French Grand Prix - selected driver quotes 22 Jun 2008
Toyotas Jarno Trulli on his first podium since 2005; Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on scoring eight points despite exhaust problems; and McLarens Lewis Hamilton on his weekend to forget. The drivers report back on all the action in Magny-Cours
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st):
"A great race, a fantastic result. The win came my way because Kimi had a problem with his car and at the pace he was running, it would have been hard for me to beat him on the track. I would have been happy with second place but of course, the win makes me even happier. I want to thank the whole team and our partners, especially Shell. I am leading the championship and that's a nice feeling, but I am well aware it means nothing because I am aiming for the title and to do that, there is still a long way to go. In the first part of the race I was struggling a bit to stay in touch with Kimi, then when his exhaust broke, I managed to get by. In the second part, I thought of managing the situation, making sure I made no mistakes, especially when there were a few drops of rain. We have to continue working this way, race after race, right to the end of the championship."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (2nd):
"Obviously I am a bit disappointed because I had hoped to win. Unfortunately, the right exhaust pipe broke just before half-distance and the engine lost a lot of power, especially on the straight after the slow corners. After a few laps, the situation seemed better, but towards the end of the race, I ran the risk of stopping. This sort of thing can happen in racing and I have to try and look on the bright side: eight points are still a good amount and the one-two finish is a great result for the team. Luckily, I had built up quite a good lead in the first part thanks to a car that was really very competitive. The F2008 is definitely very strong because usually, when you have this sort of problem, retirement is almost inevitable. There is still a long way to go in the championship and I am in a better position than I was at this stage last year: let's see what I can do in the next part of the series."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (3rd):
"What a great result and a great weekend by the whole team. We were pushing really hard because we wanted to dedicate this result to Ove Andersson, who has done so much for Toyota Motorsport. Today was a great race, hard and tough. We had a good pace, even if we had to battle with some cars that were quicker than us. I had to fight really hard but that is what people should expect both from myself and from Toyota. When the rain came at the end I had to take care because it's always difficult to judge how bad it is when you're in front. But I got back into a rhythm and had a wheel-to-wheel fight with Heikki (Kovalainen), just like in go-karts. The team made no mistakes this weekend, from the people in the factory who made the new parts on the car to the mechanics who did perfect pit stops today. There's still more to do but today we can be very satisfied. The team is doing a great job, the car is much more competitive and everyone is motivated. Things are moving on."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (4th):
Given yesterdays grid penalty, this was a very good result. It also shows that we had a great strategy to be able to come from 10th on the grid to fourth at the finish. During the first stint I lost a lot of time trying to get past slower cars; but, after that, fortunately, I was able to overtake, build a cushion and close the gap to the guys in front. The car felt fantastic throughout the whole race and the Bridgestone Potenza tyres worked really well. During the closing laps, I found myself behind Jarno and tried everything I could to overtake him, but I just couldnt quite make it. He defended third place very well, so well done to him for that.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (5th):
"We didn't score as many points as we wanted to here in Magny-Cours. Over the whole weekend we tried to minimize the problems we had, and we knew the race would be decided on the first lap. At the start I tried to overtake Jarno Trulli, but did not manage it. I tried again in turn 5 on the outside, but it did not work out. In the end I have to say I am pretty happy. I finished fifth, only 2 seconds away from the podium. We now have to analyse what happened here and see how we can improve for the next race."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (6th):
My start wasnt great, but my first stint wasnt too bad in terms of pace. I was trying to keep up with Fernando (Alonso) as I knew he was short and I put in some laps that were right on the edge before the first stop. On my out lap I knew I was still under pressure from others who were going a bit longer and jumped the kerbs a bit hard when I was on fresh tyres with heavy fuel. I had a big moment, although I managed to save it. I then settled in behind Fernando again, but his strategy didnt work out as well, which was good for us. Its good for the team to get some more points today. It was a tough week in the build up to this race, in terms of effort from the factory and the boys at the track, and three points is not to be sniffed at. Toyota had a strong race today, but well have more in the future.
Nelson Piquet, Renault (7th):
"Its the first time that everything has gone without any problems for me. The car and the teams strategy worked well and I was able to score my first couple of points today. I am happy and I hope that we can continue like this for the rest of the season."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th):
"I have to be disappointed today. I am sure we could have fought for the podium, but I lost too many positions at the start, and after that I was not able to find the pace I had shown yesterday. The car was fast in a straight line, but I still couldnt make any progress. I scored a point, but Im determined to do better for the British Grand Prix."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (9th):
Im disappointed that from a good grid position I lost three places at the start, two off the line and one when Kovalainen passed me round the outside into Turn Five. I found the balance on the prime tyres wasnt as good as expected in the cooler conditions and the option was performing better than we thought. That was different from what we found the other day in practice, but some races go for you and some dont.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (10th):
My drive-through penalty was an extremely close call: I felt Id got past Vettel fairly and was ahead going into the corner. But I was on the outside and couldnt turn-in in case we both crashed, then I lost the back-end and drove over the kerb. But, after that, I got my head down and pushed hard until the end of the race. Ive been out of the points for three races now - but there are still 10 to go. Kimi came from behind to win last years championship, so theres no reason to be disheartened. Im 10 points behind, but Im determined to bounce back at Silverstone in front of my home crowd.
