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Malaysian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 19 Mar 2006

Race winner Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault celebrates with the Renault Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, 19 March 2006 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, 18 March 2006 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, 19 March 2006 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, 17 March 2006

Giancarlo Fisichella converts his third Formula One pole into his third Formula One victory as Renault dominate at Sepang. Felipe Massa and Ralf Schumacher come from the back row to score points, while Kimi Raikkonen goes out on lap one after a tangle with Christian Klien. All the drivers explain their afternoons’ work…

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (1st):
“It was a perfect race for me, but it was very tough physically and mentally. It was really, really hot out there and I began to feel it from mid-race onwards. I knew it would be hard but there was no choice but to push all the way to the end. So I did. I didn't want to lose concentration in the last laps, and everything went well, the car and engine were perfect too. I am really so happy for this win. And I am especially pleased because I am dedicating the win to a friend who died last week, Pietro. To have my race engineer Alan Permane on the podium alongside me was special too. Thank you to the whole team, this is a brilliant result.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd):
“From my point of view, I think things could have been different without the problems in qualifying, but today was about making everything we could from P7 on the grid, and I think we did that. I got a great start, and managed to brake late into turn 1 to get the Williams round the outside. I knew Webber was lighter than me, and would have let him go if he had tried to pass, but we had the speed in spite of the heavy fuel load. After that, it was just a question of pushing and letting the strategy work itself out. I have a special feeling for this circuit, it is a fantastic track, and it has always been good to me. I am very pleased to have 18 points out of a possible 20 after only two races, and we are really looking forward to Melbourne.”

Jenson Button, Honda (3rd):
"I'm obviously pleased to see us back on the podium but it was the top step that we had in mind, so we are a little disappointed. We want to be winning races and today showed that we are in the fight, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can achieve that target. Having said that, I was held up by traffic a few times, not least of all by Scott Speed before the second pitstop. Had that not happened, maybe I could have come out of the pits ahead of Alonso. Regardless of that though, we have two weeks and a test in Vallelunga to work through our issues and hopefully we can look forward to better things in Melbourne in two weeks' time."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (4th):
“The car was good today and I think we had a solid race. We lost a lot of time in the first stint as my front tyres were graining, but as soon as we changed the tyres the car came back to life and if you look at my pace against Jenson Button later on it was pretty much the same. With the hot temperatures here we did have to look after the engine, which means that we had to sacrifice downforce, so finishing fourth is encouraging. We have scored some more points for the team and I think we look strong going into the next race.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (5th):
“I’m very pleased with this result and I would like to thank the team for an excellent job. To start from the last row and end up 5th is a good result. Our strategy worked well and I was able to make a good start. During the race I was able to push a bit more at the right moment knowing that during the other phases I would have needed to play more of a waiting game. I lost quite a bit of time behind some of the slower cars but when I had a free track I was able to improve my rhythm keep a good pace. It was a difficult race but finishing fifth gives me that extra bit of motivation for the next races where I hope to be able and compete with the front runners.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th):
“We can accept this result, considering everything that has happened over the weekend. I don’t think that we could have achieved much more. On my second stint I wasn’t as quick as I was on my first and third one, so now we need to understand the reasons why. All things said and done, the race went basically as I had expected even if one always hopes for something more. During my first pit stop I had to wait a fraction of a second before going out because another car was coming down the pit lane. This was a wise decision from the safety point of view. During the closing stages of the race I was not able to get past Felipe because I just wasn’t fast enough and he didn’t make any mistakes. This track has always been one of the most difficult for us. Melbourne is a completely different circuit and I hope that it will be better suited to our 248 F1. Now I’m going to take a few days off with my wife Corinna before travelling on to Australia.”

Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (7th):
“I got held up early on behind Trulli, which was a pity because it cost me time, but once I had overtaken him it was just a question of running to the end. Physically it was an easier race than I had expected and I knew I should be in good shape mechanically because it was the first race for my engine. It was bad luck for Nick, but we’ve scored the points we should have taken in Bahrain so I am happy. The race pace was strong, so we need now to work on our qualifying.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (8th):
"That was a very interesting race and it is obviously good news to have scored our first point of the year so we are very happy with today's result. We certainly could not have expected that with a three-stop race from the back of the grid. We are also happy that our times showed that we are again competitive. But it was a difficult race today and of course that does not mean that we have solved all our problems. We have the cooler weather of Melbourne next so we will be testing in Paul Ricard next week to be as prepared as possible for that. We hope to be able to keep up this level of pace at the coming races. We have to keep fighting and try to push for the podium again as soon as possible."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th):
"I'm delighted that we scored a point with Ralf today. We should probably have finished with both cars in the points but it was really bad luck for me today. My afternoon got off to an unfortunate start when I suffered a broken diffuser when someone hit me from behind, just like in Hungary last year. That destroyed the rear of the car and that cost me today because I could have scored points. From then on I was suffering a mixture of oversteer and understeer and it was a big struggle so I just concentrated on driving as quickly as possible. We tried to adjust the car at the pit stops but obviously with the diffuser broken we could do very little. It's good that our pace has shown an improvement since Bahrain and we've gained some important data. We know we will succeed if we keep our heads down and work hard."

