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Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Canadian GP

Sunday June 18th, 2000


Michael Schumacher: "At the start I knew something had happened to Coulthard, but I just drove my own race. He was not close enough to attack anyway. Then when he had his penalty, I took it easy. I made my pit stop early because we thought something was wrong on the car. But the mechanics could find nothing wrong so I continued. I had to push a bit more when Rubens was behind. The track was very slippery when it started to rain, then it got better and then worse. I locked my brakes at Turn 1 and decided to drive through the gravel. I thank the team for having done a perfect job all weekend and Rubens for protecting me. He is a great teammate and one day I will repay the favour. I am not thinking about the championship. Only when mathematically you cannot lose, can you do so."

Rubens Barrichello: "I made a good start, but Villeneuve made a perfect one because he came past me on the outside. Then when the rain came I had my chance to pass him. After the race at the Nuerburgring where I lost a lot of time coming in late for my pit stop, I discussed the situation with the team. I said that even if I had to make an extra stop if the rain stopped, it would be quicker to come in immediately. So I was given the option to come in behind Michael. I have no problem with backing off to protect Michael, when I was asked to do so by the team. In any case, I had a clutch problem. I trust the team and I am sure if I am in front of Michael I will be allowed to win. Really, the only part of the weekend I was not so happy with was my qualifying."

Jean Todt: "This is a dream result but the race was very tough. We think that in the second part there was a problem with a sensor on Michaelís car and so he drove cautiously in the closing stages. Rubens drove a great race, making up the places he lost at the start to come up behind Michael in the final laps. At this point, given that our main rivals were a long way back, we had decided that the drivers should maintain their positions so as not to take any unnecessary risks. The team did an exceptional job, performing two pit stops on the same lap so as to get both cars on wet tyres with the minimum loss of time. This result is very important in terms of the championship, allowing us to increase our advantage over our rivals. But we are conscious of the fact we have not yet reached the halfway point of the season, with a further nine races to go. In addition, Michael has broken the recent tradition of drivers not winning from pole."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "This is a great result for both me and the team. Its is fantastic to get on the podium for the fourth time in a row in Montreal. Our strategy was to stop late in the race so I had a very high fuel load at the beginning. When it started to rain I got on the radio and then after one more lap I came in which was perfect timing for our stop. I was then running second, but we had very low downforce so the car was very difficult to drive in the rain. Rubens got passed me and I knew Mika [Hakkinen] was catching me but I wanted to be cautious and knew it would be extremely hard for him to overtake me. I want to thank the team for all their hard work."

Alexander Wurz: "My start was OK, then because of the rain I was called in immediately behind Giancarlo and my tyres weren't ready so it was a long stop and I lost time. After my stop I was stuck behind Trulli who was running quite slowly. As I came up to lap a Minardi I had to lift on the straight so Verstappen got past me. Then Coulthard knocked me off the track. He apologised for it which is ok, but this didn't help me at all."

Flavio Briatore: "This was a good race and a great result. The team did an excellent job and used an excellent strategy. Fisichella brought home a podium in what were very difficult conditions for the drivers. Finishing behind the Ferraris and in front of the McLarens is more than we could have hoped for yesterday after qualifying so, of course, we are very happy."

Pat Symonds: "The strategy today was very interesting. We knew the rain was coming, but it is always very difficult to judge exactly when. So our plan was to run just as far as we could in the hope that the fuel window and the weather window coincided. Luckily it did and we were able to use this to our advantage. Having said that the car was competitive here in the race and both drivers handled the conditions very well. It is great to be back in third place in the championship and I hope we can build further on this."


David Coulthard: "Championship wise I'm not where I wanted to be after winning in Monaco. I stalled the engine just before the formation lap and the team started the car at the last moment, and according to the rules that means a stop-and-go penalty. It was a shame because I was definitely quicker than Schumacher and who knows what would have happened."

