Monaco Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 25 May 2008
McLarens Lewis Hamilton on fulfilling his childhood ambition with victory in Monaco; Bourdais and Coulthard on their dramatic exits; and Adrian Sutil on the bitter end to what could have been a dream race for Force India; all the drivers report back on the Monte Carlo action
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st):
"I am absolutely over the moon. To win here in Monaco is the highlight of my career and an occasion I will always remember. I want to thank everybody in the team for their fantastic job, and also my family for their continuous support. It was a very eventful race. I started well and immediately overtook Kimi, and also saw a chance to attack Felipe, but then the rain got heavier and visibility worsened. At the Tabac corner, there was a lot of water on the track, and suddenly I had oversteer and hit the barrier. It was just a slight touch, but the tyre was damaged and I had to pit. Fortunately, the first Safety Car period helped me to close the gap to the front. We changed our strategy, and I had to make only one more stop. When I was about 40 seconds ahead the team told me over the radio to take it easy. The second Safety Car period brought more excitement, but I was able to control the race also after the second re-start. What a day and what a result!
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (2nd):
"I am very happy with the result. I didn't expect us to have the pace to finish second. It was a great race with very difficult driving conditions, and we did not expect such heavy rain. I had visibility and tyre problems throughout the whole race. I was trying to do as few mistakes as possible, as it is very dangerous if you make a mistake here."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd):
"A shame to have ended up third because of a series of events that did not go in our favour, which can easily happen in these conditions and on this track. At the start, I was very quick and the car was perfect, but then I made a mistake at the first corner, braking on the yellow line and I lost a place to Robert. But after just a few laps I was right behind him and I knew I could push harder. We decided to switch strategies thinking the rain was going to return, but this turned out to be the wrong choice. On full tanks and on a drying track, the standard rain tyres did not have the same grip as the ones my nearest rivals were using. On top of that, there was a radio blackout between the car and the pits for part of the race. Given everything that happened, these six points are still important in light of the championship: we have only got through the first third of the season and there is still a long way to go."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (4th):
That was good, a great result which gives us a lot of points. It wasnt the most exciting race in the world in terms of racing, but it was very difficult early on in the wet conditions and we were aqua-planning at Casino. It was definitely over the edge for the intermediate tyres for a few laps when it was raining hard, but then it started to dry and we had to think about changing tyres. It would have been good to have had a little bit more fuel as we had to change to dry tyres maybe five laps earlier than we would have liked. It wasnt ideal, but the team did such a good job, both at the track and at the factory in Milton Keynes, its great to get a strong result.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (5th):
The race today was extremely difficult, especially at the start when with all the water on the track surface there was a lot of aquaplaning. But we were very strong as the track began to dry and thats what made the difference. Its great to score my first points of the season at Monaco and with the new car as well. A big thank you to the team, who worked so hard to understand the car and improve it over the weekend. And a special thanks for the pit stop which was fantastic and gained me two places. These points are a nice present for one of our mechanics, Gaggio, who has been with the team for ever and we will have a nice party for him tonight with something to celebrate as this is his last race with the team.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (6th):
"It feels great to be back in the points today and I'm really happy for myself and for the team. We had a good race, however it was unfortunate that I was held up by Trulli for so long early on, otherwise it could have been even better. I'm glad to get the monkey off my back in terms of scoring points as it has been quite a wait, but I never lost the faith. We are capable of good points results and I hope this is the start of a stronger period for us. We just need to keep our heads down and keep pushing forward."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (7th):
"It was really a difficult race, especially at the beginning when the track was very wet. I couldnt see anything in front of me, or at the rear, so I just tried to keep the car on track. I think we had some luck with the weather and the track conditions as I was on a onestop strategy and it really worked well for me. It was a shame to have a problem in my pit-stop, but I still finished in the points so I am quite happy."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (8th):
An extremely difficult race with any chance of finishing in a top position already gone when I could not engage a gear at the start of the formation lap. Consequently I had to change the steering wheel in the pit lane from where I had to start my race. I tried to push as hard as I could, but could only go at my real pace when there was a gap. It is a pity, because my car was good and the speed was there. At least I scored one point at the end and now look forward to the next Grands Prix where I will go maximum attack to finish with good results.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (9th):
"A very poor race for me, right from the off. There was a problem with a wheel before the start and we broke the rules, which meant I was given a drive-through penalty. During the race, my main problem was trying to get the tyres to work as well as possible. Then we decided to change the strategy as we expected it to rain again, but it didn't happen. Twice I had to change the nose after breaking the front wing. So, as you can see, a long run of things going wrong which explains the 0 points. I am sorry for Sutil, who I hit with just a few laps to go. I lost control of the car under braking coming out of the tunnel and I could do nothing to avoid him. It's a shame how things went today, as we had the potential to do well. It's true that I've lost the championship lead, but I always said the championship would be a very long one. Now we must prepare as well as possible for Canada where we will try to make up for this disappointment."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (10th):
We were not able to achieve what I think would have been possible in a normal race. The track was always changing; the car was sensitive and I made some mistakes. After that, we tried to change our strategy, but it did not really pay off, which is a shame. As we are not fighting for the championship we certainly took our chances and some risky choices, but today that did not work and we must hope that the next race in Montreal goes better.
