2011 Malaysian GP, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on April 09th, 2011 at 1:32 pmLast Update: April 09th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Christian Horner: “A great team performance today. To get first and third on the grid after a fascinating qualifying session, which was really tight with the McLarens today, is a great start to the weekend. On the final run and under huge pressure, Sebastian delivered just enough to get pole. Mark also improved his time and for the team to take P1 and P3, sets us up well for tomorrow.”

Cyril Dumont: “It was a tough qualifying session, tougher than in Australia I would say. We had to do some set-up work engine-wise in order to improve the car from yesterday, so we’re happy it was working well today. We have a one and three again for the start of tomorrow’s race, like last year – although then the drivers were the other way round. Hopefully we’ll get the same race result too – with a one and two finish.”

Thierry Salvi: “That was a much more solid performance from the whole team, particularly compared to Melbourne where we were not able to show the true pace of the car. We have looked strong all day, especially in qualifying, and I think that we have found improvements in a number of areas that have contributed to the step forward today – cooling, engine mapping and the car behaviour in general, I think this is a good result all round. The improvements are very encouraging for us and I think that seeing it here at Sepang is particularly pleasing as it is tough on everyone’s engines, so for us that goes down as a good day.”

Mike Gascoyne: “A very very good day for the team, however we are left feeling a little disappointed because we felt we had a real chance of getting into Q2. We had no problems on the cars at all today which meant we were able to show the true level of performance that we had seen in winter testing, and ultimately we were very close to Q2 on merit. The drivers did a great job and the whole team has worked very hard to turn everything around from yesterday, and from Melbourne. In Heikki’s last run he made a couple of small mistakes and we could have been even closer, but, looking at the positives, we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow. Tyre degradation will be very important here – it will be an interesting Sunday for the whole grid and at last we have a car with which we can go and take the fight to the midfield.”

Tony Fernandes: “Words cannot express how happy and overjoyed I am right now. To see 18 months of hard work come good with us finishing within a couple of tenths of teams that have been around for a long time, and less than a second away from the midfield pack, that is an amazing achievement. It is made even more satisfying after what has been a pretty hard winter test program, taking on the issues we have been working through and, honestly, not a great start to the season – but this is a great feeling. Both Heikki and Jarno know there’s more to come from the car, and we feel good about the race this weekend. The aim is to keep our reliability and bring two cars home. I am really proud of the team, particularly after such a hard winter, so I take my hat off to every single one of them for keeping up the progress and helping us reach where we are today.”

Dominic Harlow: “Our aim was to maximise our qualifying performance whilst only using the option tyre when necessary. Fortunately neither driver was affected by the Red Flag midway through the first session, and both drivers progressed to Q2. As we showed at the last race, we can score points from these positions given how close things are throughout the pack. Unfortunately Adrian had a mis-shift that cost him a better lap in Q2. We’ll be looking for a solid race to take advantage of the opportunities that are bound to arise in tomorrow’s conditions. With some more development over the coming events and Q3 only a few tenths away, we’ll be working as hard as we can to improve on these positions in future and become regular Q3 material.”

John Booth: “It’s been a weekend of mixed fortunes so far but today I think we can be pleased that we made the best of our package and qualified comfortably – a step forward since Melbourne. In fact we would still have qualified well inside the fastest Q3 time, so we are better off here in Malaysia for sure. I think if dry conditions prevail tomorrow it could be a long race, but then you never know what the tyres and weather have in store. There were a few showers in the neighbouring area today, although none of them affected the track action. So we will look forward to tomorrow and aim to get both cars to the chequered flag.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Both our drivers drove really well this afternoon, Lewis missing out on pole position by a just a tenth of a second and Jenson qualifying extremely close behind in fourth place. Clearly, we’re encouraged by our pace here – but there’s no magic involved: Formula 1 is all about hard graft, and I want to thank everyone back in Woking for working so hard to achieve the performance improvements that we’ve seen here today. We think our race pace tomorrow ought to be good enough for us to mount a very serious challenge for victory, and that’s certainly what we’ll be aiming for. But it’ll be close, no doubt about that. Since the race is scheduled to start at 4.00pm, rain is a distinct possibility, because there has been a downpour at that time on quite a few days earlier this week. But we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes hope it doesn’t rain because we think we’ll be on the pace if the race is a conventional dry one.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “I am happy to be ahead of Force India and I feel Sebastien did a good job this afternoon and is where he should be, which means he can have a strong race tomorrow. Up until this afternoon, I feel we did not get the best out of the car’s set-up, but we turned the car around for the afternoon. As for Jaime, he too drove well. To sum it up, we did not do the best job in free practice, but we did in qualifying. As for the sidepod flying off Sebastien’s car in Q1, at the moment, I have no idea if the part was not properly fixed or an insert cracked. However, there was no question about the integrity of the components, which is why we refitted another sidepod and sent him out again.”

