JUNE 1, 2003
MONACO GP - SUNDAY - RACE NOTES
Montoya wins hard fought Monaco GP
Juan Pablo Montoya won his second career victory for Williams-BMW today at the Monaco Grand Prix, narrowly beating Kimi Raikkonen in his McLaren-Mercedes and Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari.
The Colombian's win is the first win at Monaco for Williams since Keke Rosberg won back in 1983.
Polesitter Ralf Schumacher finished fourth, followed by the two Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli in fifth and sixth, David Coulthard in the second McLaren in seventh and the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello in the final points paying position.
Raikkonen has now extended his lead in the drivers championship to four points over Michael Schumacher after seven rounds, and is the first race Michael Schumacher has not won since competing in the new Ferrari F2003-GA.
McLaren have regained the lead over Ferrari in the constructors championship, while Williams-BMW have jumped up to third.
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - JUNE 1, 2003
1. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h42m19.010s
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (MCLAREN), 1h42m19.612s (+ 0.602s)
3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1h42m20.730s (+ 1.720s)
Q: Juan Pablo, emotional scenes at the end there. Tell us about the pressure from Kimi during those closing stages...
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: You know, the hardest pressure was when then told me I had to get a gap on Kimi before my stop because he was going longer than me. It was quite hard. I managed to pull away from two seconds to four and a half before I stopped but then, when I managed to get a couple of laps into the stop until his stop I still managed to get ahead of him and then I just backed off a little bit and just paced myself. It was good. The car seemed to work really well. I want to thank all the mechanics. I think BMW and Williams did a fantastic job and the Michelin tires behaved brilliantly all the day. It's really good. Everybody needed this. Ralph got the pole yesterday, I got the win today.
Q: At the start, and indeed after the re-start behind the safety car, Ralf seemed to get away from you a little bit and then you hauled him back in again.
Montoya: Yeah, he seemed to. Before the start of the race he decided to use higher pressures, he picked up the tire pressures and he was going to be quicker in the first few laps. I knew that so I just based myself on that, so after three laps, when the tires came up, I was fine.
Q: Kimi , you were on the front row but Juan Pablo got the jump on you into turn one there...
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I'm not very lucky with second place on the starting grid. I always seem to get bad starts. Okay, the race was a little bit just following Montoya to try to get past but here, you don't have any chances to get past if they don't make any mistakes. I knew that I would run a little bit longer on the pit stops but on the first and second pit stops I always had traffic when he went into the pits and that completely destroyed the chance to try to get past him.
Q: Michael, it looks as if you started with between six and ten laps worth more fuel than McLaren and Williams. Do you think that was a great strategy given the car that you had today or could your strategy have been different?
Raikkonen: In the end, you always seem to be more clever . The fact is that if I wouldn't have been stuck behind Trulli , I guess I could have kept the situation more close to Kimi , being out longer then I would have probably managed to get him but that meant that I had to have more fuel and this automatically means I would be behind Trulli so however you turn it, in the end, that's what we did and out of fifth position, finishing in third position is reasonable. We try everything but we have to say clearly that this weekend we probably weren't strong enough.
Q: Juan Pablo, you've just won the Monaco Grand Prix, just try to describe your emotions and feelings right now.
Montoya: Really, you've got to say that I had quite a few races where I had a chance to win. The last one was Melbourne ,I threw it away, so there was a bit of pressure not to basically make any mistakes. It was definitely worth waiting for. I won Monza and now this. It's fantastic. I'm so happy. It's just unreal.
Q: Juan Pablo, this obviously means a huge amount to you, tell us about it...
Montoya: It does. It's been long waiting for my second win. First one came in the first year. Last year I had seven poles and none of them converted into wins. The car worked pretty well today, the car was good all weekend. The fight with Kimi was very good and I had to push as hard as I could to try to stay ahead of him because he was going longer than me on every stop and I managed two stops to do that and then from there it was just to pace myself to the end.
