Bahrain Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 15 Apr 2007
Ferraris Felipe Massa on his race win; David Coulthard on his third consecutive retirement; and Nick Heidfeld on BMW Saubers improving form. All 22 drivers report back on Sundays race in Sakhir
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st):
"A great result and it's nice that we now have a long break during which I can enjoy thinking about it! After the first two races did not go so well for me, we put everything together today. The team did a great job today in terms of the strategy and the car set-up and everything else. But I will dedicate this win to my girlfriend Raffaela who has had to be very patient with me this weekend! But we still need to work hard to maintain the slight advantage that we have. During the first stint my car was not so well balanced, I had a bit too much understeer and then the second was fantastic for me with the tyres working very well. On the final stint, after my second pit stop, I had the harder tyres and having looked at the gap, I concentrated on looking after the car and did not need to increase the gap. I lost a bit of time to backmarkers too. The championship is very close now so these are ten very important points!"
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd):
Im very pleased with todays result. To have finished on the podium three times out of three is fantastic. We have definitely closed the gap to Ferrari and I know everybody will continue to push hard to improve even more in time for the Spanish Grand Prix. I was able to keep up with Felipe (Massa) in the first stint but I really struggled with the balance of the car in the second. I had a lot of under steer and wasnt able to brake as late as I would have liked. However after the second pitstop when I changed to hard tyres I was able to push again. I really enjoyed the race today and with a few more laps I might have been able to challenge Felipe for the lead.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd):
"I am happy with these six points, but I can't be completely satisfied with this result. At the start, I think I made a small mistake but I was still in a position where I could try and overtake Lewis, but in the end I lost a place to Alonso and spent all of the first stint right behind him, with no chance of getting by. We managed it at the pit stop, but to be on the safe side we decided to shorten slightly the second stint. I managed to close on Lewis but then, with the different strategy it wasn't possible to get by him. In the final stint, I chose to manage the situation given that I could not get past Lewis. When you come up behind a car it gets hard to drive and today's strong wind certainly didn't make things any easier. We now have to work on improving our performance. In the next test in Barcelona, we have some new parts coming and I hope they will mean we can make a good step forward."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (4th):
I feel fantastic. Currently I have a good car, a good team, I can drive good races and I really enjoy this. Before the race I didn't think I could overtake Fernando (Alonso), but in the second stint I was a bit quicker than him because I had one more set of fresh tyres than him. On the other hand, Fernando had the better top speed. I had to wait until he made a mistake, which he did in corner 13. For the team it is extremely important that both cars finished the race and scored points. I think here we were even stronger than in Malaysia, which is surprising as our car has not changed in the past week. Obviously the track suited us and I had a very good set-up.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (5th):
In a way I feel happy as we came away with four points and still leading the championship which is what is important. This was not a great race for me but these things happen. I was struggling for pace and overall grip which means that you cant drive the car as well as you would like. You always start the race believing you can win but after six or seven laps I knew that it would be tough. I couldnt keep up with the Ferraris and Lewis (Hamilton) and in the end had to settle for fifth. I was close to Heidfeld in the end but there was nothing I could do. We now look forward to the next couple of weeks where we will all work hard to further improve the car in time for my home Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (6th):
All in all this has been a very positive weekend for me and the team. This is my first time in the points this season, so I am happy to finish, happy to score these points and I know we will get there. Unfortunately the flap over the fuel filler wouldn't close and you lose quite a lot of downforce with this. I was losing time in the high speed corners and under braking. It opened at the beginning of the race and there was no way we could fix it. The good thing is the pace is there, the reliability is almost there and so now we will look forward to see what we can do in Barcelona.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (7th):
That was a very tough race for me and I did a great job so I am happy both for myself and for the team. Its my job to resist pressure and this result was due to driving experience and getting the best out of the car. The pit stops and the strategy were perfect and the cars balance was good. But the problem was that it was very hard to battle in traffic because everyone else was quicker than me on the straights. I had to defend and attack at the same time and it is hard to attack if you are slower than the cars you are fighting with when it comes to top speed. So it was a great race and it feels like a victory. I would like to dedicate the two points to my son Enzo, who is celebrating his second birthday today.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (8th):
This was another tough race for us. I made a good start and the pace was really good in the first stint - I was clearly lighter than Kubica in front, but he was holding me up which meant I couldn't build a gap to the cars behind me. Then I struggled in the second stint, as the rear tyres went away very quickly and I lost a number of positions - I was on the limit, but couldn't do any more to defend my place. Then the performance came back again in the last stint on the hard tyres, and I pushed Jarno as hard as I could - but just ran out of laps to get past him. It's disappointing not to achieve our maximum today, but ultimately, that maximum was seventh position. It is one point lost, but we all know that we want to be fighting for much more than that, and hopefully we can make some progress between now and Barcelona in four weeks.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (9th):
I made a good start off the line, and overtook both Williams and Trulli's Toyota. Last week, I was side by side with him and he got the advantage - and I was determined that it wouldn't happen again. After that, the rear tyres dropped off quickly on the heavy fuel load and I was struggling everywhere - Trulli got past me, then I tried to defend aggressively against Rosberg, but he overtook as well after the final corner. The car improved a lot in the second stint, and I could see I was catching Fisi (Fisichella) and Jarno (Trulli), and thought that maybe we could do something. But then in the final stint, the rear end was tricky again, and I couldn't maintain the pace of the guys in front. It was a tough afternoon, like we expected, and it was a shame not to score points. We know, though, that the hard work needs to be done back at the factory - and I am confident that they will be pushing to their maximum to improve our competitiveness for the next race.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (10th):
