Driver reaction - German qualy
The drivers have their say after qualifying for the German GP
By William Esler
Last Updated: 21/07/12 5:17pm
Sebastian Vettel: "The track was best at the end of the session, which is when we got our best times. In these conditions it's extremely difficult, as you can lose the car through the rivers on the track. I lost some time running into Mark at the end of one lap, but it's very difficult in these conditions and you can't see anything in the mirrors.
"I think we had the pace today to put the car on pole - so we need to look at what Fernando did with his strategy. But it can be a lottery when the weather's like that and fortunately we didn't lose the car, which is good and I'm starting on the front line tomorrow. We are being consistent at the moment, which is the key."
Mark Webber: "It was tricky for us and we had dodgy conditions on track. When you know you're getting a five place penalty, it's easy not to get it right but I'm very happy to finish today quite far way up. We did some good laps and got a good result. Fernando stopped for fresh tyres, which maybe we could have done, but should-have, could-have would-have, we got third and that's good - even with the penalty.
"I'm looking forward to the race and to moving up the grid. We can do a lot from eighth. We've shown the car is strong in all conditions and we will be looking to come through the field."
Jenson Button: "We struggled to get the tyres to work today - when you can't get temperature into the tyre; you don't know its limit because it's too cold, and you can't hit the brakes either because you'll lock up. It's an issue we've had for a few races and an area where we need to improve.
"In dry running, however, the pace is very good: we just struggle in wet conditions to get the tyres working. We've got to sort out these issues with the tyre temperatures because it's hurting us both - and that makes it a very difficult day in the office for us.
"However, the positives that we can take away are that our car looks quick in the dry and that this weekend's upgrade package is a good step forward. Everyone should be proud of their efforts to not only get it working, but to also have delivered it ahead of schedule this weekend.
"Today was tough, but I hope we have a good race tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton: "We've got to be a little disappointed with the final qualifying result; we were looking good in both Q1 and Q2, so I don't understand how the others went quicker as the track dried slightly towards the end of Q3.
"Still, we're in a better position for tomorrow: although we're not starting from the best positions, our car certainly looks better in the dry and, with dry weather predicted tomorrow, I definitely think we can have a good race.
"On Sunday, I plan to hunt everyone down from behind. The great thing at Hockenheim is the great big DRS zone along the back straight - so hopefully Jenson and I will be doing lots of overtaking there tomorrow!"
Fernando Alonso: "I am very happy! When qualifying is run in these conditions, it's very difficult to put together a clean lap and it's very easy to end up in the grass, the gravel or in the wall! It's something of a fight for survival: before anything else, you have to get to the end and then look at where you've finished. Then, when you hear on the radio that you've got pole, it is extremely satisfying, because there's a feeling you really have given your all. The car was going well in all conditions, which is encouraging, as it means that we can be in the fight whatever happens, be it dry or wet.
"In Q2, we went out immediately, hoping to do a time on the first lap, because we knew the rain would intensify. At the end, we fitted the Extremes, because we at least wanted to have a rough idea of what the conditions would probably be like in Q3. The last part of qualifying was very problematic because there was aquaplaning, to such an extent that we did not use the KERS and you couldn't use seventh gear on the straight. Managing to take pole in such extreme conditions is really gratifying!
"Tomorrow I expect that the strategies will be not be too different among the top teams, but with a good degree of flexibility. Looking at the championship, clearly I can't be unhappy about the fact that two strong competitors like Hamilton and Webber start on the fourth row, but we know how quickly things can change. The start will be important, but not decisive, as we have 67 laps to get through..."
Felipe Massa: "I am very disappointed with the way qualifying went. I did not manage to do a time at the start of Q2 because I went wide at Turn 8 and so was unable to put together a good lap in the only window available to do so. At that point on the track, the tarmac is different and it is very easy to lock the wheels and thus lose a lot of time.
"Then, it was raining so hard that there was aquaplaning: I had to try and stay on track while also trying to improve my time, but the conditions meant this was absolutely not possible, even when I tried with the Extremes. It's a real shame, because the car was and is competitive, both in the wet and in the dry, but tomorrow I will start too far back to fight for the top places.
"I will do my very best, as always. It will be important to choose the right tyres at the right moment: we have some idea, but it's a fact we were unable to do many long runs over these two days."
