2010 Hungarian Grand Prix: Saturday News Round-up

Cypher has announced that it has withdrawn its bid to become the thirteenth team in 2011.

The American-based outfit announced on Friday night that it did not have a sufficent budget to enter next season, but would be aiming to break into the sport in future.

“We remain completely committed to developing a credible and viable Formula 1 team and were able to raise a considerable amount of sponsorship and interest in recent months,” said the group in a statement.

“However after much deliberation we have decided that the budget we have is not sufficient to allow us to pursue the project in a manner befitting the series.

“It was not an easy decision, but one made out of respect for the FIA Formula One World Championship and our loyal supporters.”

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton believes that the upcoming summer break may prove detrimental to the team’s title bid.

Under the terms of the break, team will not be able to work on their cars in the run up to August’s Belgian Grand Prix.

As a result, the world championship leader fears that the team will not be able to make a significant jump in performance, to close on Red Bull and Ferrari.

“It is a concern but there is nothing we can do about it, so I just have focus on doing the best job I have with what I have,” Hamilton told Autosport. “There is nothing I can do.

“Everything shuts down; they [Red Bull Racing and Ferrari] are in a good position where they have a good car already. They will come back and the car is still the same, whereas we would love to improve the car.”

In other news, Kamui Kobayashi has been a five-place grid penalty ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Following his exit from Q1, the Sauber driver had been scheduled to take to the FIA’s garage to be weighted.

However the Japanese star ignored the red light, designated at the entrance to the pit lane, and instead continued to his own garage.

Finally, Virgin’s Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock, HRT’s Sakon Yamamoto and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov have all received reprimands for failing to stay below the maximum delta lap time set by the FIA’s ECU, during Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

Autosport reports that all four drivers failed to make it back to the pits in a time under one minute and twenty-six seconds.

According to the rule, introduced this year to prevent drivers coasting back to the pits: “drivers must stay below the maximum time set by the FIA between the safety car line after the pit exit and Safety Car line before the pit entry.”

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix: Post-qualifying Press Conference

Following his superb pole position, Sebastian Vettel faced the world’s media infront of team-mate Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

DRIVERS:
1. Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull), 1m18.773s
2. Mark WEBBER (Red Bull), 1m19.184s
3. Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari), 1m19.987s


TV UNILATERALS

Q: Sebastian, 100th grand prix for Red Bull Racing. A front row lock-out and a commanding performance from yourself in qualifying.
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it was a very good day for us. All weekend here we felt very comfortable, from the first practice session onwards with the car. I think we were able to improve it again another bit overnight. I said on the radio to the boys ‘this is your moment.’ Mark and myself were pushing hard to finish first and second but I said ‘it is your moment, enjoy, you built this wonderful car.’ It was a pleasure to drive yesterday and even more so today, so looking forward to tomorrow. Quite a difficult session. I didn’t have a very smooth run in Q2 with the options. I didn’t feel 100 percent, but there is not much you can do with the car. Little trims, but it worked quite well. I had a lot of confidence in Q3 and I was able to go quite a bit quicker, so overall a very good step and I am happy again to be on pole. I think every Saturday and Sunday is special, so being on pole also means a lot for us, for the team, for myself and hopefully we will have a good start tomorrow and then we should have a great race.

Q:  What is the performance advantage this Red Bull car is giving you? Where is the secret? Where are you finding the time on this track?
SV: Well, I think it is probably as well hidden as we were all asking ourselves where Ferrari found the time last week in Hockenheim. I think this circuit suits us. Traditionally it is a very difficult circuit for the car as the car is very nervous, the track is very bumpy and it is not easy to get it right. You need to know the track but also you need to have the car and I think this weekend so far has been very good for us. The track suits us, suits our car, therefore we are a little bit quicker than the rest. It is a difficult day tomorrow, the main challenge. No points on Saturday as usual but for now it is the best we could do on Saturday, so we can be proud of ourselves and can go to sleep well tonight.

