Driver reaction - Korea qualy
The drivers have their say after qualifying in South Korea, where Mark Webber took his first pole of the season.
By William Esler
Last Updated: 13/10/12 10:48am
The drivers have their say after qualifying in South Korea, where Mark Webber took his first pole of the season.
Mark Webber: "It was a tight session for all of us. I think as the session unfolded, people were having different balance issues on different tyre compounds. I was happy with my lap there, it was solid and it's good to get pole. It's a great place to start the race from. I'm looking to get off the first corner very well, that's important as there are two long straights after that."
Sebastian Vettel: "Overall we can be very happy with the result. We were quite quick in the first and second qualifying sessions and had a good start to Q3. On the last run, I had to back off starting the lap as Massa was there, it wasn't his fault, but I had to back off. Nevertheless, the second lap in Q3 wasn't good enough. I lost time in the middle sector, which seemed to be okay all weekend, but when the circuit ramped I wasn't able to go with it, so I lost a bit, but second is a good position so start from. There are long straights near the start, so it could be interesting tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton: "It's been quite a tough weekend in terms of getting a fast lap-time out of the car, so third on the grid is very satisfying.
"In Q3 I'll happily admit that I ragged the life out of the car and got everything from it, yet Mark [Webber] and Seb [Vettel] both claim they had a little bit left over. We'll see. Anyway, Jenson showed yesterday that our long-run pace is promising, so I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow.
"Beating the Red Bulls will be about making a good getaway, making all the right strategy calls, and not making any mistakes. There'll be good opportunity for slipstreaming into the first few corners at the start too.
"I'll be going all-out for the win tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "I locked up in the final sector on my first Q2 lap, ran wide and had to go down to first gear - losing quite a lot of time in the process - so I reckon there was easily a couple of tenths that I could have had there.
"Then, on my final Q2 run, I lost time because of the yellow flags. I knew I could have gained a couple of extra tenths in that final sector, but as things panned out I couldn't improve because of the yellows.
"It's just one of those things, but I'll go forward from here tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso: "I'd say we've made a step forward compared to Japan, just a week ago, both in terms of grid position and also the gap to the front. You can see that our car is better suited to this track, given that it is basically the same one we raced in Japan. We must improve it and I expect to see some updates coming, right from the next race in India.
"It's no surprise to see the two Red Bulls on the front row: indeed it's not by chance they were fastest in Q1 and Q2 also. My second run in Q1? I was being very careful not to wear out the tyres too much because I knew I'd be using them later in Q2. I think tomorrow we can have a good race: maybe I might lose a few places immediately after the start, as I'm on the dirty side of the track, but we have shown we have a good pace over a long run and so we should be able to stay with the lead group.
"Our aim tomorrow? It's very simple: to finish ahead of Vettel. From now on, how many points one has overall will not count for much, it will be scoring one more than my closest rival that matters. It could happen that I lose the lead in the championship and maybe arrive at the last race 24 points down, but what matters is to be first in the classification at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix. What edge does the Red Bull have? A quicker car, but we have the better team."
Felipe Massa: "It was a reasonably good qualifying, even if it was not perfect. I made a few small mistakes that maybe cost me one or two places, but all in all, sixth place is definitely not a disaster. The most important thing today is that we made the cut through from Q2: it means that, from this point of view, we have made a significant step forward.
"Over a long run, we have seen in the past that we are more competitive than on a single flying lap and we hope that history will repeat itself tomorrow, so that we can fight with those who start ahead of us. In qualifying there are at least two cars quicker than us, but then in the race the situation is different. We have to come up with a good strategy, trying to get the best out of the tyres that don't appear to wear out much here.
"The first corner is very tight here and we hope we can get a normal start. Grosjean starting near me? I think he understands how he must behave so I'm not particularly concerned."
Nico Rosberg: "Ninth place was the maximum that we could have achieved today. We set up the car well but we're lacking the performance to challenge any further towards the front. We're working hard to improve the situation, and hopefully our race pace will be better and we can score some decent points here in Korea. The track layout here and the cooler temperatures should suit to us more than in the recent races, so I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher: "The positive aspect about today's performance was that we made a step forward relative to last weekend and got into Q3. But overall, it was an average kind of day. We were expecting to end up somewhere between positions eight and ten, but things didn't go quite right in the final sector of my quick lap. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think we can hope to look quite respectable: our long runs were quite good, as were the tyres. Let's see how the race unfolds."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Qualifying was okay and I think we did the best we could have done. We tried some different things on the car over the weekend and qualified in a reasonably good position, but of course you always want to go faster. The new exhaust system feels good; you do lose a little horsepower from it but it's better on the aero side and you can't get something for nothing. The gap to the cars at the front is not too much so we'll try to do what we can tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "It was a bit of a strange qualifying session for me to be honest; In Q1 the car felt nowhere, in Q2 it was good, then in Q3 it wasn't fantastic either so we need to spend some time analysing what happened. The track changed a little and the tyres felt slightly different so we need to understand that. For sure there will be a lot of attention on my start tomorrow; I know my objectives and I think we're capable of a good result."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was not an easy qualifying session, but in the end everything went to plan. I did struggle in Q1 and Q2, and I've been fighting some understeer in the car all weekend, especially through the first sector. We never really managed to dial it out of the car, but it didn't hurt us too much because I was able to pull together two good laps and that was enough to get me up to eighth. The times were very close and I think it will be the same tomorrow, but our long-run performance looks competitive so I think we can definitely race the people around us and come away with points."
