Italian GP 2007
SEPTEMBER 9, 2007
Sunday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (1st): "To win at Monza for the first time is very special. Sometimes everything goes in the right direction; this weekend was one of those times and we were able to keep up the momentum. My start wasn't perfect, and I had to defend my lead coming in to the first corner. In the second corner I was a bit worried as I thought Lewis and I would touch but fortunately this did not happen. The safety car could have caused us a few problems as it was important for our strategy to open up a gap as soon as possible. However it was a perfect afternoon today with the car and the team working really well, and to win in front of the enthusiastic Italian Formula 1 fans is very emotional."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "Obviously I didn't get the best getaway and Felipe managed to shoot past me. I outbraked both him and Fernando into Turn One, and I almost thought I was going to get past, but then Felipe clipped me and sent me over the second chicane. I was suffering vibrations on my tyres in the first stint, so I opted to pit earlier to play it safe. Once we knew that Kimi was on a one-stop strategy it was key to really optimise my second stop. Unfortunately I came out behind him, but I knew I was faster on the new tyres, if only for a couple of laps, and so I just took the opportunity when I caught him up. It was really important for me to get that place back, not only for my position in the Championship, but also for all the team. We had the 1-2 in qualifying yesterday, and to maintain this in the race was the icing on the cake. They have all done a fantastic job."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "We always want to win and to have McLaren's first one-two at Monza today is really special. The entire team has done a fantastic job both on and off track in difficult circumstances, and our dominance this weekend is a just reward for all their efforts. Fernando and Lewis put in excellent performances and controlled the race from the front. Lewis, overtaking manoeuvre to reclaim second place showed his determination. We now focus on the week ahead and the race at Spa next weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This race was a classic and the right answer on the race track. Congratulations to Fernando on his great victory. Apart from Friday's first session, he has been fastest throughout the weekend and really deserved this win. Lewis did a great job, and it was excellent how he first passed Felipe into the first corner and towards the end Kimi after his second pit stop to secure the fourth 1-2 win for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes since the team's first one this year in Malaysia. The team worked really hard to make this possible, and today's result is the best reward for everybody's efforts during the last months. Thank you all, together we will keep on pushing."
Heikki Kovalainen (7th): "I was on the limit every lap today, and we just didn't have the pace over the full race distance to make up any ground. I got a fantastic start, passed Kubica and was fighting with Heidfeld going into the Curva Grande, but he put me on the grass and I had to back off, which meant I lost a place to Kubica as well. After that, it was quite a lonely race. I passed Robert at the first stop, and kept him behind me for the middle stint, but we just didn't have enough pace to come out ahead of Rosberg after my last pit-stop. Everybody did a good job today, and there were no mistakes at all. But unfortunately, this was the maximum we could do."
Giancarlo Fisichella (12th): "I made a really good start, then got blocked out by several cars - and ended up losing position to Davidson because of it. Coulthard hit the back of my car on lap two I think, and it damaged the rear endplate on the left hand side. I also had understeer all through the race, so the balance wasn't perfect. In the first stint, I was losing time behind the Aguri, but it was only near to the pit-stops that I had enough extra pace to pass him into turn 1. After that, we all had pretty much the same strategy, and there was nothing much to do to gain positions. So we turned the engine right down, and looked after it because I have to use it again in Spa. Hopefully, things will go better for us there."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Our level of competitiveness at this unique circuit was clearly not what we had wished for. Given our starting positions and how the race unfolded, salvaging a couple of points was perhaps as good as it was going to get today. Now we have to move on, and hope for a better weekend in Spa."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "There is not much to say this afternoon. Monza is a unique circuit and other people did a better job than us when it came to finding the right package. But Heikki's performance showed where we are at the moment, still behind BMW and fighting against Rosberg, like at the last few races. The team did the maximum today, and there were no mistakes, which shows that people are still motivated and working hard."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "This was definitely a tough race for me because of the pain I felt in my neck after yesterday's accident, which was bad enough to make it hard for me to hold my head steady under braking. Having said that, today we were not really quick enough. We knew it would not be an easy weekend, as we had already realized that in last week's test, with Friday and yesterday confirming it. The car was not bad in the first stint but then we were not strong enough. Hamilton's overtaking move? I tried to defend my position but he was definitely quicker than me. In the final stages I slowed to save the car for the next race. We were keen to win in front of our fans but we did not manage it. At least I got onto the podium. Now we tackle another fascinating circuit at Spa-Francorchamps where I think that we and our closest rivals will be more evenly matched."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Suspension): "I am very disappointed. It's horrible to see your chances go in the early stages because of a reliability problem. There was something not working with the rear suspension: coming into Ascari I could feel a problem under braking and came into the pits, thinking it might be due to a puncture. However, once the tyres were changed that was still undriveable and I had to retire. We must tackle the coming races with the same spirit. Here we were competitive and I think that will be the same in the near future. This is very disappointing but these things happen in racing."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We are very disappointed at having failed to secure a better result than just this third place for Kimi in our home Grand Prix. Felipe was forced to retire in the early stages because of a mechanical problem with the rear suspension, the cause of which has yet to be analysed. With Kimi, we ran a different strategy to our rivals but we did not have enough speed to get ahead of them. Clearly the situation in both championships is now more difficult. We will aim to do our best in the four remaining races, starting next weekend in Spa-Francorchamps."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We are very disappointed and there is no use in denying it. We tried to change things around by putting Kimi on a different strategy, but in general we were not quick enough. Felipe was unable to show what he might have done, forced to retire after just a handful of laps because of a mechanical problem on the rear suspension, the causes of which we now have to find. It is very disappointing not to have given our fans and our colleagues who were in Monza today what they wanted. We hope to turn things around in the next races, starting with the Belgian Grand Prix next week."
