Pantano Laments Early Exit

Italian Giorgio Pantano lamented his early exit from the Belgian Grand Prix after the Jordan driver became one of the victims of the opening lap chaos.

Pantano Laments Early Exit

Italian Giorgio Pantano lamented his early exit from the Belgian Grand Prix after the Jordan driver became one of the victims of the opening lap chaos.

Pantano was one of four drivers who retired after the Eau Rouge corner when he crashed into the Minardi of Gianmaria Bruni, whose car stopped in the middle of the track after an accident prompted by a collision between BAR's Takuma Sato and Jaguar's Mark Webber.

"I came out of the start and first corner quite well, but something was happening with a few other cars," explained Pantano. "As I arrived at the top of Eau Rouge, I saw Sato's car going off so I slowed down but then a Minardi appeared from the back and spun in front of me - there was nowhere for me to go.

"It was a bit scary! It's disappointing because I had a good start and with the number of people that retired I had the chance of doing a really good race today."

Only 10 cars made it to the end of the race, but despite that the Jordan team failed to score any points. Pantano's teammate Nick Heidfeld had a torrid time during the race, the German driver suffering all kinds of problems on his way to 11th position.

"My start was good but then there were a lot of things going on at the first corner and I was pushed to the outside, lost my front wing, and came in to change that and check the rest of the car. I had lost part of the barge boards on the right side but I guess there was no time to change them.

"After that I felt the balance of the car was very poor, with huge understeer and a lot of 'bottoming'. That's why I nearly went off once at Eau Rouge. We tried to compensate for the understeer with some wing changes, but I think the damage to the aero parts was just too much.

"The team called me in the lap after my first stop for another tyre and fuel stop, I'm not really sure why yet. On top of that I got more problems with the engine cutting out. So although I was scheduled to drive to the end I pitted again and switched off the engine for a very long stop while the team changed a part to fix the engine cut-outs and that worked out. Although at that stage there were only four or five more laps to go."

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