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

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Drivers Championship Constructors Championship
Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Sunday

Renault (Fernando Alonso - 1st Jarno Trulli - 7th )

Falvio Briatore: "A fantastic day for Renault, for the team and for Fernando. He drove a perfect race, and we made the right choices with the strategy. This win proves the work that our people in Viry-Ch�tillon and Enstone have accomplished. The champagne tastes good: we will now work even harder to make sure the next win isn't too long coming."

Pat Symonds: "I think this finally confirms the improvement the team has made this year, and the promise we have shown all season. It is always good to win, but particularly so when it is done in such a dominant fashion, from pole. Before the race, I am sure many thought our strategy was too aggressive: I think we have vindicated our decision. We must not forget Jarno, who fought right through the race and did very well to hold off Michael in the latter stages. I want to congratulate the whole team and all those behind our victory today, including the excellent job done by our technical partners."

Fernando Alonso: "I have said it a lot this year, but this is the best day of my life. The car was perfect, the strategy too, and I managed to drive a consistent race. We had some problems on Friday, but the team worked hard to overcome them. Personally, I want to say a big thank you to the whole team, here at the track but also back at the factories in France and England. I am proud to be racing for Renault: winning this for them, and becoming the first driver from my country to win a Grand Prix, is fantastic."

Jarno Trulli: "First of all, it is a special day for the team, and I want to congratulate Fernando and all the team. My race began with an excellent start, and made the most of Rubens' mistake to overtake: we had a good fight. However, at the start of each stint, I lost grip almost immediately: the car was sliding all over the place. It is disappointing to lose a position compared to where I qualified, but I still managed to keep Michael behind during the final stint."

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McLaren (  Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd, David Coulthard - 5th )

Ron Dennis: "A great team performance. A good drive from both Kimi and David and a well executed strategy complimented by excellent tyres from Michelin. That said, we didn't win and that is certainly what we will be trying to do in the last three races."

Norbert Haug: "A first class race in which we finished ahead of our main championship title contenders. A super job by Kimi and David who made the best from his grid position -- three title candidates within three points before the remaining three races are a guarantee for a great end to the season. Compliments to our tyre partner Michelin who have done a great job so far, and we as a team will certainly do everything to further improve our common performance."

Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm very happy with today's result as we have closed the gap in the World Championship significantly. At the start I initially tried to go on the outside of Rubens, but he closed the gap, so I went on the inside and managed to gain three places, and after the first couple of laps I was third. I lost quite a lot time stuck behind Webber which allowed Alonso to open up a gap and after that there was nothing I could do. The car was the best it's been all weekend and everybody in the team has been working very hard. I'm looking forward to the last three races, and I know we will give it 100 percent and I can't wait."

David Coulthard: "An excellent result for the team, a reasonable outcome for me and the Championship has once again been thrown wide open. The two stop strategy was the right one taking into consideration my ninth place on the starting grid, and it allowed me to gain positions during the race when our car usually performs better than in qualifying. I made a good start and was able to gain three places. Apart from that, the 70 laps were rather uneventful and were all about keeping the guys with less fuel behind me."

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Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 3rd, Ralf Schumacher - 4th )

Sam Michael: "It was a good day for both Championships as we managed to take the lead in the Constructors' ranking and Juan closed the gap to Michael. Both our drivers did a fantastic job in recovering from 8th and 18th position respectively after the first lap. They should not have been there. It was the result of a terrible start for both cars and what happened in the first two corners. We will look at the launch start before the next race. It is good to see our lap times are the fastest, showing how strong the car is around this type of circuit. Well done to Fernando Alonso for his first win."

Mario Theissen: "After a disastrous start our drivers found themselves in the middle of the pack. During the following confusion Ralf went wide on the outside and spun on the dust there. After the first lap Juan dropped back to eighth and Ralf went even further back, to the back of the field. I believe it was a strong effort from both of them to recover from such disappointing positions and to come third and fourth eventually. Especially at the Hungaroring -- as it is well known how difficult it is to overtake here. Now we have taken the lead in the Constructors' Championship for the first time this season, and the fight for the Drivers' title is turning into a true thriller as Michael, Juan and Kimi are so close at the top."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "My start on the dirty side of the track was very bad, it was almost like throwing out an anchor! After the first lap I was in eighth position and it was really hard to pass the cars in front of me and make up for the places I had lost. I was trying for quite a while to overtake Michael but he just closed the door. That's racing. So I preferred waiting for the pit-stops and to see how things would go. I pushed as hard as I could and could get into third place but then, with 10 laps to go I made a mistake and spun. I was lucky enough to keep my position in front of Ralf. I am very happy about the points I scored today, especially because Michael got just one. Our Team is now leading the Championship, this is great!."

