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

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Sunday

Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 1st, Ralf Schumacher - 4th  )

Sam Michael: "It was a fantastic result for the whole team. Juan did a great job in winning on such a difficult track. The key to success in this race is downforce and mechanical grip. I think today we showed how good the car really is and the tyres worked well too. Ralf started well, had a slow middle stint and made a mistake in the Rascasse in the last stint but it didn't effect his final finishing position. However, tonight we will be celebrating with the whole team and the guys from Michelin."

Mario Theissen: "This is such a great result, it feels just so good! This success, including yesterday's pole position, means further motivation for our team. We have felt for a while that we are improving, but did not manage to turn it into results. Juan drove a race without any errors and he kept those behind him under control. Ralf had a little bit of bad luck after both his pit stops when each time a car passed him by fractions of a second."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "Today was the ideal day. The car worked well, the tyres worked well and the team did a fantastic job. We really needed this. It's fantastic, it's unreal, there were a few races where I was close to a win and then I just didn't make it, like in Australia, for example. The key today has been the start, where I was able to jump in front of Kimi and then I set about widening the gap from him before my pit-stops. After that it was just a matter of pacing myself.
I was not under too much pressure in the last laps when Kimi was close behind but I had to be alert. The tyres in particular worked very well and were consistent. Winning in Monaco is very special, there is no other race like this in Formula One. It is a bit like winning the Indy 500 in the USA. This is the first time I have finished the race here since I started racing in F1 and I have won it!"

Ralf Schumacher: "Obviously it is disappointing to finish fourth when you start on pole especially on a track like Monaco when being on pole means more than anywhere else. The balance of my car was for some reason not ideal after the first pit stop and I could not keep up with the pace of the leaders. Congratulations to Juan Pablo and the whole team for the great result."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd, David Coulthard - 7th )

Ron Dennis: "A good race for Formula One but the Monaco traffic was particularly frustrating and significantly affected Kimi's ability to win and David's opportunity to exploit the speed of his car, but that is Monte Carlo. On a positive note we are leaving Monaco having regained a narrow but important lead in the Constructors' Championship and maintained our advantage in the Drivers' rankings."

Norbert Haug: "A great and very fast race. It's nice for Kimi to remain in the lead of the Drivers' Championship and for our team to regain first position in the Constructors' rankings, at a time when we will be halfway through the Championship at the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks. Congratulations to Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams and BMW on their victory."

Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm a bit disappointed as traffic meant that I was unable to take advantage of the fact that I was able to stay out longer than Montoya before stopping. However that is Monaco for you and at least I have increased my Championship lead. I got a bad start, which allowed Montoya to get past me and after that it was really just a matter of putting as much pressure as possible on him to try and force him into making a mistake but unfortunately he didn't."

David Coulthard: "Obviously I could not run the pace I would have liked as I got stuck behind Jarno Trulli for the main part of the race and unfortunately he was on the same fuel stop strategy as I was. Otherwise considering the speed of my car and our strategy I would have had the chance to gain a much better position."

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Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 3rd, Rubens Barrichello - 8th )

Jean Todt: "It was a very close contest. The cars which started from the first four rows of the grid all finished in the points, if not in the same order. This proves that the field is very closely matched and that the top four teams in the Championship have reached a high level of competitiveness and reliability. Nevertheless, these seven points are important for the championship. Michael has fallen two points further back from the leader in the Drivers’ Championship, while we are three behind the lead team in the Constructors’. This result is further proof that this season is very closely fought. We will have to work very hard in the next few weeks, both on the development of the F2003-GA and, with Bridgestone, on the tyres."

Ross Brawn: "Our performance in yesterday’s qualifying cost us the chance of a better result in this afternoon’s race. In the first stint, Michael was stuck behind Trulli and therefore lost precious time compared with the leaders. Our chosen strategy was a good one, the car worked well and the pit stops were carried out in their usual slick way. We did all we could."

Michael Schumacher: "To go from fifth on the grid to third on the podium in Monaco is quite good. I could say that I might have been able to finish higher if I had not been stuck behind Trulli in the early stages, but our strategy was to go for a long first stint and that meant having more fuel, which is why I was behind him. During some parts of the race I was not able to push as hard as I wanted as the overall package was not at its best at those times. I enjoyed the chase towards the end of the race and I pushed all the way to the flag, as I could see that the two in front were very close and there was always the chance they might make a mistake. We have seen again this weekend, as I have said before, that the competition is very close this year."

Rubens Barrichello: "I don’t have much to say at the end of a race which can only be described as disappointing. Any time I was able to push to the maximum. I came up behind traffic and so I never managed to get the best out of the car, which had great potential. It is impossible to overtake on this track and, having lost a place at the start, I was unable to improve my situation."

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Renault (Fernando Alonso - 5th, Jarno Trulli - 6th )

Flavio Briatore: "The only positive thing out of this race is that we brought both cars through the chequered flag and scored some points. We thought we would be more competitive on this track and we were surprised today in the race by a much stronger performance that we expected from the Williams."

