JULY 20, 2003
BRITISH GP - SUNDAY - RACE NOTES
Barrichello wins chaotic British GP
Rubens Barrichello took his first victory of the season, at the British GP at Silverstone today, in confident form in his Ferrari. The Brazilian took his seventh career win in a race which saw much battling throughout, but was disrupted when a protester found his way onto Hangar Straight, running down the middle of the track as the field came by at over 200 kph.
At the start Barrichello was slow getting away from pole, and Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen scrambled past at the first corner. Within laps the safety car came out when the cockpit surrounding from David Coulthard's McLaren-Mercedes came loose and ended up in the middle of the track. This was quickly cleared and the field restarted.
Then on lap 12 the safety car was dispatched for the track invader. The order was scrambled as the whole field pitted. Montoya, Alonso and Michael Schumacher - having to wait for their team mates to pit - ended up 12th, 13th and 14th at the restart - which saw Toyota's Cristiano da Matta leading the race until Kimi Raikkonen was able to get by.
During the middle of the race, Barrichello and Montoya were able to slice their way back up through the field, while Michael Schumacher remained stuck behind first Alonso and then Jacques Villeneuve.
After the final pitstops, Barrichello was able to catch Raikkonen and execute a bold side-by-side run into Bridge corner, where the Finn had a slight bobble and ran wide, allowing the Brazilian through into the lead. Shortly after Montoya was able to get by Raikkonen as well, taking second place. Raikkonen finished third.
By the end Michael Schumacher was able to make his way back up to fourth, while David Coulthard was fifth, Jarno Trulli in the Renault was sixth, and Cristiano da Matta fell back to seventh. Jenson Button - after starting at the back of the grid - finished in the final points position in his BAR-Honda.
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - 20 JULY 2003
1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h28m37.554s
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h28m43.016s (+ 5.462s)
3. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h28m48.210s (+ 10.656s)
Q: What was your reaction to the guy who jumped out on Hangar Straight, and how did that change the shape of the race?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: First of all, I knew I had a car that was fast enough for me to pull away. I was really confident on the Bridgestone tires and thanks to the improvements that we made since last week, I was really looking good. But the only question mark was the start. There was a little bit of a problem on the warm-up lap, because, although I started very slow for the pack to be slow, when I accelerated a little bit to get some temperature on the brakes and on the tires, Jarno didn't accelerate as much, so I opened up a gap, and as far as I am concerned, this is not the way it should be. We should keep the pack very close together. So he made me slow up a lot and when I got to the grid, I waited for so long and my tires really dropped temperature and I had no grip at all when the start came. So I lost two positions and then I kept it cool. It was very difficult for the first two laps to maintain the position, but I knew it was going to be OK. When the tires started to be OK, I had good speed on the straight. It was difficult to overtake Kimi because he was quick on the straight as well. I had nothing to lose. Today was make or break.
Q: You had just set fastest lap when the guy appeared and they put out the safety car, so talk us through the stages around that and how you felt when that happened?
Barrichello: I was so concentrated, I wasn't thinking of anything else. The team did a fantastic job to bring me in, but because it was crowded in the pits, they took so long to actually let me go. So you think with these cars that it's going to be quite difficult to overtake but today there was a difference in tires, and we were doing very well, very well, so I was able to really take the advantage of my car to pass people and it was fantastic.
Q: Great passing manoeuvres and you were very quick either side of that second pit stop and that unbelievable pass with Kimi just after your pit stop.
Barrichello: I almost lost my nose because, to be honest, it was with a McLaren some time ago that I crashed into Abbey, so I was paying attention, because the guy who was on the inside protecting the line, he can brake a lot earlier than you think so I pulled away to the right at the right moment, but I almost lost my nose at that time. It was fair, but it was aggressive. We went into Bridge like it was one coming out. But it was fair, it was good.
Q: Briefly describe your emotions after winning this race so decisively?
Barrichello: For me it's a fantastic feeling because I am never down. It's something that people think, OK, Michael this, Michael that. I love to be inside a team where they work like they worked last week to make this car better and like Bridgestone to make the tires better. Of course, it is quite hard. But the last two weeks people have been saying to so many things about first lap crashing Rubens, this and that, so I hope they shut up now. I overtook a lot of people.
Q: Juan Pablo, a great drive from you. That second safety car dropped you way down in the midfield but you followed Rubens up through the field. Great racing.
