The men at the wheel describe a very hot and thrilling afternoon's racing at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
The R25 was perfect today, and the team has been fantastic all weekend, with no mistakes. To score 26 points out of 30 possible is brilliant, but we need to stay cautious: we have only done three races out of nineteen in a very long season. However, I think that if we stay competitive like we are, and if we can avoid mechanical problems, then we will be hard to beat.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (2nd):
"I am so pleased with this result. After Malaysia, I thought we would be competitive and to claim our second consecutive podium is fantastic. The car performed amazingly well, it was quick and reliable with no issues whatsoever. The braking, cooling, Michelin tyres, engine, everything worked well. I realised midway through the race that it was futile to try and catch Fernando and we were safely in second, which is tremendous for everyone in the team. I would like to thank all the team for this result, but we still have one place ahead of us, so we must keep pushing with that as the target."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd):
"I am very pleased with third place after a difficult two qualifying sessions. The car felt really good in the race, but unfortunately I was stuck behind a lot of traffic early on. I managed to gain a few places, but once I was in third position the front two cars were too far ahead for me to catch them and in agreement with the team we decided to conserve the engine for Imola."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (4th):
"Another great result for the team after our success in Malaysia. I had a good race, although it was pretty slippery, but that is to be expected at this track. The end result was dictated by the mistake in qualifying yesterday which bumped me down to eleventh but the team did a great job to move me up some positions on the grid. We have two cars in the points, including one on the podium, so well done to Jarno and everyone in the team both here and in Cologne. After my 5th place in Malaysia and now 4th in Bahrain, it must be my turn for the podium next."
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (5th):
"I had a great time racing today. My lap times were consistently fast when I had a clear track ahead. However most of the race I had fights with competitors which kept me busy. I gave it my all to win the battles against Takuma Sato, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Mark Webber. It was hard work to make my way through the field after a difficult first few laps coming from ninth after the first lap. I must thank the whole team who have worked so hard to provide me with a car that was both fast and reliable."
Mark Webber, Williams (6th):
It was a tough race for me. Unfortunately with about 20 laps to go I had a spin at turn 10 when I was running third and I lost two positions. My tyres were in bad shape after I spun and the car was difficult to drive because of strong vibrations. So in the last few laps I lost one position to de la Rosa. Everyone in the team did a very good job and also Michelin provided us with good tyres. Now I am looking forward to Imola.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (7th):
"That was exactly what I hoped for in my heart before the start of the race! The C24 was strong and consistent all the way through and I am sure that my hard tyre choice was the right one. I think it was a good move I did on Rubens, but he was in trouble with his tyres so to be fair it was not real overtaking. I am proud to have scored our first points of the season in our 200th race, and now I'm looking forward to continuing our intensive preparations next week before the championship moves to Europe for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (8th):
At the end, Barrichello was a lot slower in his braking area and kept overshooting, so I pretty much lined him up for a couple of laps and I knew I was going to have a go on the last lap. A point out of a difficult weekend is encouraging but now we need to do a total investigation of where we are with the car because I just struggled badly in the race and in qualifying.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (9th):
I think this has been a weekend to forget for me. I had only driven four timed laps before the race and then I made up ten places in just a few laps. In qualifying, the tyres were great over the single lap and they were good in the first part of the race. However, after that I began to get too much oversteer as the tyre degraded badly and my lap times therefore got slower. Some of that problem came from the fact that with hardly any running over the two previous days, I had to use Michaels set-up and I think I could have done better if I had been able to chose a set-up better suited to my driving style. That is why I began to lose places. Even if I could have held up Massa and Coulthard under braking, they could pass me out of the corners and thats what happened. We now have three weeks before Imola and we will be testing in Barcelona which is very hard on tyres and we must work very hard to understand our problems in this area and with the reliability of the car. We have time to improve.
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (10th):
I am really happy for the team and for myself that I finished in the top ten at my third race. It was a very difficult race because of the heat as it is not easy to control the car in such high temperatures. Everyone in the team has done a very good job over the weekend
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (11th):
"It's a real shame. The start went well, Turn One went well, and the car went well. I got pushed wide and had to give back a place on the first lap, but after that it was a matter of keeping the pace and being consistent. I could certainly have got a point today. It was only another lap and I would have passed Rubens, but then I got hit by David. I don't know why and I'll have to ask him...
