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Sat: Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Merc

Saturday 26-November-2011 17:16

Sebastian Vettel was - yet again - the man of the moment in qualifying as he edged Mark Webber and Jenson Button in Brazil...

Red Bull:
Sebastian Vettel: "It's pretty special to get the record. Nigel [Mansell] obviously took three or four races less to achieve it, but nevertheless it's been an incredible year for us and an incredible journey and it's not yet over, we've got another chapter tomorrow and I'm very happy. It's hard to believe. I didn't feel that happy yesterday, but this morning I was much happier with the car and how it felt, it was much more to my liking and I was able to go from there and improve to get the pole. You know what you can do and the time you should be able to get ahead of the lap, but when you cross the line - you know if you have done it or not, without looking at the time. There wasn't much left today and that gives extreme satisfaction - and it gets even better when the engineer comes on the radio and tells you you've done it."

Mark Webber: "Qualifying was a good effort today from the whole team. It was very close with Sebastian, he did a great lap again, but there wasn't much between us. It was a good session today and we know there's going to be some weather coming in, which will mix things up a bit. That's very good for the people at home watching on TV, but it means a few grey hairs for us sitting in the cockpit. I'm looking forward to the race, it's a good challenge here and it would be great to finish the season with a good result."

McLaren:
Jenson Button: "All in all, Q2 was a bit nerve-wracking for me - but enjoyable in the end because I haven't managed to get past Q2 here in Brazil since 2005! So, as I say, it was satisfying to get into the top 10. In Q3, the car was working well too: balance-wise, I think the car was as good as we were going to get it. My quick lap was pretty ragged. I was pretty aggressive on the throttle, which you have to be to be fast around here. That's not normally my style, but it was definitely quick and in fact I crossed the line thinking I'd be farther up the grid than I eventually was. But that was because the two guys in front of me did a great job too. If it rains here tomorrow, as we're told it may well do, then it'll almost certainly pour down - and that's bound to make things very tricky. Still, this place lends itself to good overtaking - over the years there have been some great moves into Turns One and Four for example - so I think everything is well set for Formula 1 to put on a fantastic show tomorrow."

Lewis Hamilton: "Jenson was massively quick today. I ended up a couple of tenths away from him, so clearly I could have gone a bit faster, but the fact is that although I didn't make any mistakes on my best lap I just wasn't quite quick enough on the day. While that's inevitably a little disappointing for me personally, Jenson's pace is very encouraging for the team. We have reason to be optimistic about tomorrow too: we're both on the second row, and we can definitely mount a strong challenge from there. I don't think we're quite there in terms of race pace in the dry, but hopefully we'll be there if it's wet. Whatever happens though, it's going to be a tough, long race; and if the weather is wet or changeable, as predicted, then it's going to be very interesting indeed. Interlagos is a place that makes you feel inspired as a racing driver: it's Ayrton Senna's homeground, and the Brazilian fans are unbelievably passionate. I've started fourth here a few times before [in 2008 and 2010], so I hope four is a good number for me. Let's hope we can turn it into something even better tomorrow!"

Ferrari:
Fernando Alonso: "My subscription to fifth place has been extended for one more Saturday! This time however, getting to my classic starting place on the grid was a bit more of a struggle than usual. We are not very pleased with the balance of the car and we were expecting a very competitive Mercedes. However, in Q3, we got much closer to the McLarens than we could have expected, while the first of the Mercedes was left a few tenths back. What this means is that we managed to get a little bit more out of it than our potential would indicate. I certainly can't say the way qualifying went was much of a surprise. If it really rains tomorrow, it will be a very exciting and open race: no one really knows how competitive they can be in the wet and then it requires next to nothing - one lap more or less out on track at a time when the conditions change - to turn around a situation that looks set in stone. It's true that for us, the problem of getting the tyres up to temperature are more acute in the wet, but then it's equally true that when the track does dry, we are quicker than our rivals: the various stages of the race at Silverstone demonstrated this to be the case. If however, we were to race in the dry, then maybe there will be a lot of stops because today the tyres seemed to degrade more than yesterday. The perfect recipe for the last race of the year? The four in front of us stop and me and Felipe are ahead of the rest!"

Felipe Massa: "I was expecting more from this final qualifying of the year and I definitely cannot be happy with this seventh place. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the right balance throughout the weekend. In some corners I was locking up the front and in the slower ones I suffered with understeer, in others I lacked traction: all in all, the car was rather difficult to drive. On top of that, it was a rather complicated day. I had to use two sets of Softs in Q2 and I paid for that in Q3, as I could only do one run. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain so the situation could change. It's difficult to make predictions on the relative strengths: this year in the wet, sometimes we have seen a very strong Red Bull, other times McLaren have been very quick, but it's also true that anything can happen in these conditions. The important thing is to be prepared for all situations. For me, it's always a fantastic feeling racing at this track, in front of my amazing home crowd: I will try my all to do well and to finally make it onto the podium at the end of such a difficult year. It would be a nice way to end my tenth season in Formula 1 and to celebrate in a worthy manner my hundredth race with Scuderia Ferrari."

Mercedes GP:
Nico Rosberg: "That was a good qualifying session today. We saved a set of option tyres for the race, and we qualified ahead of one of the Ferraris which has always been my goal during the season. So I'm quite pleased to be starting from sixth place tomorrow. I was maybe a little too slow on my out lap in Q3 so my tyres didn't work perfectly on my fast lap, and that's why I wasn't as quick as in Q2. I will push to gain a good result tomorrow for the team who have done a great job over the whole season."

Michael Schumacher: "The forecast says there is a high probability for rain during the race. With this in mind, we have kept all of our options open for tomorrow and we had a strategic approach to qualifying today. Still we need to find out why we weren't able to match our times from this morning. There will be a lot of data checking now, so that tomorrow it will be very different and we can attack for some points."

Related Links
Qualy: Vettel breaks pole position record
Saturday's Shots From Interlagos

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