Monaco Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 27 May 2007
Fernando Alonso on clinching McLarens 150th win; Super Aguris Anthony Davidson on his drive-through penalty; and Giancarlo Fisichella on his sterling drive to fourth for Renault. All 22 drivers report on Sundays action
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st):
This win means a lot to me and our world championship campaign. Its a very nice surprise to see how the teams hard work during the last couple of weeks has made our car so competitive. I have never had the experience of being more than one minute ahead of the competition which probably makes this one of my best victories. I didnt get off the line brilliantly from pole position, but as there is such a short run to the first corner I was pretty sure that I would be able to keep the lead. However, as I was able to save fuel in my first stint I was able to stay out for two more laps than originally planned. After that the race was pretty quiet with only the backmarkers causing a few problems especially shortly before my second pitstop when I lost a lot of time. I will enjoy this victory and look forward to the races in North America.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd):
To finish second and running similar lap times to Fernando (Alonso) at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix makes me very happy. The team has done a fantastic job, and Fernando and I were able to give them the result they deserved. My start was quite good, and I could run close to Fernando but obviously it didnt make sense to try anything crazy as our job is to ensure the maximum amount of points for the team. Its almost impossible to overtake in Monaco and as a result your only chance is for the guy in front of you to make a mistake. However, Fernando is a double world champion so I knew there would be none. I had good pace in the beginning, but then I had some graining on my front tyres which didnt help. It was an exciting race which also saw me tapping the guardrails a couple of times, fortunately without influencing the handling of the car. All in all a great weekend for the team and me.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd):
I think this was the best possible result I could have got today, given the pace of our closest rivals. At half distance, given the situation, I concentrated on just managing my race and bringing the car home. These six points are very important: the championship is still very open and there is still a very long way to go. We tried to see if we could change the situation by using the extra soft tyres in the second stint of the race, but it did not make much difference. The main problem today was the traffic: I lost a lot of time behind backmarkers, but I don't think that had any effect on the final result. Today we were the inferior of the two teams, but we have all we need to get back to winning again, right from the next race.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th):
It was a very good result for me and the team, and encouraging for the future. We should be proud of the job we did at the circuit this weekend, and say thank you to all the people in the factory whose hard work made it possible. The car had more grip thanks to a new wing, and the consistency was much better too. I was happy with the race I drove, pushing all the way through the first two stints until we knew for sure that my position was safe. It was good to finish ahead of BMW Saubers for the first time, and now we have some more time to push again at the factory, and make more progress. Canada is another good circuit for me, so hopefully we can take another step forward there.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th):
Unfortunately I don't think our one-stop strategy was the right one for this year's
Monaco. We expected Safety Car periods and these did not happen. Looking back now, I think we could have finished better, but I am happy to have scored some important points again. I had a small problem with the brakes soon after the start of the race and had to pump them all the time which did not make me feel confident. Then I was stuck in traffic and at the end I had a sensor problem which meant I was without traction control for quite a long time.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (6th):
Because of my one-stop strategy the most important thing for me to do was overtake Mark Webber at the start, and this worked out. I was also able to get passed Nico Rosberg, although our cars touched in the first corner but luckily mine wasn't damaged. In the early laps of my first stint I had some problems with the soft tyres, but later they became better and better. On my second stint I lost quite a few seconds when I had to let the two McLarens by. It was enough to let Robert get just in front of me after his pit stop. But altogether I am quite happy with the result.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (7th):
I'm a bit sad the race is all over - I love it here in Monaco and you want it to go on for ever. It was a good afternoon and it was critical for me to really pull some laps out to get past Button and Barrichello in the middle part of the race and then keep Raikkonen behind me at the end. I am glad it worked. Sunday has played out well and I did my bit behind the wheel of the car.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (8th):
We knew we were facing an uphill battle and that's how things turned out. I got a good start, quickly moving up to twelfth, but from then on I was nearly always in traffic, never getting any chance to overtake. I never had a clear track ahead of me and it was only thanks to the strategy that I was able to make up some more places and get into the points, but I couldn't do any better. Obviously the situation in the classification is now a bit more complicated but there is still a long way to go in the championship and I am not the sort to give up.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (9th):
I got a good launch off the grid and as everyone bottled up going into Turn One, I made an aggressive move round the outside and it paid off as I got around David (Coulthard) and we battled hard. Then I think we had a reasonably good pace in the race. In terms of the strategy, maybe I should have pitted a bit earlier, but Kimi was out of reach anyway. I enjoyed myself but every time for the last 15 laps I was hoping someone would drop out and that I'd see my pit board go from P9 to P8 to get that point, but it never happened.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (10th):
I'm disappointed with 10th because I thought we had a shot at the points today but the opportunities did not materialise. After my first pit stop I was held up by Wurz and that was that really. I was a little bit faster than him and if I could have got past then there was a chance to close the gap and get closer to the points, but there was no possibility to overtake. Overall I think we have had a slightly better weekend and we just have to keep pushing now and continue to move in the right direction. I hope for better things in Canada.
Jenson Button, Honda (11th):
A difficult race today. I was stuck in traffic in all three stints and never got a clear run, so I couldn't make the most of the strategy. After yesterday's qualifying it is disappointing but we have to take some encouragement from the signs of improvement we saw here earlier in the weekend, keep our heads down and focus on what we are doing to move us forward.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (12th):
Today was something of a disappointing race, really. I had a good start but then Fisichella really closed in at the first corner and I had to back up. My first thought was to be careful not to crash, but looking back maybe I shouldn't have and I might have had the chance to score points.
