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Canadian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 25 Jun 2006

Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault celebrates.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, 25 June 2006 3rd place Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, 25 June 2006

An eventful afternoon in Montreal saw Fernando Alonso take a well-earned victory from championship rivals Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. All the drivers explain the race as they saw it…

Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st):
“This is a fantastic win. They are all nice but after the last two years when something always happened to us in Montreal, this was a race we all felt we should have won – and now we have. It was difficult because the circuit was really slippery off line, so if you made any mistakes you lost one or two seconds straight away. Kimi put a lot of pressure on me in the opening stint, some laps I was faster, some laps he was, and he nearly got past me when I ran wide in turn 10. Then after the first stop, the team told me that he was going longer than me on the middle stint, so I really had to push to open up a gap. I had three or four scares because I was pushing to the limit but in the end, I came out with quite a good lead after the second stop and it would have been quite comfortable. Then the Safety Car closed everything up, but I had some cars between me and Kimi, which made it quite easy to control the final laps. These last races haven’t been easy for us, but we are developing the car and the results keep on coming. We had a new package for Canada that worked really well, and we have more coming. That is the best defence we can do, to keep attacking and winning races.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (2nd):
“Today was about damage limitation. Second place is the best we could do in a race that was already complicated by my grid position and was made even harder by what was definitely a far from perfect start, which forced me to be stuck behind Trulli for many laps. The safety car and Kimi’s mistake towards the end helped me to make up a place. It was a very hard race, especially as it was very difficult to drive: you only had to stray off the ideal line by a tiny amount and you ran the risk of ending up off the track, as the track was so dirty and the track surface was breaking up. Towards half distance, I lightly touched the wall at the exit to the final corner, but luckily the car was not at all damaged. We must not give up and I know we won’t, starting already next weekend in Indianapolis, where tyre performance will be crucial.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd):
"That was not an easy race. I was really pushing Fernando for the lead in the opening part and was able to have a go at the hairpin when he went wide, but it was not to be. We had some problems with the clutch in both pit stops which hampered our chance of victory. Traffic didn't make things easier and at the end I was in second. However then the Safety Car came back out and I was pushing to see if there was a chance of catching Fernando, but went wide at the hairpin which allowed Michael past. That was a shame but we always want to do everything we can to win. We can leave Montreal knowing that we are competitive and I look forward to Indianapolis."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th):
“It was a difficult afternoon, a tough race for all of the drivers. I jumped the start and even though I tried to slow down and Kimi got past me, I had to do a drive-through penalty. That was really when I lost the chance of a podium finish. After that, I pushed to the maximum in the opening stint and the second one too, but the circuit was destroyed in turn 10, and there was a lot of traffic, so it was easy to make mistakes out there. Even so, I finished ahead of Massa and helped us score more points than Ferrari, so it is good for the championship. Now, we need to do even better in Indy.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (5th):
“I am happy with the outcome of today’s race, both with my result and with Michael’s. These are important points in both championships. We had chosen a different strategy to the others, based on just one stop to refuel and change tyres. Even with a heavy fuel load, the car and tyres performed well and I was able to run a competitive pace. Only after the safety car did I feel a slight lack of grip, but in this particular situation, we were in much better shape than yesterday.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th):
"I'm just delighted I have finally scored my first points of the season at last! It was a great race in difficult conditions and a great effort from the whole team and everyone at the factory. We have been really pushing hard to improve the car and we've definitely made a big step forward with our performance, particularly since we brought the TF106B out. Unfortunately the results just would not come because of one problem or another so this is a great result for everyone. Even today I had a misfire and we ran the engine in recovery mode for the second half of the race. Nevertheless I pushed really hard to the end because I just didn't want to lose those points. Both the car and the Bridgestone tyres were really competitive. We made it to the finish and I can finally celebrate getting off the mark for 2006."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th):
“The start was very good again. Unfortunately in the first corner I got stuck in traffic and had to get off the throttle, but in the second corner I was able to overtake two cars. I was then stuck in traffic behind Felipe Massa and Jacques and there was a lot of rubber and dirt off the racing line, which caused problems for a lot of drivers. The second pit stop worked very well and the out lap was good, so I gained a position. At the end of the race I was faster than Jarno Trulli, but after the Safety Car period I had a problem getting the tyres up to temperature again. I think after a disappointing qualifying our race performance was good.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (8th):
“That was the most difficult Canadian Grand Prix I’ve ever done in terms of track surface and balance. I didn’t expect to get a point from the back of the grid to be honest. The balance of the car was difficult throughout, but the team did a really good job with the strategy and my engineer Mark (Hutcheson) kept me well informed with what was going on, so thanks to him. The hairpin was really difficult due to all the debris around there. The amount of rubber that comes off the tyres now is incredible, so if you go one inch off the driving line, the debris can suck you in and Jenson just got sucked in, so I was able to overtake. I’m delighted to get a point for Red Bull Racing, now let’s see what Indy brings.”

