Bahrain GP - Sunday - Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "I;m very pleased with today;s result. To have finished on the podium three times out of three is fantastic. We have definitely closed the gap to Ferrari and I know everybody will continue to push hard to improve even more in time for the Spanish Grand Prix. I was able to keep up with Felipe in the first stint but I really struggled with the balance of the car in the second. I had a lot of under steer and wasn;t able to brake as late as I would have liked. However after the second pitstop when I changed to hard tyres I was able to push again. I really enjoyed the race today and with a few more laps I might have been able to challenge Felipe for the lead."
Fernando Alonso (5th): "In a way I feel happy as we came away with four points and still leading the championship which is what is important. This was not a great race for me but these things happen. I was struggling for pace and overall grip which means that you can;t drive the car as well as you would like. You always start the race believing you can win but after six or seven laps I knew that it would be tough. I couldn;t keep up with the Ferraris and Lewis and in the end had to settle for fifth. I was close to Heidfeld in the end but there was nothing I could do. We now look forward to the next couple of weeks where we will all work hard to further improve the car in time for my home grand prix in Barcelona."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Even though it was not a perfect day we can leave Bahrain leading both Championships which is a great achievement for the team. Fernando struggled a bit with the balance of his car and we never really managed to perfect his set-up. Lewis was more comfortable with his car and had a great race. Our intensive R&D programme will now change up a gear and hopefully deliver a performance step that will make us even more competitive at the Spanish Grand Prix and of course we are already looking forward to the start of the European season in Barcelona."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Fernando is leading the Drivers; Championship with 22 points, Lewis having had three races and three podium finishes and the team retaining the lead in the Constructors; Championship it is a very good start to the season. We will all now be working hard to be the best prepared team at the start of the European season in four weeks time in Barcelona."
Giancarlo Fisichella (8th): "This was another tough race for us. I made a good start and the pace was really good in the first stint - I was clearly lighter than Kubica in front, but he was holding me up which meant I couldn't build a gap to the cars behind me. Then I struggled in the second stint, as the rear tyres went away very quickly and I lost a number of positions - I was on the limit, but couldn't do any more to defend my place. Then the performance came back again in the last stint on the hard tyres, and I pushed Jarno as hard as I could - but just ran out of laps to get past him. It's disappointing not to achieve our maximum today, but ultimately, that maximum was seventh position. It is one point lost, but we all know that we want to be fighting for much more than that, and hopefully we can make some progress between now and Barcelona in four weeks."
Heikki Kovalainen (9th): "I made a good start off the line, and overtook both Williams and Trulli's Toyota. Last week, I was side by side with him and he got the advantage - and I was determined that it wouldn't happen again. After that, the rear tyres dropped off quickly on the heavy fuel load and I was struggling everywhere - Trulli got past me, then I tried to defend aggressively against Rosberg, but he overtook as well after the final corner. The car improved a lot in the second stint, and I could see I was catching Fisi and Jarno, and thought that maybe we could do something. But then in the final stint, the rear end was tricky again, and I couldn't maintain the pace of the guys in front. It was a tough afternoon, like we expected, and it was a shame not to score points. We know, though, that the hard work needs to be done back at the factory - and I am confident that they will be pushing to their maximum to improve our competitiveness for the next race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Once again, the team's overall performance was dictated by the car's current level of performance. With three teams in front of us that are clearly quicker, our race is for 7th place at the moment. The drivers did as much as they could today, and the mechanics once again worked hard to prepare reliable cars for them to maintain our 100% finishing record. In the race itself, both drivers seemed to struggle with tyre performance on their longest stints, but this does not explain our overall position. Our hard work will now continue back at the factory to get on top of our problems - and start moving forward."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager:
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is where we are at the moment, fighting for the final points positions. We didn't expect the situation to change very much in the space of a week, and the race met those expectations. Both drivers did a strong job, but the car doesn't have the pace. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us to improve the situation, beginning with the four-week break before the next race."
Felipe Massa (1st): "A great result and it's nice that we now have a long break during which I can enjoy thinking about it! After the first two races did not go so well for me, we put everything together today. The team did a great job today in terms of the strategy and the car set-up and everything else. But I will dedicate this win to my girlfriend Raffaela who has had to be very patient with me this weekend! But we still need to work hard to maintain the momentum and the slight advantage that we have. During the first stint my car was not so well balanced, I had a bit too much understeer and then the second was fantastic for me with the tyres working very well. On the final stint, after my second pit stop, I had the harder tyres and having looked at the gap, I concentrated on looking after the car and did not need to increase the gap. I lost a bit of time to backmarkers too. The championship is very close now so these are ten very important points!"
