European Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 22 Jul 2007
Mark Webber and David Coulthard on Red Bulls best-ever race; Toyotas Ralf Schumacher on colliding with Nick Heidfelds BMW Sauber; and Spykers Markus Winkelhock on leading his debut Grand Prix. The drivers review Sundays action
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st):
This was a really exciting race for both the drivers and all the fans. The conditions were unbelievable - mainly at the start when we were just aquaplaning everywhere. In the dry conditions the Ferraris were a little faster but in the final stages when the rain started again, we were quicker and I was able to overtake Felipe (Massa) to take the lead. During this battle we touched twice, but that is motor racing, and we were fighting for victory. There was a close one in the pitlane during my last stop where there was a lot of traffic, and I was side-by-side with Giancarlo (Fisichella). All in all a good weekend for me, and I gained valuable world championship points for both me and the team. In difficult conditions the team did a great job.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd):
A second place that leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I had driven a strong race right up until the last rain shower, then once I had the rain tyres on, I immediately felt vibrations which made the car very unbalanced. And that, after I had been really strong when it had been wet in the early stage of the race. In the dry, I managed to gradually make up ground on Alonso because the car was great. I was lucky at the start because I managed to stay on track when the conditions meant it was almost impossible, but then I was not so lucky at the end. But that's racing and I have to accept it. The discussion with Fernando? I was a bit on edge but then he apologized and that was the end of it. The positive side is that I have made up a lot of ground in the drivers' classification. There is still a long way to go this season and we have to be confident.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (3rd):
This is a podium I can enjoy on a special day for us. The team deserves it after all the effort that has taken place behind the scenes. It's great to get some points on the board, especially as David (Coulthard) finished fifth as well. I didn't have a good start and was on the back foot, the rain certainly came much earlier than we expected. We had to make a quick decision and went for the intermediates, but as the rain got much worse we were aquaplaning really badly.
The FIA took the right decisions in bringing out the safety car and then suspending the race. I did a long run on the grooved tyres, which helped me pull away from the guys behind, even if I struggled a bit in the middle stint with the rears. I have to say I wasn't too disappointed to see Kimi (Raikkonen) retire. Towards the end I began to think I had it in the bag, but I thought 'oh god' when I saw the rain coming again. In the final part I had massive vibration from the rear tyres and that's why Alex (Wurz) got so close.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (4th):
I could almost taste the champagne today! I am very happy with fourth position and a lot of points. It was a very tough race, I had to use all my brain power and push at the right times. The hardest thing out there today was keeping my head calm because in such a situation it is so easy to get carried away. I had to concentrate and bring the car home. My car was good today. In the last few laps I put a lot of pressure on Mark Webber because I saw he was sliding a bit and I was hoping he would make a mistake. He did make a small one, right at the end, but it was not enough to launch an attack and, of course, my main target was to bring points home for the team. One could say finishing just 0.2 seconds behind a podium position is frustrating, but Im happy with fourth.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (5th):
I'm very happy for the team. It's obviously been a difficult start to the year with some reliability issues, but nonetheless to show the pace we did in this race was good and the calls we made on strategy were a credit to the team; the pit stops were great. After such a bad qualifying, it was only ever going to be a change of conditions like these that was going to give us a chance to move forward and we ended with a podium and a fifth place for me.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (6th):
My start was not as good as usual and, unfortunately, in the first corner Robert (Kubica) forced me onto the dirt and then again in the second corner. This was when unluckily we touched and afterwards I had a damaged car. However, we have been lucky that the race was interrupted and we were able to repair the car. The team did a very good job. Later in the race I was stuck behind Robert, and it was only at the end when he made a mistake I was able to pass him. The accident with Ralf Schumacher was very unlucky. He was slow accelerating out of the chicane, at first left room for me, but closed the door once he realised I was there. Unfortunately at this point I was on the wet part of the track and couldnt avoid a collision.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (7th):
I made a very good start, but in the second corner I think Nick (Heidfeld) arrived a bit too fast, he touched me and I spun. I was then last. It then started to rain and I asked the team if I should pit. I had no answer so I continued, which was wrong. The race was fun because the conditions were changing, but I had a very big problem with the braking, as every time the rear was just dancing and on wet tyres I could not stop the car.
