2010 Korean GP, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on October 23rd, 2010 at 12:12 pmLast Update: October 23rd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Stefano Domenicali: “It was a very closely contested session, with closer gaps than usual. We did our utmost and we can say that, overall, we are reasonably pleased with this result, even our aim is always to try and be in front of everyone. In Q3, Fernando produced two great laps: it would have been hard to do better and it is very important that he has avoided starting from the dirty side of the grid. Felipe is back on great form this weekend: it’s a shame that for his only run on new soft tyres in Q3, he was not able to show all the potential demonstrated in Q2, but I firmly believe he can have a good race tomorrow. And that’s the day that matters, when the points are given out. On a track one knows, the usual parameters apply – the start, reliability, strategy, the work of the team and the drivers – on a completely new one like Yeongam, there will also be the unknown factor of how the track will evolve, as well as how that might be affected by the rain forecast for tonight. All we can do is concentrate on our job and do our best in a race which looks like being very unpredictable.”

Chris Dyer: “We had another day with no technical problems on either car, which is always positive. Qualifying was a bit different to usual, especially because the difference in performance between the two types of tyre Bridgestone has brought here is greater, which made the decision on how to manage the sets of tyres during the various parts of the session less obvious. After a couple of Grands Prix where this part of the weekend has been difficult for us, here we managed to get both cars into Q3 and with Fernando, we just missed out on pole. As we have seen so often this season, our main rivals managed to find something right at the last in order to get ahead of us. Tomorrow, we can expect a very unusual start, because getting away from the clean side will, in theory, produce a significant advantage: therefore, for Fernando it was better to be third rather than second, while unfortunately Felipe will start from the dirty side. I am expecting a very interesting race, where the tyre performance over a long run will heavily affect the outcome. So far, both the hards and the softs have presented us with problems and the track conditions could change still more. Then again, if it was to rain tonight, as predicted, everything could go back to zero again.”

Christian Horner: “A fantastic team performance today. A one two start on the grid at this new circuit is a great result and the drivers were again split by the narrowest of margins. They elected to take different strategies in Q3, Sebastian focused on two one-lap runs while Mark elected to do two laps on his last run. The difference between the two of them was almost identical to the gap in Japan, so a great team performance. We need to continue this tomorrow and hopefully the weather won’t interfere with the race.”

Fabrice Lom: “A really impressive performance from our two drivers on this new track – we are the first team in history to have pole and the first front row on the grid in Korea, so we are very proud of that. It’s also good for the Championship as Alonso is behind us with the McLarens further back, so we are in good shape. Let’s hope there’s not too much rain, as predictions are not good for tomorrow’s weather – but we will prepare with our usual professionalism.”

Colin Kolles: “Both of our drivers showed a good improvement compared to yesterday. The track got more grip and consequently the lap times got quicker. We had to adapt ourselves to the changes of the circuit and we expect it to keep on improving tomorrow as well. Sakon did a very good qualifying and we could close the gap to the new teams. Unfortunately, he lost one position in the last seconds of the session, otherwise he would have been further up. The whole team was working hard again to get the best out of the cars and therefore, I want to say thank you very much. Tomorrow’s race is going to be exciting and we hope to fight for positions.”

Patrick Head: “Of course it’s disappointing not to get two cars into the top ten, but I don’t think we’re as strong here as we have been at other tracks. It’s going to be a very interesting race as we understand there’s some rain coming. That will make tyre strategy interesting, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Eric Boullier: “We looked competitive during every practice session, so it is clearly disappointing that we were unable to repeat that level of performance in qualifying. However, we must now focus on the race. We know that our car is quick on the straights and we hope it will be competitive in race trim. We can look forward to aggressive performances from both drivers, and our goal will be to make up as many positions as possible tomorrow afternoon.”

Alan Permane: “After our performances in practice yesterday and this morning, we cannot be happy with eighth and 15th places in qualifying. Robert was complaining of more oversteer than this morning, when he had been pretty happy with the car, so we need to look at the data and understand what happened. As for Vitaly, he had a difficult session and will also incur the five-place grid penalty from Suzuka. We will need to be creative tomorrow if we wish to get both cars into the points. ”

Vijay Mallya: “The Korean Grand Prix organisers have done a fantastic job with the circuit and the facilities here. The track seems to be a real modern classic that has got great feedback from the drivers and I think this bodes extremely well for a thrilling race tomorrow. It hasn’t been the kindest to us here today: we were competitive throughout the morning and weren’t so far from the top 12 in the afternoon, but we’ve been suffering a lot with the tyre graining and that’s what caught us out in qualifying. That said we’re still in a good position for the race tomorrow and I’m very hopeful of us doing well. I am sure the race will throw up a lot of unusual opportunities and we’ve got to be well poised to take any that come our way.”

