French Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 01 Jul 2007
Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on his first win since Melbourne's season-opener; Toyotas Jarno Trulli on tangling with Renaults Heikki Kovalainen on the first lap; and Spykers Christijan Albers on that chaotic pit stop. All 22 drivers report back on Sundays action
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (1st):
"Finally! Everything went the right way in my race. It was vital that I managed to get past Hamilton at the start and then I always tried to stay with Felipe. I knew I had a few laps in hand but, at my first pit stop, I had a bit of traffic and I was unable to get in the lead. Then at the second stop, the situation was turned around and I came out in front. Right from the start of the weekend we have been strong and this win is the reward for all the hard work carried out over the past few weeks. Now we must continue to improve the car because there is still room to do so, starting with the next race which we should tackle with the same approach that we used here in Magny-Cours."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd):
"First of all I want to say I am happy for the team, as it needed this sort of result after a difficult spell. Of course, I would have wanted to win but I was delayed by traffic in the decisive phase of the race, when I knew I had to build up a bit of a lead over Kimi to stay ahead of him during the pit stops. The way the cars are today, you start to get some turbulence from the cars that are a certain distance ahead of you and so it is difficult to overtake even the slower cars if they don't really move over for you. My car was almost perfect and when I had a clear track ahead of me I was quickest on track. In any case, we have made up ground in both championships and we must continue down this path, starting already in Silverstone."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd):
"I'm pleased to have finished third today and have continued my run of podium finishes in Formula One. I didn't have the best start and I don't know exactly what the reason was. My car was very good in the opening stage of the race, and I pushed hard to get past Kimi, but unfortunately it didn't work out.
"We opted for a three-stop strategy. I am happy for my team as we are still heading both the drivers' and constructors' rankings. We will now focus on the British Grand Prix next week where I think we will be competitive again. I am confident for a better weekend at my home Grand Prix as everybody in the team has worked very hard for this, as we do for every race."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (4th):
This was a good race for the team with us finishing fourth and fifth, and it has been a very good weekend for me. It was a very quiet race. I made quite a good start but we were on the dirty side with Lewis Hamilton, so had no chance to overtake. After that I was close to him just once when he was coming out of the pits and we had a short fight, but he had new tyres, braked later into the hairpin and overtook me again. The last 20 laps were about bringing the car home for a good result for the team, as Lewis was a long way in front and Nick (Heidfeld) behind. The car was very good, physically I am a hundred per cent and mentally too, and I could do another race now.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th):
I am very happy with the result. It was a great race for us, and we scored valuable points. At the start both Renaults went to the middle of the track, I tried to overtake Giancarlo Fisichella on the right hand side, but he moved over, which was not correct. The fights with Fernando Alonso were a lot of fun and also useful for my result. At times I had to defend hard, but I think from both sides it was fair play. It was not easy to keep him behind me, especially as in the middle stint he was very fast with obviously a low fuel load. Ferrari was very strong here as we already saw at the last test. You should never discount Renault as they are the reigning champions.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th):
I did the best possible today. The pace was very close to BMW, and even closer to the other teams in front too, as I was able to keep Fernando (Alonso) behind me on equal fuel loads at the end of the race. So for sure, we are getting better and better, and moving forward all the time. Ultimately though, I lost one position this afternoon, and that's not good - especially when it's a BMW that goes in front. The main problem was the understeer with the high fuel load in the second stint, which cost me too much time. I had a small battle with Fernando early in the race, but he was much lighter and got past. We were running together again at the end, though, and it was much closer. The soft tyres grained a little bit in the first few laps of the final stint, and he was much faster than me through turn three, so we had a good battle for a few laps. Then the tyre situation improved, and I was able to build a little gap. That was quite satisfying and it shows the car is getting better. Now, we need to try and close the points difference with BMW next weekend in Silverstone.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (7th):
"I did the maximum I could today, but we knew it would be difficult starting 10th with a fuel strategy that was originally aiming for a top-three grid position. This meant that at the pit stops I was always changing positions and ending up behind those I had already passed.
"The fight with Nick Heidfeld was fun, but it was a lot of hard work. I also made a good move on Giancarlo. I am contesting the world championship, so I had to do whatever I could today and was not worried about the risks. It is a disappointing result, but we will have to look to improve next week, where we should be strong."
