French GP - Sunday - Team Quotes

Nick Heidfeld, Fernando Alonso, French GP 2007

Nick Heidfeld, Fernando Alonso, French GP 2007 

 © The Cahier Archive

McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (3rd): "I'm pleased to have finished third today and have continued my run of podium finishes in Formula 1. I didn't have the best start and I don't know exactly what the reason was. My car was very good in the opening stage of the race, and I pushed hard to get past Kimi, but unfortunately it didn't work out. We opted for a three-stop strategy. I am happy for my team as we are still heading both the drivers' and constructors' rankings. We will now focus on the British Grand Prix next week where I think we will be competitive again. I am confident for a better weekend at my home Grand Prix as everybody in the team has worked very hard for this, as we do for every race."

Fernando Alonso (7th): "I did the maximum I could today, but we knew it would be difficult starting 10th with a fuel strategy that was originally aiming for a top three grid position. This meant that at the pit stops I was always changing positions and ending up behind those I had already passed. The fight with Nick Heidfeld was fun, but it was a lot of hard work. I also made a good move on Giancarlo. I am contesting the World Championship, so I had to do whatever I could today and was not worried about the risks. It is a disappointing result, but we will have to look to improve next week, where we should be strong."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A difficult race. Both drivers put in solid performances, and particularly Fernando, who for me was the man of the race with his various battles against Heidfeld and Fisichella. We had the option of switching between a two or three-stop strategy for Lewis, and we opted for the latter to ensure that he had minimal traffic and maintained his strong and safe third position. Fernando's race was always going to be challenging starting from 10th, but our aim was to score points, which he did. However it is clear that we were not as competitive as we hoped, but coming to our home Grand Prix in Silverstone next weekend, we are still leading both World Championships and we will be strong there."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Lewis put in a good race finishing third and taking his eighth consecutive podium position in as many races this season. Fernando had some quite spectacular battles with Nick Heidfeld, which the fans surely enjoyed. He finally came home seventh. Ferrari was better today which means that we have to further improve. Halfway though the season Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is leading both World Championships, with Lewis and Fernando heading up the Driver's ranking. We all will work extremely hard to keep it that way in the second half until after Sao Paulo. Now we are looking forward to the next two races, our home Grands Prix at Silverstone and at the Nürburgring."

Renault

Giancarlo Fisichella (6th): "I did the best possible today. The pace was very close to BMW, and even closer to the other teams in front too, as I was able to keep Fernando behind me on equal fuel loads at the end of the race. So for sure, we are getting better and better, and moving forward all the time. Ultimately though, I lost one position this afternoon, and that's not good - especially when it's a BMW that goes in front. The main problem was the understeer with the high fuel load in the second stint, which cost me too much time. I had a small battle with Fernando early in the race, but he was much lighter and got past. We were running together again at the end, though, and it was much closer. The soft tyres grained a little bit in the first few laps of the final stint, and he was much faster than me through turn three, so we had a good battle for a few laps. Then the tyresituation improved, and I was able to build a little gap. That was quite satisfying and it shows the car is getting better. Now, we need to try and close the points difference with BMW next weekend in Silverstone."

Heikki Kovalainen (15th): "Well, my race was over on the first lap really and it's a big missed opportunity for me. I was turning through turn 5 when Jarno hit me, spun me round and punctured the right-rear tyre. I had to pit, lost nearly a lap and then it felt like I was slowing down for blue flags almost every lap! The times seemed quite competitive when I was in clean air, but it was hard to get into a rhythm to be honest. I was racing around the same group of leaders all race, which shows I was on the pace, but there's nothing you can do after an incident like that. But qualifying and practice showed we are getting on the pace step by step, so I am looking forward to Silverstone in seven days' time."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This afternoon's race failed to fulfil the promise of qualifying. In Heikki's case, he was pushed off by Trulli on lap one and from then on, it was bound to be difficult as we tried to shift his stops around to get him out of the inevitable traffic. Giancarlo's first stint was competitive, and on the softer tyres at the end he was also quick. But the middle stint did us a lot of damage relative to BMW. Looking forward, we have another race in seven days' time - and the chance to repair the damage from this afternoon. Our Silverstone test went very well ten days ago, and we will be looking to fight back strongly."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Things looked good after qualifying, but the race showed us that we still have some way to go. Heikki had his race spoiled on lap one through no fault of his own. Giancarlo drove well but the car seemed too heavy in the middle stint, and it cost too much time. He showed good aggression to keep Fernando behind, but the story of the afternoon is that we still have work to do. The gap with BMW is almost nothing, but we need to convert the promise of Saturday afternoon into hard points on Sunday."

