Montoya dominates German GP

Juan Pablo Montoya, German GP 2003

Juan Pablo Montoya, German GP 2003 

 ¬© The Cahier Archive

Juan Pablo Montoya won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in dominating fashion in his Williams-BMW - with a margin of over a minute to second place. A first corner accident took out six cars, including Ralf Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen.

After the safety car period to clean up the crash, Montoya ran away from the field - most of the race lapping one to two seconds faster than his rivals. The Colombian opted for a three-stop strategy, while most others were on a two-stopper.

Michael Schumacher fought his way from sixth on the grid all the way up to second in the closing laps in his Ferrari - but with three laps remaining he suffered a punctured right-rear tire, and dropped back to seventh place.

The win jumps Montoya up to second place in the Drivers Championship - six points behind Schumacher, while Williams-BMW has now closed to two points behind Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship with four races left to run.

After starting in tenth place David Coulthard avoided all the first lap action and was running in fifth behind the two Renaults and Schumacher. At his second stop Coulthard jumped ahead of Alonso. In the closing laps Trulli was second with Schumacher and Coulthard close on his tail. First Schumacher, then Coulthard managed to get pas the Italian - whose tires seemed to be going off. When Schumacher suffered a puncture, Coulthard was promoted to second in his McLaren-Mercedes with Jarno Trulli finishing third in his Renault.

Trulli's team mate Fernando Alonso finished right on his heals in fourth place. Fifth and sixth went to the two Toyotas of Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta - Michelins runners sweeping the first six positions.

Jenson Button, for the second straight race, finished in the final points paying position in eighth.





1. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h28m48.769s
2. David COULTHARD ( McLAREN ), 1h29m54.228s (+ 65.459s)
3. Jarno TRULLI (RENAULT), 1h29m57.829s (+ 69.060s)


Q: Juan, it looked like a perfect day for you.

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Yeah. I think it went really well, the whole weekend went really well from Friday. Ralf was ahead of me on Friday but we made a different tire choice and it seemed to pay for the rest of the weekend. We got a lot more work than yesterday and today the car was fantastic all day. We got a great start and just went from there. I don't know what happened to Ralf at the start, he may even have touched with somebody but from then I just pushed, pushed and I was amazed I couldn't pull away in the first few laps, but then I kept doing the same pace and they seemed to drop away. So I managed to get a bit more out of the car and make a faster lap.

Q: Everything perfect mechanically with the car?

Montoya: I had a bit of an issue about lap 15 or something where I lost a bit of top speed but it wasn't a big issue, it just stayed like that all day, and even like that, we had enough pace to pull away.

Q: Jarno's not with us at the moment; obviously it's a very very hot day, what were the conditions like from your point of view?

Montoya: For me it wasn't that bad. Physically I was pretty good all day. For me it was a completely different race than for Jarno . For me it was just keeping the pace all day long, trying not to make a mistake all day long, trying not to make a mistake whereas Jarno had pressure all day.

Q: You were on a three stop strategy, the guys behind were on a two stopper; are you surprised now the way it turned out?

Montoya: Yes and no. I think from our point of view three was the best way to go and I ended up about a minute in front of the second guy, so it seems to work.

Q: David, great job today from tenth on the grid. First of all, did you see anything of that first corner accident?

David COULTHARD: Well, mostly I saw it on the big screen. It was being replayed while we were behind the safety car. From what I could see, it looked like Kimi was on the outside and there were some cars moving around, jockeying for position, they probably didn't see each other and it caused an incident.

Q: You got up to sixth as a result of that, then had a very very long second stint †which enabled you to get in front of Alonso and then really be in touch with Trulli and Michael; take us on from there?

