Sunday April 29th, 2001
Michael Schumacher: "I have to say I feel very sorry for Mika. Until the last pit stop we had an entertaining race and then he jumped me at the last pit stop. I was shocked when I saw he had retired. This is not the way I like to win, but it has happened to me in the past and these things happen in racing. Up until the final pit stop, the car was going perfectly and after the first stop I was able to pull away from Mika. But although I had three new sets of tyres, my last set was not the same. I had a very bad vibration and I thought maybe the tyre was delaminating. So I slowed down, especially down the straight, as I was worried about a blow-out. We even talked about making a third pit stop. Then the vibration did not get any worse and I realised it was safe to go on. Because I had slowed my pace, that also meant it was harder for me to get through the traffic."
Rubens Barrichello: "I think my retirement was due to a broken right rear suspension. I came up to turn 7 and in the braking area I lost control of the car and ended up off the track. My first thought was that I had a puncture and I came into the pits for a new set of tyres. But the car was still not right after that and so I decided to pull out. I am very disappointed, because the way things were going I was sure to finish on the podium. Even though I could not match the pace of the cars ahead, I was sure of keeping the place I was in at the end of the first lap. I did not make a perfect getaway, but I made up the lost ground at the first corner."
Jean Todt: "Today's win was an important one, Michael's third this year and the first under the new regulations governing the use of electronics. After a good start, Michael held the lead for two thirds of the race. In the final third, Michael felt a vibration from the wheels which meant he could not go flat out. At this time, we had two possibilities: call him back to the pits for a another set of tyres, given the considerable gap to third place, or we could get him to slow his pace. Given there were very few laps left to run, we chose the second option. On the final lap, having driven a great race, Hakkinen handed him the win, which can happen in racing. I am sorry for Rubens, who was having a very good race and maintaining a consistent pace. He had to retire because of a rear suspension problem which had earlier caused him to go off the track. The race was very tight and difficult as we fought with our usual competitors."
Ross Brawn: "I have to say that first we had the bad luck and then we were very lucky, our race strategy was very good and we could win the race. But on his third sector of the race, Michael started to experience vibration from the wheels and he was in crisis, unable to push as hard as before. In the end, thanks to Hakkinen's retirement, we ended up being very lucky. We knew the race would be very closely fought between ourselves and McLaren. When Michael came in for his second pit stop, we had enough of a margin to maintain the lead, even after Hakkinen's stop, but our driver could no longer do the sort of times he had been doing earlier. Rubens had to retire because a broken right rear suspension. We now need to look into the problem to find out what caused it. It was a shame for him, as he was driving a very strong race."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I think it is really great to be on the podium. The first four races were difficult, as some were competitive and some weren't. I didn't expect to be on the podium today as the car was quite tricky to drive and McLaren and Ferrari were in a different league, which means we have a lot of work to do before the next race. We only used the launch control and it definitely helped with the start. I thought it was going to be a bit more difficult to be in the points. I am delighted and have to thank the whole team – WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin – for a great job."
Ralf Schumacher: "I really don't know what happened when I spun. When I was braking just before the left hander the car felt fine. Suddenly the rear came round, I spun off the track and got stuck in the gravel. It is really a shame, as after some problems over the weekend the race was looking good for me."
Patrick Head, Technical Director: "It is a great result for Juan Pablo - starting from 12th on the grid and finishing on the podium. He made a great start and drove a good race, controlling the gap to the cars behind him. The team did two good pit stops, which helped, especially as he overtook Trulli in the first one. Ralf was also very competitive in the race, but unfortunately a rear brake locked and he spun off."
Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "After the triumph we had in Imola this is a second highlight. This time it happened thanks to some luck, but you have to earn your luck. We weren't as well prepared here as in Imola. This result is better than we expected."
Jacques Villeneuve: "It's great. Everybody in the team has worked really hard for the past three years. To finally get a podium is fantastic. We couldn't have gone any quicker today. The team did a great job with the pit-stops so we jumped Trulli in the pits and we hung on from there."
Olivier Panis: "First of all I am extremely happy for Jacques and the team for achieving their first podium, it has been, without doubt, long overdue. All of the team has put in a tremendous amount of work so it is a great result. As far as my race is concerned, I pushed as much as I could but I had a problem with the car during my pit stop, which hindered my chances of finishing in the points. This is a very positive result for the team and no doubt gives us all confidence going forward."
