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United States Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 17 Jun 2007

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren leaves the McLaren hospitality area.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Race, Indianapolis, USA, Sunday, 17 June 2007 (L to R): Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team with Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Race, Indianapolis, USA, Sunday, 17 June 2007 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Race, Indianapolis, USA, Sunday, 17 June 2007 Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team on the grid with Yashurio Wada (JPN) President Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Race, Indianapolis, USA, Sunday, 17 June 2007

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso on losing out to his younger team mate for a second consecutive race; Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher on his early retirement; and BMW Sauber’s Sebastian Vettel on his Formula One race debut. All 22 drivers report back on Sunday’s action…

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st):
“It just keeps getting better and better - what an amazing week this has been. I can't believe that I have won and am so incredibly grateful to the team who have worked to hard to continue the development which has seen us taking one-two here today. Everything went right; start, pit stops, strategy and I'm really happy. I was under pressure all the way from Fernando (Alonso) and we were both pushing as hard as possible.

“I made a good start to maintain the advantage but Fernando was right there. In the second stint Fernando managed to get really close when my tyres were graining, and he had a go at the end of the straight, but I was able to keep him behind. It's been a long and hot day, but I have really enjoyed myself and the support from the fans.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren (2nd):
“I didn't win but I finally managed to leave Indianapolis with a trophy. I think the race was decided after the first corner, and I didn't manage to get past. All I could do was to stay as close to Lewis (Hamilton) as possible. We were side-by-side on one occasion, but it was all fair and square and it was good racing.

“I was constantly in his slipstream and was getting all kind of dirt from the brakes on my overalls, the car and the helmet which was why I sometimes went slightly off line to try and get some clean air. The car was working well, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

“At the end of the day the team can leave Indianapolis having extended the gap to Ferrari in the constructors' battle and having eight points is better than none. I'm looking forward to going back to Europe and the rest of the season.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd):
"We can't be satisfied with third place. I did my best and I am happy to have got on the podium. We need to work out how to improve the car to get ahead of our closest rivals. We need to work flat out on the technical development to make up the ground lost over these past three races. In the final stint of the race, Kimi got very close and I was struggling a bit because I was on the hard tyres and he had the softs. I didn't make any mistakes and managed to stay ahead of him."

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (4th):
"The car had a very quick race pace but I paid a high price for the positions lost at the start. We lost precious time behind slower cars and it is always difficult to overtake because when you close on a car ahead you lose so much aero downforce. In the final stages I closed on Felipe but there was never a really clear opportunity to overtake him and we were both thinking about the next race where we use the same engine. We must improve, especially in qualifying, because our target has to be to try and win."

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (5th):
“This was another strong result for me, and I am starting to get some good momentum now. I had a good start, and when the other cars went to the inside, I braked late on the outside line and managed to overtake Raikkonen. I kept him behind until the first stop, and when he pitted, along with Heidfeld, I tried to really put the hammer down and push home the advantage. I didn't even realise I was leading the race, until I came into the pits. Unfortunately, though, the tyre performance just wasn't there any more - and I lost out to Heidfeld and Raikkonen coming out of the pits. I tried to pass Nick on the way into Turn Four, but couldn't make it stick, and then the tyres started graining because I was sliding around in the slipstream. But I kept pushing him and when he retired, it was just a case of pushing the car and keeping the lap-times consistent. The balance felt really good on both types of tyre today, and it was nice to see that we can fight BMW on pure pace in race conditions. Ferrari and McLaren are still a step ahead, but we are moving in the right direction with the car. If we keep pushing like this, we will keep on making progress back towards the front.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th):
“It is incredible - I can’t believe I have finished in the points today. Despite all the effort we put in I thought it would be hard to get in the points but the team has done an incredible job. We haven’t got anything wrong and we got sixth which for us is like a victory today. It is an unexpected result to be honest because before the race I never expected such a good performance from me or from the car so I am really pleased. Mentally it was a very hard race because I was on the limit for the whole race. I was fighting with Webber and I did not think I would come out ahead but in the end I managed it. It took a lot of fight. I really enjoyed it but after a very good manoeuvre when I overtook him following the second pit stop I thought I was going to lose the position. When I finished the race I asked more than once ‘are you sure I finished sixth?’ because I couldn’t believe it! In the last four races we have had a few problems but this shows when we get it right we can battle for points.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull (7th):
“The race for me was pretty much a scrap with Jarno (Trulli) from start to finish. I would have liked slightly better car balance in the middle stint, but it’s good to get two points in the bag. Of course, you always want more - more downforce, more reliability, more speed - but hopefully those things will continue to come and we can look forward to more points finishes like this in the future.”

Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber (8th):
“It was fantastic, a lot of fun but a longer race than I ever imagined it to be. I think I am quite lucky to get away with a point as the first corner was quite tight. I had an okay start, but not a very good one. When I saw the cars were close I decided to brake just a little bit later and then caught up quickly to those in front of me. To avoid an incident I decided to cut turn two and lost a lot of places. After that I was stuck in traffic which more or less destroyed our strategy. It is good to finish the first race and better still in the points. The car was working well. I could have been a bit quicker, but quite often I was stuck in traffic and it is extremely difficult to overtake here as the other guys are not sleeping and they know how to defend. In the end when I saw the chequered flag I was quite relieved. I am quite happy for me and the team who have done a fantastic job. I can only say thank you to all my mechanics and engineers who were supporting me.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (9th):
“I am just really sorry about the result today. I lost the rear end going into turn 4 on lap two, and that compromised my whole race. We had planned to do a one-stop strategy, and even with the heavy fuel load I was able to pass guys quite easily on my way back through the field. The pace was very strong today, and I even managed to overtake a few cars off-line on the outside of Turn Six. I had to be aggressive and I was, but we still ended up just outside the points. Without the spin, I could definitely have got P6 I think, so it's a missed opportunity. The results in these two races haven't been good, but the pace of the car has, and that is encouraging as we go back to Europe. We are heading in the right direction, and there are two important races for the team coming up now. I am confident we can race with BMW Sauber, and start closing the gap in the championship.”

Alexander Wurz, Williams (10th):
“I made up a few positions at the start by overtaking several cars at the first corner. Our planned strategy was also good, so I was looking good for a positive race. Unfortunately, I ended up stuck behind Liuzzi, who was much slower than me, and that cost me too much time to finish in the points. I could not pass Tonio because I could not attack as my car was quite difficult to drive today with a lot of fuel onboard. I’m now looking forward to Magny-Cours.”

Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (11th):
“It was an interesting race with the different speeds of cars on the straights and round the corners with differing wing levels. We opted to save the tyres by running a bit more wing and it was such hard work to try and close the gap and get a tow off the cars on the straight. There was a lot of overtaking, with a chaotic first corner and ‘marbles’ all over the place. It was a fantastic race and I had really good fun. I'm really pleased to finish another Grand Prix and it is a great result for the team and for Honda. It was a brilliant day.”

Jenson Button, Honda (12th):
“It was a fun race today but ultimately another disappointing afternoon for us. At the start I was on the outside and I was hit by Rubens (Barrichello), which damaged the front of my car along with the bodywork. That forced me across the grass and left me almost at the back of the field which was disappointing. Still it was a fun race with some good overtaking until my pit stop, when we had a problem with the fuel rig which cost me time and then I had about 15kg too much fuel in the car which compromised the rest of the race. We were just off the pace again and we now have a lot of work to do next week in Jerez to move our performance on.”

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (13th):
“The track was slippery out there and with our low downforce set-up we really needed the track surface to develop more grip for our car to work better. It was definitely a tough race and just keeping it on the track was in itself a challenge. So I am happy to have managed to bring it home in thirteenth place which is not too bad. We need lots of small improvements to move forward but we are working in the right direction.”