Coulthard: As you say, a long middle stint. I was struggling a little bit at the beginning of the stint because? my car when I pitted was really well balanced and I thought I was in for a really strong afternoon. After the pit stop, I picked up quite a bit of understeer and it took a good ten laps or so for that to dial out and that was the same on the third set, so that it made it quite difficult to carry the pace behind other cars that I could carry when I was alone. Obviously I was trying to size up Michael a lot to overtake when he had the manoeuvre on Jarno and then I managed to pass him as well. I overcooked a little bit on the brakes but then managed to get him at the next corner.

Q: Where were you quicker than Michael in the later stages of the race?

Coulthard: It was surprising, actually because it was inconsistent around the track. I tended to be much better on the brakes into the hairpin and much better into turn eight, which is in front of the Mercedes-Benz grandstand. He was very good into the complex and that made it very difficult to be close to him as I started the lap to try and set him up for the hairpins. I thought it would take a long time to get into a position to pass him.

Q: It looked as though you more or less did the same manoeuvre as Michael on Jarno running wide out of the hairpin; was that a deliberate policy to try and do the same thing?

Coulthard: No, I just felt confident that I could brake just a bit shy of the hundred yard board. As it happens, because I followed him a little bit for the slipsteam, I think I picked up some dirt on the tires, so I overshot slightly and then obviously he came along and held his line which didn't really let me get back onto the circuit, but he was on dirty tires when he went into turn eight and he ran wide and I had better traction.

Q: You've had a lot of trouble this weekend in the build-up to the race and also, it appears, quite a lot of pressure from outside sources. Describe your feelings now after a race like that?

Coulthard: Well, obviously delighted to be back on the podium. It's been since Melbourne . It's obviously been a difficult season for me with having difficulty getting the car in the right position for qualifying. My race pace in every other session has been good and obviously that's the key for me having future success.

Q: Juan Pablo, the championship's looking pretty close now. You're in a pretty clear second place and Michael's certainly in touch.

Montoya: Yeah, I think things have come a long way now from where we were before Monaco but there are still four races to go and anything can happen, but we're definitely in a better position than we were in the beginning of the year and I think it's very important just to keep scoring points, even if you can't win. You've got to try to be second in all the races, because you never know when somebody's going to go out. Look at Michael today. He looked like a very strong second and with five laps to go he's only seventh. So anything can go wrong for anybody.


Q: Juan Pablo, fantastic performance, you absolutely dominated that race.

Montoya: Yeah, I think if Ralf hadn't gone out at the first corner it would have been a bit harder race than that. But I think the team would have dominated the race anyway. Just everything went really well. I had a minor glitch with a limiter in the car but apart from that everything went really well.

Q: During the opening stages you were just easing away, but later you were much much faster than everybody else?

Montoya: I couldn't believe it. They told me to back off, back off and I was still pulling away! I could do a really hard lap, a low 1m 15s and an easy lap, a 1m 15.8s and stuff like that. I think other people were running around 1m 17s. I couldn't believe it.

Q: You also looked so cool afterwards; what sort of cooling was in the car?

Montoya: Yeah. I've been working out quite hard over the last few races with a new trainer I've got and it seems to be paying off.

Q: But did you have cooling or was it just normal Colombian weather?

Montoya: No. You know Bogota's not that hot. Bogota's only about 18 degrees. I don't know. I've been living outside Colombia for I don't know how many years. In Monaco it was the same thing, I was pretty cool afterwards.

Q: Was there any problem with concentration? You didn't have anybody to race?

Montoya: Not really. I just paced myself. I knew what time I had to do in every sector and I have a screen and I just bang, bang, bang just kept them coming. Tried to be as consistent as possible and if you were slow in one, just push a bit more. If you're too quick, back off a little bit and just keep the pace coming.

Q: Are you allowing yourself to have a little think about the championship at this stage?

Montoya: No. I think it's turning out very good at the moment. There are still four races to go. As I said yesterday, anything can go wrong to Michael, to anybody and the championship could turn. You know I'm only six points behind him and anything can happen. We've still got to score good points in the next four races.

