HUNGARIAN GP - SUNDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (DNF, Wheelnut): "These things happen in motor racing, but what an incredible race. The first part was fantastic, and the car felt really good in the wet conditions, even with a much bigger fuel load onboard than our rivals. After the safety car, we avoided taking too many risks and with the dry tyres, I think it would have been a comfortable win for us today. But as I came out of the pits, something broke at the rear end and I spun in turn 2. Even though I am disappointed, everything is relative and with Michael retiring, it means we haven't lost anything at all this weekend. Even better, the car was really competitive this weekend. We are starting the important part of the championship now, and I am confident we are in a very strong position after this race. I also want to congratulate Jenson on his first Grand Prix win, he did a great job this afternoon and deserved it."
Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Damage): "It was a tough afternoon for me. The wet conditions are usually very good for me, but the car was very difficult to drive in the early part of the race, with understeer into the corners then big snaps of oversteer as soon as I touched the throttle. I followed Michael for a long time and eventually managed to get past him, but then went off in turn 8. I was pushing hard to build a gap, lost the rear end and damaged the rear wing. I carried on because I could not feel any damage, but then it came off on the next lap and I spun at turn three. This was not a good race for me, but I am still fighting for third in the championship, and confident that we can be quick in Turkey."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Wet races often bring excitement, but nobody could have predicted how many times the tables turned this afternoon. As a team we have to look at it in two ways. Firstly, I am sure we lost the possibility of scoring eighteen points today. But on the other hand, the damage in both championships is minimal. Fernando was the class of the field this afternoon, and we know his retirement was caused by a failure on the car, although we will not know the exact cause until we physically see the parts. Finally, congratulations to Jenson and Honda: it is always good to see new winners in Formula 1."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "It was the team's mistake today that cost us the win with a car failure. It has not been a nice day, and I am sorry for the team and Fernando: they all did a fantastic job in very demanding circumstances. But on these days, you have to think in terms of the championship as well, and nothing has changed - except we are one race closer to the end. What's more, we showed this weekend that we can bounce back strongly from a hard weekend like Hockenheim - and even from Fernando's penalty on Friday. That gives the advantage back to us at Renault, and we will be fighting hard to make the most of it in Turkey in three weeks' time."
Pedro de la Rosa (2nd): "I am extremely happy to score my first Formula 1 podium today, and it is great to score eight points for the team, who have all worked so hard for this. It was a very interesting race with the wet conditions, so I just tried to keep my head down, push all the way and stay out of trouble, as I knew if I got to the end we had the speed to be on the podium. The Michelin tyres worked really well today in all the conditions, especially the dry tyres at the end. We backed off a little in the middle section as we were very heavy on fuel and we wanted to conserve this and go as long as possible, but in the end the track conditions changed, and we pitted earlier to change the tyres. This really is a great feeling and it is down to all the team that we were able to achieve this today."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Accident): "I could do nothing to avoid the collision with Liuzzi. He really slowed down on the racing line and there was just nowhere for me to go except into the back of him. The start of the race was really good for me with my first set of Michelin tyres working really well, but after the first stop I was really struggling with grip on the front, and as a result Fernando Alonso was able to build on his lead. It is never great to end a race like that especially when there was every opportunity to win it, but we just have to move forward, and I really appreciate the gesture of Liuzzi coming to apologise. Well done Pedro for a strong performance."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "I would like to congratulate Pedro on a tremendous, measured and effective drive today scoring a great second place. The team and I are personally delighted for him, and it is a much deserved result and demonstrates the racing quality of a great driver. Whilst the race, I am sure, was exciting to watch it was tinged by some disappointment that we should lose Kimi in such a way. Understandably we feel a race win that should have been eluded us today."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A first class performance by Pedro mastering tricky conditions throughout the race. His second place is well deserved, and he kept his cool in every circumstance. It is a pity that Kimi dropped out after having a misunderstanding followed by a crash with Vitantonio Liuzzi who backed off to let Kimi through. We will now during the summer break continue to work hard to further improve our package, and we want to demonstrate our upwards trend at the next Grand Prix in Turkey. Congratulations to Honda and Jenson Button for their first win."
