Turkish Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 21 Aug 2005
The inaugural Turkish Grand Prix more than justified the hype, providing an incident-filled race with numerous passes and some thrilling battles. So how did the men at the wheel see it?
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st):
"I'm very happy to win the first ever Turkish Grand Prix. We arrived here with a strong basis thanks to the work put in back at base which definitely made our weekend a lot easier. I didn't make the best of starts as I had bit of wheel spin which allowed Fisichella to pass. However he ran wide later on the first lap which allowed me to re-take the lead. I was pushing as hard as I could, but we knew our strategy would work, so really after the first pitstop I could be safe. I had a few scary moments with traffic which is always frustrating, but there is no doubt that our package is really quick. As a team we were a little bit unlucky today with what happened to Juan Pablo. At the end of the season two points can make all the difference, and all we can do is just to keep on winning. It's been a great visit to Turkey for me, and I can't wait for Monza."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd):
We had a slightly different race to normal today: we qualified quite early yesterday, when the track was slower, and that meant we had to try something unusual to get a good grid position. So we were quite light, and got a clean first stint - which meant we could run without traffic for the rest of the race, and this paid off with two good finishes for the team. From my point of view, I knew the McLarens were faster so I concentrated on doing a race with no mistakes, and driving consistently: the car was reliable again, and I had some luck with Montoya's problems as well. But you know, sometimes you can make your own luck - I kept the pressure on, and it paid off because I was close enough to take advantage. In terms of the championship, we know McLaren are faster - but this was as good a result as I could have hoped for.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (3rd):
"I'm obviously disappointed to lose second place so close to the end of the race to Alonso. I had lapped Monteiro in the Jordan, but I think he must have locked up under braking and went into the back of me. The car felt OK for the first couple of corners after this, but when I came back to the pits after the race I could see that my entire diffuser at the back of the car had been destroyed. I then ran wide in turn eight which allowed Alonso to pass. I'm a bit disappointed as my car was very quick and the strategy was right, so second place would have been fairly easy. I had a bit of an incident in my first pitstop when the fuel nozzle got stuck, but that didn't really cost me too much time. I'm sad for the team because a one-two would have been really good for the Championships."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th):
I got a great start even from the dirty side of the grid - we had a lighter fuel load than the McLarens, and that gave us an advantage off the line. But I was struggling to get my tyres working properly in the opening laps, which meant I went off on lap one and that allowed Kimi (Raikkonen) to pass me; then the team had told me Fernando (Alonso) was quicker, so when he got a good slipstream down the back straight, I did not make things difficult for him because I knew I was fuelled a bit longer. I lost time at the first pit stop with a problem on the fuel rig, so after that it was a good recovery to finish fourth. The balance of the car was quite good, so I was able to do consistent lap times and just push to the maximum. We have lost a few points in the championship to McLaren, but given the speed they showed today, it's not too bad.
Jenson Button, BAR (5th):
"I really enjoyed the race! I had a terrible start, but to work my way through the pack was fantastic. For me, it was probably one of the most exciting races this year. The result is a little disappointing in a way because we have had good pace all weekend, but we've just got to try not make the same mistake again. It has been a fantastic weekend for the team and it has shown that we are getting closer to the top two teams, so we are very excited about the next race in Monza."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th):
"After a few months of bad luck and disappointing races, it's good to have a normal race again at last. I made a good start and I pushed to the limit at the beginning and throughout the race. I lost quite a bit of time in traffic during the race but other than that everything went well. I personally had a very strong race so it's good to be back where I ought to be. I always expected to be behind the two McLarens and the two Renaults, and the BAR has also shown good pace this weekend. So I'm really satisfied with our weekend's work and happy to come away with three points."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (7th):
Well, that was a pretty good result. I was happy with the overall performance of the car throughout the race and, although we still have a few issues regarding the down-force level at top speed, the balance of the car felt good. We had some understeer at the start, but made a wing adjustment during the first pit stop to create more down-force and after that it was much better. Otherwise, there were no issues at all during the race and Im happy we collected three points.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (8th):
That was a really tough race, really tough. I was pushing hard on every single lap there was no let up at all and this track needs 110 per cent of concentration all the time. I got one point at the end, which is pretty good I think, especially considering the qualifying position so Im pleased.
