Atlas F1 News Service

Saturday's Selected Quotes - Hungarian GP

Saturday August 18th, 2001


Michael Schumacher: "I am surprised at this lap time as it is much quicker than our predictions had suggested. It's the result of a perfect lap and a car that was already one hundred percent in the morning. I only did six laps, but not to save tyres. It was just that I felt I had got the maximum out of myself and the car. So it was better to sit and wait rather than waste effort. Of course I will be trying to win tomorrow, but I do not expect the advantage will be as big as today and I expect a tight competitive race with David and Rubens. It should be a good show for the spectators. If possible we will be trying to win the championship, but first I want to get ten points."

Rubens Barrichello: "The car was very good this morning. Then my first run was quite good and the second was better but I had problems with traffic. After that, my car seemed to lose its balance for the last two runs and I could no longer do the times. I am a little bit disappointed to be third as I had been closer to Michael all weekend. At least I am starting from the clean side of the track and in the race, my plan is to drive as fast as I can and try to win, which would help Michael for the championship. With all the accelerating and braking this is a tough race, both mentally and physically, but even with the three week break, I think we do enough miles to deal with it."

Jean Todt: "The entire team produced a great performance. Michael was fantastic setting a great time to take the ninth pole of the season. Rubens is third and will start from the second row. We knew it would be important to secure good grid positions and we managed to reach our objective. Now we must concentrate on the race, which will be a whole different story. This Grand Prix is very long and will be run in very high temperatures, which will have an effect on various components. We are aware how important will be reliability. Looking at today's performance, will be very tight and closely fought. For the first time this year, the result could decide the World Championships."

Ross Brawn: "An exceptional performance from Michael. He looked good all weekend and we arrived here in good shape. The fact that he won the championship last year has made this season less stressful for him. I have seen no signs of pressure and he seems very relaxed. I hope the pressure is now on the other guys. But we will have to finish the job tomorrow. All in all a superb performance from the team. Michael also saved two sets of tyres today, which will be good for the race. As long as we can now find a good set up for the race, I think he is in with a great chance. The quicker lap times compared with last year are mainly down to tyre development and Bridgestone has given us a good tyre here and the fact there are so many corners here emphasises the importance of the tyres. I am happy with Rubens' position. Hakkinen won from third last year, and it is the clean side of the track. With a good race strategy, Rubens could be in good shape tomorrow."


David Coulthard: "After damaging my chassis yesterday, I was using a new one today. However I wouldn't have known unless the mechanics had told me how late they had to work last night. Often you can feel a slight difference when using a new chassis but the car this morning felt the same as yesterday and the guys in the team did a great job. I abandoned my first run when Frentzen came in the way and set my fastest time in the second, but was unable to improve after that. I went a bit wide in the third run and my final run was generally not as tidy as the others. I don't think we could've claimed pole today but I'm confident that we could have been closer to Michael's time. We have generally tended to be quicker in race trim this year so we will see what happens tomorrow. As the nature of the track is very similar to Monaco it's important to get a good start as its difficult to overtake."

Mika Hakkinen: "Unfortunately we were unable to get the car to handle the way we would have liked. I had to abandon my only 'decent' run when I ran wide after losing the back end. However the race here will be tough and both physically and technically very demanding so everything is possible. We now have to improve the car for tomorrow in the way we have often successfully done during this year."

Ron Dennis: "David's front row position is almost the best place from which to start the Hungarian Grand Prix. However whilst David's best sector times would close some of the gap, the reality is that we are not as competitive as we would like to be. Mika's qualifying result was due to a mixture of traffic and less than optimised car set-up."

Norbert Haug: "Hungary and Monaco are the two most difficult circuits on which to overtake therefore whilst David is understandably disappointed with the gap to pole he must take comfort from being on the front row. Mika's practice was somewhat disrupted which is reflected in his grid position."


Ralf Schumacher: "It's as good as we could realistically have expected on this track which doesn't suit the strengths of our car, I'm quite satisfied with a place on row two and I think it's quite possible that I could make up a place or two off the line at the start - this is always the best passing opportunity of the whole race on this circuit. I think we're well prepared for the race but Michael's time is a long way clear of everyone else. We'll see."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "Basically the problem we have is the balance of the car. We try one thing and it gives it big understeer and you're just sitting there waiting to get the power on. Then if we make changes that get rid of the understeer it's very difficult to get the car to turn into the corner,"

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "While Ralf is in the sort of position we were expecting, Juan Pablo is a bit further back and has a lot of work to do in the race tomorrow. Michael seems to be in the sort of dominant position we were in at Hockenheim."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "This is the sort of outcome we expected here. We knew we wouldn't be fighting for the front row. The gap to Coulthard's time on the front row is only two-tenths but Michael's lap was just outstanding."


Jarno Trulli: "A very good qualifying, I had to abort my second lap because I made a small mistake but, otherwise, everything was fine. The car felt good and I made some adjustments during qualifying which proved to be the right thing to do. I have to say I'm pretty happy for me and the team because this new aero package seems to be working very well. Hopefully this will continue during the race and I can keep a good, consistent pace during 77 laps."

