Saturday October 21st, 2000
Michael Schumacher: "This session was not as easy as it might have looked. I only did a few laps, because we did not have any more time after deciding to wait as the track is dirty here. It was better to save the tyres. The car was handling very well. We slowly evolved and improved it over the past two days and we had the optimum balance for qualifying, as well as for the long runs in the race. My first run was not spot on. Then we tried changing the rear wing for the second run, but it was the wrong decision, so we went back to the original settings for my final attempt. Apart from a small mistake in the first sector, it was just right. With the championship decided, this is the ideal situation because there is no pressure. We race because we love it and you just drive to the limit for the fun of it. But we are still racing for the Constructors‘ title and that is very important for us, although I think it would take a miracle for us not to score those three points. Of course for the race, the important thing will be to finish, to have a good strategy and to adapt the car to have the right balance to suit the tyres. Being four and a half tenths quicker than the others means I am relaxed about tomorrow. I feel sorry for Rubens, because he has been struggling with bad flu all weekend."
Rubens Barrichello: "After suffering with small health problems over the past few days, I gave it my all at the end of the session to do a great lap and I feel I succeeded. It's a shame both McLaren drivers went quicker than me, both by a very small margin. I am sure our car is very competitive. For tomorrow, we will try to improve the set-up still further and I hope to be feeling even better than today. I think it will be a very close race and it could all come down to the strategy. There is enough room to make up places at the start as the track is wide and there are also quite a few places where you can overtake. I think we will see a good race and I will be giving it my best shot to get a great result and help the team take the Constructors' title, which is so important to us."
Jean Todt: "After winning the Drivers' Championship in Japan, today's performance shows our real determination to keep fighting to the very last moment of the season. It was a great pole from Michael and a very strong performance from Rubens, who unfortunately saw himself knocked off the front row in the final moments and only by 36 thousandths of a second. Now we are concentrating on the race, as we wish to end this great season for Ferrari on a high note. I am glad the start is an hour later than usual, as it means our fans in Italy and the rest of Europe will not have to get up quite as early as they did a fortnight ago! I was impressed with today's times which were down to the Bridgestone tyres. We have found more than two seconds compared with 1999. This shows the potential we will have next year."
Mika Hakkinen: "I put in my best time at the end of the session but unfortunately it wasn't fast enough. The characteristics of Sepang mean that it's easy to lose time entering and exiting corners and if you don't have the right balance that is a problem. It's going to be tough tomorrow because the way the cars are designed aerodynamically means that no air gets into the cockpit and with both temperature and humidity being high it will be very draining."
David Coulthard: "At this track the exit of a corner can make all the difference to a lap time. We made some changes to the car for my second and third runs, but it didn't work so we went back to our original set-up, but we still need to work on the balance. However the nature of Sepang means that its quite easy to detect where you are losing time so we should be in good shape for tomorrow."
Ron Dennis: "We spent most of the untimed sessions this morning optimising our performance for the race and perhaps this was reflected in our qualifying. Hopefully the rewards of our efforts will come tomorrow."
Norbert Haug: "Considering the gap to pole this was certainly not one of our best qualifying performances, but nevertheless I think that victory is possible."
Alexander Wurz: "I'm very happy with 5th place. To qualify right behind the McLarens and Ferraris is really pole position for me! I'm very happy that I achieved this in my last Qualifying session with the team and I hope this helps to put pay to rumours that have followed me this year. I want to thank the people who work with me and who have supported me for the last three years in the team."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "There certainly was good potential for the car as Alex was really quick and I'm happy for him today. I'm disappointed because I hoped to be in the top eight. We obviously weren't as well prepared as we should have been, due to my problem this morning. This is a pity because I was quick yesterday."
Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "A great result for Alex, particularly as it is his last race with us. He has applied himself well all weekend and the result shows. I think now we can say we have sufficiently trained him to hand him over to McLaren. Giancarlo had a difficult day which wasn't helped by a gearbox failure this morning which lost him track time. It meant that he didn't have tyres in the condition we would have liked for Qualifying, but nevertheless he put in a lot of effort and made a good recovery on his last run. So he is in a position from which he can assist us in the fight to retain our fourth place in the championship."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "I'm very happy with Alex's performance today. In the last part of the season he has done a very good job and today he has exceeded expectations and has put us in a very strong position for the race tomorrow. I'm quite disappointed with Giancarlo's qualifying position. We don't understand what happened to his car as it was quick yesterday, so we need to look into this now."
