Driver reaction - Brazil qualy
The drivers have their say on the final qualifying session of the year
Last Updated: 25/11/12 1:45pm
The 24 drivers give their views on the final qualifying session of the season as they prepare the season finale at Interlagos.
Mark Webber: "We got the most out of that, but it was disappointing not to get onto the front row. I thought the lap would be enough, but we were a tenth off; it's always tight here in qualifying. In the last race of the season it would have been good to get pole, but fair play to McLaren. We don't know what the weather will do tomorrow, and if all of the race laps will be on intermediate or wet tyres - we need to plan that some might be on slicks too. You never know what will happen here with the weather."
Sebastian Vettel: "Q2 was good for us, but I made a mistake on the first lap of Q3 in Turn 4. I was happier with the second lap in Q3, but it wasn't quick enough. I could have done a little bit more, so I'm keen to see the data when I get back and see where I could have improved. We're in good shape and have been quick all weekend, so let's see what we can do in the race - we will try to do our best."
Lewis Hamilton: "Pole! What a great feeling! It's been a fantastic weekend so far. We don't yet know for certain what the weather conditions will be like tomorrow, but I hope that both Jenson and I will be able to push for victory.
"I've usually started from fourth grid position at Interlagos, and it hasn't always given me much success. Before qualifying, I told Martin [Whitmarsh] that I really didn't want to start fourth this time. All in all, I'm very proud and happy that I got pole.
"Jenson and I are in the best possible starting positions for tomorrow. However, if it's wet, the lead car is the always the first to aquaplane or hit the puddles, so, even if we both get good starts, we'll still need to be cautious. Equally, however, I don't want to drop back at the start because it would then be very difficult to see in all the spray.
"We haven't had a one-two in a race for quite a long time [Canada 2010], so it would be a great positive for the team if we could achieve it tomorrow. It would be my perfect farewell, in fact."
Jenson Button: "It's great for us to both be on the front row, especially as it's Lewis's last grand prix for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. Our car is working very well. I was just half-a-tenth away from pole, and I reckon we both drove very good laps.
"So, yes, I'm happy with qualifying. From the front row, you always hope you're going to drive a calm and orderly race - but it looks like it's going to rain tomorrow, so that may make things rather less predictable.
"This race is important for us. Obviously, we're out of contention for the world championships, but this weekend's and last weekend's performances are very encouraging for next year, which will become our focus immediately after tomorrow's race."
Fernando Alonso: "I'm not surprised at this position, because it's not as though we can expect a revolution in performance terms in the space of a week. I think I did a good qualifying and, given how the last few races have gone, my chances of making it to the podium are still intact. That will be my objective because I know that, at least under normal circumstances, we are not in with a chance of fighting for the win.
"I also know that, if I am to have any hopes for the title, it's more plausible to count on a retirement for Vettel rather than for him to finish in a position where I can get ahead of him in the classification. Obviously, I am therefore hoping for a chaotic race and so the rain could be an important factor even if, in the wet, it is riskier for everyone. The car is not particularly set up for the wet, as it's not like it used to be.
"Felipe in front of me? He did a great qualifying, above the norm, so it's to be expected. It's almost a miracle to have arrived at the last race still in the fight for the title: under normal circumstances I think we would have said goodbye to our chances back in Monza or Singapore. However, here we are, still in the game and we are definitely not going to surrender today."
Felipe Massa: "It was a good qualifying: in Q3 I did a perfect lap, the most I could do with what I had. McLaren and Red Bull are quicker than us, but I am very pleased with the balance of my car. Now we must stay focused on the race, which will be anything but easy. Rain is expected and so anything can happen. In these conditions, just making it to the finish will be an achievement.
"Surprised at my position? Maybe some people might think I've just learned to drive at the age of thirty one, but joking apart, this is a result of the fact that from the mid-season onwards I have found myself ever more comfortable with the car and I have confidence in it to push hard. My approach to this race will be very simple: I will try to do my utmost for my home crowd and for Ferrari. I have a great car, even if it's not the quickest in qualifying, but it is competitive in the race."