I realised that my race was really compromised when I was stuck behind Heidfeld and had no chance to pass him. My strategy was right, but being in traffic ruined it all. Our pace was good here - it's a shame we could not score more points.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (13th):
I think this was a weekend to forget for me. It didn't start well, qualifying was difficult, and I wasn't able to make up any ground in the race. I got stuck behind Coulthard in the first stint and although I got past him at the stops, and pushed hard after that, it wasn't enough to catch the cars in front. Then at the end, something happened with the engine and I lost almost all the power and drive. It is all the more frustrating because the car felt good through the weekend, but at the critical points, it just didn't happen for me. I suppose the race was really spoiled on Saturday afternoon, but that's history now. It's time to look forward to Canada, where I think we can be confident of a competitive performance. It's another new track for me, and I am looking forward to driving there.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th):
Unfortunately I came together with Tonio (Liuzzi) and damaged the front wing and end plate of my car, so I had a lot of understeer all through the race. We were debating whether or not to change the wing at the pit stop, but decided to stick with it as the time lost in changing it would be so high - but we couldn't get anywhere. When I stopped at the end of the race, we saw the end plate was broken, so we must have been losing a lot of down force. The guys in the garage have done a great job turning mine and Mark's cars around this weekend. There are still a lot of races left this season and I still think Red Bull is going to improve.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (15th):
At the start of the race the car almost stalled. I had to do a good job to pick up the clutch and start the race. I lost a lot of positions at the first corner so from the very start I was just keeping up with the cars in front of me and then the brakes started heating up as they did in qualifying. I had to slow down a bit and the only thing I could do from there was bring the car to the end of the race. It was a difficult race for me and now we have to work hard before the next race and make some improvements.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (16th):
It was just stuck in traffic in the first laps. That made the race very difficult from then on. The pace was not too bad when you compare it with the others when I was on a clear track. I lost a lot of time stuck in that position as you could see from my lap times when I had a clear track in front of me. The balance was actually quite okay later on and I was able to push a bit harder. We could clearly have been fighting for points today for sure if we had qualified better. Qualifying was really where our race was decided but I will try hard to get that right and hope for better next time.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (17th):
It was a tough race for us and we tried our best. I drove as hard as I possibly could on this circuit. In the traffic these are very difficult circumstances, but when I had clear air I was lapping very quickly and we were competitive. But, as is typical in Monaco, I caught up with the traffic a few times and that was really critical for my pace. Because of traffic before my second stop we missed an opportunity to improve on my position. We tried our best and recovered well I believe, but we needed more speed. On the positive side it is great to finish the demanding Monaco Grand Prix.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (18th):
Just to finish this race is an achievement in its own right. Going out there this afternoon I didn't expect much from the positions we were in and I got an average start. I went into Turn One with a Renault and I actually tapped him and got a hole in my nose cone. It didnt affect the car too badly and I was able to keep pushing. And then about half way through the race, when I was stuck behind Trullis Toyota, Massa was slowly catching me up, two tenths of a second a lap, and I was waiting until he got closer to let him by. I was going to let him pass when we got a drive through penalty. He was about two seconds behind me at that time, so I think it's a little bit unfair. I've always been good in traffic and I think that other people were being bad about the blue flags out there and maybe they made an example out of me.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (19th):
It was a difficult weekend. First of all we had really bad luck with qualifying with the hydraulics and then we retired from the race. As we were at the back we had to take a risk and went for a really aggressive strategy, started on soft tyres and went for two stops. At first I was struggling with the rear but when I came in and changed to the normal soft tyres, it started to go really well and we went a lot faster, but then you are just lost in the traffic and have to let the leaders through. It's just a shame, but on the other hand if we had had some luck the strategy it could have worked out. Now we should leave this behind and go to Canada - I have some ideas about what we will change and make the car more driveable over there.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (DNF):
In general it was a good race until I crashed in Casino corner. The start was the normal Monaco crowded style but I managed to do the first corner quite well. Over the first 44 laps we had a very good performance, the tyres were consistent and I just went quicker and quicker as the track improved. My lap times were pretty fast as well and we were racing some cars. It wasn't a lonely race as I always had somebody behind me and had to push so I enjoyed the race. I'm disappointed I made a mistake - the brakes had became worse and worse and it was hard to find the find the right braking performance as they were unpredictable. I went a little bit to the outside of the corner and there was so much rubber and dirt that I hit the barrier and the tyre came off the rim. There wasn't a lot of damage, it was just the tyres but I couldn't continue, which is sad for everyone.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (DNF):
There were a couple of things going on. First I had a small misfire on the engine, which wasn't really fantastic, especially through the Swimming Pool section, but it also affected me at other parts of the track. I was pressing on and dealing with that. Then I lost third gear and although I tried switching between second and fourth, the car kept locking up. Initially I tried to drive around the problems, but when that happens here, you end up in the fence looking even more stupid!
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
I was hit hard at the first corner after the start by someone behind me and I think it must have damaged something, because the car was not right after that. But I tried to do one more lap and then as I came over the bump at corner three I lost control. It was a real shame because I had a reasonably good starting position so I was optimistic I could do something good this afternoon.