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2001 Brazilian Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said  

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Drivers Championship Constructors Championship
Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said

McLaren ( David Coulthard - 1st, Mika Hakkinen - Retired )

Ron Dennis: "Of course it goes without saying that this was one of David's best drives. He and his engineers did a great job at optimising the car for the different weather conditions that we predicted prior to the race. His pace in the rain was sensational and his discipline once in the lead was extreme. In the end the points speak for themselves. Mika's clutch problem effectively eliminated him immediately. The pit lane entrance being so far from the start line made it impossible for the mechanics to restart his engine. There are still 14 races to go and you only have to look at last year to appreciate that this Championship is still wide open."

David Coulthard: "I am really happy with today's result and it couldn't have happened without the hard work put in by the entire team these past couple of weeks. When you start a race from fifth you don't expect to win, which made today's result even more special. It was a race where we used the right strategy and took a good decision with the set-up. We were certain that it was going to rain and set the car up for this, which meant it was not working to its optimum in the dry conditions at the start of the race. We still have some work to do and are expecting to improve the car and engine even further for San Marino - I can't wait."

Mika Hakkinen: "Obviously I am very disappointed and I'm not quite sure what happened. The lights came on and I was getting ready to go but then the clutch behaved unpredictably, and it cut the engine immediately, and that was the end of my Brazilian Grand Prix."

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Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 2nd, Rubens Barrichello - Retired )

Jean Todt: "Todayís second place has put an end to our run of consecutive wins. The race was full of incidents and surprises and for us, it got off to a difficult start, with Rubens parked at the side of the track when his engine stopped with no fuel pressure. The team did an exceptional job in adapting the spare to suit the Brazilian. On the third lap, Rubens had and unfortunate coming together with Ralf Schumacher, forcing him to retire. I am very disappointed for him, here in front of his home crowd. Michael had set out on a two stop strategy, which did not work, because of events in the opening laps. The Safety Car dealt a new pack of cards, which wiped out the advantage Michael had built up after the start. Once the race re-started, he was passed by Montoya and was not able to retake the lead. When the rain came, we thought the situation might turn in our favour, which has often been the case in these conditions. However, Michaelís car proved difficult to drive in this situation and we could not exploit the conditions. Nevertheless, the six points are important for both Championships because we know this will be a long and difficult season. We have to consider that the fight at the front is no longer a duel as a third competitor has now got involved. In the hunt are three different engines and two tyre companies. I am happy that Heidfeld is on the podium, at the wheel of the Sauber-Petronas.Ē

Michael Schumacher: "Montoya's move is easy to explain. He had quite a lot of straight line speed compared with us. With such a long straight from the last corner to the first, you have to give the Safety Car a lot of room, so it is easy for the second placed man to get close and slipstream by. He got it right, braking very late. He pushed me wide, but that is normal racing. We touched but that was not a problem. I thought I might get him back, but I could not. I was on a two stop strategy and I was hoping for rain, because with David in front of me, I thought that would be my best chance. But today, it did not work out for us. The car was not working quite the way I liked it, which is why I had a couple of "offs," which is not normal for me in these conditions. David passed me when we were behind the Minardi, because at first it was on the left of the track. I decided to go right, but the Minardi moved that way also. But at the moment I had to make the decision, the outside line was my only option. In any case, I think David would have passed me later. I am slightly disappointed with the result, but at least I am still leading the championship."

Rubens Barrichello: "This was definitely not my lucky day. On the formation lap there was a problem with my car, which stopped at the side of the track. I ran back to the pits where the mechanics did a great job to adapt the spare for me, as it was set up for Michael. The car was almost perfect and I am grateful to the whole team for giving me the chance to start my home race. They really worked miracles and I am proud of them. I did not make a very good start, but then I soon got into my stride. I was behind Ralf when he suddenly changed line, probably to pass another car and he braked in front of me. I did not expect this and the collision was inevitable after that. These things happen in racing. However, I think we need to get a clear ruling from FIA about how many times one can change line in these circumstances."