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Yeah, you can see it was a stuck pit stop. I was behind Ralf when we came into the pits. I just had to wait, wait until Ralf left, so it was pretty hard. I came out of the pits and I was 13 th and Ralf was like P7 or P8, so it was pretty hard. But I managed to go by people really quick. After one lap I was two cars behind (him) and I think there was Firman, then Rubens, then Ralf, like bam, bam, bam and it was pretty good because when Rubens was fighting with somebody I was just behind so I was able to catch. When Rubens would pass, next lap I would pass, all the way to the top. The only mistake I made was when I think a Jaguar blew up on the back straight and I was on the inside on every lap so I wouldn't go on the oil and after the pit stop I thought it should be pretty good now and I braked on the oil and I just went straight. I think Kimi had the same problem when I passed him.
Q: How do you think Williams BMW compared against Ferrari today?
Montoya: They looked a bit stronger, not that much stronger. From what I remember in testing and long runs they were a lot stronger. I was pretty pleased with my pace. I lost quite a bit of time with my mistake but apart from that he was only a couple of tenths quicker than me, that was all.
Q: Kimi, a spectacular race from you as well. How did you feel in those opening laps? It looked as if you could pass Jarno if you had the opportunity.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Um, yeah. I was just maybe a little bit quicker at the beginning of the race but I was not able to get close enough on the back straight to try to overtake him. Then I started to lose the rear grip a little bit and Rubens was so much stronger out of Club that I wasn't able to hold him off. Then came the safety car, and after the re-start I got a really good re-start and overtook Trulli and got many places after that.
Q: At the second stop you actually stopped four laps earlier than Rubens. Was that because of the tire situation or was that always planned?
Raikkonen: I don't know really, because all the plans went a bit different when the safety car came out and we decided to stop. I was just going as long they're going to tell me to come in but it worked out well. The first few laps were OK and then I dropped the rear tires a little bit again and it was difficult.
Q: Just talk us through that incident at Bridge from your point of view?
Raikkonen: I knew that because he had overtaken me before after Club corner into the next braking and I knew that he had much better traction out of that long right-hander and I tried to hold him off and I was able to for two corners but then he was beside me in the Bridge and I just tried to go around the outside but got a little bit on the dirty track and ran slightly wide and he got past.
Q: And after that, the tires or the grip went away?
Raikkonen: Yeah. At the end of the race, the tires were OK again but it took so many laps to come back that it was difficult and then I don't really know, maybe it was oil or something else and braking into corner seven, after the back straight, I touched the brakes and just lost the rear completely and I was quite lucky to get back on the circuit.
Q: Rubens, that seemed to be hard work but entertaining as well?
Barrichello: When it's hard work, it's entertaining, isn't it. You would rather win a race like that than being on pole and being in front the whole time. Of course, I wish I'd had a race like that, it would have been much easier. But having said that, I had a great race today. It was unbelievable and it was a very good choice of tires. Bridgestone did a phenomenal job and I think the test that I did last week improved so many things for us. We are on the right route to make the car even better. I'm delighted. I had a car that I was able to overtake with. I was able to be aggressive as always. In the last races, like Canada , I lost my nose on the first lap, so people said something, then I spun on the first lap in Magny-Cours, but I am a trier, I am someone who is not going to be behind and be happy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Today I had so many chances to overtake and I was quite happy that I could make it.
Q: Exactly, and it all seemed to be happening going into Abbey, how did you work all that out?
Barrichello: It was something that? it's a work that we have inside the team. The guys in my team, not just the top guys that we know about, but Gabriele, Rudi, Zaccaria, we put a really good car together in terms of traction control, in terms of everything, and the car had phenomenal traction coming out of Club, the way I always dream of. And the tires did behave really well for the whole race. There was a little bit of a time where there was a small drop and following people closely was quite difficult because obviously you put a lot of temperature on the tires at that time so you could spin or not. It's something that you have to be careful of. But the car behaved fantastically and, as I was saying, the overtaking was possible because the time that I had to look after the tires I did, and when I had to be aggressive it was good. I was in a good condition when I came by Kimi the last time because I had newer tires, which were doing very well at that time. So then it was looking fantastic.
Q: What happened at the start?
