2010 Belgian GP, qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on August 28th, 2010 at 5:52 pmLast Update: August 28th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Kamui Kobayashi: “It’s a real shame. At the beginning of Q1 when it was dry the car was good, but after the session had been red flagged there wasn’t enough time to put in a timed lap before the rain set in. That was the same for everybody. When the rain stopped we went out first on intermediate tyres and then we made a mistake when we changed to slicks. To be on the safe side we should have continued with intermediates. The first corners were fine on the soft option tyres, but before the hairpin, turn eight, the track was much wetter than I expected and I went into the gravel trap. I was able to get out and the car was not damaged, but obviously the session was over.”

Pedro de la Rosa: “I am absolutely disappointed with this result. The car was really good and in terms of performance I’m sure we were in a position to fight for Q3. After the short rain shower it was very difficult to judge the conditions on the different parts of that seven kilometers circuit. The track was drying and it was a problem to know what you would find in which corner. We opted for the wrong tyre choice, as it was definitely too optimistic to go for slicks, and I made a mistake when I lost the rear end of the car before turn 14. I overestimated the track conditions there and crashed into the barrier. It is a terrible result.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “Q1 was a nightmare, but it was the same for everyone I guess. We had to come in and switch to intermediate tyres, in very slippery conditions. But it was just enough to get into Q2 and try again in similar conditions. Then later on the slick tyres, I had a strong feeling of confidence from the car, because this weekend the car balance has been quite good as we have worked well over the two days. On my last run, Turns 13 and 14 were still slippery so although I pushed as hard as I could for most of the lap, I backed off a bit at these two points and that’s where I lost all my time, which meant I was not going to make Q3. To be honest, I never expected to be this high up the order, so I hope it rains again tomorrow, which will suit us well.”

Sebastien Buemi: “It was a chaotic qualifying session. In the end, we were quite lucky to go out on a dryer track at the end of Q1, because we were not in Q2 at that stage. But we made it and the circuit continued to improve lap after lap. I think I made my final run a bit too early, as the track was still drying so much, that a slighter later start would have meant a faster circuit. Jaime did a good lap today, so let’s see what we can both do tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher: “What a pity as I would have liked to be in the top 10 today obviously. I believe that we could have made it but unfortunately I had traffic on my last run so I could not push more at that point. Knowing I have to go back 10 positions on the grid anyway makes me hope for mixed weather conditions tomorrow. This would at least bring some movement into the race which could work out in favour or against us. Let’s see what tomorrow afternoon will bring and what we can make out of it.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s not been an ideal weekend so far and knowing that we have the five-place gearbox penalty, we decided to go for more of a rain set-up as it would be our only chance in the race tomorrow. The car was generally lacking grip today but the main problem was that I had traffic on my fastest lap in Q2 with a driver staying in front of me on his in-lap for the last half of the lap. We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings but if it rains, then we are on the right set-up.”

Robert Kubica: “We have been in the top five in every session, in all conditions, this weekend, and going into qualifying we were hoping that it might be possible to get third place. This is the first race at which we have used our F-duct and I must say congratulations to everybody at the factory because it has worked perfectly from the first lap in practice. In fact, I was in second position at the end of my first run in Q3 but I wasn’t able to use my second set of option tyres. The car cut out just before the pit lane on my in-lap, and after the mechanics had pushed me back to the garage, we didn’t have time to do another run. At the end of the session, I was standing in the pits, watching the other cars and praying for rain when a few drops started to fall – and only Lewis was able to improve his time. It meant I lost a place on the front row, but I am still in a strong position for tomorrow, and now we need to wait and see what happens – with the race and with the weather.”

Vitaly Petrov: “It was a very disappointing session for me today. On my out-lap on slick tyres, I went on the kerb at the exit of Turn 9 and lost control of the car because of the standing water. I wasn’t able to get started again, so that was the end of my session. It was a big shame because the car has been very good this weekend, and I was aiming for a place in the top 10. But now this has happened, all I can do is focus on tomorrow and stay positive. The F-duct is working very well, so we are quick on the straights and will be able to overtake. Plus the weather forecast is uncertain, and we know that when it is wet, everything is possible.”

