German Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 30 Jul 2006
Aside from Ferrari's dream finish, the German Grand Prix saw eight retirements and points finishes for Red Bull, Toyota and Honda. As the paddock packs up to head directly to Hungary, the men behind the wheel describe the race
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st):
Superb! I cant begin to find the right adjectives to describe the car-engine-Bridgestone tyre package and the performance of the whole team. We worked hard at last weeks Paul Ricard test and I am very happy that today that work bore fruit. I want to congratulate Felipe, who drove a great race. It was very important to have made up several points over our main rivals at the key moment of the season. I had no problems whatsoever all weekend and I have to say that winning here in front of my fans makes it a really special victory. Already, during this mornings Driver Parade I got a great feeling seeing all the support I had in the crowd and I am happy to have been able to pay them back with this win. The fight for both titles is now very open. There are still six races to go and there is still room to push and put those in front of us under more pressure. I am confident and keen to get back on with the next few races.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd):
We did an even better job than expected. I saw yesterday morning that we had a really good pace for the race; especially my speed on old tyres was very surprising. I was therefore convinced we would have an even stronger car for the race. That is how it turned out. After a good start and good first pit stop I saw that I had a big gap to the following cars and from then on I concentrated on looking after the car and bringing it home. I drove an intelligent race in what was an important one for the team at this stage of the season, given our targets in both championships. Now it will be important for us to continue moving forward with this same momentum and concentration to the end of the championship. I hope that, in the short term, we can repeat this performance in seven days in Budapest.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd):
"To be on the podium is really the best result that we could have achieved today as we have had several problems. During the race I was delayed in my first pit-stop due to a crossed wheel nut; I suffered from blistering on my second set of tyres, and there was a small issue with the hydraulics, which meant that Jenson Button was able to get ahead after my first stop. However none of these really mattered as we were able to make up all the time in the last part of the race where we were very strong. The result today shows that the car has definitely improved, and hopefully next race we can do even better."
Jenson Button, Honda (4th):
I had a great race today and the first two stints were very enjoyable. To get past both Renaults at the start and then past Kimi during the race felt very good and I had a lot of fun out there. The last stint was really tough because I had massive amounts of tyre graining on the front left and a lot of rear locking, so I just couldnt fight off Raikkonen. Im really happy though. Weve made a definite step forward here and weve been strong all weekend but we have to continue that into Hungary now which will be hard work. It looks like were getting back on track though.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th):
We were not competitive this weekend, but I did the maximum I could and so did the team. I think that without the blistering we experienced, the podium was a possibility for me today - even from seventh position. I got a good start and passed both Hondas, but the tyres then blistered in the opening stint and I lost too much time to be able to fight for third place. Things were much better in the second and third parts of the race, and I was still pushing hard in the final laps when I went off because there was a chance of catching Button. When you look at the level of performance over the weekend, and consider the blistering, then the result is not too bad. But we did not have enough to fight Ferrari here, and that was the problem for us. Now, we need to think positive and look to Hungary. The tyres we use there are totally different to what you need for Hockenheim, and I have confidence in Michelin to give us the right products. We need to improve our performance for next week, and fight back strongly.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th):
Both of the Renaults had the same problem today with tyre blistering, and for me it came in the second stint. After just a few laps, the car had become nearly undriveable. We need to investigate everything to find out why, but we also saw some other Michelin cars that were quicker than us today, and we were missing something in terms of performance all the way through the weekend. On the positive side, we stayed reliable, got both cars to the finish and managed to score points on a very tough weekend for us. Now we need to look ahead to Budapest. Everything starts again for us on Friday, and we will be going there hoping to fight for the podium.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (7th):
"As always, the German Grand Prix brings unexpected results and this weekend has not gone how we had hoped for. It is quite unfortunate that we did not qualify better yesterday. But even though I started from the back of the grid, we can be very happy with the performance of the car and the fantastic results. I had an incredible start and could do a lot of overtaking which made the race quite exciting for me. Our race pace was very quick and we can be encouraged by the results we ended up with today. I owe a great thanks to the team, because the car was very competitive and I think we have huge potential to bounce back at the coming races."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (8th):
Im really happy. Its the second point Ive got this season, the first being in Bahrain, so Ive had to wait a long time. Ive had a lot of bad luck and bad races, but finally weve scored a point again. The start of the race was really good. I gained a position at the first corner and another two at the hairpin, where David and Ralf (Schumacher) were fighting and hit in to each other. The pace of the car was good. We struggled a little to keep the pace of Barrichello and Webber in the first stint, due to some understeer and graining on the front tyres, but the pit stops worked well and I had more wing for the second two stints. We pushed 100 per cent today and got the results.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (9th):
"It is a very disappointing weekend for us because we could have achieved much better results. The start of the race was quite difficult and then I had the unlucky collision with David Coulthard in the third corner. The tyres locked up and I could not steer away from him. These things are normal racing incidents that can happen. The results are unfortunate for the team who have been working so hard to bring us forward. But I truly believe that had we been able to follow our original strategy, we could have reached a podium position. As you can see from Jarno's performance, we have shown that this is definitely possible. I am looking forward to Hungary to make things better."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (10th) :
That was a cool race! On the first lap I was on fire! For the team, to finish ten and twelve from the back of the grid is a good result. It was fun out there, fighting with Jarno, Ralf and David. It was difficult to keep them behind because they were quicker. A shame that in the end I was not quick enough to keep the two Toyotas behind me. It would have been a great opportunity for points, but we just did not have the power.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th):
I started 10th and finished 11th. That was my race and Ive nothing more to say.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (12th):
The mechanics did an awesome job to get my car rebuilt after my qualifying crash. A big thanks to all the team. We drastically screwed up the car set-up for the start, having way too much front wing and just keeping the car on track was a challenge. We fixed that in the stop and then in the middle stint it was still a bit too much and by the end it was getting better. At the very beginning, I was catching David, Trulli and Tonio, but it soon went into big oversteer and that was it. I also had a problem with my brake balance in the early stages which also hurt my first and second stints, but once we fixed that I was able to get past Albers again.