Barrichello: As I mentioned in the other room, I think that the warm-up lap onto the grid was too slow, it was slower than any other time before and I knew that we had to go slow to keep the pack together. But at some point, as far as I'm concerned, you have to follow the leader and I think Jarno dropped back too far and when he came onto the grid the pack wasn't close together. He accelerated but the pack was too far away and my temperatures were really down. So I had no grip whatsoever and he knew he could have a good start from his car. But I think we should pay attention to that, because I think the group has to go as fast as the guy in front goes.
Q: Did they give you a good reception at the end?
Barrichello: Yeah, as always. I'm someone who believes and yesterday, started second in qualifying was a difficult moment because you never know if the track is going to improve or is going to get worse, but pole position was definitely halfway to get a victory today.
Q: And your emotions on the rostrum?
Barrichello: It's always very, very hard to listen to the Brazilian anthem and not cry. I tell you, it's unbelievable. It's something that my father and my family and everyone comes to my mind and you know I'm a guy who lost a lot of emotions to keep him on the track and to do it right and when I'm driving, I'm not thinking of anything else. But when I'm on the podium in first place I still remember my father selling the car for me to be able to go to races, so it's just emotions going on.
Q: Juan Pablo, again you did a lot of overtaking, particularly after the second safety car period. Was the car excellent today?
Montoya: Yeah, it was really good. As I said yesterday, I don't know what happened in qualifying, where we lost it, because the car was very difficult to drive. But we knew that from the morning the car was very competitive in the long runs. It was quite difficult because it was a tight pit stop and I was behind Ralf so I had to wait quite a long time. I came out of the pits in P13. It wasn't pretty, you know, and from then on I had to pass, pass, pass. It was good because Rubens was caught behind Ralf for a couple of laps and when I got to them then Rubens managed to go by Ralf, I went by Ralf, and we had quite a similar pace. He was slightly quicker but not much quicker than me. He made up ground when I made the mistake down in Abbey. I was always taking, after the blow-up engine, I was taking the inside line and after about ten laps I thought it has got to be pretty clean now. I went on it and the first time I braked I went straight and I had to go to the inside again.
Q: So are you pretty happy with second?
Montoya: Oh, it's great. Rubens is behind me in the championship and he only took two points away from me and I am taking points from the guys in front. That is fantastic.
Q: So you are happy with that?
Montoya: Hah, oh yeah!
Q: Kimi, I guess you are a little frustrated because it could have been second.
Raikkonen: Yeah, I don't really know what happened at that moment. I just went normally as always in the corner and touched the brake and lost the rear completely and ran wide. I lost one place but, okay, it was still lucky to get back on the circuit and score more points than Michael.
Q: When Rubens was behind you the second time having already overtaken you once at Abbey, what were your thoughts then?
Barrichello: I knew where he was strong, out of Club or whatever you call the long right-hander, he just had much better traction than I had and I tried to keep him behind and let him go outside but the next corner he came a bit tight because I saw that he was inside and I just tried to keep him there and give him enough space and try to go around. But it was a bit too slippery and I just ran a little bit wide and lost the first place but he was just too quick today and I wasn't able to hold him off.
Q: You were right behind Cristiano for one stint. How quick was he?
Raikkonen: He was pretty quick on that point but he was on less fuel and he wasn't really holding me off too much and I was not able to overtake him, but all the rest before him I was able to overtake quite easily and got quite a big lead at that point but unfortunately it wasn't enough today.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Did any of you guys see the crazy guy running on the track and what did your team tell you on the radio?
Montoya: I was going on the straight, I was drafting, I think, Michael and I moved a little bit to the left and when I saw this guy coming across, oofh, I was going to, you know, the first thing that came into my head was I was going to lift and lift my hand, but I said no, nobody is going to lift so I just went straight on the radio and said, you know, there is a guy running around on the track! Hah!
Barrichello: If I tell you I never saw him would you believe me? I just saw that somebody said ?safety car, safety, car' and I was so concentrated I never saw anyone, to be honest. So it is the second race I win with somebody going on the racetrack. They are going to say it was a Brazilian for sure, and I still never saw him.
Raikkonen: Yeah, I saw him, but he just jumped over the fence and started running to the circuit but I passed him at that point.
Q: Rubens, I want to understand why the second pitstop of Michael was so long because he stopped behind you?could you see that?
