Monaco Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 28 May 2006
A maiden Monaco win for Fernando Alonso and a maiden podium for Red Bull courtesy of David Coulthard. They and their 20 rivals report back on an eventful afternoons racing
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
This is a special place for any driver to win a race, for the history, for what it represents to Formula One and because it is such a big challenge to get through the race with no mistakes. We have been trying since 2003, and Renault had a good car here every year, but now we have done it. To be honest, I was quite surprised by Raikkonen's speed but I knew that I had to control my pace as well to look after the tyres. We seemed to have more problems with the rear wear than our competitors, but I managed the situation to keep the tyres fresh for the end of the stints, and to build a gap when I needed it. Michelin did a fantastic job for this race, and I want to say thank-you to all their employees for their work. Looking at the championship, I am in a great position, and the consistency is the best part of it. We know that podium finishes are the key to winning the title, and so far this year we have had seven from seven races.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (2nd):
"I'm pleased with today's result as its a reward for everybody at McLaren and Mercedes who have been working hard for the past couple of weeks to improve our competitiveness. As is often the case in Monaco I really struggled with traffic and lost too much time to Fernando to be able to mount a challenge when I had a clear track ahead of me. The car was good, and I think we could have won today if things had gone our way. However Monaco is such an unpredictable race where you have to be in the right place at the right time. We now want to work hard to continue our progress. There is still some way to go, but I'm really looking forward to the British Grand Prix."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (3rd):
Its so great, fantastic. Its been a couple of years since I was on the podium, so its especially great to finish on it here in Monaco. Its the first podium for Red Bull Racing too and a great reward for all the teams hard work. Monacos always a tough race. Once you get into it, you think youve done about fifty laps, but then you see that youve only done about twelve. Its such a hard, physical race and takes a lot out of you.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (4th):
"Fourth is a good points finish and my best so far this season but I'm disappointed because I was looking good for 3rd today. It was a tough race and I didn't feel competitive at all. I was carrying a lot of fuel but I did a good job to keep pace because I was really struggling with the balance of the car. It was obviously a huge blow to be called in for the drive-through penalty because I was sure the limiter light was on. I'm really very upset for the team and for myself because it would have been an extra point, but more than that, my first podium of the year. The guys did a great job all weekend, especially for us to qualify well on such a lot of fuel and I thank them for that."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (5th):
"I am happy to have got up to fifth in the end, even though I started from pit lane. But I am still disappointed about what happened yesterday, especially in the light of today's performance. I was amazed at how tough the Stewards' decision was. I can understand that, from the outside, things might seem a bit strange, but if you don't have all the information you cannot give an appropriate judgement. The facts have to be examined in an open manner. I am sorry that Fernando's lap was ruined and it was definitely not my intention to do that. At the time, I did not know where his car was because I had been told nothing over the radio. I have been in Formula One for 16 years and I have got used to living with this sort of situation. We are only in the seventh round of the championship and there is still everything to play for. Everyone could see today that I am not the sort to give up."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th):
I lost my chance of a good finish yesterday after the penalty in qualifying. With the strategy we had for the car, it was almost impossible to do anything from ninth position. So I just had to go out there and push to the maximum. I was behind a lot of traffic for most of the race, but still managed to overtake some people on the track - Rosberg, Villeneuve and Coulthard. I was able to do a good pace at the end, and managed to get sixth position, which is good for the team along with Fernando's victory. Renault is in really good shape at the moment, and we are very optimistic that we can be quick at Silverstone after a very strong test there. We will certainly be trying to get both cars on the podium.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th):
I am extremely happy with today. Before the race not everyone was optimistic, but you should never give up. It could have turned out completely differently, but we were lucky with the circumstances and also made the most of what we had. At the start I gained four positions, but then I slowed as I thought I had damaged the car. It turned out I just used the tyres too hard, especially the rears. I pitted earlier than planned and after the safety car I just looked after the rear tyres. I was not sure about getting points here, but in Monaco the most important thing is not to make mistakes and that way you can get the car to the finish.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (8th):
"To come away with a point is something, but it could have been so much more for Toyota today. We lost too many places at the start and I spent the first half of the race behind Heidfeld. We were quicker but as usual here it was impossible to overtake and our strategy did not allow us to break out of the traffic. That put paid to our chances of getting a better result. Still, the car went well and I kept pushing and we ended the race in the final points-scoring position. It was a hard day's work out there but at least we have shown stronger pace this weekend and we must now look to build on that in the coming races."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (9th):
"A race and in fact a weekend to forget as soon as possible. We could have brought home well deserved points but I only managed to get within one place of them. At the start, I managed to get ahead of the Super Aguris but then I was slowed by the collision between the two Midland cars and that pushed me back. In the first stint, I lost so much time behind cars that were definitely slower. Then, I was always in traffic, only managing to push to the maximum for a handful of laps after the pit stop. The car was very good, as were the Bridgestone tyres. I want to say well done to Michael. He drove a great race, showing that he gets his results on the track and not by other means as was unjustly said yesterday. Now we want to turn the page and concentrate on the coming races, where I am sure we will be strong."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (10th):
I think we picked the wrong moment to refuel. We should have stopped earlier. At least we finished the race, but we were out of luck with the safety car, as it spoilt our strategy. Tenth place is quite a good result, but it is not acceptable when you think you we should have got points.
Jenson Button, Honda (11th):
"After qualifying where we did yesterday, this was always going to be a struggle for me. I lost rear tyre grip and had to stop a lot earlier than I wanted to because of that. At the stop we put scrubbed tyres on and took a lot of front wing off. After that the car was doing okay. All in all, this was definitely a race to forget for me but at least we are taking away a lot of information. Even though Rubens was fourth today we certainly didn't get the best out of the car this weekend and we still have a lot of work to do to catch up with the front runners."
