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French Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Jean Todt: "Words cannot describe this result. To take the Drivers' Championship at the eleventh of the seventeen races on the calendar is fantastic. This victory is the result of all the work done by Ferrari. Everyone, drivers, engineers and mechanics have worked together, united by the same passion and determination. They have put their heart and soul into their work for Ferrari. A special mention must go to President Montezemolo for his continued support of our work. I would also like to thank our partners, like Bridgestone, without whose efforts we could not have achieved such a result and Shell, who have believed in us since 1996."
Michael Schumacher: "Thank you is too small a word for what the team has done for me. I love and admire all of them for the work they do and for their motivation. I did not think about the championship this weekend, but then when I saw that Rubens was out and where Montoya was, I started to think about it. The start was very exciting. We were all faster than Montoya. I tried to go down the outside of him and Kimi went up the inside, so all three of us went down to the chicane together. It was very enjoyable. Then I made the mistake with the white line and I thought it was all over. After the second stop, I took it a bit easy and then started to push with ten laps to go. I don't think I would have passed Kimi if it had not been for the oil as he drove a fantastic race. Seeing him in trouble helped to warn me. At the time I was concerned I had passed under the yellow flag, but in fact it was after the incident and I was on the racing line and Kimi was off it. Once I was in the lead, it was really the worst five laps of my life as I realised the championship was again in my pocket. I had a weight on my shoulders and felt enormous pressure not to make a mistake. Those laps went on forever. As I took the flag I felt an outburst of emotion and realized how much it means and how I love the sport. All the titles have felt special in a different way, as in fact have the race wins. So you never get used to it. We can now concentrate on each event as it comes and hopefully have some exciting racing."
Rubens Barrichello: After what happened to me at the start, I had left the circuit. I was on the plane ready to go when I heard that Michael had won. I felt I had to return to the track, because we are a family and we stick together through thick and thin. As for my afternoon, I don't know what happened. The engine never fired up, even though we tried everything we could. We changed the steering wheel, tried all the buttons but there was nothing we could do. We will have to investigate the problem to find the cause, but in my opinion it was a different problem to the one I experienced at Silverstone. I am very disappointed because I was very confident in my car and was sure I could have a good race. Now, I am already thinking about the next grand prix."
Ron Dennis: "A tremendous race for the team which executed a perfect strategy and good race pace. We are not comfortable with the circumstances surrounding Kimiís loss of the lead but whatever the outcome, both drivers drove a great race."
Norbert Haug: "A great race by Kimi, David and the team. We were contenders for the victory until four laps from the end when Kimi ran wide after hitting oil left by a competitor, as he was the first car to arrive at the Adelaide Hairpin after the incident. We have been competitive and are continuing to make progress. Congratulations to Michael and Ferrari Ė they have been the best this season."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Itís a bit strange to describe my best ever Formula One result as the worst race of my life, but that is how I feel. To be at the front of a race with only a few laps left and then run wide and lose the lead is terrible. However there was oil on the track and I didnít see an oil flag and locked the wheels. I made a good start to claim third and was able to keep up with the leaders and really enjoyed the action. Today, the car was great, both pitstops were excellent and we were competitive. It was great to be fighting for the lead and taking it and now that I know how it feels I canít wait for next time."
David Coulthard: "I enjoyed this race so much that I didnít want it to stop. In hindsight I could have been in with a chance for the victory but my Ďdrive throughí penalty put a stop to that. I made a mistake and paid the price. On my last few laps I was told to start short-shifting the gears to save the engine from a potential problem. Itís encouraging to see that we have closed the gap to the competition and we were on the pace. I was expecting to be suffering from oversteer but instead battled with understeer throughout. It just shows that we are learning new things about the tyres at every track. Congratulations to Michael on his World Championship."
Sam Michael: "This was obviously a disappointing race day for us as it has shown we were simply not competitive enough. Our tyre choice looks like a mistake and our performance in race trim is not good enough. The strategy on both cars was to defend as much as possible, but this was clearly again not enough."
Gerhard Berger: "We didnít have any technical problems. We scored points with both cars, which is satisfying. But when you start from pole, you obviously hope for a podium position. We know that we need to raise our race performance up to our qualifying level. We have to continue working hard because McLaren has made a big step forward. The fight for second place in the Constructors Championship is going to be exciting. This is good news, at least for the viewers. Ferrari has proved once again to be the paragon in F1, being a team with great performances and with a Michael Schumacher, who once again was in the right place at the right time. All we can say is congratulations!."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Again I could not take advantage of my pole position. In the race I have been struggling a lot with the balance of my car, which was very difficult to drive. Our tyre choice was good in yesterdayís hotter conditions but didnít pay off today, in cooler conditions. As the race went on, we were loosing grip more and more. With regards to Michael having won the Championship I think itís great for him. He did the best job in the paddock, has the best car and knows how to use it. Anyway, last year I finished sixth in the drivers Championship but I am second at present, so my target now is to secure my position."
