Atlas F1 News Service

Saturday's Selected Quotes - Monaco GP

Saturday May 26th, 2001


David Coulthard: "I'm delighted and satisfied with our performance today and despite all pole positions being important, at Monaco its essential because its so difficult to overtake. I was able to avoid traffic and the front end was working well which allowed me to really hit the apex of the corners. At the end, I had to wait to hear whether Mika or Michael Schumacher was going quicker and when I heard on the radio that I had pole it was great. However now we need to focus on the race because that is where the points can be won."

Mika Hakkinen: "I'm a bit disappointed because I didnít get pole position and I think we could have had an all West McLaren Mercedes front row today. We made a few changes to the car for my last run, which obviously didn't achieve what we wanted and I had a lot of understeer at the Rascasse and was unable to improve my time."

Ron Dennis: "As always at Monaco achieving good grid positions was utmost in our minds and therefore the outcome of practice is almost perfect. A good fight for pole which I hope the spectators and television viewers enjoyed."

Norbert Haug: "A great performance by David. Mika, Michael Schumacher and David had a close fight for pole position towards the end. David's last run under extreme pressure was superb. We have worked on the driveability of the engine, which is especially important here in Monaco."


Michael Schumacher: "I had to abort my first run as both Arrows were driving around without using their mirrors. In qualifying here, it is important to be running at the end, as the track is quicker then. My penultimate run was not perfect and then I had the incident at Le Portier on the final lap. I just turned into the corner too early and touched the barrier on the inside. I am happy to be on the front row, although I would rather be on pole. However, David did a better job today. I never got a perfect lap today. I am looking forward to the race, because I think it will be very open."

Rubens Barrichello: "This morning I had a few problems setting up my car. After practice, I worked with the engineers to improve the situation and I had a much more competitive car in qualifying. I am satisfied therefore, even though I am not starting from the front row, which is more of an advantage here than on other tracks. I flat spotted my front right tyre on my last run at the first corner, which cost me some time."

Jean Todt: "It was a very spectacular session, even if the battle for the front two rows was between the usual quartet of drivers. The track was improving with every passing lap, so that the times came down in the final moments. Unfortunately, Michael was unable to exploit this on his final run, after brushing the barrier at Le Portier. For his part, Rubens had a good session, improving on every run. Tomorrow's race should be very close. It will be hard for the drivers, given that the slightest error can mean retirement and also for the cars, given the high temperatures and the stress exerted on them on this track."

Ross Brawn: "It was a shame for Michael, who touched the barrier on his last lap, as he was going very quickly. We used a new front wing today, which produced good results. The cars went well and it was all down to getting a clear lap without traffic. Rubens did a great job, improving throughout the session and I am very happy with the way he went. Michael had two laps available to him on his last lap, which is why we used worn tyres on the front as they were more consistent over two laps. We used various combinations of new and used tyres and it was hard to work out exactly which was best."


Ralf Schumacher: "This is a pleasant qualifying result for me given that we always have had quite a difficult time on such twisty circuits. I think a place on the second row could have been possible but on my last lap I was held up by Jenson Button, who was being held up himself. The good thing is fifth means I am going to start on the clean side of the track."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "It wasn't such a bad qualifying after all, as I thought it was going to be a lot worse. We have changed the car a lot for qualifying and it really improved. I think if we had started qualifying with the car's set-up the way it was when we finished we would have been much better off. During the weekend we have been a bit behind, so it was difficult to catch up. It is the same place I started my Formula 3000 race so it could be interesting!"

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "We are fifth and seventh, which is not an ideal place to start the Monaco Grand Prix. Unfortunately Ralf was held up on his last lap, but whether Ralf would have improved or not is a different matter. Anyway it is a long race tomorrow and we will be aiming to make the best of it."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "We were hoping for the second row, but just missed it. We were unable to make the best use of the last minutes of the session when the track was at its quickest. The starting positions are not that bad and if we come through trouble free we could be on the podium. However, from these places it is also easy to get into trouble in the first corner!"