Jenson Button, Honda (8th):
It was an enjoyable race today and we've shown that the car has improved a lot with the new package. It's nice to have a car which gives me the confidence to push and I'm pleased with my fastest lap time relative to our competitors. This shows that our race pace is improving, although we still need to work on our qualifying pace. Once we can get on top of that, we will be in a much stronger position to compete for points going forward. All credit to the whole team today as a faultless race with good pit stops helped me make the most of our strategy. A good weekend and I'm looking forward to another one at the British Grand Prix next week.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (9th):
In general, this weekend was positive for me but it wasnt the best race today. Button was slightly quicker and he was obviously having a better day with his car and his tyres, so he finished ahead of me and took the point. Its a shame for everyone whos put in so much effort to leave with no reward. This doesnt affect our position in the constructors championship, but we need to start scoring consistently, particularly because were now half way through the season.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (10th):
The race went quite well apart from the first lap. Its a shame that we didnt score points because our pace was competitive. The circumstances on the first lap, when Jarno (Trulli) hit Kovalainen at the hairpin, were unfortunate for me. I couldnt go anywhere and lost a couple of positions as everyone tried to get through the corner safely so I was a bit unlucky. I was a lot quicker than Barrichello but I couldnt overtake. From there on the race was difficult and I lost 20 seconds before my first pit stop. We kept fighting and put some good lap times in, which showed the potential of the car. We are continuously developing the car and Im sure we will make more progress to improve the car. Silverstone is a different track and a new race. We had a promising test their recently so I hope to score some points.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (11th):
I was quite heavy on fuel for my opening stint and I don't know if that hurt my first set of tyres because I just didn't have any pace in the car. After that, the pace began to improve but unfortunately it was too late to make any further progress up the field. We will have to look into the reasons for the problems but on the positive side we can certainly say that the car has improved at this race and it is encouraging to take that step forward. We need to maintain our focus now and work hard to bring further improvements.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (12th):
I had a pretty good start and was fighting with Rubens (Barrichello) through Turns Two and Three. I got to Turn Five and had to go between the cars of Ralf (Schumacher) and Rubens and nearly lost my front wing, but we got through it. I was held up by Ralf in the first stint, who in turn had Barrichello in front of him. Then, on the first lap of my second stint, I had to deal with Ralf while on new tyres, so it was a frustrating race. We tried to go shorter in the second stint to jump Rubens, but it didn't work out.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (13th):
The race was going quite well at the beginning and normally, with my longer strategy, I should have been able to jump some people. But, I'm not sure if my in laps weren't quick enough, or the pit stops weren't quick enough, but with both stops I didn't gain any advantage. Towards the end of the race we turned the engine down, as we weren't racing for points in the last few laps. Looking towards Silverstone next weekend, we'll see what comes out of our de-brief now, to see what we can do before then.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (14th):
Obviously 14th is not where I want to be, its not satisfying at all. Nevertheless, both cars made it to the finish without any issues which proves our reliability is good. The only problem I had was traffic. I was stuck in the train behind Coulthard and neither our strategy, nor our pace, allowed us to get pass him. Overtaking here is not easy - I made one manoeuvre, but needed more. Its a new game next weekend, and hopefully well have better luck at Silverstone. As its the teams home race, a good result would be great for the guys at the factory.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (15th):
Well, my race was over on the first lap really and it's a big missed opportunity for me. I was turning through Turn 5 when Jarno (Trulli) hit me, spun me round and punctured the right-rear tyre. I had to pit, lost nearly a lap and then it felt like I was slowing down for blue flags almost every lap! The times seemed quite competitive when I was in clean air, but it was hard to get into a rhythm to be honest. I was racing around the same group of leaders all race, which shows I was on the pace, but there's nothing you can do after an incident like that. But qualifying and practice showed we are getting on the pace step by step, so I am looking forward to Silverstone in seven days' time.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (16th):
I had a problem with my car which meant that I could not get a proper race start from the grid. The first stint was okay, but we lost a lot of time during my first pit stop with another fuel rig problem. In the end I just fought to finish my race, but we weren't quick enough. This was a tough race for us. Hopefully things take a positive turn next week, but we need to be pushing for better performance now.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (17th):
This was for sure not the perfect race. We had an electrical problem at the start and I had to change to the T-car, but after I had got used to it I could go faster and faster and the lap times were competitive. Unfortunately then I got a drivethrough penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit and dropped down. I will go through and check everything, but in the end we were just not fast enough this weekend and couldn't race any cars. It is disappointing, but hopefully in Silverstone it will be much better.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
After the start I had a lot of graining on my front tyres because I think our front wing setting was not the best. This made the first fifteen laps very difficult, after which it improved until it was not too bad. I had no warning about the failure. I just had to stop and I guess it was the gearbox. Now, let's think about Silverstone, where we had quite a positive test. Maybe we can squeeze a bit more performance out of the car for the next race and try and fight nearer the middle of the pack.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (DNF):
From today I think the most important thing is that the guys were okay and nobody was hurt in the accident. The first stint was quite okay at the beginning but then I got a lot of oversteer and the balance changed a little bit. I think I just made a mistake in the pits, I thought the lollipop was going up. It was quite chaotic as Adrian (Sutil) had just been in the pits, but more on my side and I just drove away. I am pleased that the guys are okay; this is the first time in my life that this has happened, and hopefully the last.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (DNF):
The track was very slippery and as we all headed into Turn One the train of cars in front of me braked very hard and early. Wurz went round the inside of Luizzi, which made him brake heavily and that caused a bit of a chain reaction. I locked up both fronts and made contact with Liuzzi. He spun round and I went round the outside of him. I think then someone else hit him and he came back into me and spun me round. I made it back round to the pits, but the car was too damaged to continue. It is a shame, but I put it down to a racing incident.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (DNF):
It was a racing accident. The field was very bunched up on the first lap and to be honest I just misjudged it going into the hairpin. I was not attacking anyone but I just braked too late and I hit Kovalainen. I am really sorry for him because it spoiled his race, and mine as well. Unfortunately I just made a mistake. The impact damaged my suspension as well as my front wing. I got back to the pits but there was no way for us to continue. Its a real shame because I am confident we had a good strategy and I expected to score points today. But the next race is very soon and with everyone in the team working so hard I am sure we will get a better result at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):
Once again, my race did not last very long. I felt someone hit me from behind, probably Davidson and that spun me around after which I think we collided again. It's a shame as we had a strategy, whether it rained or not, that could have paid off. Now all we can do is wait for Silverstone and hope that the definite improvement we have made with the car pays off. We deserve some points by now.