Jarno Trulli: "I made a good start and got by Rubens Barrichello, then Ralf Schumacher, who was ahead of us, made a mistake at the first corner. I got caught behind him and lost the place to Barrichello. It was a tough race because our tyre degradation pretty high and I lost a place during the first pit stop, which put me from fifth to sixth. I was pushing hard trying to stay close to Villeneuve, which was pretty difficult, and then I had trouble with the gearbox and the brakes. This is a bit of a worry because the problem has arisen before, so we need to find out why. But generally, this was a good race. I was back to fifth and I knew that Coulthard was catching me, so I had to keep a fast pace. Then, on the last lap, the leader dropped out and me all moved up one more place, which made me fourth. I think is the best result Jordan has had on this track so, all in all, it's not a bad result at the end of a hard race."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "I had a problem right at the start, we don't know at this stage exactly why it happened it may have been related to the launch control - but it meant I was last away. I got past a couple of cars on the first lap and was trying hard to catch up. On lap 6, I had an incident with Pedro de la Rosa while challenging for 16th place. I don't want to apportion blame: I would call this a 'racing incident'. As far as I recall, I had the racing line, was alongside and my rear wheel touched his front wheel. That's all I can say. Either way, it was not my day but I'm very pleased for Jarno and the team winning another three points."
Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "A great shame that Heinz went out so early, but, once again, a strong drive from Jarno which means we have scored points in all five races this season. That said, we need to raise our game. We've got the reliability, which is an important objective, but our pace is not good enough if we are to get close to the front runners. But, at the end a day like this, the lesson is that you need to be running at the finish before you can even think about anything else. The fact that the leading contenders, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, each had just one car running at the end demonstrates that."
David Coulthard: "I initiated the start sequence on the new software before the formation lap and everything was normal until I wanted to accelerate away. We are still looking into this as it's not meant to happen. As a result I had to start from the back of the grid and got involved in a first corner incident where I was hit from the rear which damaged the floor and pushed me into another car. I had to go into the pits for a new nosecone and could then start to catch up. The car was quick in race conditions and I managed to make up a lot of ground and combined with other people's misfortunes I managed to leave with two points."
Mika Hakkinen: "I'm obviously very disappointed not only for me but also for the team. I couldn't believe it when it happened, as we were confident with the car. I think it was a clutch problem as I just lost drive no matter what gear I selected. I was going up the hill at the time so there was no way I was going to be able to get the car to the finish. It's difficult to describe how I feel and I don't think the outcome will sink in until later."
Ron Dennis: "A painful end to a weekend that saw us do most things right. Based on an initial analysis we felt that David was responsible for stalling on the dummy grid but closer scrutiny confirmed that a glitch in the software was at fault. His recovery from this and a first corner incident gave him two well-deserved points. Mika drove a good race, which combined with our strategy, clearly gave him the opportunity to win. With half a lap to go and to the best of our current knowledge a hydraulic leak triggered a series of problems, which ultimately saw the clutch fail. In situations like this it's important to take some comfort from the facts, we had the right strategy and we were very competitive."
Norbert Haug: "So tough can motor racing be. I feel very sorry for Mika and the whole team. The guys did everything right and the strategy was perfect. The clutch failure came half lap too early."
Nick Heidfeld: "I made a good start and nearly got past Jacques Villeneuve, but the first corner was pretty exciting as he squeezed me almost on to the grass. I don't think we quite touched, though it was close! But it was just normal racing; I would have done the same thing. After that the car was okay, and I was really happy with it during the second stint when I was catching Jarno Trulli, but the third set of tyres wasn't as good and I was struggling. I really enjoyed racing with David Coulthard, but I wish I could have stayed in front of him. It's good to score another point today."
Kimi Raikkonen: "My start was pretty good, but then I lost out a bit going down to the first corner. The car was not as well balanced as it had been in qualifying and later in the race it was understeering a lot, so for me it was a difficult race."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "One more point is great because it is the ninth we have scored this season and brings our overall total to 99. We would have liked to challenge the Honda teams. We have work to do to improve our performance."
Jean Alesi: "One more race with no points at the end unfortunately. We must do our best with what we have at our disposal for the moment, knowing that we will soon be ready to introduce some important evolutions in the race. Next week in Valencia we will test some of these modifications. We hope that they will reward the team's great efforts in the very near future."
Luciano Burti: "The important thing for me today was to finish the race, in order to know the car better and to gather more experience with my new team. Therefore today's result is positive. I was struggling quite early in the race with the steering, which is not power assisted, and I am still not used to it. That is why I sometimes had difficulties keeping the pace. But I felt the car was really good today, and I look forward to testing this week in Valencia to learn even more and prepare for the Austrian Grand Prix."
Alain Prost: "Our reliability level is still a very positive aspect. It was supported throughout this week-end by the very good job done by the team. Our free practice sessions have been very productive, our pit-stops were perfect today : we are now ready to achieve good performances ! I am confident that we will make some significant gains thanks to the numerous developments we will introduce progressively and we just have to continue our hard work. Finishing this race with both cars is satisfactory, especially for Luciano's first race with our team."
Henri Durand, Technical Director: "Our performance this weekend did not meet our expectations. We clearly have a lot of work to do on the car. Luciano had a very impressive weekend bearing in mind the little time he has spent with us prior to this race. Jean set some respectable laptimes in the race, performing quite well in the first stint and less in the second and third. We go back home with a lot of information to analyze and we continue our effort to improve the aerodynamics and the handling of the rear of the car, especially on tyre management. We will carry on this intense work, hoping to achieve our objective as soon as possible."