Nico Rosberg: "To progress into Q3 and the top 10 in qualifying today was a reasonable achievement for us. Our car set-up was a little compromised due to the race conditions expected tomorrow so we should be in better shape then. You can't change anything after qualifying so I hope we are well prepared and that we have chance to score some good points tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher: "For obvious reasons, I am not particularly happy about the qualifying session today. We might have compromised the car too much for the rain which is expected for tomorrow and was also forecast for qualifying.
"When the drops came down just before, it looked even more likely. Anyway, my starting position is now quite tricky, and I will have to see what we can make out of it tomorrow. Of course, coming from where I am does not make it easy, but I will definitely try to fight my way up the field."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Of course we expect to do better but it's been a tricky weekend. If I could have just done a few laps this morning it would have made things much easier, but after the engine problem I couldn't complete any running and with the different temperatures from yesterday it was hard to know what would be the best setup. So I guess it was good to get into Q3 after all the issues; it means we got something out of today when it could have been even worse."
Romain Grosjean: "Unfortunately there's not much to say. I stayed behind Pedro [de la Rosa] during his flying lap to not disturb his time, but then when we got to the straight I tried to get past and he just didn't see me. I braked as much as I could but it was too late; he moved across, there was contact which broke my front wing and that was my afternoon ruined.
"To be honest I'm pretty upset about it; of course, every driver is out there fighting for position but pulling that kind of move when the car behind is clearly faster is just pointless. The car felt very good this morning and we should have been fighting for the top five not struggling to get into Q2. There's a lot of work to do now to get close to where we should be, but we know the pace is there so hopefully we can still bring home some good points."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was an entertaining qualifying hour and it actually reminded me of 2010 with the rain shower just before the session. The track dried up quite quickly and the car felt good - we definitely improved it more between practice and qualifying. So seventh place is not too bad and is probably about what we were expecting.
"For tomorrow we are in good shape: I've got quite a neutral set-up so we can cope with whatever weather we get. It's always a tough race, quite physical, and there are some fast cars around us, but we should have the pace to race strongly."
Paul di Resta: "I was very happy with the car this morning and so we didn't change anything before qualifying. However, the track went away from us during qualifying, probably because of the rain shower, and I didn't feel quite as comfortable as this morning. Q1 was quite straightforward and we looked strong in Q2, but my quickest lap was compromised slightly by traffic with Kobayashi recovering onto the track.
"I think that made the difference between making the top ten. I tried to do another lap, but I had used the best of the tyres. I think P11 still puts in a reasonable position to do something tomorrow. We have the choice on tyres, but obviously it depends on what the weather does."
Sergio Perez: "My fastest lap was really okay and, therefore, I think our position pretty much reflects what is possible with the car. When the track was damp at the beginning of qualifying we were quite competitive. But later when it was completely dry we lost positions. Nevertheless I still hope to get a good result tomorrow in what will be my final race for Sauber."
Kamui Kobayashi: "My fastest lap wasn't a perfect one because the warm up of the tyres wasn't perfect. I lost a bit of the tyres' potential there. I think in damp conditions we would have had a chance to make Q3, but not on a dry track. I actually hope we will get some rain for tomorrow's race and so make the right calls then."
Daniel Ricciardo: "Today, we ran at more or less the same pace we had since the start of Friday. When the rain came just at the start, I was hoping it would stay, as I feel we have a better chance in the wet. In fact, given the forecast, that's the reason, I've opted for a set-up that will favour those conditions tomorrow. This afternoon was mostly a battle with my team-mate and I don't think I could have got any further up the order. If our bet pays off and it does rain, then we can definitely fight for some points tomorrow."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "It wasn't too bad, given that I had struggled to find the best set-up since yesterday. In qualifying, the car was the best it has been all weekend. Maybe I could have been a tiny bit faster, even if I did not make any mistakes, but probably not enough to improve my position. Our car definitely felt better when the track conditions were cooler, which is encouraging for tomorrow when we can expect it to be even cooler and wet at times. I feel we can have a good race tomorrow and be opportunistic if the rain comes. We will try everything, we have nothing to lose and I want to finish my first season with a good result."