Eddie Irvine: "You can't do better than that, I got held up on the third run, but I actually went a little bit quicker on it, because I got held up! I braked a little bit early for the chicane and got a better run through it. Montoya braked on the line, so I had to go down the inside, but it worked out well because it actually made me go quicker. The next run was not a perfect lap, but round here it was as good a session as you can get. Here it's not the difference between 13th and sixth. I like the circuit, the car's well balanced, and we've got more downforce. But I don't think it's going to be sixth in Canada, where efficiency is more important. Here efficiency is less important, and our efficiency is not good. This has been a big step, but nowhere near enough. It's the difference between 13th and probably ninth and 10th. Last year we should have been fifth on the grid to be honest, but I had the worst qualifying session possible."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I'm pretty pleased about my performance in qualifying. We've been catching up since the start of today, because obviously I didn't do many laps on Thursday and I paid for it. That's how it is. In the end, it was not too bad. It gives the confidence back. You need laps. I've come out of four consecutive crashes here; qualifying, the warm-up and the race last year, and then on Thursday, I got out on the first run, and crash again. Mentally on a circuit like this itís not good. You need laps to recover. It has taken me longer than expected to get back up to speed."


Jarno Trulli: "It was a very tough qualifying ≠just as I expected, I'm a bit disappointed, but I had a feeling from the morning that we weren't really, really competitive. Unfortunately, the car didn't feel that good with the tyres we ran; we knew that we were going to struggle because the car felt very nervous. Anyway, I'm on the fourth row and I hope to build a good race from there. As you know, anything can happen during 78 laps in Monte Carlo!"

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "I was pushing really, really hard on my last lap, unfortunately, I lost control going into Portier and I'm really annoyed about that. The car felt good to drive. Of course, I could have done with the extra set-up time lost this morning, but that's not an excuse; it's just that it didn't help too much. I obviously feel I could be further up the grid, so it's going to be a tough race. Finishing is a major challenge, never mind anything else, and I'm looking forward to it. You never give up until the end of the last lap here."

Trevor Foster, Managing Director: "The track got quicker as time went on and more rubber went down, unfortunately, Jarno got baulked by a slow car on his last run. I think it was one of the Ferraris but, whoever it was, it cost Jarno two or three tenths of a second. Heinz spun when braking for Portier, the corner before the tunnel. That lap had been quick, ≠his quickest, in fact ≠ until that point but it meant he couldn't complete his last lap. That's the problem with Monaco; if you don't get all your runs in, you have less chance of getting the time you need and Heinz is paying the price. Overall, the cars haven't been too bad. The drivers have been complaining that the cars are a bit too nervous; it is difficult to get a good balance round here. That said, we should have done a bit better and we missed our opportunities."


Jacques Villeneuve: "I am happy with my qualifying position because Monaco has always been difficult. There was still some time left in the car. It was very good to drive today, very precise. We could have managed seventh which would have been a lot better for the race but ninth is acceptable and we could still get a good result here. I am looking forward to the race, especially the start."

Olivier Panis: "The team did a good job yet again. I am happy with the car despite not being able to practice during the second session on Thursday. My last lap was the quickest one but I pushed a little too hard and made a mistake at the chicane just after the swimming pool and that no doubt cost me a few places on the grid. Jacques did a good job and we are very close again. Now we need to concentrate on doing a good job tomorrow and work towards getting some points."

Craig Pollock: "It was always going to be a very tight qualifying session but we are very happy with today's result. Both drivers did a very good job as did the team and Honda. Clearly we still have some work to do tonight to find a little bit extra that we need for the race tomorrow."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "I've had worse days and Monaco last year was one of them. Relative to that performance the team has made fantastic progress. We have had a very trouble-free day today, we didn't get caught up in traffic and we had no problems with the cars. We are relatively happy with the qualifying positions and we will be looking to put ourselves in a points scoring position tomorrow."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "Finally we're happy! It's just great. Before coming here we did expect to be quicker than before but we certainly didn't expect to be 10th in qualifying. I had a feeling it would be good on Thursday, as I had a good balance with the car and everything felt right pretty. I did a fairly good job with the engineers on the balance and we had good grip mechanically. "Because of this I didn't need to change anything on the car during the qualifying. I did do a couple of things this morning after the last session, like adding a little more front wing and the car definitely felt better for that. But otherwise it was good. The balance was perfect. It is really encouraging for tomorrow as 10th is a good position to be in. I just have to make a good start and work from there. If we are lucky maybe we'll take advantage and score some points."

Jenson Button: "We didn't get to where we wanted to go on set-up today. We were struggling a bit with the brakes this morning and that wasn't really solved during qualifying. Seventeenth is an improvement on recent races but obviously seeing Giancarlo up in 10th I know that we can work on what we have to be more competitive."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "This is a very good result for the whole team to qualify one car in the top ten. Giancarlo had three very good runs on his first 3 sets of tyres and was looking to find a couple of tenths on his last run, which could have moved him up another couple of places, but unfortunately he went off at the first turn. Overall, though, he did a fantastic job. Jenson struggled more today. He was in trouble with balance and with braking and could only qualify to make it to 17th, but overall we're very please and the car is undoubtedly more competitive here. Tomorrow, from 10th on the grid, we really do have to look at scoring points. We have not done any modifications to the car for this Grand Prix so we are very glad with today's result. With the large improvements coming soon our program is certainly moving in the right direction."


