• Malaysian Grand Prix

Driver reaction after qualifying

ESPNF1 Staff
April 3, 2010 « Pragmatic Alonso hopes for more rain | »
Wet conditions turned qualifying upside-down © Getty Images
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Ferrari

Fernando Alonso "We were expecting the rain to stop and that's why we stayed in the garage longer than the others. When we went out, in fact the conditions got worse and even on the extreme wets, we were unable to improve our time. Rain might make things more spectacular, but the session just turns into a lottery. Today, it went badly for us and we found ourselves in the wrong place - the track - at the wrong time. However, the result of qualifying is only worth the paper on which it is written, because the points are assigned at the end of the race. Of course, starting from the back puts us in a difficult position but, as we saw last Sunday in Melbourne, anything can happen and we have to trust in our abilities. We must do our best to bring home a points finish."

Felipe Massa "We are very sorry about what happened. We waited a bit before going out, because it was raining hard and the forecast was for an improvement, however we found ourselves out on track where there was more water than predicted. We made a mistake and we were caught out by the weather forecast. Now we must do our best for tomorrow's race. It will be tough, as always when you start from the back of the grid, but we will have to try and score at least a few points. It's hard to say whether it's better to hope for rain or sunshine: maybe with the former there might be more chance of the tables being turned, but it's equally true that there are more chances of ending up out of the race."

Force India

Adrian Sutil "It was a great qualifying again for us. As I expected it rained at 4pm, I said that yesterday I think! It was challenging and the conditions changed a lot over the sessions. Sometimes it was a lot of rain, sometimes half wet, half dry so it was very important to choose the right tyres. I think we did a great job in those conditions and every session we did the optimum. I am so happy to be in this position now. It's a great achievement and my team really deserved it. They did a fantastic job: being there on the right time on the right tyre was very important. My time in the end was good for P4: a great job all round."

Tonio Liuzzi "We can be happy about getting through to Q3 as this was our target for this weekend. It was a good qualifying, Q3 started very wet, very similar to Brazil last year, and then it dried up very quickly at the end. I had a problem on the last lap with a locking front brake and lost the last run but that's how it is in these conditions: you have to get the right spot at the right time. Tomorrow will be a tough race from where we are. We have a lot of quick cars around us but as we've seen today we are strong in all conditions. I'm looking forward to it."

HRT

Bruno Senna "It's been a bit of a difficult day. Conditions were very tough and it was our first experience of these conditions. I covered five laps before sliding off on the very wet track and unfortunately the engine stalled. Luckily I could go out of the gravel, going back to the garage and do more laps after it."

Karun Chandhok "I will start tomorrow's race just behind Trulli, Alonso, Hamilton and Massa. The weather was not looking good in the afternoon before qualifying and I was not sure if it would hold until the qualifying session as well. It didn't and that gave us our first wet experience driving the car for the first time in heavy rain. I made the best of it."

Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen "I'm so pleased! I really like these conditions - it's very hard to judge your speed and you really have to take some risks, and all the time you're feeling like you might lose the car, but that's the challenge and I love it! On some parts of the track it was very wet and raining hard, and on others it wasn't so much. Getting to Q2 really exceeds expectations for me and the whole team - yes of course we've been a little bit lucky today for sure, but it means we beat the other new teams, again! Although we were lucky, we played our strategy just right - if you look at the McLarens and Ferraris they didn't think it was going to rain that much and look what happened. They missed their window at the beginning of the session and we took full advantage of it. Now I can't wait to race tomorrow!"

