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2002 Malaysian Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Saturday 

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Saturday

Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - 3rd ) 

Jean Todt: "A great qualifying from Michael and Rubens. As we had expected, it turned out to be a very close fight. Michael managed to take pole using just three sets of tyres, while Rubens snatched third place on his very last run. The performance of the Bridgestone tyres was excellent. This is the second pole for the modified F2001, which ran very well. Tomorrow should see a closely contested race and we feel we have everything in place to obtain a good result."

Ross Brawn: "The Bridgestone tyres were very good today and I am very satisfied with their performance. Rubens was a bit behind in the beginning, but he did a fantastic job to catch up. It is very encouraging that he managed to take third. I think we are in good shape for tomorrow. Now we will have to study all the data to be as well prepared as possible for the race. The qualifying session was great, both in terms of the performance of the drivers and that of the team. It was a more exciting session than in Melbourne, with a good battle between us and our rivals."

Michael Schumacher: "The fact that the pole time is slower than last year is surprising, but the important thing is that I am quickest. Maybe I could have gone quicker if I had waited to the very end of the session, but we chose to start my last run at that time because it seemed the best moment to avoid the traffic. This pole is the result of the good preparation job we did yesterday and I think I can say the car was perfect. After Australia, everyone was saying it was going to be easy for us, but today proved the situation is tight and I think it will be an interesting race tomorrow. Our tyre choice for the race is very good, so I am confident, but not as confident as in Australia. The weather could be a big factor as there is a chance of showers, so it is difficult to predict what will happen."

Rubens Barrichello: "I am happy with my final lap time, even though one always thinks one can go quicker. At the start of the session I took time to find the right set-up as the car had felt more together in the morning on old tyres. The first change we made was not an improvement, but we got it right in the end, getting rid of the understeer and the braking difficulties I had felt earlier in the session. I am happy I got the speed out of the car and managed to move a bit nearer the front of the grid. It was very tight for time at the end and that meant there was more pressure. But the track was quicker at the end and then it was a matter of getting a clear lap."

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Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 2nd, Ralf Schumacher - 4th )

Sam Michael: We have had a good day as we have both cars on the top two rows of the grid. It was a very positive session by Juan. He did a good job in the set-up of his car, we will look at the set up of Ralf's car again tonight. Today was the first time we had a fully dry session on a Saturday this year and it is interesting to see the competitiveness of the teams under these conditions. Comparing the teams running on Michelin tyres we have a reasonable gap to the others, but what matters to us is the gap to Ferrari, which shows we still have some work to do."

Gerhard Berger: "No doubt this was a successful qualifying session especially after the considerable time gap we had two weeks ago in Melbourne to Ferrari. Last year the same thing happened; in Melbourne Ferrari was miles ahead of everybody else and at the second race the field was already more compact. Therefore our expectations here in Sepang are clearly better. Unluckily Ralf experienced a couple of problems with the set-up of his car. Juan was strong even if he could not put all his best sector times together in one lap."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "It's a bit disappointing that I could not put all my three best sectors together, as otherwise I would be on pole position, now. But I am obviously happy to start this Grand Prix from the first row, as this gives us the potential to take some points for the team. I like this track and there are several spots where overtaking is possible. Ferrari seem to have quite a bit more downforce, even if today my car was very good to drive, especially in the second sector. We changed quite a lot on the car from yesterday and I was very happy with the outcome

Ralf Schumacher: "I could have achieved a better position today, but unluckily I could not get one very good lap together. It's a pity, as this Saturday had started very well, but in Qualifying I had a couple of problems with the set-up of the car. Sepang is especially a circuit where you can very easily waste tenths here and there. It's a shame that I was pushed down from the third position just in the last seconds. Nevertheless, tomorrow we should be in a position to put Ferrari under pressure and gain access to the podium."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 5th, David Coulthard - 6th )

Ron Dennis: "I don’t feel that we got the best from the cars today and clearly we didn’t improve the times from this morning to the same extent as the team’s around us. Despite this disappointment we feel that we have achieved a competitive race set-up which should allow us to put in a strong performance tomorrow."

Norbert Haug: "Not the qualifying result that we had in mind, but we have achieved podium places from lesser grid positions. I think that our race performance will be better than what we showed today."

Kimi Raikkonen: "Obviously I would have liked to qualify nearer the front but as we saw in Australia two weeks ago anything can happen during the race. The balance of the car wasn’t ideal. We did our best, but were not quick enough. The race tomorrow will be physically very hard because of the high temperatures here in Malaysia, but I have been training hard so I will be well prepared."

David Coulthard: "I’m not at all happy with today’s performance and it has been difficult from the start of the weekend. I suffered from a lot of oversteer during qualifying and was therefore unable to attack the corners in the way I would have liked. We now have to work hard to improve our set-up for tomorrow when we have a long and tough race where anything can happen."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 7th, Felipe Massa - 14th )

Peter Sauber: "It's fantastic to be seventh, especially here in Malaysia. It is a present to Petronas and the Malaysian people. I'm really happy, particularly as our recent races here have not delivered the results we expected. Congratulations to Nick and his crew. Unfortunately, Felipe had a technical problem with his race car but he did the best job in difficult circumstances after he switched to the T-car."

