Saturday June 9th, 2001
Michael Schumacher: "I did not go out at the end of the session, because I felt it would probably be more enjoyable to watch it from the outside! You can never be sure that nobody will beat your time, but when I saw that Ralf was stopped at the weigh-in, I knew it would be difficult for the others. I am surprised at the margin I have over the others, but I am not surprised that the lap times are much quicker than last year. As for the race, the car is as good as it can be in race trim: it can never be perfect. This is a track which improves all the time over the weekend, so in the warm-up tomorrow morning we hope to make further improvements."
Rubens Barrichello: "This was not one of my better days. On my first run I had traffic, while on the second, I finished up in the wall at the last chicane having jumped over the kerb. I think I went a bit over the limit. I ran back to the pits and jumped into the spare, which had been set up for Michael. Despite the fact the mechanics did a great job, the set up wasn't ideal for me and there was no time to change it. In the end, I did not have time to change tyres before my fourth and final run and so I was unable to improve and get a better position. I think it will be a very open race tomorrow."
Jean Todt: "Michael had a great session, getting the absolute maximum out of the car. The difference between his time and that of his brother Ralf in second place is big, with over half a second separating them. Unfortunately, Rubens had a difficult session. On his second run, he had an accident which meant he had to take the spare. The team worked very well to adapt the car to the driver, who managed to improve his time, but not his grid position. It will be a difficult race tomorrow. Reliability will be the key factor, especially as regards the brakes."
Ross Brawn: "Michael got a great pole position and his session was trouble free. It was important for tomorrow that he has saved tyres for the race. He was happy with the handling of the car. Rubens session was a bit messy. After he took the spare, we were running out of time. This meant that he had to push quite hard on the out lap, which is not the best thing for the tyres. But it will be a long race tomorrow and with that in mind, fifth place is not too bad."
Ralf Schumacher: "We made a couple of changes to the car before qualifying and this proved an important step in the right direction, the track was a good temperature for our tyres but even so, I didn't think I'd done such a good time, especially in the second sector. It was actually quite an easy lap. The team asked me afterwards how I'd done it but I couldn't really tell them."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "After lack of track time this morning it was difficult to catch up in time for qualifying, with every run the car was getting better and better, but in the end this was just not enough. Starting tenth on the grid is going to be difficult, but I am still aiming to score some points. I was impressed a lot by Ralf's lap, I didn't think the car was capable today of that sort of time but Ralf showed I was wrong."
Patrick Head, Technical Director: "Ralf's run was much better than we expected, he did a fantastic job and on his second run just got everything working together, the Michelin tyres improved as the track became hotter. A gearbox problem in the morning put Juan Pablo behind so had not been able to get the perfect set-up."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was an unbelievable lap, after the balance and grip problems he had in qualifying we didn't expect the front row. Ralf has absolutely made the best of his package. It was a special performance."
David Coulthard: "I'm not happy with qualifying third, as the car was capable of more. However I didn't manage to get things right and explore the limits of the car. In my first run, I made a mistake at the last chicane and the session just continued to be really messy. For my last run, I was able to get out first but was only able to improve in the last sector which was enough to move me up to third. In the circumstances, I guess we have to be happy. I'm confident that we have a good car for the race, but that said I should have been able to start from the front row."
Mika Hakkinen: "Its clear from the sector times that my first run started quite well. However I ran a little wide and hit one of new higher kerbs hard and damaged the front of my car as well as the right radiator. I had to change to the spare car, which was set up for David and was unable to improve my time. Now we will work hard to get the best out of the car for tomorrow which I'm sure we will."
Ron Dennis: "A very disrupted qualifying session with both drivers struggling to get clear and uninterrupted laps. The sector times demonstrated the capability of the cars. Let's hope we can put them to better use in the race."
Norbert Haug: "Mika had to change to the spare car after he had damaged his radiator and was unable to improve his time. David's third place is not so bad a basis for the race but we are not happy with our performance. We have won races from lower grid positions."
Jarno Trulli: "I'm upset because the marshals stopped me, it was wrong because the session had not finished. Being held up like that meant I couldn't do a final timed lap. But I'm very happy with the first half of qualifying as the car was well balanced. For the last run, we made some alterations to improve the car even further and I was really looking forward to my last run. I felt confident about my chances of getting onto the front row. It's very frustrating."