Jenson Button (8th): "It was nice to get a point today but it was a frustrating race for me as I had so much understeer on the first stint. We run such low front wing around this circuit that it is very easy to lock the front tyres, particularly at Parabolica, and I flat-spotted the front right which meant I was losing grip through every right-hand corner. This meant that I couldn't fend off Rosberg and the long first stint of 33 laps compromised me even further. So it was frustrating as we could have had a better result but we did our very best this weekend and a point is definitely some reward. The team have done a great job and everyone is in good spirits, so I'm pleased to have got another point for them. They really deserve it."
Rubens Barrichello (10th): "It was a good race today but unfortunately all of the cars in the midfield also had a competitive race and there were five cars racing within about ten seconds. We had a good pace and I put in some really good laps on the prime tyres but unfortunately my challenge for a better position was over when Webber was just able to get out ahead at the second pit stop. However we have been better all weekend which is down to some really hard work from the team and I look forward to having more competitive races for the remainder of the season."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "It is a good feeling for the whole team to be racing in the top ten again. Both drivers were fast and consistent, Jenson racing with Kovalainen and Rosberg, while Rubens was fighting with Webber and Trulli. The latest aerodynamic and suspension developments that we have brought here this weekend have clearly improved the car performance and we need to carry that momentum through to Spa next weekend and the races beyond."
Nick Heidfeld (4th): "My start, as such, wasn't bad, although Kimi's was even better. Before the first corner it was very busy in front of me, and in the second corner I was on the outside line and lost a position to Kimi there. Anyway, this would have happened sooner or later, because he only stopped once. The early safety car period helped all those who were on a one stop strategy or wanted to pit late. Part of our strategy was to gain advantage over the one-stoppers or late-stoppers during the first stint. This obviously didn't work out because of the safety car. Besides this, I had a very good race with perfect pit stops. Now we can start thinking about reaching the magic 100 constructors' points, which would be a great success in what is only our second season."
Robert Kubica (5th): "The race was okay for me. In the first laps when the car was lighter we were really quick, but I think we could have had a better performance when the car was heavy, so perhaps this is something we have to work on. For the pit stop I didn't arrive straight so the car slid down from the jack when the guys were changing the tyres. Then after the stop we couldn't get the jack out from under the front wing, so it cost me a lot of time, but fortunately in the end it didn't change anything for the team. After that first stop I was behind Heikki Kovalainen and it was not possible to stay closer than six or seven tenths, as any closer than that and I was losing downforce. After the second stop I was in front of him and then I had to get by Nico Rosberg. I had new tyres and a pretty light car, while because of his one stop strategy he was on old tyres, so I went very quickly out of Parabolica, which was not easy after you spend so much time behind someone. However, I braked much later and was able to get by."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We finished the race with a very strong result, although not everything went according to plan. At Roberts first pit stop the car slid off the jack and we lost some seconds because of that. But Robert won his lost positions back by overtaking Heikki Kovalainen in the second stop and Nico Rosberg on the track. Nicks race was just perfect. Over a long stint he was able to do the same pace as Kimi Raikkonen. Positions four and five mean another nine points, which are well deserved."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was a truly exciting race for our team. Robert's first pit stop went wrong because he stopped the car at an angle. Therefore, it fell from the jack. This cost him a lot of time and gave Heikki Kovalainen the opportunity to pass him. On the track Robert then also lost a lot of time behind the Finn, and he was only able to overtake him at the second pit stop. However, he then passed Nico Rosberg when braking into the first chicane, which was first class! He made use of the better grip of the new tyres. He showed a lot of fighting spirit today and was rewarded with fifth place. Nick's race went according to plan. He was able to drive at his own rhythm, didn't make any mistakes, as usual, and finished in a safe fourth place. Once more this was a strong result for our team."
