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Sat, 7 July, 2012Britain: Driver qualifying quotes

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (1st, 1:51.746):
“First of all I want to dedicate this pole to Maria de Villota, who is going through a particularly difficult time. We are all feeling sad these days and our thoughts are with her and her family. Pole was a surprise, because in conditions like these, you never know what can happen. This morning, in the dry, the car was very good, but in the wet it could all be different, even if the F2012 has shown that's it's not bad in the rain, if one thinks of Malaysia and the Mugello test. This afternoon, one had to be in the right place at the right time on the right tyres and, to succeed in that, you also needed a bit of luck. For once it came our way, as with the spin at the start of Q2 and when I managed to get through into Q3 by a hair's breadth after the interruption: in the end, I had a car ahead of me and the visibility was really poor and then there were yellow flags at the last corner, but in the end I managed to get through to the next stage. Today's pole is important, even if we know it came to us in unusual conditions. We still need to get one in the dry to be able to say we have closed the gap to the best. I'm hoping for a boring race tomorrow, given that for once I'm starting in front of everyone.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault (2nd, 1:51.793):
“I raced here in '95 for first time so I've been round this track a few times. It was a tight session today with very mixed conditions. The cars are difficult to handle when it's like that. In every session we went out the times were changing by up to five or six seconds per lap; there was a lot of standing water and aqua planning. I was happy I was competitive when it counted. You have to put it all on the line in Q3. Alonso put a lap together that was just that sniff better than mine, but I'm not standing here with any regrets about my lap. I'm happy with what I put on the table and front row was what we deserved.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes (3rd, 1:52.020):
“Naturally I'm pleased with today's result - after all, we're in the top three again. It didn't look so good before the break in Q2 because my visor was completely misted up and that meant I had some excitement during that lap! But then everything went well in Q3. We were competitive on both the intermediate and wet tyres, so I would welcome more rain tomorrow. Third position is a good starting point for the race - I'm looking forward to it.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault (4th, 1:52.199):
“It was a tough day. It's raining again now and it will probably be the same weather again tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. It's going to be a long race. We are at the front which is good. It was difficult today and in the end we only got one lap when the conditions were at their best. I think I should have been a bit quicker, but that's life. It was the right call to red flag the session, it's a shame for everyone watching, but we cannot control the weather.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (5th, 1:53.065):
“It's a nice result for the team, mainly because, when the red flag came out, both myself and Fernando were out of Q3. We did a good job at the restart in the last few laps of Q2 and then, in Q3 we were always in the fight for pole position, but I was losing time right at the very last corner, as I was locking the rear wheels. All the same, I am pleased with fifth place. I think I will be competitive tomorrow, especially as the car is going well on this type of track. From Canada onwards, the F2012 has improved a lot and the results are clear to see. I think that the stoppage in Q2 was the right decision, even if it could have maybe come a bit sooner: it was incredible how much aquaplaning there was on the main straight at that time. Then Race Control did a great job in making sure the track was in a practicable condition, which meant the spectators were able to see a spectacle that must have lived up to their enthusiasm. For we drivers, the break was boring, but for everyone in the grandstands, it was even worse, given how hard the rain was falling!”