Jarno Trulli "It was disappointing because I was doing very well. Unfortunately on my quickest lap a car spun in front of me, which impeded me through the second and third sector so I couldn't close my fast lap; and then the rain was getting worse, so there was no chance to improve on lap time. Still - we'll do our best tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

McLaren

Jenson Button "We thought the first rainstorm was it, and there was nothing else coming, so we waited. I guess events proved it was the wrong thing to do. My first lap on inters felt okay. The thing is, you get no real warning; the first sector of the lap was quite dry, then you get to the fast left-right and it's really wet. I just aquaplaned off and got stuck in the gravel. I couldn't do anything about it. I just hope I haven't damaged anything on the car because I was sat in the gravel with the engine running for some time, hoping to get pulled out. It was a strange, disappointing session - both Lewis and I went out early. But, even so, I'm in front of three of my world championship rivals on tomorrow's grid, and I suppose that's the best way of looking at it."

Lewis Hamilton "This was just one of those days. It had been a very good weekend for us up until qualifying started, and the simple fact is that we didn't expect it to rain any more. We went out at a similar time to the other top teams, and as a result quite a lot of us were all out of luck. By the time I got out there, there were lots of yellow flags about, so you just couldn't nail it - and then it started to rain more heavily. You couldn't feel a thing -, it was so, so slippery. It was easy to come off - I had a spin on my first lap, in fact - but I did the best job I could in the circumstances. I'd been fastest all weekend, but what can we do? We've just got to shrug it off. And, as I always, say, I'll never give up. That's why I'm not only focusing on the fast cars around me, I'm focusing on everyone - including those who are quite a few rows in front of me. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and I'm going to race my heart out."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg "I'm really pleased with my first front row start and it's great for me, the whole team and Petronas to have such a good qualifying result in Sepang for one of our home races. It was very difficult out there today and hard to keep it on the road at times. My run in Q3 was definitely my best of the day and I put in a good time on the first quick lap. By the second lap, the tyres started to degrade so it just wasn't possible to go any quicker from there. As soon as we went out, I thought intermediates were the way to go and maybe I should have come in but in the end it worked out well for us. I'm confident that we can have a strong race from here tomorrow, if it is wet or dry, and I'm looking forward to it."

Michael Schumacher "I am obviously a little disappointed with my result today as it was evident from the earlier qualifying sessions that we looked pretty good and I clearly could have achieved more. On my last run in Q3, I wanted to secure a lap time and then go for the second lap but after I finished my first quick lap, the tyres were already gone so I could not go for it anymore. Though it is good to know the limits of the wet tyres for tomorrow, now I have to concentrate fully on the race. Congratulations to Nico today for scoring our first front row qualifying result."

Sebastian Vettel's car in the pits © Getty Images
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Red Bull

Mark Webber "It was tricky today. When you look at the amount of standing water there was in places during Q1 and Q2, trying to get everything right and a clear lap was difficult, especially as there is a fair difference in pace between some of the cars. My Q2 lap on intermediate tyres was a bit of a three point turn round Pedro (de la Rosa) and that was my quickest, so you knew you had to keep pushing; the conditions were changing so quickly. A few big names went out in the first session, which was a surprise, but it just goes to show how sensitive everything is to timing. The pole goes to Ciaron, my engineer, as he made the call for inters in Q3. I said 'have a look at the track, what do you think?' and he said 'yeah let's go for it'. It was tricky in places, in the last corner there was a bit of aquaplaning, but I kept it on the black stuff and got the job done."

Sebastian Vettel "Good job to Mark today. It was very tricky at the start of Q3, there was a lot of water and it was the right thing to call the red flag - it was just impossible. I think there was too much water - the cars are quite low, so you end up swimming more than driving. In Q3 I think we did the right thing putting on extremes. The water disappeared quicker than the majority of people thought and Mark was on the better tyre in the end, but I think third is a good result for the team. It was a tricky session - it was important to get into the next round and then qualify as high up as we could, which we did. It's a shame as I had some moments on my fastest lap - I was close to Nico (Rosberg), only about one tenth off I think, but if you look back there wasn't that much margin. I think we can be very pleased with third today and everything is possible tomorrow."