Stefano Domenicali: “We know that, at the moment, we are not capable of fighting for pole position: two teams are currently quicker than us. Our aim therefore was to be right behind them on the starting grid tomorrow and we managed to do that. Sure, we cannot be pleased with being a second off the pole time, but at the moment we have to be on the defensive, if I can use a footballing metaphor. The forecast is for changeable conditions tomorrow, which could mix things up. Furthermore, this is a very tough race both for the cars and the drivers. If we do everything well in terms of strategy, reliability and the work of the team and drivers, then we can aspire to securing a good result.”

Pat Fry: “We are where we deserve to be at the moment, with two teams being more competitive than us. In qualifying, we worked well, making the most of our potential. We are a long way off the top, a second in fact and we are well aware that we have to improve a lot to be where the Scuderia ought to be. We opted to use one set of soft tyres right from Q1, because with the performance difference between the two types of tyre being much bigger than last year, there is no point in taking any risks at this time. Clearly, this choice worked against us in Q3, when both drivers were only able to do one timed run with the last set available, but at the moment, this is the best strategy. There is a high chance of rain tomorrow and we are well aware that, here in Sepang, that can mean there is a risk of a very heavy storm. We will have to be very careful to ensure we make the right decision at the right time.”

Ross Brawn: “We had a difficult qualifying session today. We’re still struggling with the consistency of the car and are not giving Nico and Michael the best chance to show what they could achieve. There are times when the car is working well and the pace is evident, however there are too many occasions where things are not functioning properly. We’re quite clearly not where we want to be but will continue to work hard to achieve a more competitive position. It will be a challenging race tomorrow, unless the weather or other events play a part in creating opportunities.”

Norbert Haug: “Ninth and eleventh positions on the fifth and sixth row of the grid are not the results that we have been aiming for. The team have worked very hard to set the cars up this weekend, however we clearly still have work to do: Nico’s Q2 time was more than four tenths faster than the time he achieved in Q3 owing to an inconsistency of the rear wing, so there is more potential in the car. Our KERS system, which caused problems during the practice sessions and the race in Melbourne, has worked well and reliably so far. Everybody in our team is motivated to make the next steps in order to improve our package. Even though this task is challenging, I am sure that together we will achieve it.”

Monisha Kaltenborn: “Kamui did an excellent job. Sergio, like Kamui, looked good in Q2 but he just lost it on the last sector, so he could have been further up. We are happy Kamui did a great performance, and now we have to make sure Sergio gets the most out of the race the way he did in Australia.”

James Key: “We went to FP3 with some changes on both cars after some of the balance difficulties we had yesterday. The problem yesterday was we didn’t get the soft tyres to work for us, but today it was different and both drivers were happier with the balance on this tyre. We just did a single run in Q1, which was enough. In Q2 Kamui had a new and a used set of tyres and Sergio had two new sets. It was a great shame for Sergio as his lap time was looking quite reasonable, but unfortunately he lost three to four tenths in the last sector. Certainly he could have been a lot closer to the top ten, but we know he is a good racer as he showed last race he can recover from that. Kamui did a great lap to get through to Q3 and then we just did a single run, which is always a little bit risky on a new tyre. I don’t think we could have gone too much further up the top ten, but maybe a bit more. We certainly can’t complain as it was a very good qualifying session again for Kamui.”

Colin Kolles: “We made the next step by qualifying into the race. This was our target: to qualify and to be able to do more laps. By doing more miles we are understanding the F111 better and our drivers are getting more and more out of it. Both drivers did a good job out there today, Tonio set a very good baseline. Now we have set a base from which to work from in the future. Once more, I would like to thank the whole team for their massive effort. Now we have our next target in mind which is to keep doing laps and finish tomorrow’s race with both cars.”

Sam Michael: “That certainly wasn’t the qualifying session we were aiming for, but we struggled to get more out of the FW33 today. Tomorrow’s race will be interesting, whether that’s due to potentially wet weather or the number of pitstops made in the dry. Our focus is to score points.”

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