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Sat, 23 June, 2012Europe: Driver qualifying quotes

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault (1st, 1:38.086):
“I think it was a great recovery from Q1 and Q2 today, as I didn't feel entirely happy in those. It had been a good weekend leading up to qualifying, but conditions changed before Q1. However in the end we pulled it altogether. Everyone has worked very hard with preparing new parts for the car, which seem to be a step forward. Bringing new parts is not always straightforward, as we've seen. Often people try things on Friday, but then go back to their previous set up for the weekend. However this weekend we seem to have made a step forward, although we will give them a proper try tomorrow. We have been good here in previous years, so hopefully we can keep it up for tomorrow. The guys deserve that, they have worked hard all weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes (2nd, 1:38.410):
“I'm extremely happy to be starting on the front row. To see other teams make big improvements to their cars this weekend, and yet still be starting from P2, is a surprise that I'll happily take. We'd been struggling a little with set-up and front [wheel] locking from the start of practice yesterday, so I went into qualifying really just focusing on getting a decent result and starting as high up the order as possible. So, as I say, managing to bag P2 is very welcome. Nevertheless, it's going to be hard to look after the tyres in the hot conditions we're expecting for the race, so we'll be doing some work tonight to analyse and understand just what I did in the last race to make sure my tyres last as long as possible tomorrow. Overtaking will be very difficult, as always here, but degradation will be a bigger issue for everyone, I think. I'll just be looking to score as many points as I can. If I can finish where I've qualified – second – that would consolidate my world title bid. Anything more than that – a win in other words – would, of course, be a bonus.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault (3rd, 1:38.475):
“We've been working so hard to understand the car but there is still more performance to find on the soft tyre. The team did a great job today though and Williams is getting stronger and stronger. It's not only a good result for the team, but also for my country and there are so many Venezuelan fans here supporting me which is great to see. Strategy will be important tomorrow as it's very hot, but it will make it difficult for everyone. I'm looking forward to pushing for a podium finish tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault (4th, 1:38.505):
“Today we got pretty much the most out of the car that we could have. P4 is a good position for the start of the race but of course you want always more and to do better. Sebastian did an unbelievable lap and today we could not have matched it. We have improved our qualifying performance but there is still room to do better. Tyre degradation will be more important than what we saw at the last race. There will be 57 laps in hot conditions on Sunday; we will see what we can do for a good race tomorrow.”

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault (5th, 1:38.513):
“It was very close in qualifying, especially in Q2, so it's good to be fifth on the grid. The car felt good. If we could have improved just a little bit on my last lap then we could have gained a couple of places, but it is an improvement on last time out so I'm very happy with that. We found a few good things with the setup this morning to make the car easier to drive. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. The car usually goes well in the race when it's hot, so let's see what we can do.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (6th, 1:38.623):
“We had a lot of potential going into qualifying, but unfortunately I can't be happy with the outcome today. We were quick throughout but when I was just about to start my final lap, Lewis was slowing down in the last corner. I had to start my quick lap behind him which made it impossible to improve my time. We know it's tricky in the last sector here and there is an agreement in place to stop things like this happening so it's frustrating. It will be an interesting race tomorrow from a strategy perspective, and I hope there will be the opportunity to make up some places.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari (7th, 1:38.741):
“I'm happy with the car and with the result - the team did a very good job. The lap times are so close. If you make the smallest mistake anywhere you end up nowhere. My lap was okay and I think perhaps the absolute maximum I could have squeezed out was another tenth, but no more. It definitely was worth giving everything in Q3 as we managed to put three cars behind us. We have tried to adapt to the high temperatures here and did a good job on that. One of our targets was to improve in qualifying and we have achieved that today. Now we have to keep the momentum and the performance for the race and I'm pretty confident we can do that.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes (8th, 1:38.752):
“I think overall it's a great result for the team to get both cars into Q3, but maybe we were hoping for a little bit more than P8 and P10, especially considering how we have performed so far this weekend. I don't think the increase in temperatures helped us because the car felt more difficult to drive today and a bit nervous at times. For the race tomorrow we are still near the front and will take the fight to the cars around us to try and come away with some points.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes (9th, 1:38.801):
