Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - German GP

Saturday July 29th, 2000


David Coulthard: "A perfect result. There was a bit of a rush at the start as everybody went out on the track to take advantage while it was still dry. I was probably able to read the conditions better than everybody else and managed to be very quick in the middle sector. I had my second run towards the end because the surface can dry very quickly and I wanted to make sure I was in a position to take advantage and defend my pole position if necessary. The race tomorrow will be very close but I want the 10 points."

Mika Hakkinen: "A disappointing outcome considering the improvements we had found to the set-up during practice. In conditions like we experienced today it's important that you get your lap at exactly the right moment. Also I was maybe a little bit too cautious, as I didn't want to risk going off. At the end of the day, with two cars in the top four, we can be happy about the team's performance."

Ron Dennis: "This afternoon was somewhat of a lottery but of course as always it was the same for everybody. I'm very comfortable with the team performance and the result. David judged the conditions perfectly which was reflected in his pole position. Mika was a little cautious and paid the price. We are in good shape for the race."


Michael Schumacher: "We did not have to make too many adjustments to the spare car set-up. Today was all about being out on the track at the right time. I was quite happy to be fourth but then I found the lucky moment at the end. I was not expecting to be second but I am very happy to be here. On my last run the second sector was very difficult as the Ost Kurve to the first chicane was very wet. The third chicane was slightly better at the end but the Motodrom was wet in the last two corners. In these conditions you need to have confidence. I was on the limit and very near to going off the track. We have been competitive all weekend and I am fairly confident for the race."

Rubens Barrichello: "This was without a doubt the worst day of the year for me. I had an electrical problem on my first run and had to stop out on the track. When I came back to the pits I had to wait until Michael's race car was repaired. When I did get out on the track it was too wet. In the final minutes, the conditions improved but on my third and best lap I was caught in traffic. I am confident that tomorrow I will be able to make up the places I lost in qualifying because I know I have a competitive car."

Jean Todt: "We were expecting very changeable weather conditions. Rubens stopped at the side of the track with T-car as his race car was not ready after this morning's accident. Rubens came back to the pits and when he was ready went out in his teammate's car, which was not perfectly set up. Furthermore, the conditions were not good enough for him to qualify. Rubens went out again in the final minutes when the track was a little bit drier. He got a great second flying lap but he could not improve on the third lap because of traffic. However, Michael managed to lower his time enough to get on the front row."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "I'm so happy with this position! When my engineers came on the radio and said I was second I couldn't believe it! On my first lap I spun off because the kerbs were wet and I thought that was the end of the session for me because we expected it to rain any minute. I got in the T car and when we saw Verstappen's lap was OK we went out quickly but there hadn't been time to change the gear ratios so I was down on power on the straight. But I did a lap with no mistakes and the timing was obviously perfect. It's a pity Michael pipped me at the end but I'm in a very strong position for the race tomorrow and hope to translate this position into my fourth podium finish this season."

Alexander Wurz: "I'm quite happy to have qualified in seventh position. I had quite a good balance on the car and was able to get a clear lap on my first run when it counted. It's great to be starting the race tomorrow from the fourth row of the grid as I'm really in a strong position to score points."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was an excellent qualifying session for us with Giancarlo third e Alexander seventh. Luck with the weather certainly played a part in achieving these grid positions as our car usually goes better in the race than in qualifying. But from these positions we can certainly hope to get some points tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "It was an exciting qualifying session today which has yielded our best result of the year. Of course, luck played a part and we thought in Giancarlo's case that things were going against us when he spun on his first run. We felt it was necessary to get a lap in to ensure we complied with the 107% rule and it turned out that this was maybe the best time of the whole hour which gave Giancarlo his excellent grid position. Alex found a clear lap and a reasonable balance to also give him a position well in the top ten. So we have two cars in good starting positions, and based on Friday, a good set-up in race conditions."


