Saturday, 4 August 2007

Qualifying Highlights

Session Winners:

Toyota seem to be on the up. For the third time in a row the team have got both their cars in the top ten with Ralf Schumacher a solid sixth fastest and Jarno Trulli lining up ninth.

"It was our best qualifying so far this season so we can only be happy with how it went. For the first time one of our cars went into Q3 with only one flying lap in Q2 so clearly we are in good shape here," said Pascal Vasselon, Toyota’s Senior General Manager.

"Even so, we are just a little bit disappointed because from the data in Q1 and Q2 we thought we could get the cars a little bit higher up but, as usual, we don't know what kind of strategy the other teams have been using," he added.

But once again it was engine customers Williams that delivered the goods with Nico Rosberg putting in another impressive performance to start from fifth.

Toyota’s consistency has started to make the top ten much more crowded and a couple of drivers who tend to challenge for the shoot out lost out today – most notably Kovalainen and Coulthard.

BMW Sauber have been strong all weekend and Heidfeld put in another decent performance to go third fastest. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the jump on Hamilton at the start with both the advantage of the clean side of the track and a potential tow down to the first corner from Alonso.

"I am happy about P3, especially as up to now the whole weekend has not been easy. The tyre choice was very hard, but we were not the only ones facing that challenge. Yesterday was quite ok, but today in the second qualifying session we were not on the pace, and I was only in P6.

Kubica was unhappy with the handling of his car but could come into the mix in the later stages of the race if BMW have fuelled him heavy.

"The day was not very good. The car is not accelerating how it should. We lose too much time with every single upshift. We now have to analyse the data and see what we can do for tomorrow, which will be difficult as the car is in Parc Ferme right now. Seventh was the best I could do under these conditions."

Session Losers:

Ferrari were the big losers in today’s qualifying session. Despite bringing modified front and rear wings to Hungary the Italian team is still struggling on the high downforce circuits – something many are attributing to the car’s longer wheel base. Raikkonen made the most of a bad car to go fourth fastest but should be stronger in the race:

“To be honest, we were not quick enough today to think about beating our closest rivals, but I think we have a good race pace, which means we can be more competitive than we looked in qualifying. The car is very good over a long run, so I am still confident.”

Meanwhile Massa was having a miserable session:

“I made a mistake at the final corner on my first run, but then, when I came back to the pits, there was a misunderstanding over refuelling and they let me go without fuel. That's why I stopped and had to be pushed back to our area by the mechanics.

"I went back out again, but the tyres were very cold and I was not able to do a time good enough to stay in the top ten. Tomorrow, I expect a very difficult race, as this is one of the worst places to start from a long way back. I will try and do my best and to get the car home as high up the order as possible.

Wurz was outclassed again by Rosberg and his inability to deliver in qualifying will be extremely costly at places like Hungary.

And finally, I think Webber will be unhappy with tenth. He always seems to be at his best in Q2 when the cars are running light.

“It's not ideal to be tenth on the grid here, actually it's one of the worst positions to be in as it's so hard to overtake! I'd prefer to be eleventh," admitted Webber.

"With the qualifying rules we now have, you can end up going through all of Q3 but finishing tenth means you don't really gain anything, as you can't adjust your fuel ahead of the race as the other cars behind you can.

"But, I think we have a reasonable strategy so we'll see what we can do tomorrow."

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