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European Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - 1st, Michael Schumacher - 2nd )
Jean Todt: "This victory here in Germany is a great triumph for Ferrari. We knew we would be more competitive in the race than in qualifying and that�s how it turned out. That was in part due to the excellent performance of the Bridgestone tyres. Rubens made an extraordinary start and managed to take the lead on the opening lap. Michael found it a bit tougher to get ahead of those in front of him as he moved up to second. We allowed our drivers to race one another up to the second pit-stop and then we told them to hold station. We have picked up sixteen very important points towards the Constructors� Championship and the Drivers,� in which Michael has extended his lead, while Rubens is now back with the leading group. This race showed that Ferrari is a great team, united and determined to secure the best result possible, adopting the strategy best suited to this objective. We have passed the half-way point of the season and thanks to our efforts so far, we can look forward to the rest of the championship with confidence. We will continue to work hard to consolidate our situation."
Rubens Barrichello: "This is a fantastic result and I must thank the team for giving me a great car and giving me great support, especially when I was struggling with tyre choice earlier in the weekend. The start was very exciting and I was looking to get away cleanly and I did not want to put Michael in a difficult situation. I backed off and then I saw Coulthard come past so I got off the brakes and went by on a very tight line. Then the two Williams were fighting and I saw a gap to get past Ralf and I took it and that made my race. The team let us push hard for a very long time but then after the second pit stops, we were told to be careful to bring the cars home. The tyres worked fantastically, the car�s performance was great, so I was able to push and be competitive. Is this payback for Austria? That was in the past. That time, the strategy favoured Michael, this time it went in my favour. It shows what a strong and united group we are. Now I want to enjoy today as my son and wife are both here and it has been a fantastic day. I am looking forward to Silverstone, which is like a home track for me."
Michael Schumacher: "Rubens drove a superb race and deserves the win, while I deserve to be second. At the start, I chose the wrong side to make a move. I tried to go to the outside of Montoya and Ralf but then I had to slow for the kink and saw Rubens and Coulthard fly by. Ralf was very fair when I came to pass him, although I had an eventful couple of laps to pass Montoya, after which I closed on Rubens. I think I spun because I got too close to him and lost downforce, but I heard that Rubens also had problems at that point so maybe there was some dirt or oil. I was giving it everything I had and was pushing very hard as I would be staying out one lap longer than him before the pit stop and thought I might take advantage of that. But after the stop I lost a bit of time with backmarkers. After the second stop I did not really get a chance to pass and the team came on the radio and told us to bring the cars home safely. Why was Rubens not asked to let me by? The situation was very different to Austria, when we were not arrogant enough to think winning the title would be easy, given that nothing can be taken for granted. Now, later in the season, the championships are still not decided, but we are in a much stronger position than in Austria."
McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 3rd, David Coulthard - Retired )
Ron Dennis: "Our performance in the race was satisfying in view of our lack of competitiveness in the early part of the season. Having said that, we are here to win and the gap to Ferrari is still too big. Nevertheless great drives by both David and Kimi. Racing incidents are just part of the sport, but of course we share David�s frustration. Again, well done Kimi."
Norbert Haug: "We made a step forward and were the fastest Michelin team. A fine drive by Kimi whose podium finish is a nice reward for him and the team at the Mercedes-Benz home Grand Prix. A shame for David who could have increased his position in the point standings in the Drivers� World Championship if it hadn�t been for Montoya�s spin. Juan Pablo apologised to David, which is fine."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I�m pleased to have equalled my previous best podium finish from Australia. There was a lot happening at the start, but I managed to retain sixth place. I was pushing hard, but then I outbraked myself and lost a position to Button. However I wasn�t too worried because I knew that he was on a two-stop strategy. After David and Montoya�s incident I caught Ralf Schumacher and we had a good battle where I tried to outbrake him on a number of occasions. I was just about to have another go when the team told me on the radio that he would be coming in for his pitstop. I was able to stay out for a few more laps and could open up enough of a gap. We had the right strategy today and whilst we were not as quick as Ferrari we were definitely faster than Williams- BMW which is good news."
