Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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Team and Driver Quotes following Sunday's Race
Jean Todt: "It was an incredible and action packed
race, with the safety car on track no less than three times following
accidents. In the end, we took second place with Michael and third with
Rubens. This result means that Michael takes a fifth consecutive Drivers'
title with Ferrari, the seventh of his career, while Rubens consolidates
his second place in the classification. Once again, the race highlighted
that the Bridgestone tyres are very reliable. I am also pleased that Massa
and Fisichella finished fourth and fifth which is a cause for satisfaction
for my friend Peter Sauber and means that four of our engines finished in
the top five.
Ross Brawn: “It was a busy race with not a moment's peace
on the pit wall. I think Michael drove a very cautious race, trying not to
take any unnecessary risks. He knew that he had to finish ahead of Rubens and
so he did. Furthermore, the three safety car periods did not help us, because
at the restarts, our tyres did not get up to temperature immediately. Rubens
drove a really great race: finishing on the podium after what happened at the
start and his two consecutive pit stops is fantastic.
"Every title has felt different and has given me different emotions. This
one is very special, coming here in Spa which means so much to me and to do it
for the seventh time at Ferrari's seven hundredth grand prix is also something
special. I am very proud to have done it with such an exceptional team, who
have done an amazing job -- look at the way they got Rubens back on track. In
fact Rubens drove a great race today. This is what makes our team so strong.
"At the moment, it is hard for me to think straight, finishing third
after what happened at the start. It is a magic feeling. The team were
speaking to me as though we were chatting in a living room, telling me to keep
calm and explaining what they were doing. If I was unlucky with the accident,
I was lucky with the Safety Car.
Peter Sauber: "A fantastic race, very exciting for everyone. Our result shows what you can do with determination, a strong heart and a refusal to give in no matter what the odds. Felipe drove a beautiful race to recover from his early delays and thoroughly deserved to shake off his bad luck, while Giancarlo coped very well with a lot of handling problems resulting from the first corner damage and defended well in the closing stages. My thanks to both drivers, and to everyone for their team spirit and a strong and reliable car."
"After two laps I was feeling so disappointed! I locked up at La
Source at the start and didn't see Kimi on the outside until we touched,
then Sato really hit the back of my car. I pitted for a new rear wing, but
stopped again a lap later because the steering was vibrating really badly.
After that the car was still shaking but I was able to attack.
Giancarlo Fisichella: "At the start somebody ran into the back of my car at La Source, and I lost some downforce because of damage to the rear wing and diffuser as a result. I was able to fight for points, but it was difficult and on lap 20 I momentarily went off the road in Turn 12 and lost a little more downforce by damaging a front wing endplate. It was also tough on the restarts keeping sufficient temperature in the tyres, so I really had my hands full with Klien. But to see our cars finish fourth and fifth was great. We deserved this."
Dr. Mark Gillan: "Mark made a good start and it was
unfortunate that he clipped the Ferrari of Rubens on the first corner. That
was really the end of his race as he had damaged his suspension. Christian
also made a good start and he managed to steer clear of a lot of the debris on
track. His pit-stops went as planned and he managed a good over-taking move on
the Toyota of Panis.
Christian Klien: "What an amazing race for me! My start was fine
as I managed to avoid a few incidents and also the debris on the track. I kept
going when the safety car came out and pitted as normal. My three-stop
strategy worked well and the guys in the team did a great job. When the safety
car came out the second time I was behind the Toyota of Panis and as soon as
it came in I managed to overtake him. The car is feeling great and I really
enjoyed racing today.
Mark Webber: "I made a good start off the grid today and I was
flying into La Source - the first corner. Unfortunately I made a mistake and
braked too late. I was struggling to slow the car and I hit the Ferrari of
Rubens Barrichello causing me to lose my front wing. I was making my way up
eau-rouge and aiming to get back to the pits when I lost the steering and
unfortunately through not fault of his own, Sato hit me and that was the end
of my race.
Tsutomu Tomita: "Today's Belgian Grand Prix was an
encouraging, strong race for Panasonic Toyota Racing. We made all the
right decisions regarding our Michelin tyre choice and race strategy, so
it was a disappointing final result. To have been in a strong fourth
position with just three laps to go and then have an engine failure was
extremely cruel. Our engine reliability has been strong all season, so we
will look into what caused the failure today.
Olivier Panis: "At the start, I hit one of the Saubers in
front of me and I had to go back to the pits for a front wing and tyre
change. After that I was at the back of the field, but I tried my best to
recover the positions. The car ran quite well in the race with no big
issues and I was able to make up ground.
Ricardo Zonta: "After the difficult qualifying session
yesterday, it was very good for me to be running in fourth place in
today's race before my engine blew. With three laps to go, I was certain
that we had the car to hold on to that position. This was the chance that
I have been waiting for many years, so I am obviously disappointed.
Flavio Briatore: "This result is a major disappointment for the team. We had a great chance to score points today and strengthen our position in the championship, even after Fernando had retired, but instead we came away empty-handed. Fernando suffered from a reliability problem, and we need to resolve this before the final four races of the season. As for Jarno's loss in performance, we are at a loss to explain what happened. It is only a small consolation that BAR failed to score points today either."
Pat Symonds: "After an extremely promising day yesterday, this is a very disappointing result. Fernando spun off with what appeared to be an oil leak on the rear tyres. Jarno struggled with the balance of his car throughout the race, and we need to check our data in order to try and find out why."
