Driver reaction - Italy qualy
The view from the cockpit after a thrilling qualifying at Monza
By William Esler. Last Updated: September 8, 2012 5:12pm
The drivers have their say after an action packed qualifying session at the legendary Monza circuit, where McLaren locked-out the front row.
Sebastian Vettel: "I'm pretty happy with the result; my last lap should have been a bit quicker, but whether it would have made a difference or not is hard to say. If you look from us to the front, the gaps are too big. All weekend we were not quick enough, so P6 is a very good place to be. Let's see what we can do in the race, I think the pace tomorrow should be better."
Mark Webber: "It's pretty much what we expected today. Seb and I were on the bubble there; it was very close between us - there's only a tenth here and there and I'm out. No massive surprises. I'm eleventh, so we can have a bit of a choice on what we can do tonight, but I'd rather be further up the grid. We've got a bit of a slog tomorrow; but it's Monza so never say never."
Lewis Hamilton: "This is a fabulous day for the whole team - they've done a fantastic job to get our car into this position, so I want to say a huge thanks to them. The whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team deserves this result.
"It's going to be a fast, tough race tomorrow. Jenson and the Ferraris are very quick, but we've got a good car and a good set-up, and we're in the best possible position to score maximum points tomorrow.
"This is a beautiful track; it's so fast that you really need to respect it. Monza has such great history too, and, at some stage, I'd love to become part of that history. For the moment, though, I'm just looking for a strong, consistent race tomorrow, because I need to score some good points.
"Finally, I just want to pass on my best wishes and congratulations to my friend Alex Zanardi. Alex is not only one of the most courageous men I know, but he's also one of the nicest, and his gold medal successes at the Paralympics over the past few days have been incredibly inspiring."
Jenson Button: "It's been a really good day for us. Congratulations to Lewis and the whole team - they've done a fabulous job to get us in this position and we've got to build on that tomorrow. Happily, we're in the best position possible: the past few races have really shown the strength of our car.
"We didn't consider trying to tow each other around as some of the others did - it's a difficult thing to get right and if you get it wrong you end up being compromised elsewhere around the lap.
"I don't think tomorrow's race will be all about the start - you want to get a good run into Turn One, admittedly, but if you try to plan something too ambitious, it often doesn't work. There haven't been any first-corner incidents at the front of the grid for the last couple of years here, so Lewis and I will just be focusing on getting our two cars out of the first corner in front of all the others."
Fernando Alonso: "I think I could have got pole today, but instead I find myself tenth. A real shame, because the car was very strong, but these things happen. It's maybe fifteen years that something like this has happened, but it has and there's no point in crying over it. The problem will be fixed for tomorrow, but of course this result changes everything as far as the race is concerned: we had the chance to increase our lead over our closest rivals, but now, it's likely that at least some of them will make up ground on me.
"I don't think the failures we've had over the past couple of days can be linked to a speeding up of the development on the car, because they have not involved components on which we are pushing to extremes. Tomorrow, we will try and pick up as many points as possible, maybe getting ahead of some of my direct competitors. We have to accept that problems like these can occur even if, when it does happen, the first reaction is disappointment.
"Having said that, it's a case of better Saturday than Sunday, because then, you have no chance of remedying the situation! Risks starting in the middle of the pack? Given how the points table looks, it's more a case of the others having to worry about coming away with another no score..."
Felipe Massa: "I am very happy with this qualifying, the best in a long time for me. This is a very important race for Ferrari and I will do my best to get a good result. I feel sorry for Fernando, as he had been very strong all weekend: we both have a good car and I'm sure that tomorrow we will be able to bring home a good points haul for the championship. We have a chance of beating McLaren, even if they are very strong.
"For me, getting back on the podium, here in front of our fans, would be wonderful! It's my second home race and racing here is always a fantastic feeling. We tried to make as much use as possible of the slipstream, which requires a lot of concentration, but it's true that in the end, I got my best time when I had no one in front of me."
