European GP 2007
JULY 22, 2007
Sunday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (1st): "This was a really exciting race for both the drivers and all the fans. The conditions were unbelievable - mainly at the start when we were just aquaplaning everywhere. In the dry conditions the Ferraris were a little faster but in the final stages when the rain started again, we were quicker and I was able to overtake Felipe to take the lead. During this battle we touched twice, but that is motor racing, and we were fighting for victory. There was a close one in the pitlane during my last stop where there was a lot of traffic, and I was side-by-side with Giancarlo. All in all a good weekend for me, and I gained valuable World Championship points for both me and the team. In difficult conditions the team did a great job."
Lewis Hamilton (9th): "This was an extraordinary weekend and a new experience for me. Initially I made a good start and was sixth. I got into fourth when the two BMWs went off, and I picked up a puncture and had to pit. The team took advantage of this and fitted rain tyres, but it just got too slippery and I went off. I managed to keep the engine running, and a crane was able to get me free - thank you Nurburgring Marshalls. The race was then red flagged. After the restart I pushed as much as I could to catch up, but when you are almost a lap down you really have to rely on other people's misfortune. I was able to get ninth in the end after passing a Renault on the last lap, but no points."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "This was motor racing at its best. Fernando did a fantastic job demonstrating why he is a double World Champion. First of all, he kept the car on the road during the first downpour. From that moment both him and the team made all the right decisions. However his second stint following the switch to dry tyres was hampered by a wing adjustment tool failing and as a result he struggled with understeer, but fortunately in his third stop we were able to properly adjust the wing, and from there his pace was fantastic. Following the final stop to fit the intermediate rain tyres he and the car came into their own and it was great to be part of such a tremendous drive and a great race win. Lewis's race was truly eventful. Following a great start which saw him move from 10th to fourth, he picked up a puncture and immediately went into the pits. Fortunately we were able to take advantage of this and fit the intermediate tyres but he was a little ambitious in trying to push forward in what were appalling conditions and spun, but fortunately kept the engine running. On being lifted back on the circuit he was able to continue. Following the red flag period it took a while for the time keepers to establish that he had to drive through the field and past the Safety Car. Once this was done he decided to take the gamble and fit dry tyres and refuel. Unfortunately before being able to drive to the back of the pack, the Safety Car pitted and he was quickly swallowed up by those cars that were still equipped with rain tyres. After three laps the circuit dried, and he was ultimately able to unlap himself and then set numerous fastest laps to eventually finish one place out of the points. To come away with Fernando closing the gap on Lewis and the team extending its lead in the Constructors' Championship by two points is a great conclusion to a challenging Grand Prix."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The best and most exciting race of the year. In rarely seen difficult conditions. Fernando did a fantastic job and achieved a well-deserved victory. He was a class of his own in the rain. Lewis was the fastest driver in the field for many laps with a car the mechanics had repaired over night and I thank them for their great efforts. All of them worked together - Fernando's guys and Lewis's guys and the Mercedes engine colleagues too. It is great to win on home soil, and I am sure the spectators here and in front of the TVs enjoyed it a lot. Both drivers are at the top of the overall ranking within two points and in the Constructors' Championship, we extended our lead to 27 points. In the first ten races we have shown reliability and everybody in the team will work hard to continue this achievement until after the end of the season."
Heikki Kovalainen (8th): "There is not too much to say about this afternoon, to be honest. We took some gambles, especially with the wet tyres during my final stop, and they didn't pay off. I had to look after my wet tyres on a dry track until the rain came, and it just took too much out of them to be an advantage. But from the position we were in, with one stop still to make, it was a gamble worth taking. This hasn't been a good day for the team, but we managed to score one point at least. There is an important test coming up this week, the last before the summer break, and it will be important to get some good answers there, to help us find the right track again in Hungary and Turkey."
Giancarlo Fisichella (10th): "We had the opportunity to do well today, but we didn't take advantage of it. I lost positions with an extra lap on slicks at the beginning, and then queuing in the pits behind Heikki too. After that, we had to run with some heavy fuel loads, and although the car balance was OK, the performance wasn't really there. It has been a tough weekend since Friday morning, and we will be working hard before Hungary to make sure we are in a better position when practice begins in Budapest."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Changeable conditions require teams to react quickly and effectively to the challenges they present. Clearly, we failed to do so this afternoon, and while both drivers performed strongly, we didn't give them the opportunity to shine. This has been a difficult weekend for the whole team, and we appear to have lost some ground to the midfield group that was chasing us in recent races. This week's test at Jerez will be an important opportunity to understand how and why that happened, with a view to regaining our advantage, beginning with the next race."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was a bad race for the team. We arrived here optimistic that our new developments would help us gain in performance, but we failed to take advantage of the changing conditions during the race, and lost more ground to our rivals. Our job now is to analyse everything back at the factory, understand our mistakes and start moving forward again."
