German Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 24 Jul 2005
An eventful afternoon in Hockenheim, with numerous passes and collisions, but only one retirement. The men involved explain...
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
I am delighted with this victory. We saw McLaren dominate this weekend, and knew it would be tough to beat them in the race, even though our pace was much closer than in qualifying. So to win here in Germany is a good surprise but we all know that the race is 70 laps long, and you dont get any prizes for being fastest until half-distance. The car was reliable all weekend, as it has been throughout the season, and we know we have to find some more performance: that will start with new pieces for Hungary. In terms of the race, it was quite straightforward - the biggest problem today, like in Silverstone, was with the blue flags which were not being shown to the lapped traffic. After Kimi retired, it was quite easy to manage the gap to the others, and control the race, so it was not the most exciting win. But I think it was an important afternoon for the team, because we increased the lead to McLaren as well, and it puts us in a strong position for Hungary in a weeks time.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (2nd):
"A good day for me but a frustrating one for Kimi. I hope the result made up a bit for the mistake I made yesterday. It was tough because of all the hard work everybody has been putting in. Anyway, I gained eight places on the first lap which was very good and then settled down a bit behind the next four cars to save some fuel as there was no need to take any risks as I knew there would be a good chance to pass during the pitstops. To start so far back was an experience I would rather not repeat as I couldn't even see the lights and just moved when the other cars moved. The balance of my car was perfect, and we were able to put in a strong performance. The strategy was spot on and allowed me to push during the race especially when I had the chance to get ahead of Button and Schumacher following their second stops. Without yesterday's mistake, which put me at the back of the grid, a race win would have been possible."
Jenson Button, BAR (3rd):
"It's fantastic to be back on the podium today after a great race for me and the team. I don't need to tell anyone what a tough season this has been for us and it's a great feeling to come away from here with a trophy for the guys who've worked so hard to get us up there today. I didn't get a great start and obviously Michael was able to pass me. In the first stint I worried that I might not be able to catch him but then he seemed to lose a bit of pace and I just kept pushing and pushing until I had my chance. I had to keep pushing hard because I knew he was stopping later than me, but in the end I was able to keep him behind for the rest of the race. Catching Juan Pablo was always going to be a different matter though. For us it was just a great race and I enjoyed every minute because I could push the car all the way. It's a huge boost to everyone at the Team, Honda and Michelin and my thanks to all of them."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th):
What a race! It was full of action, from start to finish, and with the problems we had, I think it was good to finish fourth. I had a good start, but there was no space to pass on the right-hand side and that meant my line into turn 1 was not ideal, so I was in a big bunch of cars at the next corners. On the run to the hairpin, Sato hit my car - although he has apologised now - and knocked off part of the rear wing. The handling felt strange for a few laps, and I lost more places before I could start pushing. I made some places at the first stop, then the engineers said to start looking after the rear brakes, so I was taking things easily, braking earlier than normal and just controlling my pace. Even so, we were quite worried about the wear and the brake balance was all the way forward at the end of the race! But two laps from the end, they said on the radio that I could try and overtake Michael and it was quite easy he had tyre problems, and I was much faster than him. It was a good result for the team, but I still had the pace to do better.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (5th):
In the end, I guess you could say this was an interesting race, although I would have preferred to be fighting for a podium finish rather than the lower places. I struggled a lot with my tyres today, which is why I could not hold off Jenson. Later, Giancarlo got past me as I had a fuel feed problem. Fifth place is okay in that I did not lose any positions from where I started, but of course I was hoping to do something better for the fans, who were incredible all through the weekend. I am proud to have such support.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (6th):
"That was an exciting race for the public and a good one for me as well. I said yesterday that we could have a good race today and so it proved. I didn't make the best of starts and I found myself crowded out, but it is always like that in Hockenheim. From then on our strategy was excellent, including a long stint before the first pit stop. We could even have ended up one or two positions higher. Unfortunately when I came out of the pits after my first stop the tyres took a couple of laps to get my lap times back while I was struggling for grip. But three points is another good result. The team did a great job and we have to be happy with this result."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (7th):
We felt that we were well set up to get points here this weekend. Qualifying was very close and we performed better than at recent races, which gave us a good foundation for a strong start. From there, we were able to deliver a good race. There are still some inconsistencies with the car that need attention, but well continue to work hard and see what we can do in Hungary next weekend.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (8th):
"I think I made a pretty good start, huh? I just saw a space and braked a lot later than anyone else into Turn One, and then let the car run wide and passed maybe four cars coming out. In Turn Two I again braked late and passed another, so it was very, very good! The pace after that was reasonable and consistent, and the balance of the car was good. Overall I think that was one of my best races to date, and scoring a point after starting so far back really keeps me motivated to keep on fighting. Im very happy!"
Christian Klien, Red Bull (9th):
I think it was a very tough race and the car was very difficult to drive, especially when it was carrying a lot of fuel. I didnt make such a great start. I was on the right hand side of the track where there was a lot of dirt, and I lost a couple of places. I pushed really hard during the race and made two good overtaking manoeuvres on Barrichello, but apart from that there was not so much good action.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (10th):
The race started well for me and I even managed to move up a few places. Then, just after the start, another car came up the inside of me and I had no option but to move to the outside of the corner, which is how I collided with Villeneuve. After that, I spent the rest of the race fighting a lack of grip from the tyres. The grip I was expecting to improve in the race compared to the way it was in qualifying did not in fact do so. The choice I made yesterday did not pay off.
