Hungarian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 15 Aug 2004
The Hungaroring race by the men in the driving seat
An historic afternoon for Ferrari, which Schumacher and Barrichello try to put it into words, while the other drivers explain their races too.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st):
The title means more than winning 12 races in a season and the fact this is the sixth in a row means more than the fact it is the 14 th for the team. The way we achieved it is outstanding; we were so dominant, so perfect. To win in style here compared to last year shows why we have won the title so early. The whole team is great and deserves this result. The work we did with Bridgestone and Shell, for example in the Jerez test, paid off in Hockenheim and even more so here. This win might have looked easy from the outside, but I was flat out most of the race until after the final pit stop. In the early stages Rubens was pushing hard and anything could happen. The car was superb at this track. Everything is going so well and there is a great atmosphere in the team. Even after a great start to the season, everyone keeps pushing and that is great for motivation. I plan to continue enjoying winning as long as it lasts. It is true that I could win the championship at Spa or if not at Monza. Both have special significance for me, but I will try and win it where I can, because mathematically Rubens still has a chance.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (2nd):
This title is a phenomenal achievement and I feel fantastic about being part of it. Together with Michael, we have put each other under pressure on the track to drive each other forward and the team always responds to this. It is our reliability which particularly impresses me: we just never stop. As for the race, I had a good start and I think last nights rain helped make my side of the track less dirty. I was able to follow Michael, although it was difficult to know when he was going to brake, while I was trying to defend my own position as well as try to pass him. After that, I was running at my own pace and I think there was one part of the race when I might have been a bit quicker than Michael. But while my first, second and fourth sets of tyres were perfect, I had a slight problem with my third which cost me a bit of time. I had made a different tyre choice to Michael and I was pleased with their performance except for that third set. As for the Drivers championship, I know Michael has a very big lead, but as long as there is a mathematical possibility I will keep pushing.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (3rd):
"It was a pretty calm race for me, maybe a little bit lonely even. The start was a bit close when Sato tried to block me and I had to brake a little, which might have cost me second position at the first corner. Once I was in third, though, it was just a matter of managing the gap to Montoya and maintaining a constant pace. I didn't make any mistakes, and neither did the team during the pit stops. I am quite pleased to score my second podium in a row, and it was good to finish ahead of our main rivals."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (4th):
This time I had a very good start! I am very pleased because I gained three places immediately and climbed up to fourth keeping that position until the end of the race. I think we made the best of the car today and we could not have asked for more. After my first pit stop I lost quite a bit of time behind Webber and this prevented me from getting closer to Alonso later on, but I dont think we could have passed the Renault today, maybe we could have just given them a harder time! Leaving the Hungaroring with seven more points in the teams tally is good. We have more work ahead but its clear that we are moving in the right direction.
Jenson Button, BAR (5th):
"I'm a little bit disappointed because we came here expecting better things. I think we might not have put the best condition of tyres on at the first stop, so we lost a lot of time. I had a lot of oversteer which made it very difficult to drive and that's why Jarno was able to get so close to me. Once I made the decision to put a set of conditioned tyres on the balance was much better. My start was reasonable but I lost a couple of places to Alonso and Montoya, then I was able to get past Taku when he went a bit off-line. The main thing is that both cars finished in the points and we've edged that little bit closer to Renault in the Championship."
Takuma Sato, BAR (6th):
"I had a difficult start. I got off the line reasonably ok but at turn one I was outside Alonso, put a wheel off-line and into the dusty area. I lost traction and several cars managed to get by me over the next few corners as I lost momentum, so it was a tough opening lap. I did my best to recover then towards the end of the race we were a little bit concerned about falling oil pressure so we had to adapt. The most important thing though is that we got both cars to the finish in the points, so now we look forward to Spa."
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (7th):
I had a poor start, it was also the dirty side of the track. The handling of my car was pretty difficult especially in the beginning but we made some changes in the pit stops and the situation improved. For most of the race I was behind Sato, trying to get close enough to pass him, but I never had the right opportunity to do so. We nearly got him at the last pit stop but I had traffic in the pit lane. All in all I scored two more points today and this is what matters.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (8th):
"The race went almost exactly the way I expected it to, right down to the start! It was a good race for me, and even though one point isn't really enough it was still good to score it. The car had very good pace and balance, and the sole problem was the tyres graining two or three laps after each pit stop, but that cleared up after five or six laps. I did my best and really pushed, and I didn't make any mistakes, so I am pleased with myself and the teamwork and now I'm really looking forward to Spa."
