Formula 1 United States 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 incident packed race, with the early
stages marked by two Safety Car periods, caused by various spectacular
accidents which fortunately and most importantly did not result in any serious
injuries. In the end, it all worked out in the best possible way for us. The
team, the drivers and the cars were perfect. Our reliability proved to be
exceptional and I wish to thank every member of the Gestione Sportiva for
this. These results are down to their efforts and dedication.
Ross Brawn: “An incredibly eventful race, during which our
team and drivers reacted correctly to the changing situation. The Safety Car
meant we had to react quickly to change our strategies. Rubens was very strong
all weekend and Michael managed his re-start well, but I think that if Rubens
had not had a problem in his first pit stop, he might have beaten Michael.
"Ralf is OK and that is the most important thing today. I was very
concerned when I saw him in the car for so long. Then the team told me on the
radio that he was okay. That helped me big time, because I could see how hard
he must have hit the wall.
"I am happy to leave North America with sixteen points, but a little bit
disappointed as I felt I could have won both here and in Canada. My car was
excellent today, but when the Safety Car came in, my tyre pressures were too
low and I got wheelspin at the final corner, which is why Michael was able to
slipstream me and get past as I could not close the door. I also lost some
positions in my first pit stop, but I was pushing really hard.
David Richards: "A great day both for Taku and the team; the first podium for him and seven podiums for the team out of nine races. At the same time we are still in need of a greater level of consistency, and Jenson's failure was a missed opportunity. As we head back to Europe at the half-way point of the season I am pleased with the progress we have made, and in particular how Honda and Michelin have worked so well as a team to continue development during the year. As for the rest of the season, I think that we have a real battle on our hands but we will clearly be aiming for even greater things in the next nine races."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "I have to say congratulations to Takuma for his drive today - he battled hard for the whole race and really deserves his first podium finish. I feel for Jenson as he could have had a strong result as well. I am also particularly pleased to hear that Ralf is OK."
Geoffrey Willis: "Congratulations to Takuma on a
well-earned first podium place in a very dramatic race. We had very poor
starts, particularly Jenson, but after that our car was extremely quick
but unfortunately we did not get the opportunity to race the Ferraris. The
situation was complex; we decided not to pit at the second safety car and
this should have worked well for us had Schumacher not managed to get back
out in front of us behind the safety car. After that, both cars were held
up by the Ferraris until our first planned stops.
"This is an incredible feeling. A result we have worked hard for and
pushed so hard to achieve for so long. I feel very proud for the team,
Honda and all the partners. They have been pushing so hard to try to
resolve the problems I have been experiencing. I had a strong race and the
car just felt beautiful. It was so consistent so I have to thank Michelin
for all their efforts too.
Jenson Button: "It was a pretty dramatic race, but my start wasn't very good and I lost two places to Alonso and Raikkonen. After the first safety car our car was working very well, but I was stuck behind Raikkonen. Then we had the second safety car, when Ralf had his big accident. We decided to stay out, instead of pitting under the safety car, and I support the team's decision to do that - it was the right thing to do. Then we sat behind Michael for about six laps before our pitstop. The car was working well and was very stable, especially under braking. The traction was exceptional, so it was disappointing that we were not able to finish the race because I think that it could have been a very interesting result."
Flavio Briatore: "We had a tough weekend, but Jarno's fourth place is some consolation. He drove a strong race, but is also disappointed not to be on the podium. Fernando didn't have any luck, just when he looked like producing a great drive. We are satisfied to maintain our position, but hope to improve our level of performance ahead of Magny-Cours."
Pat Symonds: "It was a dramatic race today and given that
we are slightly disappointed to come away with only a fourth place finish,
I think we must be positive about our achievements. From ninth and
twentieth on the grid, it was never going to be an easy race, but both
drivers made excellent starts to make up position on the first lap.
Fernando Alonso: "I got a fantastic start; I braked very late into the first corner because I knew it would be one of the only chances to overtake. As for the accident, it is difficult to explain because everything happened so fast, but I think it was a puncture. I lost the chance of a podium today."
Jarno Trulli: "I did my best today from last on the grid.