Ralf Schumacher: "I have no idea of what happened at the start. I just had no traction. Two corners later I had to be careful not to crash into the rear of Juan's car. That was when I spun. Then I had a pretty good recovery from the far end of the field. It's easy to imagine how things could have gone if I'd had a better start. Whatever happened, I would not have caught Alonso. Of course things are not looking too good for me in the Championship. If I wanted a chance to win the title now, I would need a miracle."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 4th, Justin Wilson - Retired )

Dr. Mark Gillan: "A weekend that began quite tough on Friday, got better into Saturday with Mark qualifying 3rd and has ended with three championship points. Not much more we could have asked for. The result is extra special because we scored the points on merit today and not at the misfortune of others. Apart from Rubens Barrichello in the Ferrari who was behind Mark at the time of his retirement, none of the big three teams suffered from problems today and for Mark to have held his own is reflective of how well the Jaguar R4 performed around this track. Let's not also forget that Mark was in 3rd place for quite some time during the race and his race pace was good.
At this stage of our development, we don't see ourselves competing with the big three and today has demonstrated the improvements we have made relative to last year. The Michelin input has been nothing short of sensational over the past few weeks and coupled with the reliability of the package, we now go to Monza with a straight fight on our hands with BAR-Honda and Toyota.
Justin's retirement today was very unfortunate given how well he was running in 12th place when he stopped with a suspected engine failure. His laps were competitive and given how little experience he has with us, the fact that he again has not completed a race distance with us is very disappointing. He is climbing his learning curve very well and our three-day test at Monza next month should prepare him well for what will surely be a telling weekend for us in championship status terms. For now, we will go back to Milton Keynes extremely happy about our all-around performance this weekend and focus hard on the three tough races ahead of us."

Mark Webber: "I really enjoyed that race but it was hard! Hard on the car, hard on the tyres and hard on the driver but what a reward at the end of it. The first few laps were particularly difficult with expected graining on the front tyres. Rubens then tried passing me at the top chicane but he went straight on instead which was nice! I then tried keeping the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen at bay and after that it was just a case of keeping the pace and maximising upon our three-stop strategy. I pushed extremely hard and just kept the qualifying laps rolling in one after another until the team came on the radio towards the end and told me to back off.
The team has done a super job today and all thanks to everyone back at Milton Keynes too. The Jaguar R4 performed faultlessly today and Michelin's contribution towards that is significant. We have been working very hard behind the scenes to understand better some of the issues we have suffered at the last couple of races and today it paid off. We share equal billing now with BAR-Honda in 5th place and with only three races left, there is everything to play for. It will be far from easy but today's result has helped considerably. I am delighted with the outcome."

Justin Wilson: "Another disappointing end to what began as a good race. I started from the dirty side of the track and didn't have a very easy start as everyone charged into the tight first hairpin. The rhythm and pace of the Jaguar was good and the balance was getting the best out of the Michelin tyres. My first two pit stops went according to plan but on lap 44, I lost power and had no choice but to retire. A big shame but the three-day Monza test will prepare me better for the next race - a race that I hope to finish this time and help the team in their points with BAR-Honda and Toyota."

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Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 8th, Rubens Barrichello - Retired )

Jean Todt: "Yesterday, I said that the result of qualifying had been disappointing and today, the race result is even more so. We need to find out what happened on Rubens' car when he had his accident. Michael picked up just one point, which is at least enough to see him maintain his lead in the Drivers' classification, where the battle is now very close with three drivers within two points. However, we have lost the lead in the Constructors' championship and are now eight points behind the leader.
We were not competitive today. In a race where pit-stop strategy played a key role, Michael was never able to make the most of running new tyres as he always found himself with a slower car ahead of him. The titles will now be decided in the final three races. We must work with our technical partners to try and turn around the situation which has characterised this part of the season. Today is very disappointing, but we know we have the capability to react and return to being competitive at the highest level."