Michael Schumacher: "That's certainly a nice way to start the German Grand Prix - we had been expecting a position between fifth and seventh on the grid, so fourth in qualifying, which will become third place on the grid, is even better. Naturally I'm particularly happy for all the Mercedes colleagues in the grandstands: they support us throughout the year and we wanted to give something back to them.
"In any case, we can be satisfied with this result. Perhaps it would have been even better to change to a new set of tyres right at the end, but I don't think we could have done much more today. Now we have to focus completely on tomorrow's race. We know that it should be dry tomorrow and we should be more competitive here than we were in Silverstone."
Nico Rosberg: "It's a bit surprising to finish so far down in qualifying today, but unfortunately I couldn't get the right temperatures in my first set of intermediate tyres in Q2 so I was a few seconds off the pace.
"Yesterday I was quite confident in the wet and in the dry so it is frustrating, especially on top of the gearbox penalty. But I will still hope to score some points tomorrow because a lot is possible in the races this year. I will definitely push a lot in front of all our fans here."
Kimi Raikkonen: "We weren't fast in the wet today for some reason and we need to look at why that was. I wasn't able to get any grip from the tyres, even when we tried a fresh set of wets half way through the final qualifying session. In the dry the car is very good and in the races our car usually has strong pace. Let's hope for some dry weather tomorrow and see what happens."
Romain Grosjean: "The rain seemed to come at the wrong time for me ; it always was at its heaviest when I was trying to go for a quick lap. It was certainly difficult out there to find enough grip and not to get held up by other cars.
"It's difficult to understand why I was so far behind Kimi in qualifying when I've been very close to him during the rest of the weekend. I've got it all to do tomorrow and I'll be working hard with my engineers to ensure we've got the quickest car and the best strategy to go for some points."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I feel very excited because it's always special to qualify well, especially at your home race. It was a session that had a bit of everything because we ran on slicks, intermediates and wets. I think the most tricky conditions came during Q3 when I even aquaplaned off the track during my out lap and went into the gravel. Fortunately I was lucky and able to continue, but there was very little grip on the track.
"When you start high up you naturally want to finish high up as well and I hope we can have strong race. It will probably be dry tomorrow and there are a lot of quick cars behind us so we will need to think carefully to make the strategy work."
Paul di Resta: "It was a very difficult session and the rain didn't make life easy for anybody because there was so much aquaplaning on the back straight with two or three big puddles. Towards the end of Q3 I was getting ready for my final run but the traffic didn't really work out for me and I struggled to get the lap when it really counted.
"Still, we made it into the top ten so I'm happy, but you always want to be a bit further up the grid. We think it will be dry tomorrow so it was important to get lots of running during final practice this morning to build up a feel for the car in the dry. We are definitely in a good position to score points tomorrow and I'm ready to fight and move forward in the race."
Sergio Perez: "It is such a shame. It looked really promising for us until the rain set in. After I changed to soft tyres I ended up second fastest in Q1. Then we went out late on intermediates in Q2 and I was stuck in traffic. I had cars in front of me, but could not back off as there were some behind me as well."
Kamui Kobayashi: "It is a pity because I'm sure in dry conditions we would easily have been in Q3, as we had a very good pace. I even refrained from using soft tyres, and the lap I did on the medium compound was good enough for Q2. But then in the wet we didn't make it. In dry conditions my car is really good. In the wet it is a lot better than it was on Friday when I struggled badly. We found something wrong and did some changes, but it is still not completely right."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I am satisfied with that performance. Eleventh is quite good for us, on the edge of Q3. Of course, I'm a little bit disappointed that I missed out on the top ten, but in general this result puts us in a good position for tomorrow and hopefully we can get our nose into the points, even if the race is dry as predicted.
"As for my quick lap, I actually improved during the run, because even though I was on Intermediates, I seemed to find more grip when there was more water on the track. For that reason, my best lap came right at the end and it was a case of changing lines through some corners from lap to lap as you tried to work out which lines worked best in the conditions. It was a challenging session and I had fun out there this afternoon."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "Only two tenths between me and P13 in Q1 which is very close and in fact I think I lost two tenths in the final corner, although apart from that, I feel my lap was quite good. I am disappointed that the rain arrived just a bit too late for me.