Jenson Button, Honda (11th):
"My race today was really disappointing. I had a bad start and dropped a couple of places after getting caught on the inside of turn one. I got round the outside of Rubens in the hairpin and Webber after the tunnel going into the chicane. I was alongside Heidfeld through the Swimming Pool when he overshot the corner. On the exit, I thought there was enough space for me to go down the inside but there wasn't and I touched his rear wheel with my nose, breaking my front wing and damaging the bargeboards. So unfortunately that was my race compromised on the first lap. Later in the race, I got hit from behind by Kovalainen which damaged the rear and spun me off at the chicane. So it was a messy race and I'm disappointed as we should have come away from here with some points given the pace of the car. However Rubens had a good drive and stayed out of trouble to bring points home for the team, so well done to him."
Timo Glock, Toyota (12th):
"That just wasn't a good day for me. It would have been possible to score points but I just made too many mistakes and I am sorry for the team. I made a good start and passed Webber on the run down to the first corner. Then I spun a couple of laps later and had to come in. We switched to extreme wets for the first stint but they became harder as the track dried. Soon after our pit stop the track dried out further and we pitted again for dry tyres. Then it was just about bringing the car home. We will hope for better next time."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th):
"This has been a hard weekend and today was one of those days when things just didn't work out for us. At one stage it was raining really hard and we took the gamble to go on extreme wet tyres. That went well at the beginning because I
was quicker and I did several good overtaking manoeuvres. But then the rain stopped and I was really struggling with extreme wets on a drying track. Unfortunately here you are always stuck in traffic and I lost a lot of positions during our pit stops. Towards the end of the race we put the dry tyres on and I brought the car home."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (14th):
"After the awful qualifying yesterday the early laps of the race went very well for me, despite the tricky track conditions. I was up to fifth, but unfortunately Fernando Alonso made a mistake and crashed into the side of my car. This caused heavy damage to the left hand side of my car, and due to a puncture I had to pit. I was then last and, because of the damaged car, I had no chance at all to improve. It is a Sunday to forget. But this is not too easy."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (DNF):
"I can't believe it, it was so close. It feels like a pain in my heart. It is like a dream gone to a nightmare - suddenly you are in the car and it looks all fantastic, then you have to accept it is not going to happen. We had a really good strategy and it seemed to work and we were so close to the podium and the points. It was after the restart after the final safety car that Kimi had a problem under braking and crashed into the back of my car. The race was over and it was a real shock. A few tears came out as the adrenaline was high - I just can't explain it. All the same I am so pleased that we did show what we can finally do as a team."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (DNF):
Nelson Piquet, Renault (DNF):
I had a difficult weekend and I am extremely disappointed. The conditions on the track were changing, but we took the risk to switch to dry tyres when the track was still damp and tricky, which is when I went off and damaged the car. But I will not dwell on this and feel sorry for myself. I must remain focused for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (DNF):
"At the beginning of the race I was just careful to be out of the trouble, but then I lost first and second gear and I was running third gear. Even with the conditions the lap times were competitive and then I lost fourth gear and the race was over. It's a real shame for the team, especially after Adrian's performance that we could not score our first points here."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (DNF):
Its was always going to be a race where you had to be very careful at the beginning. I was having difficulty with my downshifts and got caught out on the entry to Casino; I corrected, corrected and corrected, but then ran out of road. It looked like Sebastien (Bourdais) had a similar event and then found me in an area where he was about to have his crash. Im extremely disappointed as this is a race where keeping out of trouble gives you a good chance of getting points. But, that said, the boys did a great job to recover the car after the qualifying accident and Im obviously very happy that they scored a fourth place with Mark.
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (DNF):
The conditions were complicated as it is never easy to drive on these intermediate tyres when there is standing water on the track surface. As far as my accident was concerned, David had gone off the track. For some reason, even though it seemed to have stopped raining by then, there was more water on the track at that point than before and when I saw the yellow flags, I backed off a bit more and lost control of the rear of the car.