Turkish Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 11 May 2008
Ferraris Felipe Massa on his third successive win at Istanbul Park; McLarens Heikki Kovalainen on the puncture that cost him a points finish; and Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella and Williams Kazuki Nakajima on the collision that ruled them both out of the race. All 20 drivers report back on the action
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st):
"Its fantastic to have got the hat trick here in Istanbul: it might really almost be worth asking for a Turkish passport! It was a very tough race but the team work magnificently, giving me a great car. When Hamilton came underneath me at an incredible pace, I preferred not to take too many risks: the pit wall informed he that he was cleary running a lighter fuel load even if we were not certain he was on a three stop strategy.
"When that became clear, we were calmer, knowing we had everything in place to go for the win. My engineer, Rob, guided my pace and I drove in such a way as to keep ahead of Lewis. Maybe the hard tyres worked better today, but from what we saw over the weekend, the softs were more competitive and in any case, the difference was not that great. I want to dedicate this win to two people: to my mother on Mother's Day and to Stefano Domenicali whose birthday it is today."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd):
I am so thrilled with todays result, and I think this is the best race ever for me. Its not about winning, its about feeling that you extract 100% from yourself and the car and I did that today. Before the race our prediction was that all being well I would finish fifth, so second is such a bonus. I was not happy with my performance yesterday and perhaps if I had managed to get the car on pole I could have won. However, we knew that we would have to use a three stop strategy as a precaution as we had some issues with our tyres. The team did a fantastic job, the pitstops were great, and the balance of the car was superb, and we all kept our spirit up. There were no problems with the tyres in the race. I managed to overtake Felipe at one point, and I really think we have closed the gap to Ferrari. I am so excited about the next race in Monaco and just cant wait.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd):
"It was a difficult weekend for me but six points are definitely better than nothing. At the start, I was almost alongside Heikki but then he slowed and I had to brake too to avoid a heavy crash. We touched just enough to damage the end plate of the front wing on my car: it was not a very serious problem, but it definitely didn't help my race. My first set of soft tyres worked very well, but the second was not as good: for the rears, maybe it would have been better to switch immediately to the harder, but that's easy to say with hindsight.
"After a less than great qualifying yesterday, we knew the race would be an uphill struggle. Now we must ensure we are as well prepared as possible for the Monaco Grand Prix, where we struggled in 2007. This winter we worked a lot on the car to concentrate on those shortcomings which we saw at tracks like this. Now we will see if we did enough to be competitive."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (4th):
"Today the pace of the car was much better than in yesterday's third qualifying session. I was happy with its balance. I made a very good start and managed to gain two positions. I was then racing Kimi Raikkonen, but he pitted later and overtook me at the pit stop. I was then a little bit slower than the three guys in front of me, but quicker than the rest of the pack. This was the maximum possible for me today."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th):
This is what I hoped for from ninth on the grid. To finish fifth was the best I could achieve today. I wanted to overtake Jarno Trulli at the start and this worked, then I gained two more positions during the pit stops. After the first stint I had a pretty lonely race and in the end I was even able to reduce the engine revs.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (6th):
We were on the pace this weekend and scored some valuable points today, which confirms the progress we have made recently and is thanks to the hard work of everyone in the team. I made a good start, which was essential for a strong race and after that everything went smoothly. We had a good strategy, the car was well balanced and there were no problems with the tyres, so I am happy. Now we must continue working hard to catch up with the leading teams, but we are in good shape.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (7th):
Im happy to get two points. It wasnt the most exciting race; I was just trying to hold on to Fernando (Alonso), which wasnt easy as he was a bit too strong for us today. It would have been nice to be able to fight him a little bit more. I was cruising a little in the last stint, as Rosberg wasnt a threat. Getting more points is good for the team, especially after the way they turned my car round after my shunt on Friday, but were not satisfied with getting just points now - we want to get more. But, I have the same number of points that I had in total last year, so were doing okay.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (8th):
I am happy with my result. I had a fantastic first lap, although I very nearly lost it all when Heidfeld went wide while I was alongside him. He didnt know I was there, so I had to go off the track. When I came back on, I was all over the place but I then passed Coulthard and Trulli on the outside of Turn Three. I gave it my all on every lap and it was a fantastic race for me today. Anymore, though, is just not possible at the moment, but I am looking forward to the next two races which traditionally suit our car.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (9th):
I just missed out on points today, which is frustrating, but Ive looked around my car and theres no damage, so at least we finished a race without colliding with anyone! I raced as hard as I could. I dropped half a second just before my second pit stop and came out just behind Nico (Rosberg), which was probably the deciding factor. I think the strategy guys did a good job today, I just wasnt able to eek the last little bit of pace out of the car. I had a little bit of understeer and difficult drivability getting the throttle open, which cost a tenth of a second per lap.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (10th):
My race was spoiled at the start. There was a bit of confusion in the first corner, I think I was touched by a car and I lost three positions. That was it for my race because after that I couldn't do anything to make up the ground. From the first lap to the last I tried to push to find a way past Coulthard. We were quite close but unfortunately with these cars as soon as you get two lengths behind the other car you just lose grip and start going off. I kept pushing as hard as possible all race but this was as good as we could do today."
