Belgian Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 16 Sep 2007
Adrian Sutil on running in the midfield for Spyker; BMW Saubers Robert Kubica on his epic battle with Renaults Heikki Kovalainen for eighth place; and David Coulthard on his hydraulic woes in the Red Bull. All 22 drivers review Sundays action
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (1st):
"A great day! I had some doubts about the car's handling after yesterday's qualifying, but everything went well. The car worked very well for the whole race: I was quick enough in the first part to control the race after that. It is nice to win here on my favourite track for the third time in a row. Now we must continue to push. We are still a long way off in the championship but we are not giving up and we will keep going right to the very end of the championship."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd):
"It was a good race. I just had a bit of oversteer in the first stint but, at the stop we made a change to the front wing. The soft tyres worked very well and it might have been better to use them even for the first stint but you can only see things like that after the race. I am very happy for the team as we really wanted this one-two! Now, the situation in the championship is a bit better and we will continue to fight to the end, believe it!"
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (3rd):
It was nice to be back at Spa. At the start I was sticking to the inside line as long as possible. Unfortunately Lewis (Hamilton) ran wide, as there was no space left and I knew there was plenty of run off area. I knew that my car in the first stint would be a bit faster as I was stopping one lap earlier than Lewis, so it was very important to be in front. Unfortunately Ferrari was just too quick for us today. I tried quite hard to keep the pace with Felipe in the first stint hoping that I could make up a position in the pitstops, but they were slowly moving ahead - after the first stop it was impossible to catch them. We just seemed to lack a bit of pace in the first and last sectors. It will be a close fight until the end of the championship which the fans will hopefully enjoy.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (4th):
The car didnt feel too bad, it just hasnt worked for me as well as it has at other tracks. I just couldnt seem to improve on my times at all. I got a good start and thought I had a chance to get past at the first corner, but I had to run wide as Fernando kept to the inside line. Initially I thought oh thanks but I guess these things happen when you fight for the world championship. During the race I did the best that I could and was pushing all the way to the end, hence the small mistake in the final laps. I got the points, which is the main thing. The gap between Fernando and myself is now down to two points which is close, but I am just going to go all out in the last three races to try and win the drivers championship.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th):
This time my start wasnt good at all. In the first corner I tried to make up for it, but it didnt work out. I was braking too late and in the end lost out and was on the outside of the pack. I knew I had to overtake Heikki Kovalainen because he was on a one stop strategy. It wasnt easy but possible. When Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber refuelled a lot earlier than me it was clear I could finish ahead of them. Also my lap times were good when I had nobody in front of me and drove in clean air. Towards the end I was under no pressure so reduced the engines revs.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th):
I am absolutely delighted with the result because today we were again the fourth placed team and it really shows that we are making progress from one race to the next. Its also positive for me because a good car allows me to show what I can do and I am now collecting points consistently, which was my target at the start of the season. BMW were too strong today, so finishing sixth was the best possible outcome. I am especially happy that I did well at this challenging track which was amazing to drive. From here I hope I can continue this progress and improve my placing in the drivers championship over the next three races.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (7th):
Its very good for us to get points today, its not always easy for us these days and it was great to beat the other Renault team fair and square. David did great job acting as a buffer in front of Kubica, which assisted me. It was an enjoyable race this afternoon, although today my thoughts are of course with the McRae family and the terrible tragedy that happened yesterday.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (8th):
It felt like I drove half of the race with my mirrors today - and when I had a clear track, the car was too heavy to be able to do the lap-times we needed to make our strategy work. To be honest, with a different strategy, I think we could have achieved a better result today because the car was definitely more competitive than it looked. After doing the long runs on Friday, we thought our pace was enough to make the one-stop strategy work, but it just didn't work out today. But that's life - sometimes, you calculate that the risk is worth taking, and it doesn't pay off.
