Sunday's Selected Quotes - Imola
Fernando Alonso - 1st: "I think this was my best win in Formula 1 so far, because it was different to all the others: I didn't have a gap to allow me to be conservative, and I knew Michael was catching up from behind and that meant I had to push all the way through the race. In the end, it worked perfectly and things were very close in the final laps, but I was 99% sure he would not be able to overtake here in Imola. The car was good, but the race was the first time I had done more than three timed laps in a row this weekend because we were managing the engine very carefully: we had to make our best estimates with the set-up, and then each lap was a surprise as we discovered how the car changed. I lost some grip towards the end of the race but in the end, we did enough to get the win. Three in a row is a fantastic feeling, and I'm really looking forward to Spain: it will be a big party for everybody, and I think we can aim for the podium again."
Giancarlo Fisichella - DNF: "I really don't know what happened this afternoon. I made a good start and was much quicker than Heidfeld, so was just sitting behind him and waiting for the pit-stop. Then going through turn 2, I lost the rear end of the car and spun into the wall. Obviously, it is extremely disappointing because we had the pace again today to score some points."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "I am very happy for the team and Fernando. He did an incredible job today, and the way he held off Michael in the last ten laps was incredible. I think this was a great race for Formula 1 and congratulations to Ferrari for their performance today. For me, this was a great afternoon for Renault and Fernando, but also for our sport. I would also like to thank Louis Schweitzer: this is the last F1 victory before he leaves his position as President of Renault, and we are proud to offer it to him."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was fantastic to see two drivers of the calibre of Fernando and Michael fighting for the victory until the last corner. Michael's pace this afternoon was amazing, and Ferrari are certainly back. Fernando nevertheless coped with it, and dominated and controlled the race in difficult circumstances. As we have seen before from him this season, it was the drive of a future Champion.
"We are all very sorry for Giancarlo. All we know at this stage is that his accident appears to have been a car problem, but we will not know what happened until we investigate further.
"Michelin also provided us with a strong balance of tyre performance between qualifying and the race. While obviously we now face a very strong challenge from our competitors, Michelin have done a very good job in responding to the challenge so far this season, and we look forward to an equally exciting race in Spain."
Michael Schumacher - 2nd: "I am happy in one way and excited after such a race, but on the other hand, I am disappointed after making a mistake this morning, when I braked on a bump with a full fuel load and locked up a wheel. If not for that, this would have been a perfect day for us. But I have a second place and it is due to a stunning effort from everyone, the engineers, the test team, Luca Badoer, Marc Gene and everyone else who worked flat out since the last race. And big, big thanks to Bridgestone whose performance today is just a first step and there is more to come from them. There is more to come from us too and we are still in the fight. I was helped in getting past Jenson because the two Williams put some dust on the track and Jenson slipped on it a bit. I could see that Fernando was not that quick, but there was never a real opportunity to have a proper go at passing him. Basically, he had a good race today and made no mistakes. That's why he won and I did not."
Rubens Barrichello - DNF: "My car had an electrical problem, but at the moment we don't know the cause. It's a great shame as I knew my car would be very quick, particularly on used tyres and we have made a huge improvement since the last race, but I never got to the point in the race when my tyres would have been at their best. We still have to look at our reliability as it has not been so good recently. On the positive side, the F2005 is very good and was really quick even with a lot of fuel on board."
Jean Todt: "It was a thrilling race. It is clear we cannot be completely happy, given that Rubens was unable to finish the race because of an electrical problem, the cause of which we still have to identify. Michael had an exceptional race, starting thirteenth and finishing within a hair's breadth of the winner, who had a great race. I am happy for the team, for Michael, for Bridgestone and for Shell, with whom we have just renewed our agreement to the end of 2010. It was an important weekend on the contract front for the Scuderia, as we also signed an agreement to supply Red Bull Racing with our engines for the next two years. We like to respond with our actions and today's performance is our answer to those who thought we would not be more competitive again. We know that Championship titles are obtained by winning races and that is what we will be trying to do in the next round in Barcelona."
Ross Brawn: "This was a magnificent race for Ferrari and a magnificent race for Formula 1. It was frustrating that Michael got held up for half the race, but once we had the space in front of us, you could see what the car could do and what Michael and the tyres can do. It was fantastic, even though a win would have been an even bigger boost for the team. But the luck will come our way and maybe in the next race we can get on with the job of winning. It was a great shame for Rubens as we did not get to see his potential as he looked in good shape too. We think it was an electrical problem, but we need to investigate."