Barrichello: You are asking me? How would I know? How would I know? I just got out of the car, did an interview in the room there, came straight up here. How would I know? I checked now and Michael was fourth. That is the first thing I know from him.
Montoya: It was the same as me. He had a fast pit stop and as Ralf came out in front Rubens, I came out in front of Michael. That was all.
Q: Kimi, do you think the pace you had today was the maximum for the car. Was it perfect today?
Raikkonen: For sure I would have gone quicker if I had been able to but that was what I got out of the car today. With the new tires it is really good and once the tires get quite old it was good, they came back, but in the middle point I was suffering a bit with the rear tires and I was not able to go so quickly. But, you know, it is still points more than the guy in front of me in the championship and one point can make a big difference.
Q: Juan, you are up to third in the championship. How do you rate your chances?
Montoya: Well, probably better than last weekend but, you know, anything can happen. If the next race I win and Michael DNFs I am four points behind and if he wins and I DNF he is 24 ahead, so, I don't know. Just wait and see what happens.
Q: Rubens, now the world championship is open for you.
Barrichello: The championship is always open. You know, now, let me put it this way, if I say okay, yeah, I am looking good for the championship and so on, people are going to start to say oh, Rubens wants to beat Michael in this and this. I don't want that to happen. I just want to enjoy myself today. I am so proud of what the team has done into this weekend and I am proud of myself to be honest. The last two races have been quite difficult and Friday has been quite difficult as well. To come back from the spin to win today is fantastic, so just think of today. I knew I had to do quite well to come out of today with 49 points. That is all I know, the rest is the rest.
Q: We have all laughed about the guy coming onto the track but it is a pretty serious safety issue as well. Do you think that is something the Silverstone authorities have to look at to improve security here?
Barrichello: In a way, if I may say, I am sorry that that happened, even though I didn't know it was happening. I think Silverstone has come into a lot of blame here, people have been saying a lot of things, and I think it is a lot safer now, in terms of traffic jams, in terms of whatever. It is just a better situation than any other time. I love the track. I think it can be safer always but I think it is a really good racing track. Becketts for me is phenomenal, it is one of the best corners and, if it is not, after Eau Rouge in Spa, it could be the best one. So with this happening it might be under a lot of situation but I hope it will be okay because I think we should be coming back here. It was good racing today anyway.
Montoya: It was probably one of the best races of the year for the spectators and everything if you really think about it. For me it was so much fun today. I really did enjoy myself.
Raikkonen: I think so it can happen anywhere. Any circuit, always some idiot can jump over the fence and run on the circuit. It has just happened here, it has happened in Germany . I wouldn't say they should blame Silverstone but it just happens there was just a guy who decided to do it just right today and it was bad luck.
Q: Rubens, you talked about the things that happened in the last two or three races and you had setbacks on Friday. Do you feel you respond well to that sort of thing?
Barrichello: I think we have talked about it so many other times. I think I have gone through bad periods in my career but I have learned from it. When I started my career with Stewart I definitely was a changed man so we all have bad times in our lives. We just have to believe in ourselves. The other day there was a Brazilian asking me: ?So, How are you going to respond to people being critical to you?' I don't have to respond. I have to believe in myself and it is what I take to bed that counts. I have to respond to my wife and to the guys who pay me. That is all. And that is why I believe so much in my talent and when the time is right you have to grab it with both hands, the way I did today.
Q: Kimi, with five races left do you still think you can win the championship given the scoring system doesn't help?
Raikkonen: Yeah, it is still open. We still have a good chance and the seven points now is one less than before this race and you never know what happens in the races and it can turn around completely very quickly in the next race. We are pushing hard as a team and we are serious and we will see if we can manage, but we do our best and hopefully we can get it back before the end of the season.
Q: Rubens, ho w does this victory compare to your victories in the past?
Barrichello: Er, the most recent one is always the best one. Hockenheim is going to be unbeatable because of the way it was. Monza last year was quite good but I think this one, with the overtaking. And as I said, I think I had a car to win the race today since the very beginning of the race but through so many other points I did not manage to be in front at the first corner so it was much more difficult but at the end much more pleasing, so it ranks highly.
