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Canada - selected driver quotes 13 Jun 2004

Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams BMW FW26 
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault during the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004 Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Race Day, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 13 June 2004

The Montreal race by the men in the driving seat…

Ralf Schumacher pushes his brother all the way, but in the end it is Michael who triumphs. Another Honda engine failure for Takuma Sato and a dramatic head-on crash for Felipe Massa. Plus an excellent Grand Prix debut for Jordan’s Timo Glock. The full race story, in the drivers’ own words…

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st):
"I don't know why I have won so often here - I guess its down to a good package and a bit of luck. Everything went to plan today. We thought it would be hard to get pole so we concentrated our strategy on the race. The pit stops were great and the car preparation was fantastic. We won today because of the consistency of our package and our race pace which was the fastest. There was not much pressure from Montoya, as I could have let him pass me as he was on a different strategy. But Rubens pushed me very hard and it would have been much more critical for me if he had got past. We had chosen different tyres and I was thinking he had made the best choice! Then my third set was a bit better. I had no problems with the car and at the end I slowed the pace to bring the car home."

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (2nd):
“This result is better than we had expected before coming to Montreal, but still a bit disappointing after I started from pole. The way we performed this weekend is a clear sign that we have some chances to be at the front and this is very encouraging for the team. We took the best we could out of our package this weekend and my car was really strong thanks in no small part to Michelin who supported us here with great tyres. It will take us two or three races to really see the next step improvement.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (3rd):
"This was a great race and I had fun fighting Michael. He got a win for a Ferrari and that is what counts. I knew my only chance of winning was to pass him on the track or go longer before the pit stop, but I had a little less fuel than him. When I was pushing him very hard, I knew the brakes were getting hot as I could feel the pedal get spongy, but I had to keep pushing. But after the pit stop, when I had more fuel on board, the pedal began to get long and I realised the brakes were "cooked." I did not give up but then at the bumpy Turn 8, I could not stop and I lost about 5 seconds which is what cost me second place. But, at the end of the day, it was a very close fight, we had lots of fun and I enjoyed myself. People say I am happy to sit behind Michael, but today showed this is not the case."

Jenson Button, BAR (4th):
"Five points are very important but I'm obviously disappointed that I'm not on the podium here because that's what we felt was achievable. I got a reasonably good start and managed to keep the Renaults behind me but I had oversteer all the way through the first stint. We changed the car at the first stop to give more understeer, which helped the balance slightly, but we couldn't make a big enough adjustment and we had low grip throughout the race. I bogged down at the second pitstop after the anti-stall kicked in as I released the clutch. Our pace was disappointing compared to the Ferraris and we certainly didn't expect to be behind a Williams today. I guess we just have to look at what went wrong and fix it for Indianapolis."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (5th):
“Fifth place is really not what I hoped for. I must say the car was so good yesterday in qualifying, that I really deluded myself I could get more out of this race. In the first and second stints the rear of my car was sliding a bit and driving was difficult. Nevertheless, I managed to have a good pace and I could put some pressure on Michael for a few laps and towards the end of the race I was catching up with Jenson Button. It was good for me and for the team to be competitive again and I hope that this momentum is going to last next week at Indy too.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (6th):
"I wasn't very quick getting off the line, but that was a blessing after Coulthard and Klien tangled right in front of me in Turn One. I just managed to avoid both of them. After that I just settled down and kept pushing hard. The car was a little inconsistent at various stages of the tyre wear, but five or six laps before each pit stop it was very good and I was able to drive as if I was in a qualifying session. The last stint was the best. Our strategy was great today, and it is very satisfying to score yet more points today."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (7th):
"It was a difficult race, but I'm pleased to score some points. I was given a drive through penalty as I touched the white line at the pit lane exit, which overall wouldn't have cost me a position. However then an electrical problem developed, which meant we had to change the steering wheel during my third pit stop. It did happen again, so I went on the radio to the team saying I was coming into the pits, so they could change the steering wheel. This additional stop did cost us sixth place, but with five visits to the pits seventh is OK. At least we are going in the right direction, and it was just unlucky we had that problem."

Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (8th):
"It was a tough race, but satisfying to take one point away with us today. Again, though, I feel we have been let down from an even better result because of more trouble with the blue flags. The final stint was ridiculous. I was letting people past all the time and I was barely able put any proper laps together. I believe we had the ability to fight with Fisichella and Raikkonen for sixth place, but the situation with flags during the race stopped us. I know we cannot ruin the race of the guys in front, but we also have points to fight for. Anyway, one point is certainly better than zero and we will see what happens in Indianapolis next weekend."

David Coulthard, McLaren (9th):
"My actual start was good, but Turn Two is always difficult here and one of the Jaguars went into the back of my car and spun me around. This put me pretty much at the back of the field and I had a couple of lively laps where I gained a few positions. However, with a three-stop-strategy running at the back you will always struggle. It's a shame that I didn't really get a chance to run in clean air as I think we could have achieved a better result. However the positive is that both Kimi and I finished, which is important as we head to Indianapolis next week."

Olivier Panis, Toyota (10th):
"I got a good start, but the Jaguar crashed just in front of me and I had to back off, which left me in ninth place. The strategy we had for my car could have worked, but unfortunately all of my efforts were hampered by the first incident, where I lost time moving around the cars, as well as by some slow backmarkers. Sato also went off right in front of me, which was additional time lost. I did my best to bring the car home and Cristiano's one point is positive for the team. I am looking forward to Indianapolis for my 150th race, where I will push for points, because we have proved today that we have the ability to score them."