Q: Mark, so close between yourself and Sebastian until we came to Q3. What happened?
Mark WEBBER: I did my best. Probably not the cleanest lap in the first one, but that’s the way it goes. Seb deserves pole today. It was a good lap, 18.7. For sure there was a bit more change there for both of us but in the end it came down to who got the lap and it wasn’t my day today. I am on the front row tomorrow. Still a great place to start the race. The guys have done a phenomenal job all weekend, so look forward to the race tomorrow.

Q: How difficult is it from a driver’s perspective knowing that the team has a performance advantage but you have got a guy on the other side of the garage that could be the one that nicks pole from you?
MW: Well, it was pretty similar to Barcelona here. We knew that it was probably going to be between both of us. There wasn’t maybe a chance for the other guys to have a crack at us today, so we knew that it was going to be pretty tight between us like it was in Barcelona. Whoever did the quickest lap out of us two was probably going to get pole.

Q: Looking forward to the start of the race?
MW: Yeah, can only go forwards.

Q: Fernando, Ferrari chasing the Red Bull and really the best of the rest this weekend.
Fernando ALONSO: I think we found a big gap between Red Bull and us this weekend already from yesterday’s practice. I think we maximised our potential today. We did our job which is as you said to be the best of the rest. Congratulate Red Bull. I think they dominate so far the weekend and they deserve this first row, so hopefully tomorrow we can make it a difficult race for them, as so far this weekend it has been too easy.

Q: How do you maximise your potential for tomorrow’s race? Is it all about your start?
FA:
The start we know is important. We know Hungary. The track is very difficult to overtake. We know strategy will be important as well. The start, first corner, first lap will be 60 per cent or 70 per cent of the final result, so hopefully we can do a good start as we did in Hockenheim last week and try to overtake positions and try to fight a little bit.

Q: Sebastian, you have got Fernando just behind you. You have Mark alongside you on the front row. How do you play the start? Which way are you going to go?
SV: Ideally, I just go straight. You can make up all scenarios but in the end it comes differently but I think we found the problem from last weekend where we had a bad start and therefore I had to decide which side to go to. I am confident I will have a normal start and a normal start for us so far meant that we had a good start and we were at least able to defend the position. Usually in Hungary it is quite important to be on the clean side. I was second last year, Fernando was on pole and I think if I had been on the clean side it would have been a different race. But that’s Hungary. It is very difficult to pass here, so for sure the start is important as well as turn one. But there are a couple of laps following, 70 laps is quite a difficult track for the car, for the drivers, so it will be an exciting race tomorrow.


PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Sebastian, an extraordinary margin over your team-mate and the rest of the field. What’s the secret?
SV: I don’t think there is any secret. If you look at yesterday I think we were in good shape. We didn’t know how good but we knew that we definitely can put the cars in the first row. If you look one week back all the cars haven’t changed a lot. If you look one week back I think we were probably racing on a track that suited the Ferrari car quite well, so over a period of two weeks they did a massive step. Everyone was wondering how and why. Somehow this week it seems that the track suits us very, very well this year. Maybe now you have the same people wondering what has happened to us. I can assure you there is no secret. We have been working hard since Hockenheim, trying to clean up the table and approach the weekend trying to be on top of our game. I think we were and in the end it converted to a very, very smooth Friday and a good Saturday. Happy to be on pole. I think it has been close all weekend between us, Mark and myself, so it is good to be on pole on Saturday. I think we have been there a couple of times this year. But I am confident for tomorrow that we have a very good chance to win, so I am happy.

Q: It hasn’t been a particularly good circuit for you in the past though.
SV: Yeah, the circuit is quite a tricky one. It’s probably like a woman alongside you who doesn’t behave well. It’s not always easy to get around here. The bumps are quite harsh and the car is very nervous. It tends to move a lot. I think the main thing if I look back, the races I had here, is to have the confidence. Of course you need the car but you need to have the confidence as well, because then you just brake five metres later and you’re five to ten kph quicker at the apex and it just works. I think last year we had a good race here, a good car, unfortunately not sorry, not a very good race, but we had a good car. Mark did the fastest lap and this year again we seem to like this track. Traditionally you need a lot of downforce and I think we have got some, so it’s good for us.