Timo Glock, Toyota (11th):
"That was a difficult day for me. I made a good start, the car felt good for the first stint and I was able to push hard. But after the pit stop I struggled to maintain the same pace because I had some tyre graining and I then had major understeer. That meant the car was sliding around for much of the race. It didn't work out for us in terms of strategy either. I lost ground at each of the pit stops and in the end we just dropped out of the points. Still it's great for Jarno to take third place and the podium, a perfect result for him and the team. We have clearly made progress since the last test and our pace means I am determined to come away with better results in the coming races."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (12th):
I think we can be proud of ourselves because we had a very strong race. We started and finished P12, but we were in a part of the pack that included McLaren and BMW. I think we did a fantastic job of keeping ahead of one BMW simply because we had a better pace. We were not so lucky in terms of traffic and I would have liked the rain to come and help us a bit in the last fifteen laps but unfortunately it only arrived 15 minutes after the finish! Overall, we can be happy. It was not an easy race and I had a lot of graining which made life harder. Definitely a step forward in performance terms compared to the last couple of races.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (13th):
"Having finished 13th is certainly a disappointing result. I lost two positions right at the start and could not get them back. Now we will concentrate on next week's test in Silverstone and the forthcoming race there."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th):
"It was in many ways a great race today, just with a difficult car. At least we were able to progress up the field and make a fight of it. As we expected, the car was slightly better in race trim and with a good strategy and great pit stops, we were able to improve on my starting position and challenge the people we were able to. Our engineers and mechanics did a great job this weekend, so I would like to thank them for their hard work and motivation. However there is no escaping the fact that this has been a painful weekend for us. We have a lot of hard work ahead at the test in Silverstone next week where we aim to improve the competitiveness of the car for the next few races with some new developments."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (15th):
It was a difficult race for us. We decided to go for a two stop strategy, which was the best direction to take under the circumstances. All weekend weve been suffering with a lack of pace and that hurt us during the race. We couldnt have done much better today.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (16th):
In Canada, I was fighting the Ferraris and the BMWs, and here I was fighting at the back of the pack. Its incredible, and not a very nice feeling. I thought I would be able to fight a bit more; I was giving it my all as usual, but the car simply didnt have the speed and it was very difficult. I am now looking to score some points at Silverstone - at least I wont have a grid penalty there!
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (17th):
As soon as Nakajima, who was on a one-stop, got ahead of me at the start, when my engine bogged down a little bit, it compromised my race. I lost touch with the pack ahead and then I had to let Raikkonen past, but as he was in difficulty, I was actually pulling away from him, but I still had waved blue flags, which I thought was a bit harsh, so I lost around three seconds letting him by and then more time behind him.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (18th):
"Our target from today's race was to get to the end of the race and we did, so I am pleased from this respect as we have not finished the last three races. We had more reliability from the car but the pace was not as good as we would have liked at times. It was better than yesterday, but we need a step forward to move on. I'm looking forward to the Silverstone test now where we have some new parts that should deliver some more improvements."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (19th):
"We have had some better races this year. It was a bit frustrating. Both myself and Giancarlo had a very aggressive strategy to try to make up some more places in the race, but we also needed to have some luck. Unfortunately nothing happened in the race to other people so I had lots of times when I had to move over to let cars on the lead lap go past and got out of the rhythm. This was disappointing, seeing the cars passing you when you are lapping well. In the middle stint the pace was okay, it was just the strategy didn't work out in the end."
Jenson Button, Honda (DNF):
"Going out of the race so early is a disappointing end to what has been a tough weekend for us. I got a good start and was alongside Bourdais. I thought he was going to turn in at turn one and close the door so I pulled in behind him and then unfortunately hit him in the rear as everything slowed down for the corner. I could feel that there was something broken at the front of the car as there was an air coming in from the front, but the car was driveable and I was staying with the back of the pack so I continued. However the front wing must have been loose as a result of the impact, as it dislodged itself when I went over the kerbs in the last chicane and got stuck under the front of the car. We replaced the nose but the bargeboards had been pulled off and the car had become undriveable so I had to retire. It's my home Grand Prix next and we have a busy programme at the Silverstone test next week to prepare, so we will stay positive and keep looking forward."