2010 Singapore GP, qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on September 25th, 2010 at 7:27 pmLast Update: September 25th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Heikki Kovalainen: “Qualifying today was quite difficult to be honest. The traffic made it really tricky as there were cars on slow laps when I was on a quick one, and I think I missed my best opportunity on the second set of tyres which were brand new. I gave it my best shot, and I think the last lap was about as good as I could have done today, so at least I split the Virgins and got pretty close to Timo. It’s still game on for tomorrow, and I think we’re in good shape for the race, so we’ll see what happens.”

Jarno Trulli: “I’m pretty disappointed with how it went tonight. This morning’s practice was pretty good but on the first run in qualifying on the options I couldn’t find any real grip so I switched to the primes. I think I got the most out of the car I could by the end of Q1 – braking obviously plays a big role here, and I’ve been struggling with the rear end locking all weekend, so I hope it improves tomorrow.”

Timo Glock: “I’m very happy with our performance today, both as a team and from my point of view. The car was not easy to drive but I got everything I could out of it today. We were using the soft tyre a little too hard, especially at the rear, so maybe if it had stayed consistent we could have squeezed another tenth or two out of the car. Overall though a good performance to be the best of the new teams once more and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I really like this circuit, especially when the conditions are drying, so I hope for a similar track in the race and we will see what we can do.”

Lucas di Grassi: “A very good qualifying performance from us, with me finishing in front of one Lotus. Even though I missed out on one of the practice sessions it feels like my best qualifying of the year. It’s a very difficult track so every time I get in the car I’m still improving, a tenth here, half a tenth there. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Adrian Sutil: “It was a very frustrating session for us overall. The first segment went OK, out on the hard tyres and able to get in the top ten, but then when we switched to the soft for Q2 we couldn’t find much of an improvement. We had less grip than on the hard tyre and I got into some traffic on my outlap and the flying lap was compromised. It just all went wrong so I’m disappointed. It’s going to be tough tomorrow as overtaking is hard but if there’s a safety car or anything unexpected we’ll do our best to take advantage of it.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “A very disappointing outcome to the session for us. We had the pace in Q1 but then in Q2 on the first lap of my second run I had problems with the front brakes. It was very strange as we’ve not had this problem over this weekend. Unfortunately because of this issue I lost the best of the tyres on what would have been a better lap. We will start at least 16th after the penalties to some of the others in front but we will have to hope for something to happen during the race that we can take advantage of as it’s very hard to overtake here.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “It’s a shame I didn’t quite make it to Q3 in the end, because overall, my weekend has gone well right from the start. I don’t think we can be unhappy with what we have achieved and I am pleased with this performance, also because the team has made a good step forward with the car. I am surprised to be this high up the grid, because in today’s free practice we had a problem with the car set-up, but we were able to correct it for qualifying. After what was my best performance of the season, I would like to send my best wishes to my regular chief mechanic Alberto Gavarini who is back home in Italy, having had a road accident. This is a very demanding track physically, with the heat and the fact there are no long straights to give you breathing space, but I feel good and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s race, as I think this is the best chance we have to score points, especially as the car is better balanced in race trim than it was for qualifying, so we can be optimistic.”

Sebastien Buemi: “Qualifying did not go well for me today and I seemed to be stuck in traffic on every lap and the one clear lap I got was spoilt by yellow flags. The main problem I had was a serious lack of grip. Jaime did a very good lap whereas this morning I was going better than him, so I am not really sure what happened, but obviously, I am disappointed. As for the race, overtaking is never easy on a track like this, but fourteenth on the grid is not a disaster. It is a long race here, so if we don’t make any mistakes, have a good strategy and the pit stop goes well, then who knows what we might be able to achieve in the way of a result. It will also be tough physically, so it will be important to be well hydrated.”

Robert Kubica: “I think we need to stay realistic at this stage of the season because the top three teams are still pushing very hard to develop their cars, while we only brought a small upgrade here. Mercedes and Williams have also been at a very similar pace to us for several races, so we knew we would be fighting in the second half of the top ten today and that meant it was difficult to achieve much more than P8. The car is lacking overall grip, and sliding front and rear, but I was quite happy with my lap. Our timing meant we only did one timed lap in Q3, so it was all or nothing, and I think I got nearly all the potential out of the car.”

Vitaly Petrov: “Looking at the times, it would have been possible for me to get into Q3 today, but I made a mistake on my first run in Q2. I had gone through Q1 on the prime tyres, and was pushing hard on the options when I went too deep on braking for turn five, lost control of the car and hit the wall with the right rear wheel. The corner was still damp from the rain this afternoon, like it has been most of the weekend, and it just caught me out: it was my mistake. I know that it’s going to be a tough race tomorrow, especially because overtaking is so difficult here in Singapore.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “I am very happy. I managed to do a couple of good laps in qualifying. In free practice on Friday I didn’t find it easy. For me the track was new and it obviously is a challenging one, as well as a special one with the heat and the lights. But I also wasn’t happy with the car in free practice. The team did a great job in improving it, so in qualifying it was good and I think my result is the best we could achieve today”

Nick Heidfeld: “I am not completely happy. I hoped for more and I think I didn’t get the most out of the car. But perhaps this wasn’t realistic considering the fact I only drove this car yesterday for the very first time with these tyres. There is a lot to learn and I’m sure we will be benefitting from it soon. I’m not too pessimistic for the race, because the long runs in free practice under race conditions were quite good. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg: “I feel that we should have done slightly better in qualifying today however seventh position is still ok, especially as I found the soft tyre quite difficult to drive and lacking rear grip. We are starting from the clean side of the grid so it will be important to have a good start. We need to keep scoring points in the remaining races so that will be our aim.”

