Jenson Button, Spanish GP 2006

Jenson Button, Spanish GP 2006 

 Â© The Cahier Archive


Fernando Alonso (1st): "This has been a day of so many emotions for me, and I think I will remember every moment. The first highlight was my drive with the King around the circuit in a Renault Megane this morning, then the start, the first laps when I could see we had the pace, around the pit-stops with the crowd jumping in the stands when Michael came out behind me, the final laps with so much emotion in the car. And finally the in-lap, soaking up the amazing atmosphere made by these brilliant supporters, my people. The R26 was perfect today - we only made one small change for the balance, but I could push all the way through the race. I didn't get a good start and Fisico reacted better than me, but after that, everything was perfect. I expected Ferrari to be stronger in the race, but today, I think we got the maximum from the Renault-Michelin package. Thank you to everybody at the team, this is another dream come true."

Giancarlo Fisichella (3rd): "We arrived in Spain looking to get on the podium and we did exactly that, even though Ferrari were strong this weekend. I got a fantastic start and things were close with Fernando into the first corner, but he had the advantage and I let him go. After that, the balance of the car was not perfect, and so even though I was pulling away from Michael in the stint, it was not enough to stay ahead at the stops. We made some changes to give less oversteer and so when I came out behind him, I was pushing hard, and made a small mistake which put me in the gravel at Turn 3. But I didn't lose a position, and then just pushed hard to keep Massa behind in the second stops. We had a good pace in that stint, and I kept third quite easily, then looked after everything to the finish. This was a good race for me, and a strong way to bounce back from the last races. I am very optimistic for Monaco, one of my favourite circuits."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "To be perfectly honest, I was not too optimistic about our chances before this afternoon's race, as Ferrari had looked extremely competitive on their long runs in practice. This afternoon's double podium was all about the pace of our car and drivers, not strategy. Fernando drove faultlessly today. We knew the Michelin tyres had strong first lap performance, but we had only had one new set left to use with Fernando, and therefore the victory would be dictated by the consistency of the tyres. They held up fantastically, and allowed us to beat Ferrari on outright speed. Giancarlo also put in an excellent performance, and backed up Fernando perfectly during the race. He was driving on the limit throughout and apart from one excursion after his first pit-stop, he was faultless. This result is a great credit to our drivers, and to the whole team both here at the track, and back at Enstone and Viry."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Renault scored an incredible team result this afternoon. Fernando and Giancarlo were perfect, we made the right choices with the strategy and beat Ferrari fair and square. Apart from Renault and Ferrari, the other teams just didn't seem to have the pace to stay with us today. This is a fantastic day for all of Renault, to win in Spain with Fernando, and to have both our drivers on the podium: it is a real team win. We must thank Michelin as well. I had been a bit pessimistic coming here, but this race showed they are pushing hard to win the championship, which is what we need through the summer. Congratulations to Elf also on their hundredth victory with Renault. We know there are many more still to come."


Kimi Raikkonen (5th): "A rather uneventful race for me. I made a good start where I managed to get up from ninth to fifth and that was all the progress I was able to make. It was simply not possible to keep up with the Renaults and the Ferraris this weekend and we will spend the time before the Monaco Grand Prix looking at ways to improve."

Juan Pablo Montoya (DNF, Spin): "I made a dreadful start off the line and lost three or four places but managed to gain some ground again in the first corner to end up 11th. Then I don't know quite what happened but I lost the car and got stuck on the kerb and that was it. The strategy we were running meant that I carried a lot of fuel and I think with the ways things were looking we could have scored some points today. Overall a difficult weekend for us but we will continue testing this week and then look forward to the Monaco Grand Prix."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A difficult weekend for us where despite a good drive by Kimi, we were only able to achieve fifth place. The whole team is working hard to improve the package to increase our performance in the coming races."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "To be the third team behind Renault and Ferrari again and the gap to the leaders is a disappointment that we have to change. Kimi made a perfect start to improve from ninth to fifth but the overall pace of his car was not fast enough and he delivered what was possible today. Juan Pablo was on a one stop strategy but he spun out of a possible points result the cause of which we will investigate. Our attention is now on improving our technical package during the next races."


Michael Schumacher (2nd): "The race result was decided in the first stint, as Fernando was able to pull out quite a gap, because I simply did not have the pace to stay with him. I was not held up by Giancarlo. After the lap times we had done earlier in the weekend, this was surprising, but we have seen before that in Barcelona, very small things can change your performance quite quickly. It seems that today, this had a negative effect on us and a positive one on Renault. Eight points is still good and I could say that while I was disappointed to have only won two points last Sunday, here I can be happy to have only lost two. There is still a long way to go and we will keep on fighting to try and win."

