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Sat, 9 June, 2012Canada: Team personnel qualifying quotes

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Christian Horner, Red Bull-Renault (Team Principal):
“A strong team performance today. Sebastian looked really competitive throughout qualifying, going quickest on his first run in Q3 and improving slightly on his second run to take pole position for tomorrow. Mark also had a strong qualifying and will line up on the second row of the grid, we had a small issue with a tyre blanket on his last run, but nonetheless he did an excellent job and to be starting on pole and the second row is a great for tomorrow's grand prix.”

Cyril Dumont, Red Bull-Renault (Renault Engineer):
“What a lap from Sebastian today, it was very solid. Mark was a bit behind, but I think he will be up there tomorrow also. It's good how the team has reacted to the start of the season and got the pole today. Engine-wise, we know there are many straights on this circuit so it works the engine a lot. There is also the hairpin which is difficult as it has a low RPM; it's not that easy but we managed it quite well and we got this result.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“Lewis drove a great lap in Q3 today, and will start tomorrow's race from the front row as a result. And when Lewis is on the front row, you always fancy his chances, don't you? Jenson, having lost a lot of track time through no fault of his own yesterday, was always going to be playing catch-up today. In the circumstances, therefore, he did very well to get through to Q3 this afternoon, especially as it was so close at the top of the time-sheets. But, in getting there, he'd used up all his new Option tyres, which meant there was little point in his re-using one of his already-used sets of Options in Q3, since doing so would have been unlikely to have afforded him the opportunity to improve his grid position significantly over the P10 that was already in the bag by virtue of having made it through to Q3. So, instead, he did just one run in Q3 on new Primes, and will therefore start tomorrow's race on those Primes. I suppose you could say it's a slightly adventurous strategy but then, given Jenson's troubled running so far, an adventurous strategy was always going to be what was required for him here today. And, as we all know, having watched with fearful thrill his wondrous run from stone-last to triumphant first here last year, there's probably no-one in the world better able to exploit an adventurous strategy at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve than Jenson Button.”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari (Team Principal):
“We can be pleased with this qualifying session, the best out of the seven so far this season, with both our drivers in the top three rows on the grid. We are back to being in the hunt for pole and that is the most important fact. It means that all our efforts to improve the performance of the car are bearing fruit. All the more encouraging when one considers that this track actually highlights the very qualities that to date had been our weakest points, in other words traction and top speed. We have made a step forward, but it's still not enough to be where we want. Now we will concentrate on what looks like being a very unpredictable race. This year, we have already seen that Sunday always throws up some surprises and I don't think tomorrow will be an exception. We must try and continue to work with the same determination and the same organisation that, especially with Fernando, has allowed us to get the very most out of our potential in the very early part of the season.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari (Technical Director):
“It's a good result for the team, on a track that, on paper, did not look like suiting the characteristics of our car. All the same, we proved to be competitive, even if it's what happens tomorrow in the race that counts. We are working very hard on developing the F2012 and we can now see tangible signs of progress. That is down to all our people, from those in the wind tunnel to those who manufacture the parts to ever tighter deadlines, without forgetting all the other departments and I wish to thank them all for their efforts. We must continue down this route, because while we have managed to close a good part of the gap which separates us from the best, it's also true that we're not yet on top. We have various updates here and the majority of them have lived up to our expectations and this too is a positive sign. Tomorrow's race will be very unpredictable, as indeed has been the case so far in this championship. In Montreal, the Safety Car usually plays its part and we must be ready to tackle every eventuality. There is the unknown factor relating to tyres: today we have seen how the situation changes depending on the temperature, which was decidedly higher than yesterday. It will have a major influence on strategy also because, unlike Monaco, you certainly can't expect to keep faster cars behind you in the closing stages of the race.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes (Team Principal):
“As we are getting used to this year, it was an extremely close session and warming up the tyres in the right way was a critical factor. In the final part of qualifying, both drivers had two sets of options available and completed a single timed lap on their first run. They felt that the tyres were not quite up to temperature, so Nico opted to do a second one-lap run with a more aggressive out-lap, while Michael chose to do two timed laps, with a slower lap followed by a quicker one. This worked well for Nico, who set his fastest time of the session, but we mismanaged Michael's run and lost too much time while looking for a gap in the traffic. He therefore crossed the line 0.04s after the chequered flag came out, and was unable to complete his final lap - although he had set his best first sector time before he backed off. This was certainly not a session where we achieved our full potential, but Nico did a strong job to recover from the running time he lost this morning, and we know that, even from fifth and ninth positions, we will still have plenty of opportunities to make progress through the field tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug, Mercedes (Daimler):
“A good effort from Nico after he had to miss third practice this morning. He and his engineers could not fine-tune the car in the morning session, so fifth place in this competitive field constitutes a good recovery. Michael was in traffic during the out lap of his final qualifying run so he had to build a gap. The chequered flag came out at the very moment Michael crossed the start and finish line, starting what was supposed to be his fastest qualifying lap. The consequence is that he has to start from ninth position. Our long run pace yesterday and this morning looked quite good, so we are hoping for a good race for both of our drivers tomorrow.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“We came to Canada believing that we had a car that was capable of qualifying in the top ten and we've demonstrated that today. Had it not been for some bad luck on Nico's part during Q2, I'm convinced we would have had two cars in the top ten. Of course, qualifying is only half the battle and past experience has shown that the Circuit-Gilles Villeneuve is always a challenging track with a reputation for throwing up surprises. We will be ready to capitalise on any chances that come our way and determined to deliver another double points finish.”

