Belgian GP 2007
SEPTEMBER 16, 2007
Sunday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (3rd): "It was nice to be back at Spa. At the start I was sticking to the inside line as long as possible. Unfortunately Lewis ran wide, as there was no space left and I knew there was plenty of run off area. I knew that my car in the first stint would be a bit faster as I was stopping one lap earlier than Lewis, so it was very important to be in front. Unfortunately Ferrari was just too quick for us today. I tried quite hard to keep the pace with Felipe in the first stint hoping that I could make up a position in the pitstops, but they were slowly moving ahead - after the first stop it was impossible to catch them. We just seemed to lack a bit of pace in the first and last sectors. It will be a close fight until the end of the Championship which the fans will hopefully enjoy."
Lewis Hamilton (4th): "The car didn't feel too bad, it just hasn't worked for me as well as it has at other tracks. I just couldn't seem to improve on my times at all. I got a good start and thought I had a chance to get past at the first corner, but I had to run wide as Fernando kept to the inside line. Initially I thought 'oh thanks' but I guess these things happen when you fight for the World Championship. During the race I did the best that I could and was pushing all the way to the end, hence the small mistake in the final laps. I got the points, which is the main thing. The gap between Fernando and myself is now down to two points which is close, but I am just going to go all out in the last three races to try and win the Drivers' Championship."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "When you have two great drivers like Fernando and Lewis fighting for the World Championship, you have to expect manoeuvres like we saw today at the start, which are a result of both being extremely competitive. We have a great World Championship with both at the top of the table, and I am looking forward to the next three races. The team gave them every opportunity to fight up until the final lap. We have worked hard and have shown 100% reliability in the races with our cars so far this year and the entire team look forward to the rest of the season."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Today we had not the best performance of the season so far. After five races Lewis was five points ahead of our best placed competitor, after ten he was 11 and now with three races to go 13 and Fernando 11 respectively. We cannot expect dominant results like we achieved last weekend in Monza on every racetrack. Nevertheless Lewis and Fernando continue to cover the top two spots in the Drivers' World Championship as they have done for the last ten Grands Prix. Everybody in our team will work hard to maintain these positions until after the final race in Sao Paulo in five weeks time."
Heikki Kovalainen (8th): "It felt like I drove half of the race with my mirrors today - and when I had a clear track, the car was too heavy to be able to do the lap-times we needed to make our strategy work. To be honest, with a different strategy, I think we could have achieved a better result today because the car was definitely more competitive than it looked. After doing the long runs on Friday, we thought our pace was enough to make the one-stop strategy work, but it just didn't work out today. But that's life - sometimes, you calculate that the riskis worth taking, and it doesn't pay off. I had a fantastic start, but after that, I was just defending all the way through. There was a lot of wheel-to-wheel action but personally, I think that kind of thing is more fun when you are attacking! The positive thing to take from the weekend is that the basic speed of the car was actually closer to the top cars than we showed today. That is a good reason to be optimistic for the last three races of the season."
Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Suspension): "There is not much to say after such a short race. We started from the pit-lane, so we could use the car with a lower downforce set-up to try and make up positions. But when I came to turn five, I braked and the car just didn't slow down. It went straight on, I touched the barrier and broke the front-left suspension. I managed to get back to the pits, but there was nothing we could do to continue."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We decided to start Giancarlo from the pit-lane in the T-car, following the engine problem after qualifying. We did so because, as always, the spare car was better optimised for racing from the back of the field, with a lower-downforce set-up. Unfortunately, the brakes were cold after sitting at the end of the pit-lane, and as he tried to slow for turn 5, he ran off track and broke the suspension. As for Heikki, I think we gave him a hard job to do today. We took the deliberate decision to go for a different strategy to our rivals, running one stop instead of two, and at first sight it appears we didn't take the right option. Nevertheless, he drove a determined, tenacious race, and his defence against Kubica in the faster BMW was exemplary."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was a disappointing afternoon for the team, but we can still take some good things from the weekend. Heikki showed again that he can race with the top drivers, and continued his points-scoring streak. And the performance of the car in qualifying showed we can be optimistic for the end of the season. Now, we need to make sure we get everything possible from those last races, and don't let any opportunities slip."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st): "A great day! I had some doubts about the car's handling after yesterday's qualifying, but everything went well. The car worked very well for the whole race: I was quick enough in the first part to control the race after that. It is nice to win here on my favourite track for the third time in a row. Now we must continue to push. We are still a long way off in the championship but we are not giving up and we will keep going right to the very end of the championship."