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "I am happy with these six points, but I can't be completely satisfied with this result. At the start, I think I made a small mistake but I was still in a position where I could try and overtake Lewis, but in the end I lost a place to Alonso and spent all of the first stint right behind him, with no chance of getting by. We managed it at the pit stop, but to be on the safe side we decided to shorten slightly the second stint. I managed to close on Lewis but then, with the different strategy it wasn't possible to get by him. In the final stint, I chose to manage the situation given that I could not get past Lewis. When you come up behind a car it gets hard to drive and today's strong wind certainly didn't make things any easier. We now have to work on improving our performance. In the next test in Barcelona, we have some new parts coming and I hope they will mean we can make a good step forward."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Pole position, quickest race lap and the win: a truly perfect weekend for Felipe. This great result was completed with a third place for Kimi, which helped bring home some precious points for the two Championships. It was a very had and closely contested race, with three teams in the running. We have made up ground in both classifications and now we plan to make the most of the weeks leading up to the race in Barcelona to try and improve every aspect of our package, from performance to reliability. I want to thank our technical partners, first and foremost Shell and Bridgestone, which in its new role as sole tyre supplier, has provided the teams with two types of tyre that are competitive and consistent in terms of performance. We can see that the fight for the titles will be very tight."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "That was a really great race, especially from Felipe, who has been very quick all weekend. It was a shame that Kimi's race was compromised after he lost a place after the start. He managed to get by Alonso in the pit stop, but having shortened the second stint, he was unable to do the same thing to Hamilton, even though he had completely closed up the gap that had grown in the previously. The two F2007 worked very well and there were no technical problems at all. This is result is a reward for all the hard work from the team here at Sakhir and in Maranello, after a difficult weekend in Sepang. Now there is a bit of a break in the calendar and we will have to make the most of it to improve our performance and up the level of reliability of the cars. In the Barcelona test prior to the race at the same track, we will have some new parts, but we know that our rivals won't be standing still either."
Rubens Barrichello (13th): "Well I finished the race at least but that's very little consolation. The track conditions were so blustery and the car driveability was terrible, so it was a really tough race, especially knowing that we couldn't be competitive. Now we have to put a disappointing few races behind us and look to what we can do to improve the car. There is a great deal of hard work ahead of us but we will get there, I'm sure."
Jenson Button (DNF, Accident): "I got a good start and made up at least three places then at turn 2 Taku (Sato) ran wide, tried to squeeze me and I had nowhere to go so I had to go on the dirt on the inside. Then in turn 3 I had Coulthard and someone else fighting around me. DC went wide then cut back sharp and again I had nowhere to go. We touched and that spun me round, then the anti-stall didn't cut in, I stalled and that was the end of my race after just three corners. The track conditions out there were very slippery and windy so it will have been a tough race for everyone. Sadly, I wasn't part of it."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Unfortunately we had realistic expectations heading into this race and our performance today has only served to underline the problems that we have with our current package. Whilst Jenson did not even get the chance to complete a lap due to a third corner incident, Rubens did a valiant job of fighting to the finish with what was clearly a very difficult car to drive. All we can do now is put these first races behind us and return to base, where every bit of our focus, resource and effort is being directed towards turning our situation around."
Nick Heidfeld (4th): "I feel fantastic. Currently I have a good car, a good team, I can drive good races and I really enjoy this. Before the race I didn't think I could overtake Fernando, but in the second stint I was a bit quicker than him because I had one more set of fresh tyres than him. On the other hand, Fernando had the better top speed. I had to wait until he made a mistake, which he did in corner 13. For the team it is extremely important that both cars finished the race and scored points. I think here we were even stronger than in Malaysia, which is surprising as our car has not changed in the past week. Obviously the track suited us and I had a very good set-up."
Robert Kubica (6th): "All in all this has been a very positive weekend for me and the team. This is my first time in the points this season, so I am happy to finish, happy to score these points and I know we will get there. Unfortunately the flap over the fuel filler wouldn't close and you lose quite a lot of downforce with this. I was losing time in the high speed corners and under braking. It opened at the beginning of the race and there was no way we could fix it. The good thing is the pace is there, the reliability is almost there and so now we will look forward to see what we can do in Barcelona."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This was the strongest performance of the BMW Sauber F1 Team so far. Not only did we score eight points, but Nick's fourth place is really a special one. We were able to match the pace of the top cars and Nick was even able to overtake World Champion Fernando Alonso on the track. Unfortunately an open fuel filler cover disturbed the aerodynamics of Robert's car, but also for him I am very pleased he scored his first points of the season. At the end of the day the third race of the season was another step forward for the team."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was the best race for our young team. Right from the start we were able to match the pace of the top teams. Nick's overtaking manouevre was, of course, a true highlight. A big compliment to the entire crew here in Bahrain, especially for the pit stops which were excellent. Also a big compliment to the teams in Hinwil and Munich who gave us the equipment to achieve such a strong performance."
