Malaysian GP - Sunday - Team Quotes

Start, Malaysian GP 2007

Start, Malaysian GP 2007 

 © The Cahier Archive


Fernando Alonso (1st): "To win today after coming second in Australia with my new team is like a dream come true. I'm so happy and pleased with the progress we as a team have made since we unveiled the MP4-22 in mid-January. We knew the key to victory today was to make a good start and get in front to control the race which we achieved. To have Lewis in second place makes today's result even better. There was bit of a drama when there was a problem with my radio after about ten laps, so I wasn't sure if the team was ready for me when I came in to pit for the first time. However they were and the radio was fixed during the stop. After that it was a matter of fighting the conditions, but as I was not really threatened I could take it a bit easier, however it was tough - really tough. We will now continue our preparations for Bahrain and I can't wait."

Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "That was the toughest race of my career. I was defending my position for a lot of the time, and I'm so pleased that I managed to keep both Felipe and Kimi behind me. However it was hard work and it was just so hot inside the cockpit. A big thank you to the team who have worked so hard both with the car but also preparing me for the past months. Today's result is super for the entire team. I made a good start and was able to get past Felipe and Kimi to take second. At one point Felipe was attacking at Turn 4 and ended up going slightly off the track, and I was able to keep second. Kimi was catching towards the end as I was struggling with the balance a bit but what a race. I now have experience of racing in these conditions and will be even better prepared next year. I'm now looking forward to Bahrain. Congratulations to Fernando, very well done."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "I'm delighted for everybody in the team who have worked so hard to achieve this result. There is a new spirit within the team that I believe have been witnessed by anyone who watched us during the course of the weekend. Fernando delivers a wealth of experience and racing capability whilst Lewis continues to demonstrate why he has warranted the enthusiasm of all of us who have worked with him over the years. Everybody throughout our entire organisation deserves to celebrate the success that they have achieved tonight, but of course our attention will quickly turn to the challenge of the next race in Bahrain. We are all looking forward to an exciting championship campaign."/p>

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "What a first class race from Fernando and Lewis. Both drivers performed excellently supported by a well executed strategy from the team. All the hard work from everybody in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart has paid off. Well done guys and to the next Grand Prix next weekend."


Giancarlo Fisichella (6th): "This was the maximum I could do today - and in our situation at the moment, it feels like a podium finish. I am proud of the race I drove today, and the pace was better than during the rest of the weekend, and the car balance more stable and consistent. The start was particularly good, I was able to be aggressive in turns 1 and 2, and gain four places. The team is realistic about the position we are in at the moment, but they are working hard to understand why we are not on the pace - and everybody is still really motivated to improve the car and start moving forward."

Heikki Kovalainen (8th): "This was my first F1 point, so it's a nice feeling after such a tough race. I attacked every lap today, just pushing as hard as possible to try and make up positions. The balance was similar to qualifying, and a little unpredictable in the high speed corners which meant I had some moments in turn 6, but that happens when you are on the limit. For me, the race was a definite step forward compared to Melbourne, and our competitiveness was better than we showed in qualifying. I think we are moving in the right direction, and I know the team will stay strong and keep their heads up, even though we are not winning at the moment. Hopefully we can take another step in Bahrain next weekend."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This was the best result we could achieve with the car we have at the moment. Giancarlo drove a very impressive race, moving up six positions, which included four places gained with some incisive, aggressive driving at the start and in the first corners. Heikki was very unfortunate to get boxed in at the start, but after that he drove a good race, and came home with a well-deserved first point in his F1 career. It goes without saying that we cannot be satisfied with our level of performance, but I believe we raced well with what we had today."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is our level at the moment - and we got everything possible from the race this afternoon. I think our result was the one we deserved, and there is no other answer for us than to carry on working hard to climb back to the top. Fisico was perfect today, with a strong, consistent race, while Heikki got his first point, erased the memory of Melbourne and did an encouraging performance for himself and the team. We have achieved our maximum today, now we need to carry on working to improve our potential for the next races."


Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "A day of mixed feelings. On the one hand I am happy to have picked up six points, on the other, I am disappointed that the race did not live up to my expectations. This weekend we had to make some compromises on the car and that meant we were unable to exploit its full potential. Today we lacked a bit of speed when up against our main rivals. I repeat that I'm a bit disappointed but I am also aware this is just the beginning of the season and that these points will definitely be important for the championship as it evolves. The team did a good job, given all the uncertainties we had. We have to try and improve to get one hundred percent out of all the elements of the package. The first corner? Fernando and Lewis were just better than us."

