Turkish Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 27 Aug 2006
The Turkish race was action-packed from start to finish, not least for those caught up in the carnage of the first lap. As Ferraris Felipe Massa celebrates his maiden victory, he and the other drivers report back on how they found Sundays thriller in Istanbul
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st):
Today is an incredible day that I will never forget. To take my first race win, especially withFerrari is a historic moment and I am thinking of all the people who have helped me get here my family, mygirlfriend and my friends and all those who gave me the strength to achieve this. The team was sensationaland they gave me a perfect car to win. I am very emotional and very happy. The race? I had a very good startand the car felt very well balanced. As we left the grid, I could see Michael and Fernando fighting but I wasable to pull away from them immediately. After the Safety Car and the pit stop the car was still working welland that is how it stayed in all the stints of the race. It has always been my dream to drive for Ferrari and totake my first ever Formula 1 with them, makes this day even more special. It is an amazing dream come truefor me. The championships are still open with four races to go and both titles are still within our reach.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd):
We were a long way from Ferrari on Friday and during qualifying, but we were confident that it would improve - and we showed that we were right to be confident. It was a normal race, pushing to the limit, until the third stint when it was all about track position, not just speed. I knew that Michael only had two chances to overtake, in turn 12 and turn 14. That meant I could use the engine to get a bigger gap at those places by turning it up to maximum revs on the straights before, and it was enough to keep second place. I think this afternoon also showed that we needed something more to fight with Ferrari for the win, but I am very optimistic for these last races. Monza will probably be the hardest one to win, looking at the characteristics of the Ferrari car. But everybody at Renault, and our partners at Michelin and Elf, is very focused on those four races and I am confident we can find what we need to win again. Today was a good step forward for my chances in the championship, and we are expecting more good days between now and the end of the season.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd):
First of all, I want to congratulate Felipe, who once again today did a fantastic job,clearly deserving to win. Obviously, this weekend things did not go my way, either yesterday in qualifying ortoday in the race. For some reason, in the second stint, the car was not going as well as it had done inFridays free practice. It was rather nervous and the fact that ithad a pretty heavy fuel load certainly didnthelp and neither did my mistake at Turn 8 on lap 28. On top of that, the set of tyres in this stint did not perform as well as the others and they also blistered. In the end I tried to stick with my rival in case he made amistake. Today, I have lost two points in the Drivers championship but I still believe I can win the title.
Jenson Button, Honda (4th):
Its been a great race for the team today and its good to get both cars in the points. We just didnt have the pace of the Ferraris or Alonso in the Renault but we know where were weaker and where were losing out to them, so when we get on top of that were going to be very competitive. The last stint was very strong for us. We had a lot less tyre graining and I was getting quicker and quicker. Not quite as good as my result in the last race but a good weekend nonetheless.
