Spanish GP - Sunday - Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "Things just keep getting better and I continue living my dream. In the early stages I was struggling to get heat into the tyres and had a bit of oversteer, but things improved considerably a few laps into the race - however the gap to Felipe was already too big. In the second stint I was a bit unlucky with the traffic, but that happens sometimes. Overall I'm happy with the outcome of the race, and I want to keep on scoring points. The team has worked really hard since Bahrain and whilst we didn't win I still think we can take some satisfaction as we are leading both Championships."
Fernando Alonso (3rd): "My chance for victory disappeared after the incident at the first corner. I got off the line OK at the start and was able to get a tow from Felipe and challenge into the first corner as I was already half a car length in front however we touched, and I had to go on the gravel to avoid an accident. We were both lucky to finish the race. As a result by the second corner I was fourth. I also sustained a bit of damage to my car which upset the balance for the rest of the race. I lost additional time in the second stint as the tyres were not working as well, but I still think the result would have stayed the same even if we had used the softer tyres."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Coming into the Monaco Grand Prix being first and second in the Drivers' Championship and leading the Constructors' battle is a good achievement for the entire team. Our pace was a little weak in the middle sector. Fernando's race was hampered by having damaged his deflector during his efforts to get past Massa in the first corner. Another solid performance from Lewis. As you would expect we will continue to push hard in our development programme to put the team in the best possible position to win as many of the remaining races as possible."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It's great that Lewis and Fernando are at the top of the list in the Drivers' Championship after the fourth race here in Barcelona. Well done and thank you to all the team members for leading the Constructors' rankings too. Fernando showed a great and committed manoeuvre in the first corner that unfortunately didn't pay off. Lewis again did a great job - we will keep pushing and will increase our performance further. We are now looking forward to the next race in Monaco in two weeks time."
Heikki Kovalainen (7th): "This is my best finish so far in F1, which is something positive for me on a personal level, but within the team, we know that I was quick enough to finish in fifth position today. I am still pleased though, firstly because I got everything out of the car today throughout the whole race, and secondly because the car handling felt much better all the way through the race. We had problems at the first and second stops, and it meant we had to convert our strategy to three stops, and run really aggressive short stints on the soft tyres. During that part of the race, the car was working really well, and that continued during the final stint on the hard tyres. So while we are frustrated about the problems, I am happy to get more points, and we have shown that we are moving in the right direction. The car is getting faster, and although there is still a long way to go, we are confident that we will get back to our true position."
Giancarlo Fisichella (9th): "It was a really tough afternoon for me, with my strategy compromised by traffic, and then the pit-stop problem at the end. I got a good start, but got squeezed out during the run down to the first corner. Then I ran wide when I had snap oversteer in turn 9 and lost three positions, which left me behind Barrichello. I was much faster than him in terms of lap-time, but didn't have the speed to overtake on the straight. I only got into clean air after the second stop, and the car felt really good - I was pushing to the limit to try and build a gap to Sato before the final short stop, but I lost out by a few metres. It is frustrating to finish so close to the points after a day like this, but we can find some positives from the fact that we know our car was quick enough to finish fifth today. That is an encouraging step after the first three races, and I believe we can continue making progress."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Our race today was severely compromised by problems with our refuelling. The problems occurred on both cars, and with both fuel rigs in various combinations, which is more than mere coincidence. We are currently investigating the source of those problems. With Heikki, he ended up with a very light fuel load after his first and second stops, meaning we had to convert our strategy to make three stops and run short stints in the middle of the race. For Giancarlo, the problem occurred on his second and supposedly final stop, which meant we simply had to stop before the fuel ran out, and were unable to optimise his strategy. To salvage two points from such a challenging afternoon is a bonus, but at the same time, we are all extremely disappointed. Moving on from the problems, though, our relative competitiveness shows we have made a small step forward, as our qualifying performance had suggested. We know that we should have been fighting closer behind the leading group this afternoon, and that is a small consolation."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Today, the team has to say sorry to the drivers for the problems we had. The car was better than at the first three races; Heikki had a very consistent weekend, that showed what he can do; and Fisico battled all the way in spite of some difficult circumstances. But now, we need to investigate the fuel rig problems, and ensure they don't happen again. We have made progress, and that is positive, but every point is still vital, and we need to ensure we take the maximum from every race at this stage of the season."