I made the most of the start to gain lots of positions, then we brought my
first stop forward during the second safety car period, a move that paid
off later in the race. I pushed all the way, but Sato was catching me
during the last stint - I was really on the limit, and the lap before he
overtook me, I went off.
Tsutomu Tomita: "That was a fantastic race for Olivier and
a very competitive showing from the team, who worked well in the race to
adopt the strategy during the safety car periods. We knew we had a good
package here and Olivier drove faultlessly throughout the race.
Cristiano da Matta: "I got a good start but coming into turn two I was hit from behind by another car. After that, I had to come into the pits, but the accident also resulted in me not being able to select first gear. In the end, I got stuck in gear and I had to stop. The problem with the gears was only caused by the collision and that ended my race far too early. We showed a good level of competitiveness this weekend - the positive thing we can take from this race."
Olivier Panis: "I think it is a highly positive weekend for
all the team and we can celebrate a great result. It was my 150th grand prix
and I got a fantastic present of four points. I am very happy. The team gave
me a consistent and competitive car and I drove a good race. We profited from
all the hard work we have put in this weekend. I would also like to extend my
thanks to Michelin for providing us with fabulous tyres here at Indianapolis.
Ron Dennis: "An eventful day for everybody at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both Kimi and David were on strong strategies in an incident-filled race and were able to run competitively. There is no doubt that Kimi could have finished on the podium had his race not been badly hampered by a faulty engine air compressor, which forced him to make two unscheduled stops. David had to make an additional stop after a piece of polystyrene debris lodged itself underneath the car. At least we managed to score five points, which is a small consolation in a race where we would have been truly competitive."
Norbert Haug: "At least we scored five points, although Kimi could have managed a better result if he hadn't suffered problems with the pneumatic system forcing him into the pits two additional times, which made a total four. Unfortunately David's race was hampered by a polystyrene piece, which had to be removed during an unscheduled third pitstop."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I did score some points today, but I'm still a bit disappointed as I strongly believe I could have finished on the podium. We have taken a step forward with the MP4-19 and were able to run reasonably competitively, but it was not to be. We had a strong race strategy, the car was handling well, and I was able to really attack. However I was forced to make two unscheduled stops as the team had to top up the pneumatic air system on the engine with additional air, which at the end cost me quite a few positions."
David Coulthard: "It was a difficult Sunday for me, but at least both Kimi and I managed to finish the race and score some points. In the early stages I picked up some debris, which damaged my deflector and upset the balance of the car, which made it difficult to handle for the rest of the Grand Prix. Towards the end of the race I had to make another stop as a piece of polystyrene had lodged itself underneath my car, which the mechanics had to remove. I now look forward to the next race at Magny Cours in two weeks time."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "It's a great feeling to score a point - it's like a miracle happened today! On the first lap, I tapped the back of one of the Jordans when it braked hard to avoid an accident at Turn 2. Fortunately, there wasn't any serious damage and I was able to carry on. After that, the race settled down and I was able to set very consistent lap times, which were not so far off my qualifying time, so I was really pleased with that. There was some big pressure in those last few laps when I knew we were close to getting a point, and then I saw the Sauber slow and Paul came on the radio and told me I was in the points. We were close in Monaco, and now we've scored here, so I couldn't be happier. It's also great for the whole team, as everyone has been working so hard all season and deserves this result."
Gianmaria Bruni: "I'm obviously really disappointed that my race ended so early, but I had a good start and then, in the second corner, one of the Jordans braked hard and chopped across me, hitting my right-front wheel with his left rear. The impact bent the front suspension of my car, and that was my race finished. I'm annoyed not to have had the chance to race here in the United States, but also upset for the guys, who again put in a lot of effort this weekend."
Peter Sauber: "We had a very turbulent race, which brought us only negative 'highlights'. Felipe was an innocent victim in the first corner accident, and Giancarlo was frustrated to be trapped once again behind Heidfeld all through his first stint. Our tyre problem on lap 48 lost us seventh place, and this inflicted further damage to the car which subsequently robbed us of an eighth place finish due to an hydraulic leak."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "After the first-corner accident we used the safety car period to refuel. I then did a very long stint but unfortunately I could not pass Heidfeld. Later on I picked up a puncture on lap 48. Having to drive so slowly back to the pits did some damage, so I subsequently had to retire because of an hydraulic leak just when we were set to score a point. Altogether, a very disappointing day."
