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Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Spanish GP

Sunday May 7th, 2000


Mika Hakkinen: "I can't really find the words to explain how happy and relieved I am to have claimed my first victory this season. We have been so close before but today was the day and the team did a fantastic job. My start from second wasn't ideal, despite having a lot of traction I didn't get the clutch to bite properly. Fortunately Schumacher didn't make a great start either, so we were side by side coming into the first corner. In the end I had to give way because I was on the outside. Schumacher managed to pull away during the first couple of laps but when his tyres started to go off I was able to catch him and could start putting him under pressure. The team did a great job in the second pitstop so I was able to take the lead."

David Coulthard: "It's great for the team to get another one-two victory. During the first part of the race, I was stuck behind Ralf Schumacher but was putting him under pressure. However, I got nowhere and the team decided to call me in early for my first pitstop. Unfortunately I selected second gear instead of first so I rejoined the race in fifth. I gained a place in my second pitstop and could go around the outside of Ralf Schumacher when I exited the pitlane. On lap 42 I overtook Michael Schumacher at the end of the straight to claim second. All in all I'm pleased that we scored maximum points this weekend."

Ron Dennis: "The perfect outcome to a difficult weekend. Equal praise to Mika, who drove an outstanding race and David, who coped so well through all the pressure of the week and most importantly to the whole team, not just here in Spain but also everybody back in England. A proud weekend for the West McLaren Mercedes team."

Norbert Haug: "Mika has deserved this win for a long time and once again he drove an excellent race, and David in his difficult situation did a fantastic job. The performance of the whole team was superb and compliments to the engineers for their brilliant race strategy. This was a perfect result considering that we haven't had a big advantage in our lap times during the weekend. Scoring 16 points under these circumstances just shows that we can get the job done."


Rubens Barrichello: "Even though I finished third I cannot say I had a very good race. I got bogged down at the start and had too much wheelspin. Ralf and David got good starts but I was not prepared to risk everything in the first corner. The race itself was a bit boring, because even if the car ahead is two seconds slower, unless the driver makes a big mistake, it is impossible to overtake here. I was looking to overtake the car in front of me as happened at the first stop with David. As we are in the first garage that normally gives you an advantage and I came in so fast. But then my stop was slow. As I was following Michael and Ralf I asked myself if they were going to crash! Then I got a good run inside and passed both of them."

Michael Schumacher: "You cannot always have lucky races and today's race did not go so well for us. Maybe it had something to do with my tyre choice, but there were also other factors. But considering the problems we had, at least we have scored some points. I am therefore only a little bit disappointed, because everybody tried their best. We had a problem at the first stop and that gave us problems for the second one also. At the first one, the lollipop man lifted it and then put it down again. But it is impossible to stop that quickly. I felt I had driven over something and I looked in my mirror and saw a mechanic on the ground. I asked the team what happened but they did not reply. Then I had a slow puncture and it was obvious that the race was out of our hands. I am not angry. I took two important points and we are still looking very strong for the rest of the season. As for the move with my brother, all I can say is that racing is racing."

Jean Todt: "Today's result is disappointing, despite Rubens's good third place. We have lost ten points in the Constructors's championship and given away eight to Hakkinen and four to Coulthard in the Drivers' title with Michael. However, we have always known that even a big advantage can easily be reduced. Our drivers had different tyre choices, medium for Michael and soft for Rubens. It was a good fight between Michael and Hakkinen, at least up to the second pit stop. At Michael's first stop, Nigel Stepney who operates the refuelling hose was knocked over, as the car left the pits due to a misunderstanding with the lollipop man. Fortunately, his only injury was a twisted ankle. However, we lost precious time at the second stop. Then, Michael was forced to make a third stop, because of a slow puncture on the left rear wheel, which we are currently investigating."


Ralf Schumacher: "I had a very good start. It looked possible that I might be able to get second place into the first corner but eventually I had to surrender to Mika, who was placed slightly better. After that I just concentrated on controlling Coulthard and Barrichello behind me in my first stint. I was keeping Barrichello behind me quite comfortably, and then we both were catching Michael. I prefer not to say anything about the maneuver where Barrichello overtook me until I've watched the video. But I am happy with my fourth place as it means three more points for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in the constructors championship."

Jenson Button: "The result doesn't really matter to me; I will maybe grab in another race the point I lost today. It was more important to me that I had the speed on this track. I found this circuit very difficult in qualifying but in the race I was quick, at least. I really enjoyed my start and I hope it's going to be to be the same in the next races. After this, the best moment of the race was for sure jumping the Jordan in the pit stop."

