Brazilian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 22 Oct 2006
Fernando Alonso on winning the championship; Felipe Massa on his home triumph; and Michael Schumacher on his last race. All 22 drivers report back on Sundays action-packed race in Brazil.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st):
Today is another dream, the dream of my life has become a reality. The car was perfect, the Bridgestone tyres were perfect, I drove an impeccable race and all of this at my home grand prix! I always had the situation under control, slowing just a bit when Michael (Schumacher) was in front of me, after his puncture, as I did not want to pass him. I want to dedicate this race to my family, to my friends, to all those who helped me in my career and to the Brazilian people who, today, made me feel their warmth through all the fans in the grandstand. Michael now stops driving for the team, but already I know I will miss him. I have always felt his support and his friendship and I know that it will be a big responsibility to replace him. Over the last few laps, I was trying to maintain concentration, but I could not stop myself from watching all the fans celebrating in the grandstands!
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd):
What a wonderful feeling this is. We have done a fantastic last part of the championship, scoring 26 points out of 30 possible, and that was enough to make us double champions. It is such a special moment to win both titles on the same day, and the atmosphere in the team is unbelievable right now. I have to say thank you; thank you to everybody in the team, to all the people at Enstone and Viry, to Michelin, to my team mate Giancarlo (Fisichella) and to Heikki (Kovalainen), who has done so much good work this year. In 2006, they have taught me many lessons: to always stay fair play, to put in the effort, to keep the focus and the determination to win. It has been up and down for us, but they never forgot the target, and we have done it now. My memories from this season will be from the win in Barcelona, and also these times now, celebrating with the mechanics - and the celebrations to come in the next weeks in Spain. This is the right time to enjoy what we have done. I am proud to have been racing with Michael (Schumacher) as well. It is an honour to have won the final two championships of his career, and I think they will mean more than any others I can win in my career. He is retiring as the man with all the records, and it has been big pressure to race against him - and a big privilege as well.
Jenson Button, Honda (3rd):
"I'm thrilled to end the season on the podium, especially coming through from 14th on the grid yet again and after the problem we experienced yesterday. This result came out of a genuine fight, with the car showing great competitiveness. It was one of the most enjoyable races I have experienced. It's only natural to think about where we could have finished if we had been able to start further up the grid, but we shouldn't take anything away from a great result and a very strong second half of the season. My thanks to everyone in the team, and all our partners and fans. This is a fantastic way to go into the winter when I'm sure we will all have the motivation to push harder for a much stronger 2007 season."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (4th):
I am very happy for Felipe (Massa) who drove an amazing race. It is great for him to be the first Brazilian to win at Interlagos since Ayrton Senna. It would have been nice if I could at least have made it to the podium alongside him. I would also like to congratulate Fernando (Alonso). Today, my race was compromised after the puncture I picked up on lap nine, when I had just passed Fisichella. I was unaware of it until the team told me about it on the radio. I had a good climb back up the order, thanks partly to an amazing car and exceptional Bridgestone tyres. Today my racing career comes to an end. Obviously, it is a special moment for me and I am proud to have lived my career with some fantastic people, namely everyone who is part of the Ferrari family. There is so much I could say about them, but it is difficult to find the right words
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (5th):
"This was a very difficult race. My car was not easy to drive today because I didn't have much grip. The straight-line speed could have been better as it was not easy to overtake slower cars. I ran wide once towards the end of the race, which allowed Michael Schumacher to close in, and despite all my efforts I couldn't keep him behind. As this is my last race for McLaren I want to thank everybody in the team who have supported me throughout my five years here."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th):
I am so happy this afternoon. Psychologically, this was a tough race at the end of a very hard season. But we went out there today, and did the job. For me, the key parts of the race were with Michael Schumacher in the first laps and towards the end as well. He was so quick today, that it was nearly impossible to keep him behind. The first time, he overtook me and we were side by side into the first corner - then I saw him have big oversteer in the second corner and got back past. But the key point in the race was towards the end, when he was behind me for five or six laps. I knew I had to keep him there for as long as possible, so he couldnt make up more positions, and I did my best. Eventually, I braked very late on the bumps, locked the front tyres and he got past. But I did enough. For me personally, I am fourth in the championship, which is my best ever result. It has been an incredible season, and we will be celebrating this evening.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (7th):
"It was tough for me today. I couldn't get a rhythm in the car and I was having some difficulties with the handling, but still we got two cars in the points once again. Jenson (Button) had a good race coming from the back to get on the podium, so it's a strong end of the season for us. I have to say that I struggled this year with the car but we have the winter to work hard with the benefit of all the lessons we have learned this season. I would also like to congratulate Felipe (Massa) on his fantastic win today. We all get in life what we deserve, and he has had a great weekend. My thanks to everyone associated with our team for a great first season with Honda. Now I'm looking forward to 2007."