Q: David, from where you were starting on the grid, second place must have looked a long way away, so it must be fantastic to finish second.

Coulthard: Yeah, obviously assisted by the incident at the first corner which unfortunately for the team took out Kimi but nonetheless my race pace was strong, obviously two stopping like the others around me and then I didn't suffer the blistering that Jarno had at the end, and obviously Michael was struggling with his tire, which probably led to his puncture so I was able to keep pushing.

Q: You made up a lot of places on the first lap, not just because of the retirements. You must have overtaken a few as well?

Coulthard: Well, actually in trying to overtake Michael before the safety car lap I lost a place to Mark and then I had to win that back again and then obviously overtake the Toyotas and other cars like that. But then it was pretty quiet for the middle part of the race, I was just racing against the clock to try and make sure I could get out ahead of Fernando and obviously try and get in amongst where Michael and Jarno were.

Q: How did you see the overtaking manoeuvre with Jarno?

Coulthard: Well, it was pretty much the same as when Michael overtook him. He defended the inside, so it pushes you to the outside. I tried to just brake at the same point I had braked at the lap before but I think I had a little dust on my tires so I overshot slightly and then obviously we had to battle coming out of the corner. He held his line, which kept me a little bit half on the track, half on the grass, but then he ran wide at the next corner and the manoeuvre was over.

Q: How much were you able to have a go at Michael when he was just ahead of you?

Coulthard: Yeah. I was quicker over the lap than Michael but he was conveniently quick where it mattered for being able to overtake, which was out of the last corner onto the start/finish straight, which gave him the run through turn one and also turn two, but he was very slow at the hairpin and turn eight and in the complex, but there was very little I could do there.

Q: And you looked a little more red-faced than Juan Pablo at the end; was it exhausting out there?

Coulthard: You're not really aware of it being exhausting when you're doing the race but when you stop, you suddenly don't have something to concentrate on then. Clearly it's hot and when you're in the middle of a battle it's a different sort of pressure than when you're leading races. You know, that's why I think you have to work a little bit harder but the best place to be is at the front, no question!

Q: Jarno, nice to see you here. You obviously found it fairly exhausting.

Jarno TRULLI: Let's say it wasn't very easy yesterday and today because I have had a fever so everything made my life a little bit more difficult. But despite that we did a very good job developing the car and we had a good qualifying so we built up a good starting position for the race and everything was working very well until 15 laps to go when I started really struggling with the rear tires - that was my problem today.

Q: What was the problem, just no grip or were the blistering or what?

Trulli: I must say that Michelin were really over Bridgestone on this circuit, they were much quicker, much more competitive but probably I didn't really get a right balance for the end of the race. It was strange because suddenly I started having a problem with the rear, I had to push more to keep Michael behind me, so I was pushing a bit more under traction and braking, so I was basically wearing off the tires more and more and I ended up being very, very slow at the end and I had to fight the car and you see the result.

Q: So that was the reason both Michael and David were able to pass then?

Trulli: Basically yes, because at one stage I was pulling away from them, I was comfortably second and I was also taking care of the rear tires because I knew they could have gone off. Then suddenly I had this problem, so it is really a shame and we knew that once they get behind us they are going to overtake us because they are much quicker on the straight. Plus, if you are struggling with the rear tires normally we have also bad traction out of the corner, struggling going out of the corner so the straight speed is even lower. There was a couple of things that worked out not perfectly well for me but I must say today I have been lucky because otherwise I couldn't get the third position.

Q: What was your view of the start and the first corner?

Trulli: Honestly I didn't because everything happened really next to me, behind me, on my left-hand side. I hardly saw, I think McLaren hitting probably Ralf and I have just seen really Kimi getting away very quickly but nothing else.


Q: Jarno, there was someone with garlic under the podium. Can you explain this history?

