Schumacher takes 66th win

Michael Schumacher, Spanish GP 2003

Michael Schumacher, Spanish GP 2003 

 ¬© The Cahier Archive

World Champion Michael Schumacher won the Spanish Grand Prix, in Barcelona, marking the debut win for the first outing in the new Ferrari F2003-GA. The German winning his 66th career win, and his second successive win of the season.

Fernando Alonso came home second, some five seconds behind in his Renault, the Spanish driver delighting the local crowd. The 21-year-old is the first Spaniard to score points in a Spanish Grand Prix, and took highest ever finish (after finishing third in the Malaysian and Brazilian GP's earlier this season).

Third place went to Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari, 18 seconds behind his team mate Schumacher.

The win jumped Schumacher up to second overall in the points chase, only four points behind Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed into the stalled car of Antonio Pizzonia at the start (having started 20th after a mistake in qualifying).

McLaren's misfortune for the day was continued when David Coulthard was punted out by Jenson Button on the 18th lap.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth in his Williams-BMW, while his team mate Ralf Schumacher was fifth.

Cristiano da Matta scored his first ever points, finishing sixth in his Toyota. Jaguar driver Mark Webber finished seventh (his first points finish since Australia 2002), and rookie Ralph Firman also scored his first point, finishing in his Jordan-Ford in eighth place.


1. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h33m46.933s
2. Fernando ALONSO (RENAULT), 1h33m52.649s (+ 5.716s)
3. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h34m04.934s (+ 18.001s)


Q: Michael, a lot of pressure from Fernando at the end there, perhaps it wasn't as easy as it looked.

Michael SCHUMACHER: No, certainly not, but honestly it wasn't a surprise. By looking and studying the sort of lap times they were doing all weekend, I was thinking that's going to be a tough race, and they didn't do the times on Friday just by luck - Jarno, for example, and then Fernando yesterday in qualifying. So I was expecting a very tough fight and so it was. We have to say that we are lucky to be here with the new car because I think with the old car we wouldn't have been able to make it. This new car is something very special. It works so beautifully and so fine. I am so much in love with this car. It's just fantastic what they have done.

Q: There was a moment just before your second stop when it was very close between you and Fernando in terms of lap time; were you leaving a margin then, or was that indicative of how close the race was?

Schumacher: I think in terms of tire performance it looked like that we had the better beginning and then towards the end my tires dropped off a little bit more than theirs so we were quicker initially, then we lost out a little bit towards the end of the stint. I guess that was the reason. Then traffic was at one point a little bit difficult. I lost quite a bit of time in the early part but in the end it worked out and I have to say that in the end, the longer we were on the circuit the better it was for our tires and for the car. We were then more and more consistent and I was even able to pull away at the end.

Q: Fernando, a great race, but what was it like between those two Ferrari drivers into the first corner?

Fernando ALONSO: It was a special moment. Our launch control is very good, obviously one of the best or the best in Formula One. I tried to overtake Rubens. I did, at the beginning, but then he took the outside line and they were very close to touching each other and I was ready to pass both of them, but in the end it wasn't possible. †Then I tried to fight with Rubens but it was difficult to fight with him and to pass him, and then after the first pit stop I was doing my race alone, Michael in front, Rubens behind, but always a significant gap between the three drivers and then it was quite an easy race: always pushing but not really big pressure.

Q: But you did actually pass Rubens in those laps just after your pit stop.

Alonso: Yes, I passed Rubens. At the beginning, as Michael said, I think the Ferrari was quicker than us. He caught me a little bit in the first three or four laps and then, with a little bit of traffic and everything, I was lucky at that moment, Rubens had a little bit more than me and I was able to put a gap between me and him and maintain that gap to the end of the race.

Q: Rubens, can you talk us through that first corner, and also a summary of your race?

Rubens BARRICHELLO: I don't think I've ever been so close to Michael. I think we were closer than this, probably. But it was a good first corner actually, because I had to try to overtake Fernando and I saw that Michael chose the inside line to protect his line so I was braking on the right tarmac and I just said I'll give it a go. I did actually go through a little bit in front but we were too close. I had to give way a little bit and then I went on the grass, so therefore I couldn't keep the line but that shows how much we respect each other and how much we have fun together and it's really good to get the new car on the podium.

Q: How was the car for the rest of the race?

Barrichello: I think, in terms of set-up, my car was brilliant for the first five laps of the tires if not the best car out there but for some reason I couldn't keep the pace going through the stint and for my last five laps of the tire I was a little bit in trouble in terms of times. There was one point - and it was the worst point for me in the race - when I got close to those five cars trying to overtake each other, and I had difficulty myself to drive fast and that was the point where Fernando pulled away.

Q: Michael, a great win but also Kimi Raikkonen, the championship leader out at the start. You have 28 points to his 32.

Schumacher: Yeah. Obviously at one point in the season you would have expected a retirement. We had our one in Brazil , no points; we had a difficult start, not maximum points, so everything went perfectly for them, and so at one point you expect this to happen. Today was the day. It's a perfect day, in both directions, for the championship, for the new car. Yeah, we can be very, very happy.