Felipe Massa (7th): "A very difficult race for us, in what was pretty much a lottery. Given how things went, especially in the first part of the race, a point is still something and at least it helps us close the gap in the Constructors' classification. In the wet we were not totally competitive, both on normal and extreme wets. However, as the track began to dry, we began to run very strongly, even more so as soon as I fitted the dry weather tyres, to such an extent that I set the fastest race lap. We have a very competitive package and we will fight right to the end of the championship, starting at the next race in Istanbul."
Michael Schumacher (8th): "Of course, I am very disappointed. We had a great opportunity but we did not take it. All weekend and especially the race was something of a rollercoaster and in the end, we found ourselves back where we started, although with one less race to go. The track rod broke as Heidfeld went past. We touched, partly because the track was still a bit slippery. These things happen. Did we take a risk staying out on track with intermediate tyres and in the fight with my rivals? That's the way I am. I always want to fight for the top which is why I have won so often. There are still five races to go. Nothing is yet lost and I will give it my all in trying to win the title."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Obviously, we leave Budapest very disappointed. We had a great opportunity within our grasp and it slipped through our fingers. It was a very unusual and difficult weekend for the main contenders in the championship. Only Felipe got to the finish, picking up a point which at least serves to slightly reduce the gap in the Constructors' championship. The changing weather affected the behaviour of our package. In the first part, we were not competitive, but then the situation changed in our favour. With just a few laps to go it looked as though we were going to get a good result with Michael, especially given that our closest rival had retired. Our driver was trying to defend his position on normal rain tyres on a track that had dried, against rivals who were on dry weather tyres and were therefore much quicker than him. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken track rod and had to retire. With hindsight, it is easy to say that this situation could have been avoided, but there is no point in crying over spilt milk. There is not much to take home from this grand prix, but we know we have a very competitive package, which means we are very much aware that we can still take the title fight down to the wire in both championships."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We had a great opportunity this weekend and we were unable to make the most of it. It's true that, when you look at what happened in the race, the outcome could have been much worse, but it is still hard to swallow. Felipe brought home one welcome point but it does not lessen our disappointment. The first part of the race was very difficult, because we were unable to maintain a good enough pace, but as the track began to dry, then things changed. We were then the quickest cars on track and the arrival of the safety car had closed up the gaps, offering us the chance of a good result. In the final stages, we decided to leave Michael out on track on standard rain tyres, because we hoped we could hang on to a good position. Unfortunately, in a duel with Heidfeld, a track rod broke. We have five races ahead of us and all the necessary potential to reach our goals."
Ralf Schumacher (6th): "That was a very turbulent race and after everything that happened we are happy to take away three points. A lot of things went badly, but the rain was especially difficult at the start of the race. The track was really wet and we just could not warm up the tyres. It was like running on smooth ice and we were extremely slow so it was pretty hard work. As the track got drier we improved our pace and the Bridgestone standard wets worked extremely well even in dry conditions. At the moment when we decided to change to dry tyres it might have been quite risky. But it was a risk we had to take and it worked. On dry tyres we were quick and I was able to make up ground and take 6th place."
Jarno Trulli (12th, Engine): "This has simply been a chaotic weekend from start to finish. During the first lap I was hit by a car on the infield and I lost several positions. Then during the first stint we had a major struggle for grip which got worse as the rain increased. Then when I could have done with some luck from the safety car I pitted a lap too soon and I was stuck behind it a lap down. I had been starting to make up ground but I was then stuck behind a lot of cars that were slower than me. That lost me a few seconds a lap and with the strategy I had it ruined my race. As the track got drier and the temperatures went up, the car became quicker and we were doing pretty well in the last stint on dry tyres until we suffered our engine failure. We should have finished in the points but in the end everything that could have gone wrong did. We will hope for a more predictable weekend in Turkey and a better result."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "First of all we would like to congratulate Honda on their first win since their return to Formula 1. Here at Toyota our weekend started well and we expected a good performance in the race so I am very dissatisfied with this result. In the end it was full of action and incident and events did not play into our hands today. We had taken the risk of rain into account when we decided on our set-up yesterday so we were not too worried. But we made a poor start and we had poor grip in the wet conditions of the early stages when our lap times were worse than those of our tyre competitors. Then the safety car came at the worst possible time for us and we lost a lap compared to cars which we could have passed later in the race. So that lost us the chance to score more points. As the race went on and as it became drier over the last two stints our pace was very good. Ralf did well to finish in 6th place but Jarno was less fortunate and suffered a late engine failure. We are confident we will improve and we will continue pushing to the end of the season."
