Villeneuve Welcomes 'Sweet' Result

Jacques Villeneuve believed that improvements to the Sauber C24 had been the key to allowing him to show that he can still be competitive in Formula One - after a sixth place finish in the San Marino Grand Prix eased speculation about his future

Villeneuve Welcomes 'Sweet' Result

Having chosen to ignore the whirlwind of rumours that have dogged him since the start of the season, Villeneuve made the most of aerodynamic modifications introduced by Sauber at Imola to race strongly and bring him the team's best result of the year.

"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," said the former World Champion. "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 centimeters 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 time this year, so it's sweet to score these points while making a point of my own."

Villeneuve's delight at his afternoon's work was in contrast to teammate Felipe Massa's disappointment - who came home 12th after stalling on the grid and colliding with David Coulthard twice.

"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."

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