Jacques Villeneuve: "I'm disappointed. On the first part of that last run, the car was quick, then part way around the lap, a cylinder must have gone down in the engine or something, and I lost a lot of power. It cost me six- or eight-tenths of a second in straight-line speed alone, so I just aborted the lap. The outcome of the Constructors' Championship is very important for the team. It means better garages next season and more money for the team. More money means a bigger development budget, which should mean a better car. We need a big step forward next year, so we will be aiming for the best possible result tomorrow."
Ricardo Zonta: "My first run was quite good in sectors one and two, but then I made a mistake braking for the hairpin and lost maybe four-tenths of a second. After that, although I worked very hard with my engineer and was able to set some quick sector times, I just couldn't get a good flow going. My car was fast and I would have expected to qualify a little better. Anyway, eleventh isn't that bad a position from which to start the race and have a chance of getting points. The race is very important for us since we need to finish and score more points. I hope for the team, the mechanics, and myself, to achieve a good result in my last race. To finish fourth in the World Championship would be very nice."
Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "Overall, it was a pretty good result today. We know we could have gone a little faster, but sixth and eleventh places on the grid should give us the potential to score more points in the final race of the season. All the team, including Honda, have done a really good job this year and we hope to be able to end the season on a high note tomorrow."
Eddie Irvine: "I can't complain. I think I probably did as good a lap as I could. Everyone could have probably gone a tenth quicker to be honest. I'm disappointed because the car changed so much from the morning to the afternoon. I lost the first run and the second run. On the first run the car was difficult, it was so 'on the nose,' and on the second run I made a couple of mistakes on the lap. So I had to make the third run count. It was a very good lap, until the last corner, where I just had to be a little bit careful. And I lost a tenth on just being a bit careful on the entry to mid-corner, and then on the next one I was well done, so I just barrelled around the last corner. But it was a good lap up to then."
Gary Anderson, Technical Director: "Oh, for a hundredth of a second or two! It was quite a pressure session, really. I thought Eddie drove very well. He responded when it was needed to get the best out of our car. To be so tantalisingly close to fifth spot, which is the coveted prize if your car's not red of silver, was a great effort."
Ralf Schumacher: "The car was actually not bad at all, though it still could be better. I thought I would have a good chance of being fifth quickest, the first of the non Ferraris and McLarens, but in the end a mistake on my last run cost me this place and I dropped to eighth."
Jenson Button: "I'd hoped to be starting my last race with Williams from a better grid position than this. I just couldn't get a lap together then towards the end I had a problem with Verstappen's Arrows getting in the way. I'm just hoping it ends up like Hockenheim where I started at the back and finished fourth."
Patrick Head, Technical Director: "Unfortunately Jenson's rather paid the price for the technical problem he had this morning. He's got a difficult race ahead of him from there. We were rather hoping Ralf would be able to start from the front of the little group he's in but it just didn't work out that way."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "Ralf just didn't quite get the most of it due to a couple of little problems while Jenson had difficulty coming back from the problem we gave him this morning. He's got no problem learning the track but when you need to find the right set up in a hurry, this is when experience shows. I'm sure he'll have a strong race."
Jarno Trulli: "Ninth is obviously not what we had hoped for. During the morning, I had tried running with scrubbed front tyres and it seemed okay. So, we scrubbed in two sets for qualifying but they didn't work so well and I had a struggle with understeer. I managed to get a good lap in the end but it could have been quicker if we'd had a better tyre strategy. It's going to be difficult starting from ninth on the grid - but you never know what might happen in the race."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "The team did a very good job on the set-up. After the problems in the morning, I'm quite pleased to have got onto the fifth row. I was unable to complete the necessary work on tyre strategy but to be less than a tenth slower than Jarno is not too bad. Our aim is to finish in the points at the very least and I think anything is possible, particularly over 56 laps in this heat."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I think it was a good session. The car was good and although I did my fastest lap with four new tyres, it was not the best solution as I think with buff fronts and new rears it would have been better but the old fronts we had were too old. Apart from that the car was good, especially in the first half of the lap but then the front just gave up for the last sector which is why I couldn't improve anymore."
