French GP: Sunday quotes
Felipe Massa (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 (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."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "A really great result that came at the end of a very tough race. We had started with the aim of securing the double and we managed it, despite the exhaust problem that put Kimi's race in danger around lap 35. It proves we have all the potential to do very well, but it also confirms that we cannot allow ourselves not to be perfect in every detail, especially on the reliability front. I am very sorry for Kimi, who was going really well today and did a really good job to get the car to the line in these conditions. Now we will have to check on the condition of the engine on his car and evaluate what should be done for the race at Silverstone. I am very happy for Felipe, who drove majestically, without putting a foot wrong. It is the first time in his career that he leads the world championship and I am sure that is a great satisfaction for him. We have pulled out more of a gap in the Constructors' classification, which also give us a bit of breathing space, but we cannot afford to ease up. There is still a long way to go and our rivals will do all they can to beat us. We must keep our heads down and work in a determined fashion. It is a special pleasure to celebrate with a one-two finish the one hundred and fiftieth win in partnership between Ferrari and Shell. Behind our victories are some extraordinary partners."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "A fantastic one-two! This weekend we demonstrated all our potential, securing the maximum result possible, both in qualifying and in the race. The race was very difficult because we had to try and adapt to the very changeable weather conditions and also because, on Kimi's car, we had to manage the serious problem of a broken exhaust pipe for more than half the race. The team did an impeccable job under very difficult conditions and both drivers were excellent. We knew we had great potential, which for various reasons, was not translated into points in the two previous races. Today we did it, but these eighteen points must not go to our heads. There is still a lot of work to do and we must never drop our guard."
Robert Kubica (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 analyze what happened here and see how we can improve for the next race."
Nick Heidfeld (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."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The race reflected yesterday's qualifying. Over the entire weekend here our package did not work perfectly. Robert was stuck in traffic on his second stint and, therefore, lost his chance of a podium finish. Nick lost two positions at the start. Neither driver ever had a realistic chance to attack. We had no technical problems, and the result is four points for our team. From now on we will prepare for the Silverstone race."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "When deciding on the race strategy, we focused on Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso. Our goal was to put Robert into a position to finish on the podium. However, in the second stint it was clear this would not work. He got stuck behind Trulli, who had a higher fuel load and was able to stay out longer than him. At the same time, Heikki Kovalainen was able to close the gap to Robert and pass him during his second pit stop. Overall, our pace was not good enough during this weekend. However, we were able to defend second in the Constructors' Championship."
Nelson Piquet (7th): "It's the first time that everything has gone without any problems for me. The car and the team's 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 (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 couldn't make any progress. I scored a point, but I'm determined to do better for the British Grand Prix."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Both cars in the points, but we still feel a little bit disappointed. We took a risky strategy with Fernando, but had to alter it after the start and so it was far from ideal. It's clear that we still need to find more speed in the car, but we are pleased with Nelson's first points finish."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "We had other hopes for today, but we are happy nonetheless to see our two cars finish in the points. Fernando lost some positions at the start and we were not able to come back from that. Nelson had a remarkable race, very consistent and aggressive, and I am very pleased to see him score his first points today."
Kazuki Nakajima (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 we've been suffering with a lack of pace and that hurt us during the race. We couldn't have done much better today."
Nico Rosberg (16th): "In Canada, I was fighting the Ferraris and the BMWs, and here I was fighting at the back of the pack. It's 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 didn't have the speed and it was very difficult. I am now looking to score some points at Silverstone - at least I won't have a grid penalty there."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "Obviously that was a very mediocre performance. From here, we must go away and try to understand our mistakes and put them right to come out fighting at Silverstone because I am sure that we can do better than we managed today."
Mark Webber (6th): "My start wasn't great, but my first stint wasn't 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 curbs a bit hard when I was on fresh tires with heavy fuel. I had a big moment, although I managed to save it. I then settled in behind Fernando again, but his strategy didn't work out as well, which was good for us. It's 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.
David Coulthard (9th): I found the balance on the prime tires wasn't as good as expected in the cooler conditions and the option was performing better than we thought.
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: He had good pace throughout the race to finish a solid sixth. He had one moment in front of Fernando which cost him a bit of time, but a good solid points finish. David had similar pace and it was a very good last stint for him.
Fabrice Lom, Renault: So, a mixed result. We're still in front of Toyota, but they're closing the gap. We're happy that the engines finished the race; we'd been a bit worried, but they did it. Let's hope we find some more pace at the Silverstone test this week to stay in front of Toyota.‚
Jarno Trulli (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, 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."
Timo Glock (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 tire 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."
