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2003 Brazilian Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday  

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Sunday

McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 1st, David Coulthard - 4th )

Ron Dennis: "A tremendous and well deserved result for the team. We varied our strategies with the hope of covering all the potential eventualities, which certainly played a role in Kimi's race win. David's drive was outstanding, and his fourth place was a poor reward for his efforts. For both drivers to finish with intact cars was a credit to their driving skills and the equipment provided by the team as a whole. Our commisarations but admiration to the Jordan team whose sporting behaviour after the race was a credit to them and to the sport."

Norbert Haug: "A totally dramatic race. I'm really sorry for David who was leading for most of the time and deserved a better reward than fourth. Congratulations to Kimi and the whole team who did an excellent job. Both our drivers didn't put a foot wrong in tricky conditions. As a team we have done a great job today. Thanks to all the guys in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart who worked so hard, they all deserve this good start to the season."

Kimi Raikkonen: "What a race. I think with some of the bad luck I have experienced in the past it was time that I was lucky. The team did a great job and deserved to win. When the race started for real, it was still difficult to see where you were going because of all the spray. I stayed out when the Safety Car came out again whilst the majority of the field came in for their pitstops. When I rejoined, I was able to overtake a couple of cars to take second but as the circuit started to get drier, my rain tyres were not working as well which allowed Giancarlo to close in. He overtook me when I went wide. I was coming into the pits for my final stop when the race was red flagged. Today's result is great for me and the team, but its too early to think about the Championship."

David Coulthard: "A day of mixed emotions, but I'm pleased for the team as we did get some important points. I'm obviously a little disappointed as I felt I was having a good race and was in control. It was the right decision to start behind the Safety Car as you could see from the many accidents once the race was on. I'm happy with my performance today as I was leading most of the race under the most difficult conditions you can imagine."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 2nd, Ralph Firman - Retired  )

Eddie Jordan: "There was disappointment for some but this was our day. I thought we had a chance to win it particularly towards the end when Giancarlo passed Raikkonen. We were the quickest car at the track and it was fantastic. If you had asked me would I have expected a podium in Brazil I would have said you are out of your mind but it happened. I'm so happy for Giancarlo to be on the podium here and it's going be good for the future."

Gary Anderson: "Second is a great result for us, although I have to admit I'm disappointed that we didn't get one more lap as it was looking good. Fisichella drove well, the car kept going, the tyres lasted well and we're very pleased. Ralph had a front suspension failure, although I don't think it was the same thing he had in Malaysia. After this problem, we considered carefully what to do about Giancarlo because you don't want to take any risks, and thankfully we made the right call."

Martin Leach: "We did not go to Brazil expecting a podium finish but the Jordan Ford team have performed exceptionally well today and executing exactly the correct strategy. Giancarlo drove a controlled and mature race in difficult circumstances to finish in second place. Our partnership with Jordan is generating massive amounts of enthusiasm and support from our employees within Ford of Europe. After such an outstanding result we are now looking forward now to the start of the European season."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I'm pleased Fernando is okay. I have had a fantastic day. Obviously I am disappointed not to get the chance to do one more lap so I could have finished first but being second is really good for me and the team. I thought I had won the race and I still think I am the winner but rules are rules. I would never have thought I would finish in 2nd today so I am pleased. I want to say thanks to the team it's an important result for us and it's positive for the future."

Ralph Firman: "I had another suspension failure. It's a shame and of course I'm extremely disappointed. Fisichella did a really good job finishing second and getting the team some points."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 3rd, Jarno Trulli - 8th )

Pat Symonds: "We had a race of mixed emotions: I think Fernando achieved a great result, although clearly nobody likes to see their driver unable to take the podium. Fortunately, he is OK. He drove a very good race in extremely difficult conditions. It was very hard to calculate the correct strategy in those conditions. Jarno was unfortunate to have to make his pit stop just as the race finished and this costed him positions. Overall our drivers did a very professional job in very difficult conditions."

Denis Chevrier : "It was a very difficult race. Our objective was to finish the race without any incidents but unfortunately, Fernando had his accident at the end. From an engine point of view, the race unfolded without any problems at all."