David Coulthard, McLaren (9th):
"We have been suffering from making the wrong decision with regards to tyres and continued to do so today as the ambient temperature remained relatively low. There was not a lot I could do in the race as we started so far back, and it's almost impossible to overtake on this track. I think we will just forget about this weekend and look forward to the Belgian Grand Prix in two weeks time."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (10th):
My start off the grid was ok, but I was trying to make up a few places in corner one when I was hit from behind by the Toyota of Ricardo Zonta. Fortunately the car suffered no damage and I did not need to pit early and to be honest, I was lucky only to lose one place by the end of lap one. It was really then a case of knuckling down and making it to the end of the 70-laps. I was surprised to see how many people retired given the fact that usually by the 13tth race reliability is so high. I was suffering slightly from a tyre issue before my second pit stop but before I could get in I had a spin on corner nine, which was frustrating given the fact I was so close behind the McLaren of David Coulthard. I was so far ahead of the others that I did not lose any places but it was not ideal. The rest of the race went as planned and I am pleased to have finished. My focus is now on the next race in Belgium.
Olivier Panis, Toyota (11th):
"I didn't get a very good start and lost a couple of places, but I was able to negotiate my way through the first corner without any issue. From then on, it was a case of doing my best to recover positions. I think everybody in the team did a very good job. We had one or two problems over the race weekend, but nothing major. It was a shame that we had to start from 13th, because we looked good during the race this afternoon. With the speed that the TF104B has, we have a car that is able to score points if we start from a higher grid position."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (12th):
All in all a relatively positive weekend. I had a quite a good race, although not finishing in the points. I had a good start, gaining a couple of positions, and we made some small adjustments during the pit stops to help the balance of the car which improved it, especially for the last stint. The only problem throughout the race for me was in the second pit stop when the car fell off the front jack. I lost some time but I dont think it affected my finishing position.
Christian Klien, Jaguar (13th):
That was quite a difficult race out there today and it was good to see the chequered flag after my seventy laps. My start was not bad and I managed to keep my position despite the first corner being pretty busy. I was doing my best to make up some places but at one stage in my second sector I was behind the Jordan of Pantano and he was holding me up, but I suppose thats racing for you. The R5 was generally feeling good out there but my balance was changing a lot and this makes it difficult when entering the corners. I am slightly disappointed in finishing 13th as my expectations for this race were higher, but to be honest, given the retirement level its good to have finished.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (14th):
"Generally, it was a good race for me, and I'm pleased to have taken the chequered flag. When we left the grid for the formation lap, Pantano's Jordan suddenly slowed in front of me, and I wasn't quick enough pulling the clutch. As a result, the engine stalled. Once the race got going, though, there were no real problems. I was able to turn some good, consistent lap times and my engineer adjusted the tyre pressures before the pit stops so the car remained well balanced and easy to drive throughout the race. In fact, the most difficult moments came when I had to move over to allow faster cars through and got on to the dirty part of the track. As you can see by the lap times, when I was on my own, the performance was good. I want to thank the guys for the excellent pit stops this afternoon - the first and second ones, in particular, were very quick. I'm happy with today's race.
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (15th):
"I'm pleased to have finished the race, of course, but from my point of view, I didn't have a particularly successful race today. I was happy yesterday, because I was able to show the Hungarian crowd that we could produce a good qualifying performance. Unfortunately, on the formation lap for today's race, I had a problem with the car and had to come to the pits for the guys to fix it. Then, on my second pit stop, the engine stalled and we lost time while it was restarted. This is one of the races where you can lose a lot of time allowing faster cars to overtake, and I didn't manage that as well as I could have. As a result, I really didn't have a chance to show what I could do, and feel disappointed for the Hungarian fans. We'll just have to aim to have a better race next time."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (DNF):
We had a problem with the gearbox. I think it maybe caused my two outings off the track, as when I changed down the gears, the rear locked and I went off. The car was not bad, once the tyres had been settled in for a few laps it felt good.
Jarno Trulli, Renault (DNF):
"I think my retirement was caused by the engine: I lost power then it cut out. However, I was already having difficulties at that stage. Ever since just before my second stop, I was having big problems with the front of the car: it was understeering so much that I was losing several seconds a lap. I am very frustrated because during the first stint, I was following Button easily and felt I was faster than him."
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (DNF):
"I am naturally disappointed with the outcome of today's Hungarian Grand Prix. It was not the way I had planned to make my race debut for the team. I got a good start and made up a few positions on the run down to the first corner. Things got very tight through turn 1 and I was hit from behind by a Jordan, which sent me into a spin and to the back of the field. I then had a lot of overtaking to do, something that is very difficult at this track. In the end, I was making progress, but the car suddenly lost all power and I had to stop. The problem appears to have been caused by electronics, but we must first study all the data to be precise. I have settled into my new role as race driver quite easily thanks to the team and I am looking forward to a much stronger performance in Spa."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (DNF):
"I was able to pass a few people at the start, and after Pantano went off the road I could catch up easily with Panis. Unfortunately, after my first stop I had a problem with a 'long' brake pedal at the end of the straight. We made another pit stop to check the brake system but when the team couldn't fix the problem they advised me to stop for safety reasons."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (DNF):
"I gained a few positions on the first lap to be seventh and was getting into the race. I'm not sure what the problem was, but the engine kept cutting out for a few laps, so there was nothing for me to do but retire. It's a shame as we could have been in the points, but I look forward to Spa where I think we will be more competitive."