Driver reaction - U.S. qualy
The drivers have their say after qualifying in Austin
Last Updated: November 18, 2012 10:50am
The 24 drivers have their say on the first ever qualifying session at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas ahead of the United States GP.
Sebastian Vettel: "It's good to start from pole and be on the clean side of the grid. It was important to feel the car from the first session onwards, in order to get more out of it as the weekend developed - we can be happy with the result and look forward to tomorrow.
"The car feels great. In terms of the Championship, we need to focus on ourselves and try to get the best result that we can. If you're thinking about where the others are, then you don't get the optimum from yourself, and that's what we need to focus on. Our job is done today, but so far no one has scored any points."
Mark Webber: "We were all a bit concerned about the grip difference between the left and right hand side of the grid. We were able to make some practice starts after P3, which was important and made it a bit more even.
"The field wasn't that settled today during qualifying, but it's a tricky venue on tyres and that was the theme of the day. I'm happy to be third. The strategy for tomorrow looks reasonably straightforward, but it's the first time we will have raced here, so we need to stay on our toes and be flexible if needed."
Lewis Hamilton: "I came here this weekend to push almost beyond the limit - and that approach seemed to work in qualifying. I gave it everything.
"I did two consecutive quick-laps - and, on my second lap, having put in a 'banker', I didn't really have anything to lose, so I went almost over the limit, really on the edge, but the car still seemed to handle it well. On the final corner, I gained a little time on the entry but lost it on the exit. I got every corner perfect, I reckon, except for that last one.
"Looking ahead to tomorrow, Turn One is very wide and there'll be lots of opportunities for drivers to make or lose positions. My side of the grid will be a bit dirty, because it's off-line, so I hope the authorities will cleaning the circuit on that side of the track so that the drivers on the inside will have a chance to at least keep their positions at the start."
Jenson Button: "It was such a pity to be put out of the running so early into the qualifying session. We had a throttle pedal problem - the engineers don't yet know exactly what caused it - but I suffered a loss of drive out on the circuit. Fortunately, I got one decently quick lap in during Q2, which was good enough for P12, otherwise I'd have been starting much farther back.
"This circuit is such a fun place to drive around, but it's not going to be too easy to overtake. Going into Turn One at the start is also going to be tricky, particularly as I'll be starting so far back.
"Still, I really hope we can put on a great show for all the American fans - it's great to see so many people embracing the sport."
Fernando Alonso: "We never managed to put together the best lap, which on these tyres and with these track conditions is always the last one you do. We knew it would be a complicated weekend but clearly today we were too slow and we will start from too far back.
"Having said that, the accounts are always done at the end of the race: also in Abu Dhabi we were slower than our main rivals and then we got back three points in the classification. Our aim remains unchanged and it's still possible: on Sunday all sorts of things can happen.
"Reliability, strategy - it will be important to work out when is the best time to pit because here, the cold tyres can be slower by several seconds - and team work will be as usual important. The updates?
"We tried to find the best possible combination between all the parts we had available, as it's not always the case that the latest part is the best choice, especially when you are at a brand new track. We will push to the limit, as we have done since the start of the year at every race weekend."
Felipe Massa: "This qualifying was pretty much a lottery: the lucky number is always the last one! With this type of tyre on this asphalt one struggles to get the tyres up to temperature and one has to lap continuously before being able to set a good time.
"In Q2, we managed it, but in Q3 things did not go as well: it's never easy to do the perfect lap with so little grip. It will definitely not be an easy race for us, given the grid positions of our main rivals, but we must stay focused because all the same, tomorrow will be hard for everyone.
"We will have to do our utmost and then we will see how it goes. Starting from the dirty side of the track is definitely not helpful: it's the first time we're not happy about gaining a grid position!"
Michael Schumacher: "Qualifying was better than we expected, especially as we have struggled over the weekend and have worked hard to make progress and achieve such a solid job today. Qualifying in sixth place is a good and important position for us as a team. I had a good lap in Q3 and everything felt right with the car so we were able to maximise the potential.
"It will make a big difference here whether you start from the clean or dirty side of the grid, so gaining an extra place due to Grosjean's penalty was a nice surprise. The car looks reasonably consistent for the race and I would like to achieve the maximum result possible tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg: "I ran our old exhaust system in qualifying today as part of our evaluation programme for next year. We had already used it yesterday and made the decision to continue for the rest of the weekend to help with the learning process. The car felt good this morning in the cool temperatures but the difference to Michael's car surprised me this afternoon. So I hope that the race pace is better tomorrow and the switch will be worth it. I will definitely push to score points."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I was actually expecting a more difficult qualifying session today, but the car was the best it's felt all weekend so it turned out to be quite good. The set-up is still not exactly how I want it but it's much closer. The warmer conditions make the car work much better and that certainly makes a difference. Starting on the dirty side of the grid maybe isn't the best; we'll have to hope that the circuit picks up a little more grip for the race tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "I will start P9, but this is racing. The guys did an awesome job to change the gearbox between FP3 and Qualifying - which was a really tight turnaround - but we're still in the top ten even with the penalty so that's a good result. Apart from the gearbox problem, it's all gone very well today. We've understood a difficult and evolving circuit and found a good set-up. I'm happy to be where I am and at least I will be on the good side of the track for the start tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: "We have lost a lot of performance compared to this morning's practice session and at the moment we don't really know why. The track temperature increased a lot, but for me the tyre warm up still wasn't any better. My car tended to oversteer quite a lot in qualifying. Perhaps we did not follow the way the track conditions developed in the right direction. I want to thank all the people in the grandstands and especially all the Mexicans, who sacrificed time and money to travel to Austin and bought tickets.