Rubens Barrichello (1st): "This is a fantastic feeling. I came in for a lot of criticism after Canada and France and I feel this performance answers my critics. The race was hard work but entertaining. I had a great car today, the result of all the work we have done and the Bridgestones were phenomenal. My engineers did a great job to give me such a good car so that I could attack and overtake. I lost two places at the start because I had to wait a long time for Trulli to come to the grid and my tires lost temperature and had no grip. But I knew I would be okay once the tires came to temperature. My passing move on Kimi was very close and I almost lost my nose. It was an aggressive but fair fight.The team is now working in the right direction to make our car even better and the championship is always open. I always leave my emotions behind when I get into the race car, but it is impossible for me not to want to cry when I hear the Brazilian anthem on the podium. It makes me think of my family and my father who sold his car so I could start racing. Your last win is always your best and this once certainly ranks highly."
Michael Schumacher (4th): "It was an interesting and very busy race. To be honest, it was difficult to have an overview of what happened from the cockpit. Waiting in pit lane behind Rubens for the first pit stop meant we both lost a bit of time and we lost some more as the mechanics had to wait for a gap in the traffic to let Rubens out. But it was definitely the right decision to come in and wait rather than do another lap. Rubens drove a perfect race with some outstanding passing moves to fight his way through the field. He deserves the victory and I am happy for him. As for myself, fourth is not too bad considering what happened and in terms of the championship, my lead over Kimi has only been reduced by one point."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It was a thrilling race! After a man ran onto the track on lap eleven, which forced us to bring both cars in to the pits together on the following lap, we found ourselves with Rubens eighth and Michael fifteenth. Both our drivers drove brilliantly and thanks to a great performance level from our engine, chassis and Bridgestone tire package, they staged an exceptional climb through the field.Rubens has been quick all weekend, with Friday qualifying his only difficult moment. I am very happy for him. Thanks to his fourth place, Michael has limited the damage in the Drivers' classification and along with his team-mate's ten points the team has extended its lead in the Constructors'. This was a great result which shows how well Ferrari reacted, along with its technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell and how much work was done after a few difficult races. We know the road ahead is still very long and the season is very closely contested. We will do all we can to maintain our lead in both championships."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "An exceptional race! Today showed that overtaking is currently possible in Formula 1. It was incredible. We had a slightly difficult double pit stop shortly after the start, from which we did not emerge in particularly good shape, especially with Michael. Both drivers kept a cool head and started moving up the order, with a great performance. Rubens has been very competitive all weekend, as he was here in the test after the Canadian Grand Prix. We had a few difficulties in the last few races, but today, along with Bridgestone, we delivered a strong response. The rest of the season will be difficult, but we have shown what we can do and that we are capable of beating the opposition."
Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd): "This was the most exciting race of the year, and I really enjoyed it. I was pleased with the pace we showed today as we were able to keep up with the Ferraris. The main difficulty I had during the race was when the safety car came out for the second time, and after pitting I found myself back in p13. But I was able to catch up quickly, and the fact that I was just behind Rubens made it even easier as he was helping to clear traffic for me. My car was strong and I cannot be anything but happy as I managed to move up from thirteenth to second at the finish. These points will certainly help for both Championships."
Ralf Schumacher (9th): "This was obviously not what I expected from this race, and the result was obviously disappointing. The extra stop cost me a decent finish, and after it had happened, the race was more or less over for me. It was just bad luck. So what is important is to forget this race as quickly as possible to concentrate on my home race in Hockenheim."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "Juan did a very good job today and Ralf would have been further up, but he sustained some damage to the bodywork which required an extra stop to rectify. In summary we have had a good strategy which we adapted around the events of the race. The first time the safety car came out was to our advantage, but the second safety car came out too early for us and as a consequence we had to change our pit stop strategy. But the pit stops worked well and the team did a good job. We are now looking forward to Hockenheim and we believe we can be strong there as well."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We witnessed a very dangerous situation today when a person ran onto the track during the race, but fortunately no-one was hurt. Juan Pablo had a very god performance today, driving from 7th to 2nd and making the most of the circumstances. Ralf's race was good until a guidevane was torn off and blocked the airflow. This caused the water temperature to rise and Ralf had to undertake an additional stop to remove the debris. Without this incident, Ralf would have also been at the front."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "The most important thing is that we managed to close the gap in the Drivers' World Championship by one point. I made a good start to take second and was able to put pressure on Trulli. I saw the weird guy climbing over the high fence but had already passed when he actually went on to the track. I probably could have finished second, but halfway through my final stint I was really struggling with the balance on my last set of tires and subsequently lost a lot of time. To make matters worse I lost the rear momentarily braking at Stowe which allowed Montoya to get past. At the end of the day you never know, later in the season the one point we scored today might prove crucial."