Fernando Alonso -  Suffered a heavy crash and was taken to hospital for a check-up

Jarno Trulli: "Honestly, we had a very tough race. At the beginning I was fighting to keep the car on the track: the circuit was so wet that it was hard to see anything. I had my second pit stop just before the race was stopped, which meant I lost several positions and finished in eighth place. I'm very sorry for Fernando: however, I know that he is alright and I hope he will recover quickly."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 5th, Nick Heidfeld - Retired  )

Peter Sauber: "A spectacular and dramatic race! In the end for us it was a happy one; we have two undamaged cars and, more importantly, two undamaged drivers. On top of that we were able to score four more points."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "Just before the start we changed our strategy and decided to use the T-car because it was set up fully for wet conditions. At the end of the day it turned out to be the right decision. It was not easy to run with a full tank and I had a lot of aquaplaning which made me spin once. But we finished fifth and scored four points, so I am very happy about this result."

Nick Heidfeld: "I made a good start and was able to overtake Jenson Button, but then the engineers radioed me that we had an oil problem and because of this the engine cut out. I pulled off the racing line just to make sure I didn't put any oil down. I hope that Fernando is well after his big accident at the end of the race."

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 6th, Jenson Button - Retired   )

David Richards: "It's difficult to know where to start after a race like that. My first thoughts are how pleasing it was to see that nobody was seriously hurt after so many extraordinary accidents. For our part, like so many others, we missed out on a great opportunity. However, at the end of the day, our reliability was excellent, Jacques scored three points and Jenson emerged unscathed from his accident. No one can say that Formula One is boring after a day like today."

Geoff Willis: "A fair result for the team I think. We gained another three points from an incident-filled race but we we're lucky that nobody was hurt today. It is always easy to dwell on what might have been had the race been run to full distance. Nevertheless, the team reacted well to the safety cars and we were in a good position. Jacques was certainly very quick at the end of the race, which showed us that the cars and tyres were working well in these conditions."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "First of all I'm pleased that Jacques has scored his first points this season. He did well to keep going in such difficult conditions. Jenson also did an extremely good job before his unfortunate spin. However, I think our strategy was looking good today. The three flyway races have been tough and we're looking forward to starting the European season in two weeks time. On a final note I would like to pass all our best wishes to MotoGP rider Daijiro Kato in the hope that he can fully recover from his crash in the race at Suzuka today."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It was a very difficult race; the track was tough to drive but if you took care of yourself then it wasn't too bad. There wasn't that much water really; it's down to the drivers to be less crazy in those conditions and there was some crazy driving out there. Some drivers were overtaking under the yellow flags; halfway through the race I saw Alonso overtake under the flags. I think it's that kind of driving that leads to big accidents.
We saw the same thing in the pit stops with drivers chopping across the field on the exit then having to lift halfway down the straight to stop them going off onto the grass. It's that sort of thing that creates the danger, not just the conditions themselves. I'm pleased with sixth place today. It's very difficult for the guys in these conditions but they did a great job. I'm happy that we were able to bring the team three more points today."

Jenson Button: "Everyone can say "what if"? I was running fifth ahead of Raikkonen when I went off and we were fuelled to the finish, so if I hadn't made that mistake, who knows? But then I guess there are a lot of other people who can say the same thing. The car was working well, the tyres were good and we had the right strategy. On that corner, the water runs off the banking on to the circuit, so we were bound to get caught out there. I just caught the standing water a little too much. I tried to save it but that just sent me into the tyre wall. I went in quite heavily and my back is aching a little bit but, as we saw, it could have been much worse. It's disappointing but that's the way it goes."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 7th, Antonio Pizzonia - Retired )

Dr Mark Gillan: "Not a race anyone is going to forget for many a year to come! We were informed on the grid that the race would be delayed by fifteen minutes and given how far Antonio was on the grid, we decided to start his race from the pit-lane with a full fuel-load. Given how bad the track conditions were, we knew that finishing this race alone would probably ensure points and with that in mind, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain by opting for a one-stopper with Antonio.
With Mark, we suffered from a slight electronic problem on the grid but the team addressed it effectively and we got him away OK. We were running very strongly in the race and everything was going according to plan until lap 24 when Antonio spun off at Turn Three - a corner that cost many drivers their race today because of standing water. Mark, however, was running very well indeed and when the Safety Car was deployed on lap 32, we pitted Mark for the second time and fuelled him until the finish - a strategy that would have seen us on the podium today had we not have suffered from the huge accident on lap 53.
The Jaguar R4 has performed strongly here all weekend and the race was no different. The sector times were on the pace and even though Mark was carrying more fuel than was necessary to compensate for a fuel pick-up issue, his lap times were very competitive in conditions which, quite frankly, were atrocious. The Michelin tyre worked very here all weekend and while we are obviously pleased with having earned two championship points, it's a shame we couldn't have taken what we really deserved from the weekend.
Having said that, it's great to see Eddie Jordan get onto the podium with our parent company Ford who provide the horsepower for both our teams! We have clearly demonstrated the potential of the Jaguar R4 this weekend and while we would have liked to have scored our first points under somewhat more positive circumstances, we have at least rewarded our committed parent company, sponsors and workforce with a taste of things to come."

