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

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Sunday

Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - 3rd )

Jean Todt: "It was a great day. We have won with Michael and come third with Rubens on the race debut of the F2003-GA. It was a race where our rivals produced a very competitive total car, driver and tyre package. Today, we knew it would be vital to get both cars to the finish and to do so obtaining almost the perfect result was important, as it allowed us to close up the gap considerably, having lost ground in the first three races. On those occasions, we had not been able to make the most of our potential, at least in terms of the results.
The sixteen points we have picked up here are the result of a great job from a fantastic group of people, an extraordinary car and two great drivers. It was down to teamwork and also thanks to our partners, including Bridgestone, Shell and Magneti Marelli. We still have eleven races ahead of us, when it will be vital for both our cars to finish in the points, given the new points system. We will be back at work from tomorrow to prepare for the next round and to further develop the F2003-GA. For tonight we can enjoy the moment."

Ross Brawn: "That was a fantastic debut for the new car, especially as it is never easy for the mechanics to adapt to a new car after the season has started. It was a tough weekend for them and they worked very well to make this result possible. It was a very tough race and very good for us in terms of the championships, as we have managed to close up the gap to the leaders in both of them."

Michael Schumacher: "This was a perfect day for the championship and for the new car. I am very happy and must thank the team for their 100% effort. At the first corner, I did not expect Rubens on the outside and I moved over the inside kerb and slid a bit and thought we might touch. I am not sure if we did or not. But that is racing and it is supposed to be a competition. The win was not as easy as it looked. We had expected a very tough fight after seeing the lap times on the first two days and that is how it turned out.
My tyres performed very well at the beginning of each stint, but towards the end their performance dropped off a bit. But towards the end of the race, the longer I was out on the track, the better the situation became and the tyres were more consistent again. I really love this new car which is fantastic and it was the right decision to bring it as, today, I am not sure we would have won with the old one."

Rubens Barrichello: "I have never been so close to Michael as I was at the first corner! I had to try and get ahead of Fernando again and then when I saw Michael protecting his line on the inside, I felt I had to give it a go on the outside. I did get slightly ahead, but then I went on the grass and had to back off. My tyres were good for the first five to ten laps of each stint, but after that I could not maintain my pace. That is why Fernando managed to pull away, because when I should have been pushing to pass the five cars which were racing one another, I was struggling a bit. I made some changes to the settings from the cockpit and during the last pit stop, the team changed the front wing settings. The car was much better after that, which is proved by the fact I set the fastest lap, but by then it was too late to catch up."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 2nd, Jarno Trulli - Retired )

Flavio Briatore: "It's a victory for the whole team. Fernando did an excellent job. I think our strategy was perfect. It's a shame that Jarno was pushed out by Coulthard, because he was very competitive all weekend and we would have had a strong race. A great performance overall for Renault here in Spain."

Mike Gascoyne: "Firstly, it's a great pity for Jarno, since I'm sure he would have had a fantastic race as well. We were very optimistic from the very beginning and confident in our potential. As for Fernando, I don't need to add anything. He had a faultless performance: our strategy was very good - but not good enough to catch Michael. A big thank you to the whole team, from Viry and from Enstone for the excellent job. Well done!."

Denis Chevrier: "It's a satisfaction to see our car fighting through the race against Schumacher's car. Fernando managed to finish in between the two Ferraris: it was one of our objectives and we did it! At the same time, we are sad for Jarno who certainly today could have joined Fernando on the podium."

Fernando Alonso: "This is the best day of my life and I feel I am dreaming. It's difficult to describe what I felt on that final lap with all the flags and the crowds cheering for me. I had a good start and I could count on a very good strategy and excellent pit stops. It's fantastic to have scored points at all the races so far and I hope to continue so. I am sorry for Jarno, who - I am sure - would have brought home some points as well."

Jarno Trulli: "I had a good start and I was making my way smoothly, keeping on my line when, at the second corner, I saw Coulthard's car cutting right through from the outside. He hit me and I was out. A real shame because I know this could have been an excellent race for me."

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Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 4th , Ralf Schumacher - 5th )

Sam Michael: "It is good for the constructors' championship to get points with both cars. We had no problems regarding reliability and the pit stops were also very good. It was a difficult race in terms of managing the strategy. After the safety car had come out for three laps right after the start, we changed our pit strategy from three to two stops. The decision to change the strategy was a close call, particularly with Ralf and he may have done better on a three stop. He had difficulties with his car towards the end of the race due to some damage to the floor and bodywork after he slid into the gravel and lost a lot of downforce. Juan did a good steady job to come home fourth."

