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Sat, 28 July, 2012Hungary: Team personnel qualifying quotes

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Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“Lewis totally dominated qualifying today in Q1, in Q2 and in Q3 which was naturally satisfying for all of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. In truth, to use Lewis's own phrase, he's been 'on it' ever since he arrived here. And his long runs, carrying heavy fuel loads, have been encouraging too. Jenson also did an excellent job to qualify in fourth spot, which makes him well positioned to mount a serious challenge for a major placing from the second row of the starting grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix. He hadn't had as straightforward a time of things as Lewis had, either this morning or yesterday, but he showed real mettle, true grit and immense natural ability here this afternoon. Overtaking is usually tricky here, although its level of difficulty may be mitigated somewhat tomorrow by the pitstraight DRS zone. From our point of view, let's hope Lewis gets a good start and that overtaking remains as much of a challenge as ever thereafter! Last but far from least, I want to pay tribute to all the men and women who, over the past 40 years, have put so much hard work into securing a grand total of 150 pole positions for McLaren. That's right: today's was our 150th. For all you train-spotters out there, our first was scored by Peter Revson, at Mosport Park, in Canada, on September 23rd 1972, in a McLaren M19C, with a lap-time of 1min 13.6sec. Oh, and, by the way, I haven't forgotten the 1968 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, where we also got the pole, but that was a non-championship Formula 1 race!”

Christian Horner, Red Bull-Renault (Team Principal):
“A very busy qualifying session. Both drivers made it through Q1 on the hard tyre and were able to abort the beginning of their timed laps on the softer compound, which they then ran at the beginning of Q2. Mark posted a good time, but wasn't below our own cut off, so both drivers went out again in Q2. Sebastian managed to improve; unfortunately the lap time didn't come from Mark there was only 3 tenths (of a second) between P2 and P11, but that was where Mark's qualifying ended. Sebastian had one set of tyres left, so we decided to run in the middle of the session and a strong lap from him puts him P3 on the grid for tomorrow's race. I think P2 would have been our optimum today Lewis' time over a single lap was unreachable, but we're confident we've got a good race car.”

Cyril Dumont, Red Bull-Renault (Renault Engineer):
“That was a really tough session. Mark missed out getting into Q3 by a very small margin. For Seb, we could have got P2 today, but I think P1 too quick. We know we need lots of drivability for this race, so that's what we've been working on this weekend. We have some strong competition tomorrow, so let's see what we can so.”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari (Team Principal):
“No surprises this afternoon in qualifying. We were well aware that we still do not have the quickest car in terms of outright performance, something we have said so often these past weeks. And we know just how little it takes to miss the cut to the next session when there are so many cars up against one another, all separated by just a few tenths. We managed to get both Fernando and Felipe into Q3 where they secured positions that are nevertheless not too bad in terms of the championship, given that the opponent currently posing the biggest threat to Fernando will start behind us. Furthermore, I would say again today what I said for the past two Saturdays, even though the results then were different and that is, the points are given out only on Sunday after the race and not on Saturday. We can expect a very difficult and demanding race tomorrow, on a track that does not allow the driver to get distracted for a moment and is also very tough on the cars. There's a degree of uncertainty relating to the weather forecast, which also needs to be taken into account. As always, we will try and do the best we can.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari (Technical Director):
“It was a very complicated and difficult qualifying, which is actually what we were expecting. Right from Q1, Fernando struggled a bit on his first set of Mediums, but we managed to recover from that. The fight to get into Q3 was very tight and it was important to get both Felipe and Fernando into the final part of the session, even if we got there having only one set of new Softs left, which was actually the case for all bar one of the other runners. We were not able to improve our times here, in fact we were slower by over two tenths with both drivers. The main problem this afternoon was putting together the ideal lap. Tomorrow we will find ourselves in a similar situation to the one we saw in the last two races, given that because of the weather, it was not possible to properly assess the tyres over a long run. We will have to rely totally on the predictions and on watching what happens as the race evolves. Another factor could be the rain, which might play its part. We said it before, that on all levels, we don't have the quickest car and there is still a lot of work to do to reach that target. That's why we can't claim to be disappointed today: the numbers never lie.”

Mark Gillan, Williams-Renault (Chief Operations Engineer):
“Both drivers did very well today in qualifying in what is an extremely tight and competitive grid. We are very pleased to get both cars into the final session of qualifying for the first time this season and look forward to the race tomorrow. The forecast indicates that the race is likely to be wet and the rain could be heavy, especially towards the later stages of the race.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“We showed good pace today, but we didn't quite maximise our performance when it mattered. Nico did a superb lap to make Q3, but a small error on his final quick lap cost him several positions on the grid. Paul has a similar situation in Q2 when the tyre performance dropped off at the end of the lap and he missed out on making the top ten. The good news is that we've shown that we have a quick car here in Budapest and hopefully we can demonstrate that again tomorrow when it really counts.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes (Team Principal):
“A very disappointing qualifying for us today. The car hasn't been great so far this weekend, and with the margins being so tight, it didn't help us today. We didn't quite get it together with the balance and the tyres, and with the times being so close, this is where we have ended up on the grid as a consequence. Michael was especially unfortunate not to get a proper clean lap with his new tyres in Q2. We are working very hard to improve our position and will continue to do so.”