Mark Webber: "I don't think races come any tougher than that. We went into the race with a good strategy and even though observers thought we were running a light fuel strategy because of our excellent 3rd place qualifying position, I think we proved many people wrong today by showing otherwise. The pace and balance of the Jaguar R4 has been very good all weekend and even though the race conditions were far from ideal, the car proved very competitive out there today. There was a fair amount of surface water lying all around the track but the kink after turn two was by far the most dangerous and caught many drivers out including my team mate Antonio.
After my first pit stop, I came out behind the BMW Williams of Juan-Pablo Montoya who was holding me up quite a lot and it was quite difficult to find an opportunity to overtake him. Nonetheless, I kept pushing and after my second pitstop, I was fuelled right up to the top and aiming for the end of the race when we would have leap-frogged quite a few runners. Unfortunately, however, that didn't happen and at this stage, I am not 100% sure what caused my accident on the final left-hander.
Given the unforgiving nature of this circuit combined with the very heavy fuel load I was carrying, I suspect the tyres were struggling with grip - something I'm sure everyone had to contend with today. The accident was pretty big by any standards but thankfully, I'm OK. I want to thank all the Jaguar crew for putting in a sterling effort this weekend and in the process, we've earned ourselves two championship points. We've also shown some phenomenal potential this weekend and there are a lot of positives to take away and exploit over the remaining thirteen races."

Antonio Pizzonia: "A good day for Jaguar Racing but it could have been better had I stayed in the race and earned some points too. The team made exactly the right call by starting me from the pitlane and as we anticipated, many drivers fell off today, albeit me too! The long kink leading from turn two into turn three was laden with water and there was literally nothing I could do at that speed. The car hit the stream flowing across the track and after that, I was little more than a passenger.
As I was spinning off, I could see Montoya's BMW Williams sitting the space I was about to occupy in the safety barrier and even though I hit him quite hard, we were both OK. A shame really given how good the car felt on the wet Michelins and combined with the thorough strategy work the team had undertaken, it's disappointing to walk away from my home race with no points. The good news, however, is that Jaguar Racing is on the championship score sheet and we have a lot to be pleased about after the performance of the car this weekend."

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 9th, Juan Pablo Montoya - Retired  )

Sam Michael: "A disappointing day as it would have been nice to have finished better. We struggled a lot and obviously didn't get our pit stops best timed because of the incidents that happened but this is always difficult in wet weather. Obviously McLaren are doing a good job in the championship so far. It's up to us to work harder and close the gap to them and we are pushing to do that."

Mario Theissen: "Today's race was more than hectic. Also I really hope that Fernando Alonso wasn't seriously injured. The start of the race was hampered by the weather conditions, by the accidents and thereafter by the safety car's deployment. Juan Pablo went off at the same corner where four other drivers also crashed as it was clearly particularly slippery there. Ralf drove consistently but had his pit-stop shortly before the race was stopped and therefore dropped from place three to the back of the field. We didn't experience any technical problems with either of the cars. The new version of the BMW P83 engine that we ran in the Friday qualifying sessions in Australia and Malaysia today achieved its first race finish."

Ralf Schumacher: "The most important thing for me is that Fernando Alonso wasn't seriously injured. The timing of the red flag was really bad luck for me. If this accident hadn't happened I assume that I would have been on the podium as many cars in front of me still had to stop for fuel. All in all my car was reasonably good under these difficult conditions, even though I must admit it was really a hard job to keep it on the track."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "My car was really good initially when there was a lot of water on the track and I passed several cars. Then the track started to dry and I lost a bit of pace so when I pitted I had a tyre pressure change, which didn't improve the balance too much. After about 20 laps the track was fairly dry almost everywhere apart from turn three where there was still too much water and I lost the car. Everyone who went off there had the same problem that I had, they were sliding too much because of aquaplaning."