Pat Symonds: "The weekend looked very promising and we had hoped for a better result today. We feel that our level of competitiveness should have been higher: we didn't have any particular problem in the race, it's just that we needed a bit more of speed on this circuit."

Denis Chevrier: "Unfortunately today in the race we were not able to keep the pace of our direct competitors, so our race was quite uneventful. However, the result was even for both our drivers, after the gap shown in the previous days, and we are adding some points to our score and confirming our fourth position in the Championship."

Fernando Alonso: "I think it was a quite good end to a difficult weekend for me, since I hadn't quite managed to get the maximum out of the car in practice and qualifying. My fifth place is certainly a good result and I'm glad to have scored some points for the team and to be now third in the driver's championship."

Jarno Trulli: "A disappointing result for me, as I had been very competitive all weekend. I pushed hard throughout the race but I got stuck in traffic and lost quite a lot of time behind the back markers and one position in my second pit stop. It's certainly not what I had expected from this race and the three points I got are a very small consolation."

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Toyota ( Cristiano da Matta - 9th, Olivier Panis - 13th )

Ove Andersson: "Cristiano's result today reflected where we are in terms of competitiveness at the moment. I can't say that I am happy, but I am not entirely unhappy - ninth is a representative result for us this weekend. Olivier must have had a problem of some kind, because his car was not good at all, but this has to be checked. I have to say that the drivers performed faultlessly all weekend and I appreciate their full efforts in spite of the difficult circumstances."

Cristiano da Matta: "We had a good strategy today and I had a clean race with a lot of clear track. I was out there pretty much on my own for the 78 laps with no traffic, which meant I didn't lose too much time. Finishing ninth behind the top four teams is a reasonable result and I think this was all we had in the car today.
I didn't have any specific mechanical problems; just oversteer for most of the race and some lack of grip. Overall, things only started to come together for me from a driving point of view yesterday, and I think the team has done a good job. We need to work on our performance, but we are testing a lot and I am sure it's all going to come together soon."

Olivier Panis: "The result today was extremely disappointing for me and for the whole team. We couldn't find a cure to the grip level problem we have been suffering from all weekend, so we decided to run a different strategy, stopping just once in the race, but the car was really difficult to drive. There must have been something wrong, but we don't know what. We really need to improve a lot of things in order to get better."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 10th, Ralph Firman - 12th )

Eddie Jordan: "Everybody in the team worked hard and did a good job in Monaco. We had good reliability all weekend and the drivers didn't put a wheel wrong at this unforgiving circuit, but sadly at the moment we need to be quicker, in qualifying especially. We need to work even harder now to improve the car's performance."

Gary Anderson: "Everything unfolded to plan for us today and our pit stops were very good but unfortunately our plan was not sufficient to score any points, we just weren't quick enough. I think the fact that almost everybody did two stops showed we were on the right strategy, but unfortunately if the speed's not there, there is not much you can do about it in the race. I suppose it's good that we are not taking any debris home, but I would rather be taking debris and a few points!"."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I am not happy with my result. I expected to score some points but we were not quick for most of the race and hardly anyone ahead of me retired. Our pace wasn't so good in the first and second stint but during the last stint, the car was much better and more consistent. I had good pace and was quick at the end but it wasn't enough."

Ralph Firman: "The car was good on new tyres but when we had old tyres, grip was low on entry and I had mid corner understeer. I lost loads of time with the blue flags as well. Looking at where we finished, it was difficult to score points, which is a bit disappointing. I had a reasonable qualifying session and race, and I'm glad I had no accidents in my first Monaco Grand Prix. It's positive to finish but we need to try and go a bit quicker."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 11th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - Retired )

Peter Sauber: "Heinz-Harald had to retire very early. That was a real shame, because he had quite a lot of fuel on board and it would certainly have been interesting to see how his strategy paid off. Nick drove a rather discreet race, but I think the strategy we chose for him was right. After his first pit stop he came out behind Verstappen and unfortunately lost contact with Fisichella and da Matta, whom he had been keeping up with very easily until then."

Nick Heidfeld: "I had a good run to the first corner and won two positions. Things went okay until after my first pit stop, when I got stuck behind Verstappen which cost me a lot of time. Then on my third set of tyres it took quite a long while to find a good balance and I suffered from understeer. But in general the car was good. However, all the top teams finished strongly so for me it was quite impossible to get into the points."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I simply made a mistake and went too fast into the new chicane. The car's undertray touched the kerb and the front tyres didn't have enough grip, so I went into the barrier. It is a shame that I had to finish the race in this way, because we were on a one-stop strategy. I live here and until the next Monaco Grand Prix I will be annoyed with myself every time I pass this place!."

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - Retired, Jenson Button - Did Not Start )

David Richards: "The weekend started off so well with both drivers challenging for top positions on Thursday. After such a positive start, it's disappointing how things have turned out. Naturally I'm very pleased that Jenson is in such good form after his enormous crash yesterday and he is looking forward to getting back into the car as soon as possible. One has to really feel for Jacques after yet another retirement when he'd driven such a solid race. I can only hope that his luck changes for his home event in Canada in two week's time."