James Key: “We made changes overnight, trying to address yesterday’s weakness in the first sector. We established the downforce level which we thought was right, and we made mechanical changes. In free practice three both drivers reported the car was more oversteery, so more difficult to drive. It seemed we took a step back, with some of this in sector one, but also, compared to Friday, in sector three. For some reason not everything we changed worked the way we hoped, although the track was much more slippery and cooler than yesterday afternoon, so this was possibly a factor. Everybody did a good job to rectify the problems we had this morning. In qualifying we decided to play it safe in Q1 and go for option tyres for the second run, because we didn’t know what the difference was between the prime and the option. We then decided to save a set of options in Q2 on the basis lap three was possibly the quickest. We had a little bit of traffic, but both drivers did well to get their quickest time on lap three. We were just a couple of tenths off breaking into Q3. It was strange that we lost quite a bit of time in the second sector, but sector one and three were much better. It’s a shame we didn’t make Q3, but everybody did a good job to get out of the difficult situation from this morning. We know our race pace is always much better than qualifying, so we are looking forward to a good race tomorrow. I’m sure we can fight for points from where we are.”

John Booth: “A strong qualifying session for Timo today, who was unlucky to be pipped at the very end of the session for the new teams’ pole, but at least he will start from the clean side of the track following Petrov’s penalty. Lucas wasn’t able to get the best out of the car but we are sure there is more to come from him in the race tomorrow. We are still experiencing quite a lot of graining on the tyres, which will make the choice for tomorrow interesting, and there is also the possibility of rain. The drivers report that the track modifications made overnight have been successful, so all credit to the circuit for their hard work and we are looking forward to the inaugural Korean Grand Prix tomorrow.”

Ross Brawn: “We have seen another solid performance from the team and our drivers here with Nico putting in a particularly good lap in qualifying today to achieve fifth place. The team have got the most out of the car and adapted well to the new circuit. We have good straightline speed and the car seems reasonable on high fuel so we can look forward to an exciting race tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug: “As in recent races, we achieved the best possible result with our current package today. A superb lap from Nico on this challenging new circuit puts him in fifth place on the grid and Michael also has the opportunity to score good points from ninth place. The forecast predicts rain for Sunday so we may be able to benefit as our drivers have shown strong performances in these conditions. Our ultimate goal is to fight for pole positions and race wins however it is satisfying for everyone in the team when we achieve the best result possible. Compliments and thanks to the organisers here in Korea for building a thrilling new race track. With very hard work, the track is ready ‘just in time’ and I am sure everyone in the paddock wishes for a great race tomorrow as a reward.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “The conditions in qualifying today were pretty challenging – low-grip Tarmac combined with low-ish track temperatures – and as a result it was difficult to get the tyres up to optimal operating temperature fast enough. Both our drivers drove sensibly and well to get safely through to Q3 – and, once there, we elected to give them each two single-lap runs. They both drove very good laps – but as things turned out it wasn’t easy to nail a time on a single lap. However, we’re very positive about tomorrow’s race. We’ve got a very good race car, with strong straight-line speed, and as a result both Jenson and Lewis will be able to drive attacking races.”

Mike Gascoyne: “I’m reasonably happy with the qualifying today, although it’s a little disappointing that the tactics in qualifying, and the traffic, played their part in denying Heikki a clear run at a quick time. Jarno produced a very good lap to finish the best of the new teams on his final run, and I think that these grid positions give us a good chance of having a strong race tomorrow.”

Tony Fernandes: “A pretty good day for us, and seeing Jarno put in such a good lap at the end of Q1 after a slightly difficult weekend on his side of the garage shows exactly what he and his pitcrew are made of. We made a mistake with Heikki’s strategy, and that prevented him from being able to get closer to Jarno, but a good job by both drivers, and the whole team, to keep us ahead of our nearest competitors. From a team perspective, it has been very pleasing to see what a great event the race organisers have put on here in Korea. We were never in any doubt that Korea would pull something special out of the bag for us, and from the moment the cars first went out on track yesterday, the welcome Lotus Racing and the whole F1™ fraternity has had here has been outstanding. It was particularly good to see a couple of very dedicated Lotus Racing fans waving our flag in the stands, and the Korean media have given us some excellent coverage, so I think we will leave here having gained another army of new fans. We will do our best to reward them with a strong performance in tomorrow’s race.”

Laurent Mekies: “Our overall performance compared to our main competitors was not too bad, as we are relatively close in terms of lap times to the best Force India, Sauber and also Williams. The truth is that you have six cars in two tenths and we were at the bottom of that group. Therefore today, two or three tenths have proved very expensive. Overall we have improved our performance since the start of the weekend and hopefully we can take another step forward for the race. We can expect the first Korean Grand Prix to be full of surprises with those walls and the decent overtaking opportunities so hopefully it will be a good show.”

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