Q: It surely doesn't get any better with a brand new car, does it?

Schumacher: That was an almost perfect day. It would have been perfect; obviously, if we had Rubens in second position, but today we had a tough competition with Fernando and that's the way it went.

Q: You said you were almost expecting Fernando to be that competitive here; do you expect that elsewhere as well?

Schumacher: I think we have seen that on the tire side we were sort of struggling a little bit and whatever they had in particular, the Renault team was sort of very good on that side, so I guess that when we come to other circuits it might be different, but we have to find out.

Q: Do you think you and Rubens actually touched at the first corner?

Schumacher: That's a good question; we did ask ourselves. We don't know. He thinks no, I don't know actually, but very close because he quite rightly pulled in because he was slightly in front after he braked very late and I didn't expect him there and then he pulled in. I was still there so I had to go over the inside kerb a little bit on the dirt. I slid then, and I thought, during the slide, I was onto him but I think he slid at the same time as well because he was outside, so we may just have avoided each other but it wouldn't have been anything that would damage each other. We just would have had a light touch, but that's the way it has to be. It's racing and it's competition.

Q: Apart from that, did it go perfectly thereafter?

Schumacher: Yeah, no complaints. We were able to pull out a gap at the beginning and although it was difficult, I think in general we were just fast enough to win the race.

Q: I thought I heard a slight change of engine noise in the last three or four laps.

Schumacher: Usually we start to shift earlier, which may change the sound, I don't know.

Q: Fernando, what about this result in front of 96,000 of your compatriots?

Schumacher: Yeah, that's fantastic. It's probably the best place to do it for me. All weekend has been perfect for the team. Unfortunately Jarno didn't finish the race; otherwise probably both Renault cars could have been on the podium. We did our maximum, we fought with the Ferrari team which is very good for us and we try to keep this level for the next Grands Prix.

Q: Did you change your strategy at the first pit stop; did you come in slightly earlier than expected?

Alonso: No, it was that lap. It's true that in the first stint Rubens was a little bit slower than me and to stop a little bit earlier than him was an advantage, because I came back on the track in front of him and I pushed a little bit and I took a few seconds from Rubens and it was the best thing to do for second place.

Q: How much of a problem did you have with the backmarkers? It seemed that perhaps a red car was a bit more noticeable.

Alonso: Yeah. The race was very difficult for all the drivers from a traffic point of view, blue flags. But anyway, we did 65 laps, it's the fifth consecutive race that I've finished in the points and I cannot dream any more at the moment, because I am dreaming.

Q: How much of a threat can you be at other circuits now?

Alonso: I don't know, it depends on the tires but I'm sure that the Renault car is very good overall. We can be competitive on all of the tracks. We saw in Malaysia and Barcelona that we were especially competitive, maybe because they are aerodynamic circuits, and probably we are very strong on that side. But I don't think there are any downsides with the car and we can be competitive for the whole season.

Q: Rubens, as you said a problem with the tires... were you running the same spec as Michael?

Barrichello: Yes exactly the same.

Q: So there was no apparent reason why that should be?

Barrichello: No. I think if you go back and think Friday and Saturday I've always been very quick, if not quicker. But for the stint it was like 10 laps the tire was very good but we didn't know what to expect later on. I think we were a bit conservative in some ways and a little bit optimistic on others. As it shows we are probably the fastest lap. The car was always very fast, but in my case it didn't last for too long so that was that. As Fernando said he got me because I had a little bit more fuel than him and my car wasn't doing very well at that time. He came in and he just went faster and overtook me. Then, as I said, before I had a difficult time with people fighting each other and a difficult period for me actually with the tire so it was difficult to overtake them and easy to go off so I had to take care, and that was the time that Fernando pulled away.

Q: The last set seemed to be a little bit better because you maintained that gap between Fernando and yourself...

Barrichello: Yeah. I was playing with our video game steering wheel a lot and finally I got a little bit better in terms of set-up and we changed the car a little bit in the pit-stop. It did help a little bit with the front wing so it was better, but it was too late anyway.

Q: A front wing change... what can you change from the car?

Barrichello: Only that and maybe some other small things but that is all.


Q: Fernando, tell us about the cool down lap. You were going very slowly and seeing the crowd around you cheering. Tell us about that....

Alonso: It is difficult to explain. It was a very special lap to be in front 96,000 people with the flags coming from all the parts of Spain and they were very happy, very exciting about my position in the race. It is a special moment for me, I will never forget this day. I will try to repeat this every time I come here to Barcelona .

Q: Rubens, you said your engine, or your power, wasn't performing particularly well... some of us noticed that your engine sounded a little bit flatter than Michael's. I wonder if you were getting any information in the car or from the pits about possible problems with your engine or any other part of the car?

Barrichello: Not really. I mean, the wind changed a bit during the race so, as Michael said, you sometimes change gears a bit differently, but I personally didn't feel that I had any problem with the engine. As I said, I did have some problems probably with the set-up more than anything because my car was really competitive for the beginning stint on the tires but it was just not as competitive towards the end of the tire life. So that was the only reason.