Trulli: Well, I spent some days in the south of Italy and they really believe in these sorts of things. I went there, I have a lot of friends, had a dinner in one of the best restaurants in the world with Don Alfonso Iaccarino and he introduced me to some people who were very good friends of Jean Alesi . And apparently they gave this garlic a few years ago to Jean and straight away he went on the podium and this time I get it, I am on the podium, so I must say that it really works. I don't know, but it seems to work.

Q: Juan, there is talk about the relationship between you and the team cooling a bit. Is that true and has this victory changed anything?

Montoya: You know, we had a couple of problems a few races ago but after that things have gone pretty well. Last race I finished second, I won this race so there is not many issues at the moment, I don't think there are.

Q: Jarno, were you always going to do a two-stop race because I think you did something like 29 laps on the last set of tires. Is that the problem?

Trulli: No, I don't think so, because with the first set I didn't really have this kind of problem and everything worked out pretty well. It just suddenly happened with the second set while I was pulling away comfortably from the McLaren, I don't know if David was there but definitely I was really looking good and then I was surprised and we have to investigate. Maybe the track rubbed in eventually towards the end and the set-up was not quite right for the last 15 laps but I don't know ,we have to investigate because everything worked out pretty well until the last 15 laps. I cannot really blame the tires because they have been really, really strong this weekend and in general we did a lot of tests on the set-up over the weekend with the engineers and we came out with quite a good set-up even on the long race and I was looking pretty consistent and quick and then suddenly the last 15 laps it was given away.

Q: Juan Pablo, what did you think when the team advised you Michael had a tire problem?

Montoya: They told me Michael has a tire problem, watch out for any red debris. I looked around, Michael was quite close already because when I was coming out the hairpin they were going into the stadium so I knew he wasn't going to be too far in front. I passed him and didn't have any problems really. Until then I thought, you know, he is so lucky, always getting second and even from nowhere, but some day his luck ran out and it was today so it was good.

Q: Jarno, you said that when Michael came up to pass you your car was slower at that stage but you made him work very hard to get round you. Did you have in mind a similar incident which involved Fernando when Michael was tough with him at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago. What were you thinking at that moment? Did you deliberately make things tough for Michael?

Trulli: We were fighting, just fighting. It was a normal race and I was really trying hard to keep him behind but once he got in the tow it was really hard to keep him behind me, especially on the straight, and I was struggling with the rear tires. And as you probably saw under braking I was losing such a lot of time - and on traction. So I knew the last 10 or 15 laps would be really hard for me and when I saw Michael I said ?well, now I don't know if I can keep him behind' because his straight line speed was much higher than mine. I think the manoeuvre was pretty much on the limit because he put all four wheels on the green side of the circuit but basically got an advantage running wide and outside of the circuit so I think this manoeuvre wasn't probably right.

Q: Juan, I believe in the unilaterals you said you lost some speed from about lap 15 or so. Can you run us through the problem? Did it go away?

Montoya: It didn't go away. It happened for the first time when I was going into the stadium. I accelerated and it didn't accelerate and I am like, ?oh no, not again here'. They told me to keep going and they said you know ,see if you can keep pushing and we will see what happens. I could still push away and get a gap, even like that. I lost about 10km/h in the top speed but even like that we had enough speed to pull away.

Q: There are four races to the end of the season, considering you almost lapped the second person in this race can you analyse the performance we can expect from your team for the rest of the season?

Montoya: I think we should have a good performance. The next few races are going to be quite interesting. We have been pretty strong everywhere. We have to wait and see how it pans out but I think Michelin have come a long way, and Williams, and I think we should be very strong. The next race is going to be a big challenge for me, I have struggled the last few years there but hopefully this year, because they have changed the track a little bit, it is a different story. If I can't win I will try to finish second, just get the points.


