EUROPEAN GP - SUNDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "It was an interesting race for me this afternoon. I had a good start from the pole position, and controlled the pace during the first stint. The first stop went OK, but we came in a couple of laps earlier than the Ferraris on the second stop, and they had the speed to move ahead. After that, I just turned down the engine to look after it for next weekend in Barcelona. I think second place is a fantastic result from this race, though. Ferrari were a bit faster than us today, and while our tyre performance was OK, they certainly had more speed. However, I am optimistic we can turn that around in Barcelona, and I can't wait to race in front of my home fans."
Giancarlo Fisichella (6th): "It was not an easy race for me. Starting from eleventh position, you always know that it will be hard to get through the field and you can spend a long time stuck behind slower competitors. That is what happened to me today. I only had one or two clear laps in the entire race, so it was hard to show my real pace, but we had a good strategy and managed to gain positions. The second pit-stop was a really nice point: I was very aggressive on the pit-entry because I knew it was my only chance to pass Villeneuve, then the team did another fantastic job with the pit-stops and got me out very quickly. I had a nice fight with Montoya in Turn 1 as well, it was not easy, but I managed to hold my position. At the end of the race, I was quicker than Barrichello but not by enough to overtake. Still, I have added more points to the total, and I hope we can have a smoother weekend in Spain in five days' time."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "As we had expected, it was a very tough race this afternoon but it unfolded much as we had predicted. We knew that by taking the fight to Michael, we would also have to be looking over our shoulders for Massa and Raikkonen, and that was exactly how it turned out for Fernando. The critical part of his race was before the second stop. We needed a gap of several seconds but however hard we pushed, Michael was able to respond and close up again. It was therefore well before the second stop that we were aware he would come out in front of us, barring problems. After that, we turned down Fernando's engine because we knew the threat from behind could be contained. Overall, his second place is not too disappointing when we take the long-term championship view. As for Giancarlo, he had a very busy afternoon. As is normal when starting eleventh, we left a very open strategy to try and make up ground. Although it allowed us to jump ahead of a few people - including Villeneuve who had put us there in the first place - a power steering problem on the car in the closing stages meant it was hard to achieve much more."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was a good race for us overall, but a weekend where we were fighting against rivals who were just a bit faster. We took points from McLaren-Mercedes, only lost a few to Ferrari and Fernando limited the damage in the drivers' championship by finishing right behind Michael. Fernando didn't put a foot wrong today, and Fisico did a great job to gain places on this track. We have to admit, though, that the combination of Bridgestone and Ferrari was too strong for us today - and in those conditions, finishing second is like winning. Congratulations to Ferrari, but we hope to be fighting for the victory again in Barcelona."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th): "I was able to pass Rubens Barrichello at the start of the race but unfortunately Jenson Button was able to squeeze through at the first corner, then on the fourth lap I was able to overtake him before the chicane. Despite giving my all throughout the race it was not enough to get a podium. The overall performance of the car was not as I would have liked, however we are closer to the lead and there is a definite improvement from the last race. We now have to continue our hard work so that we can perform better at the next grand prix in Barcelona."
Juan Pablo Montoya (DNF, Engine): "Not a great afternoon for me really. I didn't get the best start and lost quite a few places in the scrum at the first corner. After that it seemed that I was always stuck in traffic at points in the race where I really needed clean air to make any inroads if I was to benefit from the heavier fuel load I was carrying compared to my nearest competition. Unfortunately I had an engine failure six laps from the end of the race, which prevented me from scoring the final point."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Not an ideal result today, but there is still a long way to go in the Championship. We are very close with Renault and Ferrari, which was demonstrated by Kimi setting the second fastest lap of the race, so there is every opportunity for us to win races. We didn't manage to close the gap enough, but we were not far off the pace which is encouraging. Juan Pablo had a bad start; significant trouble with traffic and ultimately suffered an engine failure. We will now look towards Barcelona which will be tough as it is back-to-back with this race, but we still intend to improve our competitiveness further."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It is unfortunate to miss the podium with fourth place. However, Kimi's gap throughout the race showed that we were closer to our competitors than at the last race, and were doing comparable lap times. Kimi gave his best but over the course of the race he couldn't get close enough to Fellipe Massa to overtake him after either of his two pit- stops. Juan Pablo suffered an engine failure six laps from the end of a two race engine cycle. We took the risk of higher stress in the final phase of the race as we wanted Juan Pablo to finish in the points. The cause of the engine problem will be investigated tonight as the engine will be immediately flown back."