Jos Verstappen: "I'm obviously very disappointed with my position because we could have done better. I had a lot of understeer and I ran wide on a corner and damaged the radiator, so had to jump into the T-car. It was set-up for Pedro and although the team changed some things over for me, it wasn't as good as the race car."
Steve Nielsen, Race Team Manager: "We've ended up about where we thought we would qualify before we came here, but after the good practice session this morning it looked like we might be able to do better than that. In qualifying, Pedro did a good job against all the odds as he hasn't been feeling well all weekend, and Jos unfortunately only had one good run in his race car before it had a water leak and then he had to go into the T-car right at the end of the session. He wasn't able to improve, partly because I think the track got slower towards the end, but he probably would have improved if he'd been able to do his second run straight away. I think we under achieved today which is always disappointing."
Mika Salo: "It's frustrating, because I just didn't get a good lap together today. On my first installation lap I went too quick and got traffic on my flier, my second run wasn't too good, and on my third I made a little mistake. I waited as long as I dared for my fourth run, but then I hit the queue of cars right at the end. I was too close to Eddie Irvine, and lost downforce all the way round. It was a great shame, because the car was fine for me today."
Pedro Diniz: "I struggled all day with too much understeer, and that was why I aborted my first run this afternoon, so that we could make further adjustments. Unfortunately we then had a misunderstanding on tyre combination in my middle stint, but my last one was my fastest. It's just a shame I couldn't improve the turn-in of the car, which is a key requirement here."
Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "On our 'home' ground with Petronas in Sepang we came with very high aims and are understandably disappointed not to have achieved them. The problem with understeer proved too acute in qualifying, especially with Pedro. But if you add up Mika's sector times he would have been 12th on the grid, which is much closer to our target. We anticipate a long, hard race tomorrow, and since the C19s have good performance in race trim it is still possible to score World Championship points."
Jean Alesi: "I am ready for tomorrow. Our positions today are clearly not good, but the important thing is the ones we have at the end of the race. We are now working on the car in order to be able to finish the race. I think that if we finish this race, we really will have a chance to secure the result we need. And it is this, above all, that I am thinking about."
Nick Heidfeld: "I am very disappointed with my position today. This morning, the car did not seem so bad as the result of free practice showed 13th. And I felt the car could progress a bit further. We kept on trying to adjust the set-up this afternoon during the qualifying session, but it was not enough and the overall balance of the car was really different to that this morning."
Alain Prost: "We have again suffered visibly from the great heat which has affected the performances of our cars. We are in any case disappointed not to have repeated the times we clocked during this morning’s free practice sessions."
Marc Gene: "I feel pretty satisfied with today's qualifying, perhaps one of my best performances of the season. My time has improved 1.2 seconds from this morning's time and I was 3 seconds quicker than last year, albeit having the same engine. This means that we all made a superb job, from the engineers who worked out a good car set-up to the mechanics who fixed my damaged car this morning after I passed over a kerb. My only regret is to have missed out one place by just one tenth of a sec with regard to Diniz's Sauber. However today I could have hardly done better than this."
Gaston Mazzacane: "My qualifying performance was a complete disaster, however I am trying not to feel too pessimistic for tomorrow's race, where hopefully I will be more competitive. Today I never managed to set a good timed lap over my fourth attempts. All I can do now is to prepare myself as best as I can for tomorrow's race, which is so important to me."
Gian Carlo Minardi: "We are happy with Marc's improvement over today's qualifying session. His lap times were three sec. faster compared to last season and, honestly, I don't think we could do better. Without pretending to find any justification, I would like to reckon that such an improvement was possible despite we had the same engine as last year. This proves how good has been the job done by the Team on this year's car. Of course we regret we cannot feel satisfied with the current grid positions achieved."