Michael Schumacher: "I think we can be satisfied with our qualifying performance as we have performed consistently all weekend. Our car clearly suits this circuit more than at the last races, but we've had a couple of hiccups along the way in practice. Our guys back at the factory and here at the track did a good job to sort out the problems and compliments to them. Solid points should be a realistic target for tomorrow. The fact that I will start from fourth is another small positive point, because here the even numbers on the grid are probably the better start positions."
Nico Rosberg: "Starting from sixth place here in Monza is a decent result from a tricky qualifying session today. I wasn't happy with the balance of my car by Q3 and, although it started well, I then lost the right balance so I couldn't improve my time. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow and I hope we can gain some positions."
Kimi Raikkonen: "We didn't have the speed today but at least we are in the top ten. We've been in more or less the same position all weekend so today's pace was not a big surprise. It's a long race and usually we are a bit stronger in race conditions. It is possible to overtake here so let's see what happens tomorrow. "
Jerome D'Ambrosio: "I have mixed feelings really to be honest. I progressed through to Q2 but it's frustrating not to have done a bit better as I'm really close in the second and third sectors but I've struggling a bit in the first since yesterday. About 60-70% of the difference to Kimi is lost there, so there's a lot of time to be found in just two corners ; we need to work on that for tomorrow. There's a lot to take in for me this weekend so it's not too bad, but I would have liked a bit more."
Paul di Resta: "The car has been working well all weekend so I knew we were in good shape going into qualifying. We were in the top five of free practice and the car has got better and better with each run as the track evolved. I'm very happy with my Q3 lap, which was my quickest lap so far - so we maximised it when it mattered. I think the entire team has done an excellent job to get us in this position - we've trusted our instincts and just worked away at dialling the car into the track.
"I knew I was going to have a grid penalty for the gearbox change, which is frustrating, but at least I will start inside the top ten. The challenge now is to make sure we have the race pace and use the strategy to come away with points."
Nico Hulkenberg: "A very short and disappointing session for me. I was about to start my first timed lap in Q1 when I suddenly lost drive. I pulled over at the first chicane and the team told me to switch off the car. It's a shame this happened on a day when the car looks so competitive, but that's racing. Starting so far back tomorrow will be tough, but I will try and push through so that we can hopefully come away with something from the race."
Kamui Kobayashi: "Well we don't have the same pace here as we did last week in Spa, which made it a tough qualifying. Having said this, I am happy to have reached the first target which was to get through to Q3. Friday was pretty difficult because a mechanical problem prevented me from doing the mileage I would have wanted, and this is also why I cannot really make any predictions on how the race will go.
"I lack the experience of proper long runs. After the third free practice session this morning we changed the car's settings quite a lot and this paid off in qualifying, I got confidence in the car back. My lap time in Q2 was really good - half a second quicker than in Q3 - and to me this was the maximum possible. However, it was a shame I didn't manage to improve on my second lap during the final attempt. I want to get a strong race result tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: "We knew it would be tight to make it into the top ten today, but I was fighting hard. We have improved the car quite a lot since Friday, but we are clearly not as quick here as we were in Belgium. On my last attempt in Q2 unfortunately I was driving too close behind Bruno Senna and could not improve my lap time. I lost two tenths of a second in the first sector. I didn't want to back off to make a bigger gap because I didn't want to compromise the warm up of my tyres.
"The tyre compounds here are quite similar and we don't expect high degradation, but in the end, given the high temperatures, you never really know. I am very optimistic about scoring good points here in tomorrow's race."
Daniel Ricciardo: "This was a so-so qualifying. When you are fifteenth, you always think you could do a bit better. However, realistically, I don't think we could have got to Q3 today, so we have to settle for this as Senna is around three tenths in front and even putting my best sector times together, I don't believe it would have been good enough to match that. It's some consolation not being right at the back of the Q2 section and now there's the race to look forward to.