Pedro de la Rosa: "I am very very satisfied by the whole team's work and we had the one lap at the beginning and we took our chances. It wasn't a particularly good lap compared to my previous lap times today, but then it started raining and it's a bit of a gamble when you arrive into a chicane at 320 km per hour and you don't know how wet it is, so I just took my chances. I qualified 5th in the t-car because my race car was still being prepared and we needed to get out very quickly so I took the spare car and it all worked very well. I'm really pleased for the whole team as we've always been up there, but the results and full potential of the team have never really materialised. We were a little bit lucky with the rain but we've been very unlucky in the past so that's the way it goes sometimes".

Jos Verstappen: "We had some bad luck at the beginning of qualifying as the starter wouldn't go in the car properly to be able to start the engine, so we had to take the floor off and change a part to get the starter in. That lost me a lot of positions because the car was behaving really well and at the end of the session when it was half dry, the lap time I did was good. I think qualifying was decided in the first 5 minutes before the rain and I wasn't out there then so that was a problem".

Tom Walkinshaw: "Both Pedro and Jos did a very good job. Unfortunately Jos couldn't get out on the track when he should have because there was a problem with the car starter but he still did a good job when the track was much wetter. With the positions we've got we're in good shape for the race".


Jarno Trulli: "I think this qualifying result is quite good, especially when you consider that I lost most of yesterday's morning session and this morning I had a problem with the floor of my car which we had to solve before qualifying. Once we fixed it I was competitive again. In the conditions we had today, you also need a degree of luck, and some drivers obviously had more than others. All round, I fared pretty well and I would like to thank my team for their work. Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult race in terms of strategy if we have the same conditions as today."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "Things just didn't work out. With or without the time which was disallowed, it would have been very difficult. I just didn't find a proper slot when the track was at its best and free of traffic. I'm disappointed, of course, but at least I know the car is working well in all conditions. I'm looking forward to good race. It's going to be very interesting!"


Johnny Herbert: "It's good to have a change of luck. Even this morning I had problems with water pressure which cost me some preparation time, but the rain arrived at the right time for us during qualifying. Our strategy was the same as everyone else's at the start - go out early, get a lap in the bank, and see what the weather was going to do. It paid off so I'm pleased with the position and looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Eddie Irvine: "To have two cars in the top 10, we can't complain too much. It was quite tricky, but I was on a good lap until I caught Marc Gene into the second chicane. I was right behind him into the third chicane, but luckily enough he went straight on - but then he pulled straight in front of me. So I was very slow in the middle section. But like I said, I can't complain. We were just a minute and a half too late. Otherwise I would have improved, as I was half a second up. But everyone's sitting there thinking if only, if only, but we wouldn't have been eighth and tenth in the dry. Normally in the race you finish where you start, or a little bit better. I'm reasonably optimistic for tomorrow now."


Jacques Villeneuve: "It was a good lap until I spun, but I guess it was pretty wet down there because another four cars nearly did the same thing. Sadly, the new Honda engine was not able to make a big difference in these conditions and starting ninth is not ideal. I hope the weather is better tomorrow because unpredictability is never a good thing at this level."

Ricardo Zonta: "I was on course for a 1:47.4 until I caught Alesi before the last chicane. Then coming into the stadium he was very slow and I had to brake very early. He lost the back end of his car, so I lifted; I went for the inside, he came back, so I lifted again. I lost 1.2 seconds in total and that would have put me fifth. It's a bit disappointing - I just wanted a little bit of luck!"

Takefumi Hosaka, Managing Director, Honda R&D: "Because of the rain we couldn't get the most out of the new engine. Both the drivers and the team are frustrated that we could not follow the plan, but weather and luck is all part of racing. We maybe underestimated the weather on the far side of the track; it was probably wetter than we anticipated. Today's qualifying is not really representative; hopefully with better weather, the race will be exciting tomorrow and we should be able to show our true pace."