© The Cahier Archive
Michael Schumacher (7th): "Obviously, I am disappointed to finish only seventh after a tough race which could have brought me eight points. Now I only have two, but at least I am still leading the championship. As I expected, Williams is now emerging as our main rival. I lost two positions after the start and I had to fight hard to get up to second. I have to say my car was working well throughout the race, even if I did not have the pace to catch Montoya, as he had built up a big lead by then. Towards the end, I picked up a puncture on the left rear and now we need to find out what caused it. Four races to go; it's going to be very close and the battle for the title will be very exciting, just as we expected. I am looking forward to the fight."

Rubens Barrichello (DNF, Accident): "I am very disappointed. I had nowhere to go at the moment of the accident. I had an average start. I think both Ralf and Kimi took big risks, especially Kimi who went very wide to get past. Ralf moved to the left and gave me nowhere to go. I braked and then I was hit while not making any changes of direction with the steering wheel. A real shame, as today I could have had a good race and a great result."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This was the most difficult and disappointing race of the season. After Rubens was knocked out of the race in the accident at the start, we witnessed a very intelligent race from Michael, who was on his way to bringing home a very good result in terms of both championships. Unfortunately, with three laps remaining, when he was lying second, a left rear puncture meant he had to drive slowly round to the pits for an unscheduled wheel change. He rejoined in seventh place. At least Michael managed to salvage two useful points. There are four Grands Prix remaining: Michael leads the Drivers' Championship by six points, while Ferrari is ahead by two in the Constructors' classification. It is clear that the final outcome of the fight will be decided by the performance of the different packages: drivers, chassis, engines and tires."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It was a tough race, losing Rubens at the start and then disappointing at the end when Michael suffered a puncture while driving like the true champion he is. He waited for the right moment to pass Trulli, when the Renault driver started to have problems with his tires. Losing second place like that was cruel luck. Michael's problem was a puncture; they happen occasionally, but in this case, it was particularly harmful, as it happened just after he had passed the pits. That meant he had to do almost a whole lap very slowly to come back in and change the wheel. Now we must discover what caused the puncture. Now we will regroup and come back stronger for the final four races of the season."


© The Cahier Archive
Juan Pablo Montoya (1st): "A perfect finish to a perfect race weekend. The car was excellent. I started from the clean side of the track and basically I just had to be consistent, to keep the same pace all race and to try not to make any mistakes. It was amazing how I could pull away and maybe because of this it was not too bad a race from the physical point of view. I am happy to be only six points away from Michael now, since there are just four races to go and it is so important to score points consistently, for me this counts now more than ever before. Things can easily go wrong for everybody as we have witnessed today when it happened to both of the Schumachers."

Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Damage): "It's obviously a huge disappointment but this is the way motor racing is sometimes. You cannot think about what people around you are doing and sometimes these incidents do happen. I was just trying to defend my position and I didn't make any sudden move or anything so there was all the time in the world for other cars to move away from me. The impact from Raikkonen's car crashing into my car, damaged all of the left sidepod and radiator and the floor and I couldn't do anything but retire."

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "It was another fantastic performance from the entire team. Juan drove an error-free and superb race from start to finish. The engineers did an excellent job in preparing the car, and also the strategy was very good. We were able to pull away from the rest of the field right after the first pit stop. To be honest, it was surprising to us that quite a number of teams went for a two stop strategy. For us, the decision for three stops was very clear. Furthermore the tire choice obviously was right as they worked very well in the heat. Unfortunately we lost Ralf's car only a few seconds after the start, otherwise, I definitely believe it would have been another one-two victory for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team today."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was important for us to turn our strengths here into points. Especially regarding the Constructors' world championship we are now within striking distance of Ferrari. There is a lot that can happen over the remaining four rounds of the season. Juan Pablo drove a perfect race, but Ralf had bad luck.. Even under these hot conditions the chassis and our BMW P83 engine have proven to be very reliable."


