US Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 02 Jul 2006
An action-packed afternoon at Indianapolis saw just nine drivers make the finish. They and all the retirees explain the races course of events
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st):
I am very happy! It was a great weekend: first with Germany in the semi-final, then Italy, pole position yesterday and now this great victory today! We had prepared very well for these last two races, but for some reason, in Canada we were unable to demonstrate that fact. Here however, we have been strong since the start of free practice on Friday, in part due to the Bridgestone tyres. We have made up six points which are important for the championships and we want to keep moving forward this way, fighting, pushing to the maximum and trying to win every time! Now we go back to Europe where we will try and continue to fight back. I want to thank the whole team who did a marvellous job!
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd):
It was a fantastic race for us, in which we showed that the championship is not yet over. The team has done an incredible job this weekend. Everything worked well, especially the Bridgestone tyres. The start went very, very well for me and I managed to pass Michael. I had a very strong first stint, but he managed to pass me during the first pit stop, when I had a clutch problem which slowed me, but I was still motivated to fight hard for second place to give the team the maximum number of points from this race. First and second is a fantastic day for us and an important day in my career.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (3rd):
I am really pleased with this podium after the most difficult race of the season for us. I got a good start but was quite cautious under braking into turn 1, which let Fernando get past me. However, when the Safety Car went back in, I had a speed advantage over him and when I got a good run down the main straight, he didn't make life difficult for me. After that, the key was to keep my pace, carry on pushing and see if something would happen to the Ferraris. Trulli was quick behind me too, so we had to keep on pushing all the way through the second stint, but everything held together and I was able to turn the revs down in the final part of the race. Third was the best I could have done today, and I am very happy to have done the maximum for the team. To be on the podium at such a hard track for us is a strong result, and I think things will get back to normal again in Magny-Cours.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (4th):
"Even though I was starting from the pit lane, I knew we had a big chance today because the car was quick. So it was a pity about yesterday but nevertheless I knew we could make up ground by pushing hard. I had a bit of luck because I could profit from the pile-up at the first corner and the safety car period. But I'm very happy because I was able to match the times of the other runners in the early stages despite having more fuel on board. The team did a great job analysing the data and in the end to finish 4th is a great result. I'm the kind of person who always wants more so we're disappointed to have narrowly missed out on the podium. But after everything that has gone wrong for me this year, it's great to have a day when everything goes right. Now I'm really confident for the rest of the season."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th):
Fifth was the maximum I could do today. I was not competitive all weekend and the car was lacking grip all the way through the race, as well as completing race two of a very hard cycle for the engine. So I did the maximum possible, and made sure I scored points for the championship. Looking back to last year, I scored zero points in North America; this year, I have scored 14 and my championship position is still very strong. That's a big reason to stay positive. Ferrari and Bridgestone were quicker than us today but in ten races, we have had the better tyres for nine of them, so I am not worried for the next Grands Prix. We must carry on doing our job, and know that sometimes we can win, sometimes not. I am already looking forward to the next race, where I think we will see a more usual balance of competitiveness between Renault and Ferrari.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (6th):
"It was a long and tough race this afternoon but I'm pleased to finish in a good points position. The car was really quite nice to drive and we had chosen an aggressive strategy in qualifying. The conditions out there were also really hard with the 37 degree heat. It was a real shame that only 9 cars finished because I wanted the US fans to have a great race this year. There was a lot of action for them but the first lap incident was unfortunate. We have had a much more positive weekend here and I think if we work hard we can continue improving. We now have a busy test coming up in Jerez next week to evaluate some developments for France, where I hope we will begin a much better second half of the season."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (7th):
Firstly, a special thanks to Montoya for his contribution to my points finish! I was up along side Christian at the start going into Turn one and could see Tonio coming up on the outside. I didnt like the look of it, so I backed off, kept in the middle of the road and let them all go past. I understand that Montoya then created a shunt, so we picked up a lot of places there. Theres an incident in Turn one almost every year, so I was mindful of being in a position off the grid and keeping it. From there, it was just a battle with Liuzzi and Rosberg. The teams strategist guy Will (Courtenay) did a great job today and again my engineer Mark (Hutcheson) gave me some good advice on the radio, so we were able to get out in front of Nico. Im happy for the whole team. To get these points, especially at this time of year, will help us against Williams.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (8th):
Thats great - weve come close before but now weve got the teams first point. We can go forward from now on, looking for more points. At first I was worried for Scott, because I thought he might have been hurt, until the team told me he was fine. Then I was racing with Coulthard, but he was a bit quicker than me in the second stint. We are on fire now! Hopefully we can continue to improve for the rest of this season.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (9th):
Its a disappointing result because I had such a good start and was up to eighth place after the first lap accidents, but the car was a real handful, making it difficult to keep it on the track and not make any mistakes. Apart from affecting our pace, it made the race really physically demanding as it was already very hot out there - I gave everything I had, so its a real shame not to earn any points. Looking to the next race at Magny Cours, I am confident because I know the track well, so I hope we have a better weekend there.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
"Today we were looking good for a strong points finish until our problem late on. I had a very long brake pedal so I had to come in. Then the team found that we had a wheel bearing failure on our front left. It was a very difficult race today because it was so hot out there. I also had a hard job keeping the car balanced because there was a slight difference in grip levels between my sets of tyres so that made it more difficult to drive. The failure was unfortunate because I was in a comfortable 5th place and those points would have been great news for the team. Nevertheless our performance this weekend shows that the development of our car is very advanced. But we need to keep pushing for reliability as we search for more points in the coming races."