Nick Heidfeld: "Overall I'm pleased to be seventh, though qualifying was a bit frustrating. I lost my first run to yellow flags, and set my best time on the second. We made a change to the car that didn't work for the third, and I abandoned the fourth, which would have been the best, when I got held up by traffic. But we know our cooling is satisfactory and that the car is strong on a race fuel load, so I'm optimistic for tomorrow."

Felipe Massa: "Unfortunately for me, something went wrong in the front right suspension on my first run, so I had to get a lift back to the pits to take over the spare car. That was set up for me, but it had a lot more understeer than my race car so I was struggling to get a good lap time. I think I got the best from it, but it's disappointing."

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Renault ( Jenson Button - 8th, Jarno Trulli - 12th )

Pat Symonds: "Mixed feelings after qualifying, as I feel we missed our target of getting both cars in the top 10. Jarno had a problematic session, suffering from traffic during his runs and failing to achieve the balance he was looking for. Jenson experienced a problem that forced him to take the spare car for his final run. The fact he then managed to improve his time is a measure of the capability of both driver and team."

Jenson Button: "I was pleased with my first run, even though I didn't push too hard, and happy with the setup of the car. We didn't make any changes for the next run, but I had to abort after the engine lost power. The problem meant I had to make my final run in the T-car, so it was good to improve my time and overall, I'm happy with what we achieved today."

Jarno Trulli: "A very difficult session. I couldn't find a good balance on the car this morning during practice, and unfortunately it didn't improve for qualifying. Overall, it hasn't been a good weekend for me so far."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 9th, Takuma Sato - 15th )

Giancarlo Fisichella: "Today was a pretty good performance. Our target was to be in the top eight and we are just outside that, so I am happy. The balance of the car was good. I made some mistakes on the last runs so might have been able to improve on the lap time a little, but basically I think we found the limit today. The goal for tomorrow is to finish the race and to do so in the points."

Takuma Sato: "After the problems we had in Melbourne this was my first real experience of Formula One qualifying and I am relatively satisfied with the performance. Overall I am quite happy and very much looking forward to building on today's performance in tomorrow's race."

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Toyota ( Mika Salo - 10th, Allan McNish - 19th )

Gustav Bruner: "The crew obviously worked very well too, but a lot of it is down to Mika. We were dreaming of the top 20 but now it seems we've scratched the top 10. It's a good effort from everyone."

Ange Pasquali: "We have to be pleased with this tenth place. If you compare to the qualifying we had in Melbourne it is a big step forward. Overall we are happy with the way it went, especially with the way the team reacted to the problem with Allan's car and getting the T-car ready quickly."

Mika Salo: "I am very happy. To have our first ever top 10 qualifying is good for the team. We have a strong race car and when you start from tenth position you are actually in the race, so we have a good opportunity to score more points tomorrow."

Allan McNish: "It was not a good session today. We had a problem on the first lap which meant I had to come back to the garage for the T-car, but I never really had a good feeling or set-up. Tomorrow we need to have a good clean start and keep out of trouble on the first corner and see what happens from there."

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Arrows ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 11th, Enrique Bernoldi - 16th )

Mike Coughlan: “We're still not getting all the speed we could out of the A23. P9 or P10 was definitely possible today as the cars in those positions are definitely beatable. We're only just beginning to see the potential of the car as this is really the first time both drivers have had trouble-free runs. We are still learning about the car and also learning how Heinz-Harald works and what he wants from us. I'm pleased with the progress.”

Heinz Harald Frentzen: “I think we can be happy with the progress we have made since Australia. The car handles a lot better and I know we are now on the right path. I'm still not 100% happy with the balance of the A23 but it is a good achievement after such a short period of time in the car. We are definitely moving in the right direction so we need to keep up the momentum.”

Enrique Bernoldi: "I was happy with my first run and the time was good but I made a mistake on my second run. I think we went the wrong way with set-up for the third run. The balance wasn't right and I went off onto the grass. We went back to a modified version of my original set-up at the end but the earlier runs cost us. I'm disappointed because, even though I was in the T-Car, I had a good morning today and was hoping for a better position.”

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 13th, Olivier Panis - 18th )

David Richards: "Jacques did a very good job and extracted the maximum he could from the car, but we have to accept that this is where we are today. On the other hand, Olivier had a very frustrating session which resulted in him setting his time in the T-car, which was set up for Jacques. We must now focus on making the cars as reliable as possible for tomorrow, and in no small measure, we depend on the fitness of both our drivers in what will be a very hot and demanding race."

Malcolm Oastler: "Qualifying was very difficult today. We discovered a gearbox oil leak on Olivier's car just prior to the session, and whilst addressing that, we made some precautionary checks with Jacques' car which delayed his first run. Jacques ran well but Olivier's problem resurfaced and we had to switch him to the T-car. The car was set up for Jacques so it was a race against time to change the settings. Olivier did the best job he could with a compromised set-up."

