Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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Team and Driver Quotes following the Japanese F1 Grand Prix Race
Sam Michael: "Today we achieved a good result with regards to the FW26 performance and constructors' points. Ralf drove a fantastic race, typical text book style. The fast work of the pit crew at the stops was fundamental to get Ralf's result, to help him avoid traffic. Juan did a good job to come from where he qualified helped by some aggressive overtaking. Both cars were well balanced for the race, which is interesting after the little time we had to look after the set-up. We had no mechanical problems."
Mario Theissen: "Considering the difficult circumstances of
this year's Japanese Grand Prix, it has been a very successful weekend for our
team. Ralf demonstrated excellent performance in the qualifying and in the
race. After he had quite a hard time he achieved a podium again.
Ralf Schumacher: "The start went ok and I was surprised I was
able to follow Michael. I pitted four laps earlier than he did, so he was
obviously heavier. But after the pit stop I got stuck in traffic and when you
are fighting at the back it is always difficult. Our car was good today.
Juan Pablo Montoya: "My starting position compromised my race today. I got stuck in traffic and I was losing between one and two seconds every lap. The best I could do in that situation was collect some points, and that is what I managed to do. I can only hope my poor position today will maybe give me an advantage so as to get into a good qualifying position at the next race, as Ralf had here."
Race: "3rd and 4th is an excellent result; giving us our 11th podium
of the season, and for the second race in a row, B*A*R is the top scoring
team. This really shows how consistently the combined efforts of B*A*R, Honda
and Michelin are delivering, and gives us a tremendous foundation on which to
build for next year. Taku is achieving very solid results, and despite the
pressure of his home Grand Prix, he kept it all together and drove a faultless
Race: "In the last three races B*A*R has scored 33 points with
another two-car finish and its 11th podium place at this important 'home'
race We ran different race strategies with the two drivers and in the end
Takuma was not quite able to make the small advantage of the three-stop
Race: "Achieving another podium is a fantastic result here as we
celebrate B*A*R's 100th Grand Prix and in the 40th year since Honda's F1
debut, so I'm very happy. It's also a great team result, with Taku
finishing 4th and our combined result enabling us to pull even further
ahead of Renault. The car was very difficult to drive at first because
with a two-stop strategy I was very heavy on fuel.
Race: "It was great that we managed to have a race this afternoon
after yesterday's cancellation, although it was extremely difficult to
work out the set-up as we were not able to practice on a dry track. That's
why we ran two different strategies to enable us to cope with the widest
range of possibilities. As it turned out, I was not able to get the result
that I wanted and be on the podium, but at the end of the day, it was a
great result for the team and really helps us to secure 2nd in the
Flavio Briatore: "Overall, this was a disappointing result after a difficult weekend for everybody. I think Fernando did the maximum today but the car was not quick enough to allow him to fight the cars in front. Looking to Brazil, it is hard to remain hopeful about our championship chances but as long as we have a possibility of re-gaining second position, then we will be motivated to try and seize it."
Pat Symonds: "It was a very different day to normal and we had to choose strategies and tyres with a minimum of information, but of course everybody found themselves in the same situation. Fernando drove a strong race and had he not lost time early in his third stint, he might have been able to beat Sato. Jacques struggled with significant amounts of understeer, owing to the lack of time we had to set up the car, and that penalised him in the race."
Fernando Alonso: "It was a good performance in the race today. Qualifying didn't really favour us today: I suppose that sometimes we get lucky with the conditions, like we did in Spa, and sometimes not. From eleventh position, the only thing to do was to go maximum attack. Unfortunately, when you start back in the field, you never have a clear track in the early laps - and it was only at the end of my first stint that I could run at my true pace. That meant I was no longer able to fight for the podium. I think I did the best I could have done today but unfortunately, the points I scored will be more useful in the drivers' championship than the constructors."
Jacques Villeneuve: "When the race started, we quickly found that the set-up was not ideal for the dry conditions. The car was understeering a lot, so we added front downforce at both pit-stops, but I could not increase my pace in the final stint. It's a disappointing result, especially as our main rivals scored points with both cars this afternoon."
Norbert Haug: "Not the result that we had hoped for but coming from grid positions eight and 12th your chances are limited. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding between David and Rubens which cost David a good points scoring position because he was able to keep up with Takuma Sato and Jenson Button. Considering his grid position Kimi did a good job finishing sixth. We now look forward to the last race in Sao Paolo where we want to finish the season on a high."
Kimi Raikkonen: "A fairly uneventful race for me. I was struggling with the car and from 12th it's fairly limited what you can do. I didn't make a brilliant start, but I gained one place and that was really it. I had an incident with one of the Jordan cars when I was trying to lap it towards the end of the race at turn nine. Basically I was on the inside and he just turned in on me. He hit me quite hard and damaged my steering a bit, so I was struggling to keep the car on the road. A race to forget to be honest but bring on Brazil."
David Coulthard: "It goes without saying that I'm really disappointed with the end to my Japanese Grand Prix. We were looking to score points but unfortunately on lap 38 I had a coming together with Rubens at the Chicane whilst he was trying to pass me. I don't think anybody is to blame; it's just one of those things which happen when you are battling for positions. The incident broke the front right hand suspension and that was it, but it was a good race until then. I gained a place at the start but got stuck behind Webber, however when I finally got past I was immediately able to speed up. It was a shame for things to end this way ? it would have been nice to have scored five points or even more."