Christijan Albers, Midland (DNF):
"It's a shame that we weren't able to finish the race, because we had a chance to get into the points if we were able to run a good race. I collided at the start and lost my front wing, which is why I had to come in early. I also sustained some damage to my bargeboard and sidepod wing, so I lost a lot of performance, and then later on my transmission gave up. There's nothing else to say, it's just really a shame."
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (DNF):
The car was feeling good and we had quite a lot of grip. We were running strong and were quite a bit faster than the three cars ahead of us, so I was just waiting for the pit stops to see what happened. The engine just gave up, sad because it was the first race on this engine so something must have gone wrong. It was very disappointing as we could have been in the points today.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (DNF):
"It was a very short day, but that's racing sometimes. It's definitely frustrating, especially after such a competitive weekend and a great result for us here last here. We really wanted a good result here today and I think it was achievable, given our pace. The start of the race was very messy, with lots of cars getting tangled up, and I thought I was very lucky to get through that. I saw a gap, I dove for it, and fortunately, no one touched me, so I found myself running in P9 during the safety car period. It was still early in the race and, obviously, I knew there were some quick cars behind me, but we were still in a good position. We adapted our strategy to match the safety car situation and it was looking very good for us. So I was really confident and excited about finishing well at that point, actually. Unfortunately, at the re-start, Sato (Super Aguri) made an unrealistic move on me heading into the corner, locking his wheels and ramming into me. It's a shame for everyone. We were looking for points today and in these circumstances, it was possible to get them. So I'm really sad for the guys on the team - they didn't deserve that - but we can't allow it to affect us. We have to keep pushing hard and do our best in Magny-Cours."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (DNF):
This is a disappointing end to a positive weekend. At the start of the race everyone packed into turn one and I managed to avoid the accident. I was prepared for the re-start and after the safety car went in I caught up to DC and Monteiro and at the end of the straight I was half a car length up beside Monteiro as I raced with him into turn one. He obviously saw me and he just kept pushing across me. By this time we had already started braking, so I couldn't go anywhere and he just kept coming and I ran out of space. I had to go over the kerb to avoid him, which is very high on this circuit, and this unfortunately launched the car up and off the track.
Jenson Button, Honda (DNF):
"It's really disappointing because we were fuelled to go long and I think the strategy would have worked well for us. We had a great opportunity today. I was approaching turn two and we were already three abreast when Montoya decided to get past all three of us at the same time. He had a lot of room to go up the inside so I don't really know why he hit my back wheel, but that pushed me into Heidfeld who hit my right rear which launched his car into the air. I saw him roll and it was all just a big mess really. We came in and the guys worked on the car but it became clear that it would not have been able to finish the race. The impact was so hard I'm surprised I was able to drive away from it, never mind get back to the pits, so it just goes to show what a strong car we have. Very frustrating but I guess we have to put it behind us and look ahead to the test next week, which should bring us some positive steps for
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (DNF):
"I made a really good start and was quick off the line. However things got messy at the second corner and Juan Pablo hit me from behind and that was the end of the race. There is no point in blaming anyone as these sort of things happen in racing and especially when you are not at the front. As a team we will now get over the disappointment of today's result and focus on the next race."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (DNF):
I escaped unhurt from the accident. I don't know exactly what happened. It looks as if there was another accident before this. I had a very good start, and had already made up three positions so was almost next to Jacques. Then all of a sudden I was airborne. It is such a shame as we have been really strong here.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (DNF):
"When you start so far back you have to race hard to make up places. Unfortunately it was pretty tight at the start and as everybody braked for the second corner I was being squeezed by one of the Hondas and regrettably I hit Kimi. I'm obviously really upset for the team who have worked so hard the whole weekend as having both cars out on the opening lap is disastrous."
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
My start was reasonable and I got a slipstream behind Speed but there was someone really slow in the middle of the track and I was just minding my own business on the brakes turning in and the next minute I got harpooned by somebody on the right rear. I got launched into the air and I thought I was going to roll. Thankfully I didnt, but the damage to the car stopped me from continuing.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
I had a great start again, getting by Webber and Ralf at Turn 1 and then it all fell apart at Turn 2. It wouldnt have mattered if Id tried to go inside or outside as the whole track was blocked with cars flipping all over the track. Thats motor racing and as long as its not my fault, theres nothing I can do about bad luck. Im just sorry for all the home fans who turned up to see me race. Well done to Tonio for getting the teams first point.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (DNF):
My start off the grid was actually okay. I passed both Midland cars and heading into the first corner, I was right on the inside. But then it got very tight. Theres basically just one clean driving line and off it, its really dirty. It got too tight for all the cars and I dont actually know what happened. I was next to a Williams and then a lot of cars crashed together and there was no way to get through it with no trouble. Its a shame to finish the race this early, because I think we had a chance to get some points today.
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (DNF):
It was quite a bad weekend. In Canada and here in Indy we only did two laps in both races. There was nothing I could do today. I am very careful normally at the start of the race because I know we can't really fight with the others, so I don't take the risk and I prefer to finish the race. I went on the inside, braked normally and easily. I think Coulthard pushed against Klein and he spun in front of me and you can't stop a car when it's going 200 clicks and the car in front is only 5 metres away.