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Monaco GP 2008

MAY 25, 2008

Sunday Team Quotes

Adrian Sutil, Monaco GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive


Felipe Massa (3rd): "A shame to have ended up third because of a series of events that did not go in our favour, which can easily happen in these conditions and on this track. At the start, I was very quick and the car was perfect, but then I made a mistake at the first corner, braking on the yellow line and I lost a place to Robert. But after just a few laps I was right behind him and I knew I could push harder. We decided to switch strategies thinking the rain was going to return, but this turned out to be the wrong choice. On full tanks and on a drying track, the standard rain tyres did not have the same grip as the ones my nearest rivals were using. On top of that, there was a radio blackout between the car and the pits for part of the race. Given everything that happened, these six points are still important in light of the championship: we have only got through the first third of the season and there is still a long way to go."

Kimi Raikkonen (9th): "A very poor race for me, right from the off. There was a problem with a wheel before the start and we broke the rules, which meant I was given a drive-through penalty. During the race, my main problem was trying to get the tyres to work as well as possible. Then we decided to change the strategy as we expected it to rain again, but it didn't happen. Twice I had to change the nose after breaking the front wing. So, as you can see, a long run of things going wrong which explains the 0 points. I am sorry for Sutil, who I hit with just a few laps to go. I lost control of the car under braking coming out of the tunnel and I could do nothing to avoid him. It's a shame how things went today, as we had the potential to do well. It's true that I've lost the championship lead, but I always said the championship would be a very long one. Now we must prepare as well as possible for Canada where we will try to make up for this disappointment."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Yesterday, after a great qualifying, it was easy for us to act like prophets foreseeing a possible lottery for today's race, given the weather forecast. We cannot deny we are disappointed with this definitely negative outcome, the result of a combination of errors on our part and bad luck. We got off on the wrong foot, with an infringement of the rules in preparing Kimi's car on the grid, minutes before the start, which resulted in a drive through penalty for the driver. Then we decided to switch our strategy, going for a one-stop race, on the basis that we expected the rain to return and this did not happen. With hindsight is it easy to say we should have made different choices, but the reality is that, at every level, we did not meet our usual high standards. After this long preamble, the overall picture at the end of the first third of the season is still a positive one. We have taken four wins and the same number of poles from six races and we are still solidly in the lead of the Constructors' classification, with Kimi and Felipe still in the hunt for the lead in the Drivers.' Now we must look ahead and get as well prepared as possible for the Canadian Grand Prix. Here we showed we were capable of fighting for the lead and we want to do the same in Montreal, another track that did not suit us so well last year."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We are very disappointed with this result which is definitely below our level of expectation. We made mistakes which we have to look at to ensure we don't do the same again and we also made a few strategy choices, which all things considered turned out to be wrong even if it easy to be wise after the event. We must draw the right conclusions from this weekend, without colouring our judgement with emotion. We showed we were competitive on a track that traditionally has not suited us, but we did not work at our usual high standard. In less than a fortnight we will face a similar challenge in Montreal, where in 2007, we had problems. We really want to make up for today's disappointment."

BMW Sauber

Robert Kubica (2nd): "I am very happy with the result. I didn't expect us to have the pace to finish second. It was a great race with very difficult driving conditions, and we did not expect such heavy rain. I had visibility and tyre problems throughout the whole race. I was trying to do as few mistakes as possible, as it is very dangerous if you make a mistake here."

Nick Heidfeld (14th): "After the awful qualifying yesterday the early laps of the race went very well for me, despite the tricky track conditions. I was up to fifth, but unfortunately Fernando Alonso made a mistake and crashed into the side of my car. This caused heavy damage to the left hand side of my car, and due to a puncture I had to pit. I was then last and, because of the damaged car, I had no chance at all to improve. It is a Sunday to forget. But this is not too easy."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We expected a drama here in Monaco and the Weather God gave it to us. It was essential to continuously adjust our race strategy according to the weather and the incidents on the track. With Robert this worked perfectly, so he was able to move up from fifth on the grid to second. Nick had an exceptionally good start and had fought his way through to fifth when his car was damaged in a collision. This dropped him out of the points. It was our fourth podium in 2008 and a strong performance from the team."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was not a race for the nervous. The conditions at the start were very difficult. Because of the uncertainty over the weather it was crucial to make the right tyre decision for the first stint. Robert stayed cool and, even during the period with the worst visibility, he didn't make any mistake. We continuously had to adapt our strategy, so it was a true challenge for the engineers on the pit wall. Nick gained a lot of places after the start, and was doing well in the race in fifth when he was the victim of a crash and ended up at the back of the pack in a hopeless situation. After the fourth podium this year we are quite happy with the amount of points we have scored in the first third of the season."