Ralf Schumacher: "We knew we would have a high tyre consumption due to our carís characteristics and therefore we went for the hard tyre choice that Michelin offered us. In the end this proved to be a disadvantage. It wasnít as warm as we hoped. On my last lap I knew from the team that my brother had become World Champion. Congratulations to Michael, as he really deserves this Title."
Jean-Jacques His: "On the positive side, we managed to demonstrate a good level of performance during the race, which saw us lapping close to the times of the quickest teams. Jenson drove a very good race to finish in the points. However, we must also recognise the mechanical problem experienced by Jarno. The race gives mixed results for us: one more point for Renault, but another engine problem as well."
Mike Gascoyne: "It's good to score a point at our home race after running competitively, especially in the early stages. We lapped consistently during the opening stint, but backmarkers cost us time following the first stops. After Jarno's retirement, we wanted to make sure of Jenson's sixth place, which is why we stopped for a third time. After changing tyres, he once again set competitive times. Overall, a good solid race, but we still need more performance in order to push the teams in front, both in qualifying and the race."
Jenson Button: "It's good to score another point for Renault, and particularly here in France. I was managing to keep up with the leaders at the start of the race, even though I had a little less fuel onboard. After my first stop, I was delayed by Heidfeld, who was much slower. As for the extra stop, I had major oversteer on the third set of tyres, particularly into turn three. Given that we were a long way in front of the next car, we made sure of getting to the end of the race and changed tyres. I'm pleased to have scored more points, but there's still a gap to the top three teams."
Jarno Trulli: "What can I say? Of course, it's extremely disappointing to retire here at Magny-Cours. I made a very good start, but it was all for nothing after Massa nearly pushed me off the track thanks to his jump start. He then held me up for five or six laps, which obviously cost me time. After he was penalised, I managed to lap at my true pace, which was significantly more competitive even though I encountered traffic before each stop. Following the second of these, the car was really well balanced before the engine problem forced me to retire."
Peter Sauber: "Even without all our troubles today it was not possible to score a point. We have to accept this and move on to our preparations for Hockenheim next weekend. Congratulations to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari for their historic achievement today."
Nick Heidfeld: "Before my first pit stop I had a problem with slow upshifts and loss of traction control. I asked the team what to do and they said switch traction control off. After that I used recovery mode but it was inconsistent and I kept getting occasional wheelspin, and that got worse later in the race. In the end I switched traction control back on again but I still had the slow upshift problem. It's a shame because that was costing me a massive amount of time."
Felipe Massa: "At the start I made a mistake and release the launch control system a fraction too early. For safety reasons I had to keep going, and for a while I was in seventh place until I got my first drive-through penalty. After that I got another one for crossing the white line on the pit exit; okay, it was my fault, but it's quite tricky there and the line is dirty, and several other well-established drivers did the same thing later on. In my second pit stop there was a misunderstanding with the crew, and I think maybe something broke when I tried to rejoin the race. It's a shame, because in between my adventures the car felt really good."Paul Stoddart: "What a great result! Full credit must go to the whole team, especially Mark, for what was a truly gutsy drive from lights to chequered flag. We were genuinely racing machinery that should have been far ahead of us today. The pit stops were brilliant, the race strategy was spot on, and the tyres and engines performed just as they were supposed to. With Alex also taking the chequered flag in the top 10, what more could you ask for, other than perhaps another points finish? In fact, with a little bit more luck today, we might have achieved just that. Our congratulations, however, go to Michael Schumacher and the entire Ferrari team for claiming the World Drivers' Championship today. They have done a fantastic job this season and fully deserve the success they have achieved."
Mark Webber: "This turned out to be a really good race for us. We made some adjustments to the car after this morning's warm-up, and the guys engineered a little treat for us. The boys did a great job on the pit stops, and I really concentrated on ensuring that my 'in' and 'out' laps were strong so that we could do some damage to the other guys on track position. It just all came together in a really satisfying race."
Alex Yoong: "I'm happy to have finished. It was a pretty hot race and a lot of cars broke or fell off, which contributed to what was a good finish for us. I was struggling with oversteer and an intermittent misfire, which adversely affected my race pace, but it's still good to have recorded a top-10 finish today."
Niki Lauda: "To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. We have been quite strong here all weekend and to have ended the weekend in this manner is very frustrating for us all. Eddie drove a very strong race and made-up a lot of ground throughout. His lap times were not that far off the pace and given that he didnít put a foot wrong all afternoon, I am sorry for the way in which his race ended. We will of course investigate the rear wing failure and learn from what is clearly a mistake of some kind. Looking at the weekend as a whole, however, our level of competitiveness here encourages me, but we must remain realistic and credit the Michelin tyres for their performance at their home race. Our new Cosworth CR4 engine has also been well received and combined with what are clear steps forward on the car itself, it is a great shame we couldnít have done ourselves justice today."