Felipe Massa (4th): "The car worked well and our pace was what we expected, but today, our rivals were simply a bit quicker than us! I had some traffic in a few crucial phases of the race and that's one of the reasons I could not close on Giancarlo to try and get past him in the run of pit stops. Overall, we have picked up some important points for the championship."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We were expecting a very close race and that's what we got, although obviously we were hoping it would work out in our favour. Nevertheless, this weekend confirmed we are competitive, even if today, we have to admit our closest rivals were stronger. We had opted for a strategy that meant carrying a bit more fuel at the start than those ahead of us on the grid, but it did not work out for us. All the same, Michael and Felipe picked up thirteen points which are very valuable and consolidate our positions in both championships. Now we have to put a great deal of effort, along with our technical partners, first and foremost Bridgestone, to be even more competitive in the next few races."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "The car and the Bridgestone tyres performed well, but we need to find a bit more performance. There were moments when we got very close to our rivals, but I think Fernando had a slight edge today. In the first part of the race, when Giancarlo was ahead of our cars we knew we would be unable to stay in touch with Fernando and so we waited for the pit stop to try and get past Giancarlo, which Michael managed to do. However, in the next stint, we realised we were not quick enough to aim for victory. Now we have to work on improving the package for the forthcoming races."


Jarno Trulli (10th): "Early on when Ralf and I were racing we were on similar strategies. But I was on old tyres and suffering from graining and he was quicker. When he made the move on me I just took my usual driving line. I didn't deliberately close the door and I didn't do anything unusual. I didn't even feel the collision and the first time I noticed that we had touched was when Ralf disappeared from my mirrors. No one was to blame, it just goes down as a racing incident. Toyota allows its drivers to race on equal footing but I'm really sorry because he is my team-mate and no one wants to have any problems inside the team. So I hope we can clarify the situation and I'm sure we will. I suffered no damage and my second stint was much more competitive but the problems returned on the last stint. So we have to analyse the data to see what happened. Then I will need to do a lot more work to set this car up for my driving style."

Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Electronics): "At Toyota we go to the grid as racing drivers and in a race we are allowed to overtake each other. So that means that sometimes things like this can happen. Today I was following Jarno closely during the first stint and I tried to pass him on the entry to the first corner on lap 16. It was normal racing but we touched this time. It wasn't a heavy impact but unfortunately I lost my front wing when I hit his tyres so I had to pit for a replacement. That left me well down the field and I then suffered an electronic problem which led to my retirement. All in all it was a day to forget. But at least we were quick in qualifying so we have to look to return to the points in Monaco."

Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "It looks like we will have to spend a lot of time analysing what went wrong today. On Friday and Saturday the car, the engine and the tyres were all working well and things were looking good. But today's race pace ended up very similar to what we had last week at the Nürburgring and we have to understand why we could not race at the speed of the top teams. First we have to learn why our starts were so poor because that was one of the causes of the issues we had in the race. We also have to analyse Jarno's car performance to find out why he struggled for the second race in a row. We will need to investigate the causes when we arrive back in Cologne. Finally we have to understand why our two drivers had a collision. At Toyota our philosophy is very much based around racing. We are a race team and that means our drivers have to be free to race - but with one limit. Based on the results of our investigations into everything that happened today we will seek to improve for the next race. We will have a busy evening and a busy week ahead."


Mark Webber (9th): "Our strategy today was similar to a lot of other people but we weren't quick enough here. Barcelona has been a tough venue for us all winter as well as the build up to this event and the race itself has been no different. Finishing one lap down isn't good, but everyone at Williams will be looking for a much more promising showing in Monte Carlo."

Nico Rosberg (11th): "Formula One is different to GP2 where you could always have a fight where-ever you were in the race and quite often you might earn some points. But in Formula One it is different and sometimes you have races where you don't get any points, like today. The race didn't go too badly in overall terms as I improved from 13th on the grid to 11th at the finish. Unfortunately, there was a mistake in my second stop, so I fell behind Trulli, which cost time in the final stint. I couldn't get by him despite trying. I also had my first experience of being lapped in my career today and it is not a pleasant feeling! However, the positive thing is that both Mark and I finished the race and now I am looking forward to Monaco, where we will have a fresh engine and where we should be strong. I was third there last year in GP2, and this is a good omen for me."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It's obviously a pretty disappointing result to finish outside of the points. Both cars finished which is good, but we will go away from here and make sure we have significantly better performance in Monaco. Mark and Nico had good starts but we lost out on the first lap and from that point on spent most of the race in slower traffic, which is pretty difficult to recover from at Barcelona."