Fernando Alonso (10th): "We were not able to achieve what I think would have been possible in a normal race. The track was always changing; the car was sensitive and I made some mistakes. After that, we tried to change our strategy, but it did not really pay off, which is a shame. As we are not fighting for the championship we certainly took our chances and some risky choices, but today that did not work and we must hope that the next race in Montreal goes better."

Nelson Piquet (DNF, Accident): "I had a difficult weekend and I am extremely disappointed. The conditions on the track were changing, but we took the risk to switch to dry tyres when the track was still damp and tricky, which is when I went off and damaged the car. But I will not dwell on this and feel sorry for myself. I must remain focussed for the Canadian Grand Prix."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Setting the third fastest lap in the race reinforces the progress that we have made, even on this very different type of circuit, but that is all we take away from Monaco. It's been a difficult weekend, which ended in a difficult race where we did not realise our potential."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was a missed opportunity, which is all the more frustrating because we were competitive today. Fernando drove an aggressive race, but after his off it was clear that he was too far behind to finish in the points. Nelson's race was disappointing, but Monaco remains a difficult test for a driver and it is a very unusual circuit. From here we now concentrate on the next race in Canada."


Kazuki Nakajima (7th): "It was really a difficult race, especially at the beginning when the track was very wet. I couldn't see anything in front of me, or at the rear, so I just tried to keep the car on track. I think we had some luck with the weather and the track conditions as I was on a one stop strategy and it really worked well for me. It was a shame to have a problem in my pit-stop, but I still finished in the points so I am quite happy."

Nico Rosberg (DNF, Accident):

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was good to get two points, but not a satisfactory race as we should have scored much more, but there are probably plenty of teams saying that today! Kazuki drove well and didn't make any mistakes. He would have finished higher up the order, but we had a problem with a wheel nut on his final pit-stop and he lost places as a result. It was a good effort for his first time around Monaco in a Formula One car. Nico made a couple of pit-stops for damaged front wings, and then had a crash on the entry to the swimming pool. He has been very fast around here all weekend so he will be really frustrated to come away with nothing. He's currently undergoing medical checks. We'll now look forward to a better result in Canada."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (4th): "That was good, a great result which gives us a lot of points. It wasn't the most exciting race in the world in terms of racing, but it was very difficult early on in the wet conditions and we were aqua-planning at Casino. It was definitely over the edge for the intermediate tyres for a few laps when it was raining hard, but then it started to dry and we had to think about changing tyres. It would have been good to have had a little bit more fuel as we had to change to dry tyres maybe five laps earlier than we would have liked. It wasn't ideal, but the team did such a good job, both at the track and at the factory in Milton Keynes, it's great to get a strong result."

David Coulthard (DNF, Accident): "It's was always going to be a race where you had to be very careful at the beginning. I was having difficulty with my downshifts and got caught out on the entry to Casino; I corrected, corrected and corrected, but then ran out of road. It looked like Sebastien (Bourdais) had a similar event and then found me in an area where he was about to have his crash. I'm extremely disappointed as this is a race where keeping out of trouble gives you a good chance of getting points. But, that said, the boys did a great job to recover the car after the qualifying accident and I'm obviously very happy that they scored a fourth place with Mark."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A great race from Mark today. He was one of the few drivers who didn't put a wheel wrong throughout the two hour long race. Unfortunately our cross-over strategy to go onto slick tyres was about five or six laps too early, which allowed Raikkonen and Sutil, who had the benefit of going several laps longer, to just sneak ahead. But Mark kept it all together and benefited from Kimi's accident to finish a well deserved fourth. It's a great result for him and the team. David's weekend got off to a bad start and finished in very much the same way. Nothing much has gone right for him this weekend, but I'm sure he'll bounce back in Canada."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are very happy with this result, it's very good for the team. It's a shame for David, but it was so difficult to stay on the track at the start. Engine-wise, it's difficult on this track and with the new regulations to keep the power down, so it's more a question of keeping the power down than having the power here. I think we showed that the drivability of the Renault engine is not so bad, we are there."


Timo Glock (12th): "That just wasn't a good day for me. It would have been possible to score points but I just made too many mistakes and I am sorry for the team. I made a good start and passed Webber on the run down to the first corner. Then I spun a couple of laps later and had to come in. We switched to extreme wets for the first stint but they became harder as the track dried. Soon after our pit stop the track dried out further and we pitted again for dry tyres. Then it was just about bringing the car home. We will hope for better next time."