Felipe Massa (2nd): "It was a good race. I just had a bit of oversteer in the first stint but, at the stop we made a change to the front wing. The soft tyres worked very well and it might have been better to use them even for the first stint but you can only see things like that after the race. I am very happy for the team as we really wanted this one-two! Now, the situation in the championship is a bit better and we will continue to fight to the end, believe it!"
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Seventh win, the fourth with Kimi and the second one-two of the year. These are the numbers after a fantastic weekend and they come courtesy of all the work of a great team, which is working as one, united and motivated, while the drivers also did a great job. Also playing a key role as ever was the support of our technical and partners, such as Shell. Of course, with hindsight it is easy to say we should have more points to our name at this stage of the season. It is down to us to correct our mistakes and improve our strong points. This is the key, if we want to have a chance of winning the championships. There are three races to go and we will tackle them in the same spirit with the same approach as always, which means to say, with determination, passion and team spirit."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "It was a great weekend. After a very close qualifying which saw us get both our cars on the front row, today we dominated the race. The F2007s worked really well, also thanks to the help of our technical partners, first and foremost Shell. The start was very important and then Kimi built up the gap in the first stint. Both drivers were exceptional, as was the whole team, both on the track and at home. Now we prepare for the last three races, starting with the Japanese Grand Prix, which takes place at a new venue. We will have to be as well prepared as possible to give it our utmost to try and repeat a day like today."
Rubens Barrichello (13th): "This has been a pretty frustrating weekend for us because we have been struggling with the car from start to finish. Today, carrying that amount of fuel for a one-stop strategy, the rears were locking badly and I was fighting the car the whole race. Now we have to look forward to Tuesday, the start of our test in Jerez, where we will test the car in a different configuration - hopefully a better one so we can make some progress in the remaining three races."
Jenson Button (DNF, Hydraulics): "It's always disappointing to retire from a race but it was six laps less pain as the car was so difficult to drive. We expected a tough race this weekend, having tested the revised circuit back in July, so it was no surprise that the car has not been working well here. It was a tough race and the car was changing from huge oversteer to understeer throughout the lap. Then the clutch started slipping, the power steering failed and it was clear we had experienced a hydraulic failure. Disappointing, but we head to Jerez next week with new developments for our home race in Japan and let's hope for better things in Fuji."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Our race result today reflects our qualifying positions and that was the most we could hope for really. On this high-speed track our car is simply not fast enough to get us into the points on merit and today there were no reliability issues at the front of the field. We adopted a one-stop strategy, which was the right choice from where we started, and both Jenson and Rubens did a good job with a very difficult car. Next week we will be testing a new aero package in Jerez, which will be used for the remaining three races. We hope to be able to demonstrate the benefit of all the hard work that has been taking place back at base over the past few weeks."
Nick Heidfeld (5th): "This time my start wasn't good at all. In the first corner I tried to make up for it, but it didn't work out. I was braking too late and in the end lost out and was on the outside of the pack. I knew I had to overtake Heikki Kovalainen because he was on a one stop strategy. It wasn't easy but possible. When Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber refuelled a lot earlier than me it was clear I could finish ahead of them. Also my lap times were good when I had nobody in front of me and drove in clean air. Towards the end I was under no pressure so reduced the engine's revs."
Robert Kubica (9th): "This is how it is as sometimes you push and get nothing. I didn't do a very good start, but the race was how we expected it would be - very difficult. It was very difficult behind Heikki Kovalainen as they have much more top speed, so when I was behind him I could not even gain five metres. Also when I was behind David Coulthard after the first pit stop, I was much faster in the corners but as soon as we were on the straights it was not possible to stay behind him. I lost a lot of time as I was behind him for almost ten laps, and was running about two seconds a lap slower than I could have done."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We witnessed a good performance from our drivers today. Although Nick lost two positions at the start, during the race he improved from eighth to fifth. Robert made some very good manoeuvres, overtaking several cars on the track, although he was stuck in traffic for quite a while. He really deserved one point for his strong race, but gaining five positions and improving from P14 to P9 is good."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Nick lost two positions at the start, but very soon it was clear that this would have no influence on his result. He was considerably quicker than Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber, despite carrying more fuel, therefore, he was able to overtake them during his first pit stop. From this moment on he enjoyed a quiet race which he finished strongly in fifth. Robert had to start from P14 and showed fighting spirit right from the beginning. He overtook five cars in a few laps. However, after his first pit stop he got stuck behind the one-stoppers. In particular he lost a lot of time behind David Coulthard, which in the end was just a little too much to finish eighth. He really deserved to score a point."