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen (1st): "Finally! Everything went the right way in my race. It was vital that I managed to get past Hamilton at the start and then I always tried to stay with Felipe. I knew I had a few laps in hand but, at my first pit stop, I had a bit of traffic and I was unable to get in the lead. Then at the second stop, the situation was turned around and I came out in front. Right from the start of the weekend we have been strong and this win is the reward for all the hard work carried out over the past few weeks. Now we must continue to improve the car because there is still room to do so, starting with the next race which we should tackle with the same approach that we used here in Magny-Cours."

Felipe Massa (2nd): "First of all I want to say I am happy for the team, as it needed this sort of result after a difficult spell. Of course, I would have wanted to win but I was delayed by traffic in the decisive phase of the race, when I knew I had to build up a bit of a lead over Kimi to stay ahead of him during the pit stops. The way the cars are today, you start to get some turbulence from the cars that are a certain distance ahead of you and so it is difficult to overtake even the slower cars if they don't really move over for you. My car was almost perfect and when I had a clear track ahead of me I was quickest on track. In any case, we have made up ground in both championships and we must continue down this path, starting already in Silverstone."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "What a great one-two! I could not have a nicer present to celebrate the fourteenth anniversary of my arrival at the helm of the Scuderia. Today, everything went perfectly, which is what is needed to get a result like this. Both drivers got great starts, then they drove exceptionally well and fought it out between themselves for the win. Only traffic and strategy finally decided which one got the upper hand. In any case, what matters is that two red Ferrari cars finished ahead of the rest. The team did an impeccable job and the F2007s were up to the job in hand. We fought a very strong opponent and this one-two is crucial for the rest of both championships. There are still nine races to go and everything is still possible. We should try and repeat this result already next week in Silverstone, at the home of our main rivals."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A really great victory! After a strong showing in qualifying, today we had further confirmation that we are competitive in race trim, with the F2007 running completely trouble free. Both drivers fought it out on equal terms, only the traffic making the difference. We have worked so hard these past few weeks, both in the factory and on track. This one-two shows how much Formula 1 is a sport where every detail is important if one is to be the best. We did not die in Indianapolis, so it is not a miracle that we are back today. We worked on all areas and we managed to put together all the pieces of the jigsaw to produce a perfect weekend."

Honda

Jenson Button (8th): "It was an enjoyable race today and we've shown that the car has improved a lot with the new package. It's nice to have a car which gives me the confidence to push and I'm pleased with my fastest lap time relative to our competitors. This shows that our race pace is improving, although we still need to work on our qualifying pace. Once we can get on top of that, we will be in a much stronger position to compete for points going forward. All credit to the whole team today as a faultless race with good pit stops helped me make the most of our strategy. A good weekend and I'm looking forward to another one at the British Grand Prix next week."

Rubens Barrichello (11th): "I was quite heavy on fuel for my opening stint and I don't know if that hurt my first set of tyres because I just didn't have any pace in the car. After that, the pace began to improve but unfortunately it was too late to make any further progress up the field. We will have to look into the reasons for the problems but on the positive side we can certainly say that the car has improved at this race and it is encouraging to take that step forward. We need to maintain our focus now and work hard to bring further improvements."

Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Jenson drove a very good race which proves that the recent car developments have helped us to improve our race pace. Rubens was not so happy with his brakes and had to drive defensively as for much of the race he had lighter cars behind him. All in all one point is a small reward but well-deserved nonetheless."

BMW

Robert Kubica (4th): "This was a good race for the team with us finishing fourth and fifth, and it has been a very good weekend for me. It was a very quiet race. I made quite a good start but we were on the dirty side with Lewis Hamilton, so had no chance to overtake. After that I was close to him just once when he was coming out of the pits and we had a short fight, but he had new tyres, braked later into the hairpin and overtook me again. The last 20 laps were about bringing the car home for a good result for the team, as Lewis was a long way in front and Nick behind. The car was very good, physically I am a hundred per cent and mentally too, and I could do another race now."