Jarno Trulli (13th): "This has been a hard weekend and today was one of those days when things just didn't work out for us. At one stage it was raining really hard and we took the gamble to go on extreme wet tyres. That went well at the beginning because I was quicker and I did several good overtaking manoeuvres. But then the rain stopped and I was really struggling with extreme wets on a drying track. Unfortunately here you are always stuck in traffic and I lost a lot of positions during our pit stops. Towards the end of the race we put the dry tyres on and I brought the car home."

Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "If we had kept up the performance we had shown in qualifying we would have scored some good points. Instead it was a very difficult day. Both drivers made good starts and they were in good shape for the race early on. But then Timo did some spins which we were not expecting. Jarno also struggled for pace on the extreme wet tyres while the track dried and other cars made up ground. The drivers lacked confidence with the car here while our tyre change strategy was not suited for the weather we faced today. So the race went against us in all possible areas and we have a lot to analyse. Now we must keep pushing to do better in Canada."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel (5th): "The race today was extremely difficult, especially at the start when with all the water on the track surface there was a lot of aquaplaning. But we were very strong as the track began to dry and that's what made the difference. It's great to score my first points of the season at Monaco and with the new car as well. A big thank you to the team, who worked so hard to understand the car and improve it over the weekend. And a special thanks for the pit stop which was fantastic and gained me two places. These points are a nice present for one of our mechanics, Gaggio, who has been with the team for ever and we will have a nice party for him tonight with something to celebrate as this is his last race with the team."

Sebastien Bourdais (DNF, Accident): "The conditions were complicated as it is never easy to drive on these intermediate tyres when there is standing water on the track surface. As far as my accident was concerned, David had gone off the track. For some reason, even though it seemed to have stopped raining by then, there was more water on the track at that point than before and when I saw the yellow flags, I backed off a bit more and lost control of the rear of the car."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Fifth place, four points, a new car and all at Monacofantastic! It was an exciting race and Vettel did an incredible job, especially at the beginning with these exceptionally difficult circumstances when he had a new car totally under control. Later, when he changed onto the dry tyres, he was one of the fastest on track. Doing this on his first appearance in Monaco in an F1 car and with the new car is really a fantastic performance. The team did a good job with the new car, especially as it did not look so good after Thursday, but over the next two days, the car was given a completely new set-up, so congratulations to the engineers and everyone in the team for doing a fantastic job. As for Bourdais, he lost control of the car as he had to lift off a bit when Coulthard crashed. But there are plenty more races this year for him to show what he can do."


Rubens Barrichello (6th): "It feels great to be back in the points today and I'm really happy for myself and for the team. We had a good race, however it was unfortunate that I was held up by Trulli for so long early on, otherwise it could have been even better. I'm glad to get the monkey off my back in terms of scoring points as it has been quite a wait, but I never lost the faith. We are capable of good points results and I hope this is the start of a stronger period for us. We just need to keep our heads down and keep pushing forward."

Jenson Button (11th): "My race today was really disappointing. I had a bad start and dropped a couple of places after getting caught on the inside of turn one. I got round the outside of Rubens in the hairpin and Webber after the tunnel going into the chicane. I was alongside Heidfeld through the Swimming Pool when he overshot the corner. On the exit, I thought there was enough space for me to go down the inside but there wasn't and I touched his rear wheel with my nose, breaking my front wing and damaging the bargeboards. So unfortunately that was my race compromised on the first lap. Later in the race, I got hit from behind by Kovalainen which damaged the rear and spun me off at the chicane. So it was a messy race and I'm disappointed as we should have come away from here with some points given the pace of the car. However Rubens had a good drive and stayed out of trouble to bring points home for the team, so well done to him."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Today's race was full of incident and attrition with Rubens doing a splendid job to keep clear of all the trouble and drive a very disciplined race into sixth place. Jenson's race had a setback when he collided with Heidfeld towards the end of the first lap, and as the race evolved, there was no opportunity for him to get back into the points despite showing great speed at times. It is satisfying to score points once again and our pace this weekend deserved it. We had a relatively incident free weekend which is always welcome at Monaco and set the stage for a good performance. Throughout practice we made good progress with the car and were competitive in all conditions. The disappointment was obviously qualifying where neither car made the top ten because of the yellow flags which resulted from Coulthard's accident. The wet race provided the drama we needed to get a car into the points and we are thankful for that. We now move on to Montreal which is a very different type of racetrack. We will have a new low downforce package and a number of new parts therefore we look forward to improving the car a little further."