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (8th):
"A very tough race for me. I was on a one-stop strategy and obviously this was a little too hard for the tyres. As a result I couldn't really attack, but at least I scored one point for the team. On the occasion of this last race of the season I want to thank my team for giving me the opportunity to race, it was a pleasure and an honour to compete for McLaren this year. I would also like to congratulate my compatriot Fernando Alonso on winning his second drivers' world championship."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (9th):
The race started okay and I overtook Nick (Heidfeld) on the first lap, but after ten laps we didnt have any more speed. I was driving as hard as I could and pushing but we were just too slow. This was our last race working with Michelin and I would like to thank everyone in the tyre company for their hard work and also to say grazie to Piero, my tyre technician.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (10th):
This is an absolutely fantastic result. Following our performance in Suzuka we couldn't have asked for anything more. This was another great team effort and the mechanics did a fantastic job in the pit stops. I felt comfortable in the car and so I really enjoyed it. At the start of the race I was taking the corners side-by-side with the other cars and we overtook the Red Bull and Spyker cars. After the safety car went in we were really able to push and take it to the two Toro Rossos, so for the whole time I was racing and I really, really enjoyed it. A big thanks to all the team, it has been a long and hard season, and I'm very happy to finish in 10th position for the last race of the year.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (11th):
A decent race, we were a lot more competitive than we thought we were going to be. I was surprised at the pace of the Aguri guys though. I have learnt so much this season with every passing race. Even out there today I was learning something new. I think now it is going to take me a couple of weeks to digest this whole season. I think I will be able to come back stronger next year.
Robert Doornbos, Red Bull (12th):
"Professionally, today was a disaster for me. The car felt very bad to drive and we struggled big time. We finished the race and I had some battles with the Toro Rossos, but there were no real highlights during the race. I'd like to thank the team, they're a great bunch of guys and they've really helped me during the last three races. I wish them a good season in 2007."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (13th):
After the start, the car felt good, but I was held up by the two Toyotas and the BMWs and that cost me some ground compared to Scott (Speed) and Kubica. Then I collided with Heidfeld who missed his braking and came down the inside of me. The contact damaged my left front suspension and affected the camber. Then I got caught up with some backmarkers and got slowed by the traffic. I dont think I could have picked up a point but I could have finished a bit higher up the order. This year, the team has made a big step forward and they are working well together. Well-done guys! We knew it would be a tough season and we missed out on a few points that should have come our way such as in Australia and Canada.
Christijan Albers, Spyker MF1 (14th):
"We already knew at the start of this weekend that our pace was not going to be as competitive as the last two races. It was still good for two Spyker cars to finish the race. I think it was a reasonable result but not good enough performance wise. Let us use this as a good moment to really push for next year and concentrate on the new car in 2007."
Tiago Monteiro, Spyker MF1(15th):
"Here we are, we have finished the last race of the season. We took a gamble with the strategy and it wasn't too far from paying out. We had expected the safety car and had it come at the right moment we would have had a better result. The car behaved very well, even under heavy fuel. It was a really intense race for me as I had a lot of track fighting with a number of cars, which meant I was really pushing from the beginning to the end. I enjoyed the race and I want to thank every body here at the team for these great two seasons including Alex Shnaider, Colin Kolles, Michiel Mol and Victor Muller for having faith in me and I look forward to starting testing and announcing something very soon."