Jenson Button, Honda (11th):
"Although I managed to improve slightly on my start position, it was a disappointing race for us. The start was clean and I had a pretty good first lap, however our pace wasn't as good as we expected it to be during the race. I had a problem on my first stint with the front tyres, caused by the brakes overheating, which cost me a bit of time.
"We then changed our strategy to a one-stop which worked pretty well. Unfortunately the difference in fuel loads really tells here so it was difficult to hold back the quicker cars behind me who were two-stopping. We need to make some further improvements to the car before we are able to challenge for the points again."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (12th):
Not a lucky race for me as I made a bad start from the dirty line on the grid. After the start Kimi and I touched slightly which caused a slow puncture to my left-rear tyre. Initially I was not sure whether the tyre was damaged or not, but during the Safety Car period I realised that I had to come into the pits for a new tyre. That was almost it for me, because with my heavy fuel load and the traffic it is extremely difficult to gain any places during the race. However, I did my best but no points. These things happen, and I have had a good weekend and really enjoyed being back in the car. Its a shame that we were not able to get points today as I have been fast throughout, but I am really optimistic for Monaco.
Timo Glock, Toyota (13th):
"The pace of the car was not too bad today but the race was just destroyed by being stuck in traffic. I made a slow start and I had to avoid the accident with Fisichella and Nakajima. In the first stint I was behind Barrichello and quicker than him but I could not get past. After the pit stop Button was on soft tyres while we were on hard tyres that were working well and giving us good performance. Unfortunately at that stage I was being lapped by the leaders and the blue flags made it difficult to challenge. All afternoon I had better pace than the cars in front but I wasn't able to show it so this was a disappointing result."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th):
"It was a frustrating race for us today. Unfortunately we did not have the pace to compete and overall I'm disappointed with the performance of the car. I suffered from understeer and traffic in my first stint so we stopped a little bit early to try and get me out into some space. From then on, it was an uneventful run to the end of the race. We have a lot of work to do over the next couple of tests to try to find some pace."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (15th):
I am satisfied with my performance today. My race started badly as I had to avoid the accident at the start which held me up. After that we just stuck to our strategy and tried to make up ground. The most important thing is that I finished the race and I have gained some more experience. I would have liked to finish further up, but I think that my weekend was determined during the qualifying session yesterday. I will make the most of what I have learned this weekend and put it to use at the next Grand Prix in Monaco, which will be an exciting race.
Adrian Sutil, Force India (16th):
At the start I saw Giancarlo (Fisichella) going straight over Nakajima and there was debris all over the track, so by turns three and four there were cars all over the place. I had some damage on the front wing when another driver touched me through turn five so had to come in to change the nosecone. Luckily the safety car was out and I didn't lose too much time. During the race my balance was not perfect and I had a lot of understeer I couldn't get rid of, but the middle stint was good as I was catching the group in front. At the end of the race I could keep Vettel behind me so was at least it was one position gained.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (17th):
"I had a good start and then, all of a sudden I realised I had a punctured rear left tyre, so I had to pit immediately. My second problem came at the first pitstop, when the refueling rig had a problem, no fuel went in, so I had to come in immediately again. From then on it was a tough race and I could not have done any better. At least I saw the chequered flag."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (DNF):
"Something broke at the back of the car, I don't know what it was yet. Going into Turn 12, I braked at the usual point and the car went sideways, I felt the right rear corner of the car drop and it spun me round. It's a shame, as up until then it had been going quite well and I was just about hanging onto the Toyota in front of me and keeping the Renault behind me. Of course, the problem at my pit stop with the refuelling had not helped."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (DNF):
I dont know exactly what happened; I just went into the first corner following the guy in front. I didnt change my line and I was suddenly hit from behind. I wanted to make it back to the garage as I thought there was a chance to get the problem fixed and get back out, but my car had suffered too much damage so I had to retire. Its a real shame because we showed we had good long run pace on Friday and were expecting to have the same pace in the race, so we could have done well here this afternoon.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (DNF):
I made a good start but then under braking Bourdais changed direction twice and I couldn't brake in time and went into the back of the Williams. I am already looking forward to Monaco. It's my favourite track and I've had some good results there so I have to leave this result behind and concentrate on the next race.