Q: What did you learn from this morning’s session to this afternoon because Mark was substantially quicker this morning and yet you seem to have turned it around this afternoon?
SV: I didn’t have a clean lap this morning, I had lots of traffic, so it was difficult to get a lap together and Mark was a bit quicker. That’s it. I was happy with the car but I think the fine adjustment was not yet there. Also, at the beginning of qualifying the car was moving a bit too much and as I said, around here you need the confidence over the bumps, over the kerbs. And then I think we made the right step from this morning to this afternoon. There are no secrets, but it’s playing around a little bit with the front wing, with the diff and with tyre pressures. As I’ve said before, sometimes the effect is very, very big. Sometimes you find two or three tenths by tuning the tyre pressures. To find something that improves the car by three tenths is very difficult. The tyres are black gold, or one of the most important factors and I think we did a good job this afternoon, as simple as that.

Q: Mark, do you feel you could have done a 1m 18.7s?
SV: It was a good lap from Seb but, as he touched on, it’s all about getting the tyres ready and getting everything in shape for that one lap. I wasn’t quick enough today, I didn’t get it together for those two laps. I don’t know how Seb’s second lap went but obviously his first lap was very good. Yeah, we could have done better of course but we didn’t, so we deserve to be second and not first.

Q: In fact neither of you improved on your second, so it fizzled out as a session. Was there a track condition reason for that, do you think?
MW: I didn’t have the best sort of preparation to start my lap. I obviously had Lewis and I think Kubica was starting/finishing his lap, so you’ve got to get everything right, the tyres, everything needs to be ready to put together three perfect sectors here. The second lap was not easy to get right, so that’s why.

Q: This is actually not a bad circuit for you; it’s actually a better circuit for you than it is for your team-mate. You’ve finished seven out of eight races here. What are your feelings about it?
MW: Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting start, then after that, we know with these regulations the race can be interesting in terms of trying to stay awake. But let’s see how the start goes and then after that we will try and stay awake.

Q: Fernando, you really had quite a lot of work to do from yesterday to today, as far as we could see from your comments from yesterday. Was there a lot of analysing, the blown diffuser, a lot of set-up work to be done?
FA: Yeah, I think yesterday, as usual, we tried to use free practice one and free practice two to get some data, to try new components  on the car, some for this race, some for future races, and try to see if they work. Then on Saturday morning we normally put everything in place. We put the car in the best condition we can and we see where we are. I think the difference we had yesterday to Red Bull was too big to improve overnight. This morning we checked this as well and we saw that they were dominant this weekend and untouchable. Again, the race is tomorrow. As Sebastian said now, I think many times on Saturday there are some results that on Sunday are difficult to repeat, so we will see tomorrow if we can do a good race, finish on the podium and I think our job today was to maximise the car, to be third which is maybe the best position we could do and I’m still happy, with the lap, with the car and I really felt good grip and good performance in the car, obviously not at the level of Red Bull but enough to be the best of the rest.

Q: Somebody said last weekend that the dirty side here is probably the dirtiest of the season, so do you feel that you have a good chance of slotting into second tomorrow?
FA:
We will see. I think it basically depends on how the start is. I think we know that the dirty side here is quite bad, maybe the worst of the calendar but at the same we’ve had some good starts this year starting on the dirty side, and some bad starts starting on the clean side. I think it will be down to the start and how things go when the red light goes off but no doubt that we will have a good chance tomorrow to overtake cars at the start.


QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Paulo Ianieri La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, 1.2 seconds. Is it as big as you could have expected or does it comes as a surprise?
FA: Surprise, no doubt. I think four or five days ago we were winning the race in Hockenheim and Ferrari was the quickest car there on Sunday. Six days later we are 1.2 seconds behind, so it’s a surprise, no doubt, but as I said, I’m still happy with the car performance, there was nothing wrong with it. We will maximise our potential and it’s 1.2 seconds to me but two seconds for fifth or sixth position, so I think there are people who are more worried than us.

