Spain - selected driver quotes 09 May 2004
The real stories behind the Barcelona race...
The inside line on an eventful Spanish Grand Prix, direct from the men involved. Michael Schumacher on his mechanical drama, Jarno Trulli on that amazing start, and comments from every other driver.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st):
Five straight wins, 200 grands prix, 75 wins: so many nice numbers have come together and I am proud of it, but now I am just looking forward to the next race. It was a very interesting start, but not what I expected. I did think about trying to close the door a bit on Trulli, but I did not feel that was fair and let him do what he was doing. Then, a couple of times, I did think about passing him but it was too tight, so I opted to wait for the pit stops and let the strategy do the work. Then, after an exhaust developed a crack. Ross Brawn came on the radio and told me there was nothing much to do about it. Of course, I tried to look after the car, but in fact I could not slow too much as that would have made the problem worse. It became very tiring mentally, but I managed to bring it home. Reliability has always been a strong point and the team did a magnificent job; really exceptional. The next race in Monaco is very prestigious, so of course I would like to win it, but I am not thinking in terms of taking a record with six wins in a row.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (2nd):
I had a great race, after a difficult start. Now it is obvious I was on a two stop strategy, it explains why I was happy to be fifth in qualifying with such a heavy fuel load. Even so, I was able to keep up a good pace in the early stages. We expected BAR to be quick so there were two options on Saturday: try and get pole or try something else. I was so frustrated with being stuck in traffic in the San Marino GP that I decided to gamble. Given the result, I can be pleased with the way it worked out. I might have had a chance of getting ahead of Michael if Trulli had held him up a bit longer. Even so, my chances were looking good, but after the first pit stop, my car was a bit more difficult to drive with the heavy fuel load, but the Bridgestone tyres were phenomenal today and I was still able to put in good lap times.
Jarno Trulli, Renault (3rd):
First of all, I must congratulate everybody for this podium: my mechanics, my engineers, and the whole team. But above all, I want to dedicate this podium to a very close friend of mine, who is going through a very difficult time: he has a big battle ahead of him, but we will be with him all the way and this trophy is for him. As for the race, I made the kind of start you can only dream about but even though Michael was behind, I knew he was faster than me. After my first stop, all I had to do was keep pushing through the race, and I did that until the last stint, when I was managing the gap to Fernando. It was a nice sight to see the two Renaults cross the line together today.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th):
Third and fourth is a great result for the team, particularly in terms of the championship because we finished ahead of our main rivals. From my point of view, the race went well: I was stuck in the pack at the start, and it took the first two stints for me to get a clear track so I could begin running at my true pace. Everything went well from then on, although the car did not have very good grip today. Third and fourth is the best the team could have hoped for today.
Takuma Sato, BAR (5th):
"I made a good start and it was very exciting to be so close to the front of the grid. I was amazed by Trulli's start though - I don't know how they did that! Obviously I'm a little disappointed that we started from third and finished fifth, but both Jenson and I really struggled with consistency after each tyre change. We did our best and we have achieved some valuable points for the team. It was a tough race though. I'm looking forward to Monaco now. We are testing in Paul Ricard next week in preparation and I think we can be optimistic of another good result next race."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (6th):
The result, more or less, reflects our current performances. We could not have achieved a much better position, even with a better start. Furthermore, I had to fight very early on with some brake problems, which meant I had to be very gentle on them until the end. I knew Barcelona was not among our favourite tracks, however I expected more. We must work very hard on our performance in order to make our way back to the top.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (7th):
"My car was very good all the way through, and when we were running together I was much quicker than Montoya. I don't know whether he had a problem, but I could keep ahead of him quite easily. The only problem I had was in lapped traffic, when I lost some time. Without that maybe we could even have had the sixth place. But I am happy. We made progress at Imola and we made some more here. If we keep doing that we will just get stronger still."
Jenson Button, BAR (8th):
"I didn't get a very good start then I was a little disappointed with the first stint because it just wasn't possible to overtake. I really struggled to be honest. I lost so much time in the high-speed corners because when you're so close to the other cars you lose a lot of downforce. We had good straight-line speed so we thought we would be able to overtake them in the straights, but I had no chance; overtaking is so difficult here. Considering where I started, I am pleased to have been able to salvage a point here. I'm really looking forward to Monaco though. I think we'll have a good package there and hopefully we can translate that into a good result."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (9th):
"I flat-spotted my front tyres in Turn 10 in the first stint, trying to pass somebody, and that gave me a lot of vibration and understeer. I could see Giancarlo, but he was going away from me. I changed the front wings slightly in my first stop, and on fresh rubber the car was fine for the rest of the race. It felt great to beat the McLarens and without that initial problem I really think I could have been in the points. I'm very pleased for Giancarlo and the team that he scored some."
