Chinese GP: McLaren Saturday qualifying notes

West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen will start tomorrow's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix from the front row after setting a time of 1:34.178 in today's qualifying session. Team mate David Coulthard's time of 1:35.029 was tenth fastest, but...

West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen will start tomorrow's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix from the front row after setting a time of 1:34.178 in today's qualifying session. Team mate David Coulthard's time of 1:35.029 was tenth fastest, but he will start from ninth as Sato, who qualified in front of David, has had an engine change.

Kimi Raikkonan:

"The entire team is always pleased to be on the front row but at the first Formula One race in China it's particularly important for us all. The car has felt good right from the beginning of the weekend and I have really been able to push. The track conditions had changed a bit overnight, and we used the morning's two practice sessions to perfect the set-up and it worked."

"I made a small mistake on my qualifying lap coming onto the final straight, but I don't think it cost me enough time to have claimed pole position. The important thing is that our package and the Michelin tyres are working well, and as we have a good strategy for the race I'm sure we are in with a chance of winning."

David Coulthard:

"That was a tricky qualifying. I had oversteer during my pre-qualifying, and we made a few adjustments to the set-up of the car just before qualifying, but we couldn't improve the handling dramatically. I lost about four tenths in the middle sector especially in turns eight and nine. It will be a tough race tomorrow particularly from ninth position on the grid, but we will see what happens in the first corner."

Ron Dennis:

"Kimi's qualifying was exceptional whilst David's relatively small error in the middle sector lost him several places. We feel that we have the right race strategy which coupled with our overall performance should put us in contention for a podium finish. I'm sure that along with all the other teams we hope that the race, irrespective of the outcome, is exciting, which would represent a small thank you for the fantastic facilities and support that the Chinese government have shown us."

Norbert Haug:

"A good performance by Kimi. To be on the first row is a good basis for the race. The first Grand Prix of China is a significant milestone for Formula One in general and our team in particular, and certainly we will be focused on putting in a strong performance."

"David lost quite some time in the middle sector, otherwise he could have been two rows further up. This is the seventh race since we introduced the MP4-19B and on five occasions Kimi or David have started from the first or second rows. We still have to improve our reliability, but speedwise we are heading in the right direction."

David Coulthard: MP4-19B 03
Kimi Raikkonen: MP4-19B 01
T-car (Kimi): MP4-19B 02

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Norbert Haug
Teams Mercedes , McLaren