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (10th):
"It's certainly been an eventful weekend and it was disappointing to end it with a stop-go penalty when I was in with a chance of at least coming away with a few points. These past two races have been a bit of a learning curve but I'm sure things will pick up for the next few races and we can start to realise more of the car's potential."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (11th):
“It was a real pity that I had a tangle with another car on the first lap and had to lose time pitting for a new nose. Apart from that, the car was difficult to drive all through the race, as I was not happy with my brakes or the balance of the car, which meant I kept locking the inside front wheel, which was too light. I could not keep up a good pace and I also seemed to luck out with a load of blue flags. It’s been a race to forget so I’m already thinking about Melbourne.”

Christijan Albers, Midland (12th):
"We had bad luck with the start, because both Tiago and I ended up being held up for a few laps. Afterward, we got caught up in traffic, so that limited what we were able to do for the rest of the race. That part was unfortunate, but it was nice to finally run a full race without problems. My crew did a great job, and I think we can have an even better result in Australia in two weeks."

Tiago Monteiro, Midland (13th):
"It was kind of a tough race for me. I got stuck behind a couple of slower cars at the beginning, so I think my engineers made a good decision to bring me in early. I really felt I had the pace to get by them, but it was difficult because I was losing ground on the straight sections. I was also disappointed not to be able to put in any quick laps on my fresh tyres because of all the traffic, but that's the way it goes, I guess. We pitted early a second time, which was another good decision, and was able to put in some good laps during that stint. But my race position was pretty much set by that point. I can't say I'm very excited to finish 13th, but in any case, I'd like to congratulate the team on a job well done: the pit stops were quick and clean, and we had good reliability."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (14th):
“Great team work has meant that we have been able to improve on our pitstops since Bahrain and as a result I lost no time and was able to get back into the race and actually challenge a few cars. Of course we struggle on the high downforce corners with our pace, but I had another exciting race and at least we managed to finish the race once again. We still have a lot of hard work to do if we are to catch up to our nearest rivals, but we showed good teamwork today and I am very happy and proud of the team.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (DNF):
“I hoped we would be faster than we were in qualifying but I didn’t expect us to be so good. I could keep pace with the McLaren and was quicker than either of the Ferraris. I made a superb start and gained places straight away. After that I had a trouble-free race apart from delays with blue flags which made lapping backmarkers difficult. After my second pit stop it was pretty close between Felipe and I in Turn 1, but I was able to stay ahead of him. The engine failure came without warning. Fifth place would have been brilliant for us, it’s a real shame.”

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
“I did not get off the line too well, because of the way we had the system set up. It’s too bad that I did not finish the race because this was the track where we expected to struggle the most. We were overgripped aerodynamically, but me and my engineer got the set-up about right in the end. After a poor qualifying, we ended up doing a good job, showing decent pace and having a good track position. It’s a shame, but I think we can come back stronger in Melbourne, as this place was never going to suit us.”

Yuji Ide, Super Aguri (DNF):
“The balance of the car was not good from the start and I had the same mechanical problem as I had in Bahrain. The problem got worse as I continued the race and gradually the car's pace got slower and I could not accelerate on the straight, then I stopped. I really wanted to finish the race, so my goal is to finish the race in Australia and then move on from there.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (DNF):
“The start was okay, I was in a good place, then in Turn four there were three cars (me and the two McLarens) going into it. I was right on the inside, already over the kerbs. I couldn’t go further to the right and mine and Kimi’s cars touched. I broke my front suspension and that was basically it. I went to the pits and we tried to fix it just to get some more mileage on the car. We went out once more, but then we had a hydraulics failure and that was the end of the race. It’s very disappointing, if you look at the race pace I think we could have been right up there.”

Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
“My start wasn’t too bad, but Fernando’s was phenomenal. He closed up really quickly from behind me and passed me. This was a shame because it prevented us from running at our own pace. The hydraulic problem came on as I was on the start-finish line. My engineers confirmed it was terminal, so we had to stop. I am off to Australia tonight and I am really looking forward to seeing my family that I haven’t seen for a long time, so naturally I’m looking forward to my home race in a fortnight.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
“I lost hydraulic pressure in the car, which meant I had no power assistance going into the chicane. With that alone your afternoon’s going to be difficult, but as the gearbox is controlled by the hydraulics as well, I became stuck in sixth gear. Once you lose the ability to change gear you’ve no chance, so unfortunately we had to retire the car. The start of the race was good, I got up behind Michael, I had a long strategy, felt reasonably comfortable, was quick in areas where you could overtake and slow in the bits where you were following people, and I think we could have had easy points today. We’re still learning a lot about this car. We lost a lot of winter testing because of the cooling issues, but basically I think the car has good pace, I’m just trying to find a set up that’s suitable for me. I feel a lot more confident in the car this weekend so the future is encouraging – the car is definitely capable of scoring points in Grands Prix.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
“What happened today was a shame because I was going quite well, even if I had lost a couple of places at the start due to wheelspin and also at the first corner where I could have been maybe a bit more aggressive, but after my experience in Bahrain, I just wanted to be careful. Nevertheless, I still thought I could have a good race. But just a few seconds before my engine gave up, I felt there was something wrong with it. It’s really unfortunate because I would have loved to finish the race, but that’s the way it is and I can’t change that. I’ll now have a couple of days of holiday and look forward to the race in Australia.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (DNF):
“I am very disappointed because I had a great car set-up and very good race strategy. I think it was fairly obvious that Christian Klien made a pretty fundamental mistake and ran into the back of me at turn five, breaking my rear suspension in the process. A positive side, the team has had good race reliability in the first two races and I am already looking forward to Melbourne in two weeks."