Q: (Peter Farkas Auto Motor) Lap times have been amazingly quick here this year, much quicker than last year. Do you have an explanation for that?
SV: I think first of all, if you compare the cars and the lap times we did last year, if you compare this year’s cars to last year’s cars, they are built around the double diffuser. Last year, some cars had the double diffuser and other cars then adapted it, so it was different. For this year, I think everyone knew what the regulations would be. Yeah, then like Fernando said, especially if you look at Q3 times, we don’t do it with fuel anymore, so of course they will be quite a bit faster. In the end, you need the conditions, you need the right weather. I think the circuit was exceptionally clean from Friday onwards. Usually, in Hungary, you see the track improvement is massive, so I think these are the main reasons.

Q: (Alvaro Faes La Nueva Espana) Fernando, what racing strategy will you use tomorrow? Will you be defensive to keep the McLarens away from you, or will you attack to try to overtake at least one of the Red Bulls or both?
FA: I think we will see. As we said now, the start will be an important part of the race, first corner, but there is nothing you can plan. It will depend on how the car starts tomorrow afternoon. Sometimes we did some very good starts, sometimes not so good, so fingers crossed tomorrow it is one of the good ones. But I will be happy to be on the podium. There is no doubt. I think that knowing how the weekend has gone so far, winning the race would be a dream, but we need to be realistic, we need to know that there are two cars much quicker than us, so at the moment we deserve third position in qualifying, and theoretically we deserve third position in the race, so we will see what we can do. At the moment, the McLaren drivers are leading the (Drivers’) championship and the McLaren team is leading the Constructors’, so we need to take points and reduce the gap to them. Once the Red Bulls are leading the championship, if they do so, we will see what we can do, but at the moment hopefully we need to keep taking points from McLaren.

Q: (Paulo Ianieri La Gazzetta dello Sport) Yesterday you said that you were worried about qualifying pace, and not so much for the race pace. Are you still confident that should you be able to be second after the first turn, this could be the only chance to try to win the race?
FA: I think it’s something we need to check tomorrow as well. Sometimes on Saturday we’ve been not close enough to Red Bull to fight for pole positions and then on Sunday we are much closer on race pace. This was the case when we were three or four tenths away from pole position. Today we are 1.2 seconds, so even if tomorrow we have a better race pace, it may still not be enough to fight for victory but we will see. Anything can happen. There is a 70 lap race, a very demanding circuit for drivers, for gearboxes, engines, brakes. It is not an easy circuit. We’ve seen very interesting races here in Hungary, so we will fight until the chequered flag.

Q: (Carlos Miquel Diario AS) Mark, is your car exactly the same as Vettel’s?
MW: Yup.

Vettel: This is the team’s moment

Sebastian Vettel heaped praise on his Red Bull Racing team, after snatching his sixth pole in twelve races in Hungary.

The Milton Keynes-based team completely dominated the qualifying hour at the Hungaroring, with both of its drivers locking out the front row of the grid.

Although Vettel’s lap time was nearly half a second ahead of anyone else, the battle for pole may well have been closer had Mark Webber not made a number of errors on his two final qualifying runs.

Sebastian Vettel – 1st: “It was a very good day for us. We have felt comfortable all weekend and I think we were able to improve overnight also. I said on the radio to the team on my in-lap, “Mark and I were pushing hard to finish first and second, but this is your moment, enjoy it – you built this wonderful car’. It’s a pleasure to drive and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It was quite a difficult session today. I didn’t have a good run in Q2 on the option tyre and didn’t feel 100 percent. There’s not really much you can do to the car between Q2 and Q3, just little trims, but it worked quite well and I had a lot of confidence in Q3. I was able to go quite a bit quicker, so it was a good step. I’m happy to be on pole; hopefully we have a good start tomorrow and a good race.”