David Coulthard, McLaren (10th):
"A very difficult race as obviously our performance was down. We just have to take the pain at the moment and continue to work hard to improve. The positive things are that the car was reliable and the strategy was right. I overshot the first pitstop at bit, which lost us some time, and I think there was a small problem with the fuel nozzle in the other stops but it didn't cost us too much time. There is no doubt that we will get better. We have the depth, the focus and the resources, but it will take some time."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (11th):
"We just couldn't do better today as it was clear we were not quick enough. There is no point in me getting frustrated as there is nothing I can do to change the situation, and I know that the team is as motivated and focused as ever to make progress. I made a good start from 13th and gained three places to get into 10th at the first corner. We made a few adjustments in the second pitstop to try to improve performance which took some additional time. In my final stop we had to put some air into the pneumatic system's airbottle as the pressure had dropped a bit."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (12th):
I suffered a slow start which meant that by the first corner I had already lost a few places. I tried to climb back up the grid as my pace in the R5 was good. However, during my first pit-stop we had a probem getting the rear left tyre changed as I dropped the clutch too early. I headed back out to try and limit the damage but I found that I was suffering from a lack of rear grip. This made driving the car more difficult and it just felt that there was a lot against me out there. Not the race I had hoped for. I am going to be working hard with the team over the next two weeks to ensure that we go well prepared to Monaco.
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (13th):
"The car was quite slow in the first two stints, so I wasn't really able to make any progress. The performance in the second half of the race was actually a bit better, but I lost valuable time whilst being lapped, especially when on new tyres. I think had I not had that to contend with that, maybe I could have got past Mark Webber. Overall though, we were not competitive enough to get a higher result and we have a lot to do before Monaco in two weeks."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (DNF):
We did a very good start and I made up a few places right at the beginning, but then after we started pit stops a problem began with the hydraulics. Eventually it got so bad there was nothing I could do and the car developed other hydraulic related problems, so I just had to stop. Naturally I am disappointed.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (DNF):
I knew this race would be difficult. Its been like this every year so we know this track is hard on the car. We did a good job yesterday in qualifying by putting the car on the front row of the grid, but then I lost two positions at the start. I started having brake problems in the very first part of the race, with the pedal going very long, but they then seemed to come back after the first pit-stop so I thought everything was ok. However, when Fisichella, who was ahead of me, pitted and I was pushing hard to gain an advantage, the brakes stopped working again so I had to retire. I am not frustrated though. Ive had this before and its not worth getting annoyed about. You just have to learn from the experience and work hard to address the problem.
Christian Klien, Jaguar (DNF):
I made a good start and made up a few places by the first lap but after a small error on corner eight that threw me wide I lost a few too. The pace of the R5 was then good and I was enjoying the race. The grip was not great though so it was quite challenging to keep the car on-line. I was aiming for the chequered flag again so when I seemed to lose throttle control on lap 45 I was very disappointed to be forced to bring the car to a stop. I have briefly spoken with my engineers and they are collecting the data just now so that we can understand what happened out there. I know that we will be working on this back at the factory to that we have resolved it in time for Monaco.
Olivier Panis, Toyota (DNF):
"I had quite a good start but realised quickly that there was a problem with the grip level of my car. Coming in for my second pit stop I experienced a pit limiter problem and got a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. We do not know the cause of the problem yet but if it was my mistake I want to apologise to the team. However, some laps after that incident I was forced to stop on the track due to the loss of hydraulic pressure, which left me without any gearbox functions or power steering. A disappointing end to a race weekend that started off well - but the team is doing a good job and we have to keep pushing to find more speed for the race."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (DNF):
I lost hydraulic pressure, then the differential shut down, up and down shifts stopped working, and finally the gearbox went altogether. I have mixed feelings about the race. One thing is we have to work more on the start. Also, I knew in qualifying that I did not like the feel of my first set of tyres but in the race the second and third sets felt much better. My lap times were quicker, I was in front of Jaguar and it wasnt too bad. The positive thing is that we have been a lot quicker this race and the last one so we are definitely improving. But we dont only have to improve lap times, we also have to improve reliability at the same time. If we carry on improving at the current rate, Im quite happy. Although not finishing is always frustrating, motivation will never be a problem because I enjoy driving so much. Im looking forward to Monaco!
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (DNF):
"Pretty much from the beginning of the race I was having a problem with brake locking. I adjusted the balance to try to improve things, but several times I had difficulty braking for turn eight. On that last lap, the front wheels locked again, the back of the car got loose as a result, and I spun. It's disappointing, not only for me, but also for the guys, who worked really hard all weekend. We'll just have to see if we can do better in Monaco."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (DNF):
"It seems like all the bad things that could happen in a race all happened to me today! I didn't get away properly at the start and lost a couple of seconds, but then the car was running well after that. The problem came when I was trying to obey the waved blue flags and let one of the Saubers through. I stayed to the dirty side of the track going into turn nine, and when I tried to turn in, the tyres wouldn't grip and I spun into the gravel. It was a difficult place to try to let someone through, and I paid the price. I particularly want to thank the team for all the effort they put in, and I'm just sorry I wasn't able to get to the finish for them."