Michael Schumacher: “Our target was to get into Q3 which we achieved so I’m reasonably happy with our qualifying performance today. We tried various set-ups throughout the sessions and whilst they paid off at some points, they did not at others. But it was a lot of fun driving the track at this time of night and it really is a special experience. It is definitely different to drive in the artificial light but it doesn’t compromise your performance at all. Starting from ninth place means starting from the presumably better side of the grid so the plan must be to try and gain some positions at the start and go from there.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I guess I’m pretty happy with third place on the grid. However, you can always do better, and I reckon we had a decent chance of pole today. My first lap in Q3 was a good, clean lap – but I was too close to Jenson. I could feel his wake ahead of me, so I lost a little bit of downforce, particularly in the last sector. On my final lap, I got the gap, but I didn’t get the lap – but that’s motor racing. Still, it’s great to know we’re a real force here in Singapore. We didn’t know how fast we’d be this weekend – so to find out that we’re only a couple of tenths off pole is a great result for the whole team. Our starts have been pretty good too, so we can both hopefully jump at least one guy ahead of us tomorrow. In other words, we can fight for a win from where we are.”

Jenson Button: “Q3 was very tough: I pushed very hard, because I was the first car out of the pitlane and we wanted to make sure we were able to fit two runs in; but in the first sector I damaged the rear tyres a little. After that I struggled a bit. So, for the second run, I thought I’d take it a bit slower on the out-lap, and drive the first sector a little easier, but I didn’t have enough tyre temperature when I got to the first sector – so I struggled. But the second and third sectors were both very good – I just didn’t nail the first sector, and that cost me a few tenths. But fourth isn’t too bad; we’re a lot closer to the Red Bulls than we feared we might be. The Ferrari looks quick, but I’m reasonably happy – much happier than I was after my qualifying here last year. For tomorrow, the start will be the key. My aim will be to pass Sebastian [Vettel]. The Red Bulls’ pace off the line hasn’t been great recently, and I also think we can have a good race because our pace on high fuel has looked good around here.”

Christian Klien: “It’s great to be back and I am very happy about my qualifying result from today. I was a bit nervous before the session but then I was completely concentrated on doing the best lap time possible. I could improve constantly during the weekend and we achieved our aim completely. We are ready for anything that can happen tomorrow, and I hope to achieve a good result again.”

Bruno Senna: “It was hard to drive today. In the third practice, we had understeer and in qualifying, it changed to oversteer. But tomorrow is another day and we hope that the track conditions will improve again. We are trying to do better tomorrow and I am looking forward to my first night race.”

Sebastian Vettel: “I think we could have been on pole today, the car was good enough. Unfortunately Q3 was a bit messy, my first run was a waste of time as I misjudged the gap to Michael, I caught him very quickly and lost grip. On the second run the most important thing was to get a lap in, as I didn’t have a proper time yet. The second sector was not great, through Turns 11, 12 and 13 and I hit the wall slightly. I tried to recover in the final sector, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough and that was it for today. We are second, but it’s a very long race tomorrow. No one knows what will happen with the weather, if it rains after midday, the track won’t dry completely, so we will see.”

Mark Webber: “I knew the front row was going to be very competitive today, but I’m disappointed to be off the second row. I don’t think I could have done a lap to get on the front row; so it could be worse, but it could be better. We will keep hanging in there as it’s a long race tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes. I was having trouble getting the rhythm around here; there are a few places where I know I lost time on most of my laps because I wasn’t fast enough. Ferrari did a good job and Sebastian has been fast all weekend. Fernando got the pole and fair play to him. Let’s see what we can do from there tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso: “Every pole position is important, but clearly, starting from the front in a race like this and at this point in the season is very important and gives one hope of being able to bring down the gap in the classification even more. Setting two pole positions in a row, at circuits as different as Monza and Singapore is a real boost, because it means that the car can be really competitive at every type of track. It was certainly not an easy day, but in qualifying we managed to get the very best out of the car, while I don’t think our main rivals could say the same. Honestly, I thought that the Red Bulls, which had dominated the weekend so far, would be out in front and that third was a realistic target but instead I am on pole: it’s almost like an Easter surprise! There was a tense moment in Q2 when something did not work as it should have done with the engine mapping, but once it was reprogrammed, everything was back to normal. The start will be very important tomorrow, but even more so will be the need to maintain total concentration for the 61 laps of a very long race that will be extremely demanding both physically and on the car. Track conditions will play a key role, because we have seen that some sections remain damp for a long time, so just a bit of rain even a few hours before the start, could change the situation. We must run our own race and I am sure we can bring home a good result: we are in the best possible position to succeed.”

Felipe Massa: “I had a problem with the gearbox which seized unexpectedly, without giving any warning and so I had to stop out on the track: now we have to understand exactly what happened. We will change the engine as a precaution, also taking into account the fact I am last on the grid. I’m expecting to have a very complicated race, especially as we are at a track where overtaking is very difficult, but it’s true that anything can always happen: rain, safety car, who knows! I am very disappointed of course because today we had a very competitive car, as Fernando proved. I like this track but it seems that it does not bring me much luck…”

Rubens Barrichello: “First of all I’d like to say thanks to the team for bringing new components to this race which have worked. Of course expectations were pretty high, but I think we have matched our ambition today and we have the basis for a good race tomorrow”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a totally frustrating session for me tonight. It’s pretty inexplicable, the car has been good all weekend long and we have been consistently in the top ten very comfortably. On the first run in Q2 on prime tyres, I got backed up by Sutil, then there was a yellow flag. So when I boxed for options I was still confident we could bank a good lap, but the car balance was like night and day. I am not sure if we had a problem, but we will fight on. Although overtaking is not easy, incidents do occur here, so possibilities still exist and the car remains fast.”

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