2011 Australian GP, qualifying: Driver quotes 

Written by David on March 26th, 2011 at 11:41 amLast Update: March 26th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Heikki Kovalainen: “Unfortunately the rear wing was stuck in the high downforce configuration for the second run which definitely masked the real pace there is in the car. We’ve also struggled with getting the most out of the tyres all weekend but I think the increased temperatures tomorrow will suit the car much more and we’ll be in good shape to show what we can really do in the race.”

Jarno Trulli: “I’ve had a few issues with the power steering in practice but the team worked well to resolve that for qualifying and the car definitely felt better than it had this morning and yesterday. We’ll clearly be much quicker when we can get the tyres up to full temperature so it’ll be an exciting race for us tomorrow and I think we’ll be in good shape to push the guys ahead who we were much closer to in the warmer conditions in pre-season testing.”

Sebastien Buemi: “I am very happy to be back in Q3, as we had not been there since 2009. In the end, I had no more new tyres, but all the same, I have to say thanks to the team for doing such a good job and it shows we are on the right road. Let’s hope we can continue to do well in the race tomorrow and from what we have seen of our pace in free practice, I think that should be possible. I could not have hoped for a better start to the season, being among the ten fastest cars on the grid. My quick lap was good and I don’t think I could have done any better.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I am quite happy, although I have to congratulate my team-mate on doing a better job than me. This is a good result for the team and promising for tomorrow, when my main target will be to score points. The team did a great job during the winter to produce a fast car and this is the first result of that, which I hope we can continue to improve on in the next few races.”

Timo Glock: “The first weekend of the new season has been a tough test for us and today we got the chance to see where we stand and how we need to move forward. I had a new engineer and a new performance engineer over the winter and together with my car crew they have done a fantastic job in testing and this weekend. At the end of the day though, fighting for a time within 107% of the leaders is not what we’re here for and we can see now where we are and what we need to do to progress. We are a really strong team and now we have to bring the car up to where we need it to be. As for tomorrow, the opening race of the season, we will be focusing on staying reliable and bringing both cars to the finish as the reward for everyone’s hard work.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio: “I’m very happy with the progress made this weekend and this has ensured we can look forward to the race tomorrow. On a personal level this was my first qualifying session and I was able to see exactly what was required and where I have to improve. I will use all the information – good and bad – to see what I need to work on so I can keep improving. But for now I am happy that things went our way today and I hope I can have a positive experience in my first Formula One race tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was a funny winter; the cars changed a lot and testing was really busy. We all tried to work our way around the Pirelli tyres and coming here we’re all impressed by how they’re working on one lap and also when there’s more fuel in the car. It’s promising for Sunday, so we’ll see how we get on. We have made the first step and starting the season this way with a pole position is a good sign for the team. We’ve been working very hard to get the RB7 to where it is now – it’s thanks to all those in the factory and those here, down under, for preparing the car. If you look at the points we still have zero like everyone else, so we need to see what happens tomorrow.”

Mark Webber: “I was disappointed with my performance today. Sebastian put in a very good lap. I’m a little bit mystified by the gap to be honest, I tried my best. I’ll have to go through it and have a look at where I can improve and go from there. It’s frustrating, but credit to the team; the guys have done an incredible job. Obviously it wasn’t the best day for me, but the bar is high. I would like to have done better, but reflecting on the performance of the team and what they’ve done over the winter – it’s incredible.”

Lewis Hamilton: “I was really happy with my lap today. The car felt fantastic, and I owe it all to the guys back at the factory, in the design office and those building components. They need to give themselves a huge pat on the back. It was a brave decision to make such a dramatic change to the car, and a superb effort to deliver that change. An amazing turnaround! However, although I was pleased with my performance today, my KERS Hybrid stopped working halfway round my final lap – I had 40 per cent left that I couldn’t deploy – but that would have been worth only an extra couple of tenths. Still, it’s good to know, because this car platform is now definitely something we can build upon. Tomorrow is a long race and it won’t be won at the first corner. We need to take home some good points from this weekend because we know our car will only get better. We still have some work to do, but I think the race is winnable from here – and I’ll be giving Sebastian [Vettel] the race of his life tomorrow!”

Jenson Button: “I think we should be happy with this result. Q3 was a bit disappointing, however: I got stuck behind Nico Rosberg, and Felipe Massa had a spin in front of me. It was all quite messy – the lap that I didn’t complete in Q2 would have been quicker! So we didn’t get the most out of our package in Q3, but it’s nonetheless a massive step forward from what we had in testing, so we should all be very happy with what we’ve done so far. And there’s still a lot we can build on: the car is still in its early stages because we haven’t done much testing. To be reliable and reasonably quick gives us huge motivation: everyone back at the factory should be really proud – they put in an awful lot of hard work to get us here today. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow: I had a good race from fourth last year, and I think I can have a good race from fourth this year, too. We ought to be positive and think we can challenge for the win tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg: “I’m disappointed as when I went to bed last night, I was hopeful of a good qualifying performance. In the morning, a few things didn’t work on my car, but the team did a good job and almost all of the systems were working for Qualifying, so we need to find out what happened. I did make a small mistake in Q3 which possibly cost me a place but it hasn’t quite come together for us this weekend. One good thing is that I will start on the clean side of the grid, and we will do our best to score some good points tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher: “Clearly that was not an ideal start to the season, and I cannot deny that I am disappointed. It’s not about that KERS only worked intermittently or that I could probably have made it to Q3, but it is because our performance did not turn out as we expected. From our testing experience, we were around the pace of Ferrari, however this did not translate today. We faced more problems here than at the test with several issues throughout the whole weekend. We now have to look deeply into it to understand why it turned out to be like this, because for the moment we are not where we wanted to be.”

