Spanish Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 13 May 2007
McLarens Lewis Hamilton on leading the world championship; Nico Rosberg on his career-best finish for Williams; and BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld on that dramatic pit-stop incident. All 22 drivers report back on Sundays incident-packed race in Barcelona
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st):
"Fantastic!! I cannot find the words to describe the emotions I feel after such a closely fought race. The duel at the start was very tight: I took some risks but I absolutely did not want to lose position and that meant we touched when he came up the inside of me. Luckily, the car was undamaged, and so I was immediately able to pull away from my pursuers. I wanted to get a good lead straight away so that I could manage the situation in the second stint of the race and that's how it went. The F2007 is a great car, but we need to improve further in order to get both cars across the finish line, as our closest rivals have done. Reliability is the key. Now we come to the Monaco race: it can be something of a lottery there and you need a bit of luck on your side. Once again, I would like to thank Michael for the help he has given me over all these years. His lessons have been useful to me!"
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd):
Things just keep getting better and I continue living my dream. In the early stages I was struggling to get heat into the tyres and had a bit of oversteer, but things improved considerably a few laps into the race - however the gap to Felipe was already too big. In the second stint I was a bit unlucky with the traffic, but that happens sometimes. Overall Im happy with the outcome of the race, and I want to keep on scoring points. The team has worked really hard since Bahrain and whilst we didnt win I still think we can take some satisfaction as we are leading both championships.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (3rd):
My chance for victory disappeared after the incident at the first corner. I got off the line OK at the start and was able to get a tow from Felipe and challenge into the first corner as I was already half a car length in front however we touched, and I had to go on the gravel to avoid an accident. We were both lucky to finish the race. As a result by the second corner I was fourth. I also sustained a bit of damage to my car which upset the balance for the rest of the race. I lost additional time in the second stint as the tyres were not working as well, but I still think the result would have stayed the same even if we had used the softer tyres.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (4th):
I am very satisfied because this is my first race this season without any problems, and you can see the result. Today everything came together for me. I could fight for top places, and that is what I did today. I had quite a good, consistent race, although I had some problems with tyre degradation in the second stint when I was behind Alonso and Coulthard was closing the gap, but everything was under control. In the end, after the second pit stop, I tried to push and make the gap to Coulthard bigger. Now we have to continue working in this direction.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (5th):
Towards the end of the race, I lost third gear and thought I was going to have to retire the car. I managed to drive using only fourth gear and above, which lost me time in the last sector, but I was still able to be quick in the first. We've made more progress than any other team since the beginning of the year and when you're aggressively attacking lap times, sometimes you have to put other areas of the car to one side. That's the growing pains we're going through at Red Bull Racing at present, but I think everyone agrees we'd rather have pace and show we're genuinely quick - and then work on reliability, than have a reliable car that only finishes tenth.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th):
It was a good race and theres no doubt we got the balance right, especially in the middle stint, when I was really able to push on fresh tyres. Thanks to the team for the strategy and the perfectly timed pitstops. My only problem was that my drinks bottle didnt work and I couldnt take in any fluids during the race at all so it was really tough, not just because I was thirsty, but in terms of concentration, especially towards the end. This is the best result Ive had in F1 so far, and thats a great feeling. Trying to catch up with Coulthard at the end of the race was exciting, but I really needed a couple more laps to get him. Three points are great and I am happy that everything came together for us today.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (7th):
This is my best finish so far in F1, which is something positive for me on a personal level, but within the team, we know that I was quick enough to finish in fifth position today. I am still pleased though, firstly because I got everything out of the car today throughout the whole race, and secondly because the car handling felt much better all the way through the race. We had problems at the first and second stops, and it meant we had to convert our strategy to three stops, and run really aggressive short stints on the soft tyres. During that part of the race, the car was working really well, and that continued during the final stint on the hard tyres. So while we are frustrated about the problems, I am happy to get more points, and we have shown that we are moving in the right direction. The car is getting faster, and although there is still a long way to go, we are confident that we will get back to our true position.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (8th):
"Just an amazing weekend, a truly great performance from the team. I don't have the words really - just one year plus four races, scoring one point in a head-to-head straight fight - beating Renault and grabbing the point. I just never expected this result, I'm really deeply proud of the work the team has done back in Leafield and all the team at Honda Tochigi, our sponsors, fans, families, all the people who support us. I just cannot describe how happy we are and a point means much more than anything else for us and this is an absolutely fantastic result.
It was a tough race and especially through the first two stints. I was struggling a little with the pace, but I just kept on going and never gave up until the last stint when the car came back on a good balance and I was able to drive really hard.
