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Italian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 09 Sep 2007

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari on his The Walz Hardcore Cycles "Iceman" motorbike.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 (L to R): Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault and Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Spyker.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2007

Ferrari’s Felipe Masssa and Red Bull’s David Coulthard on their early exits from the Italian Grand Prix; BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica on his difficult pit stop; and Honda’s Jenson Button on his second point of the season. All 22 drivers review Sunday’s action…

Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st):
“To win at Monza for the first time is very special. Sometimes everything goes in the right direction; this weekend was one of those times and we were able to keep up the momentum. My start wasn’t perfect, and I had to defend my lead coming in to the first corner. In the second corner I was a bit worried as I thought Lewis (Hamilton) and I would touch but fortunately this did not happen. The safety car could have caused us a few problems as it was important for our strategy to open up a gap as soon as possible. However it was a perfect afternoon today with the car and the team working really well, and to win in front of the enthusiastic Italian Formula One fans is very emotional.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd):
“Obviously I didn’t get the best getaway and Felipe (Massa) managed to shoot past me. I outbraked both him and Fernando (Alonso) into Turn One, and I almost thought I was going to get past, but then Felipe clipped me and sent me over the second chicane. I was suffering vibrations on my tyres in the first stint, so I opted to pit earlier to play it safe. Once we knew that Kimi (Raikkonen) was on a one-stop strategy it was key to really optimise my second stop. Unfortunately I came out behind him, but I knew I was faster on the new tyres, if only for a couple of laps, and so I just took the opportunity when I caught him up. It was really important for me to get that place back, not only for my position in the Championship, but also for all the team. We had the one-two in qualifying yesterday, and to maintain this in the race was the icing on the cake. They have all done a fantastic job.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd):
"This was definitely a tough race for me because of the pain I felt in my neck after yesterday's accident, which was bad enough to make it hard for me to hold my head steady under braking. Having said that, today we were not really quick enough. We knew it would not be an easy weekend, as we had already realized that in last week's test, with Friday and yesterday confirming it. The car was not bad in the first stint but then we were not strong enough. Hamilton's overtaking move? I tried to defend my position but he was definitely quicker than me. In the final stages I slowed to save the car for the next race. We were keen to win in front of our fans but we did not manage it. At least I got onto the podium. Now we tackle another fascinating circuit at Spa-Francorchamps where I think that we and our closest rivals will be more evenly matched."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (4th):
“My start, as such, wasn’t bad, although Kimi’s was even better. Before the first corner it was very busy in front of me, and in the second corner I was on the outside line and lost a position to Kimi there. Anyway, this would have happened sooner or later, because he only stopped once. The early safety car period helped all those who were on a one stop strategy or wanted to pit late. Part of our strategy was to gain advantage over the one-stoppers or late-stoppers during the first stint. This obviously didn’t work out because of the safety car. Besides this, I had a very good race with perfect pit stops. Now we can start thinking about reaching the magic 100 constructors’ points, which would be a great success in what is only our second season.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th):
“The race was okay for me. In the first laps when the car was lighter we were really quick, but I think we could have had a better performance when the car was heavy, so perhaps this is something we have to work on. For the pit stop I didn’t arrive straight so the car slid down from the jack when the guys were changing the tyres. Then after the stop we couldn’t get the jack out from under the front wing, so it cost me a lot of time, but fortunately in the end it didn’t change anything for the team. After that first stop I was behind Heikki Kovalainen and it was not possible to stay closer than six or seven tenths, as any closer than that and I was losing downforce. After the second stop I was in front of him and then I had to get by Nico Rosberg. I had new tyres and a pretty light car, while because of his one stop strategy he was on old tyres, so I went very quickly out of Parabolica, which was not easy after you spend so much time behind someone. However, I braked much later and was able to get by.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th):
“It was a good weekend for us. We showed a competitive pace and we’ve been happy with our performance all weekend. The team’s made good progress following the test here last week, and the hard work paid off with a really a big step forward. Well done to Toyota as Monza’s an engine track and we held our own. It’s also great to get more points for both the championships.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (7th):
“I was on the limit every lap today, and we just didn't have the pace over the full race distance to make up any ground. I got a fantastic start, passed Kubica and was fighting with Heidfeld going into the Curva Grande, but he put me on the grass and I had to back off, which meant I lost a place to Kubica as well. After that, it was quite a lonely race. I passed Robert at the first stop, and kept him behind me for the middle stint, but we just didn't have enough pace to come out ahead of Rosberg after my last pit-stop. Everybody did a good job today, and there were no mistakes at all. But unfortunately, this was the maximum we could do.”