Nick Heidfeld (5th): "I am very happy with the result. It was a great race for us, and we scored valuable points. At the start both Renaults went to the middle of the track, I tried to overtake Giancarlo Fisichella on the right hand side, but he moved over, which was not correct. The fights with Fernando Alonso were a lot of fun and also useful for my result. At times I had to defend hard, but I think from both sides it was fair play. It was not easy to keep him behind me, especially as in the middle stint he was very fast with obviously a low fuel load. Ferrari was very strong here as we already saw at the last test. You should never discount Renault as they are the reigning champions."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "After mixed emotions at the overseas races, today our team was a hundred per cent back where it should be. Robert put in a very good performance on his comeback and took fourth place, which this year seems to belong to us! Nick improved from seventh on the grid to fifth overall and had some exciting fights with Fernando Alonso. We didn't only score nine points, which was our best team result so far, but we also strengthened our third place in the constructors' championship. Congratulations to the drivers, the team here at the track and those in Hinwil and Munich, as we had no technical problems during the race."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was a fantastic race for our team. The pit stops were perfect, everything went according to plan and we had no problems at all. Both drivers in their races used the cars to their full potential and didn't make the smallest mistakes. Nick drove a very good race, although he was under pressure all the time. Robert's performance at his return to racing was excellent. With this result we can now go to Silverstone feeling optimistic."

Toyota

Ralf Schumacher (10th): "The race went quite well apart from the first lap. It's a shame that we didn't score points because our pace was competitive. The circumstances on the first lap, when Jarno hit Kovalainen at the hairpin, were unfortunate for me. I couldn't go anywhere and lost a couple of positions as everyone tried to get through the corner safely so I was a bit unlucky. I was a lot quicker than Barrichello but I couldn't overtake. From there on the race was difficult and I lost 20 seconds before my first pit stop. We kept fighting and put some good lap times in, which showed the potential of the car. We are continuously developing the car and I'm sure we will make more progress to improve the car. Silverstone is a different track and a new race. We had a promising test their recently so I hope to score some points."

Jarno Trulli (DNF, Damage): "It was a racing accident. The field was very bunched up on the first lap and to be honest I just misjudged it going into the hairpin. I was not attacking anyone but I just braked too late and I hit Kovalainen. I am really sorry for him because it spoiled his race, and mine as well. Unfortunately I just made a mistake. The impact damaged my suspension as well as my front wing. I got back to the pits but there was no way for us to continue. It's a real shame because I am confident we had a good strategy and I expected to score points today. But the next race is very soon and with everyone in the team working so hard I am sure we will get a better result at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix."

Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "Today this result is not actually that good but there are two or three better things. One would be the competitive performance from Ralf, especially over long runs when he was not held up in traffic. His performance was very good and you could see from his lap times that we had the pace to finish much higher. Unfortunately he lost places after Jarno's accident and that cost him 20 seconds on his first stint. Without that he would have scored points today. I am sure Jarno would also have scored points. Another positive was that our launch at the start was good. Clearly Jarno hit Kovalainen but he was challenging for a top six place and I am very glad to see him racing at that end of the grid. Finally, we had no reliability issues, the cars ran without major trouble all weekend and the team did a very good job. I am proud of them."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (12th): "I had a pretty good start and was fighting with Rubens (Barrichello) through Turns two and three. I got to Turn five and had to go between the cars of Ralf (Schumacher) and Rubens and nearly lost my front wing, but we got through it. I was held up by Ralf in the first stint, who in turn had Barrichello in front of him. Then, on the first lap of my second stint, I had to deal with Ralf while on new tyres, so it was a frustrating race. We tried to go shorter in the second stint to jump Rubens, but it didn't work out."

David Coulthard (13th): "The race was going quite well at the beginning and normally, with my longer strategy, I should have been able to jump some people. But, I'm not sure if my in laps weren't quick enough, or the pit stops weren't quick enough, but with both stops I didn't gain any advantage. Towards the end of the race we turned the engine down, as we weren't racing for points in the last few laps. Looking towards Silverstone next weekend, we'll see what comes out of our de-brief now, to see what we can do before then."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Unfortunately this was our least competitive race of the season so far, the only positive being that both cars ran reliably from start to finish."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Today's result shows once again how important it is to start from the front of the grid, and that it's still very difficult to overtake other drivers because the competition is so tight this season. The engine suffered a little bit today following other cars but there is nothing to be worried about for the next race in Silverstone. The only thing we can be positive about is the fact that our direct rivals did not score any points either today, but we have to bounce back next week at the British Grand Prix!"

Williams-Toyota

Nico Rosberg (9th): "In general, this weekend was positive for me but it wasn't the best race today. Button was slightly quicker and he was obviously having a better day with his car and his tyres, so he finished ahead of me and took the point. It's a shame for everyone who's put in so much effort to leave with no reward. This doesn't affect our position in the Constructors' Championship, but we need to start scoring consistently, particularly because we're now half way through the season."

