2010 Chinese GP, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by Nick on April 17th, 2010 at 12:38 pmLast Update: April 17th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Colin Kolles: “The reliability of the HRT car will be a deciding factor in tomorrow’s battle and race. Let’s see what the weather brings during the race tomorrow. All other teams had a winter with a lot of wet sessions. We do not know how competitive we can be in a wet race.”

Sam Michael: “Rubens did well in qualifying and unfortunately just missed out on a slot in the top ten. We had to fit a new engine on his car after this morning’s practice so it was a good effort by the mechanics to get him out in time for qualifying. Nico’s qualifying wasn’t as good as he would have hoped for and he’ll be analysing that tonight with his engineers. We tested a stalling rear wing on Rubens’ car during the morning practice session, from which we collected some useful data, but it’s early R&D at this stage so we have taken the decision not to race it this weekend.”

Mike Gascoyne: “It was the classic mixed bag today. We’ve been strong in practice and if it wasn’t for Heikki’s final sector we would have finished best of the new teams, but sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan. We were satisfied with the setups on both cars and while it’s been a bit disappointing I’m confident the work we put in throughout practice, on long runs with heavy fuel, will pay off for us tomorrow.”

Tony Fernandes: “First of all I’m just really pleased to be here in China! It was a very close shave – I think I was about an hour ahead of the airspace shut down and this is one of the races I’ve been really looking forward to coming to with the team. The spectacular growth of China over recent years is an inspiration to me and the whole Lotus Racing team – it shows how high we should be setting our sights and how we can reach the top by working hard to achieve your dreams. Seeing the fans’ banners for us in the stands makes me very proud, and shows that Lotus Racing has a real significance for Chinese motorsport fans, who know a good thing when they see it!”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Lewis recorded good times in Q1 and Q2, but his Q3 lap was about 0.3s slower than we’d hoped for. We don’t yet know the reason for that – it could be a number of things – but of course we’ll analyse it. It’s a pity, though, because without that 0.3s deficit he’d have been on the front row for tomorrow’s race. As for Jenson, he put in a very good lap in Q3 on used Option tyres – but, again, so close were the times of the drivers who qualified between P2 and P8, that a tenth or two would have made a significant difference to his grid slot. So fifth and sixth aren’t ideal, but tomorrow the weather may well be more changeable than it was today, and both our drivers have great ability in such conditions.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “I don’t like having all our eggs in one basket, so we split them, with one car anticipating rain tomorrow and one with a downforce level more suited for the dry. Guess which one was fastest today. Tomorrow we will see what happens! The team worked efficiently, making no mistakes. Both drivers did a good job and in Buemi’s case, we could not have expected more from him, after he got no running yesterday. I’m glad we sorted out the problem on his car quickly, so I’d say that, overall, things are looking up!”

Eric Boullier: “We were very pleased with the performance of the car, which shows the progress we continue to make as a team. Robert’s eighth place is a good result and we are now between the two Mercedes in qualifying, and we can expect even better race pace. As for Vitaly, he did a good job to bounce back from his accident in free practice this morning, which is all part of the learning curve for a driver in only his fourth Grand Prix. He is pushing himself hard, as well as the car, and his performances are improving every weekend. He did well to qualify 14th, which was the strongest performance of the rookies.”

Alan Permane: “It was a good session from both drivers with Robert solidly into Q3 and Vitaly doing well to qualify 14th. It was satisfying to get ahead of one of the Merecedes with Robert, and eighth is a good position from which to start the race. After Vitaly’s crash this morning, the mechanics did a fantastic job to repair the car so that Vitaly could take part in qualifying. Overall, it was a good effort from the two drivers and we know that our car works better on high fuel, so we’re well placed to aim for points with both Robert and Vitaly tomorrow. The weather forecast suggests we may get some rain for the race, but we’re happy whether it’s wet or dry.”