Q: What about the start, that was obviously important getting ahead of Kimi ?
Montoya: Yeah, as soon as I let the button go I had great traction and just had the jump on Kimi straight away.
Q: I understand you were fairly noisy on the radio at the end, what were you saying?
Montoya: Nothing really...I was pretty excited.
Q: What about at the end there, how much pressure was there?
Montoya: There was a fair bit because I backed up the pace quite a bit but I didn't want Kimi to get too close, so on the last few laps I started pushing and made a bit of a mistake, not on the last lap but the lap before in the last corner, a little bit, but apart from that it went pretty smoothly.
Q: Were the tires good?
Montoya: Yeah, the tires were really good, very consistent. They were coming back really strongly at the end of the stint. It was really good.
Q: Kimi , what happened to you at the start?
Raikkonen: It looks like it's not very good for me to start from the second place, because every time I have lost at least one place. But I don't know, I just didn't get the traction and lost one place, almost two, but I just managed to keep the Renault behind me.
Q: Then what were the tactics towards the end when you were right on his tail?
Raikkonen: I was just hoping that something would go wrong or that he would make a big mistake so that I was able to pass him. I knew that he wouldn't have too many problems to keep me behind, but I still tried to keep up some pressure. I was a bit unlucky with the pit stops because every time when he went in I was stuck behind the cars and I wasn't able to push but that's racing and maybe next time it will go better.
Q: How about the car during the race, and the tires?
Raikkonen: It was great. I think at the beginning of the race I was a bit slower than them because we started with very low pressures and these took a little while to come in. But after that it was really good and I think we got the quickest lap time in the race and I was quick, but just not at the right time.
Q: How worried were you about the track conditions, starting on the front row, given that there was so much dust down from the previous races?
Raikkonen: Yeah, I was pretty worried about it. I was watching the race when they put it down because I think there was oil and liquid on every corner and it wasn't very good for us but actually it was OK, the circuit was fine and we didn't have any problems.
Q: Michael, fifth to third, at least you made up a couple of places but even so I don't suppose it was what you were hoping for...
Schumacher: Yeah, you always hope for better but realistically, from how the race developed falling back with Jarno actually it is quite reasonable to end up third.
Q: What about the car during the race - at times you were perhaps a couple of seconds off the pace, but that probably had something to do with fuel, obviously...
Schumacher: Yeah, obviously the strategy was staggered differently to others but I wouldn't say the situation was the greatest with my second set. I really struggled up to a certain point and then it got going but at the end of the day I think it would have been very difficult to jump another position.
Q: Then at the end you were catching these two, what was going to be your tactics then?
Schumacher: See and wait. You never know what happens.
Q: But otherwise, obviously, six points. Not too bad...
Schumacher: Yep, that's the way you have to see it. We lose another two in terms of the championship, it is back to four, but it could have been worse.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi , how much are you waiting for the new car and do you think you could have been in front with it here?
Raikkonen: Of course, it will be nice to get the new car because you always have to remember we are still with the old car against all the others with their new cars and we can still give a good fight against them and do podium finishes. But I think we need to have a good race in the next race and then with the new car I am sure we can fight for the win big time but I guess we need to wait and see.
Q: Juan Pablo, an Italian newspaper wrote today that you are in contact with Ferrari to drive for them after the end of Michael's contract. Is it true?
Montoya: Yeah, someone told me to look at the Gazetta dello Sport and see what's in and I had a look and I couldn't believe it. There is no talk for the moment, to be honest, there is nothing.
Q: Michael, given the expectations of the 2003 car, is this weekend a surprise and a real setback?
Schumacher: I think it is nothing to do with the car, honestly. It is nothing to do with the car so there is no surprise if sometimes we don't win a race, that's the way it goes. These certain conditions, probably it is fair to say in the tire side, it is fair to say we didn't look too good this weekend.