Jarno Trulli: "I don't know what happened today. Things seemed quite good in the first stint, but then after my first stop, the car became undriveable. I lost grip at the rear, and had no confidence through the high-speed corners, which penalises you all the way round the circuit here at Spa. I am very upset with this performance, but right now, I just want to understand what happened."
Fernando Alonso: "To retire from the lead of a race is never good, and especially at this stage of the season. We looked competitive compared to Raikkonen and the other cars, and I was just beginning to run at my full pace when the car spun round on the entry to turn 5. I got going again, but then it happened again into turn 8, and when I got out, I could see the left rear was covered in oil. I'm just disappointed, because it was a good chance for a strong result today."
James Robinson: "Once again Spa gave us a great race; it's unfortunate that we were not in the frame. The accidents and subsequent damage we suffered with both cars meant we were spectators to the day."
"My start was good but then there were a lot of things going on at
the first corner and I was pushed to the outside, lost my front wing, and
came in to change that and check the rest of the car. I had lost part of
the barge boards on the right side but I guess there was no time to change
them. After that I felt the balance of the car was very poor, with huge
understeer and a lot of `bottoming'. That's why I nearly went off once at
Eau Rouge. We tried to compensate for the understeer with some wing
changes, but I think the damage to the aero parts was just too much.
Giorgio Pantano: "I came out of the start and first corner quite well, but something was happening with a few other cars. As I arrived at the top of Eau Rouge, I saw Sato's car going off so I slowed down but then a Minardi appeared from the back and spun in front of me - there was nowhere for me to go. It was a bit scary! It's disappointing because I had a good start and with the number of people that retired I had the chance of doing a really good race today."
Sam Michael: "For us, it was obviously a disappointing race in terms of the final results. However, it was encouraging competing at the front again, while our cars where running. Antonio drove well and Juan Pablo showed his overtaking skills again. Antonio lost drive on his car and had to stop on the track. On Juan's car, we had a tyre failure which damaged the rear suspension and the rear wing. He managed to drive the car back to the pits but could not continue."
Mario Theissen: "This was more than an eventful race today, with all the dramas that one would normally see in half a season and a very unfortunate outcome for us. When our drivers were running in third and fourth positions, Antonio suddenly lost drive. A bit later, Juan Pablo had a tyre failure, the rear of his car got damaged and he had to retire. The remarkable number of tyre failures today needs to be carefully analysed for safety reasons. Congratulations to Kimi Räikkönen for a convincing victory and to Michael Schumacher for winning his seventh Drivers' Title."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Bad luck again, today. The car was really
good and I was having a good race and running third with a few laps to go, but
then the right rear tyre failed, and some other parts of the car were damaged
forcing me to retire. That's racing, what can you do? It's not the first time
that this has happened and probably not the last, but one has to accept it.
Antonio Pizzonia: "What a shame! I hadn't had the smallest problem with my car all race and then, suddenly, I lost all the gears when I was running third. Bad day for the team and it's a true pity that Juan Pablo failed to finish too, but this is motor racing, isn't it? I came to Spa thinking that I could achieve my first podium in F1 here and I proved this was possible, but I was hoping for a better outcome. Still, today we showed a strong performance and this is what we have to take away form here."
David Richards: "Well what can you say about a day like that? In fact, this has been a weekend that has thrown virtually everything at us! One has to look on the positive side, however, and with our nearest rivals also failing to score, we have preserved the status quo in terms of Championship position and there is everything to fight for in the remaining four races of the season."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "It seems extraordinary that after a race like that our championship position has not changed at all in relation to our nearest competitors. This is the first race this year where we haven't scored any points and it is disappointing that our record has been broken by a couple of accidents but sometimes you have days like this in racing. We must work hard at the Monza test this week."
Geoffrey Willis: "This is a obviously a disappointing
result with the team failing to score points for the first time this year.
Takuma's race was stopped on lap one when he was hit by Webber in Eau
Rouge. Jenson had to pit to replace his front wing and with good pit work
by the team we were able to use the resulting safety car without losing
places. By keeping to our original plan and running a long first stint we
had made a very good recovery from our qualifying position.
Jenson Button: "I got a bad start when I was hit by Pizzonia and went wide and into the back of Massa at turn one. I lost my front wing and had to pit at the end of the first lap. After that, the car was running reasonably well, we had a good fuel load and I felt pretty pleased with the balance of car. Towards the end of my race I felt that I had a problem on the rear and then the tyre let go, so I am very disappointed as we were confident that we would have been on the podium with our strategy. We now look forward to testing again in Monza next week and maintaining our challenge against Renault at the next race."
"What a race today! We could have finished in a strong position and
personally I was extremely disappointed after we had a really good start
and I was running in 8th position. I then saw Mark Webber going downhill
towards Eau Rouge extremely slowly with his front wing missing and the
problem was that he was in the middle of the racing line, so that is why I
had to hit the brakes quite hard to avoid him.
Zsolt Baumgartner: "We had a very good race and were consistently quicker than the Jordans. As a result, I was extremely happy with our race performance while we were running. I was really unlucky with the situation that developed with Button when he was right next to me and his tyre exploded, but it happened. I could not have done more today, but I would like to congratulate Michael for taking his seventh World Championship and Kimi for winning today's Belgian Grand Prix."
Gianmaria Bruni: "I made a very good start, was able to pass lots of cars, and was 14th going through Eau Rouge. Then Sato spun, and as he was coming back on the circuit, I lifted off a little and my team mate hit me from behind. That knocked me into the barrier and ended my race. It was a very unfortunate incident."