"We went out immediately on the Option as we expected rain to fall in Q1 itself. I am still hopeful of having a good race tomorrow as we seem a bit more competitive in the dry than we were two weeks ago. With the rain affecting several sessions, we have not done as much running on the dry tyres as usual and seeing how they behave will be an interesting factor tomorrow."
Pastor Maldonado: "The weather conditions today were really challenging with the grip levels changing so much between sessions. We had a good balance in Q1 and Q2 but when the rain hit I lost a lot of grip which made it difficult to challenge for a place on the front two rows. On the whole though I'm pretty pleased with where I have qualified and the weather is looking a bit more favourable tomorrow which should suit our car."
Bruno Senna: "We had a good pace in dry conditions so it's disappointing to find ourselves in 16th place. When the weather is like it was today it's always a bit of a lottery because being on track at the right time is crucial and unfortunately I was a bit unlucky in that respect. It will be difficult to get up into the top 10 from where we are because overtaking is not that easy on this track, but our long run pace has been good all year so I have a chance of scoring some points."
Heikki Kovalainen: "For where we are right now that was pretty much the perfect lap. I didn't make any mistakes, nailed every apex and had a clean lap, so I'm pleased with what I got out of the car today. Closing the gap to the cars ahead is obviously our target and I think we are still finding out how to unlock the real potential of the upgrade package we first ran in Silverstone.
"Taking the package as a whole there are a lot of elements we need to get right to really use its potential and I think we still need more dry running to really understand what it will really give us. We'll keep working on achieving that and perhaps we'll see more of its value tomorrow as it's due to be sunny, and in Hungary where the hotter conditions will definitely suit us better than the cold, wet weather we've had in Germany and at the last race in Silverstone."
Vitaly Petrov: "That was a bit of a difficult session after the rain at the end of FP3 changed the track conditions. We were having some issues warming up the front tyres and that, combined with traffic, meant I couldn't really push as much as I had been in the morning session.
"Despite that, all weekend we've been progressing, doing a good job to push us in the right direction, and tomorrow I think we can do well. We have decent race pace and I think we'll have a good result as we've been showing all season."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It could have been a very good qualifying session, because towards the end I was nine tenths under my time, but on the last two corners I had another car ahead and we lost two positions. We must all respect each other but now we have to look ahead.
"Leaving that aside, I think we did a good practice session this morning and a good qualifying session; the car performed well and we would have been very close to the Marussias. But the important stuff comes tomorrow and we have to focus on getting off to a good start and fighting until the end. We expect a dry race, but on the evidence of these last few days anything is possible."
Narain Karthikeyan: "Yesterday's FP2 was in wet conditions and today I could have done with a bit more mileage in dry as I only had one hour this morning to adapt to the circuit. But despite all this we did a good job. In qualifying we only finished three tenths off Pedro, so I'm happy. After FP3 I expected the gap to be bigger but we improved a lot before qualifying.
"Tomorrow we will see what happens with the weather but whatever the outcome it will be a tough battle and we will try to compete with our rivals."
Charles Pic: "After a tough FP3 this morning, when I missed most of the session because of an engine change, I have to be very pleased with my qualifying. I only managed three practice laps on the option tyre before qualifying and with the mixed forecast for the Q1 session - we didn't know at what point it would become wet - I felt a little unprepared. I was very comfortable with the car and I think there was quite a bit more to come.
"For sure in my last lap of my second run - my quickest lap - I made a small mistake in sector 1, but fortunately 2 and 3 were good. I am excited to see what we can do in the race tomorrow to find even more from the package which, in the limited time I have had in the car today, is working well. My thanks to my car crew; those FP3 laps were few but very important for today's result, and only possible because the engine change was so quick."
Timo Glock: "A difficult weekend on my side since the first lap on Friday. I have just struggled a bit with the car because there is rear end instability that means I can't push with confidence right now. We have tried a few different things since yesterday to fix it, but we have run out of time a little to understand the problem.
"We still have the race of course and whatever possibilities that may bring. If the race is dry, then we just have to push very hard to get the maximum out of the package and bring the car home. My thanks to all the fans who have been so supportive, despite a tough weekend so far. I hope it can go better tomorrow."