© The Cahier Archive
David Coulthard (2nd): "I'm very pleased with my result after a difficult weekend. I made a good start and got past a few cars. Unfortunately Kimi got caught in the first corner accident which certainly cost the team valuable points, but I'm happy he is OK. My car was well balanced for most of the race and I could conserve my tires, so when Michael and Jarno got problems with their tires I was able to attack. I attempted to make the same manoeuvre on Jarno as Michael had but ran a little too wide at the Hairpin. However I managed to get past at the Mercedes grandstand when he made a mistake. I want to build on today's result and look forward to the next race in three weeks time."

Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Accident): "I got off the line very well at the start and went straight down on the outside. I was past Barrichello when he hit my rear tire. There was nowhere for me to go and I went into the tirewall. I don't know who is to blame and it doesn't really matter, because there is nothing I can do about it, and at least I'm OK apart from feeling a bit sore. We lost a place in the Championship, but at the end of the day there are still four races to go and lots of points up for grabs."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Another day of mixed fortunes for the team, but nevertheless an exciting race for Formula One. Kimi's retirement was a result of a chain reaction initiated by Rubens making a poor start, but that is motor racing. David drove an excellent race with the team contributing with a well-judged switch to a two stop strategy. This certainly influenced similar decisions to be taken by other teams which ultimately led them into serious tire problems. Congratulations to our Partner Michelin who provided us with some brilliant tires that had to cope with extremely high temperatures ? the like of which are rarely seen in Formula One."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi made a rocket start, but unfortunately he became a victim of cars touching each other on the run to the first corner. David drove an excellent race and the team performed a good strategy and showed what would have been possible for Kimi as well. Congratulations to BMW Williams and Juan Pablo Montoya."


© The Cahier Archive
Jarno Trulli (3rd): "It is a wonderful feeling to score my first podium for Renault. I took advantage of the accident at the first corner and, during the first two stints, the car was very good: Montoya was faster than me, but I was controlling the people behind. However, fifteen laps from the end, I started suffering from blistering on the rear tires. When the cars behind caught me, I lost two places, but Michael's problem was a stroke of luck which brought me a podium finish. We had a very good weekend, we were competitive right from the first session, and this is a good reward."

Fernando Alonso (4th): "The result is OK, and it feels good to be scoring points again. We have been very competitive since Silverstone, and this is a good result for the team in terms of the championship. From my point of view, I pushed during the whole race: it was tough, and my mistake didn't help matters, but finishing fourth is not too bad after starting from eighth."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We always knew this would be a difficult race, because of the very high temperatures which have a detrimental effect both on the tires and the engines. The high quality of both of these enabled a double points finish for the first time since Monaco, and our fourth podium of the season. The team and its partners worked well to earn this result in the face of adverse conditions."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is good for the whole team, and particularly for Jarno, his engineers and his mechanics, who have scored their first podium for Renault. It was a hard race, especially in these hot conditions, but we chose the right strategy. We will continue working throughout the next three weeks in order to stay competitive in Budapest."


Nick Heidfeld (10th): "After the start I was able to pass some cars. I felt confident I could score some points after the accident at the start. To begin with my race was okay and I got closer to Button's BAR. The balance of my car was good, but I knew that I had to be careful to conserve the rear tires. From the middle of the race I also had be cautious with the brakes, although that didn't actually influence the car's performance."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (DNF, Damage): "Straight after the start there was a crash right in front of me. Everyone hit the brakes, but behind me someone obviously didn't realise that there was an accident and crashed into me. I lost my rear wing and came into the pits hoping that the race might be stopped and that I could take over the T-car, but instead the safety car was deployed. My car was too badly damaged, so that was the end of my race."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "For reasons that escape me Heinz-Harald was hit right after the start by Firman, and Nick could not do better than 10th place."


Giancarlo Fisichella (13th): "That was a disaster for me really! I had a lot of problems: tires, the car, electronics, the engine overheating - everything."

