2011 Spanish GP, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on May 21st, 2011 at 7:14 pmLast Update: May 21st, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Thierry Salvi: “We worked hard last night on the data from yesterday and in this morning’s session we were able to do more work with the floor and the new exhaust which I think helped us perform so well today. Heikki reaching Q2 is very good news for the whole team, and we feel that there is a lot more to come. Rather than just working on different parts of the car and making those parts work, we will be able to make them work well together and the results of this will continue to be seen as we progress through the season. The plan for tomorrow is to keep our focus on maintaining our reliability. The performance matters throughout the race, not just in qualifying, and we need to see how the tyre degradation influences our strategy but for now congratulations to everyone and we must enjoy this feeling today.”

Mike Gascoyne: “That is a very pleasing result and thank you to the whole team for today’s result. We took advantage of the misfortune that befell a couple of the other cars but Heikki did a great job to get the best out of his runs today, and Jarno put in a strong performance to get in a decent time at the end of Q1 after a gearbox problem cut into his first run. Now the important thing is to focus on having a good race tomorrow and learning as much as we can about the upgrades we have brought here over a race distance.”

Tony Fernandes: “I am so thrilled. It is almost unbelievable but this is a great day for Team Lotus and just reward for the effort that the whole team keeps putting in. I am so thrilled for everyone associated with our team. Heikki did a fantastic lap and the whole team worked together brilliantly to give him the chance to take his car into Q2, and on top of that Jarno managed to put in a great lap in the dying seconds to put himself into 18th place under a great deal of pressure. We have a lot of work to do so we are not going to get carried away, but it is important that we enjoy days like this and the feeling that comes with hard work being rewarded with this sort of result. As I keep saying, these small steps will keep us moving up the grid, so well done and thank you to everyone.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “I think eleventh place is a bit better than expected, because at the end of the day, Seb pulled out a magnificent lap. Jaime’s position is a more accurate reflection of our standing, even if he did not get it quite right for whatever reason. It was a difficult session as the temperatures were higher and the car was tail-happy, so Jaime was unable to manage the tyres in the final sector, but like I said Seb did a superb lap with our aggressive choice of only doing one lap on that final run. With Jaime, it was not the right decision to give him another set of tyres for another run in Q2, but you don’t want to upset a driver in the heat of battle when he tells you he can go quicker! We had some updates here and they are producing the results we expected. It involved a lot of work for a small step forward and I think they will work more effectively next weekend in Monaco as we now have a better understanding of them.”

Robert Fernley: “We took the decision today to sacrifice grid position to be better prepared for the race. It means losing a few places on the grid but gives Paul and Adrian three sets of new tyres for the race. From P16 and P17 it will be tough to score points, but the races so far this season have demonstrated that there is plenty of room to make the strategy work to our advantage. We also reverted back to our older spec aero platform because we haven’t really found the crossover we hoped to achieve with the new introductions. That’s why we felt it was safer to stick with a known quantity. We will take another look at our new concept and try to develop it through for Monaco, but I expect it to be a phased introduction over the next two or three races.”

Sam Michael: “That was a great effort by Pastor today to put Williams back into the top ten in qualifying. The next step is to get some points. We had a gearbox problem on Rubens’ car so we’re looking into that now. He’s fairly low down the order but, taking into consideration our pace and the fact that he will have new tyres, he should be able to make good progress. Thanks to everyone at the factory for their efforts in getting the new rear wings out here. We still have a lot of work to keep progressing.”

James Key: “It was a bit frustrating for all of us and not representative of where we want to be. Much like the last race, we need to come back a little bit tomorrow and try make something of it in the race. We made some good changes to the car overnight, and Kamui in particular was a lot happier with his car on newer tyres this morning. His pace looked pretty promising for qualifying so we didn’t really change the car much for him. For Sergio there was a little bit of work to do to improve his balance a bit, but that was worked on between FP3 and qualifying. Otherwise FP3 was generally quite good and we were happy the pace we appeared to have yesterday had carried over to this morning, so making a shot at Q3 possible. We did just a single run on soft tyres in Q1. Then we did a quick lap on used tyres in Q2 and a single lap on new tyres at the end of the session. Unfortunately Sergio was just a bit shy of the top ten, while Kamui ended up being stuck behind a slower car for half a lap, so he unfortunately lost his time and was unable to progress from P14, which was set on old tyres.”

Ross Brawn: “We had a fairly good qualifying session today whilst being mindful of preparing for the race and being in the best possible position for tomorrow. We clearly couldn’t have challenged the cars right at the front of the grid, however Nico did a very good job, and he is in great shape for tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately with Michael, we incurred a KERS problem of a nature which made it difficult to think that he could achieve a competitive time, and therefore he did not complete a lap. This has the advantage of giving us maximum choice for his tyre strategy for tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug: “Michael’s car suffered a KERS problem before his planned Q3 lap, and therefore we decided not to use another set of fresh tyres. Our strategy in qualifying concentrated from lap one on saving tyres for the race and that is what we have achieved today, albeit probably to the cost of a better place on the grid. Nico got the best possible result under these circumstances. We are sorry for Michael as he definitely would be starting further up the grid without the KERS issue. However tomorrow is the race, and our aim is to repeat what we have achieved in the last two races; to be placed in the top five at the finish line.”