Ralf Schumacher (10th): "The race was okay. I did my best and I think we got the best out of the car, but unfortunately it was not quite enough for any points. Looking at it from that perspective, it is frustrating because we pushed the car to the limit and we hoped for more after our competitive pace in practice. On Friday it looked promising but we lost out compared to the other teams and now we need to look at the reasons for that. The next race is at our home track, Fuji Speedway, so the whole team is looking forward to the Japanese Grand Prix. Clearly this is an important race. It is disappointing not to score points here but we will push hard to do that in Japan."
Jarno Trulli (11th): "That was a difficult afternoon for me. At the first corner I lost a few places because I had to brake and go on the outside after another car braked late. There was nothing I could do. I fell behind other cars who had more fuel on board and were much slower than me, but it was not possible to overtake because we didn't have the straightline speed. I expected more from the race and if you look at the performance of the car when I was not in traffic, we were quite competitive and I was happy with the balance. Now we will focus on Fuji Speedway for the Japanese Grand Prix and I hope we can get a better result in our home race. We will be working hard in the test this week to improve and we will try our best as always."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "We were expecting a better result from this race so it is a disappointing result. Our performances earlier in the weekend were quite strong so we were optimistic. Ralf did a good job and considering there were no retirements in front of him that was the best he could do. He was on a one-stop strategy and kept in contact with Kovalainen, who was on a similar strategy. For Jarno, he lost places at the first corner and after the time he lost in traffic, his race was effectively over, even if he did show reasonable race pace later on. Of course now we must prepare for the Japanese Grand Prix. We are focused on Fuji Speedway now and our target is to get a strong result."
Mark Webber (7th): "It's very good for us to get points today, it's not always easy for us these days and it was great to beat the other Renault team fair and square. David did great job acting as a buffer in front of Kubica, which assisted me. It was an enjoyable race this afternoon, although today my thoughts are of course with the McRae family and the terrible tragedy that happened yesterday."
David Coulthard (DNF, Hydraulics): "I had to stop due to a hydraulic related issue, I lost throttle control and power steering. On Friday the car failed in Eau Rouge, which is never good, but fortunately this time it happened on a straight, so I had more room to manoeuvre my car out of the way of the others. There's no way you can get it back to the pits in that situation, as you have no throttle control. The car was very heavy at the beginning of the race, so I was quite slow, but as the fuel came off, I found more performance. The car wasn't too good when exiting the corners today, or braking into the chicane and the hairpin; in fact there were a lot of problems which aren't usual for this car, so we need to try and understand what went wrong today."
"In line with many people, I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the loss to the McRae family, of father and son, and obviously we must acknowledge the other family that were on board the helicopter as well. Colin was a remarkable man who wore his heart on this sleeve and was the epitome of a racer; fearless and attacking, yet he remained true to his roots and grounded despite the international fame and recognition that he achieved. The world is a sorrier place without him."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A good afternoon's work for Mark, who made the most of his strategy. I think seventh place was the optimum for us today, so it was a good result for him and the team. David was running to a different strategy and aided the team strategically by holding up Kubica for a number of laps. It was unfortunate for him to have what looks like a hydraulics failure, but he was running to schedule and it was disappointing that he wasn't able to capitalize on his good work and make it to the finish. Echoing the sentiments of Mark and David, it has been a tragic weekend for Motorsport losing one of the sports great champions. Our thoughts are with the families."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are very pleased to score two points today. Mark's performance confirmed what we have seen for the past few weeks: our car can perform well and the competition is very tight in this part of the field. David was on a difficult one stop strategy; he gave his maximum and helped the team by defending strongly against Kubica. Unfortunately he had a hydraulic failure and had to retire, which means we still have some work to do to improve the reliability of our package. That's what we will be working on next week as we will be testing in Jerez, our final test before the last three rounds of the 2007 season."
Nico Rosberg (6th): "I am absolutely delighted with the result because today we were again the fourth placed team and it really shows that we are making progress from one race to the next. It's also positive for me because a good car allows me to show what I can do and I am now collecting points consistently, which was my target at the start of the season. BMW were too strong today, so finishing 6th was the best possible outcome. I am especially happy that I did well at this challenging track which was amazing to drive. From here I hope I can continue this progress and improve my placing in the Driver's Championship over the next three races."
