British Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 11 Jul 2004
The Silverstone race by the men in the driving seat
Nothing can stop Michael Schumacher taking his 80th Formula One win, but Kimi Raikkonen comes pretty close. A bizarre accident takes Olivier Panis out of the race, while Giancarlo Fisichella storms from 20th on the grid to finish sixth. The drivers explain.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st):
I am amazed at how the race went. I thought we had a good strategy, where to a certain extent, we sacrificed qualifying for the race, but I never expected it to pay out so early. I was not worried by Kimis pace at the start because I knew my strategy and even if he had been ahead after my second stop I would not have worried as he had to come in again. I did not want to overdo it and just let the potential of the car do the work. The car was going so well when I had an open track. I lost a comfortable lead with the Safety Car and so I was lucky to have two cars between me and Kimi. The Safety Car was going very slowly and that meant after it went in, I had to fight hard for a couple of laps until my tyres came good and then I was able to pull out a lead again.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd):
"Although we didn't win today it was an exciting race, and second is a great result for the entire team. All the hard work that went into the development of the MP4-19B has paid off. I made a very good start and was able to push throughout the race. Unfortunately I had a bit of traffic after my pit stops, but that's racing. I struggled with the balance on the rear with my last set of tyres and as a result it wasn't possible to attack harder and pass Michael in my last stint. The outcome of today's race is very motivating for the team after the bad first half of the season."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (3rd):
I had a good race but a tough one although I feel I had made the right choice of strategy at the time. After the start it was clear that Kimis tyres had warmed up quicker and I found it really difficult to match his pace, then I caught him up and was able to pull away from Button. But after the first pit stop the car felt heavy and I struggled again. I also got stuck behind four or five cars fighting for position and that probably lost me second place and maybe the win. I have to say Michael did a superb job to win on two stops. When the Safety Car came out, the race was alive again, but again immediately after my last pit stop I could not push as hard as I wanted and I could not pass Kimi as although I was quicker in the first sector, he was faster in the third.
Jenson Button, BAR (4th):
"We came into this race expecting a lot more than we've been able to deliver; today's race performance was nowhere near our testing performance earlier in the year. We really struggled with a lack of grip compared to the Ferraris and it was like we were in a different race in terms of the way our car was handling. Our pace showed that we weren't as quick today as we were at the start of the season. Somehow we've managed to drop behind a bit which is very disappointing, particularly in front of our home crowd. We've got a lot of work to do now ahead of the German Grand Prix in two weeks time. We should be able to expect better traction in Hockenheim than we experienced here and a stronger performance generally from our new car developments."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (5th):
I am satisfied with todays outcome. Although the car is not quick enough, it worked pretty well and I believe we got the best out of it today. At the start I made a mistake, releasing the clutch too quickly and it cost me a position to Sato.Then I tried to keep pushing but it was not possible to catch those in front. When the safety car came out, the team did a great job by calling me in and I had a pefect pit-stop. However, back on the track the backmarkers were frustrating and I lost a lot of time.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (6th):
"I was so confident in my car today! I knew that I had a very quick one and when I was running on my own it was fantastic. Early on I was able to overtake several cars that were carrying less fuel than I was. At the end I lost time in my final stop as the mechanics topped up my engine's pneumatics, and without that I would easily have beaten Montoya. Honestly, the car is really good and I am very encouraged that we have made such a big step forward. Today I had the best car I have had all season, so thanks to the whole team."
David Coulthard, McLaren (7th):
"Congratulations to Kimi on a great drive. Unfortunately despite the MP4-19B's obvious progress I'm not happy about my own performance today. During practice and the race I was struggling with the balance of my car, and I didn't feel comfortable especially in the slow corners. We will be testing here at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I will work hard to sort out my set-up problems in order to be much more competitive at the next race at Hockenheim."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (8th):
Its fantastic to have scored a point here today for the team. Its their home race and they have done an amazing job in providing me with a fast reliable car. The R5 has been good all weekend to be honest and after France this is exactly what we were working towards, another two cars across the grid and a point to boot. We know Silverstone very well and we opted for a two-stop strategy and this seems to have been the right decision today. I made a good start off the grid and I enjoyed a great battle with the Renault of Fernando Alonso and also the Sauber of Felipe Massa. Both were on my tail for most of the race and it was good to keep them at bay and get the last available point. I am now off testing next week in Jerez ahead of the German Grand Prix when again we will be looking to keep up this momentum of being reliable with a good race pace.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (9th):
"You know, I could be really disappointed because I had a car that should have scored points today, but I am also very happy because we have made such an improvement in its behaviour. It was very fast and consistent all race. Then I had what I think was a software problem in my stop on lap 38, and initially I couldn't get first gear. Towards the end when I was challenging Webber I deliberately dropped back a little and then really pushed him hard in the closing laps. My car was much faster than his, but overtaking is always very difficult here."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (10th):
"I think we could have done better today but we missed the opportunity to pit straight after Jarno's accident. We only had two corners in which to react, but we didn't manage to - otherwise, I could have been in the points. Having said that, when you start from the back you know that it will be a hard race. I was held up by traffic in every stint, first behind Heidfeld, then Webber, then Da Matta. I only did a few laps on my own, but when I did I was very quick, and the car balance was good. But today, circumstances prevented us from making the most of our speed."