Peter Sauber: "Apart from the extra point we scored, the highlight of today's race was the performance of Giancarlo and Felipe. Giancarlo proved his complete professionalism by recovering strongly from his moment and pushing hard all the way, while Felipe's drive demonstrated once more his great fighting spirit. Together, they proved that overtaking is possible in Formula One. My compliments to the team, who once again underlined the reliability and speed of the Sauber Petronas C23."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "For me it was an excellent race. The car was really good, and my only problem came on lap 16 when I ran off the road briefly in the Spoon Curve. There was a sensor problem with the fuel alarm and I was just radioing the pits for a report; unfortunately I left my braking a little bit too late as I lost concentration, but I recovered quite well. The best I could have hoped for without that was seventh, so I'm happy. It was great to push hard all the way and do lots of overtaking. A point today was our target, and we achieved that."
Felipe Massa: "I wasn't very happy with myself after my mistake in qualifying, but I think I made up for that in the race today! It was fantastic! I really enjoyed myself. I was able to push hard right from the start and I did a lot of overtaking. I pulled some really good moves, so it was really, really satisfying."
Tsutomu Tomita: "I think it was always going to be a
difficult race for us today. Both drivers did a good job in qualifying
this morning to put both cars in the top ten. In the race, Olivier did not
have a good start and then struggled on the softer compound Michelin tyre
for the whole race. Jarno, on the harder compound, fought very strongly
and was racing near the front for some time. Unfortunately, he also had
difficulty with tyre degradation and ended up in 11th place at the
Race: "I do not think that we could have achieved anything better today. After a good qualifying, which put me sixth on the grid, I got a good start and was up to fifth place at the end of the first lap. Unfortunately, during the race, there was a big tyre drop-off, which compromised the car balance and grip levels and made it a tough afternoon for me. However, there are only positives to take away from this weekend; it was my race debut for Panasonic Toyota Racing and I gathered a lot of valuable experience, which was my priority here in Suzuka this weekend."
Race: "Although I am not satisfied with the result, we did our best in today's race. We took a risk with the tyre choice after the bad weather restricted our running on Friday, but I had a lot of graining this afternoon and I simply could not push. I am very happy that I could complete my last F1 race in front of all the Japanese fans. To stop racing after eleven years is a special moment. I would like to thank everyone in Panasonic Toyota Racing for two enjoyable years, all the support and for the F1 car that has been generously given to me as a gift. Although I have stopped racing, this is not the end because I have signed a two year contract as third driver. Now we have to continue the challenge."
Dr. Mark Gillan:
Race: "Mark's start was not good and he lost three places by the first
corner. He then started to fight back and was being held up by Jarno Trulli.
On lap seven he mentioned the increase in temperature in his cockpit area and
when he first pitted we tried to sort it. A forced pit stop later to further
investigate the problem and it was clear that the heat was only getting worse.
Eventually on lap twenty-one he had to stop racing due to the dangerous
conditions being generated by the heat.
Race: "Starting from third position on the grid today was a good
result after all the hard work that has been carried out at Jaguar Racing
during this season. The team did an excellent job in preparing the car for
this weekend, despite the lack of practice that we experienced in the run up
Race: "My start was ok today and I did my best to maintain my position
although with a Ferrari behind me this was not do-able. I was also in an
unfortunate position in that I had not had any dry practice on this track and
so the race was really my first opportunity to learn the track. As the race
progressed I became more comfortable with the track and the car and although
we had not had any time to set-up the car the balance was ok.
James Robinson: "It was a hard race and we had a number of technical problems. We had to limit Timo's performance because of an engine problem, which was unfortunate, and although Nick had a good hard race, from where we qualified it was tough to make any impression. It was a challenging day for Timo but given his first lap around here in the dry was lap one of the race today, we feel he came through okay. We are all looking forward now to the last race in Brazil."
Nick Heidfeld: "I got a good start and gained a position or two. For the first part of the race I had quite a loose rear and we made some adjustments at the first pit stop, which certainly helped. I had one or two small electronic issues, maybe something on the gearbox as on one of the pit stops I couldn't get into neutral. Also at one point suddenly the pit lane speed limiter was on while I was on the circuit and I lost a couple of seconds there. Otherwise, I think in the circumstances, given that we did not have a lot of time to practice here, I'm happy with our starting set-up and what we achieved in the race."
Timo Glock: "My start and first couple of laps were not too bad but overall it was difficult today. The car set-up was not that good and I had everything: oversteering, understeering, changes in the pit stops didn't seem to help much and the car didn't feel easy to drive. I had big problems and couldn't find a rhythm. Added to that I had gear problems and a crash with Kimi Raikkonen that I didn't see coming all in all it was a bad race for me."
Gianmaria Bruni: "It turned out to be quite an uneventful race, but it was good to finish here at Suzuka, as that is always the first ambition of the team. We struggled with the package we have, though, and in particular today with oversteer, but I'm looking forward to Brazil now and hoping to get another solid finish there."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "Overall, it was not my weekend here at Suzuka, although my pace in the race wasn't too bad, especially considering I had never driven in the dry here before. I like high-speed circuits, which is probably why I got used to this one quite quickly. Unfortunately, I made a mistake while pushing really hard after my final stop and went off the track. I'm upset not to have finished, particularly for the guys, as I caused them quite a lot of work this weekend. I'd like to thank them for their efforts."
Bridgestone Sunday Notes - Michelin Sunday Notes