Ricardo Zonta: "Given the little practice time I have had this weekend, twelfth position is not bad, I was gaining confidence with each run and improving my times. On the last run, I tried to push even harder but, unfortunately, I made a mistake at the first corner and lost my chance to improve further. It would obviously have been good to ualify higher but I was possibly being a little over-cautious so as not to make any mistakes. The car feels good and is suited to this track. As my confidence grows, I know I can get more out of the car, and I have a good potential to finish well in tomorrow's race."
Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "Both drivers did a great job today. Jarno's result is excellent and it is good to see him on the second row of the grid, although admittedly frustrating that David pipped him to third place. 12th place for Ricardo is commendable, especially since he missed so much running time this morning. I had predicted sixth and 12th today for the team, so we are delighted with this result."
Olivier Panis: "I am happy for the team with the qualifying position that we achieved today. I am disappointed for Jacques as he had a bad day yesterday which has set him back slightly. This is my best qualifying position so far this season so I am happy with that. As always the team and my engineer David Lloyd did a great job. I am looking forward to the race."
Jacques Villeneuve: "After the problems we had yesterday we have made some progress so I am relatively happy with the outcome. I have not had much running time so we had to work on set-up throughout the qualifying session so it has been very tough. We have still not achieved our ideal set-up so we have a lot of work still to do."
Craig Pollock: "It has been a difficult day. The team have worked extremely hard to make progress after the problems we had yesterday. Both drivers did an exceptional job under the circumstances and look as if they will be very competitive during the race. For us the objective is to put ourselves in a points scoring position and we will be looking to achieve that tomorrow."
Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "As a qualifying session it was quite good. We are very happy to have Olivier in sixth position on the grid. We have made Jacques’ job very difficult here, but he did a very solid job and was able to improve on every run to end up in ninth position. It has been a challenging weekend so far but the qualifying line up gives us confidence going into the race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "My car was great today. Yesterday we had a lot of little problems, with the set-up on the differential and traction control, and with the brakes, but everything came right today and the balance and traction were fine. On my best lap I lost a bit of time over the kerb in the last corner. I had a couple of close shaves there yesterday. When you are launched too high you can't steer in the air, but I got away with it although on one occasion I just missed the wall by a millimetre! Today there was no risk of that, but I lost a bit of traction there. Without that I think I could have been sixth."
Nick Heidfeld: "The car was really well balanced this morning and we had made only minor adjustments for qualifying. Unfortunately you have to push hard over the kerb in the last corner, and your landing position depends on luck. I got launched too high to be able to do anything about correcting the car, and I went into the wall. I'd lost time at the beginning of the lap behind Alesi, so I was trying to make it up. I'm okay, but disappointed not to start higher than 11th where the car belongs."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Our new electro-hydraulic differential made a significant contribution to our competitiveness this weekend, and we improved Kimi Raikkonen's car a lot since yesterday. He did a great job to qualify seventh. Nick was unlucky in the last corner when he was launched by the kerb, but we are happy that he is okay."
Jos Verstappen: "Well I'm happy with the result. We went quicker than we did in practice and we managed to improve the car throughout the session. Our lap times were consistent and we were able to improve little by little. Everyone did a good job today and we're all really looking forward to a good race. It would be good to get a great start tomorrow!"
Enrique Bernoldi: "I'm disappointed as I just couldn't put it all together to get a good lap today. Yes, I am still learning the track, but I was hoping to do better than that. We didn't make any changes to the car during the session as it felt good but it just didn't go my way today."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "That was the best we could expect today as the next position up the grid is sixth tenths of a second away from us. Jos did a very good job, steadily improving. He lost his last run due to the red flag but I don't think we would have found enough time to improve our position. We decided to put him in the T-car for a couple of installation laps during the last minutes of the session but time got the better of us. Enrique is still learning the circuit. It's his first time here and he's naturally disappointed not to be closer to his team-mate. We could be in for a good race tomorrow so we are all looking forward to it."
