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2003 Spanish Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday  

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What the teams and drivers said - Saturday

Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - 2nd )

Jean Todt: "It was a very exciting qualifying session. We have managed to secure an all-red front row which is the best possible way to start the race, even though we will have to wait until tomorrow to get a clear picture of the fuel levels being run by the others. The F2003-GA has confirmed its potential right from its very first appearance at a Grand Prix weekend. Now we can expect a very tough race with, as usual, reliability and strategy playing key roles. The support of our partners has been very important here, especially that of Bridgestone and Shell, who have brought a new fuel here, specially designed for the 052 engine."

Ross Brawn: "This year, it is proving very difficult to make an accurate assessment of qualifying, given that we don't know how much fuel the others are using. That aside, we are obviously satisfied with this result and are confident for tomorrow afternoon's race .We had a new Bridgestone tyre at our disposal, but we felt that in terms of the race, the one we had used during test sessions at this track back in March offered a better overall performance."

Michael Schumacher: "This weekend is the first time I have driven the new car at this track and so it was not easy to find the right direction in terms of set-up, but today's result shows we seem to have got it right. As usual with a new car, we have had more work to do, checking everything on the car, even though we have used it for the past three months. A race weekend is always different, but the whole team has done a fantastic job. My lap was not perfect as I had a bad line through Turn 9 and Turn 11. As Rubens has been very quick, I thought I might be behind him, but in the end I was quicker.
We always felt we had a chance of pole as we know this car is faster than the old one and at this track, the car's performance is very important. How does this car differ from the old one? It's faster! You always aim to make a car faster and more neutral and the team has worked on each detail of the package."

Rubens Barrichello: "The car worked very well, as we managed to improve its balance. But it was not a great lap for me. Being first and second on the grid is a very good start for the new car. In qualifying, there is always a compromise between going on the limit and being a little bit cautious as the track here is very dirty if you go a little bit off the perfect line. As for the race, I think we have a good strategy, although with the new qualifying rules you have to try and work out what the other teams are doing and where you will be in terms of track position. Again tomorrow, the track off the line will get more and more dirty during the race, so it should be an interesting afternoon."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 3rd, Jarno Trulli - 4th )

Mike Gascoyne: "An excellent result for the team, as both drivers did a perfect lap. We are thrilled to have our cars on the second row of the starting grid. For tomorrow, we believe in our strategy and we have to work out how to try and beat the Ferraris."

Denis Chevrier: "A very positive result for two reasons: first of all, because we feel we are very close to the Ferraris, which represent the benchmark in the championship. Then, because we had a trouble free day and because the performances of our drivers are again very close. I think we have all the elements we need to have a strong race tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso: "This is a special day for me since - as I had hoped - I was able to place my car in the second row of the starting grid at my home Grand Prix, in front of my crowd. I felt the car much more competitive today than yesterday. In qualifying, it was perfectly balanced and I did an excellent lap. I think that both Jarno and myself are in the position to fight a good race tomorrow and bring some more valuable points to the team."

Jarno Trulli: "A very positive weekend so far, which resulted in a very good qualifying for me: I did a perfect lap and I'm very satisfied of my fourth place. Now we will see in tomorrow's race, how the cars will perform and how competitive we will be compared to our direct competitors, but I am quite confident in our strategy and in our tyres."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 5th, Jacques Villeneuve - 11th )

David Richards: "Both drivers can feel very satisfied with their grid positions given that they each intend to take a different strategy for the race tomorrow. It is encouraging for the entire team to see the steady progress we've been making since the start of the season."

Geoff Willis: "We had a good problem-free morning and were able to concentrate on getting a good compromise set-up between new and old tyres and between a single lap and long runs. Jacques started the day with the T-car chassis and we were able to make good progress towards improving his set-up, despite him going off towards the end of the morning session. We enjoyed a solid qualifying performance from both drivers and we go into tomorrow's race confident that we will be racing for points."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Qualifying on the third and sixth rows gives us a good chance to score some more points. Overall the weekend has been encouraging for us so I'm quite positive about tomorrow and I'm sure both drivers will have a strong race."

Jenson Button: "I'm really pleased with fifth today. It felt like a quick lap but I did make a couple of mistakes. I pushed a bit too hard in some of the corners and got a bit of oversteer, but it's nothing that can't be sorted out for tomorrow. It's been a very positive weekend so far. We've made solid progress towards the race and that's shown itself in qualifying today. I think our strategy is the right way to go so I hope we can turn that into a good result for the team tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It was a good clean lap; nothing special but I'm quite happy. Compared with yesterday, our two cars are a lot closer together considering our respective strategies. We were a little bit lost yesterday and the car was undriveable, but we've been able to work on that for today. I'm happy with our strategy and Jenson's lap showed that we have a good set-up going into the race. We're looking strong compared to other Bridgestone runners."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 6th, Cristiano da Matta - 13th )

Keizo Takahashi: "I am very happy with this top six result and the whole Panasonic Toyota Racing team is pleased. We found a good set-up on Olivier's car and he put in a very strong drive today to score sixth - one of our best ever results for qualifying. In Cristiano's case, the car set-up was not as good as yesterday, but we think we have a good race strategy and we have the chance to achieve our first points of the season tomorrow."