Adrian Sutil: “During qualifying itself our speed was ok and better than expected. On my flying lap in Q2 I was only a few hundred metres from the finish line when I ran wide on the kerb, lost the rear and had a spin. It is a shame because I was on for a 1:26.1 so I could have been in the region of P12. It’s looking quite good for the race tomorrow; for sure we have opportunities to pass people with the rear wing and KERS, so lets see how it goes.”

Paul Di Resta: “I think if you’d have said that we would be starting the race from P14 going in to qualifying, we’d have been pretty happy. So for my first qualifying session I think we have to be happy with our result today and it gives me a place to build on for the future. I’d like to thank everyone in the team for their efforts and I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “Overall performance wise we are not too bad and now we see what we have done in the winter was okay. Of course there are still things to improve, but this is only the first Grand Prix and making it into Q3 is good. I want to thank the team. I only wish I had a set of new tyres left for Q3, instead of the used set of soft tyres, as then I think P6 would have been possible. However, I believe today is positive news and I’m very happy to give that to Japan.”

Sergio Perez: “My first qualifying started quite well with P6 in Q1, and this was mainly because in the third free practice I couldn’t run on soft tyres and low fuel as we lost a lot of time due to a hydraulic problem. In Q2 we were a bit tight on time after the yellow flag, and then on my last flying lap I had traffic in the final sector and could not get the most out of the tyres. Today a better result was possible, and this is a shame. But generally I feel very comfortable and hope for a good race tomorrow with some points at the end.”

Fernando Alonso: “Clearly, we cannot be happy with this result, but we must not immediately make a drama out of it. We definitely did not get the most out of the car and we have to understand the reasons for that. Compared to what we saw at the tests, here we ended up much closer to cars that had been a long way off in Spain. We went well yesterday and we had a good feeling for the car, while right from this morning the situation changed, obviously for the worse. Now let’s see how the race turns out. In testing and in yesterday’s free practice, our performance over a long run was good and we were definitely closer to those who today seem to be a long way off. Fifth place on the grid is not too bad and it means I am in a position to fight for a podium finish in a race which is still wide open, if you only think what happened last year, with Kubica starting from sixth or seventh and finishing second. McLaren seems to have made a good step forward, but you should not dismiss Mercedes either, who were impressive at the last Barcelona test.”

Felipe Massa: “We were less competitive than we could rightly have expected and there’s no doubt about that. Sure, I did not think I would be fighting for pole, especially when you look at the very quick time that Vettel did, but I had hoped to be higher up the order. We had problems with grip on both the hard and the soft tyres on a surface where the tyres wear a lot less than we have seen in winter testing and they provide less grip on the first lap, or at least they do with our car. Now we have to prepare as well as possible for tomorrow’s race, when pure speed will not be the only thing that counts, with reliability and team work being especially important. My spin in Q3? When I came out of pit lane, I accelerated and the tyres were evidently still too cold: the set was not damaged for the race, but it was definitely not a help on my only flying lap.”

Vitaly Petrov: “After all the hard work during a very tough winter for the whole team, it feels great to come here and qualify on the third row. There was a lot of pressure in Q3 because I only had one run, right at the end of the session. So there were no second chances and I’m glad I was able to deliver the lap. The car has felt good right from the start of practice and we’ve improved it constantly during each session. I think we are in a great position for the race and that we can fight for some points tomorrow. I’m not too worried about the tyres because they have been working well for us so far and we have not seen the drop off that we saw during winter testing.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I’m disappointed to be starting the season from so far back. It wasn’t an easy session and I had a problem with the KERS, which meant I had to change some settings, and that cost me one of my timed laps. Then, there was so much traffic and I tried to find some free space, but it didn’t work out for me. It’s bad luck, but I must try and put that behind me now. As we have seen with Vitaly, the car seems to have good pace and the race is wide open, so hopefully I can move forward and fight for points.”

Rubens Barrichello: “Today was unfortunate. I made a mistake, went wide and spun. We have to wait and see what our pace is, but it was quicker than we thought it would be. On another positive note, we’ve saved our tyres for tomorrow which could be important”

Pastor Maldonado: “I made it through Q1 fine and everything was going well. On the first set of tyres in Q2, I had two yellow flags; with the second set, I had a big flat spot and had to abort the run. The session was exciting though! We need to improve a bit, but overall the car is good and I feel optimistic. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I really think points are possible.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “Everybody did an amazing job. We have to be proud because everyone worked well and I think we have to be positive for the future. We are upset because we are not in the 107% but we are looking forward to Malaysia where we will be up to speed. We have to be happy with what we´ve done, the lap time was more than what we expected and we believe that our car will be much better in the future. It is true that everything was a little bit critical because we ended up not qualifying, but we just have to be proud of the job done by the team. We faced a lot of difficulties getting here and the effort put in by the whole team this week has been huge, but the rules are the rules. Now we’re focused on the next race. I am positive and am sure that everything will go well in Malaysia.”

Narain Karthikeyan: “I’ve only done two timed laps with the new car before qualifying so, given the circumstances, it was quite an achievement. Everyone has done a great job and put in a lot of hard work, it’s a shame not to have had one more day. With an extra 24 hours we would have been in a better position. We just need to do some more running, so I think that come Malaysia we will be better prepared. Right now we need to stay positive.”

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