Jean Alesi: "It was really embarrassing in the middle of the session to be 15th or 16th, so I'm a bit happier with my last lap! I'm 12th - but I'm going to improve on that tomorrow. The car has been very good but the problem has been the time I took to adapt to it. Jarno has set the target I need to aim for; his fifth place is a fantastic performance for him and the team. To be in this car is a dream and I intend to make the most of it in the race. It's going to be very hard - as usual here in Hungary. It is important to prepare for a consistent performance all through the race and that's what I'm going to talk about now with my engineers."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "I wasn't sure how it was going to work out today but I'm very happy with the result of qualifying, it was always going to be very difficult for Jean here and he did a very good job under the circumstances. Jarno, to beat one of the McLarens, that's a big thing for him ­ and the team, of course. It's been a very good qualifying."

Trevor Foster, Joint Managing Director: "I thought Jarno did a fantastic job to pip Mika Hakkinen at the end of qualifying, he had to get everything absolutely perfect to achieve that and it was a great job - even if the last couple of seconds were a bit nail-biting as he completed the lap! As for Jean, there were many, many things different on the car and, of course, he's had very limited running so, all in all, I think he has done a fantastic job."


Nick Heidfeld:"I had to abort two runs today after making small mistakes. On one I just managed to catch the car after getting a wheel over a kerb, on the other I ran wide in a corner because the track was still dirty. But the car felt every bit as strong as it did this morning when we were fourth fastest; I just think that some others improved their cars this afternoon. It wasn't a perfect qualifying session for me, but seventh is a good place to start here and we have a good race set-up."

Kimi Raikkonen:"To begin with my car felt good this afternoon, but then it began to understeer on the last two runs so I did not improve my lap time. I set my fastest time on my second run, when I lost at least two tenths of a second when I came across one Jordan at the start and the other one near the end. It didn't help that I lost time yesterday and again this morning with a small corner weight problem, but though the set-up of my car wasn't perfect today it was a lot better than yesterday."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal:"Kimi Raikkonen could have been quicker had he not lost track time yesterday and this morning through small mechanical problems, but generally we can be very happy with our performance this afternoon on a track that should not have suited us. Seventh and ninth places confirm that, since Monaco, we have resolved the traction problem on tight circuits that has been the C20's only shortcoming. I look forward with confidence to the race, for which starting positions always play a crucial part because it is so difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring."


Jacques Villeneuve: "After the session this morning and during qualifying we kept improving and made some big progress. Yesterday was a tough day so we changed direction this morning and got closer and closer. In my last run the car was difficult to drive but faster, which allowed me to get a good lap in. We're still not where we wanted to be but we expect to be better off in the race tomorrow. It's going to be hot which makes it very physical but suits our car."

Olivier Panis: "We worked very well this weekend but I'm not happy with the qualifying session today. We had really improved the car throughout yesterday and this morning and I was very happy with the way things were going. The balance was good but we had an electrical problem. We tried to fix this and I lost a lot of time and a whole run. When I did go out the traction control was not working so I spun and couldn't do anything about it. I'm disappointed myself but also for the team because everybody has worked hard and made some real progress."

Craig Pollock: "It's been a very hard start to the weekend and our qualifying positions are not quite as good as we had hoped for. Obviously the problems with Olivier's car didn't give him the position he merited from the weekend so far but we have the potential to race well from where we are. We need to stay focused now and work hard in preparation for the race to make sure we have a good set-up."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "This was actually our best qualifying session since Canada so we shouldn't feel too disappointed. However, we were optimistic that we could make a bigger improvement than we have. Jacques' engineers and mechanics did a good job of improving on yesterday's practice session and today we were able to find a good set-up for him. Rather tragically for Olivier, we experienced an electrical problem which gave him only two runs and prevented him from demonstrating his full potential."


Pedro de la Rosa: "It's always the same story, we’re always two or three tenths too slow. And at the end of the day it's more. I'm quite pleased with qualifying and the way it went. The car was well balanced and I was quite quick. The only problem was that I felt the car was a little bit too slow, basically. We've been banging on the door as hard as we should be on a tight circuit like this. We were expecting more from the car and the tyres. I had two good laps. On my first run I nearly spun, and on the last one In locked up going into T2. So my time was on the third one. It was OK, but at the very end there was probably more rubber, and maybe everyone improved one or two tenths. But it's always the same story – no one gets a perfect lap except for Michael."

Eddie Irvine: "I was just pushing too hard. I was trying to force it to do things... I was two tenths quicker this morning with a lot more fuel on board. It's the usual story of qualifying for me, trying like crazy to get it up there, and it doesn't want to know, the third lap was a good lap, but I got really sideways at the chicane. There must have been a big gust of wind behind me. On the telemetry I go in at exactly the same speed, it looks identical, and the thing just snaps into oversteer. It's disappointing. We should be three or four tenths better, but that's it. It’s still not good enough. It makes the race hard work. There's not much you can do from there to be honest, except make a good start, but I'm even on the wrong side of the grid for that."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "In terms of pace we are closer than normal to some of the other teams and that is positive. But after yesterday's practice and our good form this morning we expected to be higher on the grid, so of course I am disappointed to be 15th. I am frustrated about what happened on my last run, because one of the Jaguars got in my way and cost me a couple of tenths which could have gained me two or three positions. Generally, in qualifying trim the problem we encountered was that we did not have enough grip."