Mario Theissen: "After we struggled in the Free Practice and Qualifying, fourth and fifth positions for us are a positive result, even if we were only able to keep pace with the leaders in the first part of the race. Juan Pablo drove a trouble fee race whereas Ralf had severe oversteer in the last part of the race. He drove his last 16 laps under immensely strong pressure from Da Matta's Toyota and he successfully defended his fifth position. When Ralf went off into the gravel, the engine air cooling was damaged making the last few laps a very difficult test for the water and oil temperatures which the BMW P83 clearly passed."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "The car was quite difficult to drive initially and I decided just to pace myself in order to get to the end of the race and get some good points from this race. We had balanced the car in a different way than usual and it was therefore more difficult to drive but towards the end of the race when there was more grip on the track the tyres worked much better and the car felt pretty good. It was good fun today, I enjoyed the racing and I am glad we could collect some good points."

Ralf Schumacher: "After all the testing we did on this track, we thought we could achieve a better result. But after the struggle that we went through this weekend, we are reasonably happy with fourth and fifth positions. When I went off the circuit a part of my bodywork got ripped, which caused my car to oversteer quite a lot. In the last 16 laps I had a hard but fair fight with Cristiano da Matta. All in all this weekend showed that we have a lot of work ahead of us."

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

Ove Andersson: "I am very pleased with this result. It has been a long wait but we have been competitive here all weekend, so I think we deserve these three points. Cristiano drove a very strong race and was extremely close to taking fifth in the closing stages, but I will gladly take sixth place. I am sorry for Olivier, who has been on the pace all weekend and was again in a points position in the race. We have to look into the suspected gearbox problem on his car to see what exactly was wrong. All in all, it has been a positive weekend, but it is only one race of many."

Cristiano da Matta: "I am happy with this result today for myself and for the whole team. This was one of the first clean races we have had this season and overall it was a generally trouble-free weekend for me. It feels good to score points for the first time - the first of many I hope! We really deserved fifth place, but I just couldn't get past Ralf at the end. My brake pedal was going a bit too long from midway through the race, so I couldn't push hard enough.
Barcelona is a track where we knew we would have a good performance and we have been highly competitive all weekend, but I hope we can also find this level at other tracks. I hope these three points are just the beginning."

Olivier Panis: "Obviously I am very annoyed. We have been so strong here all weekend and in the race we were looking good on a two-stop strategy and up into the points again. We think the retirement was caused by a gearbox problem, but this needs to be investigated and verified. I am so disappointed - we really need to stop losing points like this, although I am naturally pleased for Cristiano and the team scoring 6th place."

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

David Pitchforth: "A day of mixed emotions! It's great to have finally been rewarded for all our hard work with two vital championship points. Mark did a tremendous job out there today and had he not have been boxed in going into the first corner, he would have been even higher today. Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard had a coming together at the first corner and several cars, including Mark, had to take evasive action that cost us places.
Nonetheless, we came into this weekend with reliability in mind and coupled with the car's competitiveness, we leave Barcelona very pleased, albeit we need to understand what happened to Antonio. We spent three-days in Mugello last week working on various things including launch control and we experienced no issues - until today, of course. At the time of writing, we have not had the car returned to us and until we do, I cannot say exactly what happened. Suffice to say that we are extremely disappointed not to have got Antonio off the line.
We now have three days of testing next week at Paul Ricard in Southern France and we'll concentrate on tyres, mechanical work and launch control again. Both Mark and Antonio will share testing duties and given the pace of the Jaguar today, I'm sure both drivers will be raring to take to the A1-Ring in two weeks time."

Mark Webber: "I am delighted with the result and to take two championship points back to the workforce is just reward for their hardwork. I made a good start and I was trying to get on the inside of Frentzen into the first corner. I then got on the inside of Villeneuve going into turn two and then I starting seeing the dust from Trulli and Coulthard's incident. I had no choice but to take to the gravel but I was then worried about hitting Coulthard who was bouncing around in front of me.
Luckily, I saved my front wing but I then got onto the radio to see whether we should change our strategy because I was worried about being stuck behind the Minardis. As it was, we stuck to the plan and given that our goal was reliability, I am very pleased to have crossed the finishing line in 7th place. I am not saying we are bullet proof but we have clearly taken some positive steps since Imola.
Michelin did an excellent job and while we would have liked to have done a slightly better job in qualifying, we are certainly heading in the right direction. Before the weekend, we would have been happy with 7th place and all credit must go to the guys back at base who deserve it. The aim now is to capitalise upon today's data and with three-days at Paul Ricard next week, the Jaguar R4 should be looking good in Austria too."