Jean Alesi: "After this morning practice, I was not completely satisfied with my car's balance and we continued to work on my set-up during qualifying. I improved at each run but unfortunately in the last one, I touched the barriers in the tunnel which cost me some places on the grid. I am obviously disappointed but starting in 11th place, everything remains possible in Monaco."

Luciano Burti: "It is clear that we had a difficult day. This morning, I crashed heavily in Sainte-Devote due to a problem with the brakes. It destroyed my car and I lost the whole second session. Therefore in qualifying I had to run with the T-car. Anyway, I was trying to build up a set-up during qualifying and I improved a lot at each lap. Unfortunately I had traffic on the last one and I could not reach for a better position. Since we broke all the new bits on my car this morning, I will start with the old spec aero package tomorrow. At least the race will allow me to learn more about Monaco and I will do my best to run a strong race."

Alain Prost: "Our position on the grid as well as the time-gaps with the frontrunners confirm we have consistently improved. Today our objective was to be among the top ten and we had achieved it until this morning with Jean. His practice sessions were flawless and it's a shame that he could not make the best of his last qualifying lap. Thanks to our excellent reliability, we are confident that he will run a very good race tomorrow. Luciano's lack of experience and lack of chance have resulted in a not satisfying poistion on the grid. However his determination and drive even after his accident this morning have been remarkable and this could pay off tomorrow, knowing that the Monaco race is always unpredictable."


Kimi Raikkonen: "We made the car better but it was still not quick enough, particularly in the hairpins. I had a lot of traffic this afternoon, and a yellow flag on my last run, but even without all that and with all my best sector times added together, I don't think I would have gone a lot quicker. A difficult day for me."

Nick Heidfeld: "I did one run early in qualifying with my race car and it felt better than it did on Thursday and this morning, but then I encountered a throttle problem on my second run. It was something electronic, so we tried to fix it. I did another run but the problem was still there, so that meant I had lost two more sets of tyres already without doing any timed laps. I changed to the T-car, did one lap, hit some traffic, and then had one final lap with the tyres past their best. On that one I got a yellow flag, so that was it. Horrible!"

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Clearly this wasn't a good qualifying for us. It's too early to say why. Both drivers had a lot of problems, with traffic and with the car, which disguised our true potential, but even so the car was not good enough. It's difficult to understand because we know it is a good car and a good car usually works well at every track. We have a lot of work to do."

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "Today we were a bit concerned after Thursday's less-than-satisfactory performance. This morning, though, we realised immediately that the car was not feeling that bad. Since the first session I was able to put in some lap times that were close to those of the mid-field runners. I was therefore looking forward to my qualifying session, which ended in a favourable 18th place for the fourth consecutive time this season, and I feel very happy with it. We didn't even make too many changes to the set-up of the car Ė we just tried to push hard to get the best out of the last run, and the strategy worked well."

Tarso Marques: "I really tried to drive the car hard today because the engine seemed very slow compared with Fernando's. In addition, I suffered from huge understeer during the whole session, and we are still trying to find the reason for this. We made a few changes to the car during the session, but the understeer was still there. I really just couldn't have gone any faster as the car was set up Ė that was it!"

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "This was an altogether much better day for the team. On a hot, sunny Monaco afternoon, European Minardi F1 yet again put in a strong performance, Fernando out-qualifying both Arrows and one of the Prosts to put himself in good shape for tomorrow's race. Tarso, while remaining 22nd, drove a solid qualifying session and improved his time significantly over his best lap on Thursday."


Jos Verstappen: "That was a very difficult qualifying session. Nineteenth place on the grid is certainly not where we had hoped to be but that's where we are. I probably could have gone faster on my last run but there was a problem with one of my rear dampers. It's going to be a very tough day tomorrow."

Enrique Bernoldi: "What can I say? The problem I had this morning and my 'off' at Rascasse certainly didn't help me in qualifying. I caught traffic on my third run but it is always like that here. All we can do now is try our hardest tomorrow and hope that we have had our share of problems for the weekend."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "It definitely wasn't our day today. There is a huge gap between us and the midfield and it's just not good enough. We had poor reliability this morning which has resulted in us having a very trying day. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow."

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