European GP: McLaren Mercedes qualifying report

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's European Grand Prix, the McLaren Mercedes partnership's 200th GP since their first Formula 1 win in 1997, from the front row of the grid. In Saturday's exciting qualifying, Lewis...

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's European Grand Prix, the McLaren Mercedes partnership's 200th GP since their first Formula 1 win in 1997, from the front row of the grid. In Saturday's exciting qualifying, Lewis posted a fastest lap of 1m39.199 which put him second. His team-mate Heikki Kovalainen qualified fifth with a time of 1m39.937. The session on the new Valencia street circuit was extremely closely-fought, particularly during Q1 and Q2. In the first part, all 20 drivers were covered by two seconds, in the second, the remaining 15 drivers were within nine tenths of one another.

LEWIS HAMILTON

"We knew we had a great car and we didn't have any problems during qualifying. I felt really comfortable, and I decided to qualify with the option tyre. My first lap wasn't perfect, and I lost almost one second compared with my second lap, but on my final lap everything went well. Second place on the grid is a good basis for tomorrow's race. However, Felipe Massa was significantly faster in the first sector, and I hope we'll be able to improve there tomorrow. Our team did a great job, and I'm confident we'll be strong."

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN

"The balance of my car was good and we improved continuously throughout the sessions. However I'm a little disappointed with my fifth place on the grid as I didn't make any mistakes and performed to the maximum. It's now up to us to score as many points as possible and make a good start from the cleaner side of the grid. Our strategy should help us to gain positions during the race."

RON DENNIS

"Today we saw another very good afternoon's work from both Lewis and Heikki, characterised by strong lap times that reflect their respective race strategies. All in all, therefore, we're well prepared for the first grand prix to be held on this exciting new racetrack. All the drivers did an exemplary job today, in fact, avoiding the walls in the tricky conditions. We hope that tomorrow's race will be equally incident-free, and that in time the Valencia event will become a regular, integral and much-admired element of the Formula 1 calendar. I would like to offer our congratulations to all concerned, and to the Valencia authorities in particular; with appropriate promotion, this grand prix promises to become a fabulous adjunct to our sport's existing harbourside spectacular, namely Monaco."

NORBERT HAUG

"A very exciting qualifying session here on this completely new and impressive circuit. Thanks to everybody involved for doing such a superb job in such a short period of time. I think we are well prepared for the race, and it will be interesting to see which of the frontrunners will drive the longest first stint tomorrow. Both Lewis and Heikki did a good job, even if Lewis unfortunately lost more time in the first sector than he is now behind the pole time. Our German friend Sebastian Vettel and his Toro Rosso team showed a great performance today - really well done."

-credit: mclaren

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Heikki Kovalainen , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Toro Rosso