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Turkish GP 2008

MAY 11, 2008

Sunday Team Quotes

Start, Turkish GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive


Felipe Massa (1st): "It's fantastic to have got the hat trick here in Istanbul: it might really almost be worth asking for a Turkish passport! It was a very tough race but the team work magnificently, giving me a great car. When Hamilton came underneath me at an incredible pace, I preferred not to take too many risks: the pit wall informed me that he was clearly running a lighter fuel load even if we were not certain he was on a three stop strategy. When that became clear, we were calmer, knowing we had everything in place to go for the win. My engineer, Rob, guided my pace and I drove in such a way as to keep ahead of Lewis. Maybe the hard tyres worked better today, but from what we saw over the weekend, the softs were more competitive and in any case, the difference was not that great. I want to dedicate this win to two people: to my mother on Mother's Day and to Stefano Domenicali whose birthday it is today."

Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "It was a difficult weekend for me but six points are definitely better than nothing. At the start, I was almost alongside Heikki but then he slowed and I had to brake too to avoid a heavy crash. We touched just enough to damage the end plate of the front wing on my car: it was not a very serious problem, but it definitely didn't help my race. My first set of soft tyres worked very well, but the second was not as good: for the rears, maybe it would have been better to switch immediately to the harder, but that's easy to say with hindsight. After a less than great qualifying yesterday, we knew the race would be an uphill struggle. Now we must ensure we are as well prepared as possible for the Monaco Grand Prix, where we struggled in 2007. This winter we worked a lot on the car to concentrate on those shortcomings which we saw at tracks like this. Now we will see if we did enough to be competitive."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "We are very happy with this result, but we know it was a tough one to get. Felipe drove a great race and made the most of yesterday's pole position, but given what happened at the start, Kimi's result in managing to get onto the podium, could have been a lot worse. It was yet another example of the fact that, in this sport, it takes very little for the pendulum to swing one way or the other. We wanted to continue down this winning path which started as a reaction to the heavy hit we took in Melbourne and we have managed it. We hope this is a nice wedding present for Clementina, the daughter of our President, Luca di Montezemolo! These sixteen points are the result of the work from the whole team at all levels and that is why we chose Francesco Uguzzoni, the head mechanic to go on the podium and pick up the winning team trophy. Now we have to prepare maybe even more carefully for the next rounds: at Monaco and Canada last year, we suffered a lot and we will have to do our best in preparing for these races, both in the test session at Paul Ricard, from next Wednesday to Friday and in analyzing the data back in Maranello."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "All in all, a really good result. We had the potential to get a one-two, but after what happened at the start, we could have ended up with one car outside the points. The choice of when to use which tyre was based on data gathered in free practice and on past experience at this track, as well as a logical prediction of how the track surface would evolve. With hindsight, it is easy to say that we could have gone for a different choice. The team worked well and the cars ran trouble free, which included amongst other things, successfully completing the useage cycle of four races for the gearbox: for this and for their usual technical contribution I would like to thank Shell especially. Now we can expect two tricky races, where last year we were not competitive enough to win. We have worked a lot to remedy the problems which we had there and now we will find out if we have worked in the right direction."

BMW Sauber

Robert Kubica (4th): "Today the pace of the car was much better than in yesterday's third qualifying session. I was happy with its balance. I made a very good start and managed to gain two positions. I was then racing Kimi Raikkonen, but he pitted later and overtook me at the pit stop. I was then a little bit slower than the three guys in front of me, but quicker than the rest of the pack. This was the maximum possible for me today."

Nick Heidfeld (5th): "This is what I hoped for from ninth on the grid. To finish fifth was the best I could achieve today. I wanted to overtake Jarno Trulli at the start and this worked, then I gained two more positions during the pit stops. After the first stint I had a pretty lonely race and in the end I was even able to reduce the engine revs."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Taking our starting positions of fifth and ninth into account, I am very happy with today's result. Both drivers gained positions at the start. Kimi Raikkonen was able to overtake Robert during his first pit stop as we expected. On the other hand, Nick gained two places during his first pit stop. Fourth and fifth and nine championship points underline the team's performance today."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We have scored nine important points. This is more than can be expected if you start from fifth and ninth, therefore we are happy with the results. Both drivers had trouble-free races with no errors. Now we are confident as we look forward to Monaco."