Jarno Trulli (11th): "It was a pity that we made such a poor getaway because our pace was good today and we could have made the points. Unfortunately once again we had problems at the start. I lost three positions and from then on it was a different race. The car was competitive and consistent but after the first few corners I was in traffic for the rest of the afternoon. I was quicker than the cars in front but it was impossible to overtake here. This shows that when the gaps in the midfield battle are so tight, one little detail can make all the difference and you need to get everything right. We still have a lot of work to do but first we must look for a better result in Spa."
Ralf Schumacher (15th): "That was a very disillusioning result for both of us. It didn't work very well and it was a struggle for us today. Jarno managed to handle it better than me this weekend but I could see that the race here in Monza would not be our strongest race. We still have some problems with kerbs and that makes a big difference at Monza. The first corner is always chaotic here but today it went relatively smoothly for me. Of course even if you're at the back you still push hard and I tried to drive as quickly as possible. We have much to analyse but now we must turn our attentions to next race. We had a good test at Spa so we can aim for a better result there."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "There were two key issues for us this weekend. First we had Ralf's result from qualifying. We didn't expect all the cars to be so close together. So we expected to get both cars into Q2 and I'm sure that could have happened but it was so tight that Ralf missed out. Second was the start on Jarno's car today. That cost him three positions and when everyone is on the same one-stop strategy that gives you no chance to get past. Jarno was faster than a couple of cars in front but he had no chance to catch up. So we must analyse what the cause was, find where the problem lies and take counter-measures for the next race. But we will never give up the fight."
Mark Webber (9th): "I had a pretty good start and a good scrap with Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg over the first few laps. I tried to be as consistent as possible on the heavy load fuel I was running, and to keep the best rhythm I could, but it wasn't easy as the car wasn't that easy to drive. It was one of the most difficult races I've done in terms of inconsistent balance, so we need to improve that and sort out some of the reliability issues that are still affecting us. It's disappointing to only finish ninth after the effort we've put in over the last few weeks."
David Coulthard (DNF, Accident): "I touched the back of Fisichella's car in the middle of the first chicane and broke my front wing. When I accelerated, the downforce pushed the wing underneath the front of the car and broke the steering. I went straight off the track and into the tyres, that was the end of the weekend."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "David had what looked to be a nasty accident after making contact with Fisichella at the chicane. The impact damaged his front wing, which caused it to collapse through the next fast right hander. Effectively, he was a passenger for the rest of his journey across the grass into the tyre barrier. Thankfully he's totally uninjured. Looking to Mark, ninth is always the most frustrating place to finish and we've finished there what seems too many times this season. Mark extracted the most he could from the car, so we need to find more pace going to Spa next weekend."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We were quite pleased to see both our cars have a good start, Mark had Jarno at the start and David overtook several competitors in the first laps, which was quite promising. Unfortunately, David damaged his car when he hit Fisichella and crashed into the tyre barrier. Hopefully he is fine, which is obviously the main thing after such a crash! For Mark, it's a little bit frustrating, as he was not able to take benefit from Massa's retirement to score points. Williams and Honda were quicker today, we hope to reverse the trend next weekend in Belgium for the last European round of the 2007 Championship."
Nico Rosberg (6th): "It was a good weekend for us. We showed a competitive pace and we've been happy with our performance all weekend. The team's made good progress following the test here last week, and the hard work paid off with a really a big step forward. Well done to Toyota as Monza's an engine track and we held our own. It's also great to get more points for both the Championships."