David Coulthard: "I�m seriously disappointed about what happened because the car felt really good. It was obvious that we were quicker than both the Williams-BMW cars so things were looking positive. Montoya was a lot slower than me in the corners, but he was fast in a straight line so the one opportunity I had to overtake him would be to get in his slipstream as we approached the first corner. He pushed me to the outside, but I gave him room on the inside so we could do the corner together. My plan was that I would then be on the inside for the next corner and take fourth. Unfortunately Montoya lost the back end of his car and went into the side of me and that was it. I know that it wouldn�t have happened if I had not been on the outside but if I hadn�t been there I wouldn�t have been able to overtake and there was plenty of room. Montoya came to apologise and I know these sort of incidents are part of racing but it�s a shame as none of us gained anything."
Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 4th, Juan Pablo Montoya - Retired )
Sam Michael: "We had a poor performance today. We had a similar problem to the Monaco race where we had extreme wear on the rear tyres of both cars. We had to pull Ralf�s pit-stop forward by a long way but Juan didn�t make it. Unfortunately he took David Coulthard off and he apologised. We have a lot of work to do and it�s clear where our problem lies."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "After such a strong qualifying with both our cars, we were obviously the favourite team for this race. But already in the warm up the Ferrari cars showed how extraordinarily quick they were with their race set-up. Both our drivers were unhappy with the behaviour of their cars. On the engine side there was no problems during the entire weekend. The measures we took after the Monaco and the Canadian Grands Prix clearly paid off."
Ralf Schumacher: "On one side I am disappointed with position four, on the other side I must confess that we knew we were going to have a very hard race against Ferrari. I had a good start and passed Juan on the first corner because I started on new tyres. Unfortunately I couldn�t stay in the lead for very long. Ferrari is simply extremely strong in the race, at present. My car was incredibly difficult to drive as we had some tyre problems from early in the race. I must say though that this doesn�t depend on Michelin, but on us getting the car right for the tyres."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "For the third time in a row I didn�t finish the race after being on pole. At the start I lost the lead to Ralf who passed me at the first hairpin. I didn�t try to protect my position and risk sending the two of us out of the race. Then I was struggling massively with the handling of my car. The car was almost un-driveable but I still had some laps to go before my pit-stop. Eventually I couldn�t help spinning coming into the first corner and I unfortunately hit Coulthard who was close behind me, putting an early end to our race. When I came back to the paddock I apologised to David."
Renault ( Jenson Button - 5th, Jarno Trulli - 8th )
Jean-Jacques His: "I'm happy with our performance, even though a number of missed opportunities and typical racing incidents slowed us a little. We have reason to be pleased with a reliable weekend during which we demonstrated a good level of performance compared to our competitors, particularly at the end of the race when running with identical fuel loads."
Pat Symonds: "Our strategy today was built around leading McLaren at the end of the first lap. When we failed to achieve that, it was obviously going to be a difficult race. On top of this, we experienced some problems on both cars with intermittent engine faults. Under these circumstances, achieving a points finish was the best we could hope for."
Jenson Button: "The team did a great job, especially with the set-up of the car. It was hard for me at the start of the race but once the rear tyres had worn in a little and lost some grip, the balance was very good. The only problem was getting stuck behind Panis after my first stop. I couldn't get past him, and lost quite a lot of time because of it. Overall, I had a very good race, and the team did a fantastic job.�
Jarno Trulli: "First of all, I'm pleased that the team managed to score two more points today. As for me, I made a good start but then lost a few positions in the first sector, and was eighth at the end of the first lap. Even so, the car was working well when I began to feel a misfire on lap 3. That made me a little nervous, and I then locked up going into the first corner soon after and went off-track. Although the problems continued throughout the race, the car felt pretty strong nevertheless. In the end, it was my mistake which cost us points today."
Sauber ( Felipe Massa - 6th, Nick Heidfeld - 7th )
Peter Sauber: "This was a very important point for us, as it is our first at the Nurburgring. Furthermore, it's one that we took from Renault. It was really hard to earn because normally a two-stop strategy is quicker, but the only way we could fight Renault this afternoon was to do a one-stop race and it worked well. Both Felipe and Nick drove strong races, and were free to race each other throughout. Thanks to them, and to the team, for a good race."
Felipe Massa: "I made a brilliant start, and made my race by the first corner. The car was really good and our strategy worked well for us. My only problem was that I had a big vibration on my second set of tyres and that made it easy to make mistakes. I made a couple but I recovered each time without losing any places. Nick pushed me hard but I felt quite comfortable. After Brazil's success in the World Cup on Friday, this point is another great bonus this weekend for me!."