David Coulthard (5th): "Considering my start position we can be pleased with fifth. Obviously an unusual race with this lunatic on the track, but the safety car was deployed quickly. I was able to gain a couple of positions at the start, but things were looking difficult when my head restraint fixings broke. I had to come into the pits at which point the team also changed the strategy. The balance of the car became better during the race so I was able to do some really quick laps at the end, which ultimately helped me to overtake Jarno and claim fifth."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A great race for the TV viewers and spectators alike. Inevitably there will be criticism as a result of one fanatic's actions, but this sort of thing has happened before in other countries and even in other sports. Nevertheless the safety car deployment is a normal occurrence in modern Grand Prix racing, and I feel that the team responded well to that plus the other challenges of this race and our strategy helped the drivers' achieve their point finishes. Kimi's race was unfortunately handicapped by the performance of his third set of tires whilst David's starting position certainly made things difficult. That said they both drove outstanding races."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This was a great race which saw Kimi keeping his Championship hopes alive by finishing ahead of his main competitors. David drove a strong race and coming into our home Grand Prix at Hockenheim, the World Championship is as exciting and open as it has not been for a long time."
Jarno Trulli (6th): "Mixed feelings for me at the end of this race: on the positive side, I scored three more points, but it's a disappointing result given where I qualified. The car was perfect at the start of the race, and I was pulling away from Raikkonen, but both safety car periods cost me. After my first stop, the car's handling changed, and I lost grip all the way round the circuit. I was pushing all the way through the race, and had to fight hard to defend my position: it was right on the limit a few items, but always fair. Overall, I am not sure whether to be satisfied or disappointed."
Fernando Alonso (DNF, Gearbox): "I was unfortunate not to complete the race, because I think I would have finished in a strong position. The car was handling well, and I felt I made the right tire choice. At my second stop, the idle speed of the engine was very low, and it stalled. The mechanics pushed me to get the car going again, and then I had to drive without traction control: it was a little uncomfortable, but I was quite quick even so."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This was a race in which being able to defend one's position was essential, given the number of overtaking manoeuvres we witnessed. The start of the race was in line with our expectations, but was disrupted by some unusual incidents which hurt us, and even though we go home with more points, we can only be disappointed after qualifying so well."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "A very disappointing end to a competitive weekend. The two safety car incidents ruined our race: Jarno was pulling away from the cars behind and, when he was in the lead, things were trouble-free. As soon as he fell back into traffic, though, his lack of straight-line speed hurt him and he lost places. Fernando lost out by coming into the pits second at his first stop, and thus having to queue. He was driving well to climb back up the field when his engine stalled at the second stop. The car suffered a major electrical problem, and Fernando had to retire when the gearbox would no longer change gear."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (12th): "I cannot say what happened at the start. All I know is that luckily I could stagger off the line. We need to analyse the data. Later I was able to make up some places and I wanted to come into the pits during the first safety car period, but we decided I should stay out. When the safety car was deployed the second time I came into the pits right behind Nick, and lost time. This race was definitely packed with excitement, with the spectator running on to track, Fisichella going off the road right in front of me, and finally Panis nearly hitting me as he came out of the pits."
Nick Heidfeld (17th): "The race was very disappointing, even though I made a good start that won me some positions. When the safety car came out the second time because of the spectator on the track we decided that I should come into the pits earlier than scheduled. Then I had a flat right front tire and had to pit again, so Fisichella passed me. That time the team filled the tank to the brim, which had enabled me to make it to the end. But it also made the car's balance difficult, and at the same time I was told to save fuel so I couldn't drive at maximum speed. Then the engineers warned me that the front right tire pressure was too low, so I was forced to make a third stop."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "I believe that we could have retrieved something from our difficult initial situation. The cars performed well, particularly Heinz-Harald's. The strategies were optimal as well, but the race was packed with incidents for both drivers. Heinz-Harald was not able to start well, most probably due to a problem in the launch system which must await analysis. He then had to chase up from the back. But he was able to attack Panis in the last third of the race. Nick was able to gain some positions before he had to come into the pits because of a flat right front tire, and after this extra stop he had no further influence on the race result."
