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Sat, 28 July, 2012Hungary: Driver qualifying quotes

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes (1st, 1:20.953):
“I'm really happy! It's been a really good weekend so far. After Jenson was able to demonstrate the pace of our car in the last Grand Prix, at Hockenheim, now for us to be able to come to Budapest this weekend and be really 'on it' is just great. It was tough out there this afternoon, though, but I really enjoyed every lap and the crowd support was absolutely phenomenal. So I want to say a big 'thank you' to all the fans. Our upgrades are working. Jenson and I always want more speed still – that's natural for any racing driver – but the guys back at Woking, and here in Budapest, have done a brilliant job. Our car now feels fantastic. We've been fine-tuning its setup all weekend. Believe me: as long as we remain fully focused on developing our car, and getting good results, then anything is still possible for us this year. My feeling is that the start of tomorrow's race will be extremely important. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to make a clean getaway off the line and then stay ahead while looking after the tyres. I'm told that today's pole position is the 150th in McLaren's history. That's a truly fantastic achievement. I'm extremely proud to be able to contribute to the ongoing success of such a great team, especially as I first met Ron [Dennis, Executive Chairman, McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive] when I was just 10 years old. I remember the occasion really well. I told Ron that one day I wanted to be driving for his team. And here we are today. I can't wait for tomorrow's race!”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault (2nd, 1:21.366):
“Qualifying was very tight and it was difficult to see where we would end up so on the front row is fantastic. We came here after a difficult weekend at Hockenheim and to be honest I didn't get off to the best start yesterday. We worked hard to improve things overnight and the car felt much better in practice this morning. I'm very happy and just a little bit surprised to be P2 on the grid. Today's job is done, let's see what we can do tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault (3rd, 1:21.416):
“It was difficult session for us. We didn't get into qualifying how we would like and the rhythm wasn't there straight away. We burned more tyres than we thought in the beginning, so we only had one new set for Q3. The run we had was okay, but I didn't get the same feeling that I got at the end of Q2, which was a surprise, so we didn't seem to go with the track and make another step. Romain was in reach, but Lewis was another step. We know it's difficult to overtake here, but hopefully we will have a good start. Tyre management will be crucial.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes (4th, 1:21.583):
“I was much happier with the car in qualifying today than I'd been in Free Practice this morning and yesterday. I wasn't quite as happy as Lewis obviously – he did a great job today so well done to him for that – but I feel pretty good, all in all. It's a pity that I just missed out on P3 at the end of Q3, because the odd-number side of the circuit is quite a bit cleaner than the even-number side. If I'd stayed in P3, it would have made it a bit easier to get a good start tomorrow. But P4 isn't too bad. As I said after Free Practice yesterday, being quick here is all about getting the perfect balance. I think today proved that. I didn't quite manage to get that perfect balance here this afternoon, but Lewis clearly did. In fact I think Lewis's performance shows how real our car's pace is now.”

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault (5th, 1:21.730):
“Not a bad qualifying performance for sure, but it's a bit disappointing I didn't go faster when it mattered. The car feels good, but I didn't get the crucial lap together at the right time. Let's see what happens tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (6th, 1:21.844):
“We were expecting a very difficult qualifying and so it was. We saw at least eight cars – two McLarens, two Force Indias, two Red Bulls and Lotus, running very competitively and therefore, just getting to Q3 was in itself a difficult target to reach. We did it and we also managed to slightly improve the handling of the car in the final part, working on the tyre pressures and the front wing. We definitely didn't get a perfect lap: we lost a handful of tenths in a few corners. The wind was stronger than this morning and I think that took everyone a bit by surprise. All things considered, sixth place is not to be sneered at, far from it. It's true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything. Furthermore there's the unknown factor regarding the behaviour of the tyres, because yesterday no one here was able to really try them over a long run. We will have to be super concentrated, especially in how we manage the tyres. In the dry, we are not yet able to fight for the very top places, and we are well aware of that. Usually, in the race, the situation improves and so we hope we can finish in the top four or five when it's time for the chequered flag. Our aim will be to mark our closest rival in the Drivers' classification and today we know we will be starting ahead of him. Let's see what the situation will be tomorrow evening.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (7th, 1:21.900):
“Not an easy qualifying for the team. Both Fernando and myself struggled to put together a perfect lap, which can be seen from the fact we were quicker in Q2 than Q3. A shame, because in Q2, I had done a good time and I was expecting to improve still further, but unfortunately, I was slower: I suddenly had less grip and a lot of oversteer, so now we must find out why. It will be very hot tomorrow and it could also rain, so we will need to be on top of whatever situation arises. We will need to study carefully the little data we have relating to tyre behaviour: from the little we could see, there is a definite degradation with the Softs, which could make itself felt even more with a full fuel load. We will have to wait and see how things turn out in what will be a long race tomorrow, but I think we are still in with a chance of fighting for a podium finish, even if we are up against very strong opposition. The Hungaroring has been the scene of several important moments in my career, starting with the cruel blow of heading for certain victory in 2008 only to be robbed of it by an engine failure, followed a year later by my accident. So many people here have remained close to me and continue to support me, so I am doubly disappointed, as I wanted to reward them with a great result this afternoon. We'll try and do it tomorrow!”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault (8th, 1:21.939):
“My qualifying performance was quite good, especially in Q2, but then in Q3 I came across traffic twice. I am happy for the team as we both did a good job to put the team near the front so it's looking positive. It's going to be a tough race here but an important one as getting points is our priority. The gaps are very close but we are both in the top ten and now we need to push for a better position in the race. We have the car and qualifying place for a good finish tomorrow.”

Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault (9th, 1:22.343):
“It's been a good weekend so far and I'm really happy to be in the top ten for the first time this season. Q2 was extremely close but we were able to get through. I could have done a better lap in Q3 but I'm pleased with the result and having both cars in Q3 is great for the team. The car has felt consistent and our long run pace is looking good. We're in a strong position for the start of the race, so from here I'll be pushing to bring home some good points for the team.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Force India-Mercedes (10th, 1:22.847):
“I'm happy to be in the top ten but not satisfied with my quick lap in Q3. I tried too hard and made a mistake, got some dirt on my tyres and couldn't recover the lap. It's a bit frustrating because my laptime from Q2 would have been good enough for sixth on the grid. So I'm a bit disappointed, but at the same time I'm focussing on the positives because we looked competitive during the session. Now we need to do the same in the race and pick up points.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault (11th, 1:21.715):
“I was happy with the car this morning, I was quick in P3, but I didn't feel happy on that last set of soft tyres in Q2 and struggled against my scrub time, which is a bit bizarre. The field is tight at the moment and it's disappointing to qualify in P11 obviously. Our race pace should be okay tomorrow.”

Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes (12th, 1:21.813):
“I think there was more potential in the car today, but I couldn't get the laptime when it counted during Q2. The main issue was trying to find track position and I had to push very hard on my out lap to make some space, which probably took too much out of the tyres. It's a shame because we were very quick in Q1 and the car has been working well here. We can still have a good race, but it won't be easy with the high temperatures and the fact that it's never easy to overtake here.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (13th, 1:21.895):
“That was a difficult qualifying for us today, and we need to analyse why it turned out like that. Qualifying is always a compromise and I was focused on finding a good race set-up for tomorrow as we may have more tyre degradation on our car than others, but it is still disappointing not to make Q3 by two-tenths.”