Jenson Button, Honda (9th):
"It's been a very frustrating day for me. I had no grip with either the front or rear tyres, as well as understeer and a lack of traction. The difficulty with this circuit is that there is just so much rubber going down which leaves marbles on every corner. If you make a slight mistake or lock-up, you go off-line and then you lose a few seconds trying to get the tyres back up to temperature. The car was difficult to drive all day and it's disappointing to finish outside of the points, which was our aim. We have to get through Indianapolis now and do the best we can with the car we have, then we'll be testing a new package ready for France next month."

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (10th):
“Another top ten for the resume! No, seriously, it was a very intense race. It was very treacherous out there, with all the loose rubber and asphalt on the track. Towards the end of the race, the hairpin was almost undriveable, really really bad. On my in-lap for the first pit stop, I had a problem with my left rear tyre that cost me some time on the way in. We did not have a fast car today, or at least not as fast as we expected after Saturday morning, but we muscled our way up the order. But in the end a tenth place is good for us. I think our performance today means I can be a little bit more optimistic about my home race next weekend.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (11th):
“I think I broke the car’s first gear in the hairpin towards the end of the race, which is why I went off line. There were a lot of stones and basically just one narrow driving line and the car just under-steered off. I went into the gravel and lost two or three positions. Apart from that, the race was okay. I lost a couple of positions at the start when Massa pushed me to the outside of the track and I went through the grass but, apart from that, the car was quite competitive and I was pretty happy with the race. It was just a shame not to get the result at the end.”

Mark Webber, Williams (12th):
“For this event we picked the wrong tyres and we didn’t have any grip at all due to the high levels of degradation the tyres suffered. I got a little bit of grip back towards the end of the stints but when all four tyres were completely grained, it was unfortunately impossible to drive the car. On the positive side, we got to the end of the race which is good from a reliability perspective and the team did a good job in the pit stops, but we were too far off the pace today.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (13th):
“It was a shame the way things went. I think I was in about P10 after a few laps and everything seemed to be going fine and we were competitive. Then I came up behind Webber, who was very slow and struggling. As I tried to overtake him, he closed the door on me and as I came out of his slipstream on the straight, he moved off his line twice. His rear tyres touched my front wing and I had to come in to the pits. It was a sh*t result as it had looked better at the start.”

Tiago Monteiro, Midland (14th):
"First of all, I have to apologise to my team for my mistake at the start of the race. I was on the inside portion of the track, on the dirty part, and I locked my rear wheels. I lost control of my car and hit my teammate, so I'm very annoyed with myself and sorry about that. After that, we changed what we could on the car - obviously, it wasn't in the best condition - and we brought the car home in 14th. We took a big risk on the strategy - Christijan and I were on different strategies - and although mine didn't pay off, we needed to try it. Our soft tyres weren't ideal for the track conditions, and it was really tough race. There were lots of marbles in the corners and the car was very difficult to drive. But we managed another finish, which is really the only positive thing we can take away today. I hope that next week, in Indy, we can have a fraction of the success that we enjoyed last year."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (15th):
“I am very disappointed not to have finished the race today, particularly as the start went really well for me and under braking into turn one I overtook both the Midland cars. Unfortunately, after the first safety car came out, David (Coulthard) squeezed past me, damaging my front wing at the second chicane and I had to come into the pits. I then pushed really hard for the entire race, very keen to finish in front of Monteiro, and after the last safety car went in I had to keep pushing the car to keep position. But by this time the circuit was so difficult to drive - the track was covered in marbles and dust - and as I had to continue to push so hard to stay in front of the Midland I went slightly offline and had no grip at all, so unfortunately could not finish the race.”

Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (DNF):
“Ralf Schumacher was running very slowly for quite a few laps and I think he had a problem with his car. When he decided to let me by it was through a corner. He lifted and just to avoid him I had to go wide where there was old rubber from the tyres - it was like being on an ice rink. We were competitive all day, we fought hard but had a problem in the pit stop, which meant Nick jumped us. This was very a shame as we had been ahead of him the whole race, and then lapping Ralf was very frustrating. This is always a tough race and sometimes it doesn’t work out.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
"This was just never going to be my weekend. Today there was no specific problem but I just couldn't find any grip out there. It was my mistake because I went for the wrong tyres. It was a gamble but it didn't pay off. It was a tough race for everyone because there were so many marbles out on the circuit every time I went on them with my hard tyres I'd lose control of the car. In the end the inevitable happened and we just had to retire the car. I'm disappointed because it could have been a very good race for me. But at least Jarno scored a few points and his pace showed that our car is going much better. We just need to avoid mistakes. We will soon be in Indianapolis so I hope we can do a better job there and bring a good result home."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (DNF):
"That was a bit of a mess. I was battling with Nico Rosberg in the opening laps and was next to him, but then we touched. I thought I had damaged the nose and as the Safety Car came out I went into the pits. The team did a precautionary tyre change and changed my race strategy to give me the best chance of a strong finishing position. I had a good battle with DC and then with Ralf and was making progress. The car was great, but I was sliding quite a bit as I had lost a deflector and consequently was a bit light on downforce. I was trying to make up positions, but then I touched the wall and damaged the rear and that was the end of the race for me. It was a shame as I think we would have been competitive, but the incident with Rosberg really ruined things for me. There is no point in saying who is to blame. I now look forward to Indianapolis where hopefully our competitiveness will continue to improve."

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (DNF):
"A disappointing way to end my race. The engine felt quite tight from the beginning of the race then after my 11th lap, you could see I was losing a lot of places as everyone was able to overtake me on the straights as I just started to lose power. The team are making a real effort to find more reliability and horsepower with the engine so we'll just have to analyse this problem, see what the cause was and hopefully resolve it before the next race in Indianapolis."

Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (DNF):
“We did not have a great start to the weekend, but everybody has worked very hard and I was confident for the first time for the race today. It is a shame that a problem appeared today and I could not finish the race, but that is motor racing. We must not forget that we are a very young team and we have a lot of things to learn, both on the driving and technical sides, so every race is good experience for us.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
“I claimed one place off the start and I thought that the car felt really good and we could possibly be in with a chance of some points today. I was aware Montoya was close behind me, but I knew I could defend my position as the car was really good on the brakes. I choose an outside line and left enough room for him to come inside me into the chicane, as I knew if he did pass me, I would get ahead again coming out of the corner. However, he came in really tight and we were never going to make it round the corner together. I felt him hit me from the rear once, then again, and that was it, my race was over.”

Christijan Albers, Midland (DNF):
"It was a shame to be out so early, because I think our race pace could have been really strong - better than our qualifying, that's for sure. I had a reasonable start and was able to pick up a few positions, overtaking Montagny and Monteiro after the first few corners. I was fighting with Sato for position and then, when I arrived at Corner 10, I don't know what happened. I just felt something hit me from behind, I spun, and then I saw it was Tiago. Our wheels were interlocked, and it was game over for me, because the right side of my car was destroyed. I think it's quite obvious what happened, so let's leave it at that and move on."