Ralph Firman (DNF, Accident): "It's very disappointing to go out of the race. I went into the first corner and didn't see anything that was going on but suddenly everyone slowed and I ended up tapping the back of Frentzen and damaging my front wing. I thought it might be okay but then I was off the circuit on the outside when Justin came into the side of me, and there was just too much damage."

Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "I suppose you might call that an eventful event. Ralph had a coming together with another car at the first corner and his race ended prematurely. Giancarlo avoided the accidents and we stuck with our strategy but then after the safety car went in, he had an electronic problem which caused the traction control to come in constantly. It caused a gear change problem and a traction control problem, he lost a lost of time while we were trying to figure out what to do to recover from it. We continued to find out about any other reliability issues and eventually he had to pull out of the race just before the end with a water leak which caused the engine to overheat. It was a disappointing day."


Mark Webber (11th): "A very tough and frustrating race. I got onto the right side of the action on the opening lap and after overtaking the Mercedes-McLaren of David Coulthard at turn two, I was in 5th place. After that, however, it was all downhill. "The race pace was suffering and I struggled a lot with balance and we clearly have some work ahead of us. I fought very hard to keep up and get past with Jenson Button and on the last lap, I could either choose between a no-points 9th place or take a stab at passing Jenson for a championship point. I did the latter but with grip and balance being such an issue, the car spun off in the Stadium section and that was that. I have no regret about making the move at all. The opportunity for a point was there and I had no choice but to have a go."

Justin Wilson (DNF, Transmission): "I am very disappointed indeed. The charge towards the first corner was very strange in that I came into the corner and literally everyone in front of me braked early because of the accident. I then saw Villeneuve cutting in front of me and he hit my front left. As I took corrective action to avoid him, the Jordan of Ralph Firman hit me from behind. The team did an amazing job of fixing the car and getting me back out but a transmission issue forced my retirement. It's been quite a weekend for me and all in all, I walk away having learned an awful lot, albeit with so much more to learn. The car, team and everyone involved are great to work with and I can only hope for better joy at the next round in Hungary."

Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "A very disappointing end to our race. Justin simply found himself to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The left-hand suspension was damaged in the first corner melee and even though the team did a good job of repairing it, we had no choice but to call him in on lap 9 and call it a day. Mark made a very good charge through the field but struggled with grip quite early into the race. It then became very difficult to sustain the 5th place he achieved after the first lap and he found himself falling back quite quickly despite his very determined drive. The pace simply wasn't there for us today and in an effort to capture at least a point at the end, Mark made an effort to overtake Button but slid off the track at the penultimate corner. We obviously have a lot of work ahead over the remaining four races."


© The Cahier Archive
Jenson Button (8th): "I'm really pleased to finish eight today, it's just a shame that we couldn't collect two points instead of one. Still, every point counts and we did a great job from where we started. I have to thank the team and Honda because we were quick and reliable in tough race conditions. I had a real problem with my rears locking due to a diff control failure, so it wasn't easy trying to keep everyone behind ? particularly Webber. It's a nightmare starting from the back and I have to do better in Hungary because I'm just making life hard for myself. We have to drive our car on the edge at the moment though and sometimes it's very easy to slip over the limit."

Jacques Villeneuve (9th): "A frustrating end to a very tough race for me. I got hit from behind in the first corner and that just destroyed my race. It's a great shame because the car was good today and we had a good strategy. Because of where we were on the track, we changed to a one-stop strategy. This wasn't the best choice in the end, but we decided to take a gamble and it didn't work out. The engine worked well and the car was quick, so we had a good chance of points today and it's very disappointing."