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (5th):
"A good result coming from 11th position. There was mayhem at the first corner following Fisichella's spin and I just made it through despite lots of debris on the track. It was a tough race with the one-stop strategy as I had to look after my rear tyres and this made it challenging to be consistently quick. However my race pace was good and I could even overtake a couple of cars. With a higher grid position a better outcome of the race would have been possible."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th):
In the end, it was a good race for me and I showed today that I was quick, and the car was too. I got a good start and was close to the guys in front. Michael was weaving quite a lot on the track, and the other drivers were having to avoid him. I braked quite late, but there was the risk of a collision with Fernando, so I braked even harder which locked the rears and put me in a spin. After the pit stop to replace the nose, it was a case of pushing hard and making up as many positions as I could. The safety car helped but I overtook a lot of people out there this afternoon. We did some very long stints on the tyres with a one-stop strategy, and they held up really well. Our performance was closer to Ferrari today than in qualifying, and I think we can be reasonably confident for the next races. Of course, the next Grand Prix is in Monza - my home race, in the middle of a big battle with Ferrari. We are still leading the championships, and we need to build the gap in the coming weeks.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (7th):
"It was always going to be hard work starting so far back on the grid today so it was a big achievement to score two points. Of course there was also the danger of being caught up in an incident at the first corner here and so it proved. It was chaotic and unfortunately I lost my front wing. I lost time when I pitted to replace it, but at least we were able to fill up with fuel so we would need only one more stop. Early on in the first stint I struggled with understeer on the heavy load but that improved after the safety car and I was able to make up some ground. The balance was good after my second stop and I was able to push hard. Again we have shown a lot of potential this weekend. Now it's just down to us to get it right and avoid any more small problems. That way we can challenge for the podium again soon."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (8th):
"I'm really happy that we finished with two cars in the points today. We had a competitive car today so it was a shame that someone pushed me wide on the first corner which lost me a lot of time. Without that incident I could have been up there fighting closer to the front. We had the pace and we certainly had the will today, so I think that the team certainly deserved the result as well. It was really good to hear the Brazilian national anthem at the end of the race for my good friend Felipe Massa and I congratulate him on his first win."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th):
"That was a difficult afternoon for me, beginning with the confusion at the start. The first corner here is hard, braking downhill and it will always make for treacherous starts to the races. Today was one of those days and when I was hit from behind I could not avoid hitting a car in front of me. I lost positions and it was a hard battle from there. I enjoyed the first part of the race and made up ground but the main problem for me was the safety car, which came at just the wrong time for me. The car in front of me also slowed down excessively before the field had closed up and it all meant that I lost a lot of the gap that I had gained. But the main problem for me was that my tyre choice was a bit too conservative for the race. Yesterday I was confident because I knew from practice that they would be consistent. But they behaved just as they had in qualifying and it was not enough to challenge any higher."
Mark Webber, Williams (10th):
It was going fine until the safety car period given our plans to go long. I just managed to clear the safety car before it came out on the track, and then I pitted. The stint following the first stop was very hard to keep going because I was carrying quite a bit of fuel and had very poor rear grip. The last stint was much better, but then it was too late. All in all it was disappointing not to make it into the points today, but circumstances werent easy for us.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (11th):
"That was one of the toughest races this season. It was so hot and Turn eight is such a long corner, it's very tough on the neck, but I kept pushing until the end. The car was good in the first stint and had good balance, but I suffered with understeer in the second part. In the last section, the car was a little better again, but we were not really racing here today. It's frustrating to start tenth and finish eleventh."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (12th):
My start was quite okay, but at the first corner Giancarlo Fisichella spun so I had to go wide with Rubens Barrichello and lost a lot of positions. I was then able to overtake some drivers but the Safety Car came out and we changed tyres. The second stint, like the first, was not that bad, although there was too much graining on the tyres. On the first lap of the last stint the tyres were already graining and the pace was massively too slow. It was our choice but this time it didnt work. It was not all bad, as when the tyres were working I had some good fights and that was okay for my second race in Formula One.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (13th):
I dont know what happened on the first lap accident, maybe I got hit from behind, but the road was blocked with no way of getting through. I lost the wing and came back to the pits, but we got a lucky break as the Safety Car came out which allowed me to close up again to the back of the field. Obviously, a good finish was no longer possible after that extra pit stop but at least I gained some useful racing experience, having a couple of good battles out there.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (14th):
I had a super start, especially in direct comparison to Giancarlo Fisichella, as everyone knows this is something the Renaults are very good at. I also went into the first corner well on the inside, but then Fisichella spun and hit the front of my car. On the way back to the pits the wing got stuck under my car, which meant I had no grip and also the floor was damaged. On top of this the rear tyre damaged the rear wing, the balance of the car was ruined and I lost the grip.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (15th):
"Not the result we wanted today. The balance of the car was okay and improved after we adjusted the front wing and tyre pressures during the first pit stop. We were competitive in sections of the race compared to the cars around us and towards the end of the race I was catching Webber. I thought I could overtake him, but I had to retire with a gearbox problem."