Felipe Massa (2nd): "A second place that leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I had driven a strong race right up until the last rain shower, then once I had the rain tyres on, I immediately felt vibrations which made the car very unbalanced. And that, after I had been really strong when it had been wet in the early stage of the race. In the dry, I managed to gradually make up ground on Alonso because the car was great. I was lucky at the start because I managed to stay on track when the conditions meant it was almost impossible, but then I was not so lucky at the end. But that's racing and I have to accept it. The discussion with Fernando? I was a bit on edge but then he apologized and that was the end of it. The positive side is that I have made up a lot of ground in the Drivers' classification. There is still a long way to go this season and we have to be confident."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Hydraulics): "I am very disappointed. I was in a good position, immediately right behind Felipe and Alonso and the car was very quick and I was convinced I could win. But gradually, the hydraulic system began to malfunction, I began to lose time and then I was forced to stop. This knock back does not mean I feel like giving up the fight, even if there is now one less race in which to compete. The gap to the head of the classification remains the same and anything can happen in the seven remaining races. We have a very competitive car but clearly we have to improve on the reliability front."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "The result of this European Grand Prix should not be described other than disappointing. We had a very competitive car and we were starting from first and third places. But we are going home with just eight points thanks to Felipe's second place. At the end of a race run in changeable weather, - dry, wet, dry again and more rain at the end - Felipe saw himself miss out on a win which he richly deserved, losing out in the very last moments when the track was wet once again. Unfortunately, he had vibrations with his rain tyres which made the car difficult to drive. We are very disappointed for Kimi, stopped on lap thirty five by a problem with the hydraulic system. We have to find out the cause but once again it shows that you do not go far without reliability. There is still a long way to go in this season and anything could yet happen in the seven remaining races."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This was a race in which we were capable of picking up maximum points. We had a very competitive car in all conditions, but first a problem to the hydraulic system put Kimi out of the game when he was right behind Alonso, and then the final rain shower cancelled out Felipe's lead, built up thanks to a great drive, as at this point he was penalized by a set of tyres that were causing vibrations. We had come out of the roulette following the downpour immediately after the start reasonably well and we timed the return to dry tyres perfectly. There is much to regret because if we do not make up ground in the classification while we are as competitive as we were today, then the situation gets more complicated. But having said that, we will never give up."
Rubens Barrichello (11th): "I'm bitterly disappointed with the result today. The car felt bad from the start and it never really improved through the race, most likely because of the damage caused when I was hit by Rosberg. I love these dry-wet conditions and we had some opportunities today because of the way the race was unfolding. However, we did not have the car and we did not make the most of the circumstances."
Jenson Button (DNF, Spin): "I didn't get a good start and I dropped to 20th position, however I had a really good first lap and I was up to sixth position when I pitted for wet tyres. After that the rain poured down and turn one was a lake. By that time I was in fourth position behind Massa and Alonso. I just touched the brakes and all four wheels locked, then I hit the wall. It's a real shame because I had a lot of fuel on board, a good strategy given the way the race then panned out for the others and I love to drive in these wet conditions. This race was unfortunately a lottery and sadly I lost out."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "We missed an opportunity to score some good points today. During the first two laps Jenson did well to overtake 15 cars and was in fourth position when he went off and ended up in the gravel trap. In that part of the race Rubens sustained some damage to his rear diffuser when he got hit from behind by Rosberg. Although the race was then red flagged there was not enough time to carry out a proper repair on the grid, therefore Rubens' car did not perform at all well aerodynamically and as a result his race pace was no match for the cars in front."
Nick Heidfeld (6th): "My start was not as good as usual and, unfortunately, in the first corner Robert forced me onto the dirt and then again in the second corner. This was when unluckily we touched and afterwards I had a damaged car. However, we have been lucky that the race was interrupted and we were able to repair the car. The team did a very good job. Later in the race I was stuck behind Robert, and it was only at the end when he made a mistake I was able to pass him. The accident with Ralf Schumacher was very unlucky. He was slow accelerating out of the chicane, at first left room for me, but closed the door once he realised I was there. Unfortunately at this point I was on the wet part of the track and couldn't avoid a collision."