Antonio Pizzonia: "I am very disappointed indeed. We achieved some good work on the car this weekend and up until the race, I think we generated more mileage over the past two days than anyone. With that in mind, it is very unfortunate not to have taken advantage of that in the race. Quite simply, the launch control system failed - exactly as it did in Imola - and unfortunately for Kimi, he was a victim of the fall- out. The team will undertake an investigation into this and in the meantime, I will focus my efforts onto our Paul Ricard test next week. As demonstrated in the race today, the car is clearly competitive and I am looking forward to racing the R4 in Austria in two weeks from now."

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Jordan ( Ralph Firman - 8th, Giancarlo Fisichella - Retired  )

Eddie Jordan: "I'm delighted for Ralph scoring his first Championship point in Formula One so early in his first season. The car has let him down at three races so it's only the second one he's finished, and a points result is something for him to be proud of. He rose to the challenge and did a great job. From a team point of view we're glad to add another point to our total, which is already higher than we got all of last season."

Martin Leach: "A great result for Ralph who, through no fault of his own, has had a challenging start to the season. It was an interesting weekend with some difficult moments, so it was very positive to see Ralph's excellent drive today and Ford of Europe is extremely pleased that Jordan Ford finished in the points for the second time in five races."

Gary Anderson: "Ralph drove a good solid race. We had a problem with a stuck front right wheel nut on his last pit stop so he lost a bit of time there and he was also held up by Ralf Schumacher in the last stint. He drove very well, brought it home and got a point, which is excellent. We qualified 15th and ended up 8th which is pretty reasonable. When Giancarlo came in for his first stop the fuel rig failed which lost him everything really and then he had an engine failure."

Ralph Firman: "It was brilliant. When the safety car came out my engineer Dominic called me in for a pit stop, which obviously worked out well as it effectively changed my strategy to two real stops. I had a really good middle stint to the third stop but when I came back out Ralf Schumacher had been off and damaged his car and was weaving all over the circuit. I couldn't get past him, which is ironic as he's usually complaining that people don't move over for him when it's not for position! Anyway, once the tyres had worn there was no chance of overtaking him but I managed to hold off Button and keep my position which is great. The result is excellent for the team."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I had a lot of problems. First of all in the pit stop we had a rig failure and had to use the other rig, then put too much fuel in the car. Then after a few laps the barge board broke and I lost a lot of grip making it very difficult to drive, and finally at the end there was an engine problem. I don't know what the problem was but I was losing speed and had to retire."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 9th, Jacques Villeneuve - Retired  )

David Richards: "It's no use hiding my disappointment at what had all the makings of an excellent weekend. The qualifying positions and the strategy for both cars were good, but an electrical fire on Jacques' car and Jenson's incident with Coulthard put paid to all the best-laid plans. At least we can feel confident in our ability to compete at the front and put this race behind us as we look forward to Austria in two weeks' time."

Geoff Willis: "Both drivers got reasonably good starts and we were looking strong after the safety car came in. Jacques in particular was in a very good position for his strategy, but unfortunately he was forced to retire with signs of fire damage to the injector loom. Jenson's race was hampered by his incident with Coulthard and by a problem during the pitstop with the change of nose and a problematic left-front wheel change. In the last few laps, when it still looked that we were in contention for at least one point, he suffered a problem shifting through the gears. Clearly this is an unacceptable level of reliability for the team and it is now our highest priority to do what it takes to achieve a two-car finish."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "After a strong weekend I was hoping for a much better result today. Jacques made a good start and it's such a shame that his race was cut short. There was an engine wiring harness fire which caused the engine to shut down. At the moment we don't know exactly what started the fire but it is unrelated to the problem we had in the last race. Jenson was obviously fighting hard but again, a really frustrating afternoon for him."

Jenson Button: "Considering how bad the race was for me I'm lucky to end up even close to the points. The start wasn't fantastic but then the tyres took a long time to warm up and I dropped behind the Williams. After the first pit stop I came up behind David Coulthard and he seemed to be struggling a little bit. I got alongside him on the inside in the first corner and he just turned in, so that destroyed my race really. I had to come into the pits with a damaged front wing and a puncture to the left front tyre.
Because of that there was a problem getting the jack under the car and then getting the new tyre on again. I pushed as hard as I could for the rest of the race and there was still a chance of getting seventh or eighth. Then we had a gearshift problem towards the end of the race and I lost third gear three laps from the end and fourth for the last two laps. Not the best of races and in the end I was lucky to make it to the finish. The team did a great job throughout the weekend though so I'm just sorry we weren't able to make the best of it."