Ross Brawn: "We don't know what caused Rubens' accident. We could see nothing unusual on the telemetry data or from the sensors. It is not something we have experienced before, so now we must wait to get the car back so that we can thoroughly investigate what happened. The race ran badly for us, as we seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As for Michael, when he made his second stop he was out of fuel and that robbed him of the opportunity of passing Trulli, who was quite slow running ahead of him every time we came out of the pits. I feel the that three stops was the right strategy, but obviously it was a disappointing race for us. I am sure we have what it takes to fight back again."

Michael Schumacher: "Obviously not a great race for me. I spent a lot of time stuck behind a slower car and so could not run at my maximum pace. Then we had a problem with the second pit stop as we were running out of fuel. Basically a lot of things did not go the way we wanted. The championship is now really close and at least I am still leading. Now we have an important test session coming up at Monza, where I am confident we can improve our total package. All we can do now is work hard, with a team which I know is capable of doing exactly that and look forward to the final three races of the year."

Rubens Barrichello: "I was running a good race when, for reasons I don't know, I lost the left rear wheel and ended up in the crash barriers. Fortunately, I did not hurt myself at all and physically, I am fine. However, I am not at all happy with the fact that I received no medical attention immediately after the accident and shortly afterwards when I was back in the pits. It was a shame for Michael that he was always stuck behind slower cars. In any case, today we were not really competitive, even though I think I could have got a good result."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 9th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - Retired )

Peter Sauber: "Despite the test break in August we've been able to make clear steps forward. Nick had a very good race and the chosen strategy was the optimum. We can say that both chassis and engine were working perfectly today. Heinz-Harald had a rather unlucky weekend. Due to a mistake by the team he was handicapped in yesterday's qualifying, and today he ran out of fuel due to unfortunate circumstances."

Nick Heidfeld: "On one hand it's a shame to finish ninth, just out of the points, but on the other, looking at the drivers who finished in front of me, I think I did a good job. The start was quite good initially but when it got chaotic I wasn't able to move up as much as I thought I would be able to. My result also confirmed once again the improvements we made to the C22 over the past weeks. We were able to score better than our direct competitors who are using the same tyres, Jordan and BAR."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "This race was a pleasure for me until I ran out of fuel. The team obviously instructed me to come into the pits but the radio didn't work, so I didn't hear them. When they indicated to me with my pit stop board, I was just behind Kiesa and didn't see the signal. It's a sum of unlucky circumstances."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 10th, Jacques Villeneuve - Retired )

David Richards: "In spite of the disappointment of Jacques' retirement after such a great start, and Jenson finishing outside the points, we still have to remain positive. Our qualifying strategy was borne out in the race but nonetheless, it's becoming very clear that the latter part of this year is going to be very hard-fought for fifth place in the Championship."

Geoff Willis: "This is a very frustrating end to a difficult weekend. Jacques had an excellent start, making up six places by the end of the first lap. He was making good progress on his two-stop strategy and the car was working much better in the race as we expected. Shortly before his first stop, we started to get an indication that there was a hydraulic leak and we had to retire the car. We do not yet know the source of the problem but this will be thoroughly investigated.
By contrast, Jenson's start was very poor, his starting point on the grid having very low grip which left him down in 17th. Despite this, he was able to make good progress, again on a two-stop race. He was also handicapped by a differential fault, which required us to run in failsafe mode. Despite this he ran a very strong race, and throughout the latter part of the race he was the fastest Bridgestone runner, but unfortunately finished out of the points."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Jenson did well to finish 10th under the circumstances and it was encouraging to see him putting in some competitive lap times. Jacques made a great start and he was looking good so to be forced out of the action so early was really frustrating. We're now focusing all our efforts on the next test and race in Italy."

Jenson Button: "I got a pretty bad start and Jacques came flying past me, so there must have been a big difference in the launch starts we got. On top of that I didn't make the best of the second corner; I was round the outside and then Ralf spun off and I almost hit him. I finally got past Frentzen and Verstappen and then the car was working reasonably well and I was making good progress, but then I had a problem with the differential failing. This made the car very oversteery and difficult to drive so, all in all, not a great race. Obviously we now need to push very hard for points in the last three races."

Jacques Villeneuve: "We knew we would be much better in race set-up - and we were. It went really well at the start and I was able to make up six places in the first lap, despite having a lot of fuel on board, so things were looking good for a point or two. The track was very dusty but my car was working well. We knew for a couple of laps that things were starting to go wrong and I had reports that I was losing hydraulic pressure. In the end I had no choice but to retire. It's not a good day but we just have to continue working hard. There are three races to go and, who knows, maybe we can get a good result by the end of the year."

