Japanese GP: Post-qualifying Driver Quotes

Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull (1st, Q3 – 1m 32.160s): “I did my best not to get distracted today; it was a strange session with a lot of incidents. The most important thing is that all the drivers are OK. In Qualifying, it s usual that you re looking for the limit, as it s about just one fast lap time, but Turn Nine, where the people went off, is quite difficult. If you go too wide on that kerb you re basically just a passenger, as you can t get rid of the speed. There s not much run-off, so the wall is close and people hit it. For the other cars, sometimes you re lucky and the red flag is called just as you re about to warm up your tyres, but sometimes it s called when you ve started your flying lap. The car worked fantastically today and we were quickest in Q1, Q2 and Q3. The most difficult was probably Q3, due to running with race fuel and only having one lap. It s not easy through the S-bends and the tyres don t really last for a second lap. I m very happy, we re back to full strength since Singapore and have now put the car on pole. A good day today, now let s see tomorrow.”

Jarno Trulli – Toyota (2nd, Q3 – 1m 32.220s): “Obviously I feel for Timo because we could both have been starting at the front of the grid today. It was good to hear quickly from the team that he is okay; just a bit upset he isn’t in the top six with me. It was a crazy qualifying session in general with all the red flags and I am really happy with this result, especially in front of all our Japanese fans. The whole team has done a great job this weekend with our updated package to give me this chance to qualify on the front row. They have provided me with a car to fight at the front and I want to say thanks to them. My priority in qualifying was to keep my concentration because I knew we had a good chance to get a strong result. I think my lap time was the maximum I could get out of the car so I am very pleased with it. Now I am looking forward to the race tomorrow when obviously my aim is to finish on the podium in Toyota’s home Grand Prix. I hope the first lap is clean and then I will do my best to get a great result.”

Lewis Hamilton – McLaren (3rd, Q3 – 1m 32.395s): “We didn t expect to be as competitive as we were this afternoon. Our car was tricky this morning and we had to make some significant changes between sessions. It was impossible to extract the best from the car, especially through the first sector. We didn t have much time to develop a dry set-up so we went into qualifying hoping that the changes would work – and they did. I ve said it before, but I really love this circuit, it s so much fun and has such history and character; I feel honoured and overwhelmed to be driving where the great drivers of the past have raced. I would love to win here tomorrow, and I ll do everything I can to do so: I ll drive my heart out. Although the Red Bull will be very hard to beat, there s a long run down to Turn One and our KERS is working better than ever. Sebastian has more to worry about than I do, too. He ll be looking at the world championship, I m just here to have a good time and score some points for my team to help us move further up the constructors championship table.”

Adrian Sutil – Force India (4th, Q1 – 1m 32.466s): * “It was always a good feeling to go to a track you know, where you feel good and the confidence is there. Our car has performed well on these type of circuits in the past and we’ve had a strong weekend so far but we did not expect to be able to race in the top five, so fourth is a really great position for the start tomorrow. It was a long session, with so many red flags that we had to cancel a few laps and come in and then try to focus again. Finally it was okay and on the last few laps the car felt great. Third was also very close, just a few hundredths away, but unfortunately Lewis just took it right at the very end of the session! We had a really hard weekend in Singapore and it’s nice to be back: it’s just fantastic for the team. Tomorrow it will be a tough, long race but I’m just going to focus on what I have to do. I will do my best.”

Rubens Barrichello – Brawn GP (5th, Q3 – 1m 32.660s): * “I’m happy with my qualifying today considering the pace that we have here in Suzuka. We didn’t have particularly competitive sessions in Q1 and Q2 and it was difficult to predict where we might end up. However my car worked well on race fuel loads and in terms of the championship, I’m pleased to be ahead of Jenson on comparable fuel loads in the final session. It was tough today and you had to maintain your concentration despite all the incidents and delays. Suzuka is a fantastic track, one of the best that we race on, but today shows just how tricky it is to drive.”

Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber (6th, Q3 – 1m 32.945s):“I m happy with my qualifying performance. I had a really good lap in Q3. I wasn t too optimistic for qualifying because in free practice this morning I struggled a bit with the set-up and had to go for a compromise. In Q2 I saw the yellow flags and lifted my foot off the pedal and raised an arm to indicate I had reduced speed where I was required to. I was a couple of tenths slower. Obviously it was a very strange qualifying. I have never known one before with so many accidents and I hope Timo is ok.”

Jenson Button – Brawn (7th, Q3 – 1m 32.962s): * “It wasn’t the easiest of qualifying sessions with so little practice yesterday and all of the interruptions. Three red flags during qualifying is very unusual and I hope that everyone involved is ok. It wasn’t too stressful as we had all the information that we needed and just had to keep calm and focus on our next run. The car was working well in the first two sessions and definitely felt better on low fuel. With fuel onboard in Q3 I struggled with rear grip through the first sector and that’s where I lost the time on my quick lap as the car was working well through the rest of the lap. We expected this and knew that we would have to make the best of the situation.”

Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari (8th, Q3 – 1m 32.980s): “I don t think we could have expected much more today. We know what our potential is and we have to accept that. Here, the situation is definitely better than in Singapore, but we continue to struggle, especially with a lack of aerodynamic downforce, which makes itself felt especially in the first sector. Overall, the car is working well and it s nice to drive on such a demanding track as this, where the slightest error is heavily punished, as we saw today. It s a shame I didn t have new soft tyres for Q3, but we had to use them earlier to avoid being knocked out: all in all it was a good qualifying. Tomorrow, we will try and have a good race: it will be difficult to fight for the top spots, but we will try and we can count on having a good strategy.”