Jacques Villeneuve: "What can I say? I was very optimistic because I was running more fuel than Jenson. He was three-stopping and I was on two, but I was right behind him after the safety car. The race was going really well and we were genuinely fighting to be in the top there. I was running the same strategy as Barrichello and would have come into the pits at the same time. We could have had a good battle with Montoya. It's a little bit frustrating now because it's been the same story race after race. It's a shame that we spend the weekend working on race strategy and set-up, and we compromise our qualifying position to give us the best shot at the race. Then we can't even make use of that work because we don't finish on Sunday."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 10th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - Retired )

Peter Sauber: "The first-lap accidents and the deployment of the safety car obliged us to change our strategy straight away, but despite the fact that Heinz-Harald was right at the back as a result at the end of the opening lap, it would still have been possible to score the final point and he was on schedule to do that when he had to retire."

Nick Heidfeld: "Towards the end of the race I was fighting in a group with Button and Firman and da Matta. I got Button in the pit stop and then saw da Matta coming out of the pit exit as I went by. There weren't any blue flags for four laps, so what could I do? I was fighting in the same group for four laps. Then the team told me on the radio that da Matta was a lap ahead, so of course I moved over, but the next lap I got a drive-through penalty. It was really frustrating.
It was a tough race for me because in the first stint the car was really oversteering; the tyres were massively better in the second stint, but then the last set was difficult again. Altogether, a hard weekend for me."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "Unfortunately at the start I was on the side of the track where Coulthard and Trulli collided and lost a lot of time as a result. Then the safety car came out immediately so we decided to make my first pit stop at the end of the opening lap. After my second, on lap 30, the car felt really great and I could make up quite a bit of time. But then the left front suspension pushrod broke just as I went over a kerb and that was the end of the race for me."

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Minardi ( Justin Wilson - 11th, Jos Verstappen - 12th )

Paul Stoddart: �Both Justin and Jos drove gutsy races today and it's great for the team to have scored its first two-car finish of the season. Our lap times were competitive and Justin's first stint, which saw him climb as high as eighth, was truly remarkable. Full credit to him for a fine drive. Jos's efforts were hindered when the engine stalled during the last pit stop and lost him considerable time while the problem was rectified. Overall, though, it was a good day's work by the team, and particularly by our engine partner, Cosworth, who delivered two fantastic engines that didn't miss a beat all afternoon. Our congratulations also go to Fernando Alonso - what a fantastic effort to finish a brilliant second at his home Grand Prix. Well done.�

Justin Wilson: "It was a fairly interesting race, especially in the first couple of laps. Pizzonia's car stalled at the start, and as he was in front of me, I had to jink out to avoid hitting him. That slowed me in the run down to the first corner and allowed Jos to get by, but then I found a great line through the carnage and managed to overtake a Jordan on the inside and a Sauber on the outside in two consecutive corners, which put me up to ninth place. After that, it was just a case of hanging on. I'd particularly like to thank the team for the opportunity to have a good race today and for the hard work they have put in all weekend, particularly when we had a problem before the start of the race. It has taken five races to complete my first Grand Prix, but it feels great."

Jos Verstappen: �We have to be happy as a team that both cars finished today's race. From my standpoint, the first stint was very difficult, as the car developed strong oversteer. As a result, we chose to make an early stop and adopt a three-stop strategy for the race. The car then felt really good in the second stint and we were able to set good, competitive times. It was important to get to the finish today, and it was also good for the whole team, who have put in a lot of effort this weekend.� 

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McLaren ( David Coulthard - Retired, Kimi Raikkonen - Retired )

Ron Dennis: "A catalogue of problems starting with Kimi's mistake in qualifying and subsequent low grid position which lead to the collision with the stationary Pizzonia. David made a good start but then suffered a rear impact from Trulli which damaged his rear tyre and put him off the circuit and saw him requiring an early pitstop.
David was then making good progress and was more than capable of finishing high in the points until suffering an off as a result of a somewhat badly judged overtaking manoeuvre from Button. Overall a disappointing weekend but Kimi still leads the Drivers' World Championship and the West McLaren Mercedes team the Constructors. We will now put this difficult weekend behind us and look to the future."

Norbert Haug: "This was not our weekend. Our plan was to have a long first stint but the crashes prevented this. In two weeks it's the Austrian Grand Prix -- we are looking forward to this."

David Coulthard: "I made a good start, passed a lot of cars and gained more positions after the first corner. Obviously I knew it was going to get messy through turn two as it was getting a bit close and as a result I tried to give as much space to the car in front as possible, but unfortunately Jarno ran into the back of me. As a result I had to pit but there was some damage to the floor, which made the car difficult to drive, but I still thought it would be possible to get some points until Jenson and I came together. I need to look at the footage to establish exactly what happened. All in all today's result is not good but that is motor racing and we will take it on the chin and bounce back at the next race."

Kimi Raikkonen: "A terrible and very short race for me. I got off the line quickly and was beside one of the Minardis when all of a sudden there was nowhere to go but into the back of the stationary Pizzonia. A real shame but its one of those things which can happen when you start from the back."

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