Nick Heidfeld: "We struggled a bit yesterday, although we finally made the car better. This morning, I lost the whole first session and half the second session, because of a gearbox problem. So it was not easy to find the right set-up, and it was a bit more of a guess to make the right choice for qualifying this afternoon, but it paid off. Despite the unstable conditions, the car felt reasonable. We had the perfect timing, and we went out at the right time. So I can say I am happy with this 13th position."

Jean Alesi: "I am very disappointed because it is the worst qualifying position I have known. It is a bad moment for me and I want to forget it very quickly. The race tomorrow is important, but starting 20th, it is difficult to hope for a good result. We will do our best and see what happens."

Alain Prost: "One of our cars is positioned close to our normal position on the starting grid, but not the other since Jean unfortunately was never able to be on the track at a good moment during the changing conditions. Now, the important thing is to prepare and to judge the race well, particularly as, if it is run in similar conditions to those today, it will not be so much a question of performance as of strategy."


Ralf Schumacher: "With such weather conditions you have to be out on the circuit at the right time and we didn't manage it. At the end I couldn't improve as we were on dry set up because we were expecting dry conditions. I'm not worried about tomorrow's race as anything could happen."

Jenson Button: "My first lap was fast but in the first corner Fisichella went off the track into the gravel and came straight back across the circuit almost twice, so I had to lift off quite a bit and lost some time. When Fisichella went out for his second run the track was in good condition and nobody was out on the track. He really had perfect timing! We went out just after but it started raining. In my last run the track was too wet for any improvement."

Patrick Head: "A very disappointing qualifying but really as a result of not making the right choices in the pits about when to be out on the circuit and in what condition. There was an element of chance in it but an element that needed decisiveness and we really got the wrong end of that. Anyway we have to do everything to make sure the car is reliable tomorrow and try to have a reliable run in the race."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "The result is disappointing for us, as we were expecting better positions than 14th and 16th. The weather conditions were hard for everybody but the timing made the difference and ours wasn't the best. We didn't have any technical problems."


Mika Salo: "The way the conditions were today, qualifying was a complete lottery. I caught two cars on my first flying lap, and that was enough to compromise the time. After that the weather ensured that there was no chance to improve, though I managed to get close to my time later as the track momentarily began to dry a little. It's frustrating to qualify only 15th because we know from free practice that the C19 is working well here. But it will be a good race tomorrow."

Pedro Diniz: "On my first lap I lost time in traffic, and then I had no chance afterwards to go quicker. I'm very disappointed."

Peter Sauber: "Today was just a lottery, and nothing to do with strategy. Tomorrow it will make little difference for us if the race is dry or wet because we have proved this weekend that the C19 is good in either condition. But by preference I would be happier with a dry race; it's safer here if the drivers don't have to run in a wet tunnel through the woods. And it's better for the spectators, too."


Gaston Mazzacane: "Today's qualifying session turned out to be so tough for everybody, not only for us. In order to exploit better the track conditions, not too wet at the beginning, we went for a dry tyres strategy considering that, due to the nature of this track, the tyre choice may be decisive to avoid mistakes that could cost dearly under such anomalous weather conditions. I took to track at the beginning of the session, but there was too much traffic and I did not put in a good timed lap, as a result. On my second attempt the track was almost dry but it started to pour with rain before I could complete a full lap. I feel nonetheless satisfied with my car's handling which was very good in the morning's free practice. This leads me to be confident for tomorrow, as long as it will be a dry race!."

Marc Gene: "Today we were so unlucky. On my first run I wrongly decided to wear wet tyres; I knew that it was a risky choice, but I also knew that I could take an advantage from this; the time I set was not too bad but then cars were quicker than me on dry tyres. Unfortunately, on my third run a problem occurred on the gearbox and I was forced to leave the car on track and go back into the pit, when the track conditions were probably the most favourable of the whole session. In the end I took to track on the spare-car; I could possibly improve my position but I experienced an engine failure. It is really a shame because this morning the car was not bad at all. Tomorrow things can only get better!."

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