Robert Kubica (7th): "I made a very good start, but in the second corner I think Nick arrived a bit too fast, he touched me and I spun. I was then last. It then started to rain and I asked the team if I should pit. I had no answer so I continued, which was wrong. The race was fun because the conditions were changing, but I had a very big problem with the braking, as every time the rear was just dancing and on wet tyres I could not stop the car. When Nick got by me on the last lap I just couldn't stop the car before the chicane and that is all. I didn't want to cut the chicane, but maybe I should have done, because in the end I nearly had to stop. It was challenging, as it was not only about the speed of the car but the speed of reaction of the team, and when to put on which tyres. The race result could have been better but now we have to analyse everything."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a turbulent race with two rain periods and a lot of hectic pit stops, ten in total for us. Our pit crew did an excellent job and was capable of handling this situation very well. Finishing sixth and seventh was not because of the weather conditions, the collision in the first lap was responsible for that. In the end that cost us a podium finish."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Following our strong performance in qualifying we are obviously disappointed with this result. For our team it started badly with Robert and Nick hitting each other in the second corner. Both cars were damaged as a result. On Nick's car we had to change the right front track rod, and on Robert's the rear wing endplate was damaged. After the re-start, both our drivers were stuck behind David Coulthard, but were not fast enough to overtake him. The fact that, despite all these problems, we managed to increase the gap to Renault in the constructors' championship doesn't make up for a bad race."
Jarno Trulli (13th): "It was the kind of race where I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong decision at the wrong moments. You cannot know what the weather will do, that is the problem. We took a gamble several times and every time it was the wrong time and things were happening. We had so much bad luck today, I hope it all came at once and we will not have any more. It was a really dramatic race in general because it was down to the strategy, down to good luck - so many things that didn't work at all for me. I had a very good start and was running fifth but that is racing in the rain, full of good and bad surprises. What really hurt me was the beginning of the race when there was a shower and there was a bigger shower on the lap I came in. I was very unlucky because the red flag came at the wrong time for me. In dry conditions I was quite competitive and I was catching up the cars in front but we had some problem at the pit stops. It was a race to forget."
Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Accident): "Clearly that's not the way I wanted to finish my home race. It is very disappointing for the team because we had an opportunity to score points. Even after the rain and everything we were in a good position. We were quick, as quick as the cars in front, so we could really have scored some important points today. With the incident with Nick, I made a little mistake in the corner before and he was able to close up and then he made a move at the final corner and we collided. In general he is a very fair driver but these things happen in racing. It was a racing incident. It is clearly a shame because we could have scored points. We had another good weekend in qualifying and again we didn't get the result which is disappointing."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: l"First we must analyse some faults that we faced during today's race. We had some problems in the garage work, and also tyre preparations and how we utilise the weather report. That is the only thing to say. The two drivers do their best during this kind of weather conditions and I very much appreciate that. Unfortunately Ralf had a collision and Jarno got to the end. The two drivers did their best. We are not sure of all the facts but we must analyse some causes in order to strengthen our team for the future."
Mark Webber (3rd): "This is a podium I can enjoy on a special day for us. The team deserves it after all the effort that has taken place behind the scenes. It's great to get some points on the board, especially as David finished fifth as well. I didn't have a good start and was on the back foot, the rain certainly came much earlier than we expected. We had to make a quick decision and went for the intermediates, but as the rain got much worse we were aquaplaning really badly. The FIA took the right decisions in bringing out the Safety Car and then suspending the race. I did a long run on the grooved tyres, which helped me pull away from the guys behind, even if I struggled a bit in the middle stint with the rears. I have to say I wasn't too disappointed to see Kimi retire. Towards the end I began to think I had it in the bag, but I thought 'oh god' when I saw the rain coming again. In the final part I had massive vibration from the rear tyres and that's why Alex got so close."
David Coulthard (5th): "I'm very happy for the team. It's obviously been a difficult start to the year with some reliability issues, but nonetheless to show the pace we did in this race was good and the calls we made on strategy were a credit to the team; the pit stops were great. After such a bad qualifying, it was only ever going to be a change of conditions like these that was going to give us a chance to move forward and we ended with a podium and a fifth place for me."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A fantastic team result today. Today was all about teamwork, the drivers, the work on the pit wall, the work in the pit stops, everyone did a fantastic job. I'm very, very pleased for Mark, after such rotton luck during the first half of the season he finally got a result he deserved. David had a fantastic recovery from a disappointing qualifying session, but the guys did their bit on the circuit today and the team in the pit lane, and I'm very proud of everybody, it's a great result for the whole team."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are delighted with today's result. It's a great moment for the whole team especially after the mixed feelings we had yesterday after qualifying. We had a strong package, the drivers did a fantastic job in the changing conditions and our strategy worked perfectly. It was a podium that we earned on merit. This result puts us in front of Toyota and helps us reduce the gap to Williams. I think everybody in the team will be pushing with renewed determination for the next race in Hungary."