Mark Webber – 2nd: “Sebastian did a good job. We have pushed each other most of the weekend, but he put Q3 together well. The tyres are the gold thing around here you need to get them just right, understand them and then nail the lap, they can be pretty sensitive at times. We’ll see how we go tomorrow, it’s a long race and I’m in a good position to get some good points. The first three seconds of the race can be crucial and can deliver 70 per cent of the result.”

Christian Horner: “It was a fantastic team performance today. The team and both drivers did a fantastic job to secure a dominant front row lock out. Grid position is very important here, it’s also one of the longest runs to the first corner, so we’re starting the Grand Prix in the best possible positions. Hopefully we can have a successful race tomorrow.”

(Renault) Fabrice Lom: “Our eleventh pole position. We really have a quick car this year and have been such a strong force on Saturdays. We have to build on this performance tomorrow and take advantage to score the maximum points tomorrow. It’s not a difficult track for engines here and power is not the most important factor I hope we convert this to a one / two result.”

Alonso: Ferrari can’t be distracted by Red Bull’s pace

Fernando Alonso was pleased with his qualifying effort, despite having no answer for the pace of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

The Spaniard will start third on the grid for tomorrow’s race – the only man other than the Red Bull duo to break into the one minute- nineteen second bracket.

Although the Spaniard was surprised by the pace of the RB6, he believes that this can not deter the team from aiming to claw back points in the championship race.

Team-mate Felipe Massa will line up alongside Alonso in fourth – albeit on the dirty side of the track.

Fernando Alonso – 3rd: “I am pleased with my qualifying lap and with the performance of our car, as I don’t think I could have done better today. The Red Bulls proved to be very strong and the gap to them is certainly a surprise. Having said that, we have to remain focussed on our work and try to do the maximum, aiming at getting on the podium. We must bear in mind that the leaders in both championships are behind us on the grid and our aim is to make up ground on their points total. The start will be very important. Usually at this track, starting on the clean side brings a clear advantage, but this year we have seen good starts from the dirty side and bad ones from the clean: it will be vital to do everything as well as possible and then we will see where we are at the end of the first lap. At that point we can also decide whether to have an attacking race or to manage the situation. The circuit is very demanding for cars and drivers and you must not lose concentration for a moment.”

Felipe Massa – 4th: “When you are gapped by over a second in qualifying, there is always something to think about: the way in which they make their tyres work on the first lap is especially incredible and their aerodynamics help them so much in some corners, especially in changes of direction. In the race, the situation can be different, but clearly we cannot claim that we will be quicker on track. However, overall, we have to be pleased with this result because, all the same, we are ahead of everyone else. I did not produce a perfect lap: with these tyres you have to drive extremely precisely because you can easily run the risk of going off the ideal line. The start will be very important and, unfortunately, I am on the dirty side of the grid: let’s see what we can do. The race will be very long and as always, anything can happen. What did I feel today, thinking of events one year ago? During qualifying, I did not think about it for a moment, as I had too much to do in the car, but now, I can tell you it’s a nice feeling being here having completed qualifying! Today, Professor Robert Veres was in our garage, one of the doctors who looked after me when I was in the AEK hospital and I was very pleased to have him here with me.”

Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, we wish to offer our respects, along with all Italian sport, for the recent death of two Italian soldiers in Afghanistan, where they were part of a peace-keeping mission, representing our country abroad with honour. We are pleased with this result because it is the most we could reasonably have expected from this qualifying session. Certainly the gap to the top is very significant and it’s incredible to see how the picture can change in the space of one week: from a gap of two thousandths, we have gone to 1″2 seconds on the same tyres and with almost identical cars to those raced in Germany. Probably, we were not that close in Hockenheim and we are not that far off here: as they said in Ancient Rome, ‘in medio stat virtus.’ I wish to congratulate both our drivers who got the very most out of the car’s potential. Now we must concentrate on the race which will be very long and tough, both in terms of reliability and for the drivers: here the slightest mistake carries a high price. Our aim is to try and make up as much ground as possible in both championships.”