“The team worked really hard overnight to improve the issues we'd had with front [wheel] locking during Friday practice – and, this morning, I felt we'd improved the car a lot, which was really encouraging. Somehow, however, my car felt very different on fresh rubber at the end of Q3 than it had felt all day up to then. On my final run in Q3, the balance felt very different – I had too much understeer – and, every time I touched the brakes, I locked the fronts. I don't know whether the circuit had changed, but I just couldn't stop locking my fronts. So it's disappointing to be starting ninth, especially as previous races have demonstrated that it's difficult to overtake around here. The key, then, will be to make the right calls on strategy.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes (10th, 1:38.992):
“It was a strong qualifying session but I feel I could have been higher up the grid because I didn't get the perfect lap together in Q3. We were the quickest car in Q2 and if I could have repeated that lap time in Q3 I would have been a couple of rows higher up the grid. I was trying to squeeze a little bit extra from the car but I locked a wheel and lost time in the final sector. I will try and focus on the positives because we have been strong in all the sessions, the car is well dialled into the circuit, and I think we will have good race pace for tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (11th, 1:38.707):
“When you don't qualify for Q3, it's obviously very sad and there's no point hiding the fact. This result is a cold shower, because our expectations were high and the car's potential has also increased, to the extent that in Q2, we were only three tenths off the best. It's easy to say now that with two runs on Softs in Q2 we would have made the cut, but maybe now we would be here lamenting the fact that we did not have two for Q3: it's always easy to judge things after the fact. However, we were not quick enough to be in the top ten in the second part of qualifying and now the race will naturally be tougher. The podium is out of reach and clearly, with Hamilton on the front row, it's easy to expect that we will lose ground to him. However, the race will be very long and will be run in even higher temperatures than today's, which means everyone will have to be very careful when it comes to tyre management. Let's hope that, starting from the clean side of the track I can quickly make up a few places and then we will try to also make the most of the two sets of new Softs we have left: that's at least a small consolation after this far from positive afternoon.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes (12th, 1:38.770):
“What a close qualifying session. Of course, I'm not particularly happy about not making it through Q2 but that was clearly down to me - I didn't get my lap together. On my first run, I was too aggressive in turn 12 on my first timed lap, then had to abort the second lap and pit because the tyres were no longer in good enough condition to improve. After that, I was a bit too conservative on the second run and that cost us, because the times were so close today. On the other hand, my starting position opens up strategic possibilities for tomorrow. I have new sets of tyres available which is the positive aspect of my situation. We will certainly make the most of them.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (13th, 1:38.780):
“It's really frustrating ending up outside Q3 by less than a tenth. It was a very close qualifying, with so many drivers very near to one another in performance terms: in Q2, we were three tenths off the fastest time and we were eliminated...A shame because the feeling from the car was very good and I always felt comfortable and capable of fighting with the best. The position does not tell the truth: today we were worth a place in the top three rows. With hindsight, it's easy to say that if we had used two sets of Soft in Q2, we could have made the cut, but we wanted to be in the best possible shape for Q3 and Q1 had shown that we were even quick on the Medium tyre. Tomorrow, strategy will play a very important role and we have seen on several occasions - Canada being the last one – how even those who start from the back have a chance of fighting for the top places. Obviously, we are not happy today, but we know we have a good car and we still have every chance of securing a good result.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault (14th, 1:39.207):
“I'm not too happy with our qualifying result today as I wasn't able to put all my best sectors together which cost me a lot of positions. However, the car feels good for tomorrow so hopefully we can have a stronger race. It's going to be very tough with the high temperatures but we will be pushing hard to come away with some points.”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari (15th, 1:39.358):
“Of course I am disappointed with the qualifying, but I have every reason to be confident as we made some changes to the car for the race which didn't help us this afternoon. I believe they will pay off on the longer run. For me the car's balance wasn't good in qualifying, and the car felt a bit unpredictable. For the race I hope we can go at a consistent pace with a good strategy. We have to go for a rather aggressive approach and we have proven we can manage that.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault (16th, 1:40.295):