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault (6th, 1:53.290):
“We made a slightly wrong decision by using the full wet and I only had one lap in the restarted final qualifying session with the intermediates, otherwise I think it was possible to have gone faster. We also had a problem with the KERS which we tried to fix during the red flag break. We're in sixth place, which is certainly not a disaster; but it could have been better. The weather makes it a bit tricky for everybody. It's not easy, especially with the spray and this is even more difficult in race conditions when everyone is fighting for the same piece of track. On the plus side for the fans, it's good fun to watch, even if it's not the nicest weather if you're in a grandstand.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault (7th, 1:53.539):
“The conditions were very difficult because the track was changing all the time and we had to work hard to improve the performance. I was a bit unlucky at the end as I crossed the line just as the chequered flag came out so did one less lap than the others, but we are looking forward to tomorrow. We are competitive and consistent so will be looking to challenge for a strong finish tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes (8th, 1:53.543):
“I don't really know what happened in Q3. The Full Wets had been working really well, but, as the track gradually became less wet, I sought better grip and switched to the Intermediates – but we struggled to get enough temperature into them and just couldn't switch them on. So I had very little grip on the Inters, having felt more confident on the Full Wets; obviously, we'll have to try to analyse the problem overnight and hopefully fix it for tomorrow. I want to give a shout-out to the fans. They've been fantastic: very patient and so supportive. The cheers from the grandstands were spectacular. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a car on the front row for them, but we can still push tomorrow. Although eighth position isn't the best place from which to be starting, it's going to be a tough race and we're not that far away.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes (9th, 1:54.382):
“It was a very long session with the delay, but I think I made the most of the conditions in Q1 and Q2. It was definitely the right call to stop the session when the rain got really heavy because there was too much standing water on the circuit and the car was beginning to aquaplane. But I don't understand where the pace went in Q3 when I was on the intermediates because the car felt more tricky to drive and the laptime didn't come so easy. I was actually hoping for a better position in Q3 than P9, especially with the five-place penalty I have for tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault (10th, No Time):
“It's frustrating and I'm very sorry for the team as it looks like we had a strong car, but sometimes mistakes happen. My lap was not much different from the previous lap but it was different enough for me to go off and the car went backwards into the gravel and then it was stranded. It was very slippery. We deserved better, but we will do our best tomorrow to gain positions to get some good points. It will be a long race and starting position doesn't mean as much if there are variable conditions. There's also a benefit from not making it into Q3 as I have a fresh set of intermediate tyres. Let's see what happens tomorrow.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes (11th, 1:57.009):
“We actually took a bit of gamble on the qualifying session being dry and that's the direction we took with the set-up, but it made driving very difficult in today's wet conditions. I think some other cars went more aggressive with a full wet set-up so hopefully my gamble will come back to me tomorrow in the race. Of course I would like to be starting further towards the front, but we are going into the race with a lot of unknowns in terms of set-up data and tyre performance. Anything is possible in the race and we won't give up.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari (12th, 1:57.071):
“We started on intermediate tyres after the break and this proved to be the wrong decision. I pitted and changed to rain tyres, but then I only had time for one flying lap and in the difficult conditions this wasn't enough to improve as much as I needed to make it into Q3. Before that we had a very good chance of fighting for a top position. Our pace was really good in the wet. It is a missed opportunity. For tomorrow's race I don't really care whether it's wet or dry. I'll be starting a long way down the grid and will fight as hard as I can.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (13th, 1:57.108):
“I wasn't quick enough in general today, and we need to understand why that happened as it's a bit surprising really as yesterday I was quicker in the same conditions. But I'm still confident for tomorrow and looking forward to the race as this year, it's possible to score good points even when you are starting from a long way back. Thanks to the fans who were here today. Even when there was heavy rain and we were not driving for a long time, they created a great atmosphere.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (14th, 1:57.132):
“It was a tricky session and a long one, with similar conditions to last year, when I made my F1 debut at this race. Unfortunately, after the restart I didn't manage to get through to the top ten, where we had been before the red flag. I am sure I was affected by the yellow flag for Grosjean's spin on the last lap, because without it I would have have been into Q3. Our pace is better than our position would have you believe, therefore, as I said on Friday, if we have a wet race, which seems likely, I think we can do well tomorrow, when I will be racing hard. The car seems to work well in the wet, but starting in the mid field there will be a lot of spray to contend with, so there are pros and cons to racing in the rain.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault (15th, 1:57.426):
“I was able to drive at a really good pace but in the end was just unlucky to catch a yellow flag on my final qualifying lap when I was easily on course to make it well into the top ten and go through to Q3. It's frustrating but we'll see what happens with the weather and hopefully we can be competitive and challenge for the top 10 in the race.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (16th, 1:57.719):