Jenson Button: "I only managed a few timed laps this morning because of an engine problem, although I was quite happy with the time I did. In qualifying I used the T-car, which had quite a few things that Giancarlo likes but I don't. I didn't really feel comfortable and I couldn't get rid of the understeer, no matter what I tried. Giancarlo and I use different steering arms, and as a result his car feels much heavier. That doesn't suit my style. It has just been one of those days, I'm afraid, and I was unable to show the car's full potential."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "We certainly felt we could have qualified in the top 10 ­ especially as the car had been performing well in every previous session this weekend. But after a positive start this was ultimately a disappointing result. Jenson was hampered today by two engine changes. The first incident occurred this morning, limiting his track time. Then just before qualifying started, we saw on the telemetry that there was an engine problem, so as a precautionary measure we put Jenson in the spare car. The T-car was set up for Giancarlo and had an older-spec engine, which means that he didn't really get a fair session. With Giancarlo we didn't improve during qualifying as much as other teams did and at the end we ended up at the bottom of a group of closely-matched cars rather than the top. Although our grid positions do not reflect the improvements we have made to the car, at the last race we scored points from worse grid positions, so we have to look for a strong race performance tomorrow."


Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I tried very hard today, and we put a lot of efforts in finding a better balance for the car. On this track you need to have a good mechanical grip and we managed to improve a bit in this area since this morning, but we kept on struggling with both oversteer and understeer. We knew it would not be easy this weekend but we are in progress : I am getting more familiar with the team, which is necessary to put our experience together, and make the most of the car very soon. Tomorrow's race is going to be very tough for everyone, and even if scoring points might be a high expectation, I'll do my best to finish the race in a good position. To finish with, I want to apologise to David Coulthard as I just did not see him coming in my mirrors and I compromised one of his quick laps."

Luciano Burti: "This morning, we had a better balance than yesterday and we found good directions of work to improve the car at midday. I thought qualifying would be better but unfortunately we struggled during the whole session. I was unable to make the car any better and for some reasons I suffered from both oversteer and understeer more than this morning. We tried different things that did not really helped, which reflects in the fact I did not improve this morning's laptimes. We must understand what the problem is or where we made a mistake because there is no reason to be slower than in practice."

Alain Prost: "We have encountered the same difficulties with both cars today and they appeared to increase on lower fuel loads. Unfortunately we have not been able to solve them and to improve our cars' balance. The fact that Luciano is learning the circuit and that Heinz-Harald is discovering his car obviously did not help, but we were hoping for better grid positions on this track where it is so difficult to overtake.Tomorrow’s conditions will be very hot and it will be a very demanding race. But our reliability level should be an important asset to get the best possible finish here

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "Today I really felt competitive with my car. Everything went very well, the new gearbox and the revised aerodynamic package helping the car to perform much better. Now we are in a position to fight our rivals more effectively and to try to improve our grid positions. I lost maybe a tenth of a second on my last run, but I gave the maximum I could. Perhaps I could have improved just a little bit, but frankly, I believe I pushed to the limit this afternoon."

Tarso Marques: "Unfortunately, the chassis balance wasn't good this afternoon and, owing to the need to change a sensor, there was not enough time to make any useful changes to the set-up. In fact, I think our biggest problem today may have been the engine, which felt down on power - we were faster in the corners compared with this morning, but my lap times turned out to be slower."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Two drivers drove outstanding laps in this afternoon's qualifying session: one was Michael Schumacher and the other, Fernando Alonso. The times they set in their respective cars indicate both extracted the maximum possible from the machinery at their disposal. To say the team is pleased would be gross understatement. Regrettably, Tarso struggled to get the most out of today's qualifying session and the team will be looking very closely at all the technical data to see if it can isolate the cause of his difficulties. As ever, the team is looking forward to tomorrow's race."


Enrique Bernoldi: "I was able to steadily improve during the qualifying session but then the engine cut out on my final quick lap. I could definitely have beaten (Luciano) Burti today and, at a push, (Fernando) Alonso. Now I have to look forward and think about tomorrow's race."

Jos Verstappen: "Well naturally I am very disappointed with my grid position. Nothing went my way today. It seems to me that the gap between us and the front row of the grid is increasing all the time and we need to stop it. Losing so much practice time this morning obviously didn't help but I couldn't avoid hitting the kerb as there was a lot of dust on the track there. All we can do now is concentrate on our plans for tomorrow's race."

Graham Taylor, Chief Race Engineer: "We had a very difficult Saturday today. The kerbs here are very high on a couple of the corners and Jos unfortunately hit one this morning which caused considerable damage to the car. This meant that we lost most of his set-up time in the morning which is always going to make life difficult. He was able to look at what Enrique said and work out what to do from car 15's data but nothing can make up for on-track time. Enrique steadily improved throughout the session but had a problem on his last flying lap. This is proving to be a character-building weekend."

Published at 16:47:42 GMT

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