Lewis Hamilton: “We’ve looked very fast all weekend and the car’s felt great. Obviously, the Mercedes-Benz engine is the best suited to this circuit, and our car’s aerodynamic package also works well here. On my first run in Q3, I was the first driver into Turn 14, and the track was drying but still a bit wet, so I didn’t push hard enough and lost ground – maybe half a second. I thought we could have got pole, but I went a bit wide at La Source on my final run. There was one little patch of rain over Turn 1, so it was a bit slippery, and I lost about three and a half tenths there. But I was able to extract some good time from the tyres in the second and third sectors – and that’s where I made up the time I lost in sector one. Still, it’s not essential to have pole here – I still feel like I’m in a good position. There’s a very long straight from Eau Rouge to the top of the hill and it’s quite tricky to stay ahead of a chasing car, even if you’re on pole. I’m hopeful of getting a good start tomorrow and we’ll take it from there. For tomorrow’s race, and in Monza, we need to capitalise on the fact that our package appears to be very competitive. Tomorrow will be a tough race, but we’ll keep pushing.”

Jenson Button: “Our car feels good, and I think our pace has been good all weekend. I just wish I could be a bit further up. We ran used tyres at the start of Q3 and used tyres at the end, and two of the cars ahead of me put their best times in at the start of the session when it was dry. For my final run, there’d been a bit of rain in sector one, so I lost about three and a half tenth to my previous best Q3 lap in the first sector. I was down quite a bit but was able to pull it back in the middle and last sectors, which were quite competitive. I’m reasonably happy, but would have liked to have been a bit higher up. In qualifying, you obviously want to push the car to the limit, but it’s very tricky with this asphalt to see which parts of the surface are wet or dry. And, when you’re pushing as hard as you can, it’s very difficult to find the limit of the tyre in the wet. If you hit a wet patch, you’re off. Still, I’m fifth – on the good side of the grid – and in this sort of weather, anything can happen, so it’s pretty exciting. That’s the way it is, but I still think we can have a very good race with our car tomorrow.”

Bruno Senna: “Today was a good day to experience what a rain shower could do to the circuit. One part of the track was dry and the other one was wet. So, it was a bit of a difficult situation and a gamble to choose which tyres to use. Normally, you stay out with the dry tyres, but it’s easy to go crash with cold tyres. We decided to go on intermediates and we did our fastest lap with these. All in all, I achieved my best qualifying result today and hopefully, there are some rain showers again tomorrow, which can bring some surprises.”

Sakon Yamamoto: “I am happy to have done my best qualifying result of the season today. We tried to set a lap time with dry tyres because we expected rain coming quickly, so we went out. As expected, during the dry tyre run the rain came and it was really difficult to manage it. Then, we set quite a good position for going into Q2. I think all of us prayed for the rain, but unfortunately it stopped, so we decided to go on intermediate tyres again. As I was blocked by another car on my first lap on the intermediates and maybe I could have done a better time. But there are going to be similar conditions tomorrow, so we will try to do our best and do a good race.”

Rubens Barrichello: “Today was a good effort by everyone in the team. We were struggling a bit with set-up this morning, but the team came up with some great ideas after practice to get the car into better shape for qualifying and they paid off. I’m delighted to be up in seventh place. I’m having a great weekend celebrating my 300th race with my family and the team and I will be pushing hard tomorrow to get a good result.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was not a bad outcome today for the team with two cars in the top 10. I am happy enough with my position, especially considering that my last run in Q3 to claim my grid slot was on a used set of options that clearly were past their best. Just like the session today, I expect the weather to be pretty mixed tomorrow and to be honest, I am relaxed about that – with the variability in conditions, it is important to take it as it comes, the only sure thing is to aim for a good points finish tomorrow.”

Mark Webber: “Spa is certainly a great venue to get pole – it’s a very special track. I was very happy with my first lap in Q3, but you never know in the current company if it’s enough. You get to the finish and wait for [engineer] Ciaron to come on the radio and say ‘P…?’ and you’re thinking ‘what is it?’. At that point the lap was enough, but then you have to do it again. You get another set of tyres and see how you go. We had a rain shower, which spiced things up and made it hard for people to improve. Lewis did a pretty good job to improve to P2 at the end when La Source was a bit greasy. I’m pleased to be on pole and tomorrow’s race is going to be interesting, I don’t think the race will be won on the first lap. I’m looking forward to it.”

Sebastian Vettel: “We had a bad start with Q1 being last out of the box. It gave us the advantage of not suffering any traffic, but then you’re the one who has to face the most water on the track with dry tyres – it was tricky. Fortunately we could get a lap in on the intermediate tyres and we were safe, but you never know in these conditions. Q2 was comfortable and in Q3 it turned out that the first run was most important. There was a bit of rain in the first corner and my first try in Q3 wasn’t good enough, simple as that. I made a couple of mistakes at the beginning of the first sector and lost momentum. On the last lap I made a good recovery and it was quicker than my first try, but then I went a bit sideways in Turn 14 and that was it. The most important thing today was that the car was very good, good enough to be ahead of everyone else. It didn’t happen for me today, so we need to do it tomorrow.”