Takuma Sato, BAR (9th):
"It was a mixed weekend for me. It was great on the one hand as I had a really exciting race, but it was a shame that I could not finish in the points today. Our qualifying positions cost us the result, but we tried a very different strategy today to try to make up some places. The team has done a great job this weekend and I want to thank everybody who has worked so hard. I hope that we will be able to carry this momentum over to the next race."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (10th):
This was a very, very tough race. I drove flat out from the start, but it had been obvious that we lacked performance since we started on Friday. After Hungary, it is disappointing to see us back in a situation like this. We had no grip and I we clearly made the wrong choice in terms of the tyres we brought to Turkey. Tenth place is not what we would have wanted in this inaugural Turkish race. We must keep on working and try and do better.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (11th):
"At the first corner everybody was going four abreast so I backed off a little. I could see somebody was going to get into trouble. Unfortunately that put me behind the Jordans and the Minardis. Their tyres warmed up quicker than mine did and the problem was that they were getting down the straights faster so it was really difficult initially to get past them. Once I did the pace was reasonable and I had no problem keeping ahead of Ralf (Schumacher), but in any case I think it would have been very difficult to score points today."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (12th):
"I had the worst possible start when I was pushed wide trying to avoid an incident at the first corner and I found myself at the back of the field. So I basically lost it all then. Then I ran over Massa's front wing as I rejoined the track, so this was always going to be a tough struggle for me. Luckily my car was okay and I kept pushing all the way to the flag. Towards the end I was chasing Villeneuve but there was no way past. All in all an unlucky day, which is a pity for the team because the pace was there and we could easily have scored points today."
Robert Doornbos, Minardi (13th):
"What a race! I really had a lot of fun and I finished it quite easily. I'm also happy with my physical shape at the end of what was a tough Grand Prix. The car actually got better as the race progressed and I think we could have continued, as the tyres were still in good shape. I had a great start for the first time, and dived inside Villeneuve, which was fun. After that, I was able to keep up a strong pace, and to have raced the Jordans and finished in front of them, what can I say? I'm a happy chappy!
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (14th):
Losing nearly the whole of Saturday not completing any flying laps hurt me a lot in the race, as, at the beginning, I had to take some time to learn the circuit again, which was a big disadvantage. I kept pushing and I just wanted to finish the race. Towards the end, I had to be a bit conservative with my tyres which explains why I could not catch Doornbos. Considering the amount of laps I have done on Saturday, I am fairly happy with my result today.
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (15th):
Another finish for me, which is good for the record and the team. It was a very hard weekend because of the problem I had with an aching tooth. I was really fighting and I wanted a good result. After the first pit stop, I had a gearbox problem and lost first gear and then all the gears were a bit mixed up, which made my race very tricky. However, the times were looking good, I was quicker and quicker and catching my teammate near the end. Then, Montoya overtook me and shut the door in a braking zone. I could not avoid pushing him as I was blind and lost all the downforce. I am really sorry for him as he was fighting for a podium but we have talked a lot during the briefings that we should not move positions in braking areas. I do not really know what happened as I have not talked to him yet.
Christijan Albers, Minardi (DNF):
"I think we had a reasonable qualifying, especially as we had a lot of fuel in the car and chose the hard tyre. It was shame, though, that we had problems in the race, and also encountered difficulties with the refuelling rigs. It's really disappointing to have these problems when the car is obviously becoming more competitive, but I think it
was the right decision to stay out for as long as we could in the race in order to achieve the best possible qualifying slot for the next Grand Prix."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (DNF):
We have not been quick enough all weekend. In fact, back on Friday it was clear we were in a very difficult situation. Even before the start, I did not expect to get any points and that is how it turned out. As regards the incident with Webber, I saw him closing on me and he moved to the right. As I began to brake, I could no longer see him and, when I was in mid-corner, I felt a bang at the back as he hit me with his nose. He was one lap down, so I dont understand why he tried this move. After the collision, there was something wrong with the car, so I went into the pits where the mechanics changed the power steering incredibly quickly. I went back out on track so as not to have to be first out in qualifying in Monza. At least this worked out, as I made up three places.
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (DNF):
My start was average but I had a good look at Jarno (Trulli) on the inside going into turn one and nearly passed him there. I then nearly took him on the outside going into turn three but I was on the clean side of the track and he pushed me over a bit. It was ok though. It was good fun for the first half of the first lap! Afterwards, I think the pace was reasonable, but I couldnt keep up with the guys in front. I then had two tyre incidents. At the moment, we are not sure what the cause was.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (DNF):
"I tried to get down the inside of Nick at the start, but when he moved left to defend I had to go off the circuit and he just caught my front wing, which I then ran over. I lost one of my turning vanes as a result, and a lot of time. Despite that, the car was really, really good after I pitted for a new nose and wing. We changed our strategy to a one stop refuelling and even with a lot of fuel aboard I could do very competitive lap times. It might even have been possible to do something good despite the crash but then I started to lose power, and my race was over."
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
It was a difficult day for us. I had a pretty poor start and then I saw Felipe (Massa) nearly take Nick (Heidfeld) out at the first corner so I had to make sure I wasn.t on the outside of him. The Red Bulls then got a good run on me up the hill but I soon managed to pass Christian Klien and David Coulthard. I was trying to get to the first stop as quickly as possible when I had an incident with my tyre at turn 12. When I came out of the pits, I was a lap behind Michael Schumacher but I was much quicker than him. I thought it was strange that he was moving around the braking area as all the drivers agree to try not to do this. Michael seemed quite keen to do it though so I didn.t show much respect in the end when I went round the corner. We then made contact. After that, I had another tyre incident which ended our race.