Sergio Pérez, Sauber-Ferrari (14th, 1:21.895):
“Basically this was all that was possible for us today. For some reason all weekend we have been struggling with the balance of the car and how to understand how the tyres work on this track. I feel on my car we made a big step forward in regard to the balance between free practice this morning and qualifying. Q1 actually didn't look bad at all, but the car still behaved inconsistently and in Q2 it was so difficult to put a perfect lap together that I didn't make it into Q3.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari (15th, 1:22.300):
“Well, after we have been struggling in all free practice sessions since we got here the qualifying result doesn't come as a complete surprise. To me getting through to Q3 would have been a miracle today. We don't understand why we can't manage to get the tyres to work at this track, and this goes for both compounds as I can't find the grip I need. Perhaps it is track related and has to do with bumps or dust or even something else. It will be another tough race for us because overtaking is particularly difficult here, but certainly we won't give up and will try our best tomorrow.”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (16th, 1:22.380):
“I feel I got the most out of the car we have at the moment and don't think I could have gone much quicker. We improved our performance in the dry conditions and got a bit closer to those guys ahead of us. It's always hard to overtake here, but there are many factors to take into account at this track, including tyre degradation. As far as that is concerned, the long run we did this morning looked quite good. Plus, when you look at the way the gap between us and our rivals is always less in the race than on Saturday and, as we seem to have found a bit more performance here, I think we can expect to have a good race tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes (17th, 1:22.723):
“It was quite a tough and difficult day for us. We have to clearly see that we did not have the pace to be in the front. I could have done a faster lap probably, without the dust having been brought to the track by Maldonado, but then I still do not think it would have brought me into Q3. I don't think we could have done much more. This morning we practised for long runs as yesterday we could not do that due to the rain but I don't think it compromised our performance. You have to accept the gap is quite big. We know the combination of track layout and temperature does not suit us too much, and we will try to make the best out of it tomorrow.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (18th, 1:23.250):
“It's frustrating and a bit disappointing not to have made the cut to Q2, as this is the first time I've been stuck in Q1 all season and it would have been nice to keep that sheet clean. The time I set on my first run on the Prime tyre was not too bad, but I was not completely happy with the car so we made a few changes before the Option run. It immediately felt pretty good but as I came down the main straight, I had a Lotus come out the pits in front of me and it stayed there for most of my lap. From the outside, maybe it doesn't look like traffic, but to have someone a couple of seconds in front for a whole lap, can really affect you, especially in qualifying, when you need all the help you can get. It didn't help my cause. In terms of our strategy, it was the right call to only go with one set of Option as I am confident we could have made the cut with a clean first lap. I'll try and make up for this disappointment tomorrow.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault (19th, 1:23.576):
“It's been a positive day today. In FP3 the car immediately felt better balanced and there was more grip so that was a good step from yesterday. In qualifying I think I got as much out of the car as I could today. I'm very happy with that last lap, as we made no mistakes and I'm pleased with the final balance of the car. We'll look ahead now to tomorrow's race and keep pushing as always. It could get interesting if there are showers, but overall I feel we're making the most of what we've got and we just need to work on improving the performance of the car.”

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault (20th, 1:24.167):
“The day started well with the changes we made overnight improving the overall handling of the car. In qualifying I think we made exactly the right calls on strategy and with the decision to do two runs on the option tyres. I had a good first run but on my second run we went for one flying lap to make the most of the track conditions and unfortunately I ended up losing time in turn eleven which affected my final laptime. Despite that, I'm very happy with the set up of the car, and I feel we have progressed well this weekend. Tomorrow is another day and I think we can have a good race, as we have had all season.”

Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth (21st, 1:25.244):
“On the whole, I am quite happy with my qualifying today. On the first set of Soft tyres it was not easy as I made and adjustment to the front flap and experienced a lot of vibration. On the second set I was much happier with the balance of my car but I did not get a clean lap, especially in sector one, much like Hockenheim. It was very hot today and the race will also be tough, but I hope we have the chance to improve tomorrow as is often the case on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it.”

Timo Glock, Marussia-Cosworth (22nd, 1:25.476):
“Not a great qualifying for my side. The Free Practice 3 session was quite good but for some reason we didn't make the right changes between the two sessions. In qualifying the car was more nervous again under braking and turning in, so it was definitely not the right direction to take. On my best lap on the first run I hit traffic. On the second run my lap was not so good; I made a couple of mistakes due to the front wheel locking and I lost the rear end, so all in all it's not great today.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth (23rd, 1:25.916):
“I think it was a good qualifying session. I'm happy because, step by step, we're improving. Today we managed to get down to 1'25 and we overcame the heating issues with the tyres. We were able to push and, if we're objective, this is our time. The Hungaroring is a circuit which I really like and it brings me good memories, but we have to be realistic and tomorrow's race will be a tough one. It's a similar circuit to Monaco so overtaking won't be easy. We've got a good car, which is quite consistent with the tyres, and that's the important thing. We must head into the race fully motivated and concentrated because it's very long and physical for the driver because of the heat, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth (24th, 1:26.178):
“In the morning I managed to make the most of the entire session and run consistently. Given the high temperatures today, the car was overheating a bit, so we had to make some slight cut-outs on the bodywork and that made us lose some points of downforce. That cost us a couple of tenths. But we've made a big effort and I've got the satisfaction of having given everything I've got. There's a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow and it will be a tough race, but we're prepared for the challenge.”

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