Fernando Alonso (6th): "We were on the pace this weekend and scored some valuable points today, which confirms the progress we have made recently and is thanks to the hard work of everyone in the team. I made a good start, which was essential for a strong race and after that everything went smoothly. We had a good strategy, the car was well balanced and there were no problems with the tyres, so I am happy. Now we must continue working hard to catch up with the leading teams, but we are in good shape."

Nelson Piquet (15th): "I am satisfied with my performance today. My race started badly as I had to avoid the accident at the start which held me up. After that we just stuck to our strategy and tried to make up ground. The most important thing is that I finished the race and I have gained some more experience. I would have liked to finish further up, but I think that my weekend was determined during the qualifying session yesterday. I will make the most of what I have learned this weekend and put it to use at the next Grand Prix in Monaco, which will be an exciting race."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "I think we made the most of our chances today. Fernando's race was essentially with Webber, but it was gratifying to see that we were closer to the BMWs once again, although there is still a gap that we need to close. Nelson's race was always going to be difficult and there was little we could do for him strategically, but it was a spirited drive, especially his defence against Heikki."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "It's nice to see some encouraging signs of improvement. Fernando made a fantastic start and had a great race to get us some important points. It was difficult for Nelson starting from so far back, but he managed to drive a consistent race and kept pace with the midfield pack. We are confident that we are starting a new phase which will see us get closer and closer to the top three teams."


Nico Rosberg (8th): "I am happy with my result. I had a fantastic first lap, although I very nearly lost it all when Heidfeld went wide while I was alongside him. He didn't know I was there, so I had to go off the track. When I came back on, I was all over the place but I then passed Coulthard and Trulli on the outside of turn three. I gave it my all on every lap and it was a fantastic race for me today. Anymore, though, is just not possible at the moment, but I am looking forward to the next two races which traditionally suit our car."

Kazuki Nakajima (DNF, Damage): "I don't know exactly what happened; I just went into the first corner following the guy in front. I didn't change my line and I was suddenly hit from behind. I wanted to make it back to the garage as I thought there was a chance to get the problem fixed and get back out, but my car had suffered too much damage so I had to retire. It's a real shame because we showed we had good long run pace on Friday and were expecting to have the same pace in the race, so we could have done well here this afternoon."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It's good to get a point for the Constructors' Championship. It was a clear-headed drive from Nico; he was flat out all afternoon, didn't make any mistakes and delivered. Unfortunately, the traffic just prior to both pitstops cost him some time. The whole midfield is very tight now as today demonstrated, so we need to bring some more performance to the car if we are going to stay in the battle for fourth place. Kazuki was hit from behind which left his car too badly damaged to continue so his race was over, which was a shame. Apart from that, we had no reliability issues."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (7th): "I'm happy to get two points. It wasn't the most exciting race; I was just trying to hold on to Fernando (Alonso), which wasn't easy as he was a bit too strong for us today. It would have been nice to be able to fight him a little bit more. I was cruising a little in the last stint, as (Nico) Rosberg wasn't a threat. Getting more points is good for the team, especially after the way they turned my car round after my shunt on Friday, but we're not satisfied with getting just points now - we want to get more. But, I have the same number of points that I had in total last year, so we're doing okay."

David Coulthard (9th): "I just missed out on points today, which is frustrating, but I've looked around my car and there's no damage, so at least we finished a race without colliding with anyone! I raced as hard as I could. I dropped half a second just before my second pit stop and came out just behind Nico (Rosberg), which was probably the deciding factor. I think the strategy guys did a good job today, I just wasn't able to eek the last little bit of pace out of the car. I had a little bit of understeer and difficult drivability getting the throttle open, which cost a tenth of a second per lap."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Mark was mainly racing against Fernando (Alonso) today and was very close to out running him at the first pit stop; I think he missed out by half a second, which was unfortunate. Seventh was ultimately the outcome and we collected a fourth consecutive points finish. David lost a position to (Nico) Rosberg on the first lap and spent the rest of the afternoon chasing him. He looked quicker, but unfortunately we couldn't out run him through strategy today, and David finished an always frustrating ninth. We're pleased to have maintained our one hundred per cent reliability record after another promising weekend."

Fabrice Lom, Renault: "It's a good result, although we're a little disappointed as we hoped to finish sixth. We've gained a place in the Constructors' Championship and, in terms of engine management, we're pleased. We were a little concerned following Fernando (Alonso)'s problems at the last race. This is now a demanding track for the engine, especially with Turn 8, so we're pleased with the reliability of the engine here."