Christian Horner: “A great team performance – it’s great for Mark to get his first pole position of the year after a perfect final run in Q3. Sebastian did phenomenal job to join Mark on the front row without the benefit of KERS. The pair had a big margin to our opposition in qualifying, although we know it will be smaller in the race. It was a fantastic team performance, we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Cyril Dumont: “A really good result – our second front row of the season, which is really good for the team. I feel a bit sorry for Seb because we deprived him of running this morning, due to an electrical failure on the engine; fortunately we could fix it for qualifying. It was difficult for Sebastian to catch Mark today – also with the KERS issue he had during qualifying. It’s a good qualifying result and hopefully we will transform it into some good points tomorrow.”

John Booth: “This morning Jérôme struggled to extract the same speed as yesterday from our race package, and his qualifying was then compromised by a hydraulic failure on his first qualifying run. The team quickly located the cause, a cut O-ring, and replaced it in record time, enabling him to get out on track, even though his time was not representative of either his or the car’s potential. Timo had a better session, although he had slightly less rear grip than we expected on his first run, but a tyre pressure adjustment enabled him to set a quicker lap. As for the race tomorrow, a two-car finish continues to be our goal. We are operating both cars in a specification that complies fully with the technical directive regarding engine/exhaust configurations issued to the teams last week by the FIA. We will continue to refine our recent upgrade over the forthcoming races.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “We wanted to come through qualifying having retained one set of Option tyres for both our drivers, as did Red Bull, and it was for that reason that we were determined to tackle Q1 on Prime tyres. There’s a big speed differential between Options and Primes here in Barcelona, so most teams had no choice other than to use Options in Q1, for fear of not making it through to Q2. Fortunately, by contrast, like Red Bull, we were able to conserve our Options. The final result at the end of Q3 was P3 for Lewis and P5 for Jenson – in other words good grid slots on the clean side of the track for both our drivers. In actual fact they may have been a little quicker had they gone out when it was less breezy, and had we been able to get our KERS Hybrid up to optimal operating temperature; but I don’t think we’d have been quite as quick as the Red Bulls. To be clear, our KERS Hybrid is an excellent system, thanks in large part to the superlative work done by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, but we struggled to get it up to optimal operating temperature today. Even so, we’re usually a little closer to the Red Bulls’ pace in race trim than we are in qualifying, and we’ve got two brilliant racers in Lewis and Jenson, and as I say they’ll start from the clean side of the track; so, all in all, let’s just say that we’re looking forward to an exciting race tomorrow.”

Stefano Domenicali: “This sport never stops throwing up surprises! This morning we had the worst FP3 of the year, with both cars struggling a lot and then we find ourselves commenting on our best qualifying position. Certainly, this fourth place was down to an incredible performance from Fernando, who drove a simply stunning lap in Q3: it is further valediction, if one was ever needed, of why we have made the right choice in extending our relationship in the long term. Felipe was unable to find the right way to go in terms of set-up and he will start from the fourth row. So far this year we have seen that our race pace is better than it is in qualifying: let’s hope it continues like this and that tomorrow we will manage to bring home a good result. It would be important for the team and for all our fans, of whom there are so many here, mainly down to the presence of Fernando.”

Pat Fry: “A great lap from Fernando who managed to put everything together perfectly without even the slightest mistake. He was brilliant and this position is mainly down to him. We tried to manage tyre use in qualifying as well as possible, without taking risks at the start of Q1, before staying in the garage in Q2 so as to have the chance of a strong hand in Q3 with a new set of option tyres. We introduced a lot of new parts here, but the others have done the same and it seems the gaps have not changed that much: we have to do even better to catch up with the best. A track like this favours cars that have a lot of aerodynamic downforce: that can be seen very clearly by analysing the best times in each sector. Our car is competitive in the first one, but we pay a very heavy price in the other two. That’s where we must improve. As for tomorrow’s race, a lot will depend on tyre life and on finding the right moment to change tyres. It will be a busy time in the pits and everyone will have to give it their best shot to be perfect and that includes the drivers.”

Colin Kolles: “Today’s qualifying had some positives and some negatives. The positive side is that we were quicker than one of the Virgins and made some steps forward. The negative part is that we could’ve had both Virgins behind us but Tonio didn’t have the best lap. My impression is that we made some progress and will make some more, let’s see what happens in the race. We will use a strategy which best suits the car, not too different from the rest. We’ll try and run as much as possible on option tyres.”

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