Q: So it was just strategy and tires then was it?
Schumacher: To some degree, if you look at our pace we were not far off but we were not in front and I would put that down to the tires.
Q: Michael, it may be hindsight, but looking back at yesterday obviously you qualified relatively heavy. Was that a bit of a miscalculation with the one-lap pace of the tire?
Schumacher: I don't think it was a wrong calculation we did because if you see with the more laps I managed to jump two positions because I was longer out and I put in very fast lap times. We probably, if we could have known that, we should have put in just a little less fuel to jump Trulli and then it would have been a little bit easier but how you know that...You have to make up your mind and sometimes you are better, sometimes you are a little bit worse and that is the way it goes.
Q: Juan Pablo, you mentioned a little bit of pressure on you this weekend. It is a long time since Williams won here. Did you know that and were you aware of the pressure on you to bring this race back to Williams?
Montoya: It wasn't only bringing this race to Williams but trying to get another win for myself - I was more concerned about that than Williams, to be honest, but as we are in the same team I guess it was well worth it.
Q: Juan Pablo, do you think you are realistic to enter in the fight for the world championship?
Montoya: Well, at the moment I am a bit behind them on points but if the car starts performing every race like it did this race and the last race then the chance becomes bigger and bigger and bigger. It seems the new Ferrari doesn't have the big advantage that they had last year when the car came out and now we will have to see the new McLaren .
Q: Kimi , in a different situation in the championship could you try to pass Juan Pablo at the end of the race.
Raikkonen: Yeah, if I had a chance then for sure I would go for it but I didn't have any real chances and then it is stupid to take any big risk and especially now. Maybe in some other circuits it would have been more easy to try something but here it is pretty much impossible to overtake anywhere.
Q: Juan, with all the history and glamour and difficulty of Monaco , every Formula One driver wants to win this race. What does it mean to have won the Monaco Grand Prix?
Montoya: Winning in Monaco is a bit like when I was in America and I went to Indy, you know, it is like the most special race you can win and being the only street course in the championship it is very special. It is a great atmosphere, it is a bit different to every other race and to win here, and Monza is very special as well, and to come here and win is fantastic.
Q: Juan, do you think this is more a victory of the tires as the Michelins seemed to adapt pretty well to this track, or is this the Williams getting better?
Montoya: Well, we were ahead of Kimi so it shows the car is more forward, the last test was quick, I was the same time as David one of the days and the other days I was quicker than them so it shows the car is going in the right direction. We had a really good car in the race and a good strategy as well so I think the team is really getting their act together.
Q: To Michael, were you using the same kind of tire on Thursday and Saturday because you were really fast on Thursday and Saturday not so much...
Schumacher: If you don't mind I will just tell you that we use Bridgestones .
Q: Michael, may I just ask you what happened in between say laps 38 and a bit later on like 46 or 47. You seemed to be a bit off the pace, just lapping over 1m16. Were you just struggling in traffic or was it something with tires?
Schumacher: No. I guess it was something within the tires because in certain periods I simply couldn't achieve the lap times anywhere.
Q: Kimi , how good was the car through the race, particularly thinking of the engine? Were you able to push it as hard as you expected to right from the start or did you have to take any care with it?
Raikkonen: No, everything was working well but if you are behind someone it is going to be a more easy life for the engine and the car if you than if you are going to push 100 percent but I didn't have any problems with the car, the engine or the tires. The car was running really well and handling-wise it was perfect.
Q: Michael, you said your Ferrari is a fantastic car, maybe better than the old car. After this race, have you the same opinion or not?
Schumacher: I don't think I need to answer this, huh?
Q: To all of you, at the beginning of the race it seems the last corner of the track was not so clean. Was it a problem for you?
Raikkonen: It was a little bit slippery but it was pretty much okay.
Schumacher: Just to say, if you saw after the Porsche race I think all of us were expecting a lot worse conditions but actually the marshals did a good job.