Nico Rosberg (DNF, Spin): "It was very difficult to drive in the wet on our tyres today. In fact, it was almost impossible because the rear of the car was so nervous. I was trying hard not to make any mistakes and maintain a decent pace to get to the end. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the electrics and eventually the engine cut out on the exit of turn one and that was it. It was an interesting weekend, very challenging, where everything was a complete lottery."
Mark Webber (DNF, Spin): "The conditions were very tricky for us today. The first lap was unreal with a few big moments as I had zero grip in the rear of the car and struggled to get the tyres going. I was doing my best to keep it together but, while going through the kink at the back of the circuit, I just grazed the armco. The wing became stuck under the tub and I just couldn't get out of it. Retiring from such a good starting position is a real disappointment, but we are improving and we'll head to Turkey more determined to do well."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a disappointing race with Mark retiring on the second lap and Nico out on lap 20. We were initially struggling for pace on Nico's car but it did start to improve. By then, however, we had lost far too much time. Nico was stopped by what appears to be an electrical problem causing him to lose the car under braking, but we will confirm that later. We have three weeks before the next race in Istanbul and everyone will work relentlessly during the break to ensure we do a lot better there than we did here today."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "Today's race was very eventful and run in treacherous conditions resulting in both of the Williams Cosworth V8 powered cars retiring in the early stages. Engine-wise, there were no issues and we will be carrying out routine inspections back in Northampton before the race in Istanbul. Our race support personnel are now looking forward to a well deserved summer break."
Jenson Button (1st): "Wow! What a day! This is such an amazing moment for me and one that I have worked my whole motor racing career for. I always had faith that we would achieve our objective together and this victory is testimony to that belief. There are so many people to thank right now - everybody in the team, Honda Motor Company, our partners and, of course, all the fans. I would also like to pay a very special tribute to my family who helped me start out on the path to victory. To win such a tough and challenging race from 14th place on the grid is incredible for me and all the more important because I know I won on merit today. No one can dispute that today the Honda Racing F1 Team got everything right."
Rubens Barrichello (4th): "I am truly happy for Jenson and the Honda Racing F1 Team today. It was a shame for me that we had the wrong tyres at the start or we could have both been on the podium. A huge effort from the team this weekend and we hope to carry that forward for future wins."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "This will always be an unforgettable day for the whole Honda team! This fantastic result is the culmination of several years of hard work, dedication and relentless pursuit of perfection by the many members of our team, and on this day everything came right. For Jenson, winning a race was just a matter of time and on a day like today where conditions were incredibly difficult gave him the perfect setting to show the world a talent and class that all of us in the team knew he had all along. Jenson drove the perfect race from start to finish; he was fast and flawless throughout. Needless to say this race was very hard to manage from a strategic standpoint, right from the start when we struggled with what tyres to start the race on. With Rubens we decided to start on extreme wets and Jenson with wets which paid off early on for Rubens, but we had to pit him only after a few laps. The key part of the race came after Jenson caught up to the leader and we decided to split the last stint since we doubted the wets were going to be the right tyre for the conditions at the end but they certainly were when he came in for the second time on lap 46. In the end first and fourth is just reward for the whole team, not to mention Jenson and Rubens who have kept faith and focused through all the hard work. Turkey can't come soon enough!"
Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer: "There are hardly words to describe this moment. It is an historic day for Honda and the most incredible occasion for the whole team, its associates and fans all over the world. Everyone has worked so hard for so long to savour the taste of victory. Jenson has remained positive, as has the whole team, and I am immensely proud of everyone today, especially as the CEO of Honda Motor Company, Takeo Fukui, was here in Hungary to receive the trophy on our behalf. Now that we have reached this important milestone, we know we have what it takes to go on and do it again and again."
