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San Marino Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Patrick Head: "Ralf benefited from a very good start and David Coulthard did not leave the door wide open but did not push him off as others might have done. They had a good fight and Ralf was able to stretch the gap to make the first pit stop a safe one. I think we did not manage to set up Juan’s car quite as well after we missed some practice time on Friday. But still he was heading for fifth position. Then a clutch problem arose and caused him to retire. the reason is not analysed yet."
Ralf Schumacher: "I’ve been waiting for this moment for five years. It is a great experience and the result of all of the hard work that the team has done and it has paid off. At the start I also had a bit of luck because David missed his start and I did the same move that I did last year, but this time there was space enough. We had the strongest car today. I would have liked my brother to have been on the podium with me. We won thanks to a great package of engine, car and tyre, which were all very good, especially in race conditions."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Again I could not finish the race and again I am disappointed. When I stopped for my second pit-stop I had a problem with the clutch and I could not get anymore gears. I went out of the pits but I was stuck in first gear and all I could do was drive back into the garage. We’ve been quite unlucky so far but these things happen. I am very pleased for Ralf’s victory, anyway."
Ron Dennis: "As is obvious from today’s result there will be more drivers winning this season than in the last couple of years. Whilst we are clearly here to win, pulling back points in both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ World Championships gives us some satisfaction. Our race strategy was correct. David drove well but Mika’s race was frustrated by a fast starting but slow racing Trulli. We hate to lose, but if we have to, we prefer that its to our good friends and competitors at Williams."
David Coulthard: "At the start I had too much wheelspin and Ralf Schumacher managed to get past me on the inside. After that, it was the most uneventful race I have driven this season but as a result of inconsistency in my tyres, also the most difficult. It’s good to be on the podium again and I’m pleased with the six points and my Championship position."
Mika Hakkinen: "The start basically decided the outcome of my race, when I was passed by Ralf Schumacher and Trulli. It’s very difficult to overtake at Imola unless the driver in front of you makes a significant mistake, so I was stuck in fourth place for most of the race. Nevertheless I’m happy to have scored points and my current situation, whilst being better than last year, is very similar - the Championship is still open."
Jean Todt: "This was a difficult race for us as we had Michael retiring after a run of nine great races, which brought us six wins and three second places. However, Rubens finished on the podium with a great third place which is important for the Constructors’ Championship. It’s clear that the battle from now on will be between three teams and two tyre manufacturers. It will be a very open season. Our choice of tyres made yesterday did not bring us the result we had expected. At first inspection, Michael’s car had a problem on the left front corner, which damaged the rim, allowing the air out of the tyre. Now, we will check all the relevant components in order to understand the problem. Already tomorrow we will be back working in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix where new regulations come into force. We will test for one day at Fiorano and three days in Mugello.”
Rubens Barrichello: "We had a great strategy, but I made a slow start with too much wheelspin. I could comfortably follow everyone and I didn’t know how often the cars in front of me would stop. So I pushed and tried to overtake but it is very difficult to do that at Imola. I was losing time behind Hakkinen, but I stayed out for three more laps after he pitted and that meant I could push hard and do some quick times. Our strategy involved going late for the first stop and we had to gamble a bit because of my grid position. Then the team did a great job in the pits. It was actually a great race for me as I started so far back. I don’t know what Michael’s problem was. So when I saw him run wide, I took my chance. I was happy with the balance of my car all weekend. I think this was one of my best races in terms of being consistent and overtaking cars."
Michael Schumacher: "I am very happy for Ralf. He has shown strongly in the past and he has also had some bad luck. But this time everything went well and he did it in style. This is the first time that two brothers have won F1 grands prix. We have both achieved our goal and our parents will be very proud. As for myself, you can’t win all the races. Unfortunately, I did not make a good start today. Montoya and Panis were able to pass me because I had brief problem with the gearchange system. This is definitely not one of my best weekends. It was a hard race right from the start and it ended in the worst possible way when I retired on lap 25, because of what, at first sight, seems to be a problem on the left front corner. Honestly, I have to say our rivals have made up the advantage we had over them. There is still a long way to go this season and I am sure we will be very competitive at the highest level."
Eddie Jordan: "It shows we have the reliability and it's always nice to have two cars finish in the top six; that was one of our goals this season. That's where our emphasis has been and at least we now have something to build on. But the fact of the matter is that we need more performance; we need to keep upping our game. Our partners, Honda, are doing the same and hopefully we can join what has become an interesting three-way fight at the head of the field."