Olivier Panis: "I am very happy with the result today. We had quite a few problems with the handling yesterday but the team reacted very well to improve the car and I felt a big improvement in the set-up this morning. My qualifying lap today was very good and I think we are on a positive strategy for tomorrow's race. We have shown in pre-season testing and during this weekend that the TF103 is very competitive at this Barcelona track. Starting from sixth on the grid, I feel that we are in a strong position for the race."

Cristiano da Matta: "I do not think my qualifying lap was perfect, but it was not too bad either. We missed the settings and the balance of the car a little bit and I was suffering from oversteer, so I could not push that hard. I am not as happy with the car's balance as I was yesterday, so now we have to try to figure out why and learn for the future. We were just too much on the oversteer side. We can do small corrections for the race but nothing big, so I will try my best to get as far up the field as possible with this starting position."

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Williams (  Ralf Schumacher - 7th , Juan Pablo Montoya - 9th )

Sam Michael: "Obviously we would have liked to have finished higher up. We have spent the weekend so far looking for improvements in the cars' balance which has been bettered again for today's second qualifying. Now we will work on optimising our strategy for tomorrow and hope for a good race."

Mario Thiessen: "After the fastest times Ralf set here in our test in March and in Friday's free practice, today both our drivers were not really happy with the set up of their cars. As we expect to see different strategies as the race unfolds, it is difficult to evaluate the qualifying performances of our competitors. Juan switched to the T- car because just before the warm up we detected a fuel pump operational failure. Although we could have run both the warm up and the final qualifying with that fuel pump, as we could have changed it for the race without being penalised, for the sake of precaution, we preferred putting Juan Pablo in the spare car, which was set for him anyway."

Ralf Schumacher: "There is no doubt that we cannot be satisfied with our qualifying result as our pace is too far away from the top teams. However I believe that we can do well tomorrow with our race strategy. Realistically, we had higher expectations of our performance on this circuit after our most recent test. It is now a matter of hoping that we have the right balance for the race to enable us to score a useful amount of points."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "It's been a difficult weekend but I think finally we have sorted my car, which is still not very good but at least its handling has improved and it is now driveable. Right before the warm up I was told there was a fuel pump problem on my race car so I had to switch to the T- car and that didn't help either. We are starting tomorrow from fairly poor grid positions but this is what we've got at the moment and we have to deal with it and make the most of our race."

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McLaren (  David Coulthard - 8th, Kimi Raikkonen - 20th - No Time )

Ron Dennis: "I think that our drivers' comments provide a clear understanding of today's qualifying session. However our race strategy should give both David and Kimi the opportunity to finish in the points."

Norbert Haug: "Certainly not the qualifying result we wanted. We had to change David's engine as a precautionary measure, so he ended up qualifying in the T-car. To start from eighth and last position will make the race difficult -- but let's see what tomorrow brings."

David Coulthard: "Just before the start of the qualifying session, the engine developed a problem and had to be changed. The team did a great job in getting the car ready just before it was my turn, but we were already committed to the T-car. Obviously we had to make a few adjustments to the spare car, as it was set up for Kimi. However, after this morning's session I was going to use Kimi's settings anyway so all in all I'm not too unhappy with fourth row considering that it was the first time I drove the car. Now we will see what happens in the race and hope for the best."

Kimi Raikkonen: "I made a mistake under braking at Turn Seven and went into the gravel and lost a lot of time. It was a shame as I was quick, but these things happen. The team told me to abandon the lap and come back, as there was no way I would have ended up with a competitive time. I will start the race from last on the grid, which is obviously less than ideal but as the races have shown so far this year anything can happen, and we will do our best to get into the points."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 10th , Nick Heidfeld - 14th )

Peter Sauber: "Considering our performance during practice yesterday and this morning, and the strategy we have chosen for the race, we are satisfied with 10th and 14th places on the grid. Both drivers had a hard time, so thank you to them for their sterling efforts."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I'm pleased that my optimism for the effect of the changes we made this morning has proved justified. The car felt better and the balance was pretty good. I had a little problem with a brake vibration during the pre-qualifying warm-up, but everything was okay for my run and I'm happy with 10th place."