Takeo Fukui, President, Honda Motor Co: "We are absolutely delighted with this victory today. We have been aiming for victory from the first race of this year, and to have finally reached our goal at the 13th race of the season makes us extremely happy. The drivers and all the members of the team have worked very hard and done a truly outstanding job. Today we share with all our fans the thrill of victory. Tomorrow we will once again be hard at work to achieve yet more Formula One World Championship wins. I would like to express my gratitude to all our fans for their continuing support. Thank you."
David Coulthard (5th): "My car's looking pretty sorry for itself to be honest. I came together with Kubica in the first corner and lost the side of my end plate, and then later with (Michael) Schumacher when he spun, which broke the side of the car a little bit too. Rubens (Barrichello) banged wheels with me at the chicane and then Trulli came down the inside of me and nearly hit me. So, with everything we had going on, I realise I was pretty lucky to finish and especially to get some points! It's good to extend our position over Williams. I'd like to say big congratulations to Jenson Button too. I've always been in the camp of those who believed that he undoubtedly had the ability to win, he just needed the right circumstance. Today gave him that circumstance and it was long overdue. Hearty congratulations to Jenson, it's his day today."
Christian Klien (DNF, Spin): "I had to start from the pit lane as I had a problem with my car, so I had to push really, really hard in the race. It was very difficult out there, as you couldn't see much due to all the water on the straight. I overtook a few cars, but then I was a little a bit too quick on one corner and that was it, I was already in the gravel."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Fifth position is a good team result. David drove an excellent first lap, managed to keep his head down and move up solidly through the order from twelfth to fifth. The strategy worked well for us today. We demonstrated good team work, which bought us a good result. Christian was unlucky and wasn't able to start the race from his grid position due to a fuel leak. He started from the pits in the spare car and was making progress, but unfortunately he suffered a spin, which ended his race."
Nick Heidfeld (3rd): "This is a fantastic day. Not only for me but for the entire team. Especially as we had a rather low point after the last two races. It is also very good that Robert finished in the points. This result gives all of us enormous motivation. My race was good. I had to be somewhat careful with the tyres to avoid overheating, but I believe this was the case for most of the drivers today. The pit crew did an excellent job. They got me ahead of Coulthard and allowed me to be on the podium. Although it was a great race I did have two worrying moments, one earlier in the race when I went off on some gravel and then near the end when I overtook Michael Schumacher. He ran into the back of me and destroyed his suspension, although my steering was then damaged I knew I had an advantage so took it easy to the end of the race."
Robert Kubica (DSQ, Under weight): "My start was very good. But then I struggled a bit with the conditions because I don't have a lot of experience with the traction control and other settings. On lap two I made a mistake in the chicane and spun. Later on I made another mistake and hit the barriers. Because of this we had to change the pit stop strategy and I finished the race on intermediate tyres. They were destroyed in the end and this is why I was so slow. The result is good, but my driving today was not. I made too many mistakes."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We are extremely happy about the first podium for our new team. Nick drove a fantastic race under very difficult conditions und definitely deserved his podium finish. Robert managed to get two points in his first F1 Grand Prix. At the beginning of the race he found his new territory somewhat slippery. This result gives a lot of momentum for the rest of the season. A big thank you goes to the entire team. Not only here at the track but also to the colleagues in Munich and in Hinwil"
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "This is a fantastic result after a very exciting race under difficult conditions. When Robert pitted with the nose damaged we had to change his strategy, but it was too early for dry tyres. We were aware of the risk of leaving him on intermediates, but another stop would have cost us at least one position. Robert's pace and performance in his very first F1 race has been very good. He also fought well for positions. For Nick the strategy worked as planned. He drove a race without mistakes and we put him on dry tyres at his second stop. He took every chance offered to improve his race position and finished on the podium."
Tiago Monteiro (9th): "Obviously, it's great for the team to get another top 10. We were hoping for conditions like this to try and get some points, but unfortunately for us, there are lots of reliable cars out there and we still need a little bit more luck to be able to do that. But in the end, it was a good race. I think we had a great strategy, especially with the tricky conditions. It was very, very difficult to drive initially and I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning of the race. It's inevitable when you're trying so hard to push and find the limits in such slick conditions. But once I got settled, the car balance was pretty good and I have to thank the team for giving me a stable and reliable car that could bring me to the finish."