Ralph Firman (13th): "The team made a really good call with the first pit stop and we're were up there in points positions for a while. Obviously it was a shame not to score any at the end but we need to be a bit quicker. The car had oversteer during the second stint but it was much better and very consistent for the last stint. All in all, it was quite a good first British Grand Prix so I'm pretty happy."
Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Rear Suspension): "The race wasn't too bad today. I was up there fighting, the pace wasn't bad, the car balance felt good, and we had slightly better grip, although we still need more. I had to retire when something broke, I think the right rear suspension failed. I'm disappointed that it's another race I haven't finished due to reliability issues but it's positive that we were better with our pace."
Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "I think that was a good race for punters and TV - it was a spectacle. Our only drama was when Giancarlo had a right rear suspension failure - it was a low mileage component so we'll have to look into why it failed. We tried everything we could with the safety car to help our position, but having taken advantage of the first time it came out, the second time probably didn't do any good for Ralph, and it equalised itself out between all the cars. We were running all right in the race when we got into it and if we had qualified a bit better, we may have been able to get some points. So we should take some encouragement and keep working at it."
Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: "It should be very satisfying for Ralph to finish with a good drive in his first home Grand Prix. It was a slightly more encouraging race for us than the last few which gives a bit more motivation with our push to improve performance. And well done, Rubens."
Mark Webber (14th): "That was my toughest weekend and race of the season so far. The afternoon was very long as we battled against debris and spectators on the track. I got caught up behind some traffic after my first stop and that did not help my strategy. However even with all that in mind, I am pleased to have finished and very pleased not to have killed someone in the process. We have certainly learnt a lot this weekend and I know that we take a lot of data away with us this weekend that we can work on over the next two weeks in the run-up to the next round. Our reliability had gone from strength to strength and despite my points scoring coming to an end I am positive about the next five races and I am looking forward to scooping up some points that may come our way over the next few weekends."
Antonio Pizzonia (DNF, Engine): "I am disappointed not to have finished the race, particularly because I had started in tenth position and I was in a good place for chasing for points. My car had been suffering from a few issues over the weekend and I was actually racing in my T-Car. The team had done a good job to pull this together and the balance was good. However, I had a steering wheel issue early on that we had to change and then a small chassis issue that did not help my cause. Despite those I carried on and was enjoying the race. My pace was competitive until lap 33 when I suffered an engine issue that was fatal to my race. We are still working on what the reason behind this was, but realistically we cannot confirm the cause of until we have the cars back. I go to Hockenheim having learnt a lot from our home race."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "We knew that we had a tough race ahead of us and within the first fifteen laps we had had two safety cars deployed and knew that our race-strategy had been compromised. Both drivers drove a strong race despite suffering some issues, amongst which was Antonio having to change his steering wheel in his first pitstop. The team did a good job and Antonio continued to drive a strong race until lap 33 when he had an engine issue that ended his race. Until we get the car back we cannot confirm the reasons behind this, but of course we will have a full investigation back at the factory. Mark was also running a strong race, despite being clearly shocked by coming across a spectator on lap 11! I am very pleased that no-one was injured. Overall, after all the hard work that the team has put in for their home race it is disappointing not to reward the team or the fans. However, with this in mind we have collected a good amount of data over the weekend and we will go to Hockenheim with this in our back pockets. The true and accurate pace and performance of the car was not really given the opportunity to be showcased this weekend."
Jenson Button (8th): "That was a lot of fun! It was always going to be hard from the back but I don't think we could have done any better than that - it was one of the best performances of my career. I had nothing to lose so I went for it from the start. I made up five places on the first lap so I knew I had a car I could fight with. I was starting to work my way through the field when we had to pit under the safety car after the spectator ran on to the track, and I had to queue for a short time behind Jacques. I dropped back down to 18th and had to start all over again which was massively frustrating! I got a bit of oversteer but it went away, the tires settled down and the balance was good. The car felt great. I had a lot of fun carving my way through the field and it was a great feeling for Jacques and I to be fighting with Michael. I got a good second stop to get back on track ahead of Jacques, then I was really starting to reel in Alonso. With him out of the race I was able to start chasing da Matta but in the end we just ran out of laps. It was a really special race for me today and I'm pleased that we have a point at the end of it because the team have worked really hard to get the car back up there."