"After that incident I could feel something wrong at the back of the car so I came into the pits so the team could check it out. They subsequently discovered that there was damage to the rear suspension where David had hit me. It's disappointing to get so close to a point and then lose it, but I'm feeling a lot more confident in the car after this race."
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (12th):
"In the beginning, it was quite good, and I could stay with the Jordans without really pushing, but then in the middle of the race, we began to lose grip at the rear of the car, and the combination of that and traffic meant we began to lose time. Before that, though, the car was really good. I'm quite happy with our effort today, and that we finished what will probably be the very last race for this car. Also, once again, thanks to the guys for a great job today."
Christijan Albers, Minardi (13th):
"I made a good start, just like Malaysia, but maybe even a little faster, but then, in turn 10, I was behind Barrichello, and made an attempt at getting by him, but then we came up to Coulthard, whom Rubens was passing on the inside. Unfortunately, David and I made contact under braking. In my view, it was just a racing incident, but I lost the nose of my car and had to pit at the end of the lap to have it replaced. It was a shame, because we were in front of the Jordans and quite a few other cars, but on the positive side, it's pleasing to know the speed was there. Patrick made two stops and I made three, but I managed to reduce the gap between us from 40 seconds after the unplanned pit stop to 17 seconds by the end of the race. It was a shame that Alonso put me an additional lap down at the very last corner of the race, but overall, I think it was a good result today."
Jenson Button, BAR (DNF):
"I got a reasonable start, our car felt strong and we had good pace, so we were obviously hoping for better things. I tried to overtake Fisichella on lap two but he moved across me and I lost three places behind him. From around lap 20 we were starting to experience some bad gear shifts and also signs of brake wear, so I had to start to look after the brakes a bit more. The pit crew removed the tyre to inspect the front left in the last pitstop and it seemed that we would make it to the end of the race. When I tried to select first and pull away though, the clutch problem recurred and I couldn't pull away. The guys did a fantastic job to try to get me back into the race but then the car stopped at the pit lane exit. We have two weeks of testing now where we have to work hard on reliability for Imola. We will have a new package and a stronger car, so let's hope that San Marino is where our season will finally get started."
Takuma Sato, BAR (DNF):
"We had a great race while it lasted, so it's a shame that I had to retire from the race. I got a good start and was able to make up lots of places in the early stages of the race, which was very exciting for me and I enjoyed it a lot. This is a very hard braking circuit though and we had a brake wear problem. I am obviously disappointed but the team did a great job keeping me ahead of Rubens following my pitstop. We have to keep focused on the positives now and I'm looking forward to the next two weeks of testing where we will keep pushing to develop the car for Imola."
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (DNF):
Its disappointing not to finish the race, especially because I was running in a very good position and I was on course to collect several useful points. On the other side one has to consider that my engine was the only one in the field that had run in Malaysia already and was having its second Grand Prix here, in such extreme conditions. Everybody is working flat out at WilliamsF1 and at BMW and its a shame what happened, nevertheless I am sure we will get some reward in the next races.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (DNF):
For sure, I have to be disappointed with not finishing the race. But on the positive side I can look at the fantastic effort made to bring the new car here and it was absolutely the right decision. Up until I retired, the car was very competitive and I am sure it will be even more so in the coming races. I retired because I had no hydraulic pressure, so I could not change down through the gears, which is why I went wide and had to use the run-off area. We worked hard to get the new car here and now we must continue to do the same to develop it further. Now I am looking forward to Imola.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (DNF):
It is normal that I feel extremely disappointed after retiring from a race where I could have scored a very strong result. The car felt great on the first lap, when I gained positions and felt like I could get even more. Then, the engine lost power and I was called into the pits to retire. I hope things will go better in Italy in three weeks.
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (DNF):
It is really a pity I had to retire in the race as I made a really good start and I managed to overtake a few cars. I was keeping up the pace but suddenly the car just stopped on the track because of an electrical problem.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (DNF):
My car stalled on the grid so we wanted to start in the pits but it wasnt possible, I think it was due to an electronic failure. It is really a shame because the whole weekend went really well for me and to retire so early wasnt the goal.
Bahrain Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 03 Apr 2005
The men at the wheel describe a very hot and thrilling afternoon's racing at the Bahrain International Circuit.