Saturday March 31st, 2001
Michael Schumacher: "It will be great to see my little brother next to me on the grid tomorrow and maybe we better get used to it! I think once again my parentsí heartbeat will be very high at the start and the first corner. We know one another well enough and so we will not crash. It will be a hard but fair fight as we both have separate interests. Although I am happy for my brother, I am disappointed for the team that Rubens had problems which prevented him joining me at the front. As for my session, we were confident before the start, bearing in mind that unlike most of the others, we did not fit new tyres this morning. But we did know it would be tighter than in Malaysia. I aborted the second of my four runs, because it was too slow after I made a mistake and ran wide in Turn 4. As for the race, I can be confident because the car is competitive, probably the best in the field. So we have the opportunity to win. But having the opportunity and actually doing it is a different matter."
Rubens Barrichello: "I am very disappointed with the outcome of this qualifying session. In this morningís free practice I only ran one set of tyres. In the afternoon, on new tyres, I was never able to find the ideal balance on the car, which was continually understeering. I am not at all happy, as I felt I could have got a much better result. Sixth place was certainly not what I was expecting here in front of my home crowd."
Jean Todt: "As we predicted, this qualifying session was very tight, showing up the relative merits of the cars and tyres. Michael did a great job to take his and the teamís seventh consecutive pole. Rubens was in difficulty with persistent understeer, which prevented him from securing a better position. Itís a shame as there is only one tenth of a second separating second and sixth places, which shows just how closely matched are the cars. It is interesting to note that this yearís pole time is only just under three tenths of a second quicker than last yearís. Looking at the outcome of qualifying in the first two races, one could have expected a bigger difference. I think we can expect a very open race tomorrow, which will be particularly hard on the cars, because of the high temperatures."
Ralf Schumacher: "My weekend didn't start so well with a gearbox problem, but we have improved the set up of the car and the tyres work well in hot conditions. The BMW engine is strong, so I am looking forward to a good race tomorrow although I am not sure we are yet ready to compete with Michael in the Ferrari."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "At my first stint the car felt really good, but I pushed too hard on turn 11. I had to take the T-car, which was behaving a bit differently from my race car. Anyway, I have a good position to race from tomorrow. Myself and the team are getting better."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "This was the 20th qualifying for BMW since our comeback and we managed the front row for the first time. Even with a tyre partner who is only at their third race. That is really very motivating. With Michael and Ralf for the first time there are two brothers on the front row which also means something special. Juan was strong too, but could not exploit his chances in the best way after he went off and had to take the T-car."
Patrick Head, Technical Director: "It is a pity that Juan Pablo lost his race car. But you can't complain too much if you have one car in the first row and the other one in the second. We have really good positions to start from and I hope we will race well tomorrow."
Mika Hakkinen: "It was a very close session and I'm quite optimistic for the race tomorrow. The entire team has done a lot of work since Malaysia and we have definitely improved the car and solved some of our problems. Starting from third on the grid is not too bad and I should be able to get good traction at the start. I think I could have gone quicker but was unable to get a clear lap on my last run but that is one of the risks you take when leaving it until the closing minutes."
David Coulthard: "My first run was aborted when I hit traffic and as a result I only had three runs. The balance of the car has improved and there has been a performance increase from the engine as well. The competition is very close and I'm looking forward to the race where we should be in good shape."
Ron Dennis: "We continue to make progress, which the closeness of today's qualifying confirms."
Norbert Haug: "The team and the drivers did an excellent job in improving the car and we have made a step forward with the engine. Today's qualifying showed what a great sport Formula One is - the television viewers must have enjoyed that!"
Jarno Trulli: "It was obviously a difficult qualifying for me, I didn't manage any timed laps in the second half of the morning session so I wasn't able to complete the work I needed to find the best set-up for qualifying. Even so, given our good performance yesterday, I think we are in good shape for the race."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "We did a good job during qualifying, I squeezed everything I could out of the car. The balance was okay and I had to abort my third run when I came across a slower car. With everyone being so close, it was difficult to make the step necessary to move up the grid. The competition is very strong but we are not that far away from the front when you look at the times. I think we will be pretty strong for the race. It should be good!"
Nick Heidfeld: "I'm really pleased with the way things have gone today. All through we have been making small adjustments. Things didn't work out on my third run, but the change we made for the final one was the best of all. To get both cars into the top 10 is brilliant, and I enjoyed the battle with Kimi. Tomorrow we have another quite big change which should make the car strong for the race, so I'm optimistic."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Everything was fine for me today. The car went very well and I enjoyed a good battle with Nick. I'm very pleased to finish in the top 10 in only my third F1 qualifying session, because this is the result I have been aiming for since Melbourne. I'm very pleased."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "I am very, very happy. It was a very good performance to get both cars in the top 10, and to do this on a very different type of track to Melbourne and Malaysia is further endorsement of the C20 design. It's also encouraging to have improved our overall grid positions on such a challenging circuit. It is a compliment to the team, and to both drivers."
Olivier Panis: "It was a difficult session. We did the best job that was possible. The balance of the car was good but we need more grip. On my last run I was one tenth quicker in the end but I lost some time on the straight. Our aim now is to understand which strategy to take for the race. The team again did a good job and I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Jacques Villeneuve: "I am very unhappy with that qualifying session. We had some problems during the morning practice session which meant that we were unable to carry out any tyre work. We chose the tyre based on the work that Olivier did but we did not set it up. We started with a car that was very difficult to drive and we didn't manage to get it right for qualifying. My hopes are not particularly high for this race."
