2010 European GP, qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on June 26th, 2010 at 4:39 pmLast Update: June 26th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Adrian Sutil: “This morning the car felt really good and I could push on both the prime and the option tyres, and it showed in the time I was able to do. But in Q2 I had a clean lap but the grip just didn’t seem to be there. Over the whole session it was so hard and we couldn’t get the tyres to work – such a big difference from the morning session. It’s obviously very disappointing as we looked very strong here and we didn’t change much from this morning. I’m now concentrating on the race – we had a good event here last year and, as we saw in Montreal, our race pace is very strong so there’s always opportunities to make up positions.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “This morning we were really quick and it didn’t start too badly in Q1 for us so we were very positive about getting a good result. But it got very hot this afternoon, perhaps seven or eight degrees hotter than in free practice this morning, and it seemed to have a big effect on the tyres. Both Adrian and myself had big issues with the soft tyres in Q2 and had a lot of understeer. It’s a real shame as both yesterday and this morning we were looking very competitive and we had hoped for more. But we’re not giving up as there are so many possibilities in the race – just look at Montreal where we had the accident at the start, but fought to the end and still picked up two points.”

Sebastien Buemi: “It’s my best qualifying result of the season and I did not expect to do so well before the start of the session, which is a reason to be pleased. On the other hand, I am a bit disappointed because Barrichello was ahead of me going into the final corner on my last flying lap and he really slowed me down. He was on his slowing down lap, but it cost me two tenths which should have seen me finish higher than eleventh. To be honest, I’m not sure why the car worked so well today, because we have not changed anything since Canada. It proves the team is doing a fine job. It’s good to start from further up the grid than usual, right in the middle of the pack, which means I have every chance of having a good race, even if it will be very difficult to overtake.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “A positive Saturday; that wasn’t a bad qualifying! No one expected me to be ahead of Rubens today because he’s been quicker than me all weekend. Somehow I pulled out a good lap in Q3 and beat him by a fraction. We’re obviously happy that we have both cars in the top ten, which was the aim. Hopefully we’ll have a good race and get some points tomorrow.”

Rubens Barrichello: “It was a good qualifying session for the team. Ninth is a strong position to be starting from, but I could have done better than that if it weren’t for a problem with brake warm up in Q3. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and certainly feel we can achieve a top sixth finish as the car is looking competitive. We are quite happy with the improvements we’ve brought here this weekend. We still need to keep pushing, but this demonstrates that we can be fast.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I’m not sure what happened as we seemed to lack pace this afternoon. I tried to push as hard as possible, but the speed did not come, so we will need to look at the data to understand what went on. Maybe my tyre pressures were a bit too low and I struggled especially on the soft tyres, maybe I did not have quite the right feeling from the brakes, which are very important here but for whatever reason I was very slow. Today, my team-mate did a better job than me, so we will have to try and improve in order to catch up in the race tomorrow.”

Jarno Trulli: “I’m feeling quite a lot happier now – things have been getting better all weekend now I have the new chassis, and as I’ve not had any real problems I’ve been able to work on the setup, which obviously helped today. I do still have a bit of an issue with the brakes, but it feels like a new start from where I’ve been and I’m pleased with the performance today. We are another step ahead of the teams behind and I think we’ll be ok tomorrow.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “It was a little disappointing for me out there today. I didn’t feel as comfortable as I did yesterday, when I was very happy with the car. Today it seems I had to fight the car a bit, and I really had to attack to get some good times. But it’s ok. I’m not too worried, and tomorrow I will push again and try to bring the car home to the end of the race.”

Pedro de la Rosa: “Sixteenth doesn’t look great, but I must say I am quite happy with what we did in qualifying. In Q1 especially our performance was really good. We improved the car after free practice and the changes paid off. We pushed hard and I think we got the best out of the package. There are limits. I think the track conditions favoured the harder tyre compound. The prime tyres were really good. With the softer option tyres I had a lack of grip and was sliding too much.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “I am very disappointed after having been out so early in qualifying. My first run on the prime tyres was okay, and when we changed to the option tyres I was expecting a lot more from them for the second run, but there was no extra grip. Anyway I didn’t exploit the potential because on my first flying lap with the softer tyres I locked the front wheels, which resulted in them being flat spotted. That’s why I felt vibrations in the car and this ruined my second flying lap. It is a shame.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s very frustrating to be so far back on the grid although my lap was good today. There was just no more performance to get out of the car. We had a few issues this morning so we had to make a compromise on our upgrade package and that made the difference of being in the top ten. It’s not easy to understand what happened as we hoped to take a step forward here but we haven’t got the best of our updates yet and we need to understand the tyres quickly. The car will be stronger in the race so we stay positive and see what will happen.”

Michael Schumacher: “Obviously I am disappointed with my position today and it is certainly not where I want to be. I had to fight with two things. Firstly, as in Canada we have a general problem with the tyres and we can’t get them to work in qualifying. Secondly, I had some difficulties with the brakes and I was locking the front right all the time. This made things extra difficult and is something we need to understand. However our new updates are definitely an advantage, although this was not evident in the performance. I could have gone maybe three-tenths quicker on my last lap if Buemi had not been in the way but it would still not have been enough for Q3. But we are fighters and we know this sport long enough. Our starts are good and with more fuel on board, things do not look so bad. We will certainly try to make the best out of our situation tomorrow.”

Robert Kubica: “It has been a pretty good qualifying and the car was especially strong on the prime tyre. On the options I had a lot more movement so the car felt quite different and we didn’t really gain the lap time, but we made a decision that it would be better to start the race on the options. Although I finished higher in the first two parts of qualifying, I think the end result reflects our true position. The new updates on the car this weekend are bringing us some gains, but we still need to work to get 100% from them, which I hope we can do in the coming races.”