Jacques Villeneuve: "I had a good qualifying lap but I was 13th today because we're not fast enough. We still have some work to do to give us the best chance tomorrow. It's a tough physical race but I've done all the training and I feel prepared. We still have a chance of finishing in the points."

Olivier Panis: "Today is definitely a day to forget. The morning session was complicated by a repetition of the electronic problems we encountered yesterday, then 10 minutes before the Qualifying session we found a gearbox oil leak. At first, we decided to move straight to the T-car, but the team continued to work on my car and thought they had fixed the problem. I took the race car but unfortunately, after 1 lap, I lost gearbox oil pressure and then had to switch to the T-car 12 minutes before the end of the session. The mechanics made a tremendous effort to prepare the car, but in the end, I had to drive a car that was not set up for me. We have a great deal of work to do and a lot of things to change in the future. Regarding the race, I will have to wait and see what happens in warm-up before I can make any predictions."

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Jaguar ( Pedro de la Rosa - 17th, Eddie Irvine - 20th )

Niki Lauda: "With the R3 arriving in Malaysia last week direct from Melbourne, we were not expecting to find a great deal of additional speed here compared with Australia. Therefore, the qualifying positions are representative of what the car is capable of at this time and it is no more than we expected. Although we have made some progress towards understanding more about the new car this weekend, we still haven't unravelled the mystery that is ‘R3'. We have tried some minor modifications here and while there has been some progress, it is simply too marginal to make a noticeable difference. Eddie could maybe have squeezed into the mid 1m 38secs, but it wouldn't have changed what is obviously a very disappointing performance. I very much doubt that half the field will retire tomorrow, as was the case in Melbourne, and we will therefore aim to generate as much data as possible from the race. This, combined with next week's back-to-back test with last year's R2, will dictate what we do from here on. We must keep our cool, be logical and move forward in a systematic way. We are disappointed, yes, but everybody is keeping their heads up and thinking positively about the challenge ahead."

Pedro de la Rosa: "We did the best we could today with the R3 and for the first time, we took this car to the limit. The final qualifying position is not exactly worth celebrating, I know, but that's what this car is capable of at this point in time. We certainly didn't get the best out of the package in Melbourne, but I don't think there's anything else we could have done today. The car was handling quite well for me, but speed is what we lack. Simple. The Michelin tyres worked very well and while I could probably have squeezed a bit more from my final lap, the overall position wouldn't have changed that much. Tomorrow's race will be very tough indeed with R3 probably the toughest of the year when one considers the extreme heat too!."

Eddie Irvine: "I couldn't do anymore out there. Maybe my last lap could have been better had Panis not blocked me, but when you are fighting for positions at the back of the grid, I can't say it makes a massive difference, to be honest. I am finding it very hard indeed to get to grips with this car. Pedro has done a better job with it and that's probably down to his style of driving, particularly the way he tackles the corners. I like carrying speed through the corners and this car isn't conducive to my approach into corners particularly the slower ones. Not much has changed in the cars between Melbourne and Sepang. We tried some revised bits and pieces but, to be honest, our problem is much bigger than that. Last year, I qualified two seconds faster here and that would have meant 7th position on the grid today! I'm not saying we should have come here with R2, but it goes some way to justifying the reason for doing the comparison test next week and taking it from there. Either way, we need to find a way out of this quite fast. Together with Niki and Guenther, I'm sure we'll find a way. I really don't think it's a case of 'if' we'll find a way out, it's more a case of 'when'. Next week is critical to our season and everybody is working to the limit now in an effort to break through this difficult issue."

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Minardi ( Mark Webber - 21st, Alex Yoong - 22nd )

Paul Stoddart: "Qualifying both cars less than four seconds off the pole position time is not a bad result from our point of view. As for the race, the temperature could prove to be a 'car killer', in which case we might still have a chance at a top-10 result. We wish Alex all the best for tomorrow, when he will make a little bit of motor racing history by becoming the first Malaysian driver to compete in the Malaysian Grand Prix."
 
Mark Webber: "This actually was the first real F1 qualifying session I have completed, since Melbourne was a bit of a mixed- up affair. I have enjoyed the track a lot, although I still want to improve a little bit in myself in terms of getting more from qualifying. It's something I will be working on. Still, the guys did a great job and we have largely been able to recover what we lost in terms of running time yesterday."

Alex Yoong: "I feel a little bit disappointed, as I just didn't quite string together the laps. I felt it should have been possible to do the same time as Mark today. Towards the end of the session, we tried a couple of changes, but they didn't seem to improve the car. Tomorrow is going to be tough for everyone, though, and it is definitely going to be a battle for survival. We just need to make sure we are around at the finish."

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Session 2002 2001
First Friday Practice Results Report Notes Results
Second Friday Practice Results Report Notes Results
First Saturday Practice Results Report Notes Results
Second Saturday Practice Results Report Notes Results
Qualifying Results Report Notes Results
Warm-up Results Report Notes Results
Race Results Report Notes Results

What the teams and drivers said
Friday - Saturday - Sunday

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