Jenson Button - 3rd: "It's fantastic to be back on the podium again after such a great weekend for the team. It looks like we are very much back in the game. The past three races have been tough for all of us at BAR Honda and it's fantastic to have put that behind us here today. Everyone has worked incredibly hard - night and day in fact - to turn things around and I have to say a huge 'thank you' to everyone for their efforts. It was an incredible race and a great feeling to be as strong as we were in the early stages. We lost out towards the end when I got a bad run up the hill from Aqua Minerale and Michael was able to get beside me going into the Variante Alta. Fighting him in that position could have put me out of the race, so I decided to play safe and ensure we got home and dry with a podium and our first points to show for it. As we saw here today there is so much more potential though and we can be stronger still if we maintain the momentum and keep fighting for that win."
Takuma Sato - 5th: "The team has done a fantastic job, both during the tests working on the new developments and over this race weekend. The car performed very well and I enjoyed the racing here today. We are back on form with a great result and the double-points finish we wanted. At the beginning of the race I was stuck in traffic, but I enjoyed racing side-by-side and making up on my position. The season has really started for us now here at Imola and so I am really looking forward to carrying our strong performance to our next race in Barcelona."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "I am delighted with the results of this weekend. Personally, it has been a fairytale since this is my first race with BAR Honda. In a way I am not surprised with Jenson and Taku's performance; over the last few weeks that I've been with the team I was able to witness first-hand the incredible and relentless effort of the whole organisation towards turning our fortunes around - something everyone achieved with full marks. Certainly our success in Imola gives us confidence not only for a good showing in Barcelona, but also in our ability to continue to improve as the season goes on. Many congratulations should also be given to both drivers for doing such a fantastic job all race long. I can't wait to get to Barcelona!"
Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer: "An excellent team performance which rewards a huge amount of work by BAR Honda and Michelin since the last race. We ran all weekend with good speed and reliability, and both drivers put in excellent performances. I am confident that the team has both the skills and resources to perform at an even higher level in the next few races. This is just the springboard we needed."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "We have obviously had a very good day today. Both cars finished without any problems and we have been able to fully exploit the speed of the car. This is the start of our challenge this year - we have a lot more work to do to achieve our target of race wins."
Alex Wurz - 4th: "I am really happy with my result today. I drove a tactical race, particularly right before the first pitstop, when I needed to close the gap between Mark Webber and Takuma Sato. I managed to gain an advantage once they pitted and as a result came out ahead of them. I could have been faster; however early on in the race I was stuck in traffic, so could not close the gap to Jenson Button. I am pleased that the team gave me this opportunity and I did my best to justify their commitment to me. A shame for Kimi, he would have deserved a top result this weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen - DNF: "Unfortunately my race was cut short as a result of a failure in the left driveshaft. Obviously I am disappointed as I had a great start and was really building on my lead. At least we know that the car has the pace in both qualifying as well as the race, and with some improvements due for Spain in two weeks I am looking forward to a good race there."
Ron Dennis: "Of course we are very disappointed with the outcome of the race. Kimi was doing a fantastic job and had already pulled out a healthy lead over Fernando Alonso until a CV joint failed in the driveshaft. Alex's fourth place was well deserved and again reflected the professional approach he has taken to the weekend as a whole. Apologies again to Kimi"
Norbert Haug: "It's a pity that Kimi retired in the lead with a driveshaft failure, sorry Kimi. He did everything right starting from pole position and pulling away from the field after a perfect start. We had the right strategy, which would have given Kimi even more of an advantage. This is our first failure to lead to retirement this year, and the team will sort that out. Alex did a good job and was among the fastest of the Michelin runners. We will stay focused and work hard to further improve."
Jacques Villeneuve - 6th: "We didn't know that we would have so much improvement in the car when we arrived here this weekend, and that has really helped. I thoroughly enjoyed my race. I had a good fight with Webber and when he ran wide he tried to come back on but I was able to get by. If I had been another 10 centimetres further forward I would have taken the risk with Wurz at the same time, but it was early in the race and would have been touch and go.
"I made a great start and my pit stops couldn't have been better, so thanks to the team for their efforts on my behalf this afternoon. Having the improvement also permitted me more freedom from the team in setting the car up the way I like, and that played its part too. This has been a good weekend and everything and everyone is more positive. I've had a hell of a time this year, so it's sweet to score these points while making a point of my own."
