European Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 29 May 2005
Mixed emotions after a dramatic race in Germany
Jubilation for Fernando Alonso, heartbreak for Kimi Raikkonen and a proud home podium for Nick Heidfeld. The men on the track describe a highly eventful afternoon at the Nurburgring.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
I was afraid from the start of the race after Ralf hit me - I thought the car might have been damaged, and that I would have to retire. After a few corners, though, it was clear that everything was OK so then it was a case of pushing hard, doing the strategy and trying to get a good finish. The car was very good today, easy to drive, and the strategy was definitely perfect. I was quite happy to settle for second before the last pit-stop, then the team said Raikkonen had a problem and that I should push - that was when I went off because I was just trying 100% and made a mistake. But even so, I was catching Kimi and then I saw him crash at the first corner. For me, the big worry was that I would get caught up in the debris, and then I just had to stay calm for the last lap and take the flag. The most important thing about this victory is that is shows our team is strong. After Monaco, the mood was quite low but we have shown we can bounce back. Todays performance shows we are still leaders, and that both cars are quick - Fisi did a great job to be sixth, and he will be even quicker next time, I am sure. I think today proved we are really going to fight for this title.
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (2nd):
Its obviously great to be second today after yesterdays pole position of. I didnt think I was able to win, but a podium finish was within reach. We knew that Kimi would have a better start and in fact he went in front from the start, but I still had a go at him into the first corner but ultimately he held on to his position. I pushed as hard as I could in the first stint to open a good gap from the cars behind me and our strategy of three stops paid off, because towards the end I was in third position. The car was good and I didnt make any big mistakes. Barrichello was getting closer and closer in the closing laps but I pushed hard and could keep him behind me even despite having lost my rear tyres a bit. Then Kimi had the accident and it was just luck to claim second place. Thanks to WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin - its clear that we are recovering our form strongly.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (3rd):
This has been a lively weekend! I think that starting seventh and finishing third is very good. At the start I came alongside Alonso and then two cars cut across in front of me, forcing me to go left before I could turn right. I lost a lot of time, but after that I was able to push hard and make the most of my three stop strategy. My race set-up was very good. Everyone in the team and back in the factory is doing a fantastic job right now. The car was very reliable, the engine strong and the tyres were great. I feel we are coming back to where we should be and hopefully, we can start winning races soon.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (4th):
I was very happy with the start of the race. Id said to the team beforehand that I was planning to stay on the inside on the first corner, as weve seen incidents there in previous years. We had a very good first sector and were competitive. I was disappointed that I made a mistake trying to get out in front of the Minardi in the pit lane. I came off the speed limiter fractionally early and picked up a penalty, which cost us a podium. But, weve got to be satisfied with what weve done here today and Im happy with the result.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (5th):
Before the start, I might have predicted a fifth place finish, but I thought it might be easier to come by. Today, my race pace was not as good as usual. We know what we have to do, which is to keep on working hard, on all areas of the car. When I went off the track, it was because I suddenly got more understeer than usual and once off the clean line there was no way to keep on the track, but even without that incident, I dont think I could have caught Coulthard. At least Rubens result shows that we are moving in the right direction. I feel sorry for Kimi as it is a bitter experience to have something like that happen so close to the finish.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th):
I am very disappointed after the problem I had on the grid - I dont know why the engine stalled when I engaged first gear. That meant I had to start from the pit-lane and it was not easy from there. The car balance was pretty good though, but I spent a lot of the race stuck behind Button, after they short-fuelled him at his first stop to keep track position ahead of me. That meant the laps around the second stop were critical, and the team did a great job with the pit-stops and strategy to help me go ahead - I passed five cars at the final stop I think. Considering my starting position, I think I did the absolute maximum today, and I feel confident for Canada. I just want a bit more luck.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (7th):
"I am disappointed with the outcome of the race which was very tough for me. I had a good start and turned into the first corner in third place when I was hit by Mark Webber and went off. I resumed in 13th position and had to make my way up through the field. It is a pity not to have finished higher up as I had a quick car all weekend. We now have to look ahead and I will do my best to achieve a good result at the Canadian Grand Prix."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th):
"After an afternoon like that, a point is certainly better than nothing, but it could have been much more. Unfortunately we had a problem firing up the engine on the grid and because of those few seconds we earned a drive through penalty that completely spoiled my chances. I pitted earlier than we intended because I was stuck in traffic and after that my race was fairly anonymous because it is nearly impossible to overtake here. But I kept pushing, pushing and pushing and it paid off when Raikkonen had his problem at the very end. It's a pity because otherwise after such a good qualifying and start we would certainly have made the podium and I could even have won. Still, given everything that happened I'll settle for 8th place."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (9th):
I had some understeer from the beginning of the race, meaning I couldnt push as hard as Id have liked. Some cars got past me and it was difficult to match their speed, which was a bit disappointing. Id like to have scored some points here but, overall the teams had a good day, so Im happy.