Not a good race today, it was a bit difficult for me. Ive been struggling with the brakes this weekend. On such a hard braking circuit, it was difficult to overtake because I didnt have a feel for them. Also, every time Id try to overtake, Id go off-line and get dirt on the tyres. It really surprised me how long it took for them to get back in shape; it was taking one, even one and a half, laps. It was a struggle to be fighting all the time and many people around me were making mistakes again and again. Not easy. We now have more than three weeks before the next race and we must work hard to get back on top of the midfield as we were in Malaysia, because we are very close to the top and just need to find those important few tenths to stay ahead and consistently score points.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (11th):
It was difficult today. I was struggling with the grip and oversteer and could not attack the cars in front, even when they were slower than me. My car had the speed and our strategy was also okay, but the problem was I could not try to overtake since I was sliding around all the time coming out of the corners because of the poor traction. Its a pity as today I was hoping to get into the points. Unfortunately, neither of us did.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (12th):
Its been a difficult weekend for me since the beginning and it was another hard day out there starting from so far back. Jarnos (Trulli) points show that it was not a bad race but I made my life hard and struggled to adapt the car to suit me since Friday. Today we didnt get away well off the line and that meant I was always going to be in traffic. If you have a less than perfect set-up then it is difficult to make up ground. So it was not a good day but we cant change that. Now we need to work hard and analyse everything. We have a new aerodynamic package coming to Barcelona so we hope that brings us further forward.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (13th):
Well I finished the race at least but that's very little consolation. The track conditions were so blustery and the car driveability was terrible, so it was a really tough race, especially knowing that we couldn't be competitive. Now we have to put a disappointing few races behind us and look to what we can do to improve the car. There is a great deal of hard work ahead of us but we will get there, I'm sure.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (14th):
Even when I was running alone it was still quite tough as we had no radio and I had too much oversteer in the first stint. We made a change to the front wing in the first pit stop, which did make it a little better especially at the end when the track became quicker. Although I was not totally happy with the set-up I think we should be happy to finish the race, particularly as I had some hydraulic problems at the end. I'm pleased for the guys too that we got two cars to the finish.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (15th):
I had a difficult start - after the last race, turn four is maybe my special turn! Suddenly the cars in front stopped and I couldn't avoid them and lost the front wing. I lost three laps with the repairs and the car wasn't the easiest to drive; when it had a lot of fuel in, the balance was completely different. I did do some consistent lap times during the race though and didn't make any mistakes and in the end I am happy as this was the goal. I feel confident now going into the European season.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (16th):
This was my best Formula One race to date; it was really good fun. I was in the middle of the action all the time and people were driving very cleanly, but hard. The pitstops were good and everything went to plan. The strategy was working quite well and then right towards the end of the race I obviously saw some smoke coming out of the back of the engine; felt it slow down and the team told me to stop. It was good day nonetheless; the car felt good, it had a nice balance on both sets of tyres.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (DNF):
The car had an open fuel flap in the second stint, which was the same problem we had in Australia. Its bloody frustrating. After the pit stop, I got myself back in position again, but then something failed and I had to retire. The pace was good, but the result is the same even so.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
We lost the right rear driveshaft and I had to stop. We were on an aggressive race strategy, which had been working well. Typically from the back you would go one stop and long but, as we saw in Malaysia, the one stop option didn't provide a chance to overtake - so we went for the shorter strategy. The race car felt good, the strategy was good, and I think it would have paid off. We're going through some growing pains at the moment, but we will get through it and we'll be stronger on the other side, everyone's working very hard back in the factory.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (DNF):
Today was not a good day for us. I made a very positive race start and moved up some places, but I was struggling for grip once again. The car was very unstable throughout the race, so I was really struggling and I felt power loss from the engine half way through. Obviously in the end we had some kind of engine failure and it was a shame that we couldnt finish the race. However, the team did a great job over these first three flyaway races and I think we have to go back a long time to when we last did not finish a race!
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
We had all sorts of problems today. It was a hydraulics problem that put me out, but before that we had a radio problem, so when I overtook Ralf I was unaware it was a Safety Car period as I had no communication with the team. That meant I got a drive-through penalty. A shame, as I started out on hard tyres for a very short stint, gambling on the Safety Car coming out. As I think I was the only one starting on hards, it could have paid off for us very well.
Jenson Button, Honda (DNF):
I got a good start and made up at least three places then at turn 2 Taku (Sato) ran wide, tried to squeeze me and I had nowhere to go so I had to go on the dirt on the inside. Then in turn 3 I had Coulthard and someone else fighting around me. DC went wide then cut back sharp and again I had nowhere to go. We touched and that spun me round, then the anti-stall didn't cut in, I stalled and that was the end of my race after just three corners. The track conditions out there were very slippery and windy so it will have been a tough race for everyone. Sadly, I wasn't part of it.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
That was a short race! I got hit from behind at Turn 12 and I don't know who by. In any case the engine cut out while the car was still spinning so I couldn't do anything about it. Jenson (Button) thought he hit me, but actually I don't think we touched. Something like this is a shame, because we are still at a stage where we need to do as many miles as possible to develop the car, so stopping on lap one isn't really doing us any favours.