Felipe Massa (5th): "It was a very tough race in which we suffered a lot. It was almost impossible to overtake. I tried to attack Lewis, but I made a mistake and ended up off the track. I cannot blame myself for trying and next time things will go better. The race we did not go the way we had expected and our pace was slower than we had expected. Now, we have to find out why and work to improve the situation in the coming races. But it was still important to have got the car to the flag as it is vital to always score points."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This is definitely a disappointing result. After a great qualifying yesterday, with Felipe on pole and Kimi third, we certainly expected better. Unfortunately, we have had to settle for a third and a fifth place from Kimi and Felipe respectively. The crucial points for getting a race win are grid position, the start, the strategy, reliability and obviously, the performance of the cars. Today, we did not manage a good start with Felipe, who later, in an effort to catch up, went off track and dropped to fifth place, thus compromising his race. Kimi was also overtaken at the start and from then on was unable to do anything about it. In the end, we got both cars home but the ten points we got are definitely cause for satisfaction. We know we are up against a very strong and battle ready opponent who did a better job than us today. Fortunately, in just one week's time we get the chance to make up for it at Sakhir. We will do all we can there to get the best possible result."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "There is no point in denying that we are disappointed. Our performance level was definitely lower than expected and lower than what we had seen in testing last week as well as on Friday and Saturday. We will have to take a very close look at what happened. Of course the start played a big part in the way the race evolved. Felipe did not make the most of pole and then he was unlucky when trying to pass Hamilton, going off the track, but more critically, losing vital position. The fact that the performance gap between the cars in the race was not as great as we had expected made the situation more complicated, also when taking into account our strategies. Both Kimi and Felipe spent a lot of time in traffic and were thus unable to get the most out of their cars. But we can be pleased about getting both cars to the finish, given the uncertainties the day before. But we now have to work on ensuring that all elements of the package are operating at their maximum."


Rubens Barrichello (11th): "We can never be happy finishing 11th but compared with what we had in qualifying yesterday I guess we have had a reasonable race today. For the last two race weekends we've had a bad qualifying and then the races have shown that we could have been closer to the points had we not suffered on Saturdays. For the next race our focus has to be on improving our qualifying performance and that's all we can do to move forward for now."

Jenson Button (12th): "A tough race, as we expected. I had a pretty terrible first stint. Sutil drove over the side of my car and there was some damage, although how much of a difference that made I don't know. During the first two stints I was suffering massively due to lack of rear grip. We came down quite a bit with the front wing level for the final stint, went miles forward on the brake bias and took some pressure out of the tyres to improve things slightly. We were still only 12th but after yesterday we can consider this a small step forward."

Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Both cars were reliable through what is always a tough race here and finished with no mechanical problems. Rubens drove a very strong race considering the fact that he started from the pitlane, making up an impressive 11 places. Due to a first lap incident, Jenson had some damage to his car but with some adjustment at the final stop he was able to come back and finish less than a second behind his team-mate. Both Jenson and Rubens drive exceptionally well and achieved the maximum possible with the car we have for the moment."


Nick Heidfeld (4th): "I'm very happy, this is a fantastic experience! To beat one of the Ferraris might not happen again so soon. In the early part of the weekend Felipe was so superior. After we had major problems with the balance of the car in practice, everything was fine in the race. The handling was good and we had no technical problems whatsoever, and I felt fine despite the heat. In the first corner, Robert touched me. He apologized - this can happen. Luckily my car was not damaged. I was able to pass Felipe when he went wide, and I was surprised I could keep him behind me quite easily and that he pitted earlier than me. During my last stint I was using the harder tyres, and this also worked well. My top speed was good which made it difficult for Felipe to attack. It's a great and, also, a little unexpected result. But we should keep our feet on the ground. We have to keep on working in order to avoid some of the mistakes which we are still making."

Robert Kubica (18th): "I had a big problem, in fact, everything happened in my race today from the gearbox, to a puncture at the beginning of the race. The pace was really slow and it is better to forget this race quickly. However, we have shown when the car is working we are quick. For me in these two races the car was not working, so this is disappointing as the pace in testing was really good. In qualifying the pace was good, then in the race nothing worked. My main problem was braking stability, it was impossible to stop the car and I crossed the line at the end with many mistakes, I was locking, going straight and had oversteer. Also during the race we had not communication by radio."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This was again a very strong performance. Nick had a trouble free race in which he moved from fifth on the grid to fourth, settled himself there and scored five points for us. With this we have managed to put ourselves among the top teams and confirmed our good performance at the home Grand Prix of Petronas. Robert, meanwhile, had bad luck. He damaged the aerodynamics of his car in the first corner crush and afterwards the car was difficult to drive. We have strengthened our third position in the Constructors' Championship and are looking forward to race number three in Bahrain next weekend."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Both drivers made good starts. Robert managed to overtake Nico Rosberg, but then our two drivers made contact in the first corner. Robert's lap times got worse and worse, therefore, we decided to bring him into the pits. However, because we had no radio communication with him, we didn't know what his problem was. We changed tyres and sent him out again. We then realised that the front wing was slightly damaged, so brought him in again and changed the nose. Obviously, his race was ruined. Nick drove an excellent race and he was ready to take an advantage when Felipe Massa went wide. Nick drove a quick and consistent race, and also benefited from the strategy with two long stints. Compliments for a very good performance!"