Christian Horner: “I have no idea where Sebastian produced that last lap from, it was quite phenomenal. Mark was in great shape throughout qualifying today and got pipped right at the end there. So, both cars at the front of the grid again for another Red Bull one two. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

Fabrice Lom: “I’m very, very happy – it’s the fourth pole in a row for Red Bull Renault at a very difficult track for the engine due to the long straight. We are ecstatic to be on the front row again – but its Sunday that counts, so we have to concentrate on tomorrow’s race and try to score as we did in Malaysia.”

James Key: “It was a tough and very close qualifying. Both drivers pushed as hard as they could. We knew we had to get a good lap out of the new tyres. It was also essential to get it all together in the traffic, which we managed to do. At the end there were probably a few more tenths possible. Unfortunately Pedro was putting in a very good lap and just missed out in the hairpin with a little bit of wheel locking, and Kamui maybe had a couple of tenths more to exploit as well. There was potential there to move up a few places, but we are still not in a position to get to Q3. It’s very close, and let’s see what the weather brings tomorrow. We are mid-grid and anything can happen.”

Nick Wirth: “Our improving reliability allowed both drivers to conduct some interesting and fruitful set-up work today in P3 and Qualifying. We elected to only do two runs in Q1 and Timo got blocked on his first run, so he did a good job to deliver a solid performance in his single lap. Lucas performed strongly today, so it was a shame that he lost time in his final sector as that would have been an impressive lap for a Shanghai rookie. Our performance today has been all the more satisfying as we haven’t been able to introduce a planned aero upgrade as it is currently on the wrong side of the Icelandic volcano plume! All in all, we’re looking forward to the race, rain or shine.”

Ross Brawn: “Well done to Nico and the team for an excellent performance in qualifying today. Fourth position is certainly ahead of where we expected to be this weekend and Nico drove very well in all three qualifying sessions to put himself in contention for a strong race tomorrow. Michael has not achieved such a good balance on the car this weekend and had a less satisfying day. However he will give it everything in the race tomorrow and should have the opportunity to show the progress made since the start of the season.”

Norbert Haug: “A great job from Nico and the team on a very demanding track. Nico’s lap puts him in fourth place and less than one and a half tenths from the front row and closer to the pole time than in the previous races. Hopefully we can repeat a similar performance tomorrow. We were the third fastest team today, ten thousandths of a second down to the second fastest, so a good job from everybody. Michael was not so happy with his car but he is in a good position to score the points tomorrow that he could not achieve in the last two races through no fault of his own. There seems to be a chance of rain during the race so it will be interesting to see how it develops.”

Dominic Harlow: “We’re very pleased to have another top ten qualifying with Adrian here, with some very good laps. It was still tricky with quite low grip and ultimately we felt that another position or two could have been within reach in Q3. Tonio was very unfortunate with traffic today in Qualifying, so couldn’t actually put together a representative lap. It does seem to be a lottery sometimes early in the session given the pace difference between some of the cars. With the possibility of another change in the weather conditions tomorrow, we’re confident of a very exciting race and we’ll be looking to add to our points total.”

Stefano Domenicali: “Overall, we can be pleased with the way things went today. We knew the Red Bulls would be hard to beat in qualifying and that was the case, but Fernando, who did a great lap, managed to take third, which means he is in with a fighting chance tomorrow. A shame for Felipe, who did not manage to put together a perfect lap, which sees him relegated to the fourth row: in a championship in which at least four cars are all within a few tenths, it only takes a small error to find yourself in a position that does not match up to your potential. Tomorrow’s race looks like being very hard to predict. In this early part of the season, we have seen that over a long run, the pace of the F10 is very competitive and we will try and make the most of this characteristic. Furthermore, the weather is forecast to take a turn for the worse and we will probably need to be ready to tackle what could be a wet race.”

Chris Dyer: “A really great performance today from Fernando, who was able to get the most out of the car, putting himself in a strong position for tomorrow’s race. Some disappointment for Felipe, who was not able to put together his best lap in Q3, but there is still every chance he can have a good race. There is a high possibility of rain playing its part tomorrow: even if we don’t encounter the same extreme conditions as last year, it could definitely create some surprises and we must be ready to tackle every eventuality.”

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