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Italian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Patrick Head: "The whole team did an impressive job today and Juan Pablo deserved his first Formula 1 win. Ralf’s tyres blistered so he had problems holding Rubens behind him. The drivers and every member of the team were concerned about Alex yesterday, but today we had to concentrate on the race and obviously the result is very good."
Gerhard Berger: "It is not the correct moment to be happy, but seeing both the drivers on the podium is obviously a great success for us. Juan Pablo first, Ralf third, that is our best result so far. We expected Ferrari to be a very strong competitor and we were right to do so. The race showed there was no room to make even the smallest mistake. This victory will make Juan Pablo‘s confidence even stronger and I am sure we will see more strong drives from him."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "The whole team – WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin – have done a fantastic job for me and I am so happy with the result. I think this a great day for me, especially as my father is here and it is his birthday. It was also exactly a year ago that I had my last win in CART. At the beginning of the race I had lots of oversteer everywhere, but the car got better and better and the speed was there when I needed it.”
Ralf Schumacher: "I did not find the best set-up for my car the whole weekend. But I would like to thank the team, being first and third here is a very strong effort. Because of the bad things that have happened I find it difficult to celebrate so hope everyone understands the reasons for my reaction to what is going on."
Jean Todt: "I am happy for two reasons. The first is that this difficult weekend is now over. The second is that we got a car to the podium and another across the line in fourth place. Rubens drove a really great race and he could have won. Unfortunately, a problem with the re-setting of the refuelling rig, at the moment of his first pit stop, cost him around seven seconds, which was probably enough to deprive him of the victory. As for Michael, he drove a good race in a professional manner. For various reasons, his heart wasn’t in it at this track. We would have liked to have celebrated our two world titles in front of all our fans, but world events meant this would have been inappropriate. For us, this race was just another round out of the seventeen. On behalf of all the team I send our best wishes to Alessandro Zanardi. The thoughts of all of us are with him today."
Rubens Barrichello: "I am not sure what happened in the pit stop, but it cost me a lot of time - enough to lose the race. But, all the same, we put on a good show. The Bridgestone tyres were great and the engine was very strong. The two stop strategy was definitely the right decision and Ross Brawn was magic to think of this, which gave us the opportunity to fight the Williams. I passed Juan Pablo because I saw he had problems with his rear tyres and locked up and I got past him on the inside. It was a fair fight. With Ralf, I think he was also struggling with his rear tyres and his brakes, especially at Turn 1. So I braked early there. He seemed to want the outside line at the chicane but when he missed it, I got by"
Michael Schumacher: "Luckily, everything went well and nothing happened. I am glad this weekend is over. It was a pity that Rubens was not able to win this race. But overall, the most important thing is that nothing bad happened this afternoon.”
Niki Lauda: "Pedro drove a great race. He avoided the accident at the first chicane and after that he drove a very determined race. Our pit-stop strategy was definitely the right one and it's a shame we lost Eddie. Both cars were in 6th and 7th positions when Eddie experienced a power loss and it's a shame not to have taken full advantage today. It looks like part of the oil breathing system in the Cosworth CR3 engine had come loose and right at the start it allowed some oil to fall into the engine. In effect, it failed one of the plugs in the engine. It's a very rare thing to happen and we'll know for sure when Cosworth Racing get the engine back to their Northamptonshire HQ. Nonetheless, I take nothing away from Pedro and the team. They executed a great job today and we have been rewarded accordingly. We must now look to take this strength and apply it to getting past Benetton in the Constructor's table."
Pedro de la Rosa: "That's the boost we've been waiting for. The past few races haven't been very good and I am just delighted for everybody in the team. Everything went like clockwork today. The Jaguar R2 felt very well balanced throughout and I didn't suffer from any problems. My worry beforehand was the first chicane and I'm just glad I made it through there without incident. Jenson Button made a great start but came flying into the chicane and took a few people out. I took advantage of the confusion and was surprised at having gained four places by the end of the first lap. The Michelin tyres worked very well and given that I was on a one-stop strategy, I didn't push to the limit for fear of causing excessive tyre wear. As the fuel level lowered and the tyres were run in the car felt great, like it has all weekend. We'll aim to carry this momentum into the next two races and let's see where it gets us."
Eddie Irvine: "What can I say! I made a pleasing start that saw me climb into 7th place and almost immediately I felt a power loss. It just kept going from bad to worse and that's why I lost so many places. The problem wasn't showing up on the telemetry and the team correctly decided to call me in on lap 18. It's been a bad weekend for me from the minute I arrived in Monza. The car hasn't really been to my liking all weekend and it was difficult achieving a good set-up. I haven't been doing too well in the last few races and, unlike earlier in the season, the reliability bug seems to have jumped on me. It's very disappointing not to have scored points today, but at least Pedro has compensated the team with some well-deserved points. The guys work their backsides off in this team and reward has been a rarity for them. Let's see how we fair in Indianapolis and with only three points separating us from Benetton, the chance to overtake them is open again."