I was fighting with Giancarlo (Fisichella) but I could not see him ahead of me and my race engineer kept saying we're fighting with Renault and I just put my foot down. When I saw Giancarlo coming down the pitlane and I was a fraction ahead of him, it was just fantastic. Well done everybody."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (9th):
It was a really tough afternoon for me, with my strategy compromised by traffic, and then the pit-stop problem at the end. I got a good start, but got squeezed out during the run down to the first corner. Then I ran wide when I had snap oversteer in turn 3 and lost three positions, which left me behind Barrichello. I was much faster than him in terms of lap-time, but didn't have the speed to overtake on the straight. I only got into clean air after the second stop, and the car felt really good - I was pushing to the limit to try and build a gap to Sato before the final short stop, but I lost out by a few metres. It is frustrating to finish so close to the points after a day like this, but we can find some positives from the fact that we know our car was quick enough to finish fifth today. That is an encouraging step after the first three races, and I believe we can continue making progress.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (10th):
A better race today in terms of our overall performance and the handling of the car but we just don't have the pace to improve our final position significantly. I had left Jenson (Button) enough room at turn one, it's a shame but just one of those racing incidents. We have the four-day test at Paul Ricard this week and I hope we can see another small step forward by Monaco.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (11th):
"It is a great result for the team today. It is really good to score our first point; it's what we were all working for from the word go this year and we knew it was going to be really tough, but we got there. So onwards and upwards and next time hopefully it will be me!"
Jenson Button, Honda (12th):
We had a good strategy and have been working towards the race all weekend, so I think we were on target for a better day today. Unfortunately, as I exited the pit lane after my first stop, I hit the kerb on the apex and that threw me offline. I lost my front wing as I touched the right rear of Rubens' (Barrichello) car and I had to come back in for a nose change and that was that really in terms of fighting for a point. In the last stint though I thought our pace was very similar to that of Kovalainen and Rosberg which is what helped me to climb back up to 12th. Overall I think we have had a slightly better weekend but there is a lot of work ahead of us. So we have to keep pushing in the test next week and in Monaco and hopefully that will pay dividends for a better step forward in Montreal.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (13th):
It was a good race for me. It was important that we finished. I did very consistent lap times compared to the other teams in front of us, which shows we can now follow cars in front and put them under some pressure - this can only be good for future races. The first pit stop was okay, but in the second the engine stalled. I only lost three or four seconds but it was enough to lose the place, but I'm pleased with the performance and looking forward to Monaco, where I've also raced before.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (14th):
Once more we've got to be pleased we got two cars to the finish, but we've got to now focus on really getting up there with the other teams. The beginning of the race was good, I could keep up with others, but it was disappointing to get the blue flag penalty and then have the stall in the second pit stop. I think we're moving forward though and with the test next week in Paul Ricard, we can hope for a better result out in Monaco.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (DNF):
In the end it was most likely a gearbox problem that stopped me, but unfortunately my race was over much earlier after the problem during my first pit stop. For some reason the front right wheel was loose, we have to look at it how this happened. For the first 24 laps until this stop it looked superb for me. I drove a long first stint and my second stint would also have been a long one. On top of this Alonso was not very quick on the harder tyres in his second stint. I believe I had the chance to finish on the podium today.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
That was another difficult weekend for me. The start itself was okay and I made up a couple of places. It was a bit messy but from where I was on the grid that is to be expected. There was a bit of chaos at turn 10 when I was hit from behind but thats the way it goes sometimes. I had to pit to check for damage but we were able to continue. From there the race was quite good and at least we were able to keep up a strong pace. Unfortunately the nose then worked loose and I had to retire. Our car has improved but we were far away from where we should have been today so we will have to keep working hard.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
I retired with a hydraulic problem. We have been suffering with mechanical difficulties since Friday. I had another problem at the start and lost three places. Of course it's a shame as many other cars seemed to have problems and we could have made up even more places and I was already up to twelfth when I had to retire.
Our race pace is definitely better than in qualifying and so that is something we must now try and improve on before Monaco, as well as working a lot on our reliability.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
The start and the opening couple of laps were fun, going from last on the grid to fourteenth. Then a couple of laps before I retired I noticed the tyre was going down so I was evidently losing some air pressure. Eventually the tyre just exploded as I was going down the straightaway. The car dragged on the track and there was no way to continue.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (DNF):
"Honestly, there's little to say, except that I'm very disappointed. I lost a place to
Hamilton at the start, but made the most of the fight between Felipe and Fernando to get back to third place. I was running at a good pace and could have had a good result, but suddenly the car had an electrical problem and all I could was come back to the garage. I have lost precious points but there are still thirteen races to recover."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (DNF):
This was one of those days. Unfortunately at the end of the parade lap while I was heading to the grid to take the start, the engine cut out due to a problem with the fuel pressure. That meant we had to take the restart from the pit lane. We managed to get the engine going again using higher revs and then we were able to put in a few laps that looked pretty good. But in the end the problem was too severe to continue further and we had to retire. This is the kind of thing that can happen in motor racing but it was a pity because we qualified well and we were in a good position to fight today. We have made a step forward this weekend but this is the first time we have missed the points this year. Now we have to keep pushing hard to improve both our performance and our reliability.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (DNF):
Unfortunately reliability problems cost me a race finish today. At the moment, I think it's a recurrence of yesterday's hydraulic problem. We had planned to go for a long first stint because of my low grid position, but it doesn't matter what strategy you have if you don't get to the finish. There's not much more to say except for the obvious fact that it's disappointing. But, at least David's great result and finish in the points proves that the car has the pace to do well. It's a great boost for the whole team.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (DNF):
A short race, and really just not the best weekend for me. I had a good start and overtook a few guys, but then I was lined up behind Ralf (Schumacher) going into turn 10 and he suddenly had to lift for someone in front. Its such close racing out there so I had zero chance to react and ended up on his wheel. It proved the end of my race. Im disappointed that I could not show my race pace, but you can count on me in Monaco.