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (11th):
I had a good start, making up two positions. In the beginning it was not bad and I could clearly keep the pace of Michael Schumacher and Button who were both just in front of me. I was unlucky after the pit-stop, just falling behind some two-stoppers and I couldnt go at my own pace anymore. I actually think the biggest problem was that at the end of the first stint something in the rear of the car changed and affected the balance. I was never able to do the lap times after that. Towards the end of the race I had a bit more oversteer and also the engine power was turned down as there was nothing more we could gain. I am disappointed because I thought we could score some points today.
Takuma Sato, BAR (12th):
"The race was a very big disappointment for me today, particularly as we had qualified with so much fuel on-board so I felt we were in a strong position. I had a small incident in turn one but the car was OK. I was following Fisichella through turn three which is usually flat, when for some reason he lifted and there was no way to avoid hitting him. We had to change the nose and I knew then that I was going to have a very difficult race but kept going. It was a big shame because the team had done a very good job, the car was performing well and getting better and better. Now I have to keep motivated and look forward to Hungary next weekend."
Christijan Albers, Minardi (13th):
Im pleased to have finished, although it turned out to be a tough race, as the car set-up was not quite what we had aimed for. Looking at it positively, however, its something we can improve on for the next race, and hopefully gain some more performance. That said, even though the car may not have been perfect today, it was raceable, and as a result, we were able to do a reasonable job. Certainly, Im pleased with the outcome of the race, but I think it could have been even a little better.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (14th):
"That was a very unlucky day for me. At the start the car didn't pull away well, then at first corner I had a problem with Webber, who was suffering with his gearbox and just pushed me wide onto the very outside of the circuit. I picked up a puncture and found the car difficult to stop into the second and third corners and down the straight. So I had to pit and change the front left tyre. The balance was fine after that, and in fact the car felt very good today, better than it has for a couple of races, and I was able to overtake Sato down the straight. Later on I knew there were blue flags, but they came just as I was overtaking Heidfeld. I let Montoya past immediately afterwards but was given a penalty. Finally I had a problem with the pneumatic pressure in the engine and I was forced to stop. All in all, that was just one of those races when everything happened."
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (15th):
"I seemed to get hit by everybody today! On the first lap Rubens came into the side of me at the hairpin; I think maybe somebody pushed him. Then I had the thing with Doornbos on lap four. He was being very over-aggressive in his first race, and he moved over on me while he was braking so we touched. That was Formula Ford stuff, unnecessary. As for Monteiro on lap 27, I really dont think that he saw me.
"The funny thing is that the car was still good after all that contact, but eventually it developed a serious vibration. We changed the front tyres but that didnt fix it, and it began to get worse and worse, so I had to ease off a little. There was no point in risking everything by then."
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (16th):
I am happy to finish the race as I have had some technical problems in the last two races. I did not have very good start but I managed to pass Monteiro. The first 15 laps went ok and then I blistered my rear tyres, after which my car was too much on the edge. I aIso got a drive through penalty but I do not understand as I never saw the blue flag for Heidfeld. I had a quick spin near the end as well so I am quite satisfied I finished the race.
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (17th):
Todays race was not the kind of gift I was expecting for my birthday. What is important for us is that, again, we managed to finish the race, although it was a tough one. I had a good start but then somebody touched me and pushed me off the track and I lost one or two positions. Therefore I ended up last. I was then able to push very hard, as the balance of the car was much better than we have had the whole weekend. I think our lap times were not too bad as well. I had a very good in and out lap in my first pit stop and thats why I have managed to pass Narain and Albers. I was very happy with the car until I had a racing incident with Villeneuve. It is a pity but I would like to thank everyone for another finish and look forward to the next one.
Robert Doornbos, Minardi (18th):
Im happy to have finished my first Grand Prix, although it was definitely a very eventful race. I had a problem at the start with the launch control, and therefore did a manual start. Im sure it looked dramatic, with lots of wheelspin, but I lost position against some of the other cars. Once I got going, the first lap was chaos. It was very good for me, though, as I gained a number of positions. Then, on the third lap, as we arrived at the Arena, my car took a big hit from Villeneuve and I spun. As a result, I had to make an unscheduled stop to have the car checked, and that was quite a shame because I think we had the pace to stay with the Jordans and to stay close to my team mate. If we were going to have a bit of bad luck, though, its maybe preferable to get it out of the way today, at the first race, and then next week it will all go a lot better. Im feeling fit and now looking forward to Hungary.
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
I dont know what Ive got to do this season to get some luck. At the first corner after the start I got hit at the right rear by Sato and had suspension damage. The mechanics replaced the part quickly, but obviously by the time I went back on track I was 11 laps behind the leader. This compromised my race of course, but it will also affect qualifying for the next race, as I will have a very early start slot.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (DNF):
"What can I say! It's always terrible to retire from a race, but to retire whilst in the lead with a good gap to the number two car is even worse. This is the worst thing that could have happened as it looked like the race was in the bag. However that is motor racing, but it seems like I have had my fair share of bad luck this season. Myself and the whole team now need to overcome today's disappointment and focus on the Hungarian race and the rest of the season. There is still a mathematical chance that I can win the Drivers Championship but it's getting difficult. However we are still in the battle for the Constructors' battle, so we will keep on fighting."