Mika Hakkinen: "I was quick off the line at the start and managed to get alongside Barrichello coming into the first corner. However, Villeneuve managed to get next to me so I decided to play it safe and ease off rather than ending up in the gravel trap. As a result both Barrichello and myself were stuck behind Villeneuve for a number of laps. Even so I believe if I had managed to overtake Villeneuve at the same time as Barrichello passed him I could have got past the Brazilian as well. I finally found a way past Jacques and I was able to go flat out. Then it started to rain and my race was pretty much over."

Ron Dennis: "After any race it's important to analyse why mistakes - if any - are made. Putting aside David stalling on the grid, (which has happened to many top drivers) perhaps in hindsight we were too conservative in our decisions when reacting to the changing weather conditions which shouldn't be so surprising with nine races left in the Championship. Clawing back a points deficit has been and I hope will continue to be one of our specialities."

Norbert Haug: "After the stop-and-go penalty for David our chances to win the race were gone. Today a few things didn't go our way so we have to be content with three points. We will work hard to stay in the title race and we will of course go for it at Magny Cours in two weeks time."


Pedro de la Rosa: "This is a major boost to the team and Jos did very well. I was holding a good position and the car was running very well but I came in and changed tyres on my second pit stop and then about 3 or 4 laps later it started raining which was later than we expected so I had to come in to change tyres again and 3 pit stops was too much. That finished my race really and destroyed all my possibilities of finishing in the points. Then there was the incident with Pedro Diniz. I think it's better for everyone to watch it on TV because I don't think he saw me and he didn't leave me anywhere to go. I was next to him and he pushed me onto the grass and then I hit the armco so I think it was a very dangerous move from him."

Jos Verstappen: "I'm very very please about the race. The car was handling very well, especially in the rain. I think we had a little more downforce than we had planned for the dry, the car was very good on the brakes and that's where I was catching everybody up. The team did a brilliant job to call me in at exactly the right moment as I was in constant contact with them. It started to rain and the track got very slippery and a lot of cars went off, so I came in just at the right moment and made a lot of time. You have to try as 7th position is nothing and you have to try for points and that's what I did. I moved up to 6th position and I felt I could take on Trulli so when he braked very early on a corner I overtook him for my 5th position. It's a great result for the team and me."

Tom Walkinshaw: "Apart from the rain coming on a little bit later than we anticipated the race went pretty much as planned. We knew it was going to rain so we ran a higher downforce than normal and we split the two cars with different strategies in the hope that one of them would catch the weather window, and unfortunately we missed it by about 4 laps with Pedro. Jos did a superb job as did Pedro at the beginning and it's unfortunate Diniz drove him off the road."


Ricardo Zonta: "The car was oversteering at the beginning of the race, but our strategy was to save fuel for the later stages. I wanted to fit wet tyres before my first stop, but I could not make contact with my race engineer. I then had to stay out for another two laps on slicks and that effectively ended any chance of a points finish today."

Jacques Villeneuve: "Today really was a disappointment. I got a great start again and was able to go well in the dry, when we were on for a really good finish. Then in the wet the car was really quick as well, but unfortunately, a breakdown in communication led to the wrong tyres being fitted at the pit stop. Having to return to the pits ruined our chances and I guess I just pushed a bit too hard at the end trying to make up for it and out-braked myself."

Takefumi Hosaka, Managing Director, Honda: "The happiness of seeing Jacques running in second place was good but it didn't last long. We want as soon as possible to be getting closer to the top two on merit. It was a shame that we could not capitalise on our qualifying position, but that's racing. We need to learn more about racing in the rain. We are analysing the problems thoroughly and will improve in the necessary areas."

Craig Pollock: "What started out to be a potential podium finish today turned into a disaster. It's difficult not to be bitterly disappointed at the loss of almost certain points. We have to focus now on the French Grand Prix, but I think we can be encouraged by our competitiveness this weekend."


Pedro Diniz: "My car felt pretty good in the dry part of the race, but once it began to rain it was very difficult. In the incident with De la Rosa, he had made a mistake and I was side by side with him. I just took my normal racing line, and he kept going. I think he would have been wiser to have backed off."

Mika Salo: "All race, dry or wet, I was struggling to find enough traction. But our pits stop was good and I was pushing hard when the engine stopped on the 42nd lap. I made it back to the pits, but that was it."