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Sauber ( Nick Heidfeld - 3rd, Kimi Raikkonen - Retired )

Peter Sauber: "For the whole team this was a fantastic result, and confirms all the promise we have shown so far this season. For the team is was a difficult thing to advise the drivers on tyre choice, but Nick Heidfeld made a very good decision to inform us that he preferred intermediate tyres in the conditions. Both he and Kimi Raikkonen drove strongly all race, and were in points-scoring contention throughout"

Nick Heidfeld: "I really cannot quite believe this result!
We started the race with a normal dry-road set-up, and everything went well. I had some good battles, and could stay in contention. Then the switch to rain tyres was good. When I was racing with Trulli, I would say he was on wets because he was able to pass me when the track was at its wettest, but on my intermediates I was able to repass him as the conditions improved.
To visit the podium for the first time is incredible for me. I'm so happy for the team. We have really worked for this result. And for me it is just amazing! It's a lot more fun this year to be in the points, especially to finish on the podium."

Kimi Raikkonen: "To begin with I had a little too much understeer, but when it started to rain my car felt good. Unfortunately I spun once, and couldn't get enough traction on the grass to move uphill in the direction of the track, so I had to lose a lot of time rolling downhill before I could get back on to the track. The second time I spun it was just my fault. I know what the right rear tyre looked like on television, hooked over the rim, but that happened as the car skipped over the grass. I thought at one stage it was going to roll over, but it was okay. I'd like to say too that I'm very happy for Nick for his great result."

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BAR ( Olivier Panis - 4th, Jacques Villeneuve - 7th )

Craig Pollock: "I think it is probably one of the most interesting races that I have seen for a long time with all the different scenarios that took place. Yet again the opportunity was there and we didn't manage to capitalise on it which means that we have to look at our own systems. I feel extremely sorry for Olivier because P3 was easily there to be had. It is a great shame because both cars were very reliable and competitive today"

Olivier Panis: "I am very happy to have finished in the points today as I pushed very hard, I was on a two-stop strategy for this race and it was working to plan. I managed to overtake a number of cars quite quickly. We had a problem with the radio, which resulted in a delay for me during my pit stop. After that I pushed very very hard to come back and fight with the other cars that were ahead of me. The final result is very encouraging and I am happy for the team and our sponsors."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It has been a hard day, the team got some points but Olivier should have been on the podium today. We had some problems in the pits, which meant that both cars lost a lot of time. The reality is that we should have both been in the points. It is disappointing because both cars were really strong. I had some problems at the beginning of the race so I had to pit early and then the differential broke so I had to continue to race with a very loose car"

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Jordan ( Jarno Trulli - 5th, Heinz Harald Frentzen - Retired )

Eddie Jordan: "It was looking so good for us until about 10 laps from the finish. It was not to be but it was very good to have Jarno earn his first points of the season. We are naturally very disappointed for Heinz when he had a podium finish in his sights. But this is the third race in succession in which Jordan Grand Prix has scored points, so that is positive. Now we can look forward to returning to Europe after three difficult long-haul races"

Jarno Trulli: "I made a very good start, I was in fourth place and feeling good. We had decided on a one-stop strategy and, about 15 laps before I was due to come in, I began to have problems with the clutch. I was not as quick as before and I was struggling with the rear tyres. Unfortunately, the pit stop was one lap before the rain came, so I had to come in again for intermediate tyres and that cost me a position. The track started to dry in places towards the end and I could feel the car oversteering quite a lot. So, it was a struggle to reach the finish."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "The strategy was perfect, we put on intermediate tyres when the rain came and, although the car was difficult to drive when the track was very wet, these tyres were the right choice. I was in a comfortable third place when the engine developed a misfire caused by an electrical problem. Then the car just stopped. A disappointing result, obviously, but the Jordan-Honda's potential is very clear."