Norbert Haug, Mercedes (Daimler):
“We made changes to both cars after P3 which lead us in the right direction. However we certainly have not been sorted out like we should and had to pay the price. In Q2, Nico was two-tenths down to P10, and half a second to P2.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber-Ferrari (Head of Track Engineering):
“It's certainly a difficult weekend. Overall we are struggling quite a lot. Compared to yesterday, we recovered significantly with regard to the set-up of the car, but unfortunately it was not enough. Timewise Checo is not that far back from fourth and fifth. Kamui seemed to struggle more today. We also gave him an additional set of soft tyres, because we realised he was in trouble. We still don't quite understand why things were so difficult for us. However, tomorrow is another day, and we know we are stronger in the race than in qualifying.”

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Chief Engineer):
“Overall, today, our performance is a slight improvement on yesterday, as we are a little bit closer to those who are usually ahead of us, even if we have not caught up yet. But the gaps are definitely a bit smaller than those we have seen recently in dry track conditions. Specifically here, we were not happy with the car set-up we ran yesterday and so we changed it overnight, which has produced this improvement. Nevertheless, it has not taken us much further up the grid order: Daniel's time is not so representative as he got traffic on his fast lap. Jean-Eric made the cut to Q2 and had a fair fight in that session, during which we only ran one set of Options, so maybe we could have done something marginally better with another set, but we will see where having those extra tyres will take us tomorrow. It's a long race here and that leaves the door open for various different strategies, which should produce another interesting race.”

Mark Smith, Caterham-Renault (Technical Director):
“The final practice session was positive for us. Both drivers reported that the car balance felt much better today, and that the work we did last night, here and back at the factory, had improved the overall feel. In qualifying we ran both drivers on the option tyres on both runs and maximised the knowledge gained from the practice sessions. Our result was what we expected it would be, so now tomorrow's focus is on taking every opportunity presented and bringing both cars home with a positive result.”

Riad Asmat, Caterham-Renault (CEO):
“Overall it has been a positive day. Both drivers performed as well as could be expected with the performance levels that we have at the moment. It's good to see we are a little bit closer to the teams ahead, but we know we still have a lot more work to do to get to where we want to be. We have performed well on Sundays throughout the season, and there is no reason why we cannot sign off for the August break with a positive result from both sides of the garage.”

John Booth, Marussia-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“FP3 was quite a productive session on both sides of the garage. We'd identified overnight that tyre temperatures were key to achieving performance today and some changes we made overnight appeared to work as we experienced improved warm-up on the Medium tyre. Our experience on the Soft tyre was limited due to yesterday's weather conditions and perhaps this has hurt us slightly with the balance, particularly on Timo's car going into qualifying. Consequently we are disappointed with where we stand relative to the cars immediately ahead of us, but we are clearly moving away from the team behind. Operationally, we need to look at where we placed the cars on the track in the first run of qualifying and learn from it, to resolve the issue seen in Timo's first run. We know we're much stronger in the race and tomorrow will hopefully present the opportunity to keep moving forward.”

Toni Cuquerella, HRT-Cosworth (Technical Director):
“Since we weren't able to do all the tyre tests we would have liked yesterday, we dedicated the free practice session to preparing the race, both in terms of set-up and tyre evaluation. In qualifying it is vital to do the lap in the tyre's optimal moment, but here it's more complicated because it's one of the shortest circuits in the championship and the traffic is an added difficulty. But the driver's did a great job. The result was what we expected and we've made progress with respect to the last two Grands Prix. As for tomorrow, it's not 100% certain that the race will take place in dry conditions so we need to have different strategies prepared, which we will apply depending on the circumstances.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli (Motorsport Director):
“Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren on a dominant performance; well done also to our former test driver Romain Grosjean, who claimed his best ever qualifying position with second. There was plenty of track evolution over the course of the day, despite the dust that is a characteristic of this circuit, exacerbated by a couple of off-track excursions in qualifying. In the final session, we saw some different tactics, with McLaren, Lotus and one Force India opting for two runs, while the rest just did one run. We're expecting to see two pit stops tomorrow from what we can tell so far, although the comparatively low wear rate means that some might even attempt a one-stop strategy. There is still a risk of rain tomorrow, and that could obviously alter the whole complexion of the race.”

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