Jos Verstappen: "The launch control worked perfectly at the start so I was very pleased with that, especially as I got up to 12th place. During my first stint the car felt very good and I was able to push quite hard but after my first stop, I had to push a lot harder to get the same out of the car. Something happened just before my second stop but I don't know what it was. It felt like something changed at the front of the car and it didn't feel right from then on. It's good to finish but 12th position is too low."
Enrique Bernoldi: "It wasn't my day today and I'm disappointed that I couldn't finish the race. I was delayed at the start as there was a car stopped on my line which caused me to have wheelspin. I was then hit by Coulthard's front wing and had to come in to the pits for a nose change on the second lap. I got back in the race and was enjoying a good battle with Coulthard when my car just stopped and that was the end of it."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "We're pleased to get one car home as it was good to see all our new bits last a full race distance but we still need more performance. Both drivers used launch control at the start and traction control during the race. Jos did have a small problem but we won't know what it was until we get the car back from parc ferme."
Fernando Alonso: "I am really delighted because I believe I drove a pretty good race today! Even the lap times I was able to put in surprised all of us. For the very first time, I felt totally comfortable in my car today, and what pleased me most was to realise we were not so far from our rivals. Even if they overtook me, they didn't pull away so quickly, and in one or two cases, I managed to stay with them for some laps."
Tarso Marques: "I made a good start, but the balance of the car was just not very good in race trim. Really heavy understeer meant I just couldn't push hard in the corners at all, and the situation became even worse after the second pit stop. Of course, I'm happy to have finished the race today, but it was really hard."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "The European Minardi team is overjoyed at what has been a fantastic weekend, particularly for Fernando. His performance yesterday in qualifying was outstanding, and today he proved fully capable of holding his own in the race, finishing ahead of some well-known competition. Tarso was also running strongly until his last pit stop, when a marked deterioration in his car's handling left him struggling. He performed creditably to finish 16th today. Our hearts go out to Mika Hakkinen – it is terrible for him to have been so close to his first win of the season and then suffer a mechanical failure."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I was involved in a brush with another car at the first corner which damaged my front wing, although the balance wasn't too bad so I didn't have it changed until my first scheduled stop. We must keep doing our best and develop the car as much as we can while waiting for the new improvements that we know are coming."
Jenson Button: "What can I say? I know I am repeating myself, but we just have to hang in there and be patient - even though the only thing we want to do is to win. From my own point of view I am constantly gaining experience, even if it is towards the rear of the field at the moment."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "We said that at this stage of the year it was important to have reliability and race finishes. Treating this race as a test session, we would like to have done slightly more laps than we managed, but one very positive note is that we had perfect engine reliability for the whole weekend, which is a very significant step forward. In general, our race performance has been better than our qualifying performance this season, but that certainly wasn't the case today, we struggled to get the tyres to work in the race and on reflection we choice the wrong tyre, as for the hard tyre, the cool conditions on race day didn't suit. Both drivers were also delayed. Giancarlo was caught up in an accident at the first corner, which affected his car's handling all-race and we had to change his nose during the first pit stop. Meanwhile Jenson had what we think was a puncture just before he came in for his scheduled tyre stop, and that cost him a lot of time. We have new engine developments coming mid-season and the chassis is evolving continually so we have to be patient and wait for these improvements. Added to that, we now have to work very hard on development to ensure we are competitive when we get the engine improvements that are coming."
Eddie Irvine: "Despite my exit from the race this was our most positive overall team performance this season, the car felt pretty good throughout the race and I didn't suffer from too many problems until the engine decided to let go. The team radioed me about 25 laps from the end and informed me of an oil problem. I used less revs in the hope that it would go away, but it was no surprise when the car stopped. The rear of the car felt loose throughout the whole race but I had this problem under control. Again it's a shame to see valuable points so close yet so far away."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It was a racing accident pure and simple but of course that doesn't stop me from being very disappointed, Heinz-Harald came from a long way back at Turn Eight I think, and when I saw him in my mirrors I moved to the right of the track but he overshot the corner and the next thing I knew his car made contact with mine and we went off the track together. It's a real shame because I had moved up from 20th to 16th position and I wasn't pushing hard… I wanted to finish the race."
Bobby Rahal: "There's little consolation for us to take away from this race, the team did a solid job on strategy but our only hope of points was lost because of an engine failure. Eddie's car ran out of oil and he drove at lower revs for quite some time to compensate for this. I'm actually surprised at how long the engine lasted given that he had no oil it in and it's too early to say exactly why this happened. We are brutally aware of the challenge this team faces and we will continue to fight hard towards our targets. We have developments in progress and it's only a matter of time before our cars are better placed to fight for points. There isn't a miracle cure and we are working hard, particularly on aerodynamics."