Chris Dyer: “A good job from both our drivers who today were able to extract all the potential available to them from the car. Honestly, I do not think we could have aspired to a better result: we definitely did not have the speed to fight for the front row, however, we managed reasonably comfortably to lock out the second one. Given the situation on the grid, I am almost very slightly disappointed that one of our rivals did not manage to go quicker than Felipe, so that he could start from the clean side! We will try and get a good start and to get amongst the cars starting ahead of us: if we manage it, the race could turn out to be interesting.”

Hulkenberg pleased with Q3 grid slot

Nico Hulkenberg was relieved to reach Q3, after Williams found itself immersed in a tight battle between Renault and Pedro de la Rosa’s Sauber.

The German will start tomorrow’s race from tenth, two places ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who failed to make Q2 after experiencing a number of issues on his final flying run.

Nico Hulkenberg – 10th: Reaching Q3 was good today as everybody is very aware how closely bunched the field is behind the front few teams, but as always, it is human nature to feel that more could have been possible. The Renaults and De La Rosa were strong today with just a couple of tenths between us all. Although overtaking will be challenging tomorrow, we know that the race is going to be highly competitive with the form of the cars around us.

Rubens Barrichello – 12th: In Q1, I was very happy, the car was perfect and I only needed one run and was quite comfortable to see the rest of the session out in the garage. Then going into Q2, I had a lot of traffic on my out lap and basically because the lap was so slow, I don’t think the tyre got up to operating temperature. The tyres were just not there, and the car balance was out and by the last run, the tyres had given up.

Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: It is a long race ahead tomorrow and we will need better starts than at Hockenheim, as well as good first laps. Both tyres look stable but I think most of the front teams will run similar strategies.

Rosberg shocked to qualify 6th

Nico Rosberg was surprised to qualify in sixth for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, as team-mate Michael Schumacher once again struggled.

The young German later admitted that he had not expected to qualify so highly, and with this thanked his mechanics for helping him find an adequate set-up.

Meanwhile Michael Schumacher could only managed fourteenth after a late set-up change backfired.

Nico Rosberg – 6th: “I’m pleased to be starting from sixth place as we didn’t think we would be that far forward today, so it’s an unexpected and pleasant surprise. We are a long way from the front which is a concern but we took everything that we could from today and I am happy with our performance. We did a very good job with the set-up which meant we could get the best out of the car. Hopefully I can have a good start and our aim as always is to make up a few more places and get some decent points again.”

Michael Schumacher – 14th: “Obviously qualifying was not ideal for us today. After yesterday’s performance, we purposely went for a different set-up which was supposed to tell us more about the car and was targeted more towards the race. It seemed to be reasonable this morning but as the track became hotter in qualifying, it went against us. Our set-up should work better in the race although starting from 14th place does not make it easy. Being on the dirty side of the starting grid does not specifically help, but I will certainly try again to have a good start tomorrow. And from then on we will have to see how the race develops.”

Ross Brawn: “We’ve had a challenging weekend with the cars here so far. We did make some progress this morning prior to qualifying and clearly we got the car to suit Nico and he did an excellent job this afternoon. However we didn’t find the right solutions for Michael which was not helped by some vibration problems on his last set of tyres in Q2. I must compliment Nico on a great job and achieving a strong starting position which is as good as we could have hoped given the performance of the car.”

Norbert Haug: “Nico and our team did the maximum they could and achieved the best possible result for us today. Sixth place on the dirty side of the track with less grip is not the ideal place for a good start, but our result could have been worse after we faced some problems in finding the right set-up direction for the cars yesterday. Well done to the team for the recovery. Michael tried a different set-up solution which did not work out in the end. A week at Hockenheim, he was eight-thousands of a second slower than Nico and here the margin is much bigger so we just did not get it right.”

De la Rosa delighted with Sauber’s efforts

Pedro de la Rosa has hailed the progress of his Sauber team, after the veteran Spanish driver secured ninth spot on the grid.

The 38-year-old was a surprise addition to the top-ten shootout, after knocking out McLaren’s Jenson Button.

Subsequently, de la Rosa was full of praise for his team and for the improvements that they had made to the C29 – especially in slower corners.