Jarno Trulli (7th): "I'm happy to have come home in the points and I've had a good weekend. I fought hard throughout, the car worked well and we made the most of everything. The only pity was the start which wasn't so great and meant that I ended up behind Fisichella for much of the race. I was quicker than him in the first stint but at this circuit whoever's in front tends to stay there. Still, we kept up a good pace and I was able to put in consistently quick laps until the last ten laps when I couldn't attack any harder due to some minor technical problems. Nevertheless this is a good result and I'd like to thank the team because we made no mistakes throughout the weekend."

Ralf Schumacher (15th): "It's been a difficult weekend for me since the start and today was one of those days when everything went wrong. The car didn't get away well and then I had to avoid Jarno and I lost a few places. From then on I was stuck in traffic for the first part of the race. Shortly after my first pit stop I had a slow puncture and I needed to make another unscheduled pit stop. That meant I was heavy on fuel and the balance was not good. In general it was a tough race for no points. But Bahrain is coming next and I hope to do better there. Jarno's result shows that we have the pace to challenge with both cars."

Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "We have to be satisfied with this result because we have made some progress here compared to Melbourne, especially in terms of race pace. The weekend started quite well as we again got both cars into the top ten. But the starts were a problem for both cars so we lost a number of places and both cars were blocked behind slower cars for the first stint, losing over 10 seconds. Passing is extremely difficult here as we saw throughout the field. But Jarno had a strong race today in extreme conditions with very high temperatures. We made a good decision to put him on the harder tyres for the first stint but he couldn't take advantage because of the traffic. Ralf was less fortunate and soon after his first pit stop he suffered a slow puncture. That's why he had to come into the pits at the worst possible time for his strategy. He was due to have his last stint on the harder tyre but because we had to fill him up until the end, that put him out of contention. In the heat of Sepang it is not good to run on a full tank of fuel but he still raced well and brought the car home. We took 8th and 9th places in Melbourne whereas here it was 7th and 15th but the actual performance was better here. In Melbourne we were quite far away in terms of pace. The good news here is that during Jarno's second and third stints his lap times were not far off the front-runners. If we had made better starts he could have kept the Renaults behind. So if we continue developing I hope that we can get even closer to the front."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (10th): "Tenth is about where we could have hoped to finish today. The car ran reliably and the pit stops went well, but of course, we're always looking to improve and it's still early days. It's a tough GP here in Malaysia; it was a big test for the team today and we got the car home, so there are a lot of positives in that."

David Coulthard (DNF, Brakes): "After the second stop, for some reason the brake pedal was rubbing on the steering column, which had a double effect. I lost some of the braking and also a little bit of the steering, so the only thing to do was to stop the car."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Ultimately a disappointing race. Mark started in a good position, but lost a place on the first lap and, running on a different tyre at the beginning, seemed to pay a penalty compared to our immediate opponents who were on the soft tyre. Mark ran the soft tyre in his last sector and was able to close to within half a second to Wurz, but unfortunately couldn't get close enough to pass him. The problem with David's car meant he had no choice but to retire on safety grounds. As a precaution we obviously need to quarantine the brake pedal and look into what happened."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "The result of this second Grand Prix is pretty encouraging for us. The team had a good strategy and the engine worked without any problem which is very satisfying owing to the extreme conditions we had to face today. We are of course a little bit disappointed for David, but Mark did a strong race and the car is where it is supposed to be given our current competitiveness. We still made encouraging progress for this race and we now look forward the next Grand Prix in Bahrain."


Alexander Wurz (9th): "It was a good race and I had fun, especially in the first stint, when I had a good pace on soft tyres and could overtake. I am also happy from the physical point of view, because I feel ok, even after such tough afternoon. Starting from 19th made it difficult to fight against Trulli and Kovalainen by the end of the race and it was disappointing to finish just out of the points. I now look forward to Bahrain, as our car is now much better in qualifying and I hope that I can extract there the same race pace I had here to in order be able to bring some points to the people at home who are working very hard."

