West McLaren Mercedes driver David Coulthard will start the first Grand Prix of the 2003 Formula One season at Albert Park from 11th position after setting a time of 1:29.105 during today's one lap qualifying. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen who had set...
West McLaren Mercedes driver David Coulthard will start the first Grand Prix of the 2003 Formula One season at Albert Park from 11th position after setting a time of 1:29.105 during today's one lap qualifying. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen who had set the second fastest time in yesterday's first qualifying, which determined today's starting order, will line up 15th with a time of 1:29.470 as a result of small off track moment in the last timing sector of his qualifying lap.
"Not the best start to the season. During the second practice session I suffered a puncture to the right rear tyre at turn one. I tried to make my way back to the pits but on the way the fuel pump failed just by the entry to the pitlane and we decided to commence our race preparation. The team did a great job in making the necessary repairs in time for warm-up and qualifying. On my flying lap I ran a bit wide in the first corner and with only one run there is no room for the slightest error."
"Today's practice and qualifying was a real nightmare. I went off at Turn five in the first practice session and hit the wall sideways damaging the car. As a result I was unable to participate in second practice and had to use the spare-car for the warm-up and qualifying ? and as a result of the new regulations I will be using the spare car for tomorrow's race. Unfortunately I had another moment in the third sector of my qualifying lap and went on the dirt which consequently damaged my left rear tyre and I was unable to make it back to the garage."
Ron Dennis, Team principal:
"As we knew before the start of the one timed lap qualifying only error free runs would give the drivers competitive grid positions. After all our testing we know what the car is capable of and therefore it's understandably very frustrating to be starting from such poor grid positions. However it's a long race and with good teamwork we can still achieve respectable finishes."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes motorsport director:
"Kimi was on his way to a possible first or second row grid position until he had a moment in the third sector. So we know that we can do better lap times in the race than our grid positions reflect. We now have to focus on tomorrow."