Craig Pollock: "It is pretty clear that the two drivers were squeezing the maximum out of the car. The team will have to try and find out if we are missing anything on set-up and we will clearly have to do better in the race. Our objective now is to concentrate on getting a good set-up and for both cars to finish in the points."
Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "Obviously we are far from delighted. We made things pretty hard for Jacques this morning having the car break down and losing so much running time. Olivier had a better run but we have ended up with both cars on the sixth row which is pretty poor but at least we are in the race and I hope we come home with some points tomorrow."
Eddie Irvine: "It's good to see Luciano up there, he's been giving me a hard time all weekend and it's great to see - apart from anything else it keeps me under pressure. We could have done slightly better but not by much, we made big steps forward with the steering and that helped me a lot. We only really got the car hooked up properly for the last run though. I've qualified in almost the same place for all the races so far this season and quite simply put this is where we are right now."
Luciano Burti: "I spoiled my last run by losing two-tenths from the last corner to the finishing line, we were pretty close to the limit today, but we probably could have squeezed and extra two or three-tenths out of the car. We are certainly aiming for better finishing places compared to the first two races of the season."
Jean Alesi: "In this session I did not have a specific problem with the car, however I was never able to improve my first fastest lap, which is frustrating of course... I did absolutely my best, and I will do the same tomorrow, hoping to have a good race. "
Gaston Mazzacane: "I must say that today I expected to end up in a better qualifying position. In this morning's session we had tried different setups and found a good balance for the car. But in the afternoon, the track's conditions were very different - with a much higher temperature - and the car felt completely different. Frankly, I am quite disappointed. "
Alain Prost: "Our drivers had two very different sessions. Jean did his best time on his first lap but wasn't able to improve, whereas Gaston did his best lap at the end of the session. Our positions on the grid are disappointing, however we know that on this circuit the time-gaps are very tight. Since the start of the weekend we have improved our performance level and the cars continue to be reliable, so I really believe we can be fairly competitive in tomorrow's race "
Enrique Bernoldi: "Well Iím very happy with that result. I started the season with two bad races so it would be nice to be able to turn that around at my home Grand Prix. Obviously Iím pleased to be ahead of my team-mate as Jos is a very quick driver. Iím hoping for a good race tomorrow and will keep pushing and trying to improve."
Jos Verstappen: "That did not go as well I as I thought it would go. The car didn't feel good on the first run so we changed the set-up which made it a little better. For some reason we have gone from understeer in the morning sessions to oversteer in qualifying so had to spend too much time on trying to solve this. It's still okay though, I'll just have to make a good start in the race.
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "Enrique did a very good job today under difficult circumstances, this being his home Grand Prix. We've definitely made progress and have a good set-up for the race. The gap has closed a little through the work we did in Barcelona last week and we are very much looking forward to the race."
Didier Debae, Asiatech: "All in all a satisfactory afternoon. We were very pleased with the engine's performance during qualifying. Tomorrow's race on a very demanding circuit will be the toughest challenge that Asiatech has yet faced but with two finishes out of two races we are confident that we can rise to the occasion."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I lost a little bit of time this morning with the problem I had yesterday and qualifying was difficult but I feel that I did my best. I drove some good laps and I look forward to be more competitive which should be soon."
Jenson Button: "I had a bit of overstear problem at the end of the session and I am of course disappointed with my position. However, I feel that both Giancarlo and myself got the best out of the car today."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Both drivers did a good job to get the most out of the car today. But as we know we have to develop all aspects of the package to make the car quicker and to improve our competitiveness. Obviously we now need to look to the race to insure that we have a reliable package to get two cars to the end as competitively as possible."
Pat Symonds, Director of Engineering: "Once a again a very difficult qualifying session. The whole team are still working hard to rectify the situation that we found ourselves in. The consolation that I take is to see everyone drivers, engineers, mechanics, and factory personnel still pushing to a maximum."
Fernando Alonso: "This morning we made a few chassis changes, focusing on finding some improvement on the front end of the car, and it actually began to go better lap after lap. I am quite happy with my qualifying result, although we definitely could have improved a bit more, especially on the final run. Unfortunately, there was a lot of traffic on the track during my last attempt and I was hindered by other cars. If not for that, I could have reduced my lap time by two or three tenths, and finished ahead of Fisichella."
Tarso Marques: "Today was a bit disappointing because we were not able to obtain a good qualifying result despite improving the car quite a lot. This morning, an engine problem ended my practice session early and I was not able to continue. As a result, we never knew how the balance of the car would be in qualifying trim. We made a lot of changes and just set the chassis up the best we could for the afternoon session. For sure, if we had been able to run in this morning's second session, it would have helped me achieve a better grid position. It's a shame we lost the opportunity because there is good potential in the car."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "We're very pleased Ė it was a good qualifying session from the European Minardi standpoint. The closeness of the times once again demonstrates just how tight the World Championship is this year. It's a shame, however, that what was potentially Fernando's fastest run was spoiled by traffic. If it hadn't been for that, he would undoubtedly have ended up ahead of both Benettons. Unfortunately for Tarso, he missed the entire second session this morning with an unscheduled engine change, and therefore did well to get into the 1:16s in qualifying. All things considered, though, we start from a reasonable position in tomorrow's race and have to hope for a strong finish for both drivers."