Adrian Sutil, Spyker (14th):
“We had a solid base set-up and after a great start I could really fight with other cars. There seemed to have been a little step forwards since Canada, and it was a very good race for me. I am happy to have made it to the end, especially as it was a hard race with the high temperatures. It was tough to push and get as much as possible out of the car, but I'm pleased and now really looking forward to Magny-Cours.”

Christijan Albers, Spyker (15th):
“We were on a one stop strategy, but the beginning of the race was okay and I managed to keep up with the rest of the field. Then the first leading cars were coming through and starting to lap me and I lost a lot of time when they all made stops and lapped me again! It's a shame, but when you are in this kind of position you have to risk something and be aggressive with the strategy. The team was right to go for the one stop, if there had been a safety car or problems for the cars in front this could have made the difference.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
“I was having a really solid race and was happy because I thought sixth place was in the bag. We were on a good strategy and the car was going well. We’ve shown that we’ve made some progress on performance and we would definitely have been in the points today. I can’t be so angry because I drove really well. It will go my way another day, I’m sure of that. Sometimes things go wrong, that’s just the way it is and I have to accept it.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
“Unfortunately we were too slow in the first stint, where we had chosen an aggressive strategy starting on hard tyres. I did enjoy a good fight with Fisichella though. But I struggled with rear stability and a lack of grip in the rear. This cost us a lot of time. On the softer tyre, our strategy was right as I was brought in just before being lapped. The car felt better but the lack of downforce meant I was always fighting the rear tyres. Then at the end the team called me in because of a problem with water pressure. At the Silverstone test we will see if we can make a good step forward for the next race.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (DNF):
“I had a good start and overtook Kimi. On the first stint my speed was okay, and it was only in the beginning that Felipe Massa could pull away a little bit. Later when I was braking for turn one the rear wheels just locked and I spun. When I wanted to get going again, I couldn’t get a gear, which was why Heikki Kovalainen could pass me. The spin caused a flat spotted tyre and I made my first pit stop a little early. The next laps were good, and I overtook Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki. However, when Kimi was at top speed I could not keep him behind. After the second pit stop I got stuck behind Mark Webber, but then the hydraulic problems occurred anyway.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (DNF):
“I had a difficult start to the race and as a result got overtaken by two cars. I avoided the incident at Turn One and lap by lap I overtook people and made up a number of positions. That was a good moment, but unfortunately, when I got clear air and I really needed to push, I got on the dirty side of the track and I went off at Turn Three. It wasn't a great day for me, but hopefully we can start again in Europe in a strong position.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
“That was a disappointing race, I only got to Turn One! I kept a steady line off the start into the first corner, making sure I left space on the inside to keep out of trouble. Watching the replay, it seems Ralf (Schumacher) came together with another car behind me. That rotated Ralf’s car and he speared into the side of mine, which caused a lot of damage. It burst the oil cooler, so that was the end of my race.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (DNF):
“I think it was just an unlucky first corner racing incident today. I tried to avoid a spinning Ralf (Schumacher) and unfortunately hit two cars, one of which was Jenson (Button). The contact broke my front suspension and that was it for me today. Sadly Jenson's car was damaged as well. We have an important test next week in Jerez, so the team just has to look forward now and focus on improving our performance for the rest of the season.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
“That was a disappointing way to end my race after a pretty good qualifying. Obviously going into the first corner it was very crowded and everyone is on cold tyres. Going into the first corner I braked quite calmly but my tyres locked a bit. David came around from the outside and we crashed into each other. I think it was a these things can happen easily in that kind of situation at the start of a race when everyone is trying to gain positions. It is unfortunate and a bit unlucky for us because we could have had a good race. I will be testing at Silverstone on Tuesday so now I fly directly to England to prepare for the French Grand Prix, where I hope for a better result.”