Felipe Massa: "I think I made a good start and I was trying to be very careful in Turn One. Suddenly I found Klien broadside across the road after some other cars crashed, and there was no way to avoid him. Once again, I was a passenger. After three troubled races I hope my luck changes for the better at Magny-Cours."
Dr. Mark Gillan: "It has been a weekend of mixed emotions for
us here in Indianapolis. We came to this race very well prepared and focused
on the task ahead of us. Points were our goal and we should have scored three
with Mark today. Both Christian and Mark made clean starts and cleared the
first corner. As Christian entered the second corner, it appears that the
Toyota of Da Matta braked heavily leaving Christian with no-where to go other
than into the back of him. This was unfortunately the end of Christian's race.
He has shown promise all weekend with increasing pace on track and I would
have liked to have seen his performance today.
Mark Webber: "It has been a strong weekend for us here and I was racing a good race today when I was forced to retire after losing oil and catching on fire. My race up to then had been fun and the pace of the car was encouraging. To be in the top six is a good reflection of the pace of the R5 and we had been reliable all weekend. I did run over some debris and this caused damage to my front wing end plate and I lost my bargeboard. The guys sorted me out very quickly and my strategy was excellent. We deserved points today, now we will just have to focus at getting them at the next race."
Christian Klien: "A good start and first corner but it all came to an end too shortly. Da Matta appeared to slow instantly on entering the second corner and I had no-where to go other than into the back of him. Disappointing yes, but I am motivated by the pace of the R5 this weekend and the improvement in reliability. I will now be testing and then points in Magny-Cours is my next goal."
Sam Michael: "Thankfully Ralf will be ok. He had a puncture, which caused him to crash. The reason for Juan Pablo's black flag is that when we tried to start the engine on the grid, the starter would not engage into the back of the car and we decided therefore that Juan Pablo should get into the T-car. However, according to the FIA's article No.85 Juan Pablo would need to have left the grid within 15 seconds before the start of the formation lap and we were a few seconds too late. Obviously two disappointing results in a row is not good. However we are fighters and intend to come back strongly."
Mario Theissen: "Of course our race was over-shadowed by Ralf's accident. I visited him in the medical centre during the race, where he was undergoing a first check. I could even speak with him shortly. We all hope now that Ralf recovers quickly. After Juan Pablo had his problem at the start, he fought hard and managed to get into the points but was excluded with 16 laps to go to the end of the race."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I've heard that Ralf is basically OK and I am glad to know that but I feel disappointed about my race. I had a problem at the start, which forced me to run to the spare car, which was set for me anyway. I started from the pit-lane and had a tough race having to climb up the field. I managed to run as high as second, at one point, but realistically we were on for a strong top four position but then I got the black flag. Again a bad outcome to what seemed to be a reasonably good weekend. The only comfort is that the car was quick today, which allowed me to catch up with the frontrunners from the back of the field."
Ralf Schumacher: No comments. Crashed heavily and was taken to hospital.
James Robinson: "It was a disappointing race for us. Giorgio made an excellent start and was way up there towards the front when he got caught out in somebody else's accident. Nick was running well, benefiting from a good strategy which involved pitting under the safety car but unfortunately we had an engine problem at the end which meant he didn't finish. It's a shame as we were looking quite strong."
Nick Heidfeld: "I'm not 100% sure but I think my problem was the engine. It may have been something else that caused the engine to stop so I will have to check with the engineers later. The race was going better than expected: I was lucky enough not to be involved with the crash at the beginning and then when I was a lot of laps into the race, the tyres and car improved. I think we had a good chance for results today so it's disappointing not to finish but we have demonstrated once again that we are capable of a strong points-scoring performance so I'm optimistic for the next races."
Giorgio Pantano: "What can I say? I got a really good start but then at the first corner I was involved with the incident with Klien and Da Matta and I had to stop because the front left suspension was totally broken. When you see how few cars finished, it really was possible for us to score a few points today. That's it. Bad luck!"."