Jarno Trulli: "I made a good start, I moved into third place and, for the first ten laps, I was probably holding up Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher but then I was pulling away. Everything was fine until the first pit stop, when I was in big, big trouble with the second set of tyres. I was struggling a lot with the handling and when Montoya came up behind me, he was able to brake later than me and accelerate away, so there was nothing I could do. I really tried hard but it was difficult to keep him behind me. I lost two places and continued struggling until the second pit stop. The third set of tyres were okay and I was able to keep pace. For me, two points isn't bad; it's a good result after the disappointment of Brazil. I was able to show once more that when I have a good car and everything is working well, I can be right there."
Heinz Harald Frentzen: "I had to take evasive action at the start, but once the race settled down I pushed ahead with our race strategy. The balance of the car was good and everything was running at its optimum but there was no way I could catch up from that far back. Certainly, there was no way I could have lived with the Williams had I been at the front! Williams and Ralf Schumacher deserved their win today. Scoring a point for sixth place was some consolation but, to be honest, we need to step up our performance a bit more"
Peter Sauber: "Once again we were able to demonstrate that the C20 is competitive on all types of circuit. Both Kimi and Nick lost time behind Panis early on, but Kimi Raikkonen was running ahead of Frentzen, who finished sixth, when he had his problem with the steering wheel. So we could have scored points again today. The wheel should not be able to come loose. We are investigating carefully to identify the problem."
Nick Heidfeld: "I didn't make a great start because the bite point of the clutch was varying and I got too much wheelspin as a result. I was able to repass Irvine for 12th place on the second lap, and after that I was in the group being held up by Panis. In the first part of the race I was slightly quicker than Frentzen, but I lost a bit of ground when Irvine came out ahead of me after his pit stop and I had to pass him again. My car was better today than it was for qualifying, but the set-up was still not quite optimal."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I don't know what happened when my steering wheel came loose as I went up the hill from Tosa on the 18th lap. As far as I'm concerned I put it on correctly just as I always have when I got into the car again on the grid; the next I knew it was loose in my hands and the car just suddenly turned sharp left and nosed into the wall. It's a great shame because it was running very well and I was very comfortable following the two Ferraris and Panis and was planning my overtaking move on the BAR when things went wrong."
Craig Pollock: "The whole weekend and the race has been very difficult for us as a team. We are clearly disappointed with the eventual outcome here in San Marino. The team did a good job today so it is important for us to keep our focus and look immediately to our next race."
Olivier Panis: "I am very disappointed for the team. I made a very good start, probably my best start in Formula One but I developed a few niggling problems fairly early on in the race. The car had a lot of oversteer and it was very difficult to drive. In the end I had some problem with the gearbox so I made a pit stop and we changed the steering wheel. I managed to finish the race but we need to continue to work hard because I am sure sometime soon we will achieve a good position and be in the points."
Jacques Villeneuve: "It was a huge disappointment that I could not finish the race today. It was looking as if I was finally going to get some points this year. At the start of the race we worked hard to get up to sixth position and I am not sure if we had a mechanical failure or a gearbox problem. It is very frustrating to end another race without any points."
Alain Prost: "We still lack of a consistent performance during the race, but Jean has completed this Grand Prix setting encouraging laptimes at various stages. We have also gathered a lot of information on the tyres' performance. We congratulate Michelin on their first win, which is both a sign that we have made the right choice, and an encouragement for our team to continue working in tight collaboration with them."
Jean Alesi: "Today's result is not good enough but we continue to work with the same determination. A big development for the car is expected very soon and the Team has prepared an intensive test programme for next week at Silverstone."
Gaston Mazzacane: "It's obviously not the race I had hoped to have, since I had to retire quite soon, on my 30th lap, due to a mechanical problem. I am sorry because the work the team had done on my car this weekend had given me higher expectations."
Mike Coughlan: “Enrique did a great job today and it was good to see him get his first finish, especially in the top ten. Jos suffered an exhaust pipe failure so couldn’t continue which is unfortunate as he was going well. We’re off to Vairano at the end of next week for a private test and are looking forward to some new challenges in Barcelona.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “Well I’m pretty happy that I’ve finished my first race. Everything went well, no problems with the car, the pit-stops or the start. My start was okay but I was pushed out by Burti on the first lap which made me lose position but that’s all part of racing. I enjoyed the race and still had energy in reserve at the end. I learnt a lot out there today so overall it is a a positive result for myself and the team.”