Alexander Wurz (DNF, Fuel Pressure): "Starting from 15th on the grid was anything but ideal and it was terribly frustrating. But it was all uphill because we had some fuel pressure problems during the race. The problem got worse and worse, so I had to do an extra pitstop and try and recover fuel pressure, but it didn't work, so the team called me in before things got worse. I think it is easy to understand why I am not happy with today's result."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Nico had a good race and scored another three points for the team. Alex suffered from a fuel pressure problem which we attempted to cure by changing his strategy from a one stop to a two stop and over-fuelling the car, but it didn't fix the problem and we decided to retire him rather than risk an engine failure."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (12th): "I feel I drove a good race, with some nice passing moves. This weekend started on Friday with several problems, but qualifying went very well and I gained two places on the grid because of other people's problems. So I don't think we could have done better. Given how difficult this track is, I think the weekend went better than expected, as we showed we had a good race pace compared to the Red Bull Racing cars. It was a job well done apart from a problem with the right front wheel during the pit stop which cost me a few seconds, that meant I could not fight with Button. But he retired anyway."
Sebastian Vettel (DNF, Steering): "I retired because I could not steer the car to the right. It was a problem with the steering but we don't yet know exactly what it was. In left hand corners it was fine. The problem was getting worse and at first we thought it might be something related to the tyres. But as soon as I left the pits with new tyres and went into the first right hand corner, I could feel the same problem. A real shame as the race was only five laps old and we seemed to have quite a good race pace."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "We had a good race with Tonio, apart from a small problem with the right front during the pit stop. The rest of his race was consistent and quick. He was able to fight with the Honda, running at the same pace. I think twelfth is an optimum result for us on a day when few in front of us had any problems. It's a shame Sebastian was unable to get past the opening laps because of a steering problem we are currently investigating. We are testing in Jerez next week and we will continue trying to make progress to the end. We cannot afford to lie back."
Adrian Sutil (14th): "This is the first time I am smiling after getting out of the car! It was a good race and every lap there were cars in front and behind that I was racing so I had to really push, but also defend. It was a great feeling, especially the first run, which was crazy - I could take one car after another and got up to 12th before the first pit stop. We didn't have any trouble in the stops, everything went very smoothly, and I think 14th place with the B-spec car is very good."
Sakon Yamamoto (17th): "From the start I really pushed as I could set the same pace as the other drivers, but I had a soft tyre that gave a a lot of understeer. On my first stop we went to the harder tyre and made a wing change so the car became much better balanced and I could push for the rest of the race distance. It was a good result and I think we can be pleased as this weekend we have shown how much we can do with the B-spec. The next race in Fuji will be my home Grand Prix so I am now really looking forward to racing there."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I am very pleased to see that we are now making real progress and are able to compete with the cars around us. Adrian had an excellent race to 14th position and Sakon did a very solid job in only his fourth race for the team. I think we can now look forward to the last three races of the year."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Obviously a very pleasing and competitive race for us, so well done to everyone in the team. Adrian drove a storming race, especially on his first stint, and if he had been able to get past the one-stopping cars I think we would have been able to finish one or two places further up. But overall I think it's good to be racing and overtaking some of the works teams and, as a small team and a true constructor, I think we can be very proud of what we have done today."
Takuma Sato (15th): "It was a good race, under the difficult circumstances. I made up a few places at the start, but on the Kemmel straight, when I was side by side with a Toro Rosso, I was pushed off and so had to run on the 'green' and lost a lot of momentum. I then had to keep battling to make up my lost positions, but I had fun doing it and had some exciting moments. That shows how great the Spa circuit is for Formula One; that there are overtaking opportunities and that it's a challenging circuit. It's just a shame that we did not have the speed today, and that was frustrating. However, all-in-all I think that we have a taken a few positive notes here before we head off to the Japanese Grand Prix."
Anthony Davidson (16th): "It was a pretty uneventful race for me. I had to start from the pitlane after feeling a problem on the front end of the car on the out lap, so that was a shame. But I caught up with the back of the pack and really fought hard on my one-stop strategy to make the most of it, and I think we did. I was stuck on the prime tyre for longer than I wanted and just as the options came into the working window. From then on I just had to bring the car home. It was good to see our strategy pay off and I think that we've learnt a lot from this weekend and will move forward for the last three races."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "Given the Saturday that we had, today was going to be all about working hard to produce a standard race and both drivers stuck to their task. Anthony reported an ill-handling car on the way to the grid, so we opted to change the set-up and start from the pitlane. We put both drivers on what we believe were the best strategies today and I think that we got the best out of the cars that we could. The team did a great job in the pitstops and once again our reliability was good. Although we did not have a super competitive car, the racer in Takuma still showed through."