Heikki Kovalainen – McLaren (9th, Q3 – no time): ** “I went a bit too fast into Turn Eight, over the kerb, and the car broke out and I couldn’t get it back on the track. So it was game over. Today s three accidents prove that everybody is pushing the limit as much as possible as the running time in the dry was very limited. The car felt good, the balance was okay and we should be in good shape for tomorrow. I now hope that the damage on my car won t be so bad that my mechanics have to spend the night repairing it.”

Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso (10th, Q3 – no time): * “I’m not happy, as I made it through to Q3, but after crashing the car I couldn t take part. A great shame as this would have been my second Q3 of the season and the car was super today. I was reasonably comfortable so maybe I didn’t need to do that last lap. In Q1 after I crashed, I managed to bring it back to the pits and have it repaired, so after the second accident, I felt I had to try and bring it back again, as you don t know from the cockpit how bad the damage is. At that point of the track, the kerb is really high and if you touch it at the speed you are doing there, you just fly over it. I hope to make good use of the performance level of the car in the race, to repay the team for all the work they have to do now.”

Nico Rosberg – Williams (11th, Q2 – 1m 31.482s): “It was a dramatic qualifying session with numerous accidents and so many people going off which just show that this is a really unforgiving track. I’m not overly happy with my performance today but I didn t feel particularly comfortable in the car. The first part of qualifying was ok, but I never found the same level of grip after that. Of course, I would have wanted to do better than 11th place, but it at least gives us the opportunity to choose our strategy tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso – Renault (12th, Q2 – 1m 31.638s): * “It was a very strange qualifying session. The track conditions were good and all the drivers were pushing hard, but there were lots of incidents, amongst them Timo s was the most serious and I am glad he is okay. It s a shame to have missed Q3 as the yellow flag came out in the final stages of Q2. I was called by the stewards because I had a green second sector under yellow flags. I explained that coming out of Turn 14, I had little visibility because of the dust left from Buemi spinning into the gravel …then I saw debris of a wing in the middle of the track, which I avoided and at that point I saw the yellow flag and immediately slowed down and came carefully into the pits. Tomorrow, for the race, I hope we can improve our position and score some points.”

Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber (13th, Q2 – 1m 32.341s): “My qualifying was totally disappointing. All my flying laps in the second session were destroyed by red or yellow flags. In the entire fifteen minutes we were not able to do one quick timed lap. Qualifying for tomorrow s race in 13th is far from ideal. Suzuka is a fantastic track but overtaking isn t too easy here. It is how it is. I hope Timo is ok. I wish him all the best.”

Timo Glock – Toyota (14th, Q2 – no time) ***

Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso (15th, Q2 – no time): “Before the accident, I was pushing hard on the hard tyre. I lost control and went into the wall. It was quite a heavy impact. The car looks very bad, but I’m fine. I felt confident in the fast Turn Nine, so I was going for it, until I went a little bit too fast on the hard tyre and once I was on the grass, I had no grip. The kerb there is far too high for the speed you are carrying at this point. I hope it can be repaired so that I can start from the position in which I qualified. We knew today would be difficult, with this morning being the only dry practice, which made qualifying tough, especially as it is the first time I have been here. Obviously, it’s bad to crash, but in general, I feel we are moving forward, so I hope I can have a nice race as long as I can settle into a good rhythm. Sorry for giving the guys so much work to do now!”

Giancarlo Fisichella – Ferrari (16th, Q1 – 1m 31.704s): “I am very disappointed not to have made it through to Q2. We only had this morning s free practice to prepare the car in the dry, but I think all the same, I improved my performance level, growing ever more confident in the F60. On my final timed lap, I made a mistake which probably cost me the time I needed to get into the next part. Tomorrow, the aim is to get into the points: I know it will be very difficult, starting from the eighth row, but with a good strategy, maybe I can do it.”

Kazuki Nakajima – Williams (17th, Q1 – 1m 31.718s): “We didn t really get the grip in the dry conditions or get the most out of the car today. I’m really disappointed. Yesterday was a pretty good day in the wet, but it just didn t go right in the dry. It’s very nice to be at home in front of so many fans, I just hope to be able to do better for them tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean – Renault (18th, Q1 – 1m 32.073s): “With the rain yesterday, we only had one hour of dry practice to get ready for today s qualifying session. As a result, I haven t been able to do much running on a track that I haven t been to before, so that was a shame. We will see what strategy we can deploy tomorrow in order to give ourselves the best chance to have a good race.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India (19th, Q3 – 1m 32.087s): ** “We had a few issues in the morning in free practice with the gearbox and we couldn’t test everything we needed to, including the soft tyres, which cost us a lot. The guys did a great job to change the ‘box and get out again for qualifying but we had a lot of understeer in qualifying and it was not 100 percent as a result. To make it worse I have not been feeling at my best today so it’s a combination of everything really. I hope for more tomorrow for sure.”

Mark Webber – Red Bull (20th, Q1 – no time): *** “You think of the preparation that goes into a weekend like this, so to not have the opportunity to do the race from a decent grid position is very tough for all of us especially the guys in the garage. It wasn t a big crash by any means, but it did too much damage to the chassis, so we have to change it. We don t have spare cars these days, so that s the outcome and it s a shame. We made a few changes to the car for the final run and I lost control when it bottomed-out through Turn Eight.”

* Five-place grid penalty
** Five-place grid penalty for changing gearbox
*** Will use new chassis so will start from the pitlane