Michael Schumacher (1st): "A great race, great strategy and a great performance from the whole team. I am happy for all of them and I think the result shows we are back, with car, engine, tyres and fuel all working superbly. At the start, I was in Alonso's slipstream and I thought I was safe in second place as I could not see anything in my mirrors, but then luckily, I realised that Felipe was coming alongside me very quickly, but I managed to stay ahead. Apart from that, my only moment was when I ran a bit wide in turn 6, before the first pit stop. I pushed too hard as I thought I could catch Fernando there. It's a very nice feeling winning my home grand prix. Unfortunately though, we have only made up two points on Fernando, but every point counts. I am also pleased for Felipe, getting his first F1 podium today and now I am looking forward to another good fight in Barcelona."
Felipe Massa (3rd): "I am very happy. Today, I stood on the podium for the first time and it was a really great feeling. I am also happy that this coincided with a win for Michael, as it shows the team is really in the fight for the title. We have to give it our all, race after race. I made a great start to such an extent that I found myself alongside Michael, but as he had the inside line at turn 1, he was able to stay ahead. The strategy worked very well and the Bridgestone tyre performance was fantastic. Only in the final stages, when I had taken on a used set, was I unable to push to the maximum. I got close to Alonso, but I had Kimi closing on me quickly. There were a few difficult moments, but I managed to keep third place, while also trying to get by Fernando. Now, I am tempted to keep my race suit on: the champagne smells nice!"
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A great result after a very close fight. The sixteen points we got today are no miracle, but come from a perfect combination of many elements: two drivers of the calibre of Michael and Felipe, the team, the chassis, the engine, the high-performing Bridgestone tyres and the fundamental support from Shell, in terms of fuel and lubricants. This success, following on from the win in Imola, is further encouragement to give our all, already starting next weekend in Barcelona, as we try and reach the goals we set ourselves at the start of the season. There is still a very long way to go, but we intend doing all we can to be in the running right to the end of the Championship."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We are very very happy. It was a challenging race, although we knew we had the pace to win if we made the correct decisions at some keys stages of the race. The team and the drivers did a perfect job. The Bridgestone tyres were very strong throughout the race and we got good performance from the whole package. Shell has done a great job with all the fluids in the car and that all came together and helped our performance today. It's clear we are going to face a tough challenge for the rest of the season, but this is a great way to start it."
Jarno Trulli (9th): "I had a good start, gaining one position and made it through the first corner without any instances. That was the first hurdle for me, to make it through the first lap without any problems. I was pushing the whole race, but was struggling with the balance and getting enough grip in the tyres. The team tried some different set-up adjustments, but I just did not seem to increase my pace until the last 10 laps. By then it was too late to make any impact on the race result. I think once the issue has been evaluated, we can say more about what happened. Right now, it is important that we keep working and keep improving on the car to set some good laps at the coming race."
Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Engine): "The first corner here is very tight and there was again a collision and I lost a bit of time. We made up for this with a long first stint which put me solidly into a point scoring 6th position after my first pit stop. The car felt strong and we were doing competitive times, but I was unlucky not to make it past Barrichello at the second pit stop. Unfortunately we had an engine failure in the closing stages of the race. Of course we are disappointed, because we were stronger in the race than expected. The whole weekend was a step forward and we will certainly make another small step in Barcelona."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "This weekend, we enjoyed a great atmosphere, with many fans and employees supporting our team. After having a good race and a good strategy, we unfortunately did not do as well as we had hoped. Obviously for Ralf, it is quite disappointing that he retired so close to the end of the race, but now we will have to analyze the situation and find the root cause for this. With Jarno, we had tyre control difficulties, but I think if we could have maintained a similar pace to Ralf, we would have had a good race. We really need to evaluate today's issues, going into detail to avoid any problems at the coming race next weekend in Barcelona. Both drivers showed that they can push hard and now we will concentrate on giving them a reliable car to drive."
Nico Rosberg (7th): "Ultimately I've got to be pleased with today. Two points starting from dead last and we were pretty quick in the race. Our strategy was just perfect. In the first stint I didn't feel as comfortable in the car but after the first pit-stop, we made some changes and all of a sudden it was working perfectly! I could attack and I was battling with Renault and McLaren. I even thought about passing Fisichella in the closing laps, but I didn't want to jeopardise my position. So over all, I am happy but in the future we of course would be better off starting races a bit further up!"