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (16th):
First of all I'd like to thank everybody who has always supported me. I was able to push from the start of the race to the finish. At the end I was pushing as fast as in qualifying and battled with Spyker all the race. I want to thank the whole SAF1 Team for their hard work - the car was fantastic. Finally I was able to enjoy a race from start to finish and it feels great.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (17th):
It was a busy final race and I would have liked a better result for myself. My start was okay, but in the first corner it was extremely tight as Michael (Schumacher) was on the inside and Ralf (Schumacher) on my right side, but this situation worked out fine. Then in the fourth corner it was close between me and Robert (Kubica) and I felt something had happened to my front wing, but my speed was okay although I lost some positions and got stuck behind one stopper Pedro de la Rosa. After my first stop I got back on the track behind Vitantonio Liuzzi and tried to overtake him, but unfortunately we touched. With the damaged car I lost a lot of downforce, but the lap times were still okay. I then made two mistakes. In the first corner I went straight on and then slid off because I got on the marbles when I let Felipe Massa pass. At the end I think something broke on the car, which may have been caused by the earlier collision, and I crashed.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
"I had a gearbox problem. Initially I thought it was the clutch, as it started to slip coming out of Turn three, but I think fourth gear was broken. It's a disappointing weekend but, that said, even when you're starting towards the back of the grid, racing is what it's all about and I was having some fun with the guys I was battling with. We've got to look at the positives of the year - the team achieved its podium. We haven't moved on in the constructors' championship, but a great organisation like Williams has finished behind us, which puts into perspective our season. I'm looking forward to the first test with Bridgestone and working towards next year."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (DNF):
"There was a problem with the central element on the rear suspension. The car was jumping around a lot and I was not fully in control - probably the bumps here at Interlagos made it worse. It is very unfortunate because I was having a strong race. After the safety car period, my tyres were just getting up to temperature and I was attacking Raikkonen. I am very disappointed because my car was extremely quick this weekend and we had a good strategy today. It seems every time I have been doing a good race this year I have had a problem and have had to retire. It has been a very difficult season for me, very unlucky. I lost one podium in Monaco, one probably in Magny-Cours and once again here. But I have to thank all the team because in a hard situation they have pulled together and worked fantastically to face our problems."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
"That was the hardest possible way to finish the season. We made a reasonable start and were initially in good shape. Unfortunately, immediately after the restart following the safety car period, we developed a problem at the rear of the car with the central element on the suspension. That made the car impossible to drive. It was not safe to continue like that so I had to retire. It was the same problem for both cars and the same as the problem Jarno (Trulli) had in qualifying at Indianapolis earlier in the season. It is a particular pity because things were looking good for the team. We both qualified well and we were expecting a strong result today. Unfortunately it was not to be today but I know how hard the team has worked all year so I would like to thank them."
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
Such a waste. It was an interesting first few corners, I was fighting with Jenson (Button) and Pedro (De la Rosa) going into the first one and putting a bit of pressure on Pedro. It was shaping up to be quite fun, but I braked a bit later going into turn four and then I was hit from behind. I lost the diffuser and that was that. It looks like Nico (Rosberg) lost his braking point. He was very deep going into the corner and I didnt think he was going to make it. It wasnt nice to see Nico with a puncture and then colliding with the wall, but hes ok. Its always bad when team mates collide, but he didnt do it on purpose. This is the game were in, there are no rewind buttons, so when it goes wrong, it goes wrong. This isnt the result we were hoping for and its a real shame for the guys.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
I was really hoping I could do something good in the last race. After the start, I was trying to get out of traffic, gain some ground and get back the place I had just lost to Jenson (Button) so I was close behind Mark (Webber) going into the corner. I think he braked hard and maybe an extra metre too early, perhaps because something had happened next to him, and I hit him. It probably seemed a big accident from the outside, but it didnt feel so hard in the cockpit and I am fine. I am sorry for the team, of course, because I wanted to finish this season in a better way. It has been a difficult year, but I have learned a lot. We now have the winter ahead of us and we will all work together very hard to be prepared for next season.