When Nick got by me on the last lap I just couldnt stop the car before the chicane and that is all. I didnt want to cut the chicane, but maybe I should have done, because in the end I nearly had to stop. It was challenging, as it was not only about the speed of the car but the speed of reaction of the team, and when to put on which tyres. The race result could have been better but now we have to analyse everything.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (8th):
There is not too much to say about this afternoon, to be honest. We took some gambles, especially with the wet tyres during my final stop, and they didn't pay off. I had to look after my wet tyres on a dry track until the rain came, and it just took too much out of them to be an advantage. But from the position we were in, with one stop still to make, it was a gamble worth taking. This hasn't been a good day for the team, but we managed to score one point at least. There is an important test coming up this week, the last before the summer break, and it will be important to get some good answers there, to help us find the right track again in Hungary and Turkey.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (9th):
This was an extraordinary weekend and a new experience for me. Initially I made a good start and was sixth. I got into fourth when the two BMWs went off, and I picked up a puncture and had to pit. The team took advantage of this and fitted rain tyres, but it just got too slippery and I went off. I managed to keep the engine running, and a crane was able to get me free - thank you Nurburgring marshalls. The race was then red flagged. After the restart I pushed as much as I could to catch up, but when you are almost a lap down you really have to rely on other peoples misfortune. I was able to get ninth in the end after passing a Renault on the last lap, but no points.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (10th):
We had the opportunity to do well today, but we didn't take advantage of it. I lost positions with an extra lap on slicks at the beginning, and then queuing in the pits behind Heikki (Kovalainen) too. After that, we had to run with some heavy fuel loads, and although the car balance was okay, the performance wasn't really there. It has been a tough weekend since Friday morning, and we will be working hard before Hungary to make sure we are in a better position when practice begins in Budapest.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (11th):
I'm bitterly disappointed with the result today. The car felt bad from the start and it never really improved through the race, most likely because of the damage caused when I was hit by Rosberg. I love these dry-wet conditions and we had some opportunities today because of the way the race was unfolding. However, we did not have the car and we did not make the most of the circumstances.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (12th):
It was a tough day with the weather causing havoc for all of the teams out there. It was difficult to know what tyre to be on at what time, but in the dry running our car seemed to have the pace over the Honda and I had a nice fight with Rubens (Barrichello) for P12/ P11 at the time. That was good fun and the best part of the race for me and I just had to wait to see how it would unfold from there for the last stint. We then got caught out in the rain at the end and probably made the wrong tyre choice at the time, and that was key to the race really. It was a good sign that we had the speed, but overall it was a disappointing day as we could not capitalise on the mixed fortunes of the other runners.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th):
It was the kind of race where I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong decision at the wrong moments. You cannot know what the weather will do, that is the problem. We took a gamble several times and every time it was the wrong time and things were happening. We had so much bad luck today, I hope it all came at once and we will not have any more. It was a really dramatic race in general because it was down to the strategy, down to good luck - so many things that didnt work at all for me. I had a very good start and was running fifth but that is racing in the rain, full of good and bad surprises. What really hurt me was the beginning of the race when there was a shower and there was a bigger shower on the lap I came in. I was very unlucky because the red flag came at the wrong time for me. In dry conditions I was quite competitive and I was catching up the cars in front but we had some problem at the pit stops. It was a race to forget.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (DNF):
I am very disappointed. I was in a good position, immediately right behind Felipe (Massa) and Alonso and the car was very quick and I was convinced I could win. But gradually, the hydraulic system began to malfunction, I began to lose time and then I was forced to stop. This knock back does not mean I feel like giving up the fight, even if there is now one less race in which to compete. The gap to the head of the classification remains the same and anything can happen in the seven remaining races. We have a very competitive car but clearly we have to improve on the reliability front.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (DNF):
It was great fun at the start of the race having to run in the rain on the dry tyre. I made up a lot of positions and was P10 by the end of Lap One. But then the rain was too strong to keep on the dry tyre and I came back to the pit on the next lap, before the red flag. At the re-start we looked as though we had reasonable race pace, but unfortunately I had a hydraulic failure and had to retire from the race, which is a big shame.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (DNF):
Clearly thats not the way I wanted to finish my home race. It is very disappointing for the team because we had an opportunity to score points. Even after the rain and everything we were in a good position. We were quick, as quick as the cars in front, so we could really have scored some important points today. With the incident with Nick (Heidfeld), I made a little mistake in the corner before and he was able to close up and then he made a move at the final corner and we collided. In general he is a very fair driver but these things happen in racing. It was a racing incident. It is clearly a shame because we could have scored points. We had another good weekend in qualifying and again we didnt get the result which is disappointing.
Markus Winkelhock, Spyker (DNF):
First of all I have to say thanks to the team for letting me start my first Grand Prix at my home race. Also thanks for the good decision to go into the pits to change tyres before the start. Starting on wet tyres was a really fantastic decision and that's the reason why I was leading my first Formula One race. To lead a Formula One race is something nobody can take away from you - you have it for your whole life. I am really happy about it - I was leading my home Grand Prix! Unfortunately then we had a hydraulic problem and I had to stop. The target for me was to finish, but I know that not getting there was not down to me, so I am really pleased with what I achieved.
Jenson Button, Honda (DNF):
I didn't get a good start and I dropped to 20th position, however I had a really good first lap and I was up to sixth position when I pitted for wet tyres. After that the rain poured down and Turn One was a lake. By that time I was in fourth position behind Massa and Alonso. I just touched the brakes and all four wheels locked, then I hit the wall. It's a real shame because I had a lot of fuel on board, a good strategy given the way the race then panned out for the others and I love to drive in these wet conditions. This race was unfortunately a lottery and sadly I lost out.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (DNF):
I couldn't hold the car on the wet track and I was just a passenger in the hairpin. So many people went off there, it was incredible. I just braked and lost the rear and that was it. It was a hard impact, but I'm alright, just disappointed. We just have to hope that the next time will be better.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
The start lap was very difficult on the hard tyres. It wasnt easy to warm them up and I seemed to struggle more than the cars around me. We knew the rain was coming, and we came into the pits at the right time, but we didnt expect so much water and we fitted my car with inters rather than full wets. I went back out on track and after some time there were yellows going into the first corner. I slowed down a lot but I aquaplaned and slid into the gravel. In such a situation, the tyres just come up and sit on top of the water and you have no contact with the ground. The engine then stopped and that was it. It was very disappointing. Im now looking ahead to the next race.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (DNF):
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (DNF):