2010 Belgian GP, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on August 28th, 2010 at 5:53 pmLast Update: August 28th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Peter Sauber: “In the first three practice sessions things looked very good for us and we had reasons to be optimistic, but then in qualifying both drivers went off on slicks on their out laps. It’s a shame.”

James Key: “Obviously for us a very disappointing qualifying, but equally it was a very difficult session. In the beginning we knew there was rain coming, so we went out early with the rest of the pack. It was really just a case of putting in a banker, but then the red flag stopped it. In the end with the drying track we decided to go out on the intermediate tyres and do three timed laps. The track was drying very quickly, and other cars went on dry tyres, so we decided also to change to slicks. But the track conditions were tricky and both our drivers had an off on their out laps, which stopped them from completing these laps. It’s a shame, but a situation like this is always difficult to judge. Now we have to go back and reflect on what happened and make sure next time we do better. Tomorrow we just have to see how we can best recover from the situation.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “In performance terms this is pretty much what we expected, which means not so different to Hungary. We regret that we did not pip Liuzzi, because I think we should have done. We look a bit better than usual because other drivers made mistakes. I want to emphasise that the team did a very good job, particularly in getting both our cars at the front of the queue to leave the pit lane for the restart in Q1. During Q1, on intermediates, we could see that times would be better on slicks as there was no rain forecast and the clouds were moving away, which is why we brought the drivers back to the pits, rather than let them close their laps. Jaime has done a good job over the two days, keeping calm, even if he told us on the radio this afternoon that he could have taken more risks. However, I am pleased all the same.”

Ross Brawn: “It is obviously a difficult weekend for us with the problems that we have had with Michael being put back 10 places and now the gearbox issue with Nico which has lost us five places. We didn’t look too bad in various parts of qualifying today and when we went out at the end of Q2, we had plenty of time for decent runs, however we had a problem with a driver who was on his in-lap and holding our drivers up. Michael and Nico ended up missing out on Q3 by fractions of a second due to another driver which is frustrating.”

Norbert Haug: “Both Michael and Nico missed the top 10 by about seven hundredths today. In addition, we have been handicapped here from the outset with Michael’s 10-place and Nico’s five-place grid penalty. Let’s hope the typical Spa weather lottery will help us to improve and go forward.”

Eric Boullier: “Qualifying third with Robert is a great result, especially at a track like Spa. The race team did a really good job, although we had a fuel pick-up problem, which cost Robert the chance to do a second run in Q3. Unfortunately it was a dramatic start to the session for us with Vitaly making a mistake on the kerb out of turn nine, which is really a shame. Hopefully he can come through the field in the race tomorrow. We’ve been running the f-duct this weekend and overall we are happy with how it is working, which is thanks to the great job done by the team at Enstone and here at the track. This development has drastically improved our performance, which looks promising for the end of the season.”

Alan Permane: “Third is a fantastic result for Robert and just goes to show the performance we have put on the car, not only since the last race, but all season, is really paying off. It obviously wasn’t a great session for Vitaly, spinning off on his out-lap, but with the pace of the car we have this weekend, I’m sure he can still have a good race from the back of the grid. With Robert we are where we are on merit, and we will be racing to finish on the podium. The weather has been changeable all weekend and I expect more of the same tomorrow. I’d prefer a dry race, but we’ve been quick in the wet and the dry so either way won’t worry us too much.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “For all the teams, the key to today’s qualifying session was managing things so that one’s drivers were on track at the right time on the right tyres – and, to the extent that Lewis and Jenson qualified second and fifth, I suppose we can be reasonably satisfied that we did a decent job. Having said that, with hindsight, if we’d started Q3 with new Option tyres rather than used Option tyres, we may well have been celebrating McLaren’s 147th Formula 1 pole position this afternoon. Equally, a small spot of rain came at just the wrong time for us. Without that, again, pole may well have been within our grasp. But I don’t want to sound churlish, because the team did a very good job and both drivers did an extremely good job. As for tomorrow’s race, well, the Spa-Francorchamps track is a glorious venue for grand prix racing, and you can be well sure that both Lewis and Jenson will be looking to attack from the start. The run down to Turn 1 is a relatively short one – but the long haul up to Eau Rouge may well offer overtaking opportunities on lap one and you can be well sure that both Lewis and Jenson will be looking for them.”

