don’t know what happened in this session. Every time I braked, the car went sideways. It was pulling to the left and alternately locking one of the rear wheels. The car behaved completely differently to FP3 but we have not changed anything. My first run was messy and my second run was just weird and there was no way I felt I could attack as I had no stability or grip, with the car running asymmetrically. I also came up behind Sutil in the chicane. Just a bad qualifying. On top of all this has come the very sad news that Paul Newman has died. He was a great man and he will be dearly missed, but he has no doubt gone to a better place.”

Mark Webber: “Obviously that was disappointing. It was difficult to find a rhythm today and neither of my flying laps in Q2 worked out. I was up on the last lap, but a bit of traffic cost me vital time in the last sector. It was a tricky session for us today.”

Nelson Piquet: “I’m disappointed with my session. The car was working well and I was happy with the balance at the end of the final free practice session earlier this evening, but in qualifying we could not repeat that. The race tomorrow will be tricky, but once again I will do all I can to fight back through the field.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “Unfortunately today wasn’t my day! I had an accident over the kerbs in turn 10 in practice – the kerbs in that corner are very dangerous as I launched over them and went into the barriers. The mechanics did a fantastic, fantastic job to get the car repaired and out for qualifying in the last five minutes. Unfortunately then I had a puncture and then another crash as the steering wasn’t right because of the puncture. I’m really disappointed, not for myself as I think it would have been a tough qualifying anyway, but for the team as they worked so hard. We will look to have a better day tomorrow.”

Jenson Button: “I’m pretty happy with our qualifying performance today and it is certainly a big improvement on the last few races. My final lap was compromised with too much understeer and very low grip in the first sector, but it was reasonable and it’s nice to have the pace to compete in Q2 again. We got to grips with the circuit pretty quickly at the start of the weekend, which has provided a good foundation for qualifying today and our race preparation for tomorrow.”

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