Formula 1 European Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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Team and Driver Quotes following Sunday's Race
Jean Todt: "On the eve of the race we had hoped to get a
one-two finish to dedicate it to the memory of Umberto Agnelli and we are
happy to have succeeded. Mr. Agnelli was usually the first to ring to
congratulate us after a win, the last time being in Barcelona. So this one is
Ross Brawn: “Occasionally it can be difficult to judge how the tyres will develop in the race, so having our drivers on two different strategies allowed the team to cover both bases. This choice paid off in Barcelona and it did again here. Rubens drove perfectly, even though in some stages of the race he was unable to push as hard as he wanted as the tyres did not perform quite as we had expected. Michael was amazing and his opening laps were astonishing! Once again, all I can say is that this year he is incredibly motivated. After the frustration of Monaco, Michael wanted to win again as soon as possible to be certain we were not going into a dip.”
"I dedicate this result to Umberto Agnelli who was a great supporter of
our team over the years. As was obvious, I had run quite light on fuel in
qualifying. I had a good start and was immediately able to build up a lead as
Raikkonen in second was holding up the others. It was fantastic to see how I
could pull away and that gave me the edge I needed and I was confident that
our strategy would work.
"Yesterday, we felt Michael was a bit quicker, so rather than aiming to
try and get second place on the grid and start on the dirty side, the team
offered me another option and I liked it. Running two stops almost worked as I
went from seventh to second, but it was not good enough to take first place. I
had a good start and took the first corner cleanly with Jenson (Button) but I
think I might have touched a Renault.
David Richards: "On a day when Honda celebrates its 40th Anniversary race, with one car on the podium and everyone sharing a glass of champagne, it was interesting to note a rather sombre atmosphere amongst the team at the end of the race. Everyone shared in Taku's disappointment at what was surely his first podium. But then Jenson has consolidated his third position, and so has the team, so not such a bad weekend after all."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "Another bitter sweet day for us. We showed real strength today and seemed to be in a position to get a better result. Congratulations to Jenson for another podium and commiserations to Takuma. We must continue to challenge as hard as we can if we are to get the wins we want."
Geoffrey Willis: "This was a tough race for the team with
a mixed outcome. Takuma raced superbly from his front row position and
with excellent pit stops and strategy, challenged throughout for second
place. The incident with Barrichello shortly after the last stops
necessitated an extra stop to change the front wing but we do not yet have
any information for the cause of the engine failure.
Jenson Button: "Considering the problem I've had with grip throughout the weekend, 3rd place is a great result for me. Obviously this podium was slightly more lucky than the other four, but a podium nonetheless. It was a tough race and I had problems with traffic again. I had to get past David (Coulthard) because he was holding me up by 2 seconds a lap. Fortunately for me he made a mistake in the last corner and I was able to pass him on the outside - a little bit brave maybe, but it paid off. This was obviously Taku's shot at the podium but it is good that we have one trophy to celebrate Honda's 40th Anniversary Race."
Takuma Sato: "I am extremely disappointed, ending the way I did with engine failure. Today the car was very strong and although I lost my position at the start, I regained it again at turn one. Throughout the race I was fighting all the time, and when I came out of my last pit stop on new tyres I had a lot of grip and felt confident that I could challenge Rubens in the Ferrari, but I saw the opportunity to get past Rubens but unfortunately we touched. At least I had a strong race, the pace of the car was good and it could have been a very good result for me. Now we have to look forward. I am expecting a good test at Silverstone and am looking forward to Montreal and Indianapolis."
Flavio Briatore: "Our reason to be pleased today is that we scored nine more points and confirmed our excellent reliability with two cars making it to the finish. The course was solid, rather than spectacular, and the way the race unfolded did us no favours. But overall, we can be reassured that we reinforced our second position in the championship."
Pat Symonds: "This was certainly a very difficult race for us. Jarno lost position on the opening lap, putting him in the gaggles of cars stuck behind Raikkonen, and both drivers then lost a lot of time behind slower competitors after their first stop. Fernando had a problem with the steering rack on lap 14, which caused him to run wide. This problem slowed him down throughout the remained of the race. Overall, this is not a satisfying result, but getting two cars to the finish has allowed us to increase the gap to our pursuers in the championship."