Patrick Head: "It was another good result for us. At this stage of the year with a new engine to finish fairly close up behind two McLarens and one Ferrari is not too bad, really, but obviously we want to do better in the future."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "Ralf did a fantastic job. He was great to watch in the early laps especially, when he held off cars that were slightly quicker. It was very nice to see him fighting in among the Ferraris and McLarens and I think in this sense this was our most genuinely competitive race yet. Fourth place was a disappointment to Ralf, he felt he should have been third, but in reality it's another good result for us, especially at this early stage of our partnership."


Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "It is very encouraging to have finished the race after the difficult start to the season we have had this year. Winning one point is an important bonus, especially on this circuit which is not one where either myself or Jordan have performed well at in the past. Now we can look forward to going to Nurburgring having sorted out our reliability problems. We have a good track record there which hopefully we can continue."

Jarno Trulli: "Unfortunately on my first pit stop the engine stalled and although my mechanics managed to restart it, I lost many places and was not able to regain them. It is disappointing since the two-stop strategy was good and the car ran without any problems. The important thing, however, is that the car finished the race without any reliability issues."

Eddie Jordan: "I believe we made a major breakthrough in our reliability and understanding what was causing problems with the car. Hopefully that is now behind us; I must admit it was a relief to see both cars finish, even if it was disappointing not to have them both in the points. But then in nine years, Jordan has only ever scored three point at this circuit, so we increased that tally today! Now we can concentrate on finding more speed in the car for the forthcoming races."


Mika Salo: "I made a good start, but mainly this was an uneventful race for me. At the end, though, I was in a position to challenge Heinz-Harald Frentzen for sixth place. Then I was told by the team that the blue flag was showing on the monitor screen as Hakkinen was behind us. I'm sure we weren't shown any flags on the track, probably because the marshals thought that Mika Hakkinen had decided that he didn't need to pass us. Under the rules I was obliged to let Mika by or else incur a stop and go penalty for blocking, and because of that I lost contact with Heinz-Harald Frentzen."

Pedro Diniz: "I had to be aggressive on the first lap and to try to pass as many cars as possible. In F1 today, especially on a track like this, that is your best opportunity to get by other drivers. I was trying to go round the outside in Turn Three, but it was too dirty and I slid off the road. It's disappointing, but I had to try it.

Peter Sauber: "The team can be proud of the seventh place that we achieved today, given the calibre of the opposition ahead of us and the fact that so many of the top teams finished with both cars while we were down to one after Pedro's misfortune on the first lap. It's a shame that the points these days don't extend to 10th place, because Mika and the team certainly deserved to score some after such a strong performance."


Ricardo Zonta: "I made a really good start and, in fact, I got away so well, I had to brake a bit to avoid hitting a group of cars in front me that included Jacques. I was able to fight a little in the first stint, but then my second set of tyres was not so good and I couldn''t do much. The last set was much better and I pushed very hard to catch Salo. I was able to close the gap to him at about a second a lap, but I probably needed another lap to have a chance to pass him. Now I am going to work on improving my qualifying because if I am able to start from a better grid position, then I will have a better chance to get points in the race."

Jacques Villeneuve: "I don't know what happened. After I left the pits there was suddenly no throttle and a fire at the back of the car. It''s a shame because we could have made sixth today and the car is a definite improvement on previous races. I don't feel I was holding anybody up behind me."

Craig Pollock, Managing Director: "I'm very disappointed for Jacques but happy for Ricardo, who had an excellent race. He just went faster and faster. We don't know the cause of the problem with Jacques' car yet because the mechanics haven't a chance to investigate it fully. We''re definitely going in the right direction, but we''ve still got to improve the reliability aspect, which I'm sure we will do."

Takefumi Hosaka, Managing Director, Honda R & D: "It was a real shame today as the weekend had been going as planned. We had secured a good position on the grid and made a good start to the race. All we know so far about Jacques' problem was that the telemetry recorded a drop in fuel pressure. We do not know at this stage whether that was the cause of the problem or the result of it. We obviously need to look into it further and do not want to speculate at this stage. Ricardo did a really good job for us today. He made a great start and drove a very strong race."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "I had a really bad start then, as we had seen this weekend, the car was really difficult to drive. Our two stop strategy was good, but most other teams used the same so although we passed the Jaguars we weren't able to make any more progress through the field."

Alexander Wurz: "The start was OK and I pulled up 5 places. Unfortunately I lost quite a lot of time in my second pit-stop with a problem on the right rear wheel. Otherwise I would have finished 9th. This was a very hard race and once again it's a great shame the team didn't score any points."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Another race to forget. The only shame was from the way the race went and from the times we were posting, particularly on Giancarlo's car towards the end of the race, if we had qualified better we could have got some points."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "This was obviously a very difficult race for us today. We were struggling for grip but nevertheless setting times in amongst the pack. We made a change to our strategy during the race, which I think worked well and got us in front of the Jaguars, but after that there was very little we could do."