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Benetton ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 6th, Jenson Button - 10th )

Mike Gascoyne: "A very satisfying race. To score a point is fantastic for everyone at Benetton and especially for Renault Sport who have worked very hard over the last few months. Giancarlo drove a fantastic race. He was competitive in the dry, but a lack of straight line speed meant we were always going to struggle to overtake anyone so he was held up badly. Unfortunately he had to stop just a few laps before the rain came but we stopped for wets at the right time. Giancarlo drove a strong and controlled race to get past Alesi and to score a point, which is a great reward for the team and everybody at the factory. Jenson had a lot of understeer early on, and then had a small problem with the engine, which was rectified in the garage before we sent the car out again. A two car finish shows the improvements we have made in our reliability and a point is the icing on the cake"

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I am very happy as I did not expect such a good result and especially not to score a point which is unbelievable. I would have been very pleased to finish among the top 10. It was a good day and everything went as planned apart from the pit stop where we were a little bit unlucky. One point is perfect and I am happy for the team and myself."

Jenson Button: "I was probably the slowest on the circuit today and driving in the wet was absolutely horrendous. I can just say that I am glad to have finished the race and I'm looking forward to make improvements for the next GP."

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Prost ( Jean Alesi - 8th, Gaston Mazzacane - Retired )

Alain Prost: "There were lots of positive aspects and improvements this weekend, but we are still missing important elements to be able to make the best of such opportunities as today. For example the problem we had with the refuelling machine prolonged Jean's stop which cost him the possibility of scoring a point. We have to be more concentrated during the weekend to avoid such difficulties throughout the Grand Prix. However the car proved to be competitive several times during the race. We are going in the right direction and we still have some progress to make in order to finish in the points in the near future"

Jean Alesi: "In this type of race, with so many incidents, you can never let go until the end, which is what I did. Unfortunately, even though I took advantage of the rain when it started, my car became more and more difficult to drive, and I could not stop the two cars behind me overtaking during the last laps. It is a pity that we could not make use of this opportunity but we continue to believe in ourselves. We are already focusing our efforts on the next race."

Gaston Mazzacane: "Unfortunately this was another unlucky race for me. It is even more sad that we had a great strategy taking into account the chance of rain. My car was going well, even though I found it difficult to manage the brake system. I continued to drive a good race until my clutch failed which forced me to retire. I really wanted to finish this physically and mentally demanding race. I feel very sorry for the team who works so hard and have such a positive outlook."

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Minardi ( Tarso Marques - 9th, Fernando Alonso - Retired )

Paul Stoddart: "What an amazing afternoon, made even better by the fact European Minardi achieved its first Formula One top-10 finish of the season! Tarso drove a fantastic race in treacherous conditions to claim ninth place and be the only Brazilian to finish his home Grand Prix. In an event that changed by the minute, the team once again showed its strength and ability by getting Tarsoís car to the chequered flag with a minimum of fuss. Sadly, Fernando suffered an electronic problem that forced him to retire from the race, but he did everything we could have asked of him this weekend. Now with a top-10 finish under our belt, weíll be looking for good things when the European part of the World Championship season gets under way at Imola in two weeksí time."

Tarso Marques: "This was a very confusing race run in difficult circumstances. Our main goal today was to finish, and to have finished in the top 10 is great for the team. The result was also particularly pleasing since we had a lot of problems over the weekend, especially on Saturday, before qualifying. Today, just before going to the grid, there was a clutch problem with my race car and I had to switch to the spare chassis at the last minute. The car was actually great all afternoon, although maybe just a little slower on the straights than the primary car."  

Fernando Alonso: "I had problems from the beginning of the race with the throttle potentiometer of my car, which affected the behaviour of the engine. Even so, I feel quite pleased that I succeeded in completing nearly 25 laps in the race, since it gives me more useful experience. Sometimes problems occur in motor racing and it isnít always possible to finish every race. The only positive thing you can do in such circumstances is to start focusing on the next event, and thatís what Iím doing."

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - Retired, Juan Pablo Montoya - Retired )

Patrick Head: "Very disappointing result after a strong practice and a very strong showing in the race. We were on a strategy that, as was quite clear to see from the race, required only one pit stop and we started with quite a lot of fuel onboard the car. Tyres were very good, balance of the car stayed in and I think Juan Pablo was well in control of the race but unfortunately he got hit from behind as did Ralf much earlier in the race. I think itís well known in any situation on the road that the responsibility is with the driver behind. If he runs into the car in front he pays for the damage of both cars. Itís a well-known situation and I donít think thereís anything to discuss about it. We know weíve got to get out and do a good job at Imola."