Christijan Albers, Midland (12th):
"I think we had really strong pace today, especially before the pit stop. At one point, we were almost the quickest ones on the track. It was just a shame to get a drive-through penalty. I have no clue why, to be honest, because from my point of view, my front wing was ahead and I had position. But everyone has their own opinion of that, so we'll leave that alone for now. I have to say I'm quite happy with our result today because my car struggled quite badly at the beginning of the weekend and ended up being very good. You can't really complain about a 12th-place finish with a drive-through penalty, so I'm really happy and would like to thank my mechanics and engineers for the good job they were able to do to."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (13th):
The first lap was awesome and I made up a couple of places. After that I just didnt have the pace to do anything more. In the early stages, we had a lot of problems with the rear end of the car. I was doing everything I could in terms of engine braking and brake bias to try and cure it. It got a bit better, but basically we were just slow. Im finding it difficult to walk at the moment as my brake knee was rubbing against the monocoque all race long and I have a big blister on my foot. It was a very physical race, hard on your body because its so bumpy and you move around all the time.
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (14th):
The start itself was not very good as my clutch was slipping, but the first corner went well and I caught Jenson Button. Then I tried to save the brakes a bit. Half way through the race I had to let the leaders by and David Coulthard also overtook me. This made me drive off the racing line, I got dirt on my tyres and they were gone so we decided to make an early pit stop. Unfortunately this didn.t work very well because shortly after that the safety car came out. After all that I got a drive through penalty so it was not a good day for me.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (15th):
"A very frustrating weekend, to be sure. We had the pace to be competitive this weekend, which was great - a big, big improvement over last year. We were among the 10th and 15th fastest cars all weekend but got hit by bad luck during a tricky qualifying session, which wasn't completely unexpected. Unfortunately, we had that unnecessary incident at the start, and I lost a lot of time on the ensuing pit stop. I had to make up about 30 seconds and get past the Super Aguris, so my race was effectively shot right there. I spent a long time behind Montagny, waiting for him to make a mistake, because it's very difficult to pass here. But once I got by him, I had a clear track and was able to push hard and put in some good times. I was very happy with the car all weekend, and I have to thank my team of engineers and mechanics for that. Things didn't turn out as well as we would have liked but on the positive side we were quick, so that's a good sign for the future."
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (16th):
I am happy to have finished a Grand Prix for the first time and the fact that it is has been here in Monaco makes it a special race. I had a good fight with Monteiro for 40 laps, however I am sure that he will not say the same, but this is racing after all. The car was hard to drive but I still enjoyed it. On the positive side we have collected 70 laps of data, so I am happy about that. We can now work towards improving the car with this latest information for the next race.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (DNF):
"Once again it's a tale of woe for me! It's frustrating because I am giving my best, doing everything I can in qualifying and the race and yet things are just not going right for me. Our pace was good today and the tyres were consistent. I could have gone quicker but I spent most of the afternoon in traffic so I never had a clear lap to really push. When I came into the pits with Barrichello I could tell that he had forgotten to hit the pit limiter. At the end I was just bringing the car home and everything was under control until the sudden hydraulic problem. It's obviously a pity to miss out on a podium here for the second year in a row. But at least we showed better pace at times and we must now build on that. I still believe that the team is doing a good job and working really hard but there is still work to do."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (DNF):
I lost drive during the race and that was the end of it. Its such a shame as the car was feeling strong until that point and I was up for a good points finish. Its frustrating that the car wasnt reliable and we need to work harder to ensure we get more race finishes. It was a great result for David though, and it shows the car has potential, which is encouraging.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
The team has done a great job in improving our starts and today I had a very good start and gained two positions. Unfortunately this wasnt enough because I was stuck in 6th position behind Barrichello, who was much slower than me. From then on my race was compromised, I think, because I was on a two-stop strategy and everyone around me was one-stopping. I am very sorry for the team because we had one of the strongest cars out there, and Marks performance proved it. We would have finished on the podium for sure today and its a pity that we came away from here with no points. After the safety car came in, I felt I had a problem with the throttle sticking open and when I tried to slow down, it pushed me into the barriers.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (DNF):
"Things just didn't go my way today. Our strategy would probably have meant that I would have been able to take the lead after the second series of pitstops, but we really lost out when the Safety Car came out. Then there was a small fire caused by a heat shield which damaged a wiring loom and that was the end of the race for me. It's always disappointing to retire both for me and the team, but it's particularly hard when you all know that you are in with a good chance to win. However we have made progress, and the car was really competitive today, and we aim to do well at Silverstone."
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
I am very disappointed of course, it felt like we deserved something today, but reliability has let us down. There is no rewind button and all the hard work we did over the last few days is invisible now. We were quick here, I was going a lot longer than Fernando in the second stint and Juan Pablo wasnt really a threat, so the podium was there. Aside from the start, when I got on the brakes a sniff late into Ste Devote and lost the place to Kimi - who was on new tyres - it was an hour of running at qualifying pace and I just had a bit more to go and it would have been a great result.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (DNF):
I am very disappointed not to have finished the race. Up to my retirement I had enjoyed it immensely and although we did not make a great start, I had moved up a few positions and the car was running well. Our pitstop strategy and traffic control enabled me to make consistent runs and to push all the time. But suddenly we encountered an electrical issue and the speed dramatically dropped, so I came back to the pits and we made a setting change, but after one lap we suffered total failure and I had to retire from the race. It is a shame because the team has done such a great job this weekend and our progress has been very encouraging. I am also personally extremely disappointed not to have finished this Grand Prix, but that is motor racing and I will try again next year.