Colin Kolles: “It was a thrilling qualifying and we were a bit unlucky not to get into the second part of the qualifying. Sakon Yamamoto and Bruno Senna achieved their best qualifying results this season and before the first rain showers, they were positioned 13th and 18th respectively. The team was prepared very well for the different conditions and we went out on the right tyres at the right time. We got good weather updates and we could inform the drivers very well about the possible rain and wet kerbs on the circuit. We are looking forward to another exciting race tomorrow and we are hoping for some rain again.”

Sam Michael: “To get both cars in the top 10 today was a good effort by the team. The rain could have proved troublesome, but the drivers and engineers managed the weather well throughout the entire session. We’ll now move our focus onto strategy for the race tomorrow. It looks like conditions could be changeable yet again, which will certainly make it an interesting afternoon.”

Christian Horner: “Our 12th pole of the year in such difficult conditions demonstrates what a great job the team and Mark did today. Fourth place for Sebastian backs up an excellent team performance. Mark made the best of the circuit when it was at it’s fastest at the beginning of Q3. Sebastian dropped some time at Turns 13 and 14, otherwise I think we would have had another Red Bull front row lock-out, but it’s great to see both cars right up there.”

Fabrice Lom: “A very difficult session with all the mixed conditions, but I think we managed very well. The team did a great job at being on the track at the right time. It was a difficult Q1, but we made it and our performance increased session after session. It’s a good result – we got pole position with Mark, he did a great lap at the start of Q3 and Seb is fourth. We were close to a 1-2-3 for Renault, but Lewis did a great lap. I think we are in a good position for a great race tomorrow, but you never know what the conditions will be and it will be tough. The engines may suffer also on this hard track, but we will do our best.”

Chris Dyer: “We cannot be pleased with the outcome of this qualifying session. Of course, the fact the weather was so changeable made running the session more tricky, especially for Fernando, who found himself with just one set of new soft tyres left in Q3: when he used them there was just a short shower which prevented him from setting the time he was capable of doing and which would have seen him starting a bit higher up the grid. Spa is famous for being unpredictable in terms of the weather: and onceagain this was confirmed today, with the possibility that tomorrow’s race will also be similarly affected, therefore we will have to do a good job in managing the possible variables.”

Stefano Domenicali: “We definitely cannot be happy with this result. Qualifying was complicated by the changing weather conditions which might have been easy to predict from yesterday but, having said that, clearly we failed to extract all the potential at our disposal and now we have to understand why. We are expecting a difficult race tomorrow, when it will be important to try and make the most of every opportunity, especially as our main rivals will be starting ahead of us.”

Mike Gascoyne: “In the end it was a very good session for us today. It’s disappointing we didn’t get Jarno into Q2 as well, but the yellow flags at the end of his final run held him up, otherwise I’m sure he’d have joined Heikki in Q2. Heikki did a great job in spite of the conditions, and he managed to get the best out the car. We’ll be in our best starting positions tomorrow and we’re all looking forward to a good strong race. We’re clearly the quickest of the new boys, and tomorrow will be all about getting Jarno up with Heikki, getting both cars across the finish line, and making good on the performance we’ve put in today.”

Nick Wirth: “An exciting and eventful session. Last night, we took the decision to gamble on the race weather being wet and have today run a high downforce aero condition on both cars that is some way from the fastest configuration from this circuit when it is dry. Timo’s crew did a fantastic job by working all night to get his car ready for free practice today and the shower before qualifying made the track very tricky. Lucas was very unlucky to get hit by Jarno when he slowed down to avoid a spinning car – sadly the impact broke his oil cooler and ended what could have been a promising session through no fault of his own. Timo managed to put a good lap together at the beginning of Q1 which showed what is possible in tricky conditions, and he managed to hang on to a Q2 spot for the second time this year. As Q2 ended up being relatively dry, we weren’t expecting to progress much and therefore decided not to change tyres at the end of the session. So we’ll fix Lucas’s car tonight and keep our fingers crossed for some more weather madness tomorrow.”

Otmar Szafnauer: “We’re obviously very pleased to be back in the top ten again after a couple of difficult races, and to get two cars starting in the top 12 is our best qualifying session since Canada. It wasn’t an easy session to call with the rain coming and going but we made the most of the conditions to give ourselves a good shot of a points finish, which is of course the ultimate aim. We know our race pace is strong, but as usual here in Spa you also have to be spot-on with the tyre calls if the weather is changeable. We look forward to a competitive race tomorrow.”

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