Takuma Sato, BAR (11th):
"It's been a tough race today and a tough weekend generally. We are obviously very disappointed that we were unable to achieve our targets for this race, especially in front of all of the team's British fans. It was a risk to choose different strategies for the two cars but we thought it would provide us with an opportunity to react to any change in the weather. Unfortunately our two-stop strategy didn't work in the way that we anticipated. On the positive side however, the car stayed reliable throughout the race, which is a small step forward from the problems I have experienced this season. We have to put this weekend behind us now and focus on what we can do at next week's Jerez test to improve for Germany and the rest of the season."
Marc Gene, Williams (12th):
I had an average start, and Da Matta passed me, but I overtook him again in turn two. I tried to be aggressive from the start and in the first part of the race I fought with Alonso, but we were running at the same pace and it was impossible to get ahead. Alonso just passed me in the first pit-stop and from then on it was just a matter of fighting with Sato and Da Matta with our pit strategy as | simply didnt have the pace to improve my track position. However, the backmarkers hampered me a lot. Depending on the set of tyres, the cars balance varied but overall it wasnt too bad.
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (13th):
"In the circumstances, I think I drove a good race, but obviously I am not pleased with my eventual 13th place. I got held up a lot just before the safety car period, which cost me around ten seconds and we then lost ground because the three-stopping cars were able to use the safety car to their advantage. These things conspired against me and I subsequently dropped one lap from Gene and Sato with whom I was fighting. With our revised car, I hope we will not have to endure a race affected by blue flags, as has been the case far too often this season."
Christian Klien, Jaguar (14th):
This was not an easy race for me but I am very pleased to have finished. My start was not perfect as I lost a place to the Jordan of Pantano but fortunately I was in a position to fight back and soon overtook him on lap four. The car was feeling really good out there and it has great pace over a long distance. The team has prepared it very well for me and I am glad that I could finish for them here at their home race. Unfortunately I did get blue-flagged a couple of times and once the safety car was deployed it was even more difficult to move up the grid as I had to keep moving over for the blue flags. Overall, however, an encouraging race. I will now focus on testing and look forward to the German Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (15th):
I nearly got by Klien at the start but he touched me at the first corner and I had a little winglet broken on the left hand side of the car - it didnt actually seem to have a big influence on the aerodynamics. The beginning was not easy as I had quite a lot of fuel on board which I think was evident as I was one of the last cars to stop. Overall it paid off in terms of our race time but our problem is that we are just too slow.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (16th):
"It was a difficult race today with a number of problems, but I'm pleased that I was able to take the flag as a tribute to John. I was struggling with the handling of the car for quite a bit of the race, and was then given a drive-through penalty for a blue-flag infringement. I also had a problem with my second pit stop, when a misunderstanding meant that I left the box too soon. Fortunately, none of the crew was seriously injured, and after that, I was just determined to get to the end of the race. It has been a tough weekend, and I hope we have much a better time at Hockenheim."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (DNF):
I had a very good start and my first stint wasnt too bad. The second or third lap after my first stop I had a spin, Im not sure if that was my mistake or the rear of the car just locking. I flat-spotted the rear tyres and started to experience some vibration on the car and it was very slippery until my second stop. The last stint was not too bad and the balance started to come back but then I spun off again, the same thing as before, under hard braking. I dont know if I went too far onto the grass or whether rear locking caused me to get onto the grass.
Jarno Trulli, Renault (DNF):
"First of all, I want to let everybody know that I am OK. It was a big accident but I gave the marshals the thumbs up straight away. Everything happened very quickly, but I think it was a rear suspension failure. However, we will only be able to confirm that when we get back to the factory. Even before the crash, though, things were not going well. I was very heavy in the first two stints but even taking that into account, I was struggling to be quick. The car was tricky to drive, and I had trouble holding position."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (DNF):
"I'm upset that I wasn't able to finish the race and take the chequered flag today. I had promised myself that I would do it, both for John and for me. I felt my performance was okay today - when you compare my lap times with Gimmi's, there was very little between us, and I also managed to overtake him after the first pit stop. There was some close, but very fair racing between us before my car suffered an engine problem. Everybody worked really hard this weekend in difficult circumstances, and I want to thank the team for that. I just hope we have much better luck at the next race."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (DNF):
"Starting from 17th on the grid, it was never going to be easy today, but the race finished far too early for me when my fire extinguisher exploded in the car just after my first scheduled pit stop. The spray went everywhere, on the steering wheel and on my visor, which meant I couldn't see anything and I ended up in the gravel. A bad end to a difficult weekend, but I am looking forward to trying the TF104B, the car with which we will race in Hockenheim in two weeks' time."