Jenson Button, Honda (8th):
“It was nice to get a point today but it was a frustrating race for me as I had so much understeer on the first stint. We run such low front wing around this circuit that it is very easy to lock the front tyres, particularly at Parabolica, and I flat-spotted the front right which meant I was losing grip through every right-hand corner. This meant that I couldn't fend off Rosberg and the long first stint of 33 laps compromised me even further. So it was frustrating as we could have had a better result but we did our very best this weekend and a point is definitely some reward. The team have done a great job and everyone is in good spirits, so I'm pleased to have got another point for them. They really deserve it.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull (9th):
“I had a pretty good start and a good scrap with Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg over the first few laps. I tried to be as consistent as possible on the heavy load fuel I was running, and to keep the best rhythm I could, but it wasn’t easy as the car wasn’t that easy to drive. It was one of the most difficult races I’ve done in terms of inconsistent balance, so we need to improve that and sort out some of the reliability issues that are still affecting us. It’s disappointing to only finish ninth after the effort we’ve put in over the last few weeks.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (10th):
“It was a good race today but unfortunately all of the cars in the midfield also had a competitive race and there were five cars racing within about ten seconds. We had a good pace and I put in some really good laps on the prime tyres but unfortunately my challenge for a better position was over when Webber was just able to get out ahead at the second pit stop. However we have been better all weekend which is down to some really hard work from the team and I look forward to having more competitive races for the remainder of the season.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (11th):
“It was a pity that we made such a poor getaway because our pace was good today and we could have made the points. Unfortunately once again we had problems at the start. I lost three positions and from then on it was a different race. The car was competitive and consistent but after the first few corners I was in traffic for the rest of the afternoon. I was quicker than the cars in front but it was impossible to overtake here. This shows that when the gaps in the midfield battle are so tight, one little detail can make all the difference and you need to get everything right. We still have a lot of work to do but first we must look for a better result in Spa.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (12th):
“I made a really good start, then got blocked out by several cars - and ended up losing position to Davidson because of it. Coulthard hit the back of my car on lap two I think, and it damaged the rear endplate on the left hand side. I also had understeer all through the race, so the balance wasn't perfect. In the first stint, I was losing time behind the Aguri, but it was only near to the pit-stops that I had enough extra pace to pass him into turn 1. After that, we all had pretty much the same strategy, and there was nothing much to do to gain positions. So we turned the engine right down, and looked after it because I have to use it again in Spa. Hopefully, things will go better for us there.”

Alexander Wurz, Williams (13th):
“It was a difficult first stint for me. We went with a very aggressive strategy but having a heavy fuel load had a negative effect on my rears and I just couldn’t get the speed I needed. It all comes down to my qualifying position. Making a mistake on Saturday means you’re chasing it during the race, but I like the challenge.”

Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (14th):
“After a reasonably good start everyone was fairly well behaved into Turn One, but Vettel made contact with the rear of my car which damaged the diffuser. The car seemed to be quite good on a heavy fuel load and I was able to challenge Wurz in the Williams and also Fisichella. I then overtook him when he made a mistake round Parabolica and we had a good fight, which was probably the highlight of my race. Then as the fuel loads came down I think that we just struggled for speed a bit and it was hard to keep the faster cars behind me, but I managed to hold off Ralf (Schumacher) in the Toyota right to the end, so I am happy enough with that.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (15th):
“That was a very disillusioning result for both of us. It didn’t work very well and it was a struggle for us today. Jarno managed to handle it better than me this weekend but I could see that the race here in Monza would not be our strongest race. We still have some problems with kerbs and that makes a big difference at Monza. The first corner is always chaotic here but today it went relatively smoothly for me. Of course even if you’re at the back you still push hard and I tried to drive as quickly as possible. We have much to analyse but now we must turn our attentions to next race. We had a good test at Spa so we can aim for a better result there.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (16th):
“On the way to, and also on the grid, I felt the brake pedal had gone really soft and I clearly had a problem, but at that time there was nothing we could do. I tried to warm up the car on the formation lap and then the front brakes caught fire when I got back to the grid and there was a lot of smoke, which I was really worried about it. I didn’t have a good feeling about the brakes, but into Turn One I was able to make up some places. My front brake was really fading and I was struggling with the car as it locked the rear wheel a lot. I couldn't stop because the front didn't have any bite and as a result I lost a few places. The safety car then helped me to cool down the brakes and they came back to reasonable level. After that I was able to recover my race, overtake a few cars and push my way through. On the last stint the option tyre came into reasonable grip and I was able to do a good lap time, but overall it was a tough race.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (17th):
“The most positive thing from this weekend is that we saw the chequered flag again. In the race we did not have enough pace to get ahead of the cars in front. From my point of view I had a good race, although I had a bit of understeer in the first stint, which cost me a lot of time. My second stint was quite strong. Our pace was not too bad after we improved the car on Saturday morning, but in qualifying we did not get the most out of the car. We struggled to stay with other cars when we were in their slipstream as I really lost a lot of downforce when I was near to other cars. All we can do now is to look forward to trying again in Spa.”

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (18th):
“My start was okay and then I saw David (Coulthard) coming up my right hand side, which forced me to go round the outside and then in the second chicane, unfortunately I ran into Davidson. It was partly my fault. I was happy the safety car came out as I didn't lose too much. But later, I had a big problem with the brakes and we will have to find out what caused it. I was hardly able to stop the car and at this high speed track you need to have confidence in the brakes. Today was a bit frustrating, after I had a good day yesterday.”

Adrian Sutil, Spyker (19th):
“Today was not such a good day, but we did at least get to the finish with the new car. The car balance was not great and at the start it was difficult to keep the temperature in the tyres under the safety car so I had a bad first stint. The second stint was a little bit better but I still had some understeer with the car. It's not been the best weekend but we'll be better in Belgium I'm sure.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker (20th):
“Today from the start we were fighting with the other cars and we had made the most of the two stop strategy. I could push and keep up with the field without problems, but in the end we lost a bit of time compared to the others. I am quite happy to make it to the end with the B-spec car and for the next race I will keep pushing and look forward to it.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
“I touched the back of Fisichella’s car in the middle of the first chicane and broke my front wing. When I accelerated, the downforce pushed the wing underneath the front of the car and broke the steering. I went straight off the track and into the tyres, that was the end of the weekend.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (DNF):
"I am very disappointed. It's horrible to see your chances go in the early stages because of a reliability problem. There was something not working with the rear suspension: coming into Ascari I could feel a problem under braking and came into the pits, thinking it might be due to a puncture. However, once the tyres were changed that was still undriveable and I had to retire. We must tackle the coming races with the same spirit. Here we were competitive and I think that will be the same in the near future. This is very disappointing but these things happen in racing."