Jarno Trulli: "I made a good start but the race was nearly
over at the first corner - if I hadn't opened the door, Sato would have
taken me out. I was third behind him and Michael when, two corners later,
he made a mistake so I took the inside line through turn 4 but he closed
the door. His right front wheel hit my front left and I nearly lost the
car - in the confusion, I pressed the pit-lane speed limiter button and
that cost me a number of positions.
Fernando Alonso: "It's frustrating to finish fifth having been third on the first lap. Raikkonen held me up a lot during the first stint, which meant that after I pitted I came out among the cars on two stops. Then, the steering became very vague; it caused me to run wide in turn 4, and it took a while to get used to it. After that, I couldn't do anything but protect my position, which I managed to do."
Willy Rampf: "Our race went exactly as we planned. Starting at the back we gave Giancarlo a high fuel load for a long first stint, and because the Bridgestone tyres were so consistent today we were able to execute our chosen strategy. Congratulations to Giancarlo, who drove a fast and consistent race to finish sixth on the lead lap, consolidating our fifth place in the constructors' championship. Felipe's race was hampered by a problem at the start, and then loss of downforce due to a damaged front wing, and his car was very difficult to drive."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "After all the problems I had over the weekend it is wonderful to score points for sixth place! Our target was to score points, but I never believed that sixth was possible. The car was fantastic today, the balance and behaviour were impeccable. I made a good start, our strategy was perfect, and we did a great job as a team. The C23 is improving with every race, so we will keep getting better and better."
Felipe Massa: "When I let out the clutch at the start nothing happened, and I had to call for it again before I could get going. Running behind the Minardis after that ruined my race because I lost so much time. I'm not sure where I damaged my front wing - maybe when I was close to Bruni, maybe later with Klien - but after that I just had massive understeer and the car was really difficult to drive. A shame, because this was a race where I could have scored more points."
Dr. Mark Gillan: "We had a mixed start today with Christian
getting a good start and getting off the line well, while Mark had a slight
clutch engagement problem. Both drivers did well in our first stint leading up
to the pitstop and the pace of the car was encouraging. Our two-stop strategy
worked well and to have them both finish and Mark in seventh place with two
points is just reward and testament to all the hard work and man hours that we
spend working towards this end.
Mark Webber: "I had a good race today and a seventh position
finish and two points in the bag is exactly what the Doctor ordered. My start
was slightly slower than we had expected as I suffered a clutch engagement
problem. I then went on to work my way up the grid and I am pleased to say
that our strategy worked really well today and despite my one second penalty
on my qualfying time I don't think it cost me too much.
Christian Klien: "The start was great for me as I managed to overtake two cars by the first corner. The balance was good and the car was going really well. After my first pit stop though the balance was slightly more difficult for me so I think I may have lost a bit of time in my second session. I enjoyed my battle with Montoya, that's what we are about. The cars were really reliable today and they felt good. I am very pleased to have finished the race, albeit it, without points. We are learning more with every lap and the team is so focused on what we have to do and where we are going. I am looking forward to testing and I can't wait to be racing again."
Sam Michael: "We lost one car right after the start which looked like a racing incident and caused a damaged front wing on Juan's car. He needed to pit after the first lap to pick up a new nose and then started the race 35 seconds behind. The fight for the rest of the race was to get into the points, which we achieved with some great overtaking from Juan and good strategy. We would have been much more competitive if both our cars had come through the first corner without incident."
Mario Theissen: "Start positions 8 and 9 were of course not the best to start a race from, and the accident right after the start proved it. Such a situation is annoying for the team. This is happening for the second time after Indianapolis, and this is two times too much. Anyway, it is clear that this is exactly what happens having a hairpin as first corner, since it allows four, even five different lines in and out but in the narrowest part there's room just for two cars."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Even though I was starting from 8th I had a good start, but the accident at the first corner obviously compromised my race. When I made it to the first corner Rubens Barrichello, who was in front of me, braked quite early and both Ralf and I locked the tyres. Then Ralf went for the outside and I stayed behind Rubens but when I was going around the corner Panis dived up the inside hitting my front tyre which threw me straight into Ralf. A hairpin is always going to cause problems in a racing start. After that I had obviously a tough race, having to recover from 18th place. I still could collect one point, but I know there was more in the car."
Ralf Schumacher: "What happened is obviously a shame. Being
taken out of the race at the first corner is definitely not what I was
expecting. It was a very unfortunate accident with Juan who just braked a bit
too late since he was trying to gain some places at the end of the straight. I
am 100% sure Juan didn't do it on purpose therefore I am not going to blame
him for this.
