Canadian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 10 Jun 2007
McLarens Lewis Hamilton describes winning his first Formula One race; Super Aguris Takuma Sato on overtaking world champion Fernando Alonso; and Alexander Wurz on making a triumphant return to the podium. All 22 drivers report back on Sundays action
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st):
Im on another planet after this - I simply cant find the words to describe what it feels like to win my first Formula One race. The team has done a fantastic job and Im so happy to be part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes family. I made an OK start off the line - nothing spectacular but managed to get a good exit out of the first corner and whilst mayhem was happening around me I was able to keep my cool and focus. Obviously Im pleased that my good friend Robert is OK after his accident. It seemed like every time I opened up a bit of a gap the Safety Car came out and I had to start all over again. It was only a few laps from the end I realised that victory was within my grasp and I started noticing things like the fans cheering and when I crossed the finishing line it was amazing. I now have to stay focused and keep up the good work. Its been an incredible start to my Formula 1 career so far but I know there is a tough season ahead of us. Finally thanks to the entire team at McLaren and Mercedes-Benz for all the hard work they have put into the car its an absolute pleasure to drive and be part of such a winning combination.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (2nd):
More than anything else I am happy with the news that Robert (Kubica) is okay. We hoped to get a podium and we were speculating about maybe getting third, but didnt expect second. More importantly, what is satisfying is I think I had a very good chance to finish second even in normal race conditions without so many safety cars, and Fernando (Alonso) being penalized. I was pulling away from him, I had a good gap after the stop and this was unexpected. Great thanks to the team as I think they have developed the car very well. Until quite late we didnt know how strong we were because I had so many problems over the weekend, especially on Saturday. Then seeing the pace I was doing I spoke to the team and asked them to confirm that it was really as good as I thought. The race was great and definitely the best moment was the start where I overtook Fernando and was right behind Lewis (Hamilton) in the slipstream. In the beginning I was a bit worried about Fernando as I was not only looking forward but looking back a bit. After that I just kept the car on the road, which was quite complicated.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (3rd):
Scoring a podium on the 10th anniversary of my Formula One debut is a dream. I had a difficult weekend and starting the race from the back was hard, but I didnt give up and tried to push as much as I could. It was one of those hectic races but I had a super car and the team did everything right in terms of strategy and keeping me well informed about all the various incidents. On the driving side, I made no mistakes and I was able to get rid of some graining by the end of the race, just in time to keep Kovalainen behind me who was on prime tyres. Early on it had been a close call when Speed and I touched and my rear wing got damaged, but the team knew it was safe and everything was okay to continue, even if I was giving some downforce and straight line speed away for the rest of the race.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (4th):
This was such a satisfying result for me. Of course, I needed some luck to score points after starting last - but you have to take advantage of your opportunities, and I think I did exactly that. I seemed to spend a lot of the afternoon overtaking other cars, but we had changed the set-up before qualifying to give me better straight-line speed and that definitely paid off. The conditions were very hard, with a lot of marbles out on the track, and it was really easy to make mistakes. I didn't make any, and this is a great reward after two really hard days here in Montreal. All the problems I had this weekend only made me more determined to succeed, and it just goes to show that you should never, ever give up. You have to stay positive, keep looking ahead and the results will come. Everything fell into place for me today, and hopefully things will continue the same way next weekend in Indy.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (5th):
"It was a very difficult race for me, right from the beginning. I did not have much grip at the start, being on the dirty side of the track and immediately after, I hit Felipe's car with my front wing. Then, there were so many safety car periods that it caused chaos. On top of that, after Kubica's accident, a piece of debris got stuck in my front wing and I had so much understeer and some difficulties with the brakes. All these problems put together made this a really complicated race. At the end of the day, I picked up some points: it could have been better but it could also have been worse."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (6th):
What an awesome weekend for us. So many things happened during this race - I was really worried about what happened to Kubica and when I heard he was okay I felt relief and I would like to say a big thank you to the Formula One safety team. After that accident I then tackled the racing. It was a real mixture of competitive racing and safety car situations and our strategy worked well. At one stage I came into the pit because I saw an opportunity immediately after safety car was deployed and the pit lane was still open. The team knew and was on hand straight away. During the last few laps I had a great feeling because I was able to race with the front runners and I was able to confidently overtake and take back my position. This was absolutely the most beautiful day in my racing career and is an amazing result. A huge thanks to the guys today and all the people who support us.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (7th):
I think this was a strange race with the Safety Car being deployed so many times which worked to Lewis advantage today and my disadvantage. I came into the pits for the first time on lap 24 as I had no more fuel so basically there was nothing I could do. It was a shame as this resulted in a ten-second penalty but I guess that unfortunately those are the rules but there was no alternative other than to stop on track with no fuel. After that I had to push as hard as possible because I was stuck in the middle of the field and when you push to the maximum you sometimes go off track but at that stage there was nothing to lose. Whilst it was a difficult race for me Im pleased for the team and Lewis that we were able to secure some important points and Lewis winning his first race and also that Robert is OK. I hope for a bit more luck for the US Grand Prix next week and at least I can leave Montreal with two points more than Massa.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (8th):
That was another difficult weekend for me but of course it is nice to get a point after starting from 18th position. Im sure no one expected that but it was a chaotic race. Today given our grid position we fuelled up the cars heavily for the first stint. The car was not too bad and we were able to make up ground but we were short of straight line speed so it made it hard to overtake into the chicane. Towards the end I was overtaken by Sato who was on the prime tyre when I was on the options. That was clearly the worse tyre today but the rules mean we have to run on it. We obviously have a lot of work ahead of us but at least we got a point today.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (9th):