Christijan Albers, Midland (13th):
"I think we had a reasonably good race result. We were competitive against Toro Rosso, and it was nice to fight with Speed. Sometimes he would close the door on me and I had to lift to avoid an accident, but when I passed him I was quite happy because it's nice to see that we've gained some ground against them - it's nice to be in competition. It's just a shame that about nine or ten laps from the end I began to lose power. So we have to analyse this problem and make sure it doesn't happen again, because it cost us a position."
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (14th):
"This has been another tough weekend for me. Christijan and I were on different tyres, which we knew could be a risk, and it ended up being the wrong choice, unfortunately. That was the main issue for me in the race. I'd get two or three good laps out of each new set, and then the performance would just fall away. The balance was quite decent, actually; it was just a general lack of grip. But that's the way it goes some weekends - you gamble and take your chances. But the boys did a good job to give me a well-balanced car that brought me to the finish, so they deserve credit for that. This was definitely not a great track for us, because it requires hard braking and acceleration, which is a weak point for us at this time. Tracks like Hungary should be a lot better for our car, so I'm looking forward to that."
Mark Webber, Williams (DNF):
It was a promising race but a disappointing ending. I had a really good start and climbed from 11th to sixth after lap one and the stint went well. I had a big fight with Rubens who got me in the end, but I knew he was lighter and had to stop before me. After the first pitstop I passed Fisichella on the track and was on the limit until the second stop. After that, things started to go wrong - I lost a bit of balance on the car and then suddenly started to lose engine power quickly. It seems we had a water leak, which of course is terminal for an engine and it was all over eight laps from the end.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (DNF):
The debut of the SA06 in Germany has been positive and the car performed very well in Qualifying yesterday. We were expecting a little bit more in terms of race pace today, so we are a little bit disappointed, but it is a big step up from the SA05 so this will come in time. It was exciting to be able to race with the Midlands and in the second stint I was still ahead of one of them. In the end I had a gearbox related oil issue so I had to retire from the race, but because this is a new car it is not really surprising that we encountered some kind of problem. Although it was obviously a disappointing race today, overall it was a good weekend for us, not easy, but definitely a good weekend.
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (DNF):
The impact was quite hard. After we changed the nose at the end of the first lap the car was very oversteery and every time I tried to push I was sideways. I just pushed a little too hard and I got caught out there. Just before the accident I was very sideways entering the corner, but when I caught it it just went straight.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (DNF):
We made some good progress here this weekend, so its very disappointing for me that we let that go with a bad start and an engine failure. In the first few laps the car was running well and with the strategy and long run pace we had I think we should have done well today. Not long after my first pit stop the engine caught fire and there was oil on the tyres which caused me to spin and that was the end of my race. I just have to hope that we can carry this progress through to Hungary now because everyone has been working so hard to take this step forward.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (DNF):
My start was only average, but in the second corner I managed to overtake several cars on the outside, and among them was Jacques. Although I braked very late, I got through the corner all right. Then I suddenly felt a hit on the right rear. I had to pit with a right rear puncture and changed all the tyres. But the brakes were also damaged. The pedal became longer and longer, so it was too dangerous to continue. Later I found out Jacques and myself had touched, which was unfortunate.
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (DNF):
"It is a real shame that my race ended so quickly, especially after I had such a good start and had moved up two places. The car felt really quick and was easy to drive. I was catching the Renault's when all of a sudden I lost power and had to pull up, as a result of a failed fuel pump. Although I am disappointed these things happen, and I am now just looking forward to the race next weekend in Hungary where hopefully we can better demonstrate the improved competitiveness of the car."
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (DNF):
I am disappointed not to have raced here today as I only completed one lap. On the positive side, we have collected more data than we had for the SA06 today, so we shall study this before we arrive in Hungary. The SA06 is easier to drive than the SA05, so I hope that I can continue to adapt well and learn more about the car for the race in Hungary next week.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
It was very disappointing not to fully participate in the race because it looked like a lot of fun to be racing here today in front of a home crowd. The car has been good for most of the weekend and I wanted to move up the field as quickly as possible. I lost the rear in the Motodrome but didnt really feel it coming - I probably overdid it because I wanted to get too much out of the first lap. Mark had a great race today and deserved to get some strong points for his performance, but if nothing else, at least we are turning the corner with our pace. I will put today behind me quickly as we will be racing in Hungary next weekend.