Meanwhile, Kamui Kobayashi endured a disappointing session, after being eliminated in Q1. Although it was clear that he was held up on his final run, the Japanese driver choose to complain about a lack of grip, when explaining the reasons behind his poor effort.

Subsequently, Kobayashi was also handed a five-place penalty for ignoring a red light which instructed him to into the FIA’s garage to be weighed.

Pedro de la Rosa – 9th: “I am happy with my performance but, more importantly, I am very proud of the team. The car was really good. My position proves how much progress the guys from Hinwil have made with the car, especially to make it quicker in slow corners. They just kept their heads down and worked hard, and they have turned it around. Tomorrow I will try and stay out of trouble at the start and during the first lap, and then I will certainly fight for points.”

Kamui Kobayashi – 18th: “I am very disappointed. We have done a lot of set-up changes since we arrived here, but still I am not happy. To me the car feels strange, different from what I’m used to, and I don’t have any grip. So the situation was quite difficult for me anyway, and then the team was over-optimistic sending me out on the harder tyres for my second run in Q1. I believe on the softer compound I would have managed to get at least to Q2. However, mistakes happen. I obviously went past a red light in the pit lane and missed going to the FIA scales. I just didn’t see it.”

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: “Being ninth was a good performance by Pedro. Congratulation also to the team as it was able to find a very good set-up on a track which we didn’t expect to suit our car. Kamui was blocked twice on his quick laps, which was very unfortunate for him.”

James Key, Technical Director: “At the end it was a mixed day for us. This morning neither driver was able to put their lap times together due to traffic. Looking at the various sector times we were quite confident in the car’s performance, as well as the drivers’. They both reported the car felt better than yesterday. Going into qualifying we did a longer run with the harder tyres on both cars, which looked okay. But on the second run, also on the prime tyres in order to save a set of option tyres, unfortunately Kamui caught some traffic on two of his laps in the final run, which spoilt the laps for him. Nevertheless, had we gone with the softer tyres, I believe he would still have gone through. That was our mistake, and we apologize to Kamui for that. Pedro put in a very good performance that got us through to Q3. It was very close in the end. Ninth is okay, and it is just a few tenths away from the times in front.”

Petrov pleased with qualifying performance

Vitaly Petrov was delighted to have outqualified his team-mate, as Renault converted its impressive practice pace into a strong grid position for tomorow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Russian driver will start seventh and afterwards declared himself happy with balance of his R30.

Meanwhile team-mate Robert Kubica was disappointed to have qualified in eighth; complaining of a lack of grip in the final segment of qualifying.

Despite this, both drivers are confident of scoring a number of points for the Enstone-based team.

Vitaly Petrov – 7th: I think we did a good job today and I’m very happy to reach Q3 and to be starting seventh ahead of Robert because you first goal is always to be ahead of your teammate. We knew that the car would be quite good here and I have been very happy with the balance during the whole weekend. But the guys in front are still very strong so we know that we need to keep pushing to catch them. For the race tomorrow, overtaking will be very difficult, and the only real chance is at the start, but I will do my best to try and pass some guys and score some points.

Robert Kubica – 8th: We were hoping to be closer to the front today. It was looking better this morning during practice, but in Q3 I just didn’t have enough grip and had a lot of bottoming with the car, which was quite strange. My lap in Q3 was very slow – half a second slower than my Q2 run, but I just didn’t have the grip. For the race, everything will be about the first lap and the start of the race, so we hope to get a good start and make up some positions tomorrow.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: Today’s qualifying result confirms the strong pace that we have seen from both cars since the beginning of the weekend and especially during practice this morning. It’s good to see Vitaly in P7 and both cars are well placed to score points tomorrow. However, we struggled a bit with the option tyres in Q3 and we probably didn’t extract the maximum performance from them, so we could have been even higher up the grid. But, as I say, it’s still a good result and we know that we can be quick in the race. It will be important to be opportunistic and our target will be to get ahead of Rosberg and see if we can catch Hamilton.