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Toyota ( Cristiano da Matta - 6th, Olivier Panis - Retired  )

Ove Andersson: "I think we had a quite competitive car for today's Hungarian Grand Prix, but unfortunately we were not able to capitalise on this. Cristiano had a problem at the start, which effectively ended his race and Olivier was driving a strong race before his gearbox broke. Even without these problems, I think it would have been very difficult for us to score points in today's race. The team has worked well throughout this weekend, and we are shortly heading for a test in Monza before the Italian Grand Prix in three weeks' time - where I think we can be optimistic for a good points finish."

Cristiano da Matta: "Firstly, I want to apologise to the team for stalling on the grid. From 15th, I was looking for a good start, however I got on the launch button a bit too quickly. I hit the brakes to avoid jumpstarting but there was not enough time for the anti-stall to kick in. The team got me started again in the pitlane, but by that point I was over a lap down and I had to really push hard to make up ground. The car's balance was still towards the oversteer side, but the overall grip was good, so I am naturally disappointed with this result."

Olivier Panis: "Understandably, we are all a little bit disappointed. I came in for my second stop and when I went to drive away I heard a noise and knew instantly what had happened. Of course, these things can happen sometimes, but we need to find out exactly what went wrong. The car felt good up to that point and after losing five places at the start, I was making good progress through the field. Despite this result, we are continuing to head in a good direction, so we need to prepare well for the next race in Monza. I am looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix because Monza is a track that should suit our car, and I believe we should be in a strong position to pick up points there."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 12th, Nicolas Kiesa - 13th )

Paul Stoddart: "First of all, our congratulations go to Fernando and the Renault team for what can only be described as a fantastic weekend -- pole position, followed by a faultless race performance. Throughout his time at Minardi, not one person in the team ever doubted that today would happen. What is equally certain is that there will be many more days like this. For our own race, it's always pleasing to get a two-car finish, particularly in a Grand Prix where reliability was such an issue. Both Jos and Nicolas drove faultlessly and the team was solid in all six pit stops this afternoon. We simply lacked pace today."

Jos Verstappen: "I had a good start and made up some places and once the race settled down, I was able to lap consistently. I think this has been one of the better races of the season for us although it is clear that we are still not able to run at the speed of the other cars yet. From a personal point of view, I thought this race might also be a tough one physically, but I was pleased to find that I felt good when I climbed out of the car at the end. All told, it has been a positive weekend for us."

Nicolas Kiesa: "I made a mistake at the start, when I engaged first gear but forgot to activate the launch control. That delayed me when the race got under way, but it was okay once I got going. The chassis set-up we chose meant we had to sacrifice our qualifying performance yesterday, but it definitely helped us in the race. I had a better car for the race this afternoon than I had in Hockenheim and I managed to let the faster cars through without reducing my own performance as much. I was able to put the knowledge from Germany to good use and am pleased to have taken the chequered flag for the second Grand Prix in a row. It's a good way to start my Formula One career."

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Jordan ( Zsolt Baumgartner - Retired - Replacing Ralph Firman, Giancarlo Fisichella - Retired )

Gary Anderson: "Just when you think things can't get much worse they often do. The package is chassis, engine and tyres: the first Bridgestone runner came home 8th after being lapped, neither of our engines lasted and our car is not quick enough, so altogether it's pretty frustrating. Zsolt took the pressure and got on with the job as best as he could. His objective was to keep it neat and tidy, not make any mistakes and get it to the flag. It was our package that let the drivers down."

Zsolt Baumgartner: "Today was a great opportunity for me and I'm very upset that I couldn't finish the race. I think I made a good start and was in 15th when I had to retire. But that's just motorsport: technical defects can happen and unfortunately they happened to Giancarlo and me today. It was a great feeling to drive here in front of the fans and see them so happy. It's a shame but I enjoyed the race while it lasted and I hope I can be in Formula One in the future."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "The engine blew up for the third time this weekend. I had a good start but the car was quite difficult, there was a lot of oversteer and it was quite easy to make mistakes."

Ralph Firman: "The result is a shame for the team and obviously I was disappointed and frustrated about not to be able to take part myself. I feel fine although a little bit sore in the neck and my left heel but I'm confident that I'll be okay to participate in the Monza test in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to get back in the car and put some more miles in."

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