Head Praises Gene for 'Fantastic Job'

Spanish stand-in Marc Gene banked four points for Williams in the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday and gave Ferrari's Michael Schumacher a scare.

Head Praises Gene for 'Fantastic Job'

Spanish stand-in Marc Gene banked four points for Williams in the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday and gave Ferrari's Michael Schumacher a scare.

The Spaniard, replacing Michael's ailing younger brother Ralf, started his first race since 2000 and found himself leading a Grand Prix for the first time in his career when Schumacher pitted for the second time.

With Colombian title rival Juan Pablo Montoya chasing Schumacher in the other Williams, but at some distance after his own stop, Gene sent Ferrari into a flap.

"Our team wasn't absolutely aware of who was who at that moment," said Schumacher. "Initially they said 'you should be fine' and then suddenly they screamed in the radio 'watch out, he's coming' and I suddenly saw a Williams coming and thought 'how did he do that?'"

"I almost went off in one of the corners because I was pushing so hard to get a go at him but luckily it was Gene."

The Spaniard pitted at the end of that lap and finished fifth for his first points since he came sixth for Minardi at the 1999 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

"This is the best result in my Formula One career and I'm really happy," said the Williams test driver. "I think a good performance was to be expected as I had one of the best cars on the grid."

Technical director Patrick Head praised the driver, who was woken up on Saturday to be told that Ralf had gone home suffering from the after-effects of a big crash at Monza in testing last week.

"He did a fantastic job, a great race from Marc and in the last 15 laps he was often the quickest car on the track so it was very good," said Head.

"He was pretty annoyed about a move that (Italian Jarno) Trulli pulled on him at the start which he said he thought was a pretty unacceptable one in terms of how quickly he chopped him," added Head.

"Marc said the only thing he could do was hit the brakes hard and that was why (McLaren's David) Coulthard and (Toyota's Olivier) Panis got by him. He then had to get Panis and by that time Coulthard had got away a bit.

"But he did a great job, couldn't ask for more."

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