I had a fantastic start, but after that, I was just defending all the way through. There was a lot of wheel-to-wheel action but personally, I think that kind of thing is more fun when you are attacking! The positive thing to take from the weekend is that the basic speed of the car was actually closer to the top cars than we showed today. That is a good reason to be optimistic for the last three races of the season.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (9th):
This is how it is as sometimes you push and get nothing. I didnt do a very good start, but the race was how we expected it would be - very difficult. It was very difficult behind Heikki Kovalainen as they have much more top speed, so when I was behind him I could not even gain five metres. Also when I was behind David Coulthard after the first pit stop, I was much faster in the corners but as soon as we were on the straights it was not possible to stay behind him. I lost a lot of time as I was behind him for almost ten laps, and was running about two seconds a lap slower than I could have done.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (10th):
The race was okay. I did my best and I think we got the best out of the car, but unfortunately it was not quite enough for any points. Looking at it from that perspective, it is frustrating because we pushed the car to the limit and we hoped for more after our competitive pace in practice. On Friday it looked promising but we lost out compared to the other teams and now we need to look at the reasons for that. The next race is at our home track, Fuji Speedway, so the whole team is looking forward to the Japanese Grand Prix. Clearly this is an important race. It is disappointing not to score points here but we will push hard to do that in Japan.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (11th):
That was a difficult afternoon for me. At the first corner I lost a few places because I had to brake and go on the outside after another car braked late. There was nothing I could do. I fell behind other cars who had more fuel on board and were much slower than me, but it was not possible to overtake because we didnt have the straight-line speed. I expected more from the race and if you look at the performance of the car when I was not in traffic, we were quite competitive and I was happy with the balance. Now we will focus on Fuji Speedway for the Japanese Grand Prix and I hope we can get a better result in our home race. We will be working hard in the test this week to improve and we will try our best as always.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (12th):
I feel I drove a good race, with some nice passing moves. This weekend started on Friday with several problems, but qualifying went very well and I gained two places on the grid because of other people's problems. So I dont think we could have done better. Given how difficult this track is, I think the weekend went better than expected, as we showed we had a good race pace compared to the Red Bull Racing cars. It was a job well done apart from a problem with the right front wheel during the pit stop which cost me a few seconds, that meant I could not fight with Button. But he retired anyway.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (13th):
This has been a pretty frustrating weekend for us because we have been struggling with the car from start to finish. Today, carrying that amount of fuel for a one-stop strategy, the rears were locking badly and I was fighting the car the whole race. Now we have to look forward to Tuesday, the start of our test in Jerez, where we will test the car in a different configuration - hopefully a better one so we can make some progress in the remaining three races.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (14th):
This is the first time I am smiling after getting out of the car! It was a good race and every lap there were cars in front and behind that I was racing so I had to really push, but also defend. It was a great feeling, especially the first run, which was crazy - I could take one car after another and got up to 12th before the first pit stop. We didnt have any trouble in the stops, everything went very smoothly, and I think 14th place with the B-spec car is very good.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (15th):
It was a good race, under the difficult circumstances. I made up a few places at the start, but on the Kemmel straight, when I was side by side with a Toro Rosso, I was pushed off and so had to run on the green and lost a lot of momentum. I then had to keep battling to make up my lost positions, but I had fun doing it and had some exciting moments. That shows how great the Spa circuit is for Formula One; that there are overtaking opportunities and that its a challenging circuit. Its just a shame that we did not have the speed today, and that was frustrating. However, all-in-all I think that we have a taken a few positive notes here before we head off to the Japanese Grand Prix..
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (16th):
It was a pretty uneventful race for me. I had to start from the pitlane after feeling a problem on the front end of the car on the out lap, so that was a shame. But I caught up with the back of the pack and really fought hard on my one-stop strategy to make the most of it, and I think we did. I was stuck on the prime tyre for longer than I wanted and just as the options came into the working window. From then on I just had to bring the car home. It was good to see our strategy pay off and I think that weve learnt a lot from this weekend and will move forward for the last three races.
Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker (17th):
From the start I really pushed as I could set the same pace as the other drivers, but I had a soft tyre that gave a a lot of understeer. On my first stop we went to the harder tyre and made a wing change so the car became much better balanced and I could push for the rest of the race distance. It was a good result and I think we can be pleased as this weekend we have shown how much we can do with the B-spec. The next race in Fuji will be my home Grand Prix so I am now really looking forward to racing there.
Jenson Button, Honda (DNF):
It's always disappointing to retire from a race but it was six laps less pain as the car was so difficult to drive. We expected a tough race this weekend, having tested the revised circuit back in July, so it was no surprise that the car has not been working well here. It was a tough race and the car was changing from huge oversteer to understeer throughout the lap. Then the clutch started slipping, the power steering failed and it was clear we had experienced a hydraulic failure. Disappointing, but we head to Jerez next week with new developments for our home race in Japan and let's hope for better things in Fuji.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (DNF):
Starting from 15th on the grid was anything but ideal and it was terribly frustrating. But it was all uphill because we had some fuel pressure problems during the race. The problem got worse and worse, so I had to do an extra pitstop and try and recover fuel pressure, but it didnt work, so the team called me in before things got worse. I think it is easy to understand why I am not happy with todays result.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
I had to stop due to a hydraulic related issue, I lost throttle control and power steering. On Friday the car failed in Eau Rouge, which is never good, but fortunately this time it happened on a straight, so I had more room to manoeuvre my car out of the way of the others. Theres no way you can get it back to the pits in that situation, as you have no throttle control. The car was very heavy at the beginning of the race, so I was quite slow, but as the fuel came off, I found more performance. The car wasnt too good when exiting the corners today, or braking into the chicane and the hairpin; in fact there were a lot of problems which arent usual for this car, so we need to try and understand what went wrong today.
In line with many people, Im shocked and saddened to hear of the loss to the McRae family, of father and son, and obviously we must acknowledge the other family that were on board the helicopter as well. Colin was a remarkable man who wore his heart on this sleeve and was the epitome of a racer; fearless and attacking, yet he remained true to his roots and grounded despite the international fame and recognition that he achieved. The world is a sorrier place without him.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (DNF):
I retired because I could not steer the car to the right. It was a problem with the steering but we don't yet know exactly what it was. In left hand corners it was fine. The problem was getting worse and at first we thought it might be something related to the tyres. But as soon as I left the pits with new tyres and went into the first right hand corner, I could feel the same problem. A real shame as the race was only five laps old and we seemed to have quite a good race pace.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (DNF):
There is not much to say after such a short race. We started from the pit-lane, so we could use the car with a lower downforce set-up to try and make up positions. But when I came to turn five, I braked and the car just didn't slow down. It went straight on, I touched the barrier and broke the front-left suspension. I managed to get back to the pits, but there was nothing we could do to continue.