Felipe Massa: “Definitely a difficult qualifying. Already this morning, we had seen that the McLarens and Red Bulls were quicker than us and they confirmed that this afternoon, when we had a few difficulties, failing to get the result we were expecting: which means we will be trying to improve our positions tomorrow in the race. As usually happens here in Belgium, you can predict that the changeable weather might play a crucial role: it will be vital to manage the situation as well as possible. On my first run in Q3 Igot a good lap, but maybe it could have been a couple of tenths quicker, while on the second one, I immediately had rain at Turn 1 and I locked the wheels and I decided to pit without completing the lap, because I would not have been able to improve my lap time. If we have a track that is only slightly dampbut not too wet, it could be a problem because the rain tyres get destroyed very quickly and it will be necessary to manage them very carefully.”

Fernando Alonso: “Obviously, I can’t be pleased with this result, but it has to be said that if there is one track where grid position is less critical than others, then it is this one, both because of the track characteristics and because the weather can be very changeable: in some cases the right decision at the right time can see you make up an advantage of a minute, therefore we will have to be clever and make the most of every opportunity. In Q3, I only had one set of new soft tyres left and I used it on my second run when, unfortunately, there was a bit of rain. There’s no point in making a drama over this tenth place: we must stay calm and concentrated, because qualifying is one thing and the race is quite another when the points are given out, not today.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “It was a great qualifying for us today, the second time we made it into Q2 like we did in Malaysia. It’s a shame Jarno didn’t make it through as well, and I was just ahead of him, but the team did a great job today and they should all be very pleased. We made the right calls on tyres in both sessions and in the second session it was really about fighting with Timo, and we nailed him so we achieved what we set out to do today. I think we should be in pretty good shape tomorrow against our direct competitors, and those just ahead, as it looks like the lower downforce circuits suit us, so I hope we have mixed conditions tomorrow and can give it our best shot.”

Jarno Trulli: “I’m obviously disappointed that I didn’t make it into Q2, but congratulations to Heikki and the team for putting in such a good performance. It was a pretty crazy session, and it started badly for me when di Grassi lost his car – I was quicker than him, and I couldn’t avoid going over him. If he had let me by in the first place when I was much quicker, then it wouldn’t have happened. It’s difficult in changeable conditions, everyone gets surprised, but we’re still in a pretty good position tomorrow, so we’ll do our best to reward the fans. ”

Timo Glock: “A good qualifying today in which we made it through to Q2 and got the opportunity to show a little more of the team’s potential and also from my side too. The team worked incredibly hard to build an entire new car overnight following my accident yesterday. We always knew this would be a weekend with opportunities for the team because of the changing weather and to have such a good qualifying in such an unpredictable situation off the back of such a big task to get the car ready is a great reward for them. I was quite happy with my performance, not making any mistakes in these conditions and to get the best out of the car in the situation. The session was very chaotic having to switch tyres as the conditions changed and tomorrow promises more of the same. It could be a very eventful race for the teams and the fans and I hope we can make the most of that.”

Lucas di Grassi: “A disappointing qualifying session for me because the conditions were perfect for our set-up. On the first time lap Trulli hit me and the damage was so great we had to stop. Tomorrow looks like rain again so I’m looking forward to an interesting race.”

Adrian Sutil: “Getting into the top ten was my aim today so I’m really happy. It was a tough qualifying of course with the showers and we had to be quick in taking decisions on the pitwall and on the circuit we had to react quite quickly as you never knew what was going to happen. I was lucky to go through in Q1 as I did my quickest lap on the intermediate tyres and the track was drying. Then second qualifying went well and in Q3 I was quite happy with the one lap I did. We only had one set of option tyres left for Q3 and I just missed out on a second lap as at the end of the first lap it had started to rain. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow, I think there will be a lot of overtaking maneouvres, particularly up the hill and into Eau Rouge after the start, and you can really attack throughout the race.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “It wasn’t such an enjoyable qualifying as everything was very confusing and stressful with the rain in Q1. But overall we made an improvement to our car as we have had some problems with top speed from Friday practice until Q1. The car has a good balance into the corners and the blown diffuser is working well but although we improved in qualifying, it didn’t feel 100%. In FP3 this morning we also ran just four laps, also with a different wing setting, so we went into qualifying a bit blind. But we can be pretty happy, the forecast is changing every 10 minutes for the race tomorrow so we’ll keep on top of it and from P12 on the grid we’ve still got a good chance of scoring some points.”

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