Peter Sauber: "When you start outside the top 10, it is very difficult to make much progress in a race. Mika drove very well and our pit stop strategy was very good, but unfortunately a failure in the engine's electrics denied us the chance to exploit the conditions later in the race, which should have been advantageous for us."


Jenson Button: "I had a terrible start and things did not improve as I simply wasn't fast enough. Only a few laps after my pit stop I had to come into the pit again as at the third corner I damaged the front wing of my car. I was running better on wet tyres, but this wasn't enough to recover from the back of the field."

Ralf Schumacher: "My start was ok and I was happy with my car's behaviour as long as it stayed dry. In the wet it was another story, my car was sliding everywhere and it was almost out of my control. My race was over when Villeneuve crashed into the right side of my car. He apologised immediately, and the matter is closed for me. We have to work hard now. I have the feeling that we are quite behind in respect to other teams, mostly Benetton."

Patrick Head: "The race was an end to a weekend where we were never really competitive. We have quite a lot of work to do in order to raise the performance level of the package. After his nose was changed and he switched to wet tyres, Jenson's lap times were excellent. Disappointing for Ralf to end his race because of an accident with four laps to go."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "In the last weeks we concentrated on improving the reliability and in this race we didn't suffer any problems. Nevertheless we didn't manage to gather any points this weekend. For the third consecutive time Ralf has gone out due to an accident and once again it wasn't his fault. Anyway, given his injured leg and the terrible conditions, he drove a good race. Jenson has gone the race distance and has gained a lot of useful experience."


Gastone Mazzacane: "It has been a tough race! When the track was dry I preferred not to push too hard because I felt some strong vibrations on the steering wheel. Later on in the rain this problem was almost overcome but my helmet was completely steamed up. Visibility was really blurred, I couldn't find any points of reference and, therefore, I was not able to keep a steady rhythm. The only positive fact is that this is the sixth time I've crossed the finishing line and I finished my second race in wet conditions. However, I am not satisfied, I would have liked to do a better performance."

Marc Gene: "A very difficult race for me. Despite that rain had been predicted during the second half of the race, we decided to start in dry trim and as a result, my performance was jeopardised. I had a bad start because I found Irvine standing in front of me and, in the attempt to avoid him, I lost one place with Heidfeld taking an advantage over me. On dry track my car was feeling very good, I was scoring competitive times and was keeping the same rhythm as my rivals. When it started to rain I passed Button and I got to the pits to switch to wet tyres but my car became more difficult to drive as soon as the track was getting wetter. It is likely that all the other drivers were experiencing the same concern, however it was really hard to handle the car on track due to so much aquaplaning. In fact, with only a few laps left to the end I lost the rear car and I spun off in the middle of the straight line just before braking. I let the engine go off, as a result. I am disappointed; with only three laps left to the end, I would have probably needed to slow down."

Giancarlo Minardi: "It is clear that the race was split into two parts, in dry track conditions. Marc scored an excellent time given that he was running in 1:20.5 which turned out to be his best time throughout the week-end. Gaston did his best and the times he was recording were very good. Obviously when you have to start from the last row you only think to protect yourself. In the second part Gaston found it hard to drive in the pouring rain, nonetheless his driving has improved in comparison with other races in the same weather conditions. Marc's performance was pretty good until he spun off due to aquaplaning."


Jean Alesi: "I had a good start and everything was going fine; the rhythm was good until the hydraulic pressure suddenly tumbled just after my pit stop. We have to find out exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. "

Nick Heidfeld: "I was happy during the early stages of the race as I made a very good start and overtook several cars on the first lap. I had a good fight with Jenson Button who overtook me at the hairpin before I passed him at the last chicane. I was keeping up a very good pace but was held up a bit by a group of cars just in front. I'm not sure why but I started to feel something was going wrong with the engine, and indeed, I had to retire right after my pit-stop."

Alain Prost: "The whole weekend confirms the considerable progress made by the team regarding the handling of the car, but also the fact that we definitely have to find better reliability to turn this improvement into a result. Today again, this has cost us dearly."