Eddie Irvine: "We've just got to tidy the whole thing up. Nothing other than hard work is going to cure it. There's no magical cure. We've just got to keep plugging away and look at it logically. I made another atrocious start. I've only made one good one this year, and that was in Brazil. That was really lucky because I nearly stalled it. Normally, I either stall or light the rear wheels up - there's no in between. Today, I lit the rear tyres up again and sat there going nowhere. There are ways to make better starts, and we haven't got them yet. At a circuit like this, where there is little chance to overtake, that was virtually race over. The initial reaction at the start was good, but then I got bogged down. I don't really understand it, but that's where we've got to concentrate our efforts."

Neil Ressler, team chief: The good news is that both cars finished. The bad news is that we weren't fast enough. It looks like the reliability issues pretty much behind us, and we have to concentrate on getting speed back. We're just not quick enough. The guys drove them as fast as they'd go, but they just wouldn't go fast enough. We'll be focusing more attention on that starting on Monday morning. I think the development of the car is certainly behind schedule, and we'll be trying some things on the car at Jerez this week. It's not that we're miles back, especially in qualifying."

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "Again, Eddie's start was bad, and then after that it was a procession. There's no overtaking really at Barcelona. We have to fix our problem - you can't afford to lose places. From Jacques Villeneuve back, everyone was doing the same lap times in the first stint. Jerez should be a good test for us, so let's see what happens."


Marc Gene: "After the problems experienced yesterday and in the warm up, when the car did not feel so good, I am very pleased with my today's performance because I did not expect to be so fast. During the first part of the race I managed to keep the same pace as Benetton cars and Jaguar and I was ahead of Heidfeld. Later on we had a problem during the first stop which made us waste time. Heidfeld was, therefore, able to pass me but I could overtake him on my turn because my car was really fast on new tyres. Unfortunately, I was called again into the garage because during the first stop the fuel machine had suffered a damage which prevented it from loading fuel. Well, today's problems did not jeopardise a particularly good result but it is important to know what had happened."

Gaston Mazzacane: "To see the chequered flag for the fourth consecutive time is pretty satisfying and I believe that this is repaying the lads, too. I am a bit disappointed because I had to contest my race in the t-car which had been set up for Marc. We only could do a few modifications on the starting grid which were not sufficient to make me feel comfortable with the car. This led me to make some mistakes which costed me dearly in terms of time. I don't agree with the 10 sec. penalty which was inflicted to me: Button was faster than me but I was waiting the right moment to let him pass without forcing me to waste more time than I had to. Now that the race is finished, I'm looking forward to the next one."

Gabriele Rumi: "Today we had the potential to struggle with Prost, Benetton and Jaguar; unfortunately in an attempt to fight the strategy of our rivals we made a mistake during Marc's first stop and we had to repeat it: this jeopardised his race, as a result. Gast?n was forced to start in the t-car which was prepared for Marc and he could do nothing but contest the race in a more than dignified way."


Jean Alesi: "Pedro de la Rosa tried to overtake me in a place where nobody has ever succeeded in passing before. I didn't understand what was happening, I felt a big shock on the side of my car and I found myself in the gravel, which finished my race on the first lap."

Nick Heidfeld: "To start with the positive aspect, it is good having finished the race again as the team has given a lot of effort and worked incredibly hard," he said. "It is important for us, although we had problems. Indeed, during the race I touched another car with the side-pod, but luckily did not go off. Moreover, on lap 43, my engine cut off, I went off on the grass, then it started again, but cut out regularly until the end. It was a fuel pump problem and my fuel consumption was too high, which is why I came in for one more pit-stop, and this problem slowed me down until the end of the race by two or three seconds each lap."

Alain Prost: "We are very unhappy with this weekend for various reasons. Again, we had too many problems to be able to hope for an improved performance but, that said, the frustration which we feel will not stop us from working very hard and continuing to work in the right direction."


Jos Verstappen: "It's a shame because the car was running so well. I had a good start but I couldn't go anywhere which is a shame. I think it's unbelievable that we do so many trouble free miles in testing and then after 25 laps in the race it's over. I came in for a pit stop and selected first gear but couldn't get into it. There was no warning of the problem as the car was running fine on the circuit. We were unlucky this time so will just try again".

Pedro de la Rosa: "I was last on the grid so had to take some risks. I had a good start and pushed hard on the first lap and moved up and I had a quicker car than most of the guys around me. Alesi was blocking me like crazy so I went to overtake him and had three quarters of the car inside him but he just closed the door. I don't know whether he saw me or not as he only looks to the front, never in his mirrors, probably to concentrate keeping the car on the track. This is motor racing and it happens, so we just have to keep working. The car is good and very quick yesterday with the whole team doing a great job. It was a difficult race, but the strategy when you start in 22nd has to be to take some risks, as there's no point in just running around the track".

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