Sean O'Mahony, Cosworth: "It was a frustrating day for us as both cars were obviously quick when not held up. On the other hand, it was good to see both Series 4 engines get to the end of their second race. We had no real concerns about the engines during the race apart from some high oil temperatures at the start due to the hotter than predicated ambient temperature."


Jenson Button (6th): "The car worked well and it was pretty much a faultless race, although I was behind Rubens in the first stint and Raikkonen was able to pull away. As soon as I had clear air the car worked very well and the balance was good - probably the best it has been since Malaysia. I was quite happy, reeling in Raikkonen every lap by a tenth or two tenths but it would have been a closer fight had I not been hampered by problems that stemmed from yesterday's qualifying. I'm looking forward to Monaco and testing at Vallelunga next week in preparation for that race."

Rubens Barrichello (7th): "It was a tough race but two cars in the points is not a bad result considering the strength of the competition. I lost a place off the start and then lost a bit of time because of some fuel pressure problems on my in-lap. After that, things ran pretty much according to plan, apart from a vibration in the last stint which again lost me some time. Now we have to focus on improving for Monaco because it's a track where we can be strong."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We scored some more points, this time with both cars, which is very positive. While we are not as fast as we would like to be, we had a good battle with Raikkonen right through to the end and made the most of what we had. The day went relatively smoothly without any major dramas and both drivers pushed extremely hard. As well as the next race in Monaco potentially suiting our cars better, we go to Vallelunga next week to evaluate some improvements. Our focus is on closing the gap."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Both drivers gave it everything they had today and the result is an accurate reflection of our level at the moment. Every member of the team knows we need to keep pushing hard to close the gap to the front runners."

Red Bull-Ferrari

Christian Klien (13th): "My start was not so good and I lost two places to the Toro Rosso guys. I was behind Tonio (Liuzzi) but, as the overall pace of the car was actually not too bad, I was able to overtake him and get closer to Rosberg. After my first stop it was more difficult to keep the same pace, as there were so many blue flags and I lost the gap between myself and Rosberg. But, at least we finished the race with both cars, that's a good thing."

David Coulthard (14th): "That was a bit of a long, lonely race. I had a problem with the brakes when driving to the grid and locked up about three or four times. That wasn't very confidence inspiring and I wasn't able to attack the corners for the entire race. For me, not a very good 200th grand prix."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's the first time since Bahrain that we've got two cars to the finish. Christian's pace in the first sector of the race was respectable, but with no new tyres available for his second and third stint, he dropped away from Rosberg who he'd been closing in on at the start. Starting from the back of the grid, David was always in for a long afternoon, although he had a good first lap to clear both the Midlands and Super Aguris. As a team, we now need to build on today's race finishes and work on the general pace of the car to start moving forward from here."


Nick Heidfeld (8th): "I am very happy. The goals we set for ourselves were to be in the top ten in qualifying and in the points in the race, and we achieved both of these. For me it is very important to be back to normal again. The steps we have taken are working and obviously we found what the problems were from Imola and the Nürburgring. My start wasn't good, but I was able to defend tenth and the balance of the car was okay for the entire race distance. It was important to overtake Rubens Barrichello. At this point in the race his car was heavy and mine was light. If he had held me off I would not have made it into the points, but I overtook him on the outside in turn one, which is always fun."

Jacques Villeneuve (12th): "I had a good start, but the two Super Aguris had amazing starts and then there were cars in front and there was nowhere to go. It was a question of braking late. I was next to David Coulthard, but then he pushed me wide a little bit, which was fair. Then I lost six seconds in the first two or three laps, and that was it. We could not do too much today, the best I think we could have hoped for was tenth without the start difficulties. Our pace was good in the race, and we have a lot of mileage left on our engine for Monaco, so we can do a lot of laps and we should be quick there."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "As usual in Barcelona it was a race with not a lot of overtaking and this time with not a lot of incidents either. Our drivers with their different strategies had problem free and mistake free races. Nick managed to go from tenth to eighth and collected one important point. Jacques made up ten positions and came in 12th with his one stop strategy. During this season we have collected points in four out of six races and we are satisfied with this."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "This was a good race for us with both cars finishing trouble free. Jacques started 22nd but got stuck behind slower cars for quite a while. After he was by them he made up many positions despite a heavy car. He drove a good race and expecting better than 12th was not realistic. Nick started from tenth and had a very consistent race pace, thus enabling us to gain one position thanks to our strategy on a circuit where overtaking is difficult."