Jos Verstappen: “I had a failure with my exhaust and once that happens all the underbody temperatures start going up, the hydraulics, the electrics and everything else heats up until the car stops. The car was running really well until then, the best it has been so far this weekend. I think this is a weekend I will quickly forget. I’ve had a lot of small problems and also some bad luck so I’ll just draw a line under this and look forward to the Barcelona race in two weeks time.”
Bobby Rahal: "Clearly we had the right strategy today and it was looking good for Eddie. He was on a one-stopper and our strategy looked as if it would pay dividends. Unfortunately Eddie's race came to a premature end on lap 44 because of an engine failure that surprised us as we were not using the new series three version that we ran in qualifying yesterday. Both Eddie and Luciano were using series two versions of the Cosworth CR3 and we have been using this engine all season with very few problems indeed. Luciano drove another solid race, but was hampered by a gearshift problem. I guess every team can lay claim to some loss of reliability at some stage in the season and it's obviously our turn this weekend. We've got a lot of work to do."
Luciano Burti: "I think we had the best strategy today but I was handicapped by a gearshift problem for the whole race which meant I couldn't downshift cleanly and attack the corners. I had to drive carefully as I was running wide in the corners. I managed to get past Alesi after his second pit stop but soon after this I lost first, second and third gears which is a real shame as the basic balance of the car was good but I was losing too much time with the gearshift problem."
Eddie Irvine: "What can I say?, I had a good start despite carrying a heavy fuel load. The one stop strategy I was on was absolutely right for the race conditions and I was making good progress through the field and pushing hard for what I believed would be a points finish. The R2 felt well balanced throughout the race and the understeer problems I suffered from yesterday were not as apparent. Again we have come so close yet remain so far. There is no miracle overnight cure and we will continue to push hard on the development of this car.”
Mike Gascoyne: "It is always pleasing at this point in the season that we can get a car to the finish. This means that Renault Sport will have had the opportunity to gather a lot of good information. Unfortunately for Jenson on his first fuel stop we had a re-fuelling failure. This meant that he got no fuel and he had to come back in immediately. Obviously this ruined his race, however he did a good job to bring the car home. Giancarlo made an excellent start. He made up a lot of places and was running competitively with those around him. Just before his first pit stop he developed a misfire which got increasingly worse. He was able to hold onto his position for a while after his first stop but eventually the misfire became too bad and we had to stop the car."
Jenson Button: "In the first few laps I managed to catch up with some cars, but I then had a setback as no fuel went into the car at the first pitstop, so it wasn't an amazing start for my race. I have had problems with my shoulder and racing an anti clockwise circuit puts more strain on it than usual but I am glad we managed to get the car to the finish."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "It has been a very disappointing Grand Prix for me. We have seen improvements during the first few races but unfortunately I had to retire today due to a misfire. I was pleased with the car and the set up before the start of the race and during the first few laps, but on the 31st lap the car misfired and I retired after my second pit stop. It is never fun to finish after just half the race so of course I am disappointed."Paul Stoddart: "Today’s San Marino Grand Prix was not the best of races for European Minardi F1. Fernando suffered a problem on only the sixth lap and was knocked out of the event before he had a chance to show what he could do. Tarso struggled with braking and tyre problems for much of the race, but retired with an engine problem 10 laps from the chequered flag. The team has its first test of the year at Mugello this week to evaluate, among other things, its traction control system in preparation for Barcelona. We look forward to a better weekend at Fernando’s “home” Grand Prix."
Fernando Alonso: "I started having problems very soon after the start because my car did not brake as it should, even when I pushed the pedal to the maximum. I tried to reach the pits to see if anything could be done to fix the problem, but I went too fast into a corner, spun off the track, and finished against the barriers. It’s a shame because I made a good start and the opening laps went pretty well. Now I must concentrate on the next event, which takes place in Spain. Hopefully, I will enjoy a fine race there."
Tarso Marques: "I made a good start, even though I could pass only one car. Unfortunately, I soon realised there was a problem with the brake balance – from the opening lap, my car was braking much more at the rear than the front, and locking the wheels a lot. In addition, the right front tyre was very low on pressure, the reason for which is still under investigation. Later in the race, though, I started having a problem with the engine, and it eventually worsened to the point where I decided to stop because it was just too dangerous to continue."