Nick Heidfeld: "I lost my point at the start, when Felipe overtook me. It was as simple as that. My car was good this afternoon, and the two of us were very close after our pit stops. My one chance to pass him came in the first corner as he left the pits after his stop, but Ralf Schumacher was right in front of me so I had to brake to avoid him, and that was that. After that we got close a few times, and though naturally I was aware that I was fighting my team-mate, with all that that implies, I tried as hard as possible. Like I said, it was close, but just not close enough."
BAR ( Olivier Panis - 9th, Jacques Villeneuve - 12th )
David Richards: "All in all, today�s race saw a very competent effort from the whole team given our grid positions. Both cars remained reliable throughout so we must now take a good look at how we can improve our overall performance."
Olivier Panis: "After warm-up this morning I said that points were possible but, in the end, the Nurburgring is a fast track and we didn't have the speed to do the job. I don't want to say I'm disappointed because I've finished the last two races in the top 10, so this definitely has to be seen as a progression. Before you can finish in the points, you have to be able to consistently make the top 10. I drove a hard race and I think the strategy I adopted proved to be the right one for me. I had a hard time trying to keep the two-stoppers behind me at the same time as trying to preserve my tyres, but the car stayed reliable under pressure and we got both cars to the finish. Today's race was always going to be difficult for us but we demonstrated a strong team performance and we have to take some encouragement from that. As always, we have to keep working hard and see what Silverstone will bring."
Jacques Villeneuve: "I had a problem which started on the formation lap when I felt something strange with the car. Off the start, I went through the first two gears OK and then the engine bogged down. At the first corner, I had to step out to avoid Frentzen, who was trying to avoid the two Jordans, and both of these problems allowed other cars to pass me. I was stuck with the problem for a while and then it seemed to recover but maybe not fully. From 19th on the grid, this was always going to be a tough race. I think today we did the best job we could under the circumstances."
Arrows ( Enrique Bernoldi - 10th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - 13th )
Graham Taylor: �We�re very pleased with the job Enrique did today, especially after the bad day he had yesterday. He really kept his head down and was obliging when we asked him to let Heinz through at the beginning of the race. Heinz was let down again by the fuel rig so we are really going to have to get on top of that one as this is the third time. Ironically Heinz was using Enrique�s rig today too. All in all though we are very pleased to get two cars home before we head off to Barcelona where we have a lot of work to do next week.�
Enrique Bernoldi: "I enjoyed today�s race more than any other. I had a great start and could fight for places throughout the race and basically enjoyed every bit of it! I have to say that the best bit was probably the last lap as I managed to overtake Pedro (de la Rosa) on the outside of the chicane which pleased me a lot as I didn�t want him to beat me.�
Heinz Harald Frentzen: �I really enjoyed the race today as I was having a lot of good fights for position. It�s a shame it wasn�t a fight for points but enjoyable nonetheless. The car felt extremely good throughout the race as we managed to sort out the balance this morning. The fuel rig problem is very annoying. I think we need to go and get a new one.�
Jaguar ( Pedro de la Rosa - 11th, Eddie Irvine - Retired )
Niki Lauda: "Finishing this race was our objective today and we got half way there with Pedro crossing the line in 11th place. Eddie suffered from a loss of hydraulic pressure and until we examine the car in detail, it's impossible at this stage to explain why. We took a decision to put both drivers on a one-stop strategy and that meant they were running with heavy fuel loads � hence Eddie dropping some positions not long after the first lap. The relatively low retirement rate didn't allow us to take advantage of anything today and in the end, our result reflected our overall pace. We are working hard behind the scenes to address our current aerodynamic issues and we are targeting some improvements in the very near future."
Pedro de la Rosa: "A very hard race which tested us to the limit. It didn't start too well because I had a problem on the start grid with the launch control. At first, it didn't engage and I feared the worst. It then got going and my next problem came at the first corner where the two Jordans got tangled with each other. I took avoiding action and made it through, but the race was very hard work indeed. With high downforce being a major prerequisite at this circuit, handling was always going to be an issue and so it proved. The car was a handful throughout the race and the only consoling factor was its reliability that allowed me to cross the finishing line. We knew this weekend would be very hard on us and finishing the race was our target."