Felipe Massa (1st): "Fantastic!! I cannot find the words to describe the emotions I feel after such a closely fought race. The duel at the start was very tight: I took some risks but I absolutely did not want to lose position and that meant we touched when he came up the inside of me. Luckily, the car was undamaged, and so I was immediately able to pull away from my pursuers. I wanted to get a good lead straight away so that I could manage the situation in the second stint of the race and that's how it went. The F2007 is a great car, but we need to improve further in order to get both cars across the finish line, as our closest rivals have done. Reliability is the key. Now we come to the Monaco race: it can be something of a lottery there and you need a bit of luck on your side. Once again, I would like to thank Michael for the help he has given me over all these years. His lessons have been useful to me!"
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Electronics): "Honestly, there's little to say, except that I'm very disappointed. I lost a place to Hamilton at the start, but made the most of the fight between Felipe and Fernando to get back to third place. I was running at a good pace and could have had a good result, but suddenly the car had an electrical problem and all I could was come back to the garage. I have lost precious points but there are still thirteen races to recover."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Pole position, victory and fastest race lap: for the second consecutive race weekend, Felipe Massa put in a flawless performance. He was really great today in a great Ferrari car. It was an exciting race, especially in the opening stages: the duel at the start between Felipe and Alonso, disappointment for Kimi's retirement due to a problem in the wiring to the alternator, flames at the first pit stop. In the second part of the race, Felipe drove impeccably, controlling the situation and bring home a wonderful win. We know that one of the indispensable ingredients for winning the championship is reliability and twice now it has been missing this season, today with Kimi's car. Therefore, despite three wins and four pole positions, we are back to a following role in both classifications, because of the great competitiveness of our main rivals. This season is very hard to predict, there is still a long way to go and much work to do to reach the objectives we have set ourselves. We know what is required and how important will be the support of all our technical partners."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A great performance from Felipe, who completed what was a perfect weekend for him. We had struggled in free practice to do a quick time over a single lap with new tyres but we had seen that our race pace was very good and today that was confirmed. A shame that Kimi had a problem in the wiring to the alternator: there was no warning and now we have to see what caused it, robbing him of a probably podium finish. Then we had a slight fuel leak at Felipe's first pit stop, which caused a small fire that did not do any damage either on the car or the refuelling rig. Once more, reliability is crucial and we must leave nothing to chance to ensure that a technical problem does not rob us of a good result again."
Rubens Barrichello (10th): "A better race today in terms of our overall performance and the handling of the car but we just don't have the pace to improve our final position significantly. I had left Jenson enough room at turn one, it's a shame but just one of those racing incidents. We have the four-day test at Paul Ricard this week and I hope we can see another small step forward by Monaco."
Jenson Button (12th): "We had a good strategy and have been working towards the race all weekend, so I think we were on target for a better day today. Unfortunately, as I exited the pit lane after my first stop, I hit the kerb on the apex and that threw me offline. I lost my front wing as I touched the right rear of Rubens' car and I had to come back in for a nose change and that was that really in terms of fighting for a point. In the last stint though I thought our pace was very similar to that of Kovalainen and Rosberg which is what helped me to climb back up to 12th. Overall I think we have had a slightly better weekend but there is a lot of work ahead of us. So we have to keep pushing in the test next week and in Monaco and hopefully that will pay dividends for a better step forward in Montreal."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "On the positive side we have made some degree of progress here this weekend. On the other hand, it is just a small step when we have a lot of catching up to do. During the first part of the race both drivers looked to be in a position where they could finish in the top eight. Unfortunately Jenson came together with Rubens after his first stop and damaged his front wing. Rubens ran 8th before the last pit-stop, but the balance on the last set of tyres was not good and he lost the position."
Robert Kubica (4th): "I am very satisfied because this is my first race this season without any problems, and you can see the result. Today everything came together for me. I could fight for top places, and that is what I did today. I had quite a good, consistent race, although I had some problems with tyre degradation in the second stint when I was behind Alonso and Coulthard was closing the gap, but everything was under control. In the end, after the second pit stop, I tried to push and make the gap to Coulthard bigger. Now we have to continue working in this direction."
Nick Heidfeld (DNF, Gearbox): "In the end it was most likely a gearbox problem that stopped me, but unfortunately my race was over much earlier after the problem during my first pit stop. For some reason the front right wheel was loose, we have to look at it how this happened. For the first 24 laps until this stop it looked superb for me. I drove a long first stint and my second stint would also have been a long one. On top of this Alonso was not very quick on the harder tyres in his second stint. I believe I had the chance to finish on the podium today."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We view the result with mixed emotions. Eight cars retiring was a lot today, and sadly we were among them - most likely it was a gearbox failure. But as disappointing as this is for us and for Nick, it was a positive result for Robert. He scored our fourth fourth place today, drove a very good race and our team is now established as the third strongest. At the end of the day the result is pleasing."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "After a race like this I have mixed feelings. Robert drove a strong race and deserved fourth place. Nick was also in a good position before his pit stop. We then had a problem fitting the front right wheel nut, had to bring Nick in one lap later and, as a result, his race was ruined. After 46 laps a technical failure forced him to retire. However, on the positive side we are pleased with five more championship points."
Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Retired): "That was another difficult weekend for me. The start itself was okay and I made up a couple of places. It was a bit messy but from where I was on the grid that is to be expected. There was a bit of chaos at turn 10 when I was hit from behind but that's the way it goes sometimes. I had to pit to check for damage but we were able to continue. From there the race was quite good and at least we were able to keep up a strong pace. Unfortunately the nose then worked loose and I had to retire. Our car has improved but we were far away from where we should have been today so we will have to keep working hard."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Fuel Pressure): "This was one of those days. Unfortunately at the end of the parade lap while I was heading to the grid to take the start, the engine cut out due to a problem with the fuel pressure. That meant we had to take the restart from the pit lane. We managed to get the engine going again using higher revs and then we were able to put in a few laps that looked pretty good. But in the end the problem was too severe to continue further and we had to retire. This is the kind of thing that can happen in motor racing but it was a pity because we qualified well and we were in a good position to fight today. We have made a step forward this weekend but this is the first time we have missed the points this year. Now we have to keep pushing hard to improve both our performance and our reliability."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "It's obviously disappointing that neither of our cars finished today. Jarno did very well in qualifying but before the start of today's race he had a problem with his fuel line. That made his fuel pressure unstable and meant his engine was not working properly. Ralf made a good start and made up ground before he was hit from behind by Alexander Wurz. He had to pit in to check the car and from there he had good race pace considering the rear left endplate was damaged and he was therefore losing top speed. Then he had to stop due to a problem that was an indirect consequence of his crash. After over 40 laps his nose worked loose and we now have to investigate why that happened. The only thing we can say about today is at least the problems all came at the same time, which is very efficient! On a positive note we were pleased to discover we were on similar strategies to the top cars so Jarno's qualifying performance was encouraging. We head to Monaco with a further upgrade on the car so we hope for a more successful weekend there."
David Coulthard (5th): "Towards the end of the race, I lost third gear and thought I was going to have to retire the car. I managed to drive using only fourth gear and above, which lost me time in the last sector, but I was still able to be quick in the first. We've made more progress than any other team since the beginning of the year and when you're aggressively attacking lap times, sometimes you have to put other areas of the car to one side. That's the growing pains we're going through at Red Bull Racing at present, but I think everyone agrees we'd rather have pace and show we're genuinely quick - and then work on reliability, than have a reliable car that only finishes tenth."
Mark Webber (DNF, Hydraulics): "Unfortunately reliability problems cost me a race finish today. At the moment, I think it's a recurrence of yesterday's hydraulic problem. We had planned to go for a long first stint because of my low grid position, but it doesn't matter what strategy you have if you don't get to the finish. There's not much more to say except for the obvious fact that it's disappointing. But, at least David's great result and finish in the points proves that the car has the pace to do well. It's a great boost for the whole team."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "David was exemplary today. He had good pace, a good start and a good strategy. Despite a problem that gave us all a bit of a scare in the last three laps, he found a way to drive round it by using all his experience. He was able to bring the car home in fifth position and get us onto the scoreboard. I'd like to acknowledge the huge effort made by the whole team. Everyone's been working hard over the last few weeks, but we still need to keep pushing. It's disappointing that we had a repetition of yesterday's transmission failure on Mark's car. He's had miserable luck all weekend, but I'm sure he'll bounce back in Monaco and we can head there optimistic, in full knowledge that we've made a good step forward in pace here this weekend."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are very pleased with today's result. We scored our first four points of the season and showed that our package has real potential. The engine worked perfectly and its good qualities in low revs even helped compensate for David's gearbox problem in the late stages, and helped him to defend his position. In spite of Mark's unfortunate retirement, we showed today that we have nothing to envy our direct competitors and that we have genuine potential, which is very encouraging for the coming races!"
Nico Rosberg (6th): "It was a good race and there's no doubt we got the balance right, especially in the middle stint, when I was really able to push on fresh tyres. Thanks to the team for the strategy and the perfectly timed pitstops. My only problem was that my drinks' bottle didn't work and I couldn't take in any fluids during the race at all so it was really tough, not just because I was thirsty, but in terms of concentration, especially towards the end. This is the best result I've had in F1 so far, and that's a great feeling. Trying to catch up with Coulthard at the end of the race was exciting, but I really needed a couple more laps to get him. Three points are great and I am happy that everything came together for us today."