Q: Juan, how tough has it been for you to wait for two years between your first and second wins?
Montoya: It has been a bit of a long time but there are a lot of races where we have been competitive and I have been unlucky, something would break down or something, but that is the way races go and it shows if you keep trying it is going to come and hopefully the third one won't take that long.
Q: Juan Pablo, when you were standing on the podium what was going through your mind?
Montoya: It was pretty neat. It is the first time I finish in Monaco in Formula One. The first year I lasted three laps, the second about forty-something and, you know, the first time I finish the race I win it it is pretty good. Last year we had a good chance. We were pretty competitive. David got the jump on me at the start and this year I got the jump on Kimi and that seemed to help.
Q: Michael, last year you had a great technical advantage. This year you are not leading the championship and you were third in this race. Is it the new regulations of have the others caught up?
Schumacher: I think simply the competition is much closer. It is very clear. If you see even other races, like Barcelona last year, we were miles ahead and this year it was a tough fight so it has just got much more together.
Q: Michael, the last ten or fifteen laps it was great for us and the crowd, it was very exciting. But as you were closing up you must have known that you were depending on a mistake to happen for you. Were you enjoying chasing the other two?
Schumacher: Yes. To some degree you do enjoy catching up then you just wait for your opportunity because the race finishes when the chequered flag comes out and not before. From my point of view I wanted to race until then and see what happened because I knew those two guys were very close and maybe one tries to overtake the other and something occurs from this.
Michael Schumacher (3rd): "To go from fifth on the grid to third on the podium in Monaco is quite good. I could say that I might have been able to finish higher if I had not been stuck behind Trulli in the early stages, but our strategy was to go for a long first stint and that meant having more fuel, which is why I was behind him. During some parts of the race I was not able to push as hard as I wanted as the overall package was not at its best at those times. I enjoyed the chase towards the end of the race and I pushed all the way to the flag, as I could see that the two in front were very close and there was always the chance they might make a mistake. We have seen again this weekend, as I have said before, that the competition is very close this year."
Rubens Barrichello (8th): "I don't have much to say at the end of a race which can only be described as disappointing. Any time I was able to push to the maximum. I came up behind traffic and so I never managed to get the best out of the car, which had great potential. It is impossible to overtake on this track and, having lost a place at the start, I was unable to improve my situation."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It was a very close contest. The cars which started from the first four rows of the grid all finished in the points, if not in the same order. This proves that the field is very closely matched and that the top four teams in the Championship have reached a high level of competitiveness and reliability.Nevertheless, these seven points are important for the championship. Michael has fallen two points further back from the leader in the Drivers' Championship, while we are three behind the lead team in the Constructors.' This result is further proof that this season is very closely fought. We will have to work very hard in the next few weeks, both on the development of the F2003-GA and, with Bridgestone, on the tires."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Our performance in yesterday's qualifying cost us the chance of a better result in this afternoon's race. In the first stint, Michael was stuck behind Trulli and therefore lost precious time compared with the leaders. Our chosen strategy was a good one, the car worked well and the pit stops were carried out in their usual slick way. We did all we could."
Juan Pablo Montoya (1st): "Today was the ideal day. The car worked well, the tires worked well and the team did a fantastic job. We really needed this. It's fantastic, it's unreal, there were a few races where I was close to a win and then I just didn't make it, like in Australia, for example. The key today has been the start, where I was able to jump in front of Kimi and then I set about widening the gap from him before my pit-stops. After that it was just a matter of pacing myself. I was not under too much pressure in the last laps when Kimi was close behind but I had to be alert. The tires in particular worked very well and were consistent. Winning in Monaco is very special, there is no other race like this in Formula One. It is a bit like winning the Indy 500 in the USA. This is the first time I have finished the race here since I started racing in F1 and I have won it!"