Vitaly Petrov: “It’s fantastic to get into Q3 because the times were very close today. Unfortunately I made some mistakes on my fastest lap in Q3 so I could maybe have been even higher on the grid. In the race anything can happen so I will try and look after my tyres and make up some positions. There are a lot of new parts on the car this weekend and I have had to adapt my driving style, but I can feel a big improvement with the car.”

Lewis Hamilton: “Ahead of this weekend, we didn’t expect to be quick enough for third on the grid. It’s a complete surprise, but it’s a fantastic result. “I thought my first Q3 lap was good, but you just never knew what the others were doing. On my final lap, I was two tenths up, but I was way over the limit, locked the rears into Turn 17 and had to bail out of it. Fortunately, my previous lap was an awesome one, so I’m so happy to be third. I’m very happy with third, actually – you’re on the clean side, so it’s a better position to start from than second, and you get the clean line on the inside, so I can make it hard for Mark Webber to get into the first corner ahead of me. “Today’s qualifying could prove crucial for us; we came here determined to minimise the damage because we knew a lot of the other teams would be quick because they’d brought updates to this race. And, for tomorrow, anything’s still possible – there’s a long straight around the back of the track, and, if we can stay close enough, then there’s a possibility to use the F-duct and overtake. I’ll be relying on the guys to do the best job possible during the pitstops tomorrow – as they usually do – and I think we’re going to have an exciting race.”

Jenson Button: “Things were looking good until the last corner of my last lap in Q3. I was pretty happy with the car, but then I got a bit of oversteer through the quick right-hander before it, and I think that set the car up poorly for the last corner. I locked up, ran wide, and lost two tenths. And that’s massive – it could have been fourth on the grid. So, very disappointing. But I can’t do anything about it, and I’ll be pushing for a better race tomorrow. It’ll be very difficult – I just want to get a good start and not get stuck in traffic, because the pace of our car is good. It’s disappointing, as I say, but hopefully we can gain some places at the start, execute some quick pitstops and make the most of our strategy – the pits really are the only place where you can overtake around here. I’m a little surprised at the final grid – it’s very similar to what we’ve seen at a lot of other races, despite several teams bringing upgrades to this race. And that’s another positive for us.”

Karun Chandhok: “I am very pleased with how it went today. We had a far more productive practice session this morning and played a lot with the electronic settings on my car which was very useful for qualifying. My fastest lap was pretty good – it’s never neat and tidy around here but I think I got the maximum from the car this afternoon. The temperature is expected to be quite high again tomorrow so it will be a tough race for the cars, tyres and drivers. Our race pace has generally been good so I am looking forward to a long race tomorrow.”

Bruno Senna: “It was a difficult qualifying session today when the track improved a bit. But I didn’t get my lap together and I lost a lot of time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t end up with a better result than this. But it is going to be a long race tomorrow and I hope to do a better job then.”

Lucas di Grassi: “I’m very happy to be the fastest Virgin Racing driver today. This is my debut year in F1 and I’ve been learning a lot with each Grand Prix. I’ve been getting closer to Timo’s lap times and to be able to keep pace with someone with his ability and experience is a good measure of the progress I feel I am making. Your team-mate is always your easiest comparison but we are not fighting each other – we are working together to make Virgin Racing the best of the new teams. We have a lot of work to do to improve the car and our pace, so while I’m very pleased with the result today, that is where our focus lies.”

Timo Glock: “Unfortunately we made the wrong decision with the tyres today. We thought things would work out with the Option tyre with a small set-up change, but I had one run on Primes and they were definitely much quicker. Unfortunately I made a mistake out of the last corner and lost around 0.5 secs, otherwise I would have been quicker than Lucas and closer to the Lotus cars. Now we have to look at the opportunities for the Race tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso: “I am happy with this result. Here, so many teams, including Ferrari, have brought new parts and so it was important to show we are capable of fighting for the top places. We managed it and we must bear in mind that, without the updates we have on the F10, we would probably have struggled to make it into Q3. Tomorrow, we have the potential to fight for a podium place: it will be important to get a good start, choose the right strategy and not make any mistakes because the walls here are not forgiving. Obviously, reliability will be very important as this track is very tough on the cars. With the harder tyre, our car was more competitive as its behaviour inspired more confidence over the flying lap, but to have done Q3 with this compound would probably have compromised our race.”

Felipe Massa: “Today, we had a good car and the potential was there to do better than this fifth place. In Q1 and Q2, I was very pleased with the handling of my F10, but in Q3 I was not able to improve, mainly because of traffic that prevented me from preparing the tyres properly. It’s a shame, because I could have been starting from third place tomorrow: from fifth it will be harder to fight for a podium finish, but the chance is still there within our grasp. The updates the team has brought here contributed to making the car more competitive and they lived up to our expectations: we must continue down this route for the rest of the season.”

Sebastian Vettel: “Valencia isn’t usually – or shouldn’t be – our strongest circuit so it’s good that we are able to put the car on pole and I think our pace is looking very good. It was a tight qualifying session, and a tough one especially as we reintroduced the F-duct and I think some of the mechanics had maybe an hour or two’s sleep last night, so it’s good to say thank you by putting the cars on one and two. We’re now in a very strong position to start tomorrow’s race.”

Mark Webber: “It would be nice to be the other way around but you can’t do it all the time! I’m pleased to be on the front row with Seb, and all credit to the team. This isn’t one of our strongest circuits and the track is like a Tesco car park, but we’ve had a good day and let’s see how tomorrow goes. I’m very optimistic we can have a good race.”

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