Jarno Trulli (10th): "My race was spoiled at the start. There was a bit of confusion in the first corner, I think I was touched by a car and I lost three positions. That was it for my race because after that I couldn't do anything to make up the ground. From the first lap to the last I tried to push to find a way past Coulthard. We were quite close but unfortunately with these cars as soon as you get two lengths behind the other car you just lose grip and start going off. I kept pushing as hard as possible all race but this was as good as we could do today."

Timo Glock (13th): "The pace of the car was not too bad today but the race was just destroyed by being stuck in traffic. I made a slow start and I had to avoid the accident with Fisichella and Nakajima. In the first stint I was behind Barrichello and quicker than him but I could not get past. After the pit stop Button was on soft tyres while we were on hard tyres that were working well and giving us good performance. Unfortunately at that stage I was being lapped by the leaders and the blue flags made it difficult to challenge. All afternoon I had better pace than the cars in front but I wasn't able to show it so this was a disappointing result."

Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "Friday's practice session went well and we found a good set-up but for the rest of the weekend the pace of the car was not quick enough. There is still a big gap between our performance and that of the front teams so that is the main reason for our result today. Of course Timo was not helped by his mechanical problem in qualifying. Then today both cars lost ground at the start so we will have to investigate that further when we get back to the factory. Those issues meant that the two cars were stuck in traffic for most of the race. But now we must improve our performance and aim for a better result next time."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel (17th): "I had a good start and then, all of a sudden I realised I had a punctured rear left tyre, so I had to pit immediately. My second problem came at the first pit stop, when the refuelling rig had a problem, no fuel went in, so I had to come in immediately again. From then on it was a tough race and I could not have done any better. At least I saw the chequered flag!"

Sebastien Bourdais (DNF, Spin): "Something broke at the back of the car, I don't know what it was yet. Going into Turn 12, I braked at the usual point and the car went sideways, I felt the right rear corner of the car drop and it spun me round. It's a shame, as up until then it had been going quite well and I was just about hanging onto the Toyota in front of me and keeping the Renault behind me. Of course, the problem at my pit stop with the refuelling had not helped."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Both our drivers got good starts, but in the first lap, Vettel was hit by another car, got a puncture and had to pit to change tyres. After that he was having a reasonable race, but when he came in for his scheduled stop, unfortunately, there was a problem with the refuelling rig and he had to be called in again next time round, as no fuel had gone into the car. This cost him over twenty seconds, but at least he finished the race. We had a similar problem with Bourdais' stop, but this time, we spotted it before he left the pits and we switched to the spare fuel rig. After that, he Bourdais had a problem at Turn 12, which the data reveals as a technical failure that we will now investigate. We are glad the STR2 era is over and now we look forward to running our new car, as from the next race in Monaco."


Jenson Button (11th): "Although I managed to improve slightly on my start position, it was a disappointing race for us. The start was clean and I had a pretty good first lap, however our pace wasn't as good as we expected it to be during the race. I had a problem on my first stint with the front tyres, caused by the brakes overheating, which cost me a bit of time. We then changed our strategy to a one-stop which worked pretty well. Unfortunately the difference in fuel loads really tells here so it was difficult to hold back the quicker cars behind me who were two-stopping. We need to make some further improvements to the car before we are able to challenge for the points again."

Rubens Barrichello (14th): "It was a frustrating race for us today. Unfortunately we did not have the pace to compete and overall I'm disappointed with the performance of the car. I suffered from understeer and traffic in my first stint so we stopped a little bit early to try and get me out into some space. From then on, it was an uneventful run to the end of the race. We have a lot of work to do over the next couple of tests to try to find some pace."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "After a surprisingly uncompetitive qualifying yesterday we were hoping that it would be business as usual for the race today. A few laps in both drivers had poor balance and it was clear that our pace was not enough to challenge for the points. We switched the strategy on both cars from two-stop to a one-stop mid race. This was mainly to defend against the cars behind and this approach proved successful. It also gave us the possibility that we would gain if there was a safety car in the middle part of the race as this was our only realistic chance of points today. We have a track test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France to prepare for Monaco and Montreal, followed by an aero test at Barcelona to validate our next aerodynamic step. We should have some visually interesting new parts for Monaco, the highest downforce circuit so far. However we do not expect Monaco to be the highest downforce track of the year - our calculations show that Singapore will require even more. Montreal is at the opposite end of the spectrum with the demand placed on very high straight line speed."