Mark Webber (DNF, Hydraulics): "It was going fantastically until what we think was a hydraulics problem meant that I lost all the controls. I'd made up seven places and I was still carrying lots of fuel, enough to get me a long way into the race, so I'm sure it would have been easy to score some points today. From here, if we fix the hydraulic problem, I am sure we will run near the front."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was good for Nico to get a couple of points by finishing 7th after starting 22nd due to the engine penalties. He drove solidly all day, putting in the lap times when it mattered and might have done even better if he hadn't encountered traffic. On Mark's car, we had a loss of hydraulic fluid although the exact cause is unknown at this time. Up until then, he'd done a fantastic job as well, with a really good first lap. As he was on the same pit strategy as Nico, so there is no doubt he would have finished in the top four or five."
Simon Corbyn, Cosworth: "Cosworth had no concerns with either of the CA2006 Series 4 engines in today's European Grand Prix. Nico drove a strong race to collect two points and Mark was unfortunate not to be able to capitalise on his great start to the race."
Rubens Barrichello (5th): "5th is not what we were hoping for but at the end of the day we didn't have the pace. I was struggling with the balance of the car and it was just case of surviving and doing the best we could. Because of that I'm pleased that we at least have some points but we have to hope for better things for Barcelona."
Jenson Button (DNF, Engine): "A disappointing end to a fairly tough weekend really. I got a strong start and had a good tussle with Raikonnen through turns 1, 2 and 3 before I got ahead of him to take 4th. The car was inconsistent throughout the race. Some of it was down to the wind - it was quite gusty out there today - but the balance wasn't there and it was changing corner to corner. In my second stint it was starting to come good as the fuel came down and I would have been happy to finish 5th with a car I wasn't happy with and get four points. Instead, I had a big loss of power, the engine tightened and I lost drive so had to pull over. Let's hope for better things in Spain."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "More points, however not as many as we were hoping for going into this afternoon. Rubens drove a good race, battling hard all day and especially at the end, to score his best finish for our team yet. Unfortunately we had an engine failure with Jenson and he was unable to capitalise on a good start and first half of the race. Generally speaking we lacked pace with both cars. With just one week before the next race in Spain we will not have the benefit of testing, however we will be analysing our performance this weekend in great detail with a view to finding some improvement going into the next round."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Clearly a bit of a mixed day. It was good to see Rubens racing so hard and collecting some good points for the team. We will have to get to the bottom of the engine failure on Jenson's car as soon as we can - definitely in time for Barcelona."
Christian Klien (DNF, Transmission): "It's a shame. The car's pace had been strong this weekend and my lap times had been pretty quick. I retired from the race with a transmission problem."
David Coulthard (DNF, Damage): "At the first corner, Ralf moved across and touched Tonio, who got knocked into the air and onto me. It was just one of those racing incidents. We were able to replace the car's nose, but then we had another issue, which was probably caused when I had contact with Tonio on the first lap."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "David's race came to an early finish, when a first corner incident caused damage that we were unable to repair. Christian showed genuine pace and was easily running in the group that included Fisichella and Webber. After his first pit stop when he was trying to pass Heidfeld, a suspected gear-box problem led to his retirement. It's disappointing that we haven't been able to take anything out of the weekend other than the fact we can see a step forward in the pace of the car."
Jacques Villeneuve (8th): "Overall a good result for us. It was very close with Fisichella and was a good battle. With the car he had I thought he would overtake me, but he stayed behind until the second pit stop so that was good. Coming out of the pits each time with a high fuel load the car was hard to drive, but once we got the tyres used up the rhythm was good as the older the tyres were the better the car felt."
Nick Heidfeld (10th): "I made a super start and was able to make up four positions in the first corner. I then tried very hard but I couldnít keep up with the pace of the drivers in front of me. I was struggling with the balance of the car, which is a problem I have had since the Imola race and I donít have a solution yet. We have to analyse this as a matter of urgency."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "From our point of view the race reflected the rest of the weekend. We were simply not fast enough. At least Jacques had the speed to stay in the points for two thirds of the race, but during and after the second pit stop he could not keep up the same pace as some of his competitors. Nick was able to make up some positions in the first corners, but later in the race he also came under pressure. However, after a relatively poor performance on Friday, we can be satisfied with this one championship point. There were no technical problems at all in the race. Congratulations to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari for a very convincing victory."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "Both our drivers made excellent starts and made up places in the early stages. For our team it was a very exciting race because we were involved in battles for position the whole time. Both cars ran without even the smallest problem over the entire weekend, so the championship point is a well deserved reward."
