Schumacher: "I'm in love with this car" 04 May 2003
Michael Schumacher paid tribute to the Ferrari team after his dominant performance took him to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, giving the new F2003-GA its maiden win at the same time.
"We have to say that we are lucky to be here with the new car because I think with the old car we wouldn't have been able to make it," the world champion told the post-race press conference, "this new car is something very special... I am so much in love with this car. It's just fantastic what they have done."
Schumacher's victory moves him to second place in the Driver's Championship, just four points behind McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, who failed to score after a first lap collision with Antonio Pizzonia. But Ferrari didn't have the day to itself, Renault's young Spanish ace Fernando Alonso taking second place ahead of Rubens Barrichello. Once again the Renault looked very strong on its Michelin rubber.
"I think in terms of tyre performance it looked like we had the better beginning and then towards the end my tyres dropped off a little bit more," said Schumacher when asked how much pressure Alonso was putting him under, "I lost quite a bit of time in the early part but in the end it worked out ... the longer we were on the circuit the better it was for our tyres and for the car."
Michael Schumacher also had a brief but committed battle for position with his brother Ralf, after he emerged from his first pit stop to find the Williams blocking his path.
"He was on old tyres; I was on fresh tyres so I obviously had a lot of potential to overtake him," explained Michael, "I was expecting to overtake him at the end of the straight, but even with the old tyres he got a good run out of the final corner so it was not enough to go for it. We were very close to each other there. Then I was a little bit surprised that I was able to overtake him where I did. I sort of pushed him a little bit into a late brake into the corner as I was aiming to overtake him at turn five, he had to brake late to avoid that and that meant he had a slow exit and I could out-accelerate him."