Christijan Albers, Midland (DNF):
"This could have been a very good race for us. We put in a strong qualifying performance yesterday, and our race pace allowed us to fight for positions. I can definitely tell now where we're gaining time on the others and where we're losing time, so we have to work on that. But overall, I think it's been very positive, because we're catching up to the cars ahead. It's just a shame that we made a mistake during the second pit stop. At the end, though, I made a driver error: just going a bit too wide and touching the grass, which caused me to slam pretty hard into the guardrail. My shoulder is a little sore, but otherwise I'm OK."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (NC):
It has been another challenging weekend for the team. Obviously we knew that if we took the decision to bring the new suspension here we would have completed very little running before Qualifying and the race. But I think that, considering our chassis related problems yesterday, we have managed well this weekend. At the start of the race I overtook at least two or three cars going through to turn one. Unfortunately somebody ran into the back of my car, so I took quite a lot of damage to the chassis and the rear tyre and came back to the pit. Quite a few laps down we got back out on to the track after the mechanics did a fantastic job in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately the car wasn't fully repaired, so I struggled a lot for the rest of the race, but at least we have collected some very important data for the new suspension. We will bring this car to Monza for the test next week and hopefully we are able to have a good race at the next Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
On the one hand it was a good day for me today because I had a good start and was also able to claim several places on the first lap due to the accidents. But the main positive aspect today was that the car felt good and I had confidence in it in contrast to yesterday. We made a few electronic changes before going to the grid and they really helped. Racing was great fun again and I was pushing without being worried about making mistakes - it was good to see our car showing a strong pace. The other side to the day was much more disappointing. Half way through the race my engineer told me we had lost water pressure. It was a disappointment not to make it to the end.
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (DNF):
I'm disappointed that I couldn't finish the race, because I really wanted to finish here in Turkey. After a successful start, when I avoided the incident at turn one, I made up several places and continued to push and have a good fight with the Midlands and Toro Rossos. But unfortunately later on I spun and the engine stopped which ended my race. We will test in Monza next week and continue to improve the SA06. As I have not been able to finish a race yet, I am already looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
I had a good start, but then I did not really have the pace to stay with the front runners. But pretty soon, I had some problems with the car and began to gradually go slower and slower. Then on lap 12 at Turn 1, I think the rear axle locked as I turned into the apex and I could not avoid the spin. That was the end for me as the engine stalled at the same time. We will have to study the data to see exactly what happened, but now I am looking forward to racing in front of my home crowd in Monza.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (DNF):
"It got very messy at the start. I tried to avoid a spinning Fisichella, but then Speed hit my left rear tyre causing a puncture. I drove for almost a whole lap with a damaged tyre in order to get back to the pits to see what could be done. The team changed my tyre, but I think the car must have incurred quite a lot of damage at this point. When I re-joined the race, I came into Turn 4, had no rear end grip, got sideways, ran out of road, hit the tyrewall and that was it. My back is a bit sore but nothing to worry about. I'm obviously disappointed that my race was over so quickly, but there was nothing we could do."
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (DNF):
"This is one of the most frustrating situations for everyone: the mechanics, engineers and myself. It's probably the worst thing that can happen, because we worked so hard all weekend, only to be knocked out before the first corner. What's even worse is that I think we were on the right strategy for the race, being on the harder tyre, which would have worked well here, given the extremely hot temperatures. It could have been a really good one. Unfortunately, I got caught up in a racing incident. Everybody was trying to avoid a car that has spun, and I think one of the cars behind turned into me as it was trying to avoid another car. It happened so quickly; I had no time to react. He hit my wheel and my radiator and that was it. But anyway, I'm looking forward to testing at Monza this week. Our performance is improving and we have a lot of items to test, so we need to put this behind us and keep pushing ahead, because there are still four races left."