F1 British Grand Prix - Qualifying
Nico Rosberg on wrestling with his ‘jumping' Williams; Red Bull's David Coulthard on failing to clinch a top ten grid slot for his final home Grand Prix; and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen on taking his maiden pole position. All 20 drivers report back on Saturday's action…
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (1st, Q1 - 1m 21.049s): "We've been going really well all weekend after finding some good pace during testing last week. I've spent a lot of time racing in the UK so it feels great to have scored my first ever Formula One pole position at Silverstone. The car feels just fantastic at the moment; I was able to steadily improve throughout all three qualifying session and I'm confident our pace is going to be strong tomorrow."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (2nd, Q1 - 1m 21.049s): "It's gone really well for us today and to be on the front of the grid for tomorrow's race is very encouraging. The guys have worked really hard since the last race and, with the factory just down the road, there's an amazing atmosphere. Five percent of the job is done, but we've got a long race ahead of us tomorrow and we're expecting to have some trouble keeping the Ferraris and McLarens behind us. But, we're happy for now – this has been coming for a while, we've shown good consistency this year and the team's done a good job." Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, Q1 - 1m 21.554s): "Third is not the result we were hoping for, but it's not to be sneezed at, as we always have to take into consideration that the final score only comes tomorrow, when we have worked out what fuel loads the other drivers have. Compared to yesterday, the situation is definitely better. We worked a lot on the car set-up and, especially in Q3 the balance wasn't bad. There was a lot of wind, which made it hard to fully understand the track because the conditions were changing all the time. In race trim, we have a good car and I think tomorrow I can get a good result. The rain? We saw this morning that we are also competitive in the wet, so we are ready for any eventuality. Well done to Heikki for his first pole position."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (4th, Q1 - 1m 21.706s): "Congratulations to Heikki on his first Formula One pole position. I felt comfortable in the car and the speed was there; however, on my first flying lap in Q3 I ran a bit wide at the exit of Priory and went onto the gravel. Obviously I just pushed a little bit too hard and it's a pity that I missed the front row. However, with our strategy and the predicted rain for tomorrow's race everything will be possible and I very much look forward to racing here in front of my home crowd tomorrow." Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, Q1 - 1m 21.022s): "I'm quite happy with fifth because it just continues a positive trend which began in qualifying in Magny-Cours, and confirms all our efforts and work have paid off. I can now manage again to heat up the tyres properly and get them to work, but we shall continue to work on this subject. In Q2 Robert and I where just separated by two hundreds of a second. Generally my car was a lot better today than on Friday. However, on my last lap in Q3 it felt a little bit strange, so we have to find out what this was. I think we shall have an exciting race tomorrow. There is a high chance of rain!"
Fernando Alonso, Renault (6th, Q1 - 1m 20.998s): "It was a difficult qualifying session with changeable track conditions, wind and rain. But we have done our maximum and so overall it's a satisfying result for the team. If the race tomorrow takes place in normal conditions, we can hope to have a strong finish. If it rains, the race will be open and anything can happen. I must now prepare for that and will give my all once again to achieve a good result."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (7th, Q1 - 1m 20.818s): "I'm very happy with today's qualifying session. The car felt good and we were improving lap by lap. I struggled a bit at the end of Q3 with Heidfeld, but it worked out OK in the end and so it does look promising for tomorrow. Now I'm looking forward to the race and I hope we can put on a good show in the team's local race." Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (8th, Q1 - 1m 23.251s): "I qualified seventh in Indy with BMW, but to be eighth with Toro Rosso means we can be very proud of what we have achieved today. We had a very good balance on the car and all weekend I've felt very comfortable even on my first race weekend at this tough and challenging track. It seems we are moving in the right direction with the new car and we have made a step forward. It's fun fighting in the top ten. We should be in good shape tomorrow, whatever the weather and we will deal with whatever comes." Felipe Massa, Ferrari (9th, Q1 - 1m 23.305s): "It's a real shame ending up ninth on the grid because of a problem with my pit stop. I lost so much time as the mechanics had trouble changing the right rear wheel and I was unable to start my second run. I think I could have done a good time, maybe not enough to take pole but at least good enough for a place on the front two rows. There was a lot of wind today and the balance of the car was not as good as yesterday and we were not as quick as at last week's test. Tomorrow I can definitely expect to be fighting all race long to move up the order and I will do all I can to bring home a good result: but it won't be easy."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (10th, Q1 - no time): "It was a difficult qualifying in the end. Finally we were on the right pace. Qualifying 1 was good and qualifying 2 was even better, as the first time on option tyres was very good. I backed off in the last sector to just bring the car home, and it was still enough to be two or three tenths off the McLaren time. In qualifying 3 I went through the first sector without any problems, but then I felt the same problem at the rear I felt on Friday. Now we have to analyse everything and see what is going on."