“Today's performance was the result of a great effort by the whole team. This morning we weren't sure if we could do it or not but both runs in Q1 were really good. As the temperatures went up and the track kept evolving my car just felt better and better and I really got the most out of it on that final lap on the softs. In Q2 we opted to wait until the end of the session and see if we could improve on the Q1 time and while that wasn't quite possible we achieved the target of beating both Toro Rosso cars and that obviously is a great feeling. I think tomorrow could now be really interesting for us - it looks like we have the chance to race them and that's a significant step forward for our team. We've been getting closer to them in the last couple of races, but this track, the conditions here and the upgrades we've brought give us the chance to make good on our goal of joining the midfield, so now we need to translate today's result into more good news tomorrow and keep moving forwards.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (17th, 1:40.358):
“It was a fairly tough afternoon. After being off the pace yesterday, we made some pretty big changes to the car overnight. We managed to close the gap a little bit, but not enough to be in contention to fight with our usual competitors. So we decided not to do the second run in Q2, thus saving us some new tyres for tomorrow. We have picked up some positive information from the work we did last night and we have to keep working down that route to try and find more speed. Kovalainen getting ahead of me at the end of Q2? Given my position, it's not so important and in fact it puts me on the clean side of the track, which could actually be better.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (18th, 1:40.203):
“Up until now this has been a difficult weekend in which we are suffering from a general lack of performance. I am struggling to put together a good lap, especially as I could not get a good feeling from the brakes, which meant that sometimes I was locking all four wheels. All these factors affected my qualifying and I just did not have the speed to get into Q2. For the moment, things are not going the way we want, but we will simply keep on working and not getting downhearted. Often our race pace is better than in qualifying, but I am not sure if that will be the case tomorrow.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault (19th, 1:40.395):
“I had no DRS, which costs about 1.3 second per lap and made it difficult. The car's put up a big fight today, we only managed to do four laps and three of those were in qualifying. In the first qualifying session we did one lap on the harder tyre and then went out on the soft tyre to try and get through as it was so tight. The lap time actually wasn't too bad considering we didn't have DRS, but it doesn't do anything to help the situation. We have a lot to do tomorrow. We were hoping to fix the DRS for Q2 but we didn't make the cut; we should be able to fix it for tomorrow.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault (20th, 1:40.457):
“This has been a good day for the team with the upgrades we've brought here helping us take another step forwards. For me I had a good first run on the medium tyres and then was going well on the softs but made a small mistake which cost me a couple of tenths and around this track you only need to lose a small amount of time to drop a few places back. Now it's time to focus on the race and anything could happen here. I think the key to a good race will be managing tyre degradation and so far this weekend we've been reasonably pleased with how our car's been performing here on the long runs. We obviously won't know until tomorrow how our nearest competitors will be able to look after their tyres, so we'll just make sure we put in as good a performance as we can, get the car home and see where we end up.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth (21st, 1:42.171):
“Today's qualifying was very good. After yesterday's incident it took me no time to be quick again, so I applaud my team for their effort last night to fix the car. I'm also happy to have finished ahead of our direct rivals as I wasn't expecting it. As for tomorrow's race, we don't really know what will happen. All the new brake ducts which we brought to this race got damaged in yesterday's crash and now we won't be able to use them so we will be going to the limit but, as always, and even more so racing at home, we will give everything so that our fans can be proud.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth (22nd, 1:42.527):
“We made some specific set-up changes for qualifying which definitely helped as we completed our best qualifying session of the season so far. We're ahead of the Marussias, which is very important, and clocking similar times to Pedro so I'm very happy with the result. I hope to carry the momentum over into tomorrow's race where we'll have to keep a close eye on the heat. But we're in better conditions than in Canada and should be able to put in a good performance. I'm heading into the race full of confidence after today and hope to achieve a good result.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth (23rd, 1:42.675):
“I can't be happy with my position at the end of qualifying today, but I feel that I did everything I could with the car we had today. We have not approached the weekend in the usual way, but in these situations you can only make the best of things and that is what we have done today. We obviously don't know what tomorrow holds just yet but for my side I will be working with the engineers across both sides of the garage tonight to see if we can find a way for the team to make a small step in the race. I wish Timo a speedy recovery.”

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