Malaysian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 20 Mar 2005
A thrilling afternoon at Sepang Alonso on victory, Fisichella and Webber on their coming together, Jarno Trulli on Toyotas best-ever result and Michael Schumacher on his first points of the year. All the drivers have their say.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
Physically, it was a very demanding race and I really felt how hard it had been on the podium afterwards. But its a great feeling to win here, and the way I was able to do it demonstrates that we are competitive with our rivals this season, on every type of circuit. Everything went well from start to finish: the car, the engine and the Michelin tyres. A big thank-you to the whole team: they did a fantastic job this winter in Enstone, Viry and Clermont-Ferrand at Michelin. At this stage, I think we have a real chance to fight for the title.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (2nd):
"I had an excellent start and was easily keeping my second position behind Fernando and extending my lead over Giancarlo. From there, I had an absolutely trouble-free race and could control those cars behind me. I want to thank everyone in the Toyota team and all the engineers, mechanics both here and in Cologne for giving the car with which I could score Toyota's first ever podium finish. It was a great result and I am sure the start of even greater things to come. It was a real challenge this weekend with the tyre and engine regulations, as well as the extreme heat which makes it tough for the drivers. Luca Marmorini and his team have done an absolutely exceptional job on the engine and we had no reliability issues in either of the first two races this season."
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (3rd):
I am very happy, this was the most exciting race I ever had in F1. I pushed hard from the start since I had to recover from my 10th grid position and I had a good race with some exciting overtaking. It was real fun. At a lot of stages I got involved in battles with two other cars and we had several good fights, but in the end I got the upper hand. The car performed well and so did the BMW engine and our Michelin tyres. Still, as usual in a hot race when it is the last thing you would like to happen, I had a problem with the drink bottle from the very first laps, which made my life more difficult.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (4th):
"We scored some good points and getting from 11th to fourth is quite good, but obviously we want to win. The race itself was not too bad physically despite the heat. However quite early on I flatspotted my front left tyre, which not only put the car out of balance but also caused a lot of vibration which hampered my vision things like this make it difficult to get the best out of the car."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (5th):
"This is a wonderful result for the team. First and foremost I am happy for my team-mate, but also for myself. I think it was a good, but difficult race for me. I could not overtake for the first ten laps and then I had either heavy graining or blistering. After that, I had the get together with Webber after which my car was aerodynamically affected, causing some big vibrations. I am happy to have finished the race altogether and I am pleased to have contributed to our double points-finish today to take us to second in the championship."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (6th):
"Our car ran faultlessly but it's more difficult to drive here than in Australia and I got caught out on turn 4 on one of the laps but apart from that it was okay. I think we have to be satisfied. It's been an encouraging start to the season so we should say congratulations to everyone in the team. Special thanks should go to Cosworth because they are doing a good job with the engine. Let's count the points and head to Bahrain."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (7th):
"Of course, seventh place is not exactly worth celebrating, but I feel that I did the
best I could have done today, coming up from 13th on the grid. My car ran reliably and with no problems. I was a bit conservative in the early stages, to be sure of having a competitive car in the closing parts and, given the situation I can be happy with two points. A Formula One car is very complex and there is not one single factor to blame for our poor performance. We are simply not strong enough in several areas at the moment. We are well aware of that and we are and we will continue to work hard to deal with that. Now I head to Mugello to drive the F2005 for the first time. Driving a new car is always something special, so I am looking forward to that."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (8th):
"That was a sensational race, I am really happy. I think I was a bit more confident this year because I now have more experience but it was still tough and I was happy to get to the finish line! The start was not very good but we know what we have to work on. I lost two positions at the start and it was very hard because of the heat and most of the time I was behind other cars, which made things more difficult. The car was pretty good although I had a little bit of understeer and lost a little bit of grip on the rear tyres but overall it was a great race and I'm pleased fo the team."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (9th):
"A disappointing end to a race, which looked quite promising immediately after my first stop where I had gained two positions to take fourth. However early on during my outlap a tyre valve failure caused a puncture to the right rear, and I was forced to go almost a full lap in order to get back to the pits. My times during the race showed that I was able to go at the same speed as the leaders. I got past Felipe Massa and closed the gap to Christian Klien and Michael Schumacher, but when I got there it was too late for an attack."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (10th):
"I think our race pace was reasonable compared to qualifying yesterday and this morning, and I was able to follow Michael for many laps. After my second stop I started having a problem with oversteer in Turn 12. On one lap I had to take a lot of the kerb because of that, and after that the car seemed to lose a lot of rear downforce and was almost undriveable at competitive speed."