Jarno Trulli (7th): "That was a very tough race for me and I did a great job so I am happy both for myself and for the team. It;s my job to resist pressure and this result was due to driving experience and getting the best out of the car. The pit stops and the strategy were perfect and the car;s balance was good. But the problem was that it was very hard to battle in traffic because everyone else was quicker than me on the straights. I had to defend and attack at the same time and it is hard to attack if you are slower than the cars you are fighting with when it comes to top speed. So it was a great race and it feels like a victory. I would like to dedicate the two points to my son Enzo, who is celebrating his second birthday today."
Ralf Schumacher (12th): "It;s been a difficult weekend for me since the beginning and it was another hard day out there starting from so far back. Jarno;s points show that it was not a bad race but I made my life hard and struggled to adapt the car to suit me since Friday. Today we didn;t get away well off the line and that meant I was always going to be in traffic. If you have a less than perfect set-up then it is difficult to make up ground. So it was not a good day but we can;t change that. Now we need to work hard and analyse everything. We have a new aerodynamic package coming to Barcelona so we hope that brings us further forward."
John Howett, TMG President: "That was a very tough but exciting race for us and Jarno did an unbelievable job. He overtook when he had to and he defended his position when he had to. In the end he was able to pass cars, including both Renaults, while under pressure from several cars behind him. When we saw that he was fast we went for a long second stint and that should have enabled him to pass the Red Bulls too. That was despite a top speed which was down compared to qualifying so we will have to analyse the reasons for that. The starts did not go as well as expected either and we lost positions with both cars. We have to solve that because there;s no point in fighting so hard in qualifying if we are going to lose out off the line. Ralf always had a hard race from where he was on the grid but he did well to bring the car home. Now we have to help him and make the car more driveable for him. Overall it was a solid race and we finished where we thought we were after qualifying - the fourth fastest team - so it;s good to see concrete evidence. This weekend we have shown a continued improvement of our performance after Melbourne and Sepang. So although we are not where we want to be and we still have to improve the overall pace, it;s encouraging."
Mark Webber (DNF, Gearbox): "The car had an open fuel flap in the second stint, which was the same problem we had in Australia. It's bloody frustrating. After the pit stop, I got myself back in position again, but then something failed and I had to retire. The pace was good, but the result is the same even so."
David Coulthard (DNF, Driveshaft): "We lost the right rear drive shaft and I had to stop. We were on an aggressive race strategy, which had been working well. Typically from the back you would go one stop and long but, as we saw in Malaysia, the one stop option didn't provide a chance to overtake - so we went for the shorter strategy. The race car felt good, the strategy was good, and I think it would have paid off. We're going through some growing pains at the moment, but we will get through it and we'll be stronger on the other side, everyone's working very hard back in the factory."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Frustrating is the only way to describe today's race. Driving an aggressive strategy, David was a candidate for driver of the day. He overtook more than ten cars and looked set for a strong points finish, only for a driveshaft related failure to force his retirement. Mark made a good start and pushed Fisichella very hard in the first stint. Unfortunately he lost time in the second stint due to a fuel flap failure and, ultimately, a gear box issue caused him to retire. We need to get on top of these reliability issues very quickly, as obviously they're unacceptable. However, we can see that we've continued to make progress and should have had two cars in the points today."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Although both cars retired today, I think it is still a positive day. We showed a very good level of performance and our engine worked once again well. Our pace today was very encouraging, David did an aggressive race, overtook several competitors. Of course we are disappointed not to finish but we should be satisfied by what has been achieved so far, especially after the tough winter we went through. We look forward the next race to confirm our competitiveness and will work hard before the Spanish Grand Prix."
Nico Rosberg (10th): "Not a good race today, it was a bit difficult for me. I;ve been struggling with the brakes this weekend. On such a hard braking circuit, it was difficult to overtake because I didn;t have a feel for them. Also, every time I;d try to overtake, I;d go off-line and get dirt on the tyres. It really surprised me how long it took for them to get back in shape; it was taking one, even one and a half, laps. It was a struggle to be fighting all the time and many people around me were making mistakes again and again. Not easy. We now have more than three weeks before the next race and we must work hard to get back on top of the midfield as we were in Malaysia, because we are very close to the top and just need to find those important few tenths to stay ahead and consistently score points."