Force India-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (DNF, Damage): "I can't believe it, it was so close. It feels like a pain in my heart. It is like a dream gone to a nightmare - suddenly you are in the car and it looks all fantastic, then you have to accept it is not going to happen. We had a really good strategy and it seemed to work and we were so close to the podium and the points. It was after the restart after the final safety car that Kimi had a problem under braking and crashed into the back of my car. The race was over and it was a real shock. A few tears came out as the adrenaline was high - I just can't explain it. All the same I am so pleased that we did show what we can finally do as a team."

Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Gearbox): "At the beginning of the race I was just careful to be out of the trouble, but then I lost first and second gear and I was running third gear. Even with the conditions the lap times were competitive and then I lost fourth gear and the race was over. It's a real shame for the team, especially after Adrian's performance that we could not score our first points here."

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It was the saddest moment of my Motor Sports career. To achieve a top five position in Formula One and that too in Monaco was a dream that ended just seven minutes and less than five laps from the chequered flag with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari running into the rear of Sutil's car. Adrian Sutil drove a brilliant race, exhibited superlative car control in wet and slippery conditions and proved conclusively to the World that he is an exceptionally talented driver. All members of the Force India Formula One team came together and executed a brilliant race strategy and car set up. We have demonstrated that we are a much improved and competitive team now and we certainly had an opportunity to score championship points today. Giancarlo Fisichella has been troubled with gearbox problems all this weekend and lost three gears during the race despite which he was achieving quick lap times. We retired him from the race so as to avoid further damage. This performance in Monaco has given a huge boost to the confidence of the team and our drivers. Though we are sadly disappointed we will take away many positives and renew our determination to demonstrate further improvement over the rest of the season."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "I suppose sport has its highs and lows and unfortunately today Force India felt both of them. Giancarlo had a difficult day in his 200th race; soon into the race he lost first and second gear and, very impressively, drove for around 30 laps without them. He then lost fourth and we had no choice but to retire him. Adrian fast made up places in the race and with our one stop strategy we were able to keep him out and he could stop when it was dry. When the safety car came out we were comfortable and under control until Raikkonen lost it and went into the back of Adrian and broke his rear suspension. But that is life and I am sure that if we did it once, we can do it again."


Lewis Hamilton (1st): "I am absolutely over the moon. To win here in Monaco is the highlight of my career and an occasion I will always remember. I want to thank everybody in the team for their fantastic job, and also my family for their continuous support. It was a very eventful race. I started well and immediately overtook Kimi, and also saw a chance to attack Felipe, but then the rain got heavier and visibility worsened. At the Tabac corner, there was a lot of water on the track, and suddenly I had oversteer and hit the barrier. It was just a slight touch, but the tyre was damaged and I had to pit. Fortunately, the first Safety Car period helped me to close the gap to the front. We changed our strategy, and I had to make only one more stop. When I was about 40 seconds ahead the team told me over the radio to take it easy. The second Safety Car period brought more excitement, but I was able to control the race also after the second re-start. What a day and what a result!"

Heikki Kovalainen (8th): "An extremely difficult race with any chance of finishing in a top position already gone when I could not engage a gear at the start of the formation lap. Consequently I had to change the steering wheel in the pit lane from where I had to start my race. I tried to push as hard as I could, but could only go at my real pace when there was a gap. It is a pity, because my car was good and the speed was there. At least I scored one point at the end and now look forward to the next Grand Prix where I will go maximum attack to finish with good results."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today was a great day - and a fantastic team performance. Our guys instigated a brilliant strategy change, under pressure, after Lewis touched the Tabac barrier and damaged his right rear tyre early in the race. Had Heikki not had a problem on the grid, we would have had the pace for a 1-2 finish. That was a disappointment for him and us, but he drove a fantastic race thereafter and his time will surely come. Lewis's sensational win has taken him back to the lead of the Drivers' World Championship - and we now go to Montreal, scene of his first grand prix win 12 months ago, in a strong position to continue our challenge for the Championships. A great victory for the team and all of our Partners."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Lewis was sensational and his performance was just terrific. We had the best strategy, the best speed and certainly a little luck as well. For me, this sixth victory in Monaco for McLaren and Mercedes and 54th in total together with McLaren is our greatest so far. Sorry for Heikki, without his problem in selecting first gear at the start of the formation lap he would have been a very strong contender for a podium finish - at least he scored one point. A big thank you to the whole team who worked so hard and to all our partners, particularly Vodafone for all their support. The fight for the championship is wide open, and we certainly want to go for it."