David Richards, Team Principal: "It's gratifying to see Jenson picking up another point for the second race in a row, especially as once again he had to come from the back of the grid. Jacques' race was also impressive, given that he was hit by Wilson in the first-corner incident and this upset his planned race strategy. With the extreme heat this afternoon I'm very pleased that both the cars and Honda engines ran strongly to the finish and I think this gives us encouragement for the remaining races and our ability to secure fifth in the championship."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "This was a tough, hot race for both the drivers and the engines, so we are pleased to have finished both cars and gained a point. Jacques' race was ruined when he was hit by Wilson at the first turn, so we had to pit him to check his rear suspension. We took this opportunity to change him to effectively a one-stop race and in retrospect this didn't quite pay off, leaving him just outside the points. Jenson did well to finish in eighth, having started so far down the grid. After the first quarter of the race, we had a sensor problem on his car, which meant that he was forced to use the override mode for the differential. This certainly hurt his race pace and made the car less predictable to drive. Given the championship position, we will continue to develop the car and engine for the last four races."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Once again Jenson fought his way through the field to score a point having started towards the back of the grid. It must've been really tough out there today in this heat and I enjoyed seeing our guys push so hard. Pretty frustrating for Jacques to finish just outside the points again but a good performance nonetheless. We need to continue to score points in the final four races."


Nicolas Kiesa (12th): "For quite a lot of the race, I was out there on my own, with no other cars around, and that can be quite hard. You haven't got anyone to judge your pace against, and you find your self pushing a bit harder and a bit harder, to the point where it would be easy to lose concentration and make a mistake. It was definitely a hard race, but I'm relieved to have my first Grand Prix behind me. I now know what to expect, which will definitely help me in the future. As for the car, it was good for the first four or five laps of each stint, but then the handling started to degrade and I found myself grappling with quite a lot of oversteer. I'd particularly like to thank everyone on the team, though, for making my Formula One debut a really good experience."

Jos Verstappen (DNF, Hydraulics): "I got a reasonably good start, and then saw the accident happening ahead of me and was able to avoid it, although I did flat-spot my front tires. The Safety Car helped us, as I was able to come into the pits and refuel the car. After that, the vibration from the tires was so bad it was hard to see, so I was really pleased to come in for my scheduled stop on lap 24 and change them. I had a problem with the down change just before the stop, and then it was difficult to engage first gear leaving the pits. Unfortunately, it seems we had a hydraulic pressure problem and that caused the car to stop. It's very disappointing, but that's racing."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "What a way to start your Formula One career! Full credit to Nicolas for pressing on to the end on a day when all drivers were struggling with their tires. He showed true grit and determination and had a really responsible attitude to being lapped, especially near the end, when six leading cars came through racing for position - it was a truly professional performance. By comparison, it was hard luck for Jos today. Unfortunately, a hydraulic problem brought his race to a premature end. We now look forward to Hungary in three weeks' time."


© The Cahier Archive
Olivier Panis (5th): "It was a completely trouble-free race for me today. The three-stop strategy we had was the right choice and my car was absolutely perfect. The team did a great job all weekend, as did Michelin to provide us with such competitive tires. Cristiano also performed very well and to have two cars in the top six is such a fantastic result. We have worked so hard throughout this season and have demonstrated that we have a competitive package. Heading into the three-week break, Panasonic Toyota Racing has seven more points and this makes me determined to push for more of the same in Hungary."

Cristiano Da Matta (6th): "Everything ran smoothly for me in the race today. The car felt good and I got the most out of it. With Olivier getting fifth position, this is the first time that we have finished a race with both cars in points-scoring positions and it is a brilliant result for all the team's efforts. It shows that we are making progress, which is the most important thing, and we are getting closer and closer. We have to keep this level of performance up and continue to work hard. Then the results will keep coming naturally."

Ove Andersson, Team Principal: "Today's result is a great achievement by the entire team and two cars in the top six is the proof that hard work pays good dividends. We have made steady progress in recent races and we have now showed everyone that we have what it takes to get a strong result. Both Olivier and Cristiano drove exceptionally well and the seven points that we have competitively won today means that the Panasonic Toyota Racing team is now sixth in the constructors' championship - a position we will try our utmost to defend over the remaining four races of the season."

Print Story