Pedro de la Rosa: "That was a very boring race for me which began in the worse way possible. As we charged towards the first corner, I remember seeing Oliver Panis spinning in front of me which forced me to take evasive action into the gravel. From there on, I had no choice but to re-join the race in 16th position and found it very hard to overtake anyone. I did my best to take advantage of other peopleís mistakes, but the overtaking opportunities are here are almost non-existent. On the positive side, the Jaguar R3 felt well balanced today and was definitely not suffering from as much understeer as in the past. Combined with our three-day test in Monza last week, we have learned a lot this weekend which I hope to put to better use in Hockenheim next weekend."
Eddie Irvine: "That probably looked a lot more spectacular than it actually felt from inside the car. All I remember feeling is that the rear of the car just snapped at what must have been around 310kph. Luckily, it happened at the best place to have a failure on this circuit and the car simply slid into the gravel. Up until that point, I was really enjoying the race and the charge towards Jenson Button in 6th place. I was catching Jenson and given that he had another stop to make, a precious point could have been possible here. Nevertheless, we have demonstrated some encouraging signs of turnaround this weekend and despite the fact that we still have some issues to address, we are moving in the right direction. The car feels more like a race car now and even though we have been somewhat flattered by the Michelins here, our race pace was improved relative to our immediate competition. Hockenheim is another test altogether and weíll see how the package performs there in a few days from now."
Ove Andersson: "The engines have always been our strong point, so it is an unfortunate way to finish our first race weekend in France. We'll go back to Cologne now to do some intensive investigating before the German Grand Prix next week. Overall it has been a tough weekend, but nothing less than we expected at this track."
Allan McNish: "Today's race was generally okay. However we struggled continuously with lack of grip. I had a problem on my first pit-stop when the left front wheel would not go on. I suffered with quite a lot understeer on my second set of tyres. The third set was better and I was making up ground when my car had an engine failure. It is really unfortunate as I was up to 9th at that time. I am sorry that the oil my engine left on the track caused Kimi Raikkonen to miss out on what would have been his first F1 victory, but at the same time I am pleased for Michael getting his 5th title"
Mika Salo: "I had quite a good start and I was up to 11th by the end of the second lap. I realised early in the race that the engine was losing power and was not running really clear. Unfortunately, I had to retire because the engine blew up for a reason we now need to identify. I am disappointed but it is our very first engine failure in a race and I am confident that this is a one-off."
David Richards: "We came to Magny-Cours expecting a difficult weekend and thatís exactly what it turned out to be. The first corner incident which saw Sato take out Olivier also affected Jacques, who was forced to run through the gravel. Races like this bring you back down to earth with a bang but with only one week before Hockenheim, thereís no time to dwell on misfortune but rather consider how we can progress for next weekend."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We had a bad start and then with the mayhem in front of me into turn one, I ended up going wide and losing a lot of places. The car was actually quite quick but I was stuck behind McNish, who was very quick down the straights but slow in the corners. After I got past him, the race wasnít going too badly and the car was actually quite quick. Then the engine let go suddenly. This is the first weekend that weíve raced with this engine and it hasnít been tested before. We knew there was a risk involved in running it but it was a risk we were prepared to take if it meant we could benefit from the extra horsepower. Iím disappointed but we had been expecting a difficult race here anyway."
Olivier Panis: "What can I say? Iím very disappointed and, to be honest, very angry with Satoís move into the first corner but I think it was very clear for everybody to see. I came into the pits and it looked like I just had damage to the bodywork. I went back out again and despite being a lap down, I continued to push and improve my lap times. The car felt very strange though and I was very conscious of a vibration which we couldnít pinpoint. I kept going while the team looked at everything on the telemetry but I had lost so much time that it wasnít worth the risk to continue. This is the last race I would have wanted to retire from because everyone wants to do well at their home grand prix. As always, the team have done a great job all weekend and to lose both cars in the race is very disappointing for them also."
Eddie Jordan: "This weekend has been a disaster. The sooner we move on to the next race, the better."
Takuma Sato: "The start was good and I was side by side with Olivier going into Turn One. Unfortunately Olivier turned in on me, we tangled, and there was nowhere for me to go except onto the gravel. That damaged the barge board and underneath of the car, causing huge understeer and it was difficult to stay on the circuit. I tried, but coming into the last corner I lost grip and the car just went straight onto the gravel. This weekend has been very tough for us, particularly with Giancarloís accident. Weíre so pleased heís okay and Iím looking ahead to Hockenheim now."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I watched the race on TV at home, it was a shame to see Takuma retire. I am fine today after a good nightís sleep. My headache has gone and I just have a little bit of a sore neck. I want to say thank you to Sid Watkins, the circuit medical team and air ambulance crew as they did a great job very quickly. I would also like to thank the doctors at the hospital in Nevers where I had full scans and of course the team doctor and physiotherapist from our sponsor vielife."