Felipe Massa - 12th: "I was still in neutral trying to get a gear when the race began so I lost chances to overtake on the first lap. As you can see with Michael, it was almost impossible to overtake here, and many times I was behind Coulthard. When I got really close I got brake fade, which is why I touched his rear wheel one lap and lost my wing. I had to pit early as a result and as we had to refuel then the car was heavier than it should have been. But even so it was very good whenever I had clear laps. I knew that it would be after our performance in qualifying, and if I had been able to start from eighth on the grid I think it would have been possible to fight for a very good position not far from the podium."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "After qualifying we realised that we had made a significant step, but it was bigger than we expected. During the race I was even more surprised what we were seeing. Jacques was able to keep a strong pace and I am particularly happy for him after three difficult races that he should be able to savour this success. It was clear that Felipe would have a difficult time starting a fuel-heavy car 18th as it is so hard to overtake here, and that must have been frustrating for him. But overall I am very happy that the car is at a competitive level now. Thanks again to our technical crew in Hinwil."
Jarno Trulli - 7th: "This was always going to be the hardest race of the year for Toyota, so the fact that we took home three points between us makes it a good day. I changed my set-up just before qualifying and I ended up suffering from oversteer late on, but we've limited the damage. I gave everything I had and kept fighting to the end and we took 7th place. When my new son Enzo arrived last week I felt determined to bring something home for him. It's not a trophy this time, but two points are enough for now!"
Ralf Schumacher - 8th: "To finish with both cars in the points here is a good result at this circuit which was always going to be a difficult one for us. I had no real problems other than the odd balance issue on one set of tyres and the guys did a great job for me - especially at the second pitstop. The eighth place arrived because we had such a perfect pitstop and we were able to catch the Williams in the pits. So a big thanks to all the guys and it's great that we can stay in second place in the constructors' Championship."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "We always knew this would be one of the worst circuits of the year for us, so the team did an excellent job to finish with two cars in the points. Jarno had a very difficult race, struggling with oversteer and lack of traction, so he did well to hold his position as well as he did during the pitstops. Ralf had a poor start which compromised his race and meant he was always in traffic. But he also did a good job and excellent pitstop work from the team meant he was able to get past both Williams cars at the second stop. I'd also like to congratulate Luca Marmorini and his engine team for getting both engines to the finish again after a tough race in Bahrain. Overall, to come away with second place in the Championship without losing too much ground to the teams behind us is a good result. Now we must work hard to build on this performance over the next few races."
Nick Heidfeld - 9th: "I lost a couple of places off the line and we obviously have to improve our starts. After that, Jarno held up the pack where I was for most of the time. I think towards the end of the race my pace was good enough to collect some points, but of course we want to be more competitive than just scoring points, so we must find more speed. I could catch up with Jarno and Ralf very quickly, but overtaking on this circuit was another matter. At the last pit-stop Ralf Schumacher got in front of me by forcing me to brake hard and avoid a crash."
Mark Webber - 10th: "From the start, Trulli got past me straight away and so too did Sato, but I was able to recover this position at Tosa. After that I had to sit behind Jarno during the first stint, and it happened that we pitted on the same lap and I could not pass him. So I tried to pass Jarno on the track at the Variante Alta but while having a go, I had a big moment and let Villeneuve through. The last part of the race was difficult as I was struggling because the engine of my car was slowed down, having already run two GPs."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It is obviously both a disappointing result and day overall. We had a poor start and we spent the whole race in traffic. Clearly we have to improve this for the future. That said, the car's competitiveness was not as bad as it might have appeared due to the traffic but it's certainly not where we expected to be. We had no mechanical problems at all."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Congratulations to Michael Schumacher for an extraordinary race, even though Fernando Alonso won in the end. For us, on the other hand, after a reasonable qualifying it was a disappointing race outcome. Both the drivers were held up in traffic for most of the race, but at no time were they in a position to get to the top. We had no technical problems and reliability was there, simply not the speed."
Tonio Liuzzi - 11th: "I thought the race would be difficult for me because of fitness, but I feel pretty ok. The car was quite good really. The balance was good, but there just wasn't enough speed, so we have to improve .It was quite difficult to keep the car on the track - it felt as if I was sliding all over the place. I wanted to overtake Mark (Webber) so I tried to make something crazy but it didn't work Can I say that? It feels great to have done my first race and I can't wait for testing to prepare for Barcelona."
David Coulthard - 13th: "At the start I was a bit slow away from the grid. I was running around ok but then had a bit of a bump with Massa, which broke part of the floor. We went backwards from there and never really came back. The race was pretty lonely actually, just going around in circles. The car didn't have great race pace - we knew that from yesterday - so I was expecting to struggle a bit. But I still thought I'd have a better balance than I did. There was a lot of oversteer."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Obviously 11th and 13th is pretty disappointing after three consecutive point-scoring races. Tonio drove an excellent race on his Grand Prix debut. He was consistent throughout and made a very solid start to his F1 career. David had a couple of knocks from Massa and I think this damaged his car slightly. From a reliability point of view we're ok, but we need to take a step forward in performance. We hope to see that at the forthcoming test in Jerez."