Jacques Villeneuve (10th): "Today has been disappointing after the good Saturday we had. The new car is definitely an improvement and the engine worked well from beginning to end, but the car didn't work as well in race trim today which is strange because it's usually the other way round. We fought as hard as we could but today the safety car didn't work in our favor. I wasn't able to finish in the points but at least the team got a Championship point which is very important."
David Richards, Team Principal: "This afternoon I think that Jenson has demonstrated the full scale of his talent. He drove an aggressive but extremely mature race, pushing all the way, and that one point may well count for a lot at the end of the season. Jacques didn?t manage to find the same balance and I am sure the end result is a disappointment for him. Honda did a great job with the engine and the new aero package has given us a real boost. The work the guys did in the pitstops was second to none and that made all the difference in getting that valuable point, so overall the team should be very pleased with their performance."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "The cars ran very well this weekend with the new aero kit and Honda engine upgrade, so it is good to leave with a point and finish both cars after such an exciting and eventful race. Jenson drove a very impressive race to recover eighth place after starting from the back of the grid, helped by an excellent second stint and sharp work from the pit crew. By contrast to his qualifying performance, Jacques found his race balance elusive but rallied with a string of impressive laps in the closing stages and in fact set a quicker fastest lap than Jenson. This has been a good performance step forward and reinforces our determination to keep improving the car throughout the rest of the season."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Both our guys drove really well today and we showed that we've made steps to increase our competitiveness. Jenson scored a point having started from the back of the grid - we must carry that determination into the final races of the year."
Jos Verstappen (15th): "It was a very difficult race with little grip available, but it was good we finished. That was positive, as was the fact my neck held up. The pit stops were good - the team brought me in at the right times, and the guys did a nice job. All in all, it has been a bit of a frustrating weekend, but now we concentrate on the next race, at Hockenheim."
Justin Wilson (16th): "It was quite a tough race, and although it was a shame we weren't close enough to battle with any of the other drivers at the start, it was nice to pass one or two people. Unfortunately, the auto upshift failed to work coming out of Club, and Firman was able to get by. Also on that opening lap, Jos drifted wide at one point and hit my front wing. The damage meant the car understeered until the guys were able to change the nose at the first pit stop. After that, I just pushed as hard as I could with the aim of getting the car to the finish. The other thing that was really noticeable out there today was how windy it was ? there were about 10 large flags I could see around the circuit, and they were all blowing in different directions every lap. It meant the car would suddenly lose downforce when you weren't expecting it, which was a bit disconcerting. Despite the problems, though, it was nice to finish ahead of a Sauber today."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "In what was an action-packed British Grand Prix with incredible levels of reliability from the cars, the European Minardis of Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson completed the race in 15th and 16th positions. Despite those finishing positions, though, we found we were able to fight with the Saubers and Jordans, and are happy that both cars demonstrated excellent reliability, allowing us see the chequered flag again this afternoon."
Cristiano Da Matta (7th): "I thoroughly enjoyed that race and I was quite happy with the way things went for us. Seventh place is a nice reward for our performance this weekend. We had a good strategy and good pit stops, using the first safety car period to come in for fuel, which put me in the lead at that time and Olivier second. I'm very used to leading races, but this was the first time in F1, which is a special feeling. I knew it wouldn't last long, so I enjoyed it while I could and pushed hard to build up as much time advantage as possible. We have been gradually improving over the past few races and we are setting ourselves up to be in a strong position for the rest of this season, but more importantly for 2004."
Olivier Panis (11th): "We opted for a three-stop strategy today and I think we achieved the best we could. When the safety car was sent out for the first time, the team reacted well to call both cars in for fuel, resulting in Cristiano and myself being in first and second positions for a while, which was fantastic for the team to see. We are improving the car race-by-race, and we proved this weekend that we can be competitive throughout qualifying and the race. Overall, it has been an extremely positive weekend for the team."
Ove Andersson, Team Principal: "It is a fantastic to finish seventh and to get another two points, taking our tally to seven. This result is important for our progression in the championship and encouragingly reflects where we are in terms of our competitiveness at the moment. We actually led the race for some 18 laps - almost one-third race distance - and it was incredible to see Toyota in first and second for a while early in the grand prix. Cristiano did a brilliant job throughout the race, as did Olivier, who kept third place for as long as Cristiano was leading. The team performed magnificently and made sure our pit stops were once again first class, which contributed as much to these two points as anything else."