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Hungarian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 24 Aug 2003

1st Place Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R23 punches the air on the podium as he claims his first place
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary, 24 August 2003

Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
"I have said it a lot this year, but this is the best day of my life. The car was perfect, the strategy too, and I managed to drive a consistent race. We had some problems on Friday, but the team worked hard to overcome them. Personally, I want to say a big thank you to the whole team, here at the track but also back at the factories in France and England. I am proud to be racing for Renault: winning this for them, and becoming the first driver from my country to win a Grand Prix, is fantastic."

Jarno Trulli, Renault (7th):
"First of all, it is a special day for the team, and I want to congratulate Fernando and all the team. My race began with an excellent start, and made the most of Rubens' mistake to overtake: we had a good fight. However, at the start of each stint, I lost grip almost immediately: the car was sliding all over the place. It is disappointing to lose a position compared to where I qualified, but I still managed to keep Michael behind during the final stint."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (3rd):
"My start on the dirty side of the track was very bad, it was almost like throwing out an anchor! After the first lap I was in eighth position and it was really hard to pass the cars in front of me and make up for the places I had lost. I was trying for quite a while to overtake Michael but he just closed the door. That's racing. So I preferred waiting for the pit-stops and to see how things would go. I pushed as hard as I could and could get into third place but then, with 10 laps to go I made a mistake and spun. I was lucky enough to keep my position in front of Ralf. I am very happy about the points I scored today, especially because Michael got just one. Our Team is now leading the Championship, this is great!"

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (4th):
"I have no idea of what happened at the start. I just had no traction. Two corners later I had to be careful not to crash into the rear of Juan's car. That was when I spun. Then I had a pretty good recovery from the far end of the field. It's easy to imagine how things could have gone if I'd had a better start. Whatever happened, I would not have caught Alonso. Of course things are not looking too good for me in the Championship. If I wanted a chance to win the title now, I would need a miracle."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (8th)::
"Obviously not a great race for me. I spent a lot of time stuck behind a slower car and so could not run at my maximum pace. Then we had a problem with the second pit stop as we were running out of fuel. Basically a lot of things did not go the way we wanted. The championship is now really close and at least I am still leading. Now we have an important test session coming up at Monza, where I am confident we can improve our total package. All we can do now is work hard, with a team which I know is capable of doing exactly that and look forward to the final three races of the year."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (DNF):
"I was running a good race when, for reasons I don't know, I lost the left rear wheel and ended up in the crash barriers. Fortunately, I did not hurt myself at all and physically, I am fine. However, I am not at all happy with the fact that I received no medical attention immediately after the accident and shortly afterwards when I was back in the pits. It was a shame for Michael that he was always stuck behind slower cars. In any case, today we were not really competitive, even though I think I could have got a good result."

Nick Heidfeld, Sauber (9th):
"On one hand it's a shame to finish ninth, just out of the points, but on the other, looking at the drivers who finished in front of me, I think I did a good job. The start was quite good initially but when it got chaotic I wasn't able to move up as much as I thought I would be able to. My result also confirmed once again the improvements we made to the C22 over the past weeks. We were able to score better than our direct competitors who are using the same tyres, Jordan and BAR."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber (DNF):
"This race was a pleasure for me until I ran out of fuel. The team obviously instructed me to come into the pits but the radio didn't work, so I didn't hear them. When they indicated to me with my pit stop board, I was just behind Kiesa and didn't see the signal. It's a sum of unlucky circumstances."

Jos Verstappen, Minardi (12th):
"I had a good start and made up some places and once the race settled down, I was able to lap consistently. I think this has been one of the better races of the season for us although it is clear that we are still not able to run at the speed of the other cars yet. From a personal point of view, I thought this race might also be a tough one physically, but I was pleased to find that I felt good when I climbed out of the car at the end. All told, it has been a positive weekend for us."

Nicolas Kiesa, Minardi (13th):
"I made a mistake at the start, when I engaged first gear but forgot to activate the launch control. That delayed me when the race got under way, but it was okay once I got going. The chassis set-up we chose meant we had to sacrifice our qualifying performance yesterday, but it definitely helped us in the race. I had a better car for the race this afternoon than I had in Hockenheim and I managed to let the faster cars through without reducing my own performance as much. I was able to put the knowledge from Germany to good use and am pleased to have taken the chequered flag for the second Grand Prix in a row. It's a good way to start my Formula One career."

Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (11th):
"Firstly, I want to apologise to the team for stalling on the grid. From 15th,
I was looking for a good start, however I got on the launch button a bit too quickly. I hit the brakes to avoid jumpstarting but there was not enough time for the anti-stall to kick in. The team got me started again in the pitlane, but by that point I was over a lap down and I had to really push hard to make up ground. The car's balance was still towards the oversteer side, but the overall grip was good, so I am naturally disappointed with this result."

Olivier Panis, Toyota (DNF):
"Understandably, we are all a little bit disappointed. I came in for my second stop and when I went to drive away I heard a noise and knew instantly what had happened. Of course, these things can happen sometimes, but we need to find out exactly what went wrong. The car felt good up to that point and after losing five places at the start, I was making good progress through the field. Despite this result, we are continuing to head in a good direction, so we need to prepare well for the next race in Monza. I am looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix because Monza is a track that should suit our car, and I believe we should be in a strong position to pick up points there.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan (DNF):
"The engine blew up for the third time this weekend. I had a good start but the car was quite difficult, there was a lot of oversteer and it was quite easy to make mistakes."

Zsolt Baumgartner, Jordan (DNF):
"Today was a great opportunity for me and I'm very upset that I couldn't finish the race. I think I made a good start and was in 15th when I had to retire. But that's just motorsport: technical defects can happen and unfortunately they happened to Giancarlo and me today. It was a great feeling to drive here in front of the fans and see them so happy. It's a shame but I enjoyed the race while it lasted and I hope I can be in Formula One in the future."

Jenson Button, BAR (10th):
"I got a pretty bad start and Jacques came flying past me, so there must have been a big difference in the launch starts we got. On top of that I didn't make the best of the second corner; I was round the outside and then Ralf spun off and I almost hit him. I finally got past Frentzen and Verstappen and then the car was working reasonably well and I was making good progress, but then I had a problem with the differential failing. This made the car very oversteery and difficult to drive so, all in all, not a great race. Obviously we now need to push very hard for points in the last three races."

Jacques Villeneuve, BAR (DNF):
"We knew we would be much better in race set-up - and we were. It went really well at the start and I was able to make up six places in the first lap, despite having a lot of fuel on board, so things were looking good for a point or two. The track was very dusty but my car was working well. We knew for a couple of laps that things were starting to go wrong and I had reports that I was losing hydraulic pressure. In the end I had no choice but to retire. It's not a good day but we just have to continue working hard. There are three races to go and, who knows, maybe we can get a good result by the end of the year."

Mark Webber, Jaguar (6th):
"I really enjoyed that race but it was hard! Hard on the car, hard on the tyres and hard on the driver but what a reward at the end of it. The first few laps were particularly difficult with expected graining on the front tyres. Rubens then tried passing me at the top chicane but he went straight on instead which was nice! I then tried keeping the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen at bay and after that it was just a case of keeping the pace and maximising upon our three-stop strategy. I pushed extremely hard and just kept the qualifying laps rolling in one after another until the team came on the radio towards the end and told me to back off. The team has done a super job today and all thanks to everyone back at Milton Keynes too. The Jaguar R4 performed faultlessly today and Michelin's contribution towards that is significant. We have been working very hard behind the scenes to understand better some of the issues we have suffered at the last couple of races and today it paid off. We share equal billing now with BAR in 5th place and with only three races left, there is everything to play for. It will be far from easy but today's result has helped considerably. I am delighted with the outcome."

Justin Wilson, Jaguar (DNF):
"Another disappointing end to what began as a good race. I started from the dirty side of the track and didn't have a very easy start as everyone charged into the tight first hairpin. The rhythm and pace of the Jaguar was good and the balance was getting the best out of the Michelin tyres. My first two pit stops went according to plan but on lap 44, I lost power and had no choice but to retire. A big shame but the three-day Monza test will prepare me better for the next race - a race that I hope to finish this time and help the team in their points with BAR and Toyota."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd):
"I'm very happy with today's result as we have closed the gap in the World Championship significantly. At the start I initially tried to go on the outside of Rubens, but he closed the gap, so I went on the inside and managed to gain three places, and after the first couple of laps I was third. I lost quite a lot time stuck behind Webber, which allowed Alonso to open up a gap and after that there was nothing I could do. The car was the best it's been all weekend and everybody in the team has been working very hard. I'm looking forward to the last three races, and I know we will give it 100 percent and I can't wait."

David Coulthard, McLaren (5th):
"An excellent result for the team, a reasonable outcome for me and the Championship has once again been thrown wide open. The two stop strategy was the right one taking into consideration my ninth place on the starting grid, and it allowed me to gain positions during the race when our car usually performs better than in qualifying. I made a good start and was able to gain three places. Apart from that, the 70 laps were rather uneventful and were all about keeping the guys with less fuel behind me."