Tim Glock, Jordan (11th):
“The start was really good but I damaged my front wing early in the lap which gave me a lot of understeer until my first pit stop when we changed the wing. After the stop, I had too much front grip and oversteer. Added to that I couldn’t find a good rhythm because I had to let the front runners past. That was a big problem for me as I lost a lot of time so I must learn how to do that. After the second stop I was losing engine power or something, it certainly sounded strange so I just concentrated on saving the engine. Towards the end I had a coming together with Christian Klien who was a lap down from me, I was expecting to pass him on the straight but he moved over at the corner and we touched. It was my target to finish the race and stay close to Nick and I achieved that.”

Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (12th):
“After our experience in Nurburgring once again we showed that we have quite good race pace. I think a lot of people thought we would stop really early but we didn’t - I stopped on lap 20. Unluckily the pit stop really screwed up my race. The lollipop came up too early and I went over the guy on the fuel nozzle. He’s okay, which is the most important thing, but I lost nearly a minute and my race was lost after that. The heat of being stationary for so long cooked the brakes and I had to be careful to cool them afterwards. My second and third stints I struggled with the rear tyres going off, but they came back towards the end. I think it could have been a good race and I’ll have to look at it more closely but I might have stayed ahead of Fisichella and he finished 6th. I had a good chance for points, in any case.”

Christian Klien, Jaguar (13th):
“My start off the grid was fine and I very quickly found myself in the thick of it in corner one. I was hit from behind and then forced into the back of David Coulthard. I did what I could to avoid him but I was forced into the air and then I came down on my team mate, Mark. I continued racing but there was some damage to the front and rear of the car causing problems. The car started to overheat and I came in for a pitstop and the guys sorted this immediately. However, the front wing was damaged and by the time I had left my first pit-stop I knew that I would have to come in again. I was forced to stop again to check from a safety point of view that my rear wing end plate was going to be ok and once the guys had given me the thumbs up I was out racing again. Although I was bue-flagged a couple of times my pace was really good in the R5 and I was pleased with the R5. The first corner was an unfortunate incident but I know that when we are all racing for that first corner position these things are bound to happen. I will focus now on going to Indianapolis and another new track for me.”

Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (14th):
"I was not so happy at the beginning of the race, as there were a lot of incidents on the track and, as a result, I wrecked my first set of tyres avoiding several of them. After my first pit stop, and on new tyres, the car just got better and better. Unfortunately, Klien misjudged an overtaking manoeuvre while I was in my second stint and hit the right front tyre of my car with his left rear, which caused me to spin. There was a lot of traffic around, and I lost time before I could safely rejoin the race. Despite all that, though, I am pleased to have finished another race and to have set some consistent lap times."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (DNF):
"I was having a strong race, after catching and passing Sato, Glock, Klien and da Matta, but I lost a lot of time in my first pit stop because of a problem with the left rear wheel. Later I also had some trouble with the steering wheel. As for the accident, I have no idea what happened – I was just a passenger. I'm okay and fortunate that the car is strong, and only went to the hospital for a precautionary check-up on my left elbow."

Takuma Sato, BAR (DNF):
"We came to Montreal with high hopes but have come away with another disappointing result. We changed our plan this morning so that I would start from the pit lane on a two-stop strategy, which we thought was going to be strong. I had to back off on the pitlane exit because of the second corner incident and lost a lot of time there, however I was able to move up to 14th. I tried really hard to make up places but the car was so heavy on fuel and we just didn't have the pace so it was difficult. Towards the end of the race we were targeting a point but then another engine failure ended my race - something we have to get on top of for Indianapolis. We cannot change anything as such but we will have to work closely with the engineers."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (DNF):
"The left driveshaft failed on the car - as I came down the straight I could feel the car pulling to one side, and I had to stop. The result is not good for the team in particular, but the car performed well during the first two stints of the race. The tyres were not quite as consistent as we had expected, but we were quick even so. I had a problem at the first stop when the fuel nozzle did not engage properly but even with that problem, we could have easily finished on the podium."

Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (DNF):
"It was a good race to begin with, and the car was quick in the first two stints. There was a problem at the first pit stop, which lost me some time, but once I was back out on the track again, I was able to re-pass Zsolt and pull away.
Unfortunately, a problem developed with the gearbox, and there was no choice but to retire. It's bad luck, because the car had been handling really well up to that point. I want to say a special thank you to the guys, who did a great job this weekend, and we'll see what we can do at Indianapolis next weekend."

Mark Webber, Jaguar (DNF):
“I was looking forward to this race as I felt that we had a good strategy in place and the R5 was feeling competitive. My start was quick enough and I was fast into the first corner. I could see that there was a lot of traffic in the corner and not a lot of space. Unfortunately some things are out of your control and I could see that David Coulthard was going into a spin and Christian and I both had nowhere to go. As Christian made contact with David the outcome was his R5 landing on my front wing. I could tell that some damage had been done immediately and the team confirmed that the rear suspension had a problem. From a safety point of view we retired and of course it’s disappointing given the amount of work that I know we have all been doing going into this weekend. We are now looking ahead to our next race and I and the team are looking forward to getting back out on track.”

Jarno Trulli, Renault (DNF):
"My race was over as soon as it had started. I got a normal start, and then suddenly it felt like the rear suspension failed - perhaps because of a driveshaft failure. I pulled off straight away and that was it. Obviously, it's a big disappointment - Fernando showed today that we had the track position and the speed to win."