Eddie Jordan: "I'm glad that both our cars finished. Unfortunately we had a problem with Giorgio's car but I think that was Nick's best race drive for us. We seem to be making a bit of progress. Thanks to everyone in the team for their continued hard work."
James Robinson: "It was a tough race for Jordan Ford today with Nick driving a very good, hard race. Some slower cars in the first part of the race cost him any chance of getting in the points. Once he got past those we were running on target and the Bridgestone tyres were performing consistently, but he had just lost too much time in the early part of the race. Giorgio drove well, and was up there with Nick but unfortunately he had a car problem that basically slowed his race and at the end he was driving to get the car over the line."
"I'm really happy with our performance over the weekend especially in
the race. Finishing 10th, only two positions off the points, is positive -
as was actually being able to fight and beat some other cars. I was
pushing Felipe hard at the end, which was really good fun. With one more
lap I might have overtaken him!
Giorgio Pantano: "I had a gear problem which was basically that the down-shift function was not working, it was locking in fourth gear. I came into the pits pretty quickly to see if we could fix the problem but it was impossible and I had to stop. Naturally, I'm disappointed that my first European Grand Prix ended this way but thankfully there are not many days to wait until the next chance to race and I'm looking ahead to the Europeanan Grand Prix now."
Tsutomu Tomita: "Overall, it was a frustrating race for
Panasonic Toyota Racing. On the softer of the Michelin tyre compounds, we
struggled for consistency. With our general lack of grip, it seems that we
were affected more in terms of race pace as the tyres went off and the car
began to slide.
Cristiano da Matta: "I didn't really see what happened, only a Williams locking its wheels quite badly approaching the first corner. After that, there was not a great deal I could do about the situation. I tried to carry on to the left to make my way around, but there was nowhere for me to go. Obviously it is not nice to retire from a race through no fault of my own, but it was a racing incident and these things occur from time to time. I have a three-day test in Silverstone next week where we will work hard on preparing the cars for the next back-to-back races in Canada and the US."
Olivier Panis: "I got a fantastic start and took some risk heading into the first corner, but I managed to gain two places in the process. Everything was going well and I was retaining eighth place, but it became rather difficult to hold onto the group in front of me. The tyres dropped off quite quickly and it was clear that the race was going to be tough. I am very disappointed for myself and the whole team, but at least we finished the race, so from here we will continue to keep pushing to produce a quicker racing car."
Gianmaria Bruni: "I'm satisfied with the result, as I had to try and maintain good lap times, but also conserve the rear tyres -- if I pushed too hard I risked blistering them. In fact, I'm happy with the tyres Bridgestone has provided us with this weekend. If we had had a better balance in the car this afternoon, I think I could have made better use of the tyres and we might have had a stronger result. Even so, I am very pleased to have finished the race."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "Generally, we had a good, solid race
today. The first stint was difficult, because the car was really oversteering,
but then we altered the differential and the tyre pressures at the first stop,
and I also adjusted the brake balance. After that, the car just got better
every lap and was really good in the last two stints. I could go quicker and
quicker and was able to bring the gap down to Gimmi.
Ron Dennis: "The reliability problems we are experiencing at the moment are linked with our efforts to increase the team's competitiveness as fast as possible. Our qualifying and the early part of the race certainly demonstrated that we are getting there. Of course it's painful not to finish races, but the most constructive way forward for the team is to analyse the problems and execute the engineering solutions."
Norbert Haug: "A disappointing outcome to the race. Kimi and David did everything right and were in good positions during the opening laps. The engines will go back to Mercedes-Ilmor tonight to investigate the source of the failures which we suspect was a problem with a batch of pistons from which all the engines for this race have been built."
David Coulthard: "The race was going well. I had a good start from the back of the grid making the most of other people getting in trouble on the first lap and went from 20th to ninth. As we were on a two stop strategy the car was heavy with fuel, but I believe we would have been in a good position to score some points. It's disappointing and nobody in the team is enjoying the situation at the moment, but we will all continue to work hard to make things better, and I'm confident that we will fight back."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Obviously I'm extremely frustrated and disappointed. I was at the front after getting past Sato and Trulli on the first lap and there was no doubt that things were looking good. We are making progress, but it's clear that we have to improve our reliability dramatically."