Nick Heidfeld: "The car was much better than this morning, for sure! The balance was the best that it has been all weekend. I lost a little bit of time in the middle sector, but otherwise it was a good run and I'm happier than I was yesterday."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 12th, Antonio Pizzonia - 16th  )

Dr Mark Gillan: "Today has been a good day in terms of running and track time. We have been reliable all through the weekend and both drivers have focused on building a race set-up for tomorrow which, given the tyre and set-up choice, has compromised slightly our qualifying performance today. Saying that, we are happy with the qualifying performances. Both drivers did a good job out there and given that the track temperature actually dropped towards the end of the session, their times could maybe have been better had they gone out towards the end of the pack. Mark was quite happy with the balance of the Jaguar R4 in the morning Free Practice, albeit suffering from low levels of grip in places. Antonio was less happy with the balance of his car and in addition, we are working to correct some understeer from his car. It is, however, a compromise between optimising qualifying set-up versus race set-up. Both our drivers are going into the race with a good balance but given their places on the grid, the challenge of fighting for points is a little harder. Nonetheless, we'll give it our best shot and hope that our reliability target can be achieved."

Mark Webber: "A good day overall. We spent the morning working on race set-up and on tyres, brakes and fuel. We also concentrated on race strategy for tomorrow. It's difficult knowing exactly where to put your eggs between qualifying set-up and race setup and consequently, you have no choice but to make a trade-off. In our case, we have focused our efforts on tomorrow's race. I was actually aiming for the top ten today but the somewhat higher track temperature worked against us. Overall, we have had a very productive weekend so far and I am looking forward to racing tomorrow. We have tackled a lot of our reliability issues here this weekend and the package is in good shape for the race."

Antonio Pizzonia: "I am disappointed to be honest. We undertook some good work this morning but I suffered from a balance shift problem with my car. The rising track temperature also meant that the track got slower for my qualifying run but the package is well prepared for the race tomorrow. I would have liked to have put the car higher up the order today but it appears that many teams and drivers are suffering from problems particularly understeer. The team has spent considerable time this weekend ensuring reliability and given how punishing this circuit can be over a race distance, seeing the chequered flag is the goal. With some clever strategy work, one can never rule out a points challenge if you cross the finishing line at this race."

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Jordan ( Ralph Firman - 15th, Giancarlo Fisichella - 17th )

Gary Anderson: "We ran into a bit of a drama when fitting Giancarlo's race engine so we had to change very quickly to the only other engine kitted up and ready to go, the T car engine, and unfortunately in so doing, the fuel pump on his race car was damaged. So we had to get the T car ready, and put the engine back on it. It was a bit of a self-inflicted saga of events. Giancarlo hadn't driven the T car this weekend and it's never the same. Thankfully Ralph's day was without problems, he got a reasonably good lap and is fairly content with his set-up. We may be able to recoup something tomorrow in the race."

Ralph Firman: "I feel quite happy with qualifying. We are getting a lot closer to a good set-up and I'm hoping for positive things tomorrow. We may be in with a shout of scoring a point if we have a good race. It's going to be a long hard race but I'm looking forward to it. I was surprised to see Giancarlo out on the circuit as when I left the garage the car was still in bits, although I was really focusing on my own thing."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "We had a few problems fitting the race engine on my car so I couldn't do the warm-up session. We changed engines and there was still a problem so we went to the T car, which was set up for Ralph, and I had not driven it all weekend. It's been quite a frustrating weekend and it will be difficult tomorrow. I'm disappointed, but these things happen. Anyway, you never know. I still hope to score some points."

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Minardi ( Justin Wilson - 18th, Jos Verstappen - 19th )

Paul Stoddart: "Finishing P18 and P19 is perhaps the best we could expect today. Both Justin and Jos drove faultlessly all day, though, and hopefully the reliability we've enjoyed throughout the weekend will continue through the race in order to let us record a two-car finish tomorrow."

Justin Wilson: "I was quite fired up for that one after yesterday. It was a pretty clean lap, although I did catch the edge of the curb at Turn 6 in the middle sector, which cost me a little bit. I think we were close to extracting the most we could from the car, and generally, I wasn't unhappy with the run. The main goal now is to get the best start possible in the race tomorrow and then get to the finish."

Jos Verstappen: "Disappointingly, we ran slower on the qualifying lap than in the warm-up session 15 minutes before, and that was despite pushing harder. We made a small change to the front wing before the qualifying run just to try to improve the chassis balance, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have done that. We were again very close to the limit today, and in that situation, it's difficult to find more time in the car - I made a little mistake at Turn 4, which maybe cost me a tenth of a second, but that was about it.
As for the race tomorrow, hopefully, it will rain, as that would suit us. This is a track that is known to be hard on tyres, so there maybe a lot of pit stops tomorrow. We will just have to see how things develop and hope for some good luck."

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What the teams and drivers said
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