GÃ¼nther Steiner, Technical Director: "I am not that happy with how we performed in the race today. But the car was reliable and didn't have any problems. In comparison with qualifying I think this is the best we could have achieved."
David Prigg, Cosworth: "Once more Cosworth has succeeded in powering Red Bull to a double race finish, which successfully completes the second event mileage on both David's and Tonio's engines. David's engine has accumulated more than 1200km and with a completely problem-free weekend, again demonstrates Cosworth's ability to provide a reliable and competitive product."
Narain Karthikeyan - 14th: "This is the best race for me so far pace-wise. I have made a decent start and I was able to keep close to the cars in front. I had a good first pit stop but I made a small mistake in the second one, which unfortunately cost me some time, and then I was on my own for the rest of the race. However it was a positive race for us as we were able to keep up with the Red Bull cars which is quite encouraging for the team."
Tiago Monteiro - 15th: "Four races and four finishes for me so I am quite pleased. It was quite a difficult race as I suffered from a puncture near the end of the race. Finishing the race was positive for us but what is even better is that we were able to reduce the gap with the cars in front. Now when the cars are passing us they do not just disappear as they used to do it in the first three races but now we can follow them for a while. This is definitely an improvement for the team."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "We had quite a good race, where we showed a very good pace with Tiago and especially Narain hanging on to the Red Bull cars and Felipe Massa. Narain made a small mistake in the pit stop, which unfortunately did not allow us to take advantage of our speed. However, we are very pleased and encouraged the pace we had during the race."
Christijan Albers - DNF: "The first thing is that we did some race laps today and learned a lot about the new car. During the first stint, I had strong oversteer, which we were going to deal with at the pit stop, but unfortunately, there was quite a bad leak from the gearbox and I was not able to continue. I wish we could have delivered a better result to the guys for all the work they have put in, but it was not possible this weekend. We'll see what we can do in Barcelona."
Patrick Friesacher - DNF: "The start was not too bad, and I was quite happy with the opening laps, as I was ahead of Christijan and able to stay with Monteiro, but then suddenly, as I was accelerating out of the last corner, it seemed like something broke. Generally, the car felt good today, but we need to find some more downforce. We'll be working on this area when we test at Mugello on Wednesday and Thursday of this week."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Despite a valiant effort by the drivers and the whole team, it wasn't really a surprise that reliability stopped both Minardis in today's race, as one has to consider that this is the first serious outing for the PS05. Both failures were gearbox-related, and hopefully, this week's Mugello test will give the team the opportunity to perfect certain aspects of the car. On a positive note, though, we believe the overall potential of the new package, especially of the Cosworth TJ2005 engine, bodes very well for the future."
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "I would like to congratulate Fernando Alonso on his sterling defence in the face of intense pressure - and Renault for maintaining Michelin's unbeaten start to the season."
"It is clear, though, that the opposition has upped its game. We anticipated a close battle this weekend - and that is exactly what we got. Although the first part of the race ran pretty much to our expectations, it is clear that we lost a bit of pace during the second and third stints. We haven't yet established a definite reason, although it is clear that Imola - which has several fierce braking zones and lots of hard acceleration - places a greater load on the current-specification rear tyres than any of the three circuits on which we have previously competed this season. The rate of wear was slightly higher than expected."
"It is a pity that Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen, who was not using the same tyre specification as Fernando, was forced to retire after his sparkling start. It would have been fascinating to monitor his progress."
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: "I was very impressed with Michael's race today. We had rain this morning but it didn't change the track conditions considerably for the race and he was clearly the quickest driver out there today. His second stint was particularly impressive when he was lapping two seconds a lap quicker than his rivals. I am only sorry that Rubens wasn't able to finish the race. However, our tyre performance here this weekend is undoubtedly an improvement on the previous races. It was a shame that Michael wasn't quite able to snatch the lead but from a tyre point of view I think it fair to say that the Bridgestone was the better tyre today. Having checked the tyres after the race I was also pleased with their appearance. Having said that, we are not getting carried away. We know we still have to keep pushing and working on improvements. It was good to see both Jordans finish the race today but I am sorry to see that the Minardis didn't complete the race. But, we are sure that as they develop their new car, race finishes will come."
Post-Race Press Conference - Imola
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