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: To get both cars into Q3 for the third time this year is a good result for the team after a weekend where the car has been very competitive. Vitaly did an excellent job to qualify seventh, but I still feel that we could have got more pace from both cars in Q3 where we struggled more than we expected. Robert in particular was lacking grip and couldn’t repeat his lap time from Q2. Still, we saw on Friday that our race pace on high fuel was very competitive so I’m confident that we can race strongly tomorrow and hopefully have both cars finish in the points.

Kolles: Yamamoto is improving

Colin Kolles praised the efforts of Sakon Yamamoto, despite Hispania once again occupying the back of the grid.

The HRT team principal revealed that the Japanese driver may well have outqualified his team-mate, had it not been for a mistake on the final sector which cost him over three tenths of a second.

Meanwhile, Bruno Senna (who will start twenty-third) bemoaned the poor performance of his car during the session.

Sakon Yamamoto – 24th: “I am quite happy with this result for the team, which worked really hard and provided me a good car. The track conditions have changed compared to the practice session in the morning and it was a bit slippery. Consequently, it was a challenging qualifying and I could have done a better result but unfortunately, I lost some time in the last sector of my fastest lap. Apart from this, we could improve all over the weekend and we are looking forward to the race tomorrow, which is going to be a long one. I’ll try to concentrate from the beginning until the end and to show my best performance.”

Bruno Senna – 23rd: “It was a bit frustrating qualifying today and we had the potential to be further up. We were experimenting with the set-up this weekend as we were chasing after the changing track conditions. The car was hard to drive in qualifying and we have to look into the data and find out what we can do for the race tomorrow.”

Colin Kolles, Team Principal: “Today, Sakon Yamamoto has shown a good performance but unfortunately, he made a mistake in the last sector of his final lap, which cost him three and a half tenths. He improved continuously over the weekend and found his pace early in the practices. Bruno Senna did his best lap time on his second outing on option tyres. Tomorrow is going to be a long and physically tough race as the temperatures are getting high on this technical track here in Hungary.”



Sutil happy to be close to the top ten

Adrian Sutil was relieved to qualify close to the top ten after having encountered a number of problems throughout this weekend’s earlier practice sessions.

Despite struggling on the softer tyres, the German driver eventually managed to set the thirteenth fastest time, three places ahead of team-mate Tonio Liuzzi who had suffered a driveshaft boot problem in morning practice.

Although it is notoriously difficult to overtake around the Hungaroring, Sutil is confident of scoring points in tomorrow’s race.

Adrian Sutil – 13th: I am quite happy about the qualifying performance today. We’re very close to the top ten, which we didn’t think we would be after this morning. We struggled to make the soft tyres work again and in the end went out in qualifying not really having a clear picture on performance, so 13th position is a good result. We know tomorrow will be tough as it’s a hard place to overtake but our race pace is good. We will look to have a quick start, use strategy and pit stops to make a difference and try to gain as many positions as we can. I always think points are possible and I’ll be going into the race pretty positive after this performance today.

Tonio Liuzzi – 16th: We had some problems with a driveshaft boot in the morning and didn’t run the soft tyres so we went into qualifying not knowing completely how we would perform. However the balance was very easy and we looked positive in Q1, setting a good time fairly quickly. Unfortunately I hit traffic in Q2 and didn’t get a clear lap, and then lost the rear in the last corner on my last lap. I was more than half a second faster until that point so we could have got a much better position for the start. Q3 would have been very difficult but for sure we are not in a position we should be. Tomorrow it’s going to be difficult to overtake but there’s always hope and with our race pace we’re encouraged we can make up at least a couple of positions.

Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal: A very good effort from the team and both drivers on a track we know doesn’t completely suit us. It’s very twisty and low grip and our strengths tend to be more to the quicker, flowing circuits. We knew it would be a tough weekend but we’ve put ourselves in a reasonable position for tomorrow’s race. It’s not ideal, but bearing in mind the small issues this morning, to be just two tenths from Q3 is a very encouraging result. The Hungaroring is a difficult place to overtake but it’s not impossible and we will be trying to get as many positions back as we can to maintain our championship position.