Renault

Robert Kubica "Today's weather made for quite a challenging qualifying session, but the car felt good in the wet and I made it easily through Q1 and Q2. For the final part of qualifying we thought the rain would get heavier so I pushed really hard on my first timed lap in Q3, which destroyed the tyres and made it difficult to improve as the track continued to dry. However, sixth place is a good place to start and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I think the weather could play a big role, and if it's like today the race could become a lottery."

Vitaly Petrov "It was difficult to predict the weather today, so we decided to go out as early as possible, which was the right decision because the rain kept getting heavier in Q1. In Q2 the car felt good on the intermediates and I pushed hard throughout the session, but I just missed out on Q3, which is a shame. Still, 11th is a good place to start and if we get more rain tomorrow, anything could happen. I will be aiming to finish the race and hopefully score some points."

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi "I am very happy to have made it into Q3 for the first time. Last year in Brazil, also in wet conditions, I was close but then I spun on my last lap in Q2. I learnt this lesson. In dry conditions our performance seemed to be rather difficult, therefore I am even happier with my position. It is not easy to drive in the wet because of aquaplaning, which obviously will get worse if it rains tomorrow because of the heavy cars for the race start. But I am determined to score points tomorrow."

Pedro de la Rosa "It was a quite difficult qualifying because of the changeable conditions. You never knew how much water to expect when braking into a corner. The car was pretty good in the wet, and I could have made it into the top ten if I just had a single clear lap. But even on my fastest lap I had to overtake two cars in the last sector. However, certainly we can look forward to a very exciting race tomorrow!"

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi "I'm angry because I did not make the most of Q2. But there's nothing I can do about it and so we will have to tackle the race from where we are. I started Q2 on full wets because we felt the conditions demanded it, but I stayed on track too long and then, after I came in and switched to the Intermediates, it was too late because the rain had started to get stronger again."

Jaime Alguersuari "When you look at what happened to some of the quicker guys, I would say this qualifying result is reasonably okay for me. However, maybe if I had come in earlier in Q2 to switch from full wets to intermediates, then maybe I could have had a chance of seeing Q3. If the conditions are similar to this tomorrow and I believe that is the forecast, then you never know what could happen, although personally I would prefer a dry race."

Williams

Nico Hulkenberg "Finally we had a bit of a breakthrough today. It was very tight out there and my lap wasn't perfect so I could have done a little better, but I'm happy where I am and I'm happy for the team as well. The car has proved to be good in wet conditions and I like driving in the wet, so I'm looking forward to the race. A lot will depend on what the weather will do tomorrow though.

Rubens Barrichello "There are two ways to look at qualifying. The positive is that we are happy as a team, but I don't think we would have achieved P5 and P7 in a dry session. In hindsight, I should have chosen intermediates for my last run, which would have given me a better lap time. I'm still pleased as we are better prepared for tomorrow."

Virgin

Timo Glock "It's been a very good weekend for us so far. We've had no real problems with the car and we've been able to do proper work during every session. Qualifying went quite smoothly considering the rain at the start of the session. It was critical to get out on time and my lap in Q1 was really good, getting me into Q2. It was good to see us do a better job than some of the top teams and as a result they will be starting behind us. Q2 wasn't perfect though as we came in too early and that cost us the place against Heikki. In general though we have to be happy with what we have achieved today. It's great for the team and there is now a lot of motivation for tomorrow. It looks like it could be a crazy race tomorrow, so we have to stay focused - and stay on the track - and we'll see how it all ends."

Lucas di Grassi "Once more some problems affected us today and we had to rebuild parts of the car between Free Practice and Qualifying. It was touch and go whether we would even get the car out at all for Qualy, but the mechanics did an incredible job and because of that we were able to do at least a couple of laps to make sure the car was working well. While it has been a disappointing day for me personally, it has been a good day for the team so we all have to be pleased for that. We look forward to the race tomorrow and hope that brings better things, including achieving our target of finishing our first race."

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