Alexander Wurz (13th): "It was a difficult first stint for me. We went with a very aggressive strategy but having a heavy fuel load had a negative effect on my rears and I just couldn't get the speed I needed. It all comes down to my qualifying position. Making a mistake on Saturday means you're chasing it during the race, but I like the challenge."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good effort by Nico. Unfortunately, he had to hand back eighth to Button on the first lap because he gained the position by going through the chicane. That made it difficult for him because he was then stuck behind Jenson for the majority of the first stint. Once he had overtaken him, he pushed hard and was able to make up enough distance to eventually get the position that we had originally targeted. Alex was looking ok, but unfortunately had the same problem as Nico with regard to the chicane. Handing back the position ultimately cost him a couple of places at the end of the race. The car was reliable and solid today and it was good to score another three points in the Constructors'."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (17th): "The most positive thing from this weekend is that we saw the chequered flag again. In the race we did not have enough pace to get ahead of the cars in front. From my point of view I had a good race, although I had a bit of understeer in the first stint, which cost me a lot of time. My second stint was quite strong. Our pace was not too bad after we improved the car on Saturday morning, but in qualifying we did not get the most out of the car. We struggled to stay with other cars when we were in their slipstream as I really lost a lot of downforce when I was near to other cars. All we can do now is to look forward to trying again in Spa."
Sebastian Vettel (18th): "My start was okay and then I saw David coming up my right hand side, which forced me to go round the outside and then in the second chicane, unfortunately I ran into Davidson. It was partly my fault. I was happy the Safety Car came out as I didn't lose too much. But later, I had a big problem with the brakes and we will have to find out what caused it. I was hardly able to stop the car and at this high speed track you need to have confidence in the brakes. Today was a bit frustrating, after I had a good day yesterday."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "It was unfortunate that Sebastian lost his wing on the first lap. All we could hope for, given our grid positions, was to take advantage of the Safety Car or other retirements as we were not quick enough to overtake other cars. The good thing about the weekend is that timewise, if you look at the lap times between Webber in ninth place and ours in seventeenth, there is not an enormous difference. We still have to improve, particularly in terms of qualifying better and then that will give us a better chance to do well in the race."
Adrian Sutil (19th): "Today was not such a good day, but we did at least get to the finish with the new car. The car balance was not great and at the start it was difficult to keep the temperature in the tyres under the safety car so I had a bad first stint. The second stint was a little bit better but I still had some understeer with the car. It's not been the best weekend but we'll be better in Belgium I'm sure."
Sakon Yamamoto (20th): "Today from the start we were fighting with the other cars and we had made the most of the two stop strategy. I could push and keep up with the field without problems, but in the end we lost a bit of time compared to the others. I am quite happy to make it to the end with the B-spec car and for the next race I will keep pushing and look forward to it."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "We can be pleased to get a double finish with the new car, particularly with such limited testing beforehand. We now need to build on this in the next Grand Prix and concentrate on moving further up the field in both the race and in Qualifying."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A solid race for us and again our race pace was much more competitive than our Qualifying pace showed yesterday. We chose a two stop strategy for both cars and needed to make up places in the opening laps compared to those doing one stop, but it was always going to be difficult to make the strategy work. Both drivers did a very solid race though, particularly Sakon who is obviously getting much more tuned in to the car. It is good to have got two race finishes under our belt with the new B-spec car and I'm sure we'll be able to get more out of it in future races."
Anthony Davidson (14th): "After a reasonably good start everyone was fairly well behaved into Turn One, but Vettel made contact with the rear of my car which damaged the diffuser. The car seemed to be quite good on a heavy fuel load and I was able to challenge Wurz in the Williams and also Fisichella. I then overtook him when he made a mistake round Parabolica and we had a good fight, which was probably the highlight of my race. Then as the fuel loads came down I think that we just struggled for speed a bit and it was hard to keep the faster cars behind me, but I managed to hold off Ralf in the Toyota right to the end, so I am happy enough with that."
Takuma Sato (16th): "On the way to, and also on the grid, I felt the brake pedal had gone really soft and I clearly had a problem, but at that time there was nothing we could do. I tried to warm up the car on the formation lap and then the front brakes caught fire when I got back to the grid and there was a lot of smoke, which I was really worried about it. I didn't have a good feeling about the brakes, but into Turn One I was able to make up some places. My front brake was really fading and I was struggling with the car as it locked the rear wheel a lot. I couldn't stop because the front didn't have any bite and as a result I lost a few places. The safety car then helped me to cool down the brakes and they came back to reasonable level. After that I was able to recover my race, overtake a few cars and push my way through. On the last stint the option tyre came into reasonable grip and I was able to do a good lap time, but overall it was a tough race."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was a tough race, but we performed at our potential. The drivers drove a solid race and I am happy to see another two-car finish. Our mechanics and engineers did a good job in the pitstops today, but in terms of race pace, we have to try to improve our car for the end of the season. It was always going to be a difficult weekend for us and I would like to thank everyone in the team and back home for their hard work."