“It could have been a really good qualifying and it had been going well up until the red flag. I was fourth at the time, but I knew it would restart with better track conditions and I would have to do it all over again. The red flag was definitely the right decision as there was too much water for the tyres to clear. However, at the restart, we considered running Intermediates before making a quick decision to switch to the Extreme and I think maybe I could have been higher up the order except that I therefore missed the opportunity to do a second flying lap as the chequered flag came out. I am disappointed, as I feel I could have got into Q3 today. I hope we have a wet race tomorrow, because although I will be starting from the back, everything is possible in these conditions and I hope I can make the most of the fact our car is working well in the wet, to have a good race.”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari (17th, 1:57.895):
“We made the wrong decision when we went for intermediates instead of rain tyres after the break, but I also had traffic. I was driving behind Daniel Ricciardo and could hardly see anything. It is such a shame because we clearly had the pace to fight for a top position here. However, we made a mistake and now have to try hard to recover from that in the race.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes (18th, 1:48.044):
“I can usually drive a racing car in the wet, but obviously not today. The car felt completely different on its second set of Inters – on the first set, I'd had a lot of front-shuddering and couldn't get the tyres working, but on the second set that problem was much better. So, on my final run, I was around 1.8sec up on my previous best. Sadly, however, I wasn't able to make that count in terms of my overall lap-time, because it was particularly wet in the final sector and there was also a yellow flag along the startline. That's the way it is sometimes. It's the story of my year, really, I guess. If Sunday is wet, as we expect it to be, then the fact that we haven't put too many miles on the tyres may make me a bit better equipped for tomorrow. You've just got to take the positives from the situation, wherever you can.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault (19th, 1:49.027):
“I'm almost happy with today's performance! It's a little disappointing that we couldn't show the full potential of the car but it is good that we know the updates are working. That's obviously important for me, but also for all the guys here on track and back at the factory because we know that we are progressing. It looks like it's going to rain here again tomorrow and again that means we won't be able to really show what we've achieved with the new package and with the summer break coming up in a couple of races time I hope we have a couple of dry races in Germany and Hungary where we can really show how far we've come. With the rain I think tomorrow's going to be a really exciting race for the fans. For us it'll be about making sure we don't make mistakes, using the strategy well and keeping the car on the road. If we can do that anything can happen.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault (20th, 1:49.477):
“Qualifying today was all about trying to get the lap in at the right time. There was a point when the track was drying out and we were thinking about going to dry tyres but then the rain started falling more heavily and I couldn't quite put my best lap together. I was in a group of cars at the beginning of the session and that cost me a bit of time but other than that there weren't really any problems, I just don't think there was any more on offer today with the conditions.”

Timo Glock, Marussia-Cosworth (21st, 1:51.618):
“A very frustrating end to a qualifying session that held so much promise for us, and which could have really lifted the team after such a difficult week. The last lap of my second run was very strong and I thought 'Wow, we have a chance at Q2 here'. Then I came up to the Hangar Straight and I just saw this massive rain front ahead of me. The last sector was massively wet, whereas before it was very dry, and I thought 'I can't believe it. We're going to lose everything.' In the last two corners there was no grip and I just couldn't continue the pace to keep on pulling out the gap, so in the end we ended up where we normally are position-wise. I'm disappointed for the team, but to look at the positive, we could have had a surprise result today as the car seems to be working well. We have to accept it and carry the promise through to tomorrow and see what the weather will do for us.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth (22nd, 1:52.742):
“This was probably the toughest qualifying session, because you didn't know what you were going to find. Towards the end of the session they asked me through the radio if I wanted to change to dry tyres and I looked up to the sky and didn't know what to go for because some parts of the track were dry, others wet...so we continued on intermediates and the strategy was to push on every lap as if it was the last one. As for tomorrow's race, there aren't many options because this is a high downforce track, both in wet and dry conditions. We used a set-up with a medium suspension, not too hard, because I doubt it will be a fully wet or fully dry race, so we have to be flexible.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth (23rd, 1:53.040):
“Qualifying was a big lottery because at some stages it was raining heavily in one part of the track and not on another. The car was really good in the dry this morning but English weather is very unpredictable and it turned things right around. We beat one Marussia, which is good, but we always want to do better. These conditions are a gamble and for us it's better to race in wet conditions because anything can happen. You just need to stay calm and take the opportunities that present themselves.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth (24th, 1:54.143):
“A very disappointing day for me. This morning we were working hard to ensure a positive result, but we experienced a fuel pick-up problem first and I was stuck on track. We managed to get the car back quite quickly which meant we could try to get back out – and we did, with 15 minutes to spare – but then soon after the car stopped again for a different reason, so there wasn't much luck in that session. After some changes to the car in the break, with the engine and gearbox, we were building slowly towards the final run and my first two sectors were strong. Then the rain hit in the last sector and I had to slow for the Yellows which came out for Timo's spin, so I didn't get the chance to continue the improvement into sector 3. It's disappointing but we have to hope for a more positive end to the week. I would like to thank the team for their great work in the lunch break today to ensure we weren't delayed for the start of qualifying.”

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