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Toyota ( Cristiano da Matta - 10th, Olivier Panis - Retired )

Ove Andersson: "I think it was a very, very difficult race for all the drivers out there today and there were too many accidents. Olivier had a bit of bad luck at the beginning, involved in an incident with Firman. With Cristiano, we don't understand why his car was not competitive and we will look into the data and investigate. We have to look forward to the next race and the start of the European season. Sooner or later, good results have to come our way."

Cristiano da Matta: "When we had full wet weather conditions, we were in reasonable shape and our pit-stop strategy got me as high as fourth when the safety car was deployed for the second time. When the track started to dry out things got much worse and I picked up really bad oversteer. We have to look into the problem. We thought it was to do with the tyre pressures, but the car was slow on high and low tyre pressures in the drying conditions. Not the result I wanted today in front of my fans, but we are now heading into the European season, where I hope we can get good results."

Olivier Panis: "With the race starting under the safety car due to the wet conditions, we took advantage of this to refuel the car and we had a good strategy. Unfortunately it was a bit difficult to drive the car with a full tank. I had some lack of grip but it would not have been so hard to continue. I felt a big impact from the rear of my car and I didn't really understand what had happened until Ralph Firman spoke with me and explained he had hit me. Obviously I am disappointed with the outcome, but the team has worked really hard all weekend, so I want to thank them and it is important for us not to give up. I am also very sorry for Fernando after his crash - I hope he is okay."

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Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - Retired, Michael Schumacher - Retired )

Jean Todt: “Today’s race was very frustrating, but that’s racing. We had the quickest car on the track and what could have ended as a one-two finish turned into a race which left us with nothing at all: it is the first time since Nuerburgring 1999 that we failed to score any points. Michael went off the track, his first retirement since the 2001 German Grand Prix. A fuel feed problem caused Rubens to retire when he was comfortably in the lead. Obviously, I am very disappointed, for the drivers, for the team and for Bridgestone, who did an excellent job. I hope that the return to Europe, in front of our fans in Imola, will signal the end of what has been a difficult run of Grands Prix for us.”

Rubens Barrichello: “I am very disappointed. All I can say is that I did my very best. The beginning of the race, when the track was at its wettest, was difficult, as the car had a relatively low downforce set-up. I concentrated on staying calm, waiting for the right moment to attack. Once in the lead, I immediately pulled out a gap, but then I was forced to stop with a fuel feed problem. It was very frustrating as I was sure I could win. I am very disappointed not to have taken victory here in front of my fans. This double retirement does not mean we are in a crisis. We have been competitive in all three races so far and so I am confident for the rest of the season.”

Michael Schumacher: “I am disappointed for myself and for what happened to Rubens. We both had the possibility of winning today. The weather conditions were difficult but acceptable today. As for my accident, I was aquaplaning and in that situation, you are just a passenger in the car. In terms of the championship, obviously it would have been better for us if Fisichella had won this race, especially as Giancarlo drove a good race anyway. But the gap to the championship leader is not so big, given there are still 13 races, so there is no need to be concerned about it. It’s a shame my run of race finishes has come to an end. This is my first non-finish since Hockenheim in 2001.”

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - Retired, Justin Wilson - Retired )

Paul Stoddart: “Today saw possibly the first time ever that Minardi was potentially in a genuine, race-winning position. Many people may laugh, but only those of us within the team will ever know the truth. We had the strategy, but not the luck.”

Jos Verstappen: “The track conditions in today's race were very, very difficult and, of course, I'm extremely disappointed not to have finished today, especially when we don't have so many opportunities to score points. This was definitely a race where there was an excellent possibility. When Raikkonen passed me in Turn 1, I was running behind him in the spray with virtually no vision. The car just spun very quickly two corners later, in Turn 3. I feel extremely sorry for Paul and the whole team, but that's life and that's racing.” 

Justin Wilson: "I'm gutted. I was just caught out by the rivers running down the grass and across the track in Turn 3. They never seemed to be in the same place on two consecutive laps. On the lap I spun, I had got through the first river, but then aquaplaned off on the second one. It's a huge disappointment, because we were definitely on for a strong finish today.”

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