Peter Sauber, Sauber-Ferrari (Team Principal):
“On the one hand I'm disappointed because we couldn't make it into the top ten qualifying, but on the other it's incredible to see how close the competition is. In Q2 Kamui was in P11 and just half a second away from Sebastian Vettel who was quickest. Both our drivers have proved in the past they can overtake, so we are looking forward to an exciting race.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber-Ferrari (Head of Track Engineering):
“What we saw today was that the characteristics of this track with its special aerodynamic requirements reshuffled the order a bit, but what we keep seeing repeated is that the pack is ultimately very close. For us we are unfortunately on the wrong side of the tenths, however, P11 for Kamui is still quite a good grid position. Sergio flat spotted the tyres and therefore couldn't get the maximum out of his car. But he proved in Monaco, where he started from the last row, that he can fight his way up the field. Because of this we still have good reasons to be positive for the race.”

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Chief Engineer):
“Yet another very tight qualifying in which Daniel performed well. With such a close field, it's very easy to make mistakes and even if we benefited from a couple of other drivers getting it wrong, this is part of the game, so Daniel did well to keep out of trouble and get the most out of the car. Hopefully, it also means we are on the right path in terms of the development of our car. As for Jean-Eric, he paid the price for not running in the morning session, after his early off-track moment. Making his job even harder this afternoon was the fact we had made several changes to his car overnight and it is never easy to adapt to something new when your first time in the car is in Q1. The first part of qualifying was particularly busy as everyone found the tyres good enough to do a lot of laps and so it was not easy to find a clear lap. As ever, we can expect a very eventful race in Canada and, as we have seen that our race performance is frequently better than it is in qualifying, with such a tight field, this extra relative pace might allow us to fight for the mid-field honours tomorrow.”

Mark Gillan, Williams-Renault (Chief Operations Engineer):
“Following a reasonably competitive morning session we struggled to find the pace in qualifying which we now need to analyse and understand with Bruno finishing in 16th and Pastor qualifying in 17th, following a spin on his last flying lap. We have a lot to do tomorrow to get into the points but our high fuel, long run pace is good.”

Mark Smith, Caterham-Renault (Technical Director):
“Both drivers performed well today and we can be satisfied with where we finished in Q1. Heikki may have been able to get his car into the late 1.15s but it is unlikely he would have been able to push Ricciardo into the drop zone, but we are edging ever closer to Toro Rosso and the fact both cars finished ahead of Vergne is encouraging. Tomorrow will be hotter than today and we saw in Bahrain and Monaco that our car is good in the hotter conditions, and we know we have the race pace to push into the midfield battles, so the aim now is to get both cars through what will certainly be an exciting race, both on track and in the pits, and see where we end up.”

Toni Cuquerella, HRT-Cosworth (Technical Director):
“Today we confirmed the progression which we proved yesterday and that we already demonstrated in Monte Carlo, and I want to thank the whole team for their work. Pedro completed a very good lap and Narain could've been there easily. Both we're comfortably under the 104% and have a good pace with both tyres and we have a good set-up for the race so, although the race will be tough on the brakes, we're optimistic about our chances. Depending on the temperature we will go for a one-stop or two-stop strategy.”

John Booth, Marussia-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“There is no doubt that it was a disappointing qualifying session for us today. However, whilst the timesheet reflects the fact that our pace to our nearest competitors seems weaker at this event, we know from the last few weeks that our race pace has been significantly better than our qualifying pace. We are beginning to get a better understanding of why this is, but it will take some time and our planned upgrades to the car to improve the overall package. For now though, we will at least have the opportunity to improve our form in the race tomorrow and that is our focus overnight whilst honing our race strategy.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli (Motorsport Director):
“The difference between the two compounds was less than many people anticipated in this afternoon's warmer conditions, with approximately half a second between the soft and the supersoft tyres. With a short lap and evenly-matched cars, it was almost impossible to predict who might end up with pole position, as the gaps from first to last were incredibly small: just one second spanning the 17 cars in qualifying two. The level of tyre degradation is so far quite contained with the supersoft lasting for 30 laps or more, so we could see a one-stop strategy from some teams while the majority might try a two-stop strategy. The tactics will consist of the timing of the stops, and seeing which teams can get the most performance and durability out of the tyre that suits them best. Canada is always one of the most unpredictable races of the year and the last four races this year have been won by the driver who started from pole but historically this has been less important in Canada.”

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