Schumacher on the first row Jean Todt: "The qualifying session was very closely contested, as indeed we had expected. I am sorry for what happened on Rubens' car. The fact he was unable to do pre-qualifying was definitely a handicap in ...
Schumacher on the first row
"The qualifying session was very closely contested, as indeed we had expected. I am sorry for what happened on Rubens' car. The fact he was unable to do pre-qualifying was definitely a handicap in performance terms. Michael fought as hard as possible for pole, losing it in the final sector of the track. We know we are up against very strong opposition, but this is only the first part of the weekend."
"The more important part is tomorrow afternoon's race and we are very confident in our car-engine-Bridgestone tyre package. As usual, strategy and reliability will be of fundamental importance in determining the result. Looking at our positions in both championships, our aim is to cross the finish line with as many points as possible.'
"Even with very little running yesterday we soon found a good base line set-up for the car this morning, so we will be in the fight tomorrow. I did not get pole for what could be a variety of factors: tyres, strategy or set-up for example, but I am on the front row at least. In qualifying I was just not quick enough in the third sector. I lost about a tenth at Turn 13 because I was pushing too hard but I lost the most time in the last two corners."
"Second place was not what I expected but the strategy will be very interesting tomorrow and it might well change over the 70 laps. Without the chance to do long runs on Friday, it will also be interesting to see how the tyres work over the distance. The field is much closer than in previous races, so now we must wait and see what happens.'
"Everything was going well today until, after free practice, the team found a hydraulic problem on my car. The mechanics did a good job to sort out the problem, but it could not be done in time for pre-qualifying. It was hard, because it meant I was first out on track for qualifying. That meant compared to the other front runners I was penalised by the fact the grip level on the track improved every time a car went out. I'm expecting a difficult race tomorrow, starting from the fifth row. But I hope I can still get a good result."
"Obviously we would have preferred to be on pole, but Michael is on the front row so it is not so bad. It will be a challenge tomorrow and now we will work on our strategy this evening. Our tyres look very good for the race. Of course, we are disappointed for Rubens who had a hydraulic problem, so we decided it was safer to fix it, miss the first run and ensure it was okay for qualifying and the race. His performance was compromised by not getting his run in pre-qualifying and also because the track was obviously getting quicker towards the end after he made his run. The result of this race will depend a lot on strategy and reliability."
Michael Schumacher: 2nd
1:13.971, 3 laps
Rubens Barrichello: 10th
1:14.478 3 laps