Eddie Irvine: "That was a very difficult race to contest, but no more than I expected. This is a very tough circuit and places maximum demand on aerodynamic capabilities � something we have not mastered yet with this car. I started well and from 17th on the grid, I managed to force myself into 14th . Our heavy fuel load meant that we were sitting targets for the others on a two-stopper but in all honestly, there was very little we could do out there today. I also suffered as I entered the pit lane for my pit stop. On entry into the pitlane, the car stepped out on me and spun, which cost me some time. All in all, a weekend to forget."
Toyota ( Allan McNish - 14th, Mika Salo - Retired )
Ove Andersson: "I have mixed feelings at the moment. I am pleased that Allan made it home after our recent failures to finish. Having said that I thought we would have been stronger in the race following a good qualifying session yesterday. We have to look now to next week�s test to find a solution to the problems we encountered today."
Allan McNish: "I had some small traction problems at the beginning, but things soon got better and the car was running quite well. There was a problem with the front left tyre on my first stop, losing me about 6 seconds. My shoulder was extremely painful due to a new seat in the car. The pain was so intense after my second stop it is a miracle I finished the race at all. Only tomorrow will I know whether I can test next week, but I tell you one thing I am not going to miss my home Grand Prix in Silverstone."
Mika Salo: "We agreed to take a chance on a one-stop strategy, but during the race we realised the tyres we chose were suffering from the heavy fuel load. This caused handling problems, which is why I went off a couple of times and lost positions. I had to come in earlier than scheduled for my stop for this reason and then had to stop again later to change tyres again. I think my retirement was a gearbox-related problem, but we have to do further checks before we can be sure."
Minardi ( Mark Webber - 15th, Alex Yoong - Retired )Paul Stoddart: "Generally, it was a day of mixed fortunes for the KL Minardi Asiatech team. Mark had a busy first stint, having to do quite a bit to avoid the Jordans at the first corner after they touched, and then suffered a significant handling balance problem. After his first pit stop, though, he set some impressive lap times. We're pleased he finished the race and took 15th place at the chequered flag as reward for his efforts. At the same time, we're sad for Alex, who despite being assessed a 'drive-through' penalty for jumping the start, put in a strong performance in the race and was denied the finish he deserved. Overall, we're pleased with the team's performance this weekend."
Mark Webber: "I made a good start and took a few people going into turn one and on the exit as we were avoiding the spinning Jordans. The next 18 laps or so were just unbelievable as I found myself fighting a big chassis balance problem. After the first of my two pit stops, however, and with a new set of tyres fitted, the situation improved massively and we set some good lap times. We made progress in the middle of the race and then, in the final stint, things were also working well for us. I guess you could say I enjoyed laps 20 to 60, but not one to 19."
Alex Yoong: "It was an interesting race, from my point of view. I had a false start when I misread the starting gantry lights in the bright sunlight and was assessed a drive-through penalty. Then there was a problem with the refuelling rig when I made my scheduled pit stop, and finally, I was forced to retire the car with a few laps of the race to go when we suffered a broken hydraulic pump. I'm obviously disappointed not to have finished, but despite the problems, I'm pleased with my performance today. The lap times were good, the car felt consistent, and I think we could have had a strong finish if all had gone according to plan."
Jordan ( Takuma Sato - 16th, Giancarlo Fisichella - Retired )
Eddie Jordan: "We were looking really good after today�s warm up session and had made some good changes. Sometimes when you have a bad qualifying session it also comes back and bites you during the race. Not a great weekend at all but we�ll put this one behind us and look forward to Silverstone in two weeks time."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I�m not sure exactly what happened, but after the start I was braking into the first corner, and I think somebody pushed me out a little bit. I lost grip and went into Takuma�s car, which I�m very sorry about. Unfortunately there was so much damage to my car that it was un-driveable and there was no possibility to be quick and continue racing. It is a disappointment to end my 100th Grand Prix this way, but I hope to forget it and I am looking forward to the next race."
Takuma Sato: "I made a reasonable start and I was side by side with the two Toyotas and Olivier Panis, when Giancarlo hit me. It�s a bit disappointing but these things happen. It is a very tight corner with everybody turning in, so I can�t blame him. After the accident I decided to get on with the race and do my best, fighting hard even though everybody was lapping me. It was important for me to finish and bring the car back in one piece."