Nico Rosberg (DNF): "We managed to improve our qualifying performance from Australia so I had a good starting position but I lost 6th place to Kubica at the start. Later he made a mistake or had a problem and I thought, I'm right next to him and I managed to claw the place back. I had a good run through the next couple of corners to hold the position and that opened up my race really well. From there I gave it everything I had, but it all came to a halt. It was a great shame not to finish but things are progressing and we hope we can do better in a week's time."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was obviously disappointing to stop with Nico while he was in sixth place. We're not clear what the problem is at the moment and need to get the car back to look at it. Alex had a good race from where he came from, unfortunately he just missed out on points. Overall, our race pace was good."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Scott Speed (14th): "That was a tough race and I've got a lot of blisters on my braking foot as the pedal was very hard to push. But the car seemed to be a bit more competitive than we had expected. The guys worked very hard over the past couple of weeks so I am just glad for them that I was able to bring the car home and finish the race. We learnt a lot this weekend and I think we should be able to perform slightly better in Bahrain."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th): "I think it's a shame that Sato pulled a crazy move at Turn 4 and compromised my race, as everything was going well. But I collided with him and then that meant I also touched Scott's rear tyre and had to come in for a new nose. A shame, as I felt my race pace was really strong and we could have done a lot better in terms of the final result. The positive point is that we have improved our pace since Australia and for the next race we can be a bit more optimistic."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Tonio had quite a good race, but unfortunately, a collision meant he had to pit for a new front wing. After that, his lap times were quite promising and he performed very well in the first two stints. In the final stint, he was behind Davidson and was unable to get past. Scott had some understeering problems in the first stint and after the settings were changed at his first stop, he went a bit quicker, but he was not able to match Tonio's pace. Both cars saw the chequered flag, which is encouraging but there is still a lot of work to do."


Christijan Albers (DNF, Gearbox): "It was such a shame to go out as I really had confidence in the car in the race. The guys in front were pulling away, but not that fast and I think we could have pushed and got back up there. Then there was the gearbox failure, where I got caught in first gear and came into the pits. Unfortunately with the high temperature, the car caught fire and that was it. I hope in Bahrain we're going to have the chance to show the progress we've made in the car this weekend."

Adrian Sutil (DNF, Accident): "I made a good start and got past many cars in the first corner and was right behind Button. Under braking for the fourth corner something snapped at the back and I lost control. It's really sad; you look forward to a race and then you only get half a lap. I'm disappointed for the guys too, working hard every day, but we will do better in Bahrain."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I am disappointed we didn't get the chance to show the progress we had made with the car this weekend. We knew over the longer runs we were confident of showing an improvement in pace. We'll carry the developments onto Bahrain, where we'll hopefully be able to demonstrate how far we've come."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A miserable end to a tough weekend. Adrian had a problem at the rear of the car, which caused him to have contact with a Honda through the fourth corner, while Christijan's car got stuck in first gear. We're yet to ascertain the reason for the failure, but as he ran at very high revs for a long time to get back to the pits, the exhaust got hot and the bodywork caught alight. We've now got to move onto Bahrain next weekend and hope we have a much better result."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (13th): "I made a good start. There was so much going on and a lot of cars were side-by-side going into Turn One and Turn Two and in the concertina my front nose was damaged and my performance was compromised. Into Turn Four I went side-by-side with the Toro Rosso's and I was left with no where to go, so I was pushed off onto the gravel and I lost a lot of places. I overtook some cars, which was an exciting moment, and then I was having a good race. We then lost a few seconds in the second pitstop, so I believe that we could have finished in a higher position, however, I think it was a positive result."

Anthony Davidson (16th): "It was a tough race for me after fighting off the 'flu all week. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I'm happy that I got to the end. I kept it clean this time on the first lap and got a good start and a really good first lap. But then I struggled with the car balance in the first stint especially and I got a lot of understeer following other cars, so that's something to work on. There was a surprisingly low grip level throughout the whole race and it never really came up for me so I found that a struggle. I still made a few rookie errors, but they can be ironed out and today's result is definitely a lot more positive than 2 weeks ago, so I'm feeling quite happy with my day's work."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was a very difficult race for the team. The SA07's reliability is very good, but not our race pace. Unfortunately Taku lost several places during the first lap, but Anthony made a very good start. I am happy to have both cars finish the race with no issues, however we made one pitstop mistake with Taku. The drivers did a good job today and now we shall work on our performance next Friday for the Bahrain Grand Prix."