Pastor Maldonado: "I'm happy with the qualifying result today. Q1 was a bit close at the end because of the traffic, but the car felt good. It was very consistent and quick which meant we were able to push hard in the top 10. We have continued the form from the last few races, so things are looking good for the team in this race."
Bruno Senna: "We were optimistic of getting into Q3 today, but unfortunately as the weather got hotter it wasn't the best conditions for the car, and we were doing slower lap times than this morning's practice session. We made a few decisions before qualifying based on the fact that we were expecting the track to be a bit cooler, but ultimately that wasn't the case. P12 isn't a bad position to start in at Interlagos though, so we're in a good position to score points tomorrow."
Heikki Kovalainen: "At the start of qualifying it was quite tricky as there was some standing water on track in the first couple of laps and even though the grip levels improved there was still less grip than in FP3. In the end the times kept coming down and maybe we had a chance to get into Q2, but we can be reasonably happy with how it finished.
"On my final lap I made a couple of small mistakes, but apart from that I was close to getting as much as I could out of the car so now we move on to tomorrow. The race is going to be really tight - if the forecasts are right it will be pretty tense out there but we know what to do and we're looking forward to it."
Vitaly Petrov: "I'm very pleased with the result today. It wasn't quite enough to get into Q2 but in the conditions today I think we can be happy with where we ended up. On the first couple of laps turn four was completely wet so I had to make sure we could maintain tyre temperatures and keep pushing throughout the whole lap until the dry line appeared and in the end it paid off.
"Tomorrow's going to be really interesting - we showed yesterday and today that the gap to the cars ahead is a bit closer here than it has been in recent races and the way the weather's been shifting around means anything can happen in the race. I'm looking forward to it - whatever happens it's going to be really good for the fans and I hope we can end the season positively."
Pedro de la Rosa: "The track was damp when we went out but we decided to go for the dry strategy because the dry line would come up pretty quickly. The first laps were a bit tricky but it improved a lot towards the end. However, I'm not happy with how qualifying ended. Our car was competitive and we certainly could have done better but I was on a flying lap when I was hit by another car.
"It was a dangerous manoeuvre because I couldn't move aside given the track conditions. As a consequence of the impact, the rear suspension bent and also punctured the rear tyre. I went back in for a new set of mediums and fortunately managed to put in one more lap improving my time. I really hope the car is not badly damaged because the race is tomorrow and I want to be able to do my best here in order to finish the season on a good note."
Narain Karthikeyan: "This morning we did a good job with the car and the fact that the track temperature was lower than yesterday also helped in reducing the tyre degradation. But before qualifying it started raining and we were not sure whether to go out on intermediate tyres or slicks.
"Even though the track was still damp, we finally decided to go out on the slicks and, although it was difficult at the beginning, it was the right thing to do. We struggled to generate enough tyre temperature but I am quite satisfied of how it went overall. For tomorrow, I would prefer the race to be a wet one but whatever the conditions will be, we'll try our best as we have always done."
Timo Glock: "It was quite an unusual qualifying today, but very good fun. In the first couple of laps, when it was very slippery out on track in a couple of corners, I simply made the most of it and was quicker than the guys around me. We came in for a fresh set of tyres, by which time the track was drying out quite a lot. On my second run I struggled with the first couple of laps but my third was good and I got a reasonable lap together.
"There was only so much we could do versus the cars we are fighting with as their KERS advantage up the hill was obvious, so with that in mind we have to be pleased with how well we performed relative to them. Unfortunately we ran out of time to complete one more lap, which I'm sure would have seen us keep improving. As for tomorrow, bit of an unknown because of the weather and how the car will perform in those conditions. It should be a very exciting day for the fans though."
Charles Pic: "This is another new track for me and I was happy with our pace in P3 this morning. Unfortunately the track conditions changed a lot for qualifying and the circuit was quite wet in some corners and completely dry in others. This experience was useful and I have learned a lot from it, which will help for the future. For tomorrow the weather looks uncertain so it will be quite challenging."