Alexander Wurz (14th): "Obviously 14th is not where I want to be, it's not satisfying at all. Nevertheless, both cars made it to the finish without any issues which proves our reliability is good. The only problem I had was traffic. I was stuck in the train behind Coulthard and neither our strategy, nor our pace, allowed us to get pass him. Overtaking here is not easy - I made one manoeuvre, but needed more. It's a new game next weekend, and hopefully we'll have better luck at Silverstone. As it's the team's home race, a good result would be great for the guys at the factory."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a shame not to get more from the French Grand Prix. The times were so close and, ultimately, we weren't quick enough. Unfortunately, Nico missed out on scoring a point because he was a tenth or so slower than Button. From Alex's position, it was pretty hard to do anything. There were no problems on the car; we just need to work on our pace."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Scott Speed (DNF, Gearbox): "After the start I had a lot of graining on my front tyres because I think our front wing setting was not the best. This made the first fifteen laps very difficult, after which it improved until it was not too bad. I had no warning about the failure. I just had to stop and I guess it was the gearbox. Now, let's think about Silverstone, where we had quite a positive test. Maybe we can squeeze a bit more performance out of the car for the next race and try and fight nearer the middle of the pack."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Accident): "Once again, my race did not last very long. I felt someone hit me from behind, probably Davidson and that spun me around after which I think we collided again. It's a shame as we had a strategy, whether it rained or not, that could have paid off. Now all we can do is wait for Silverstone and hope that the definite improvement we have made with the car pays off. We deserve some points by now."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "A disappointing result for us. Tonio went out shortly after the start, having been hit from behind by Davidson. As for Scott, he was forced to pull over towards the end, with what we think is a gearbox problem. We will have to investigate the exact cause of the failure. In general, we have made a step forward, but so have all the others. Currently, I think we are about 1 to 1.5 seconds behind the quickest cars. We cannot be satisfied with today's result."

Spyker-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (17th): "This was for sure not the perfect race. We had an electrical problem at the start and I had to change to the T-car, but after I had got used to it I could go faster and faster and the lap times were competitive. Unfortunately then I got a drivethrough penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit and dropped down. I will go through and check everything, but in the end we were just not fast enough this weekend and couldn't race any cars. It is disappointing, but hopefully in Silverstone it will be much better."

Christijan Albers (DNF, Driver Error): "From today I think the most important thing is that the guys were OK and nobody was hurt in the accident. The first stint was quite OK at the beginning but then I got a lot of oversteer and the balance changed a little bit. I think I just made a mistake in the pits, I thought the lollipop was going up. It was quite chaotic as Adrian had just been in the pits, but more on my side and I just drove away. I am pleased that the guys are OK; this is the first time in my life that this has happened, and hopefully the last."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I am not happy and we have to learn from the mistakes that were made today."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "First of all well done to everyone in the pit crew who did a fabulous job. Obviously this was a very difficult race. We had an electrical problem at the start of the race on Adrian's car and he had to start in the spare. During the first stint the pace was not too bad, especially with Adrian who managed to pass his team-mate and set some very competitive lap times. Unfortunately we had a radio problem on Adrian's car, which meant we couldn't get in contact with him and he came in a lap early on the lap we had called Christijan in. The crew did a tremendous job to service both cars and Christijan would have lost very little time as a result, but he made a mistake and drove off when the lollipop was still down and the fuel hose was still attached. It was obviously a very dangerous situation and this sort of thing shouldn't have happened. Unfortunately Adrian then got a drivethrough penalty, but when in clean air our pace was much better than we showed in Qualifying yesterday. As a team we now have to make sure we eliminate mistakes and perform at a much higher level."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (16th): "I had a problem with my car which meant that I could not get a proper race start from the grid. The first stint was okay, but we lost a lot of time during my first pitstop with another fuel rig problem. In the end I just fought to finish my race, but we weren't quick enough. This was a tough race for us. Hopefully things take a positive turn next week, but we need to be pushing for better performance now."

Anthony Davidson (DNF, Damage): "The track was very slippery and as we all headed into Turn One the train of cars in front of me braked very hard and early. Wurz went round the inside of Luizzi, which made him brake heavily and that caused a bit of a chain reaction. I locked up both fronts and made contact with Liuzzi. He spun round and I went round the outside of him. I think then someone else hit him and he came back into me and spun me round. I made it back round to the pits, but the car was too damaged to continue. It is a shame, but I put it down to a racing incident."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was a very tough race. The times set during Qualifying yesterday were very close and it was difficult for us to achieve good positions. Other teams have also made considerable improvements, so we need to improve our performance. After Anthony's retirement today we also encountered some problems with Takuma's first pitstop, so all in all it has not been a great weekend for us."