John Howett, Toyota Motorsport President: "This is a fantastic day for everyone involved with Toyota Motorsport. It was our first podium for a long time so we dedicate it to Ove Andersson, who did so much for the team and will be greatly missed. Congratulations to everyone involved both at the factory and in the race and test teams who have worked hard to improve the car. We had a good test in Barcelona last week and today Jarno did a phenomenal job. It was an incredible battle in the closing laps but Jarno's very experienced and it was a clean fight, which was good to see. When it started to rain he had to be cautious but he did a fine job to keep Kovalainen behind. It was an encouraging weekend for Timo too, who did well in qualifying but was unlucky with traffic today. He suffered with understeer compared to Jarno so we will have to investigate that. Both cars also made excellent starts from the dirty side of the grid so we hope that can continue. Of course we must now keep pushing really hard because our pace is still not matching the front-runners but we can be hugely satisfied with this result."
Sebastian Vettel (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 fifteen 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.‚
Sebastien Bourdais (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.
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: On the plus side, we got both our cars to the chequered flag. There was nothing more we could do in a race like this. We had Vettel on a short middle stint to keep Heidfeld behind us, but there were no big strategy moves you could make. We were hoping for rain to make something happen and give us a chance.‚
Rubens Barrichello (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."
Jenson Button (DNF, Damage): "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 drivable 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 curbs 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 program at the Silverstone test next week to prepare, so we will stay positive and keep looking forward."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Rubens got a good start and then did a solid job managing the tires with a heavy fuel load for the first stint. Unfortunately though he was trapped behind a slower car, which allowed the cars ahead to pull away. However, with a good strategy and consistent laps, Rubens was able to move through the field and, having started from the back of the grid, he went on to make up five places. While this is by no means a good result, the team and car worked very well throughout the whole race. Jenson's first corner incident with Bourdais damaged the front wing, and as a consequence it became loose and broke off. Despite a nose change, some residual bodywork damage was causing him to lose a great deal of downforce. Given that it was so early in the race it was not sensible to leave a stricken car running so we decided to retire him. Next week we are testing at Silverstone where we will be evaluating a considerable aero upgrade which we plan to introduce for the British Grand Prix in two weeks' time.
Giancarlo Fisichella (18th): 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 (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 OK, it was just the strategy didn't work out in the end."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Chairman and Managing Director: "Our goal here was to improve reliability and we can take some confidence that we have achieved this aim, with no problems on either cars. We had a strong strategy to try to make up places, which we needed to do when starting from the back, but sadly we could not capitalize on it with the extraordinary reliability of the field. However with this strong basis in the back of our minds we can now move onto Silverstone for the test next week, where we look forward to some new developments that should hopefully let us make up some time up to the field."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "It's good to get two cars to the finish today. In a race where only one car retired it was obviously going to be difficult but both drivers did a good job in general. Adrian's strategy didn't really work out for him. He needed to make up some places early on, which he wasn't able to do as everyone was so close, so that meant he dropped back down the order at his first stop. Overall though, it's good to get a double finish and to get some reliability. We now move on to Silverstone for the test where we have a large range of improvements to bring the car on."
Heikki Kovalainen (4th): "Given yesterday's grid penalty, this was a very good result. It also shows that we had a great strategy to be able to come from tenth 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 tires worked really well. During the closing laps, I found myself behind Jarno and tried everything I could to overtake him, but I just couldn't quite make it. He defended third place very well, so well done to him for that."
Lewis Hamilton (10th): "My drive-through penalty was an extremely close call: I felt I'd got past Vettel fairly and was ahead going into the corner. But I was on the outside and couldn't turn-in in case we both crashed, then I lost the back-end and drove over the curb. But, after that, I got my head down and pushed hard until the end of the race. I've been out of the points for three races now - but there are still ten to go. Kimi came from behind to win last year's championship, so there's no reason to be disheartened. I'm ten points behind, but I'm determined to bounce back at Silverstone in front of my home crowd."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A challenging weekend for us. Having said that, Heikki had a brilliant afternoon, driving superbly and fighting all the way to the chequered flag, and only narrowly missed the podium. Lewis's race was severely hampered by his drive-through penalty. Now, though, we must draw a line under this weekend and look ahead. We've got a competitive car and two excellent drivers, and as such we're in great shape. So now we need to focus on the British Grand Prix, and on getting the best results we possibly can at Silverstone, where we feel confident we'll once again be able to challenge at the front."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Our pace wasn't too bad. Without his drive-through penalty, third place would definitely have been possible for Lewis despite starting 13th. Heikki did a great job and moved from tenth to fourth. It's a shame that he didn't manage to pass Trulli at the end. However, for the spectators, he at least produced the fight of the race. We all now concentrate on the first of two consecutive 'home Grand Prix' in Silverstone. Lewis's gap to the top is ten points and that is still not too big a gap."
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