Jenson Button, BAR (10th):
"We thought that we would be reasonably strong here, so today's race has taken us by surprise. We had a lot of oversteer in the car but also in turn-in we had huge amounts of understeer, so I don't understand what was going on really. I struggled a lot, but at least we made enough progress to move a bit further up the grid for Canada. We have a few new aero parts coming for the next race so that will help us there I'm sure. We have a lot of work to do in testing next week and hopefully we will be able to make a bit more of an impact on the grid in Montreal."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (11th):
"I am really frustrated to retire from the race in the lead on the very last lap having dominated throughout. I had a well balanced car until a flatspot on my right front tyre caused terrible vibrations which eventually led to the suspension failure. We lost valuable ten points in the championship, however we will do our very best to try to win races in the remainder of the season as we have a very competitive package. This is not just a sad result for me but for the entire team that has worked so hard."
Takuma Sato, BAR (12th):
"We are pleased that we have come back and shown that we have a reliable package and I really appreciate all of the hard work by everyone in the team and at Honda to get us back racing this weekend. After gaining a few positions braking into turn one, one of the two cars involved in the accident in front of me spun sideways and stopped, and so I unavoidably damaged the front wing. After that we came back with relatively good pace, but we now need to find more speed during our test next week for the races in Canada and Indy."
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (13th):
"I was level with Felipe going into the first corner, but then I got caught up in the incident there. Unfortunately for me that put me behind Karthikeyan, and he was fighting me like we were in a 10-lap kart race. Okay, have fun and let's race, I'm not saying don't try to resist the challenge, but relax. He could see I was a lot quicker but whenever I got my nose inside him he just blocked me. That cost me 40 seconds and ruined my strategy, and that's really the story of what was for me a pretty boring race."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (14th):
"Several laps after I made my second stop on the 44th lap, I started to experience vibrations from the front tyres. I hadn't flat spotted either of them, but when I got to Turn 5 on lap 51 I just couldn't stop the car and slid off into the gravel. I got back on to the track but after that the left front was vibrating really badly and then the tread began to break up and damaged my front wing endplate, so I had to make a stop for a new front left tyre and a new wing.
"That was such a shame because my car was fantastic in the race and I was easily keeping ahead of Michael and Montoya until that final stop."
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (15th):
It was the race in which I had the most fun so far this season as we had a lot of fighting. I managed to keep Villeneuve behind me for a while. After the first pit stop, Narain overtook me so I pushed as hard as I could to pass him again after the second stop, which I did. Approaching my second stop, I did not respect the blue flags and was punished with a drive-through penalty. However, I kept on pushing as the race is never over until it is over and suddenly I saw a yellow car in front of me, so I pushed even harder and managed to pass Narain again after he made a small mistake. It was one of the best races for me as I was pushing all the way, working with the balance of the car. The car was getting better and better throughout the race, therefore I would like to thank the team for having done an amazing job to provide me with a better car. Bit by bit, we will get there.
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (16th):
I had a reasonable start and managed to avoid the chaos in the first corner and stay in front of Jacques Villeneuve for about 10 laps. I had a good first pit stop and passed my teammate. For the second stop, I had very good in and out laps but unfortunately right after, the leaders had to lap me so I lost nearly about 10 seconds in two or three laps, which allowed Tiago to go ahead of me again after his stop. Then Monteiro had a drive-through penalty so I overtook him. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake near the end and he went in front of me again. I am really happy I have finished here. I knew it was going to be a hard race as it was my first time on this circuit. Canada and Indianapolis will also be new for me so this will be a bit difficult but we will cope with this.
Christijan Albers, Minardi (17th):
"I'm happy to have finished the race and pleased with the pace at which I was able to run. I didn't see any blue flags for David Coulthard, and I'm genuinely sorry if I held him up, but after I let him past, we received a drive-through penalty, which was a shame. Despite that, though, I'm pleased with the result, and pleased for the team that both cars took the chequered flag today."
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (18th):
"I'm pleased that I was able to take my first race finish today in the Minardi Cosworth PS05, but a little disappointed that we weren't able to get a better result. We had problems with ovesteer in the car this afternoon, and I also had difficulty selecting second gear on occasion. We'll be hoping to do better in the next couple of races."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
"This was a very difficult day for me. I made a reasonably good start but as I went into turn one I was very close to Alonso when all of a sudden he came to an almost complete stop. Because I was so close behind him, I couldn't see what was happening in front so I became involved in the accident. It's a pity, but I really couldn't do anything about it. That meant I had to pit to replace my nose, leaving me over a minute adrift. From there the afternoon was always going to be difficult but I pushed as hard as I could, gaining a few places. Then I was close behind Sato when I lost grip at the front, understeered straight on, hit the kerb and that was it. We'll hope for a better weekend next time."
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
Today just disappointing. Nick and I didnt get away from the grid that well that put us both in difficult positions into the first corner. I had Trulli and Alonso trying to get down the inside so I braked a bit later attempting to defend my position, especially from Jarno, because it was very important to keep him behind for our strategy. I just, just quite couldnt stop and hit the side of Juan Pablo. It was a shame because we had strong potential today.