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European GP: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
23/08/2008

Felipe, congratulations. Talk us through your pole winning lap.
Felipe Massa: Yeah, for sure starting on pole here is very nice. The track here is not very easy. The surface is slippery. I had a good lap and I was able to score the pole position. I think I have a good car for the race tomorrow which will be very difficult, but I will try to do my best.

How did the lap go for you in terms of sectors?
FM I think I made pole position in the first sector. The first sector was just fantastic. I made some very small mistakes in sector two when you always have an oversteer car or understeer car depending on the corner. Then I had a good sector three but everything was done in sector one.

Talk us through the weekend for you and your thoughts on the track.
FM For sure the track gets better all the time. Yesterday we saw the lap time getting crazier, improving so quick from the beginning of the session. We see that it was so green and as long as you put rubber on the track, lap times improve a lot and the balance improves a lot as well. I think yesterday we had a big, big shower which doesn't help for the grip of the track, so today was also difficult in the morning. But it's okay, I think it is a nice track. Let's hope that we can have a good run tomorrow.

The Ferrari car looks fabulous. How does it feel for you?
FM For sure we have a great car. We showed that at some many races this year. We showed that at the last race, unfortunately sometimes things happen. We showed again here that we are competitive. I think that is the most important thing. The team did a great job today, yesterday and also the preparation for this race which was also very difficult. We went to the simulator trying to find a reasonable balance to start with and also the job done yesterday. The team did a great job.

Lewis, on the front row. A great race to start the inaugural grand prix in Valencia. Talk us through qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton: It was quite straightforward for me really. I think we noticed we had a good car through testing and going into Q1 and Q2 it was all about getting through. There didn't seem to be too much of a problem. The car was quick. I stayed on the option tyre for both my Q3 timed laps and I think the first one was not a great lap. I think I probably lost about a second to my second timed lap but I think the last lap was pretty good. I was quite happy with that. For sure, there is always a little bit of time somewhere but generally I am very happy. It is a good starting position for us for tomorrow and a great job done by the team.

It looks like another battle between yourselves and Ferrari.
LH Yeah, as you can see we just watched Felipe's qualifying lap and as he said in sector one he destroyed everyone. They are going to be hard to beat tomorrow but we will push as hard as we can.

What was sector one like for you?
LH I think I was already down a tenth or two tenths after the first corner. I came though turn one or two and three, if you look on the map, and then turn three, turn four and five didn't seem to be as strong as I would like. That is probably where the time went but generally it wasn't too bad. It wasn't a struggling lap. It was quite a good lap and I was quite happy with it.

Robert, welcome back to the top three. It is good to see you back up here after qualifying.
Robert Kubica: Yeah, I mean for sure it has been a very good qualifying for myself and the team. After some unlucky races the pace of the car here in Valencia is not as bad as it was before but also we have a bit of a gap to Ferrari and McLaren. Qualifying went pretty smooth. The weather was playing a bit, so we were anticipating every stint and every run, in qualifying three especially to make sure that we would be fine with the lap time to go into the next qualifying.

We saw a bit of rain on the camera lens. What was it like for the drivers?
RK The rain doesn't have any effect for the drivers. Only in qualifying two there were some drops in the last part of the main straight but it didn't have any effect.

And the tyre choice. Again we saw a spread between the harder and the softer of the two Bridgestone tyres.
RK Well, for me it was pretty clear. We saw yesterday which tyre we would probably use and we stuck to our first choice. I went on primes in qualifying one and on options in qualifying two and again on options in qualifying three.

Felipe, your thoughts on this circuit and bouncing back from that big disappointment in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
FM Yeah for sure it is always nice to be on top after such a bad result especially how it happened. It was so bad to have a problem with three laps to go with a win completely in my pocket. After such a difficult race it is very nice to be here for the first time in Valencia and also after the problem we had in the last race and to be on the top. But for sure the race is tomorrow and we don't know how it is going to be but it is always nice to start on pole position. We will try to do a great race. Valencia is a nice place. We always come here for testing and the city is fantastic. I have been coming here since 2000 when I was doing Formula Renault and it is amazing how the city is getting bigger and bigger and so modern and a nice place to go, nice hotels, nice atmosphere. It is very nice to be here and on pole. Let's hope that tomorrow we can have a great race.

Press Conference

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