Craig Pollock: "It's been a difficult weekend but a disastrous week in general. In the midst of all of that, the team pulled together to produce two very strong and reliable cars for the race. It was a great performance all round and in particular, two fantastic drives from both Jacques and Olivier. I think everyone on the team is relieved that the race ran smoothly and we can at least head home with something to feel positive about."
Jacques Villeneuve: "A happier end to a difficult weekend. As predicted we were a lot better in the race than we were in qualifying. The team worked very hard yesterday and this morning and, somehow, the car was a lot quicker in race trim. We had a small problem with the fuel rig and we weren't able to put enough fuel in at the pitstop. This meant we were a little low on fuel towards the end of the race so I couldn't really race De La Rosa. However, 6th place gives us a valuable point at this stage in the season."
Olivier Panis: "Obviously the result was a big improvement after qualifying yesterday. I drove the T-car in the race because all weekend I haven't felt very happy with my racecar. I'm very pleased because I was really competitive today. When you start 17th on the grid it's very difficult to have the best possible race but we made the best of the situation. I'm sure I could have improved even more but Bernoldi made it difficult for me to get round him. Jacques' point was great for the team and after the way the car felt today I feel more positive about the last two races. We just need to stay focused now and keep up the good work."
Peter Sauber: "I am grateful that there were no accidents this afternoon, but the race was a disappointment for us because we should have scored points. Unfortunately Nick's race was compromised even before the start when he had to switch to the T-car because of loss of hydraulic pressure, and then the T-car was not good enough to let him fight up from the back. Kimi lost too much ground at the start trapped behind cars with higher fuel loads to enable our own fuel strategy to reap the dividend that it deserved. On the positive side, however, we retain our fourth place in the constructors´ championship."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I didn't make a great start and had already lost two places when Trulli spun in front of me in the first chicane. That lost me more, and having to run in traffic after that really compromised my race because we had gone for a light fuel load initially and intended to take on a higher load after my pit stop. After the stop I had to nurse the tyres for a long time and could only really attack Villeneuve in the closing stages. Then I was able to drop the gap from eight seconds to about half a second, but I just ran out of laps to get the final point."
Nick Heidfeld: "This was a very disappointing race for me. It went wrong on the grid formation lap when my car developed a problem in the hydraulics and I had to start in the spare car from the pit lane. I caught the tail end of the field quite quickly, but then I lost a lot of time in the heavy traffic. I spent most of my time nursing my tyres as they began to lose their edge, and some laps the car was good and some laps it wasn't. It was a tough afternoon."
Eddie Jordan: "I think most people will be pleased that Monza is over this year. It was a difficult enough weekend for everybody without Jarno then being hit from behind at the first corner when we were hopeful for points. I feel very sorry for Jarno. Obviously it is disappointing not to have salvaged something. Jean thought he had a puncture on his second set of tyres and that meant we had to do a very early second stop, which didn't suit our game plan."
Jean Alesi: "It was a tough race. At least I was able to finish although I'm a bit sad about the final result because I had to come in early for the second stop because I thought I had a problem with one of the tyres."
Jarno Trulli: "I made a good start and held my position. Unfortunately, I was hit by a car at the first chicane and I found out later that it was Button. I was already in the corner and he miscalculated his braking. Again, it wasn't my mistake. There's nothing else I can say because, obviously, this is a huge disappointment."
Mike Gascoyne: "Jenson made a storming start and was up to 6th by the first corner, but unfortunately he came together with Trulli. An engine failure then put him out. Giancarlo, who started from the pit lane, drove a very strong race even though a system failure deprived him of traction control. He kept a good pace throughout the race, but we were never going to achieve very much starting from the back. It is of course very frustrating, but we are still improving and, as usual, are looking to improve our competitiveness."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "The target today was to score some points, which was a realistic goal. Our car has been strong all weekend, but after one lap I had problems because my traction control did not work. As a result my tyres were going off more quickly than usual, but I did my best in the circumstances. Of course I am disappointed with today's outcome but the progress we have made recently puts me in an optimistic frame of mind for the next event."
Jenson Button: "This weekend started so well and I was prepared for a good race. I made a great start, but at the first corner I think I had strayed too far to the inside, where it was quite dirty and oily, perhaps from the Porsche race earlier on today. I braked at the same time as everyone else, but I couldn't stop in time to avoid Trulli. I ran into him, lost my front wing and put him out of the race, for which I was very sorry. The team did a great job to fit a replacement nose in the pits, but unfortunately my engine blew on the fifth lap."
Alain Prost: "The drivers had had long discussions prior to the race, and decided in majority that there would be no overtaking attempts before they would have passed first two chicanes. In the end, we can only express our disappointment for Heinz-Harald, since some drivers did not take the same decision and cut through the chicane. This cost us several positions and it is difficult to accept it. Despite unusual reliability problems, we have shown a good level performance at some point this week-end. After having been plagued throughout the practices, Tomas managed to achieve a solid race and gathered a valuable experience for the future. We are very satisfied with the work he has done this week-end and all the more frustrated that we could not complete the race with both our cars."