Ralf Schumacher (4th): "Obviously it is disappointing to finish fourth when you start on pole especially on a track like Monaco when being on pole means more than anywhere else. The balance of my car was for some reason not ideal after the first pit stop and I could not keep up with the pace of the leaders. Congratulations to Juan Pablo and the whole team for the great result."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "It was a fantastic result for the whole team. Juan did a great job in winning on such a difficult track. The key to success in this race is downforce and mechanical grip. I think today we showed how good the car really is and the tires worked well too. Ralf started well, had a slow middle stint and made a mistake in the Rascasse in the last stint but it didn't effect his final finishing position. However, tonight we will be celebrating with the whole team and the guys from Michelin."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This is such a great result, it feels just so good! This success, including yesterday's pole position, means further motivation for our team. We have felt for a while that we are improving, but did not manage to turn it into results. Juan drove a race without any errors and he kept those behind him under control. Ralf had a little bit of bad luck after both his pit stops when each time a car passed him by fractions of a second."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd): "I'm a bit disappointed as traffic meant that I was unable to take advantage of the fact that I was able to stay out longer than Montoya before stopping. However that is Monaco for you and at least I have increased my Championship lead. I got a bad start, which allowed Montoya to get past me and after that it was really just a matter of putting as much pressure as possible on him to try and force him into making a mistake but unfortunately he didn't."
David Coulthard (7th): "Obviously I could not run the pace I would have liked as I got stuck behind Jarno Trulli for the main part of the race and unfortunately he was on the same fuel stop strategy as I was. Otherwise considering the speed of my car and our strategy I would have had the chance to gain a much better position."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A good race for Formula One but the Monaco traffic was particularly frustrating and significantly affected Kimi's ability to win and David's opportunity to exploit the speed of his car, but that is Monte Carlo. On a positive note we are leaving Monaco having regained a narrow but important lead in the Constructors' Championship and maintained our advantage in the Drivers' rankings."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A great and very fast race. It's nice for Kimi to remain in the lead of the Drivers' Championship and for our team to regain first position in the Constructors' rankings, at a time when we will be halfway through the Championship at the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks. Congratulations to Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams and BMW on their victory."
Fernando Alonso (5th): "I think it was a quite good end to a difficult weekend for me, since I hadn't quite managed to get the maximum out of the car in practice and qualifying. My fifth place is certainly a good result and I'm glad to have scored some points for the team and to be now third in the driver's championship."
Jarno Trulli (6th): "A disappointing result for me, as I had been very competitive all weekend. I pushed hard throughout the race but I got stuck in traffic and lost quite a lot of time behind the back markers and one position in my second pit stop. It's certainly not what I had expected from this race and the three points I got are a very small consolation."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "The weekend looked very promising and we had hoped for a better result today. We feel that our level of competitiveness should have been higher: we didn't have any particular problem in the race, it's just that we needed a bit more of speed on this circuit."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Unfortunately today in the race we were not able to keep the pace of our direct competitors, so our race was quite uneventful. However, the result was even for both our drivers, after the gap shown in the previous days, and we are adding some points to our score and confirmin our fourth position in the Championship."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "The only positive thing out of this race is that we brought both cars through the chequered flag and scored some points. We thought we would be more competitive on this track and we were surprised today in the race by a much stronger performance that we expected from the Williams."
Nick Heidfeld (11th): "I had a good run to the first corner and won two positions. Things went okay until after my first pit stop, when I got stuck behind Verstappen which cost me a lot of time. Then on my third set of tires it took quite a long while to find a good balance and I suffered from understeer. But in general the car was good. However, all the top teams finished strongly so for me it was quite impossible to get into the points."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (DNF, Accident): "I simply made a mistake and went too fast into the new chicane. The car's undertray touched the curb and the front tires didn't have enough grip, so I went into the barrier. It is a shame that I had to finish the race in this way, because we were on a one-stop strategy. I live here and until the next Monaco Grand Prix I will be annoyed with myself every time I pass this place!"