Force India-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil (16th): "At the start I saw Giancarlo going straight over Nakajima and there was debris all over the track, so by turns three and four there were cars all over the place. I had some damage on the front wing when another driver touched me through turn five so had to come in to change the nosecone. Luckily the safety car was out and I didn't lose too much time. During the race my balance was not perfect and I had a lot of understeer I couldn't get rid of, but the middle stint was good as I was catching the group in front. At the end of the race I could keep Vettel behind me so was at least it was one position gained."

Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Accident): "I made a good start but then under braking Bourdais changed direction twice and I couldn't brake in time and went into the back of the Williams. I am already looking forward to Monaco. It's my favourite track and I've had some good results there so I have to leave this result behind and concentrate on the next race."

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "After the high of our first top ten finish in Spain, this weekend was always going to be difficult to measure up. Sure enough it was a challenge in many respects, but I still feel there are positives to take away. We had been quite open about our difficulties in replicating free practice pace in qualifying, but I was happy to see this trend had been reversed here in Turkey. It was also important for Adrian to get to the chequered flag today, both for himself and for the team, and he had a strong race after he got back out after his accident on the first lap. His middle stint was encouraging as he caught the midfield and, on his final set of tyres, he was able to keep Vettel behind him despite the sustained pressure. Of course it is always a shame to see one of our cars out before the first lap, but as I have said before, you have to take risks: this is motor racing. Let's now look forward to Monaco now that both drivers love and have performed well on. It will be a good opportunity for us to challenge the teams in front."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Obviously our race became very difficult after the first three corners with Giancarlo going off at the first corner and Adrian losing his front wing. With the safety car we were able to get Adrian back out and his first couple of stints were good, particularly the middle one when he was staying with the group in front. He was pretty consistent, but once we started to get blue flags it was difficult to keep the temperature in the tyres and that made the last stint very difficult. It was however very important for Adrian to get a race finish today, which he did. We now move onto the next race in Monaco, a track that both drivers have performed well on."


Lewis Hamilton (2nd): "I am so thrilled with today's result, and I think this is the best race ever for me. It's not about winning, it's about feeling that you extract 100% from yourself and the car and I did that today. Before the race our prediction was that all being well I would finish fifth, so second is such a bonus. I was not happy with my performance yesterday and perhaps if I had managed to get the car on pole I could have won. However, we knew that we would have to use a three stop strategy as a precaution as we had some issues with our tyres. The team did a fantastic job, the pitstops were great, and the balance of the car was superb, and we all kept our spirit up. There were no problems with the tyres in the race. I managed to overtake Felipe at one point, and I really think we have closed the gap to Ferrari. I am so excited about the next race in Monaco and just can't wait."

Heikki Kovalainen (12th): "Not a lucky race for me as I made a bad start from the dirty line on the grid. After the start Kimi and I touched slightly which caused a slow puncture to my left-rear tyre. Initially I was not sure whether the tyre was damaged or not, but during the Safety Car period I realised that I had to come into the pits for a new tyre. That was almost it for me, because with my heavy fuel load and the traffic it is extremely difficult to gain any places during the race. However, I did my best but no points. These things happen, and I have had a good weekend and really enjoyed being back in the car. It's a shame that we were not able to get points today as I have been fast throughout, but I am really optimistic for Monaco."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today we saw a truly phenomenal drive from Lewis, in which he optimised a three-stop strategy that we were forced to adopt as a consequence of concerns we had with his tyres. As a result of the eight points that his second-placed finish netted him, he closed the gap on Kimi in the World Drivers' Championship to just seven points. Heikki's race was spoiled by a punctured left-rear tyre, the result of contact with Kimi at the first corner. As soon as the pit lane had reopened, we called him in for tyres and fuel. Thereafter he drove forcefully and well all afternoon. But for that puncture, he would have scored heavily today. I believe we have closed the gap to our main competition which gives the team a great boost before heading for Monte Carlo."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A really exciting Grand Prix and, as I think, quite entertaining for the spectators. We had an aggressive strategy for Lewis which almost paid off as our aims were first places in both qualifying and race. Lewis drove a great race with a good speed. His overtaking manoeuvre when he passed Massa was surely enjoyed by lots of television spectators as it does not happen too often in Formula 1 that the leading car is passed. Kimi touched Heikki at the first corner, and Heikki had to make an extra pit stop due to a damaged tyre. This ruined his race and prevented him from taking a possible podium finish. We all will continue to work very hard and are looking forward to the season's highlight in Monte Carlo in two weeks' time."