Henri Durand: "We have mixed emotions about this race. On one side, Tomas has been able to run consistently without any reliability problems for the first time this week-end, and we are very pleased with his performance. On the other hand, we can only be disappointed that Heinz-Harald could not show his true potential and the car’s. Yesterday, we had decided to opt for hard compound tyres at the cost of sacrificing Heinz-Harald’s grid position, but we believed in that option for the race. He started with a full tank and was planned to refuel very late in the race. Unfortunately we don’t know how competitive he could have been since he was caught in traffic for the majority of his race because of a poor start. Besides, shortly after the traffic had cleared, he experienced a transmission failure. Our week-end was plagued by reliability problems which is very uncharacteristic for us this season. We will of course analyse all the difficulties we have faced here and will approach the next two races with our usual determination."
Tomas Enge: "I am very happy to finish my first Formula One race ! The car was running fine, and I did not have any problem at all. I learnt a lot about all the electronic devices, the various commands on the steering wheel, traction control, engine mapping. All this was new to me but I managed to complete this Grand Prix without making any mistake. I finished 12th which is very satisfying for me. I am delighted that I had the opportunity to drive for the Prost Acer team this weekend, and that I could do a good job for them and for Luciano."
Heinz Harald Frentzen: "For some reasons, the track was very slippery at the start and in the first chicane. It was unlucky that Jarno Trulli spun in front of me, which forced me to take the outside line. A lot of cars drove through and I lost several positions. I had to fight hard from behind, and Bernoldi held us up for a while. Only when he went into the pits, I could attack to the race. But soon after something broke. The engine was running fine but I had no drive in the gearbox any longer. This is what put an end to my race"Paul Stoddart: "After what has been an eventful weekend for European Minardi F1, we are pleased with Fernando’s 13th-place finish and the fact Alex, although not finishing the entire distance, ran as high as 15th for much of the race. He proved this weekend that he is worthy of his place at the top level of motor racing, Formula One. Despite a traumatic qualifying session, both drivers and team gave their all in this, one of their ‘home’ Grands Prix. It’s important to note that Alex today justly earned his place in the history books as Malaysia’s first-ever Formula One racing driver, but this has been made possible by the enormous encouragement of the Malaysian government – a true supporter of Formula one – and by companies like Magnum Corporation Berhad, which have provided financial support to allow Alex to fulfil his dream.”
Fernando Alonso: "We decided to start the race in the spare car, which was fitted with the older gearbox, simply for precautionary reasons, since we were not so confident about the new gearbox here at Monza following yesterday’s problems. This penalised us slightly in terms of performance, but I tried to do my best in the race and, in the end, feel quite happy to have finished."
Alex Yoong: "I had a bit of a scare on the opening lap, when the front wing of Button’s car flew off and hit my car. I slowed my pace for a couple of laps just to be certain that nothing was broken and, from that point on, I had quite a lot of oversteer, with the result that driving became pretty hard. I feel disappointed not to have finished the race, particularly since there were only a few laps left to the finish. I have really enjoyed my first Formula One race here in Monza and am now looking forward to the next Grand Prix in order to accumulate more track miles and get more experience at the wheel of the European Minardi F1 car.”
Graham Taylor: “Our race pace was a lot better than our qualifying pace and we were able to hold our own out there. Jos was flying on a two-stop strategy and Enrique was keeping pace on a one-stop. We were always concerned about the amount of brake wear we'd get here, as we haven't tested here this year. We were in a bit of trouble with brakes, but Jos' car stopped, and then so did Enrique's. So, in summary, a disappointing end to a race that was looking very good for us at the start."
Enrique Bernoldi: "I must say I enjoyed the race today. I got a good start and made up a lot of places. Afterwards I had a good fight with Villeneuve, with Hakkinen and with Panis, which was good. I had a few problems with my brakes, which didn't cause me to slow down but prevented me from pushing. A few laps before the end I felt there was a problem with the engine and then the car just stopped. It's unfortunate as I was having a good time out there today."
Jos Verstappen: "I think the start was fantastic, getting up to eighth place from 19th place on the grid. That almost matches the start I had in Malaysia this year. I was able to keep the pace during the beginning of the race but could feel that my brakes were wearing quickly. This wasn't a big problem and I came in for the first of my two pit-stops and re-joined the race but then had to retire as I had a loss of power."
Ron Dennis: “Overall not a good weekend for Formula One and certainly not for us. Just when we thought we had come to grips with our reliability we suffered an engine failure and a drivetrain problem – the causes of which we are still investigating. We have to do better in the future."
Norbert Haug: "A disappointing race on a difficult Grand Prix weekend with our engine and drivetrain failures. We definitely have to raise our game in terms of speed and reliability.”
Mika Hakkinen: “The pile up at the first corner after the start caused me to go straight on at the chicane, which cost me several positions and I came out 13th. This was extremely disappointing as us drivers had discussed that we should be particularly careful at the start, as the first chicane is so tight. On lap 19 I got stuck in fifth gear and as I went around the chicane I lost all the gears and that was the end of my race.”
David Coulthard: "There is no doubt that this has been a race of attrition. Unfortunately this didn’t work to our advantage as both Mika and I retired. It’s been a difficult weekend for us with a few problems along the way, but we still hoped to get points. At least I retained my second place in the Championship points standings."