Tiago Monteiro (16th): "We're finishing stronger and stronger, so that's a very positive point for us. Perhaps it wasn't very apparent today, but we had a very good car, and again, I have to thank my team, because they did a great job. I really enjoyed my car throughout the race. It's just too bad that Montagny tapped me from behind and spun me off early in the race, because it destroyed my race strategy, unfortunately."

Christijan Albers (DNF, Handling): "We came into this race knowing that we didn't have the top speed to be competitive. My problem today was that I was gaining time in the corners but losing it all on the straights. To make matters worse, my front wing broke and destroyed some other parts, which made the car undriveable. The car was just becoming too difficult to control. But we are planning to change my chassis for Monaco and we will both have fresh engines, so hopefully that will help."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director:

James Key, Technical Director: "We had hoped for a more competitive performance, but to be fair, this is a circuit that has traditionally been difficult for us. The mix of straights and low-speed corners work against each other in the way you have to set up a car. But some teams manage to do it and this weekend we haven't really done as much as we'd hoped. So, yes, that's a bit frustrating. Being caught behind slower cars meant that we got lapped earlier than we would have normally, and that took a lot of our race time away - roughly two seconds per lap. Once we got caught in that situation, the blue flags killed the lap times further, because our drivers had to slow down and move off the line to let the leaders by. Tiago did a good job to make it to the finish and he was generally pretty consistent. We had a strategy for Christijan which we felt was the right direction to go, given his position on the grid, but the issues he encountered during the race put paid to those ideas. He either hit a kerb or got hit by someone else's flying bodywork; we'll have to analyse the damage to see what it was."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "Another solid finish for Tiago - 23 out of 25 so far, and counting. We've not quite got the pace yet to challenge our closest competitors, but it's getting there. For Christijan, obviously, the retirement was disappointing. We brought him in because we weren't going to be classified under the 90% rule, so it was pointless to continue at that stage. We'll be looking into what caused his problem, which was related to the front wing. In any event, the damage to the car made it too difficult for him to drive, so rather than risk his safety, we decided to bring him in."

Toro Rosso-Cosworth

Vitantonio Liuzzi (15th, Hydraulics): "I think it was a mistake to start the race on used tyres, as we could not match the others on pace. The second stint was a lot better and I made up some positions after the pit stops. Our pace was good and the car was handling well, but on the last lap I had to stop with a hydraulic problem with the steering. It's shit to go 65 laps in a 66 lap race."

Scott Speed (DNF, Engine): "My engine started to let go halfway through the second stint, which is a shame because I think I had an awesome start. I made an aggressive move on Rosberg and it paid off and I was running eleventh. So I thought maybe a point could have been possible. We'll come back strong in Monaco."

Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "It's the first time we did not get a single car across the finish line. That's racing. Scott had an engine failure and Tonio had a hydraulic problem. In terms of race pace, once again we are in what seems to be our usual position."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (17th): "It was good to finish a race again - our first since we have come back to Europe. I had a difficult start; I was side-by-side with Monteiro when he forced me to run wide in the dirt and I lost a lot of momentum. Into turn one I regained position under braking and overtook a few cars, but by turn three, because the tyres were covered in dust and in a bad condition, I lost it into turn four. After that I was struggling with oversteer and I was just following the car in front when I lost it again. After we made an adjustment at the first pitstop the car felt much better and I was able to do a good run for the rest of the race."

Franck Montagny (DNF, Driveshaft): "Obviously it is bad that we did not finish the race and stopped after 10 laps, but I made quite a good start and I could overtake Taku and the two Midlands so it is getting better. We had a little bit of fighting after one or two laps and after that I had a little bit of space and my lap time was ok. I am quite happy because after three days we have finally found a good set-up for the car. We still have to work on the new tyres and gearbox because it appears that we need to focus a little bit more on the details and if we do that I think that it will get better and better. We have something positive to take away from this weekend and for me it was a good feeling to be in front of my team-mate for a few laps!"

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was a busy race for us and Taku did a great job, so I am pleased that he passed the chequered flag. Franck did very well at the start and showed a good performance until he had to retire due to a drive shaft problem. I hope that we will be able to provide a better car for him as soon as possible. We wanted both cars to finish the race today so it is little disappointing, but we have learned a lot from this race and are confident that we are continuing to improve this car for the coming races. All in all, I am glad that our car finished the race today and we look forward to heading to Monaco."