Alexander Wurz (DNF, Damage): "A short race, and really just not the best weekend for me. I had a good start and overtook a few guys, but then I was lined up behind Ralf going into turn 10 and he suddenly had to lift for someone in front. It's such close racing out there so I had zero chance to react and ended up on his wheel. It proved the end of my race. I'm disappointed that I could not show my race pace, but you can count on me in Monaco."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Everyone did everything right today. The starts were good and it was an impressive drive from Nico. He pulled everything he could out of the car and we didn't experience any reliability issues. Unfortunately, Alex did not have the best of weekends as he shunted on the first lap which ended his race. The three points mean we leave Spain in fifth place in the Constructors' Championship, which is a welcome result for the team."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Hydraulics): "I retired with a hydraulic problem. We have been suffering with mechanical difficulties since Friday. I had another problem at the start and lost three places. Of course it's a shame as many other cars seemed to have problems and we could have made up even more places and I was already up to twelfth when I had to retire. Our race pace is definitely better than in qualifying and so that is something we must now try and improve on before Monaco, as well as working a lot on our reliability."
Scott Speed (DNF, Tyre): "The start and the opening couple of laps were fun, going from last on the grid to fourteenth. Then a couple of laps before I retired I noticed the tyre was going down so I was evidently losing some air pressure. Eventually the tyre just exploded as I was going down the straightaway. The car dragged on the track and there was no way to continue."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "A very disappointing weekend. The start was olay from both drivers who did a good job in the early laps. Unfortunately we then suffered a technical failure on Tonio's car as he lost hydraulic fluid. We will now have to investigate to find out why. Scott had a problem with his left rear tyre. This will also need investigating. Now we are testing at Paul Ricard where we will have to work on our reliability issues."
Adrian Sutil (13th): "It was a good race for me. It was important that we finished. I did very consistent lap times compared to the other teams in front of us, which shows we can now follow cars in front and put them under some pressure - this can only be good for future races. The first pit stop was OK, but in the second the engine stalled. I only lost three or four seconds but it was enough to lose the place, but I'm pleased with the performance and looking forward to Monaco, where I've also raced before."
Christijan Albers (14th): "Once more we've got to be pleased we got two cars to the finish, but we've got to now focus on really getting up there with the other teams. The beginning of the race was good, I could keep up with others, but it was disappointing to get the blue flag penalty and then have the stall in the second pit stop. I think we're moving forward though and with the test next week in Paul Ricard, we can hope for a better result out in Monaco."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "The whole team worked hard and did a great job this weekend. We've moved forward not only in pace, but also in the championship - going up a place is a just reward for all the hard effort for the team."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Again it was a step forward for us in getting both cars home. It was a relatively trouble-free race, although stalls for both drivers in the second pit stops and Christijan's drivethrough penalty cost us a little bit of time and, for Adrian, also lost us a position to Button. Our pace was however more competitive than in previous races and we had good reliability, so now we have to concentrate on bettering the overall package and getting new parts on the car that will improve our speed relative to the others."
Takuma Sato (8th): "Just an amazing weekend, a truly great performance from the team. I don't have the words really‚Äö√Ñ¬∂.. just one year plus four races, scoring one point in a head-to-head straight fight... beating Renault and grabbing the point. I just never expected this result, I'm really deeply proud of the work the team has done back in Leafield and all the team at Honda Tochigi, our sponsors, fans, families, all the people who support us. I just cannot describe how happy we are and a point means much more than anything else for us and this is an absolutely fantastic result. It was a tough race and especially through the first two stints. I was struggling a little with the pace, but I just kept on going and never gave up until the last stint when the car came back on a good balance and I was able to drive really hard. I was fighting with Giancarlo but I could not see him ahead of me and my race engineer kept saying "we're fighting with Renault" and I just put my foot down. When I saw Giancarlo coming down the pitlane and I was a fraction ahead of him, it was just fantastic. Well done everybody."
Anthony Davidson (11th): "It is a great result for the team today. It is really good to score our first point; it's what we were all working for from the word go this year and we knew it was going to be really tough, but we got there. So onwards and upwards and next time hopefully it will be me!"
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "The team did a perfect job today. We were lucky, but the drivers and team maintained our very good positions through out the race and the first Championship point is very important for us."