Paul Di Resta: "The car was capable of Q3 today but once again my lap in Q2 was compromised by traffic. There were some cars backing off in the last three corners and that cost me those crucial tenths I needed to make Q3. So I'm a little bit disappointed because I didn't get the most from the session. We are out of position on the grid, but there's still all to play for in the race because the car was very strong yesterday during the long runs and we can be confident going into the race."
Sergio Perez: "It is a shame, as we were so close to getting into Q3 but, of course, I had to back off because of the yellow flags in the last sector. Well, the positive side is that we have saved a set of fresh tyres for the race. In any case it will be an interesting one because I could not do long runs in free practice to the extent I wanted to."
Kamui Kobayashi: "I would have been easily five tenths faster but I had to back off when the yellow flags came out. I am quite disappointed, especially as we had improved the car for Q2. In Q1 initially I had problems with oversteer, but our set up changes worked out nicely. However, here we have a track which allows overtaking and the race is always a different story."
Daniel Ricciardo: "In Q2, we were only doing two runs of one flying lap each and on my last one, I simply lost drive coming out of Turn 12, feeling as if the car was in neutral and I couldn't find any gears. I could not bring the car back to the pits and had to abort the run at the side of the track. A shame, because Q1 went very well and I was able to post a competitive time. I don't know if I could have eventually got into Q3, but whatever the result, this has been a missed opportunity, although that's part of the game in motor racing. Hopefully we can bounce back tomorrow."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "The performance looked very good and competitive this afternoon, but unfortunately I tried to take the final corner flat on my very last run, but I got it wrong and ruined my lap, nearly losing the car, so I am angry with myself for that. The step up in performance compared to yesterday came partly from improving the car overnight and again since FP3 and partly from myself, in the way I was driving. Of course I will be trying to get a good start tomorrow and hope that I can then work my way into a points scoring position by the end of the race."
Pastor Maldonado: "We've found it hard to improve from our practice sessions this weekend. I drove a clean lap in Q2 and got everything I could out of the car, but we just didn't have the pace today. We'll have to work very hard to be in a position to fight for points in tomorrow's race from where we are, as it is difficult to overtake at this track."
Bruno Senna: "I'm naturally disappointed with today. We had a few problems during practice with different elements of the car and this meant we couldn't pull it all together for qualifying. We'll just have to recover from this moment and try to have a good race tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen: "I've struggled all weekend to find a setup I'm happy with and that continued today in qualifying. We went for three runs, one on the softs and two one lap runs on the supersofts to help try and find a balance but it just wasn't there today. On my last lap in Q1 I still had understeer in the last four corners - perhaps without that I'd have been able to find a bit more time, but it just wasn't there. Tyre strategy tomorrow will be key. We saw last weekend in Japan that we can fight in the early stages of the race so let's see if we can turn this weekend around in the race."
Vitaly Petrov: "I'm really happy with the performance today. I've had a couple of problems on the car that has cost me track time this weekend but the team have worked really hard to keep us moving so thanks to them for helping me get the most out of it in all three practice sessions and in quali today.
"My last lap was really good, probably as quick as we could go around here. We timed it right so traffic wasn't an issue and to finish over a second clear of the cars behind is good for the whole team. We haven't stopped pushing and the aim now is to have a clean start tomorrow and try and carry over this sort of performance into Sunday's race."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We did a more than acceptable qualifying session; especially the second lap which was pretty good. But we had a lot of understeer and as a result were unable to post a perfect lap. The difference to our rivals isn't what we expected, but it seems that at this circuit their car is working better than ours. In any case, I'm satisfied with qualifying and more so with our pace with the soft tyres. Tomorrow, as always, we will go out giving it our all but we must continue working to get closer to our rivals."
Narain Karthikeyan: "We were in quite a good position after the third free practice sessions as I'd adapted very well to the circuit and the car was performing great. But once again I was unlucky this season and we had a mechanical issue on the first lap of qualifying. Now we must analyse the problem to fix it and avoid it from springing up again. Tomorrow we will try to recover those positive vibes."
Charles Pic: "It was a great qualifying for me. On the first run, with the Soft tyre, there was a little bit of traffic and I lost temperature in the tyres. Then for the second run we used the Supersoft tyre. We lost 0.2s in Sector 1 at the braking point, but then the middle sector was very good and overall it was a positive qualifying. We have saved two sets of options for the race and now we will work to see how we can continue to improve tomorrow. I feel very comfortable with the track now and I'm enjoying it a lot - the second sector is really great! Due to the engine change we will start further back, but I think we can recover that quite quickly in the early part of the race so we can focus on keeping with our competitors."
Timo Glock: "It has been quite a difficult weekend for us so far. We've struggled with the car balance all the way up until qualifying. Things looked slightly better this afternoon and the car was certainly easier to drive. My run on the prime Soft tyre was okay but then when we switched to the Supersoft I made a mistake out of turn 10, went a little wide and lost traction. A bit of a shame as I lost a couple of tenths there, but at least the car is slightly better and I think we can have a better race tomorrow."