My start was poor, I lost out to Rosberg and Kubica on the run to the first corner and was trying to fight my way back through. I had a good battle with Robert (Kubica), but I went a little bit on the dirty stuff on Turn One and lost a few positions. I started to move up through the field again, which was going okay, but I knew there was still a long way to go. The safety car was deployed and initially it looked like it was going to help, but in the end it wasnt easy to follow what was going on, I didnt know who was doing what! The soft tyres werent very good at the end so it was hard to fight Sato who was on the other tyre compound.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (10th):
After I gained two positions at the start, I thought I could really get something good out of todays race, but then I was really unlucky. I had no fuel and had to pit exactly when the safety car went out for the first time and according to the new rules, I was penalised, and from this point onwards it was very difficult to recover the position I had. After my second stop, I came out of the pits at the back of the pack. The battle with Trulli ended in both of us spinning and I lost even more time when the gearbox got stuck. What an afternoon! One positive thing for the team is that Alex made third today and our car has showed good pace, which makes us confident for Indianapolis next weekend.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (11th):
It is such a shame about the beaver. It had it in for me for sure! I was running in third place at the time, behind the safety car. I was on a clear, one stop strategy and it damaged the front wing. I couldnt even see it at high speed and I could not understand why suddenly I locked up the front tyres and so I had to come in to the pitlane. The guys were taken by surprise in the garage when I came in, but they were really on it with the race strategy after that, telling me to overtake the safety car to get my lap back and it was a really enjoyable race at the end. I hope Kubica is okay because I saw the accident from the other side of the road. The race was complete carnage from the word go and I'm just happy to have made it to the end. I equalled my best result and it is great news for the team who did a great job today. I was out there on the option tyre, realised there was lots of graining and reported it to the team. I came in under the safety car to change the tyres and before Taku had even done any fast laps they knew to change the tyres back to the prime and the tyres paid off. It was really good team work so I am extremely happy.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (12th):
It was a crazy race today and we could have benefited from all the incidents and retirements to get into the points. However the last safety car ruined our strategy, which could have brought us home in fifth position. After Kubica's accident in the middle of the race, my thoughts were with him. You never want to see another driver get hurt in that way in front of you. I am just pleased he is okay. For us, this is a race we have to put behind us and turn our attentions to Indianapolis.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (DNF):
That was a very difficult race for me. The start was reasonable but I was short of grip and I could not keep up with the pace, especially towards the end of the stint. After we pitted for new tyres during the first safety car period Robert Kubica hit me from behind and crashed. I had not moved from my line but when I saw the car roll over I was very concerned. When you see another colleague have such a big crash and you are hit from the back its not a nice feeling. At that stage a lot of things were going on in my mind but I have since heard that hes fine so I hope that he will get back soon. I had a flat tyre so I had to pit again but then I wasnt exactly sure where I was in the race. Eventually when I pitted for the last time I was caught by surprise and when I came back out in last place I pushed too hard to catch the field and went into the wall. But after a day like this the race doesnt matter.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
It was not the way I had hoped for this race to end. After Kubicas accident I got some debris caught under the car and thought I was going to have to retire. It was like a slalom trying to avoid the debris. But I continued and then everything seemed to be fine. Unfortunately, at the final chicane I went over the kerb, which put me in the wall and that was the end of my race.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (DNF):
We have to hope that Kubica is okay as it was a huge crash. At the beginning of the race when I was fighting in the back I touched the wall a little bit, but I thought it was going to be okay and not a big issue, but then the car got more and more unbalanced as the race went on, especially the left front. Then at one moment I arrived at Turn eight and the car just went straight ahead into the wall. It seemed there was a problem with the wing, but obviously I am disappointed as we could have had a good finish.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
I had a gearbox problem exiting the chicane and had difficulties moving up through the gears. It started to work again, but the gearbox temperatures had risen so much, I had to park the car. It remains to be seen what caused the problem, we need to wait and see. Its obviously disappointing, as I think our strategy could have worked well for us. We had a lot of laps under the safety car in this race, which can penalise some drivers who havent done anything wrong. In the case of Alonso, a slightly different strategy at just the wrong time, put him out of the race. Its good to hear Kubicas okay, I saw his accident on one of the main screens, but Ive heard hes conscious and talking, which is good news.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (DNF):
Obviously I am very disappointed not to have finished the race. I just want to say sorry to the team as they have worked so hard all weekend and it would have been easy to have a points finish if I had not made a mistake.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
It is a disappointing day for us. It was crazy out there. I have to say sorry to the team because I made a bit of a mistake. Alex (Wurz) was quicker than me down the straightaway, but he made a mistake at the hairpin and then another at the corner before I tried to pass and when I did try, there just was not enough room for two cars.
Jenson Button, Honda (DNF):
I went to select first gear at the start but there was nothing. I kept switching from neutral to first on the grid to try to clear the problem but it just wasn't happening. The same thing happened when we tried to start from the pit lane. My race was over before it began which is obviously massively frustrating and that's all we can say really.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (DSQ):
"What happened at the pit stop is a real shame. Even if the safety car didn't help me I was having a good race and I could have brought home some important points for the championship. Unfortunately, when I left the pits, I did not even look at the lights, partly because there were so many cars in pit lane behind me. It's true that today the McLaren was very strong, but this was not the result we should have had, we should have been able to finish on the podium. The season is long and still very open. We must work to improve our performance. I am happy that Kubica, who is a friend of mine, was not seriously injured in his accident: it is almost a miracle."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (DSQ):
I was having a great race, but it ended up being a bad day for me. The podium was within my reach, and it's so frustrating to miss out on a golden opportunity. In terms of the incident coming out of the pits, I was concentrating on Kubica who was alongside me, and so focused on beating him that I didn't see the red light. On the positive side, though, the car was clearly competitive today - and we were competitive with Ferrari. That's positive for next weekend, and I will be hoping for a better afternoon in Indy.