The West McLaren Mercedes team had a disappointing qualifying session for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. Mika Hakkinen was seventh with a time of 1:57.043 whilst David Coulthard will start the race from ninth after setting a time of 1:58.008. Mika...
The West McLaren Mercedes team had a disappointing qualifying session for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. Mika Hakkinen was seventh with a time of 1:57.043 whilst David Coulthard will start the race from ninth after setting a time of 1:58.008. Mika did 12 laps and David completed 10. Just before the start of qualifying a heavy rainfall meant that all the cars waited until late in the session to come out as the track was getting increasingly dry.
'I'm really disappointed as the timing of our change from intermediate tyres and dry tyres was not ideal. As a result I didn't have the confidence to go the limit everywhere on the circuit on my first lap with the dry tyres, which was my last opportunity to improve. I played it a little too safe and then didn't have any more laps to improve.'
'It's always a bit of a lottery in these sort of weather conditions where the track is drying all the time. Sometimes it has worked to our advantage like Hockenheim last year and Brazil this year but not today. I should have been out on dry tyres at the end, but with yellow flags and a car on the circuit the team didn't feel there was the time to make the change and improve. We are definitely not where we should have been. I will have to make the best of it tomorrow but it will be difficult with lots of cars to overtake and if the weather stays the same there could be a lot of spray as well. However I'm as determined as ever and my goal remains to win individual races.'
'Of course most drivers only had one lap on dry tyres to improve their times which the traffic and yellow flags made very difficult. The decision to leave David on intermediate tyres was made with all the relevant factors being taken into consideration. In the circumstances we were wrong but as always the race is tomorrow.'
'In these conditions everything could happen. It was a matter of being out on the circuit with the right tyres at the right time and we did not quite achieve that.'
Spare (Coulthard): MP4/16-04