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th, Q2 - 1m 20.174): "It's disappointing to finish eleventh. If we'd done some more running this morning, I think we'd have been in better shape. But, we had a problem with an engine oil leak and so were using Q1 to get up to speed in the dry today. Changing conditions are always a big factor around this track. On other tracks, a loss of running time wouldn't really be an issue, but this one is very open to the wind, so every day is different. The reality is that we've got the pace to be in the top ten, we just didn't deliver it on the lap that counted today. Looking to the positives, we're just outside the top ten, so are able to fuel the car as we want – and the changing conditions may be a factor tomorrow." Timo Glock, Toyota (12th, Q2 - 1m 20.274s): "Following our problems yesterday, when we missed half the day's practice, today was another difficult day. A lot of cars were close together and we just failed to reach Q3 so the running time that we missed probably had an effect. Still, we had quite a good pace this morning and my feeling was that we would be in the top ten. So I don't know why it didn't work out. After today's rain, the track was a bit more green. In those conditions we don't seem to be able to get 100 percent out of the tyres and perhaps that is why we struggled. We will have to see how the weather is tomorrow but the race could be quite tricky." Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (13th, Q2 - 1m 20.531s): "Thirteenth is not exactly the most satisfying result, but given how much we struggled here in practice, it's good to move up a notch and be a bit more competitive. We struggled to find the right set-up so we went for the best compromise and the result was rather encouraging. I don't think anyone knows what the weather will do tomorrow, but definitely, it seemed to go well in the wet in the morning and I found the car easier to drive in those conditions, so I wouldn't complain if it rained tomorrow afternoon." Jarno Trulli, Toyota (14th, Q2 - 1m 20.601s): "I am disappointed because we are out of the top ten and we haven't looked very competitive here. We understood what happened yesterday and these things happen, no problem. But I've struggled a lot this weekend with car balance. Qualifying was not great and the car was bottoming too much in the first sector. That cost me time which I could not recover in the rest of the lap. That is strange because we didn't change the car itself. It's difficult to find the right set-up when the wind changes so much but I went for a wet set-up in case we have a wet race tomorrow. Now I just hope that will pay off and our Sunday will be better."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (15th, Q2 - 1m 21.112s): "Obviously it was a very hard qualifying session for us. I made it through to Q2, but was struggling with grip, and the difference between our times and those of the other team's is quite significant. We need to find something from the car, and from me, and we will need to do a lot of work tonight to make sure we have the best strategy in place for the race."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (16th, Q3 - 1m 21.512s): "It's unfortunate that we were not able to progress further in qualifying today and I'm afraid that reflects the true potential of the car on a dry track. Out on the circuit, I thought we were through in 15th when it began to rain, but unfortunately it was just raining in the section of track that I was on and others were able to improve further round the lap, dropping me to 16th. I wasn't able to improve on my final lap at the end of the session as I had too much understeer in the car and the tyres were graining on the damp surface. We're expecting wet conditions for the race tomorrow which should make it exciting and open up possibilities if we can stay out of trouble."
Jenson Button, Honda (17th, Q3 - 1m 21.631s): "It was a disappointing qualifying session today for my home Grand Prix. The brief rain shower did come just at the wrong moment for us as my final run on the completely dry track was compromised by traffic through Becketts, which left me in 18th when the shower began. So I had to go out right at the end of the session to try to improve regardless of the conditions. Unfortunately I couldn't get heat into my tyres through the first sector, which is always difficult, but even more so when the track was still slippery. I made a little bit of progress to jump Rosberg into 17th but not enough to make it into Q2. It's disappointing, but we know the car is not that competitive in the dry. It'll be a tough race but you can make progress here during the race, particularly if we have the expected wet conditions."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (18th, Q3 - 1m 21.668s): "I've had a problem with my suspension all weekend which is making the car really hard to drive in the corners because it just jumps around all over the place. We've obviously been trying to find a solution throughout the sessions but, so far, nothing has worked. The race is going to be very tough."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (19th, Q3 - 1m 21.786s): "It was quite a good qualifying for us as I think we could get nearly all the performance out of the car, although we had a little problem with graining on the front tyres that cost us a little bit of time. There is a better trend at the moment; we have a new update on the car, it works well and we are not too far away from the others - only about two tenths."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (20th, Q3 - 1m 21.885s): "Unfortunately I had a problem with the engine cover during the session and I lost some downforce as the right side of the car was in a bad position. That said, I was only three tenths away from Q2 so it's not too bad considering."