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Heinz-Harald had to retire very early. That was a real shame, because he had quite a lot of fuel on board and it would certainly have been interesting to see how his strategy paid off. Nick drove a rather discreet race, but I think the strategy we chose for him was right. After his first pit stop he came out behind Verstappen and unfortunately lost contact with Fisichella and da Matta, whom he had been keeping up with very easily until then."
Giancarlo Fisichella (10th): "I am not happy with my result. I expected to score some points but we were not quick for most of the race and hardly anyone ahead of me retired. Our pace wasn't so good in the first and second stint but during the last stint, the car was much better and more consistent. I had good pace and was quick at the end but it wasn't enough."
Ralph Firman (12th): "The car was good on new tires but when we had old tires, grip was low on entry and I had mid corner understeer. I lost loads of time with the blue flags as well. Looking at where we finished, it was difficult to score points, which is a bit disappointing. I had a reasonable qualifying session and race, and I'm glad I had no accidents in my first Monaco Grand Prix. It's positive to finish but we need to try and go a bit quicker."
Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: "Everybody in the team worked hard and did a good job in Monaco. We had good reliability all weekend and the drivers didn't put a wheel wrong at this unforgiving circuit, but sadly at the moment we need to be quicker, in qualifying especially. We need to work even harder now to improve the car's performance."
Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "Everything unfolded to plan for us today and our pit stops were very good but unfortunately our plan was not sufficient to score any points,we just weren't quick enough. I think the fact that almost everybody did two stops showed we were on the right strategy, but unfortunately if the speed's not there, there is not much you can do about it in the race. I suppose it's good that we are not taking any debris home, but I would rather be taking debris and a few points!"
Mark Webber (DNF, Engine): "The team and I are obviously frustrated that our race weekend ended on lap 17. Our reliability record had been outstanding and we were certainly aiming to add some more points to our score. The engine air leak was something that could not be fixed and retirement was our only option. Despite not making it to the finish line, we have managed to build up a large data bank on the car thanks to the number of laps we have completed in the run up to the race and of course we will be looking into the engine issue on our return to the factory. The team has done a good job all weekend and we will go away with the aim of working out these issues in time for Canada and also positive that the car's pace is there and we can work on reliability."
Antonio Pizzonia (DNF, Electrical): "I am naturally disappointed to have retired from a race that should have been very different for us considering the pace and balance of the car. Although I had never raced a Formula One car around Monaco before, I have enjoyed driving the car this weekend and given how competitive we have been, it's a great shame not to have capitalized. The guys back at HQ will investigate the issue, I'm sure, and all I can do is look forward and start preparing for Canada in two weeks. Montreal is yet another new track to me and getting to the finishing line is what we must aim for. The car is competitive and we must take full advantage of the pace we have."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "A thoroughly disappointing end to what should have been a points-winning race for us. The drivers have been very happy with the balance and pace of the car all weekend and to have retired both cars in this manner is unjust given the competitiveness of the car around this circuit. We have not yet had Antonio's car returned to us and until we do, it is impossible to say what really happened. In Mark's case, however, it became quite clear early on in the race that he was suffering from an engine air leak. We called him in on lap 14, topped up the supply, changed the rear tires and expected he problem to have been cured. Not sooner had he left the pitlane though, it became clear that the problem was terminal and we had no choice but to call him back and retire. A great shame."
Jacques Villeneuve (DNF, Engine): "It's extremely frustrating that I wasn't able to finish the race again. We didn't get a very good launch start and I lost time behind Heidfeld. I suspected there was something wrong with the engine at the first pitstop. There was an engine noise change and vibration, then it gave up coming through the tunnel. Once again I'm going to have to put this weekend behind me, focus on testing and hope for better things in the next race."