Alexander Wurz (11th): "It was difficult today. I was struggling with the grip and oversteer and could not attack the cars in front, even when they were slower than me. My car had the speed and our strategy was also ok, but the problem was I could not try to overtake since I was sliding around all the time coming out of the corners because of the poor traction. It;s a pity as today I was hoping to get into the points. Unfortunately, neither of us did."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We finished where we qualified so not really what we wanted out of the afternoon. We didn;t have the best starts and it was hard to make any progress through the traffic as there are a lot of cars out there all very close in terms of performance. It was therefore quite difficult to make any headway using strategy, or by the drivers overtaking on the track. Both cars were reliable though and finished the race with no problems. We;ll now look ahead to the next Grand Prix in Europe and will spend the ensuing few weeks; getting to get some more performance out of the FW29."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Hydraulics): "We had all sorts of problems today. It was a hydraulics problem that put me out, but before that we had a radio problem, so when I overtook Ralf I was unaware it was a Safety Car period as I had no communication with the team. That meant I got a drive-through penalty. A shame, as I started out on hard tyres for a very short stint, gambling on the Safety Car coming out. As I think I was the only one starting on hards, it could have paid off for us very well."
Scott Speed (DNF, Accident): "That was a short race! I got hit from behind at Turn 12 and I don't know who by. In any case the engine cut out while the car was still spinning so I couldn't do anything about it. Jenson thought he hit me, but actually I don't think we touched. Something like this is a shame, because we are still at a stage where we need to do as many miles as possible to develop the car, so stopping on lap 1 isn't really doing us any favours."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "A disappointing Sunday afternoon with neither of our cars finishing. First came Scott's crash and then Tonio had to retire with hydraulic problems. A shame as the strategy change we made when we called Tonio in during the Safety Car period was a good decision and might have seen him finish at least close to the points positions. At least now we have a few weeks ahead of us before the next race, so we can use that time to sort out our problems and be better prepared for the race in Barcelona."
Christijan Albers (14th): "Even when I was running alone it was still quite tough as we had no radio and I had too much oversteer in the first stint. We made a change to the front wing in the first pit stop, which did make it a little better especially at the end when the track became quicker. Although I was not totally happy with the set-up I think we should be happy to finish the race, particularly as I had some hydraulic problems at the end. I'm pleased for the guys too that we got two cars to the finish."
Adrian Sutil (15th): "I had a difficult start - after the last race, turn four is maybe my special turn! Suddenly the cars in front stopped and I couldn't avoid them and lost the front wing. I lost three laps with the repairs and the car wasn't the easiest to drive; when it had a lot of fuel in, the balance was completely different. I did do some consistent lap times during the race though and didn't make any mistakes and in the end I am happy as this was the goal. I feel confident now going into the European season."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Getting two cars to the finish is a great reward for all the efforts of the mechanics here and guys back at the factory, they've put a lot of work in over the last two races, so well done to them. It was our goal this weekend, but now we've got to look forward to the rest of the season and continue to progress."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "It's good to get two cars to the finish. Adrian obviously had a problem on the first lap when he lost his nosebox. With the safety car period afterwards, it would not normally be a problem, but unfortunately he had bent the nosebox pins. We were able to fix it though and get him out, albeit three laps down, and he drove a strong race with very good pace. Christijan had a few problems in race, especially in the last stint where he lost hydraulic pressure and clutch and diff control. It's positive though to get two cars to the finish, a lot of our rivals didn't get there, and from this we can get stronger and start to move forward."
Anthony Davidson (16th, Engine): "This was my best Formula One race to date; it was really good fun. I was in the middle of the action all the time and people were driving very cleanly, but hard. The pitstops were good and everything went to plan. The strategy was working quite well and then right towards the end of the race I obviously saw some smoke coming out of the back of the engine; felt it slow down and the team told me to stop. It was good day nonetheless; the car felt good, it had a nice balance on both sets of tyres."
Takuma Sato (DNF, Engine): "Today was not a good day for us. I made a very positive race start and moved up some places, but I was struggling for grip once again. The car was very unstable throughout the race, so I was really struggling and I felt power loss from the engine half way through. Obviously in the end we had some kind of engine failure and it was a shame that we couldn;t finish the race. However, the team did a great job over these first three flyaway races and I think we have to go back a long time to when we last did not finish a race!"
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "We have had a relatively good weekend in Bahrain. We were able to improve the cars; performance over the three days, although Taku;s set-up was not as clearly defined throughout the weekend as Anthony;s. Both drivers and the team did a great job during the race without any mistakes, so it is unfortunate that neither car was able to finish due to engine trouble. We shall now look ahead to our test in Barcelona and the race there in a few weeks."