"In my country you always go with your entire family and I know this is not easy to do because it is an expensive trip. I wish I could have done better today, but I will do my very best to give all these people a good race tomorrow. For sure I will fight for points however difficult this might be."
Kamui Kobayashi: "Without doubt the result is disappointing for us because after free practice we were expecting a better qualifying. I found the warm up of the tyres easier this afternoon, but still I could not find the peak performance for the tyres. I just don't know yet why this was. Tomorrow in the race it should be less of a problem to get the tyres to work, but obviously our grid positions will make it difficult to put in a good result."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I think the team has worked well so far this weekend to produce a car that seems a bit more competitive than in the past few races. It doesn't mean much that I beat my team-mate today, because he had some difficulties in the first session. Maybe I could have got a bit more out of the car this afternoon, perhaps found a couple of tenths.
"After going over the kerbs and damaging the suspension this morning, I obviously lost some track time and without that, I might have had a better understanding of the tyres. However, as I said before, the car feels good, there are plenty of overtaking opportunities here so my plan tomorrow is to go hunting for some more points."
Daniel Ricciardo: "That was a difficult and frustrating session for me. We knew it would take a long time for the tyres to come in, especially as the asphalt is still so slippery. We never really got them to work properly as I got stuck in traffic in the early part and then came the yellow flags when I was about to try for my last two laps. It meant I never got a clean run.
"This is one of my worst qualifying performances of the season, the first time I haven't made it to Q2 for seven races, so I just want to put it behind me now and aim to have a better Sunday, which should be entirely within our capabilities."
Pastor Maldonado: "The performance wasn't there yesterday so today was much better for us. Unfortunately in Q3 the grip wasn't there, as it was difficult to get the tyres working correctly. It's important we are in the top ten for tomorrow though. We have a good car so we are looking to get more points tomorrow in what looks set to be a good race. All around the track are Venezuelan flags and there is a lot of support here for me as it's so close to my home, so hopefully that will help give me an extra boost tomorrow!"
Bruno Senna: "Unfortunately I made a small mistake on my best lap in Q2, running a bit wide on Turn 19 and then having dirty tyres which cost me about half a second and a place in Q3 for sure. It's frustrating but we are able to score good points from where we are. We have a good car and we looked competitive in our race simulation in practice yesterday, so I'm really looking forward to the race. It's a track we are all attacking and it's important to keep pushing."
Heikki Kovalainen: "We underperformed today, it's really that simple. We went with a plan that didn't work and unfortunately both Vitaly and I weren't able to get enough heat into the tyres to get the best out of them, or manage the traffic well enough to get a clean lap in. Tomorrow's another day so now we need to regroup and have a better performance in the race than we did today."
Vitaly Petrov: "Quali obviously didn't go how we wanted it to. I had traffic issues on every lap and wasn't able to put a clean lap together, but even without that we've struggled with the tyres here all weekend and that showed today. It was bad timing for us that the HRT stopped on track just when Heikki and I were on our quickest laps and having been stuck behind them, but you can't plan for that so we need to put today behind us and hopefully we'll be better tomorrow."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It was not easy and still not perfect but I knew that it would be a lot better than yesterday and this morning on my out lap. I could already feel the tyres switching on. We struggled with bringing them up to temperature all weekend and finally in qualifying we managed. Both because the temperature of the asphalt picked up and we improved the the balance of the car, but grip level is still pretty low.
"It felt good and hopefully it will be like this tomorrow for the race but at this track we are still far from our direct competitors. In any case, we will do our best tomorrow and fight until the end."
Narain Karthikeyan: "Driving was quite challenging in the morning because it was difficult to bring the tyres up to temperature. But things improved a lot in the afternoon with a much warmer track. The tyres and the car performed much better and we managed to put in a few good laps. I think we could still have improved on the last laps but the car suddenly stopped. We had a problem with the fuel pick up that we are now looking into it but we don't expect it to be a problem for tomorrow's race."
Timo Glock: "Another good day today. I think we concentrated on the right things, although it was a challenge through FP3 to get to that point as it is hard to put a good single lap together here. In qualifying I thought I had a strong lap and the tyres were really coming in, but towards the end I had a bit of wheel lift and the rear felt a bit strange. I think we could have gone quicker because the tyres were improving so much lap by lap, but because of the yellow flags there was no chance for more improvement.
"However, we are almost 0.8s ahead of the Caterhams and we have to be very pleased with that. This is great development from the team and although it seems like we remind everyone every race just now, we've managed all that without the advantage of KERS and that is a significant point. I'm very excited for the race and I hope we can continue the good work."
Charles Pic: "It was a good qualifying session and the most important thing is that we got both our cars ahead of both Caterhams. Looking at the detail though, I missed some important track time this morning because of the incident with Perez and we were not able to get a good feel for the car by the end of FP3. There was more to come for qualifying for sure and then towards the end of Q1 we hit some traffic.
"Overall, despite not having fully optimised our package, I am pleased with where we ended up. It is a fantastic result for the team and to keep moving forward like this with each new race is very positive. Now we will focus on the race and take time tonight to consider the best way to play things to bring us a good result. My thanks to the whole team for such a great job."