Tiago Monteiro (12th): "This is the kind of race I really enjoy. From the beginning of the season, Christijan and I have never had a chance to compete against one another under normal race conditions, so this was the first time we got to mix it up. I think we had a pretty good rhythm compared to the others, especially at the beginning of the race. I got a good start and was able to pass a few cars in the beginning, so I took advantage of that and just pushed like hell from that point on. I got a good gap and after that it was just a matter of staying focused coming out of the pit stops. The car performed really well and stayed balanced throughout the race. I hardly needed to change my settings, so I have to thank my engineers and mechanics for that. The gap between us and the cars ahead is shrinking, and I think the tyres are improving, as well. Even though we were on a soft compound, there was still a lot of grip left at the end of the race. I'm glad we were able to perform well after a relatively shaky start to the weekend."
Christijan Albers (13th): "I had a good start, so I was quite happy with that, because that's an area we struggled with in the first four races. And then when we arrived at the first corner, Coulthard and Liuzzi collided immediately in front of me, so I lost all my positions as I braked and swerved to avoid them. After I overtook Montagny, I found myself behind Tiago, who was being held up by Sato. Fortunately for my teammate, Sato made a little mistake and allowed Tiago to get by before too long, but he made things a little more difficult for me. Anyway, I managed to overtake him after a few laps, but by that time, Tiago had already run away. After that, the car was running quite well, I have to say, and I was able to catch up again. Toward the end of the race, however, I developed a mysterious vibration in the rear, so we'll have to analyse that. I think it was just bad luck that I couldn't finish higher this time, but I hope to do better in the next race."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Both Tiago and Christijan drove consistently, but I think that as a team, we will need to take more risks with our race strategy. We appear to be reliable again and the speed is improving from race to race, so we're looking forward to continuing this trend in Barcelona."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "I think today's race was a step forward for us. We were only lapped the one time, but we closed the gap during the race, which was good. We had a much better weekend with a more competitive qualifying, red flag issue notwithstanding. But I think overall, it was much more positive for everybody. The team is encouraged and I'm happy about that. Hopefully, we can keep pushing forward."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "We had a reliable, textbook race today. We just need to get some more performance out of the car and that's what we're going to go away to find, I hope. In terms of our overall race time, we're looking more competitive than we were at the start of the season, and it's heading in the right direction."
Scott Speed (11th): "I think our pace was even better today than at Imola. I think I was quicker than Heidfeld and the Toyotas. I think we need to sharpen up our pit stops - me and the team - as that's where we lost time today. But the race pace is great, the car was awesome and I had a good little battle with Heidfeld for a while."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Spin): "A really good start and I got off the grid well, passing some cars, then I got hit from behind by Ralf in the Toyota. I don't think he could stop and he hit me in the right rear tyre and then David could not avoid hitting me. A shame as the car felt good and I was hoping for a strong race."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "Scott drove a good race. We never really got a chance to get past Heidfeld as he had no problems in his pit stop, but to finish a second behind him and a couple of seconds behind the quick guys is not bad at all."
Takuma Sato (DNF, Hydraulics): "It was a great race for me up until the last moment when I had to retire due to a hydraulic problem. It is a shame for the team who had worked so hard this weekend - I also really wanted to finish this race because we had been reliable for the first part of the season. The start was exciting for me as off the line was reasonably ok but I overtook quite a few cars at turn one, which was a good feeling. Unfortunately I then had a similar problem to the one I experienced on Saturday morning - the car's straight-line speed got increasingly slower over the first five laps and I lost a number of the places that I had made up. For the rest of the race the car was handling reasonably well so it is disappointing not to have crossed the finish line, but at least the next grand prix is only a few days away, so I am looking forward to getting back to work in Barcelona."
Franck Montagny (DNF, Hydraulics): "It is disappointing not to have finished my first race with the team, but that is motor racing! The car's handling was not too bad and I was having quite a reasonable race up until I suffered with a hydraulic problem. I would like to thank Aguri Suzuki for giving me this opportunity. It has been a good weekend and I have enjoyed working with the team, so hopefully I will be back in an SAF1 Team racing seat again."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "This weekend has not been a successful one for SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM. Both cars retired with a mechanical problem so we will find out what was wrong and correct it for the next race. The performance of our car is lower than the others and we will struggle until we have the SA06, so we will have to keep working on the current car and continue to do our best."