David Richards, Team Principal: "The weekend started off so well with both drivers challenging for top positions on Thursday. After such a positive start, it's disappointing how things have turned out. Naturally I'm very pleased that Jenson is in such good form after his enormous crash yesterday and he is looking forward to getting back into the car as soon as possible. One has to really feel for Jacques after yet another retirement when he'd driven such a solid race. I can only hope that his luck changes for his home event in Canada in two week's time."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "Jacques drove a strong race today which was complimented by excellent work from our pit crew. As the pitstops showed, we qualified with more fuel than most of the grid and were pleased with our race pace. Unfortunately, Jacques was stuck behind da Matta for 22 laps and lost nearly 30 seconds as a result. Once he was on a free track, Jacques was able to lap within a few tenths of Barrichello. It's very disappointing that Jacques retired again after so much effort. We now have to put a difficult weekend behind us and work towards Montreal with renewed energy."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "This has been a really tough weekend but we've shown how competitive we can be both in qualifying and race trim. I'm sorry Jacques was not able to finish as he was having a good race. We don't yet know what caused the engine to stop but we will investigate everything thoroughly this week. However, we have to put it behind us now and look forward to Canada where we'll have both guys back in action again."
Justin Wilson (DNF, Fuel): "I had a good start, very similar to Jos, but then Frentzen squeezed me at the first corner and I had to back off. I then managed to get around Panis at the hairpin and found myself behind Jos again. I was running consistently in that position. Unfortunately, I locked up under braking after the tunnel, slid wide, hit the curb hard and the engine went briefly into anti-stall mode. That allowed the gap to open up a bit to the cars in front, which, in turn, allowed the 'two-stop' drivers who were exiting the pits after the first of their stops to get in front of me. I think a one-stop strategy was definitely the right one for this race, and it's a great shame for the whole team to have lost both its cars in such a short period of time today."
Jos Verstappen (DNF, Fuel): "I had a reasonably good start and passed Frentzen, and then got Panis under braking for Turn 1. After that, it was pretty difficult. Frentzen came by me on the outside at Casino, but then crashed later that lap. As the race settled down, the car got better and better, and the pit-stop strategy we had today was definitely the right way to go. Suddenly, though, as I came out of the tunnel and started braking for the following corner, the car just stopped. It's a great shame we couldn't finish the race, because the team did a great job all weekend, and particularly the mechanics, as Monaco is a very difficult place to work. Now we are off to Canada, which I think is one of the better circuits for us."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "A promising weekend turned out rather flat today with both Minardis suffering a fuel vaporisation problem that ended their race prematurely. As it turned out, with the reliability of the top four teams today, the points were not there to be had. It's still thoroughly depressing, however, to have two otherwise healthy cars parked when they could have been racing for a top-10 finish. We'll just have to put this one behind us and focus now on the next race, in Canada."
Cristiano Da Matta (9th): "We had a good strategy today and I had a clean race with a lot of clear track. I was out there pretty much on my own for the 78 laps with no traffic, which meant I didn't lose too much time. Finishing ninth behind the top four teams is a reasonable result and I think this was all we had in the car today. I didn't have any specific mechanical problems; just oversteer for most of the race and some lack of grip. Overall, things only started to come together for me from a driving point of view yesterday, and I think the team has done a good job. We need to work on our performance, but we are testing a lot and I am sure it's all going to come together soon."
Olivier Panis (13th): "The result today was extremely disappointing for me and for the whole team. We couldn't find a cure to the grip level problem we have been suffering from all weekend, so we decided to run a different strategy, stopping just once in the race, but the car was really difficult to drive. There must have been something wrong, but we don't know what. We really need to improve a lot of things in order to get better."
Ove Andersson, Team Principal: "Cristiano's result today reflected where we are in terms of competitiveness at the moment. I can't say that I am happy, but I am not entirely unhappy - ninth is a representative result for us this weekend. Olivier must have had a problem of some kind, because his car was not good at all, but this has to be checked. I have to say that the drivers performed faultlessly all weekend and I appreciate their full efforts in spite of the difficult circumstances."