Alexander Wurz (4th): "I could almost taste the champagne today! I am very happy with fourth position and a lot of points. It was a very tough race, I had to use all my brain power and push at the right times. The hardest thing out there today was keeping my head calm because in such a situation it is so easy to get carried away. I had to concentrate and bring the car home. My car was good today. In the last few laps I put a lot of pressure on Mark Webber because I saw he was sliding a bit and I was hoping he would make a mistake. He did make a small one, right at the end, but it was not enough to launch an attack and, of course, my main target was to bring points home for the team. One could say finishing just 0.2 seconds behind a podium position is frustrating, but I'm happy with fourth."
Nico Rosberg (DNF, Spin): "The start lap was very difficult on the hard tyres. It wasn't easy to warm them up and I seemed to struggle more than the cars around me. We knew the rain was coming, and we came into the pits at the right time, but we didn't expect so much water and we fitted my car with inters rather than full wets. I went back out on track and after some time there were yellows going into the first corner. I slowed down a lot but I aquaplaned and slid into the gravel. In such a situation, the tyres just come up and sit on top of the water and you have no contact with the ground. The engine then stopped and that was it. It was very disappointing. I'm now looking ahead to the next race."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "A great result for Alex again. It clearly shows that under difficult conditions, similar to those in Montreal, he can keep his head and make the right choices. He also almost got a podium today but it just wasn't to be. It was a fantastic effort and good for the team as it consolidates our position in the Championship. Obviously, Nico's race was over really early. Apart from having to make quick strategy calls and tyre choices, we didn't have any problems in the race."
Scott Speed (DNF, Spin):
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Spin):
Markus Winkelhock (DNF, Hydraulics): "First of all I have to say thanks to the team for letting me start my first Grand Prix at my home race. Also thanks for the good decision to go into the pits to change tyres before the start. Starting on wet tyres was a really fantastic decision and that's the reason why I was leading my first Formula 1 race. To lead a Formula 1 race is something nobody can take away from you - you have it for your whole life. I am really happy about it - I was leading my home Grand Prix! Unfortunately then we had a hydraulic problem and I had to stop. The target for me was to finish, but I know that not getting there was not down to me, so I am really pleased with what I achieved."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Spin): "I couldn't hold the car on the wet track and I was just a passenger in the hairpin. So many people went off there, it was incredible. I just braked and lost the rear and that was it. It was a hard impact, but I'm alright, just disappointed. We just have to hope that the next time will be better."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I am very pleased with the effort of the whole team this weekend. Markus has done a fantastic job dealing with the incredible pressure of stepping into a Formula 1 car at his home race, dealing with that new situation and all the media interest surrounding him. To then lead the race in such difficult conditions shows his professionalism and talent. Unfortunately we couldn't get the car to the finish, but for a Spyker to have led a race is still a very good showing. It is a shame for Adrian, but as many other drivers showed, the conditions were not the easiest to deal with."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Obviously short and sweet but good while it lasted. We had the forecast of showers coming in and we decided to take the risk with Markus and put wet tyres on at the start, which proved to be exactly the right decision. We are one of the smallest teams at the back of the grid with the smallest budget, but we showed today that thinking is free and we got the calls spot on. Then when even more rain came, we put him on extreme wets so he was in a very good position at that stage. We really didn't need the safety car or the red flag as he was leading the race by 30secs and, as one of the only two cars on extreme wets, I think we would have been in very good shape. Unfortunately Adrian lost it at turn one, as did many drivers, and then Markus then stopped with a suspected hydraulic failure. But overall a great first Grand Prix for Markus, it's been a pleasure working with him this weekend. He has done a very professional job and while it was a shame we couldn't get the car to the finish, I'm sure his dad would be very proud of him."
Anthony Davidson (12th): "It was great fun at the start of the race having to run in the rain on the dry tyre. I made up a lot of positions and was P10 by the end of Lap 1. But then the rain was too strong to keep on the dry tyre and I came back to the pit on the next lap, before the Red Flag. At the re-start we looked as though we had reasonable race pace, but unfortunately I had a hydraulic failure and had to retire from the race, which is a big shame."
Takuma Sato (DNF, Hydraulics): "It was great fun at the start of the race having to run in the rain on the dry tyre. I made up a lot of positions and was P10 by the end of Lap 1. But then the rain was too strong to keep on the dry tyre and I came back to the pit on the next lap, before the Red Flag. At the re-start we looked as though we had reasonable race pace, but unfortunately I had a hydraulic failure and had to retire from the race, which is a big shame."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was a difficult race because the weather was very unstable at the beginning. Our two cars were running with good performance and pace, but in the end we had to ask Takuma to retire with a hydraulic problem. Anthony continued to run in uncertain conditions which made the decision of tyre choice for the rest of the race a difficult one. However, Anthony and the team did a very good job today and we shall learn from our experience here at the Nurburgring."