Christijan Albers (10th): "We made the wrong tyre choice at the beginning of the race. I don't know why; we must analyse why this happened. I was just too slow on our standard wets and I took too long overtaking Tiago early in the race. The pit stops and traffic were always a problem and I kept having to race off line. But when I finally got on to dry tyres, I was able to push and put in some reasonable lap times. The overall pace is definitely getting better, so I'm feeling positive for the races ahead."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Unfortunately, we didn't score any points today. We struggled in the rain at the beginning, and I think that's what cost us. Otherwise, toward the end, we had quite competitive lap times. Christijan put in the 8th-quickest lap and Tiago, as usual, did a solid job to bring the car home in difficult conditions. Today, we just needed a bit more luck. or more laps - either would have helped"
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It was good to get to the end and earn a top 10 finish, but it's a shame we lost so much time in the wet. Hopefully, we can keep closing ground on our rivals and convert our pace and reliability into some points in the coming races."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "We got cool, calm drives from both Tiago and Christijan for a good two-car finish, especially in light of the conditions we had. We took a chance with Tiago under the safety car, which seemed to work well for him. Chris making two stops in a race like that was also the right way to go. In the end, I guess we ultimately didn't have the speed to take points today. We'll do an aero test in three days and following that, begin our preparations for Turkey."
Scott Speed (11th): "My race was pretty much over when, at the pit stop, my team decided to fuel me heavy enough to go to the end of the race, even though there was a dry line appearing. After the stop, carrying all that fuel, I was a bit slow. So Rubens ran into the back of me in Turn 4, cut me up in Turn 5 so I had a half spin and other guys got by. At that point the race was over. I was a bit optimistic in going for dry tyres too early and I had to pit again to change back. It was a lesson learned. It was too bad because looking where I was in the early stages, I might have had a good shot at bringing home a point."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Accident): "It was a birthday with a bang. A shame as I was going well, the car was reasonably competitive, but I lost visibility as my visor was misting up and I could only see out of half of it. This meant that quite often I could not see the apex of the corners and I had to use the kerbs to know where I was. That meant I went off the track a few times. As for the incident with Kimi, I went wide, trying to let him by before the chicane. Probably, he did not expect me to slow at this point and so he ran into the back of me. This track is really tight and twisty and I was really trying to move over to let him by. It was a misunderstanding and I'm sorry as it ruined both our races."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "After two days where we had not gone too well, the weather conditions gave us the chance to put us back in a reasonable position after the start. Then Tonio had a spin that did not hurt too much. But then came his accident where there was not much he could do about it. As for Scott, he and his crew made the wrong strategic choices."
Takuma Sato (13th): "I am happy that we finished a very hard race, not only because of the weather conditions today, but also because of the gearbox problem I had. During the first stage we were looking good and I was actually pulling away from the Midlands, which was very encouraging. But after the pitstop I had a clutch problem and almost lost all drive - at one stage I thought that I would not be able to finish the race. Fortunately I was able to solve the problem by changing the setting from the cockpit, but I later had a gearbox problem and lost a gear which meant that it became incredibly tough to drive the car towards the end. I am pleased that we were able to bring the car home and finish the race as it is very important for the team to have this data before the summer break."
Sakon Yamamoto (DNF, Spin): "The weekend started quite well and I was looking forward to starting the race from the grid. I made a reasonable start off the line and tried to overtake a few cars in front of me at turn one, but the engine stalled and my race was over. It is a very disappointing end to the weekend again for me, but I think that we made good progress with the SA06 here in Hungary. On the positive side, I think that Honda's win is fantastic and I would like to send my congratulations to them as part of our family."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was a difficult race in difficult weather conditions. Sakon made a good start and tried an overtaking manoeuvre at the first corner, but he was too late in braking and unfortunately stalled the car. Taku drove a very good race, especially during the opening laps on the wet tyres. He later suffered a clutch problem and the car became very difficult to drive, however this was then followed by a problem in his gearbox but he managed to keep pushing to finish the race. The team did an extremely good job today, the pitstops were quick and the problems we had remedied, so over all I am happy about that."