Pedro de la Rosa: "Comparatively we were very quick in the morning, but we've gone backwards basically. I think the fact that the temperature is higher has affected our car more than others, that’s the only explanation I can find. We'll have to go to the telemetry and have a look, we were really expecting to be quicker, but on the other hand I must say I think maybe we are where we have to be. Probably we could have been a little bit quicker, but there was no more than a 1m17.7s in the car today. We've seen before with the Michelins that the hard compound isn't quicker or slower, but it works better in hot conditions. Straight away this morning we were very quick with the soft compound, but I think Williams have picked up grip and speed, and we just haven't found any."
Eddie Irvine: "I had to be late on the throttle, because I could see that Pedro had almost stopped in the middle of the corner, I then had to wait and see what he was going to do. Eventually he decided to accelerate. To be honest my best lap was my third lap, when I was two-tenths up, Then I lost half a second at the hairpin when it jumped into neutral. It was still a 19.2s but I could have done a 17.8s, which would have put me ahead of Verstappen. I would have been 13th. We'll wait and see. It's difficult to say. We haven't been quick here all weekend. Monaco was obviously me, so there's no disappointment in that! We'll be back up there at Magny Cours."
Jean Alesi: "Since this morning, I have been fighting with a power understeering car, and unfortunately, a red flag was waved during my last qualifying lap which caused me to lose the benefit of my last set of tyres. Had I been able to push to the end, for sure, I would have been several places up on the grid."
Luciano Burti: "It was a difficult day. We have tried many things to improve the car and we managed to do it to a certain extent, but we have not been able to optimise its handling with only set-up modifications. I found the car more and more difficult to drive. I think that on this track, I could not have been much faster than what I did. It is a pity for Jean because I know he would have been faster, but as for my position, we were pretty much at the limit."
Alain Prost: "Since yesterday, we have made adjustments and modifications which improved slowly our performance, despite suffering from understeering on both cars. But today's qualifying was more unfortunate, as Jean lost his last and quickest lap, and Luciano had not found the best compromise on his car. However we are very satisfied to see that the brakes, which are particularly put to the test on this track, perform well, and after having run a lot of laps on heavy fuel during the last two days, we know our car's balance is quite good. We feel ready for the Grand Prix and our positions on the grid, although below our expectations, do not affect our confidence before tomorrow's race."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I expected a better result after our performance yesterday, when I was quite happy to be 15th given that we were running with a lot of fuel. Since then, however, the car's grip characteristics have changed and we have picked up a lot of understeer. We did the last runs with less downforce in an effort to generate more straight-line speed, but that made life a bit too difficult in the corners."
Jenson Button: "I am not happy at all. We didn't get the best out of qualifying and it didn't help that the second red flag came out when it did. This morning I thought that the balance of the car was good, although we had a touch of understeer. We have to make sure that we get to the end tomorrow so that we get some more valuable mileage under our belts. This can be a race of attrition and if you are there at the end there is always a chance of some points."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "This is more or less what we expected, although a few more tenths would have gained us a number of places. We now have to concentrate on making sure the cars are reliable and getting them to the finish. The car certainly looked more competitive with full tanks on Friday, when we were able to get the tyres working more efficiently. I think that we will be in much better shape for the race."
Tarso Marques: "It has been a difficult day. In the qualifying session, we found the car was losing power from the engine, as also happened in the second session this morning. As far as the balance of the car is concerned, it's acceptable, but there's not a great deal more we can do to it. The problem today was that our straight-line speed was low and therefore the car did not perform as well as it could have. As ever, all we can do is try our best in the race tomorrow and see what is possible."
Fernando Alonso: "This morning, we could not do as much work as we would have liked due to an engine problem. During my third qualifying run, when I should have been able to achieve a better position on the starting grid, the session was stopped. Finally, I went out for the last run available, but another red light meant I missed the opportunity to do a final timed lap by a mere three seconds. Now I learn I have been disqualified, as the front wing of the car was found not to be in compliance with the regulations, and will have to start from last place on the grid. I know it doesn't make a big difference, but I have still lost a position."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Today was disappointing for the European Minardi F1 team as, once again, valuable time was lost in the morning sessions. This left both drivers struggling to show their true potential. It's particularly frustrating because the mechanical issues that have afflicted the cars have not been consistent. We can only hope that tomorrow witnesses an improvement in the team’s fortunes."