Geoff Willis: "Jacques drove a strong race today which was complimented by excellent work from our pit crew. As the pitstops showed, we qualified with more fuel than most of the grid and were pleased with our race pace. Unfortunately, Jacques was stuck behind da Matta for 22 laps and lost nearly 30 seconds as a result. Once he was on a free track, Jacques was able to lap within a few tenths of Barrichello. It's very disappointing that Jacques retired again after so much effort. We now have to put a difficult weekend behind us and work towards Montreal with renewed energy."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "This has been a really tough weekend but we've shown how competitive we can be both in qualifying and race trim. I'm sorry Jacques was not able to finish as he was having a good race. We don't yet know what caused the engine to stop but we will investigate everything thoroughly this week. However, we have to put it behind us now and look forward to Canada where we'll have both guys back in action again."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It's extremely frustrating that I wasn't able to finish the race again. We didn't get a very good launch start and I lost time behind Heidfeld. I suspected there was something wrong with the engine at the first pitstop. There was an engine noise change and vibration, then it gave up coming through the tunnel. Once again I'm going to have to put this weekend behind me, focus on testing and hope for better things in the next race."

Jenson Button: "I'm obviously extremely disappointed that I was only spectating today. The weekend started out so well for me and I felt very confident that we could expect a strong finish here. I really wanted to race but at the same time I knew that withdrawing was the safest option. It's far better for me to relax and prepare for the next race in Canada. The team did a great job for me on Thursday and Saturday morning, so it's disappointing that we weren't able to make the most of it."

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

Paul Stoddart: “A promising weekend turned out rather flat today with both Minardis suffering a fuel vaporisation problem that ended their race prematurely. As it turned out, with the reliability of the top four teams today, the points were not there to be had. It's still thoroughly depressing, however, to have two otherwise healthy cars parked when they could have been racing for a top-10 finish. We'll just have to put this one behind us and focus now on the next race, in Canada.”

Justin Wilson: "I had a good start, very similar to Jos, but then Frentzen squeezed me at the first corner and I had to back off. I then managed to get around Panis at the hairpin and found myself behind Jos again. I was running consistently in that position. Unfortunately, I locked up under braking after the tunnel, slid wide, hit the curb hard and the engine went briefly into anti-stall mode. That allowed the gap to open up a bit to the cars in front, which, in turn, allowed the 'two-stop' drivers who were exiting the pits after the first of their stops to get in front of me.
I think a one-stop strategy was definitely the right one for this race, and it's a great shame for the whole team to have lost both its cars in such a short period of time today."

Jos Verstappen: “I had a reasonably good start and passed Frentzen, and then got Panis under braking for Turn 1. After that, it was pretty difficult. Frentzen came by me on the outside at Casino, but then crashed later that lap. As the race settled down, the car got better and better, and the pit-stop strategy we had today was definitely the right way to go.
Suddenly, though, as I came out of the tunnel and started braking for the following corner, the car just stopped. It's a great shame we couldn't finish the race, because the team did a great job all weekend, and particularly the mechanics, as Monaco is a very difficult place to work. Now we are off to Canada, which I think is one of the better circuits for us.” 

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

Dr. Mark Gillan: "A thoroughly disappointing end to what should have been a points-winning race for us. The drivers have been very happy with the balance and pace of the car all weekend and to have retired both cars in this manner is unjust given the competitiveness of the car around this circuit.
We have not yet had Antonio's car returned to us and until we do, it is impossible to say what really happened. In Mark's case, however, it became quite clear early on in the race that he was suffering from an engine air leak. We called him in on lap 14, topped up the supply, changed the rear tyres and expected he problem to have been cured. Not sooner had he left the pitlane though, it became clear that the problem was terminal and we had no choice but to call him back and retire. A great shame."

Mark Webber: "The team and I are obviously frustrated that our race weekend ended on lap 17. Our reliability record had been outstanding and we were certainly aiming to add some more points to our score. The engine air leak was something that could not be fixed and retirement was our only option.
Despite not making it to the finish line, we have managed to build up a large data bank on the car thanks to the number of laps we have completed in the run up to the race and of course we will be looking into the engine issue on our return to the factory. The team has done a good job all weekend and we will go away with the aim of working out these issues in time for Canada and also positive that the car's pace is there and we can work on reliability."

Antonio Pizzonia: "I am naturally disappointed to have retired from a race that should have been very different for us considering the pace and balance of the car. Although I had never raced a Formula One car around Monaco before, I have enjoyed driving the car this weekend and given how competitive we have been, it's a great shame not to have capitalised.
The guys back at HQ will investigate the issue, I'm sure, and all I can do is look forward and start preparing for Canada in two weeks. Montreal is yet another new track to me and getting to the finishing line is what we must aim for. The car is competitive and we must take full advantage of the pace we have."

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