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (11th):
Finishing in 11th position here at Sepang was very good especially because of the hard weather conditions. The car was very reliable but the race was a bit boring for me.
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (12th):
I had a good start and took a few positions. I could have almost caught Villeneuve but this manoeuvre would have maybe been a bit risky. Then after a few laps, there was oil on the track left by a BAR that made me spin and I thought I had a problem at the rear but fortunately it was only oil on my tyres, but I still lost some time. The rest of the race was a bit boring and long for me, as it was like racing on my own. It is just a pity I lost contact at the beginning. I am very happy both of us finished the second race and we were able to bring a lot of useful information to the engineers. Therefore I would like to thank the team as we did not encounter any technical problem throughout the weekend.
Christijan Albers, Minardi (13th):
First of all, I want to thank the team for all their effort. To be honest, I wasnt happy with my qualifying performances this weekend, but the start of the race was good, as I was able to overtake three cars on the outside of the first corner, but then I suffered a temporary lack of power and Karthikeyan was able to re-pass me. I was able to keep Monteiro behind me for another lap, but I couldnt hold him off any longer than that. I also lost a position to Patrick, but then after two or three laps, the power started to improve and I was able to follow Tiago. Toward the end of the race, while I was moving over to let some of the faster cars through, I went wide over a curb and lost one of the bargeboards. This meant the car lost downforce, and there was more understeer, and this was reflected in the lap times. Overall, though, I learned a lot and Im happy to have finished this race, as its the toughest of the season.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (DNF):
"The race was going quite well at first and I was able to fight for at least sixth place. All of a sudden the car developed quite a lot of oversteer. I radioed the team and they told me that they could tell that there had been a change to the aerodynamics on the car and the handling was transformed: it was very bad. Then, when I pitted again, they found that a piece of rubber had got attached to the wing. But, because I had run for at least 20 laps with too much oversteer, it ruined my rear tyres. It's a shame, because until then the balance of the car was good. I wasn't quick enough to win of course, but I could have ended up in the top six."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (DNF):
It was disappointing not to make it to the chequered flag, but I had a difficult afternoon. The car was not very well balanced at the start of the race, and after my first stop, I lost a lot of front downforce: I think something broke. I was up to two seconds slower than the race pace, and the car was understeering everywhere; so there was no grip at all. As for the collision, Webber got past me into turn 14, then I overtook him again on the straight afterwards. I was ahead, and he was on the outside when he took his line into the corner. As I was braking, the rear of the car slid and Mark had left no margin for error, so we collided. For me, it was a racing incident.
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
I had a pretty good start and set it into a reasonable rhythm and after the first pit stop I started to catch Fisichella who was holding me up quite a lot as his tyres were finished. I had Ralf behind me and I knew he could pounce anytime. We had a tight fight but I got in front of him in the end. Then with 20 laps to go I closed up with Fisichella again. His tyres were getting worse and worse, I passed him at turn 14 and left him plenty of room. Then Giancarlo came on the inside on the next corner and I knew it would be difficult for him to stop on the dirty side. I went back onto the clean side and I think Fisi braked too late, locked his tyres on the dirty stuff, lost the rear end and took my car out.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (DNF):
"From the start of the race I was aiming to be as consistent as possible. I was able to build on the progress that we started to make with the car in qualifying yesterday afternoon and again this morning. In particular I am gaining more and more confidence with the brakes and was locking the fronts momentarily going into Turn One, the way I like to. Then on lap 27 I locked the rears braking hard into the corner and spun, and couldn't get restarted."
Jenson Button, BAR (DNF):
"It goes without saying that I'm incredibly disappointed and frustrated. I felt I was one of the quickest cars on the circuit - our pace was so strong that I was easily able to take the Red Bull cars and then get close enough to Raikkonen to pass him. In light of how our strategy would have played out versus the competition we've let ourselves down today. I'm disappointed for myself, for Anthony in his first race for us and also the team who've worked so hard all weekend in extremely tough conditions. We have to sort this out in time for Bahrain."
Anthony Davidson, BAR (DNF):
"It's so disappointing to end my first race for the team like this. It's been a challenging weekend and I'd like to thank the team and my physio for all their help in getting me ready to race here. It's just a shame that we weren't able to see the hard work come to fruition. It looks like we have a lot of work to do in testing next week, when we'll work to ensure the problem is put right for Bahrain."
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (DNF):
To be honest, I am a little disappointed. My start was not that good, but then I was able to pass Christijan and was right behind the Jordans. On the second lap, I just touched the brakes going into the first corner and lost the rear of the car on what I guess was oil from the BAR cars. That was it, really, and all we can do is put this race behind us now and look ahead to the next one, in Bahrain.