"It's not been a bad day and with the set-up we have chosen I think we could be in a strong position to overtake other cars tomorrow. With a good race pace and two DRS zones, it should make for an interesting afternoon. The first corner here is always a bit of a lottery and from this part of the grid I might be able to profit from any delays to those at the front."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "Honestly, I have not felt comfortable in the car most of the weekend as we never really found the best set-up. Actually, qualifying was the best of all the sessions so far. On top of that, I am to blame for a small mistake on my quick lap which cost me about two tenths, after I went over a bump just as I was changing gear. On the plus side, we have made a good step forward with the car since yesterday, which maybe does not show in the times as they are all so close."
Pastor Maldonado: "It wasn't the best day for our car today as we were struggling a bit for pace and then in the last Q2 lap I didn't quite put everything together. Everything is so close here though and it will be a tough race, but we've done a fair amount of testing on higher fuel so I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do."
Bruno Senna: "I think we are more competitive on the harder compound tyre because for some reason we didn't seem to pick up a lot of grip on the medium tyres, so we need to look into that further. We have the race pace and the track does allow for some overtaking so I think we could both have a chance of scoring points. It's very tight here at Monza but it's a long race. I'm looking forward to racing around this brilliant track."
Heikki Kovalainen: "A pretty straightforward qualifying for me today. The car's felt well balanced all day and even though we were ahead of one of the Lotus cars after the first run we knew it would be difficult to push into Q2. On the second set of tyres I wasn't quite able to get the most out of them so I think the time today is probably as much as I could have got out of it.
"Despite that the performance here is again much better than Spa and we're back to the sort of levels we expect. Now we need to push on from here, learn as much as we can about what went wrong in Belgium and make sure we have a good race on Sunday and then carry this pace through into Singapore."
Vitaly Petrov: "I've been happy with the car today and it's good that we've made clear improvements from FP1 to FP3. In qualifying I couldn't quite push as hard as I'd like - the brakes felt good in FP3 but in quali I couldn't attack into the braking zones as hard as I was able to in third practice so maybe that's where we lost a bit of laptime. Still, tomorrow's another day and we'll do the best we can to have a good race after having got back some way towards where we should be."
Pedro de la Rosa: "In all honesty today's qualifying session was average but the best thing was that the car performed better than in the morning. We improved our times but didn't manage to complete the perfect lap which is required at this circuit. We lacked a bit of maximum speed with the second set of tyres and I looked for some slipstream but it didn't work out and I wasn't able to put all three sectors together.
"That's how racing goes, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. Now we need to find the best strategy to gain some positions in tomorrow's race, but I'm confident because the car has a good pace and is consistent so, even though it's not easy to overtake, we will try until the end."
Narain Karthikeyan: "We've had very good sensations since yesterday and the car performed even better today with the set-up changes we made. The performance was better with the first set of tyres, as we faced some problems with the second set, but I'm happy with the result we achieved. We need to continue with this good standard tomorrow and try to beat our main rivals in the race."
Timo Glock: "In the morning we struggled a bit more than yesterday. The car balance was a little bit out and not the same as yesterday, but we tried some new stuff for qualifying and I was happy with the changes. In the first run I got a good tow because our downforce package is pretty efficient, but if you get a tow you gain quite a lot of top speed as well. On the second run, straight away I felt that the tyres were completely different in terms of traction and I wasn't able to get a tow.
"We were quite close to Petrov, so there is good reason to be positive, but the second set of tyres is normally quicker and the track is faster, so on that side it's a little frustrating. We need to analyse the data now and see what the problem is, so we can get the best out of the car tomorrow."
Charles Pic: "I think it was a good qualifying for me. I had some traffic on the first set of tyres, but things went better for me on the second set. We had to make a small change this morning which has perhaps cost us a little bit, but generally I'm happy with today and I think there is more to come tomorrow. We are closer to the cars ahead again, so another step - this time in qualifying, not just the race."