Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica bemoaned the red flag in Q3 for ruining their final qualifying runs – despite producing strong performances for BMW Sauber.
Both drivers recorded a top-ten time with Heidfeld in eighth and Kubica in ninth.
Nick Heidfeld – 8th: “Although it might appear nice to be in top ten again, as we have had worse results this season, I’m really disappointed. The car had improved and it all looked good in Q1 and in Q2. But in Q3 I could not use the advantage of the softer tyres because of the red flag. I had just started my fast lap and from the early corners it was clear to me it would be a huge improvement, but then Rubens Barrichello crashed and the session was red flagged. In hindsight it would have been better to use the softer tyres earlier, but of course you don’t want to sacrifice the advantage of the track being at its best in the last minutes of the session. That’s bad luck.”
Robert Kubica – 9th: “Of course our qualifying performance was influenced by the red flag caused by Rubens Barrichello’s accident. I think most of the drivers are in a similar situation. We used the harder tyre compound in our first run of the top ten qualifying. This cost us a lot of lap time – the prime tyres were about two tenths slower just in the first two corners compared to the softer compound. It will be a very difficult race tomorrow. The track is very challenging. It requires lots of traction and braking stability. Also physically the circuit is very demanding as there are a lot of corners and you are permanently fighting with the car. Tomorrow a lot will depend on tyre degradation and possible overheating.”
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “Qualifying brought some surprises. In Q1 with 20 cars on the track it was difficult to find a lap without traffic. Both our drivers were only able to get the right time to advance in Q2 on their second try. Also the way from Q2 into Q3 was anything but easy. Positions five to ten were only fractions of a second away from each other. In Q3 we saved our last set of soft tyres for the final run, but this was stopped by Rubens Barrichello’s accident. We were one of three teams today that made it with both cars into the top ten. For us it was only the second time this season we managed this. This confirms the positive trend and the work we all put into the new development package.”
Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Our comprehensive development package made us move a step forward. For the second time this year both our cars made it into the final qualifying session. Anyhow we are not satisfied with our qualifying positions, even though both Nick and Robert will move up the grid one place because a driver finishing in front will be penalized. Both drivers had to cancel their crucial final run in Q3 on the softer tyre compound due to Rubens Barrichello’s accident. Therefore both of them qualified in the final session only on the harder compound.”