Q: We all enjoy seeing you and Michael having a good fight. If you had got ahead of him at the first corner would you have changed the pit-stop sequence, would you have been able to stay in front or would it have been a fight to the finish?

Barrichello: Obviously if I was in front after the first corner I would have had a better chance of winning, although I would still have the problems I had during the race and the first stop I would still stop at the same place. I might have had the chance to change a little but, but it was not only Michael to look after, there was a Renault coming and we didn't know if people were on two stops. At that time I would have kept the lead, but we never know anyway.

Q: Michael said that the first stint the longer you stayed on the track the better it was for the tire, for the car. Why was it the other way round for Rubens? How do explain such a difference? Is it because due to the settings and because you are looking for the optimal potential of the new car?

Schumacher: I don't think you understand exactly what I have said. I had exactly the same sort of tendency, maybe less extreme. The only was later in the race with more rubber on the circuit it seemed to be less of that problem for me at least. It is a matter of set-up as Rubens said. You set up your car in a way that you think it is best for the whole time and sometimes you achieve it, and sometimes not 100 percent.

Q: Fernando was pushing very hard until lap 50. At what time of the race did you decide to settle for second?

Alonso: The last two laps I slowed down a little bit because lap 50 or lap 52 the team told me that Michael had some traffic in front of him and slowed him a little bit. They said ?push, push a little bit more because Michael has some traffic' so I pushed until two laps to go. It was 60 qualifying laps for me today.

Q: Michael what did you think when you saw Kimi's car wrecked on the track after your first lap?

Schumacher: The only thing you think, because before you were thinking from the position he was: Where could he finish? How many points could he get? And in terms of the championship what could that mean? ...and at the moment you are sort of aware that he couldn't get any points. Today we had to simply do our job to get the maximum number of points.

Q: Michael can you describe the battle with your brother?

Schumacher: Straight and fair, honestly tough. He was on old tires; I was on fresh tires so I obviously had a lot of potential to overtake him. I was expecting to overtake him at the end of the straight, but even with the old tires he got a good run out of the final corner so it was not enough to go for it. We were very close to each other there. Then I was a little bit surprised that I was able to overtake him where I did. I sort of pushed him a little bit into a late brake into the corner as I was aiming to overtake him at turn five, he had to brake late to avoid that and that meant he had a slow exit and I could out-accelerate him. But it was a bit unfair again because with his tire at that stage he had very little to fight with.

Q: Michael at the end when you came up against those four cars in their own battle how concerned were you that maybe you would get caught up in that? Especially Da Matta and your brother were having a huge battle, were you concerned about getting caught up in that battle?

Schumacher: I was not aware of the battle in a way that I had seen it. I had been told on radio that there was some sort of wheel-banging between the two so I was supposed to be careful. But I have to say that the two behaved very fair and Da Matta sort of improved his situation compared to Imola where he wasn't so good, but here he was fair and moved over no problems.

Q: Fernando can you take us through the closing stages where you were trying to overtake Ralf and he seemed to give you a hard time?

Alonso: I didn't know if I was lapping him or fighting for position at the time because I didn't see any blue flags for him. At that time I thought that he was second and I was third and I was fighting with him. He thought that as well because he didn't see any blue flags and closing the door a little bit and at the end I put a little bit of pressure on him, he made a bit of mistake in turn three and I passed him in the inside part of the corner. It was an important part of the race because with three or four laps behind Ralf at that speed maybe I was in trouble with Rubens at the end. It was a very important part of the race to overtake Ralf so quick.


Michael Schumacher (1st): "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 tires 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 tires 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 (3rd): "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 tires 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."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "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 tire 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, Technical Director: "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."


Juan Pablo Montoya (4th): "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 tires 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 (5th): "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."

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "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."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "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."


Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Accident): "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."

David Coulthard (DNF, Accident): "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."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "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 tire 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, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "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."


Fernando Alonso (2nd): "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 (DNF, Accident): "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."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "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, Engine Operations Manager: "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."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "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."


Nick Heidfeld (10th): "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 tires were massively better in the second stint, but then the last set was difficult again. Altogether, a hard weekend for me."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (DNF, Suspension): "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."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "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."


Ralph Firman (8th): "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 tires 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 (DNF, Engine): "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."

Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: "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."

Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "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."

Martin Leach, President, Ford of Europe: "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."


Mark Webber (7th): "I am delighted with the result and to take two championship points back to the workforce is just reward for their hard work. 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 Minardi's. 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 bulletproof but we have clearly taken some positive step 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 capitalize 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 (DNF, Accident): "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 fallout. 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."

David Pitchforth, Managing Director: "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 tires, 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."


Jenson Button (9th): "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 tires 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 tire. Because of that there was a problem getting the jack under the car and then getting the new tire 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 (DNF, Electrical): "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."

David Richards, Team Principal: "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."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "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 pit stop 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, Honda Engineering Director: "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."


Justin Wilson (11th): "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 (12th): "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."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "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!"


Cristiano Da Matta (6th): "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 (DNF, Gearbox): "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."

Ove Andersson, Team Principal: "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."

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