Ralf Schumacher: "At the start the engine revs fell and I donít know why. Then my car was hit from behind by Barrichello. Obviously this has to be sorted out by the Stewards and I hope they will take action as this has to stop in my opinion. Today we proved that we have a really good car and we are going to be able to win a race. Unfortunately it didnít happen but I am sure it will happen in the near future."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am disappointed, of course, as it was going to be one of the best days of my life and it turned unluckily into a bad one! I donít know what happened, but I think Verstappen hit me because he braked too late, just a few meters later than me, so we touched. I went for the inside of the track and braked in the same place as always, on that corner. The car was really fast and had been performing very well throughout the weekend. WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin did a fantastic job. Better things will come."

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Jaguar ( Eddie Irvine - Retired, Luciano Burti - Retired )

Bobby Rahal: "We just canít seem to get a break, but it will come. Eddie was penalised at the beginning for a problem that was no fault of his own, but he battled his way through the field and managed to get himself into sixth position before he spun off. Luciano has done a great job all weekend, but lady luck was obviously against him today. Verstappen delayed him for quite some time and no sooner had he overtaken him, he was sidelined by an engine water seal problem. This is the first race failure of a Cosworth F1 engine since Austria 1999. The team executed a shrewd pit-stop strategy and was rewarded with Eddieís impressive climb up to sixth position before his spin. Itís obviously frustrating to exit a race in this manner but, like I said, our time will come. We are pressing hard with our development work and Iím sure our reward isnít too far away."

Eddie Irvine: "This race offered us the potential of a points finish but luck was not on our side today. Things didnít begin well with the 10-second stop/go penalty, but the team called a perfect pit-stop strategy today that allowed me to climb up the pecking order. The car felt good and well-balanced throughout the race, apart from an early tyre problem. At the start of the race my rear tyres blistered and I really struggled until the fuel load came down and then the car began feeling really good. I was up into sixth place when I lost the rear end going into Turn Five. I managed to get it back down onto the track, but the engine had stalled and I had to retire.Ē

Luciano Burti: "I didnít have a particularly good start with both Alesi and Verstappen passing me. After that however, my pace was very good, but overtaking Verstappen was hard because of his speed on the straight. When I finally got past him, I pulled away by a second over the remainder of that lap. This showed how much he was holding me up by. I then had the pace to begin chasing the guys in front but on the same lap I heard a strange noise. The noise turned out to be a terminal engine problem, rare for the Cosworth, which last failed in Austria, all the way back in 1999. It was diagnosed as a water seal problem and I had no choice but to retire from the race. Itís a real shame to go out from a race that offered us some long overdue reward. If I had to choose one race to finish, and finish well, it would be here. We had the car to do it today, but we must now focus on San Marino and begin making the most of what we have."

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Arrows ( Jos Verstappen - Retired, Enrique Bernoldi - Retired )

Mike Coughlan: ďNot a lot to say really. Enrique stopped with a hydraulic problem. Jos was going well on a one-stop strategy and we were ready for him when the rain began but it wasnít to be. Weíll move on to Magny Cours now to continue developing the car and hope for a better race at Imola.Ē

Jos Verstappen: ďI saw that I was given a blue flag and I saw Montoya coming so I went to the left to let him past. Once he came past I moved back over onto the racing line and he then braked very early. Iím very sorry for him because I heard he was leading the race, but I couldnít avoid him, I hit him and that was it.Ē

Enrique Bernoldi: ďThe lap before I came in I saw that my hydraulic temperatures were going up. The team called me in and on my in-lap I couldnít select any gears. Itís a shame not to finish again but until this point I have had a positive weekend and Iím happy to be making progress.Ē

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Session 2001 2000
First Friday Practice Results Report Notes Results
Second Friday Practice Results Report Notes Results
First Saturday Practice Results Report Notes Results
Second Saturday Practice Results Report Notes Results
Qualifying Results Report Notes Results
Warm-up Results Report Notes Results
Race Results Report Notes Results

What the teams and drivers said

 The Heretic's Review

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