2005 Brazil GP
Driver Quotes - Sunday 25 September
First of all I want to congratulate Fernando and his team on winning the title. They have done a great job and from a personal point of view it is nice for me to see some of the guys I worked with at Benetton looking so happy. I look forward to fighting them again next season. We had a reasonable race today, certainly better than the last few. The Constructors' championship is important to us and from that perspective this was a good result. Maybe this afternoon's positive tendency can continue in the final two races.
I had a good race, but I was blocked by the people ahead of me and I had nowhere to go really and could never really push to the maximum. It was a shame. I had a particularly exciting battle with Jenson which was a bit crazy because it was a bit wet on the inside line. I just tried hard not to create any problems for myself. If it hadn't been for the difficulty in qualifying yesterday, I could have had a much better race as the car returned to normal today. The only problem I had this afternoon was with twenty laps to go, when the power steering started pushing me to the left. Sixth was the best I could do. Congratulations to Fernando. He deserves this title.
"It was a difficult day for us. Our pace was slow and we suffered with rear graining right from the start. We were on the hard tyre as well, so we didn't expect to get the graining. In fact that's the reason why we took that tyre. I struggled particularly on the last section of the circuit, through the fast corner and onto the straight, where we had big oversteer. So not a great day but at least we picked up a couple more points and have a decent qualifying position for Suzuka. I would like to offer my congratulations to Fernando Alonso, the new world champion. He's done a great job this season."
"We started with damp conditions today and I had a lot of fuel on board which meant the car was very heavy. l also had a low downforce set-up so it was very difficult to get heat into the tyres for the first few laps. The car was tough to drive with low grip and sliding quite a bit. As the track dried and the car got lighter, my pace picked up and we were on target for our strategy. I then had a mechanical problem with the rear suspension so the car was bouncing a lot and losing stability. At least I am pleased to have brought the car home safely. I now look forward to my home race at Suzuka."
It is too early to realise what is happening to me, and I think I will only understand properly in the days to come. So far, I have spoken to the King of Spain, the Prince and the Prime Minister – it is impossible to really say anything about it now. I thought we could fight with the McLarens today but it was clear after the first stops that we couldn't keep their pace, so I just concentrated on controlling Michael Schumacher behind me, and managing the tyres. The engineers were also worried it might rain, so in the last laps I was really focusing on that, and preserving the tyres, and I was sure there were strange noises coming from the car, so it was only when I crossed the line that I realised I had become world champion! I want to dedicate this championship to my family, and all my close friends who have supported me through my career. Spain is not a country with an F1 culture, and we had to fight alone, every step of the way, to make this happen. A huge thank you to the team as well: they are the best in Formula 1, and we have done this together. It will say that I am world champion, but we are all champions, and they deserve this. Now, I can go to the last two races and enjoy them a bit more. We made some conservative decisions in some of the last races, and now we will be able to race with nothing to lose until the end of the season.
I had poor rear end grip at the beginning of the race, and that meant I was struggling with oversteer in the high speed and low speed corners, and just trying to keep the car on the circuit. To be honest, I was a little disappointed to finish fifth because we should have been able to beat the Ferrari today, but the really important thing is Fernando becoming world champion. I am very happy for him, he has done a great season with no mistakes, and I wish him all the best. But we still have a second crown to race for, and we need to keep fighting against McLaren to get back the lead. I though we were much closer to them this weekend, so their pace in the race was a surprise. We're not giving up though, and we will fight to the very end of the season.
I had a reasonable start and got away ok from the grid but right then David Coulthard, came between me and Antonio and I didn't see him until the last moment. It was very, very tight and I was looking to get away from the damp area at turn one. Unfortunately, when David tried to pull out of the position he was in he clipped the back of Antonio, who then spun into me. I could see the bodywork was damaged but I didn't know how heavily so I went back into the garage and jumped out of the car so that the mechanics could fix it. At that point it was important to join the race again in order to possibly gain a better starting position for qualifying in Japan and to see what we could learn about our race pace after a poor qualifying session.
I am very disappointed for sure, as I finished my home Grand Prix before the first corner. My car was in a straight line and I was on full power, I still hadn't started braking when I just felt a sudden impact from behind. I watched the replay of the accident and I saw it was Coulthard. I am very surprised he did this because he has many many Grands Prix under his belt and is not someone who usually makes such mistakes.
"Congratulations to Fernando, but he better be prepared for me and the team to fight him hard for the rest of the season and next year. Today's race was quite difficult and my car was not easy to drive. I carried a bit more fuel than Juan Pablo, but I still was not able to get past him in the pitstops, and he drove a good race. Of course I'm disappointed that my fight for the Drivers' World Championship is over, but we sort of knew it was going to happen. I will now focus on winning the Constructors' title for the team and go flat out for the last two races."
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"That was a lot of fun. I had a really good fight with Kimi and it was definitely not easy keeping him behind. He came especially close after the second pitstop but not close enough. I got past Fernando at the first corner when the Safety Car came in and then managed to maintain the lead for the rest of the race, but it was tough. It's great to win in Brazil for the second time in a row particularly as a lot of Colombian fans come here to support me. I'm so pleased for everybody in the team who have worked so hard that we finally got the one-two which has been so close a number of times this year. I think we definitely deserve the Constructors' Championship and I can't wait for the last two races. Also well done to Fernando."
"My car was very fast today, but not in a straight line. That was why I had such a hard time stuck behind Doornbos in the early laps. I just couldn't get a tow from him. Partway through we changed the strategy from a one stop to two, but really it just wasn't our day today."
"I didn't make a great start because my side of the grid was slightly damp. Then I got stuck behind Ralf, and after a while the balance got so bad with oversteer and very poor traction that I thought the rear tyres were finished. Later on I got stuck behind Sato and Trulli, too. In the last 15 laps the balance improved again, but by then it was too late. It was not an easy race for us today."
I made a good start and got my front wheels inside the two Williams' of Webber and Pizzonia. As we approached the first corner, I was between the two cars and thought it was going to come down to what happened in the braking zone, but we never made it there. Antonio was moving over from right to left, to try to get the better position, but as Mark (Webber) was on the other side of me, there wasn't anywhere for me to move to. All the cars touched, Antonio spun in front of my car and, I think, also hit Mark. I lost my front right wheel and that was pretty much it, I was out of the race. I'm surprised if Antonio didn't know I was there as I didn't make a dive under braking, but had gained position through acceleration from the start line. In that situation, everyone should maintain position. If the cars start to squeeze together, I can't make mine invisible! It's brings to an end what's been a pretty shit weekend.
As we expected, we were not quick enough today in the long runs. I was struggling with rear traction, especially when the car was carrying a lot of fuel. It was easier to drive when there was less fuel, but we just didn't have the pace today. I had quite a good start and made up a place, but was pushed to the outside by Michael (Schumacher) in Turn two. I had to go quite hard on to the kerb and lost a couple of places.
"That was a pretty tough race for us today. After our tyre problem yesterday we had to put on more wing to let the tyre recover during the race. But the car was very difficult to drive all race, especially early on. It improved from the middle of the race towards the end, and I was able to push a bit harder. I knew that Klien was going to pit earlier than me so all I had to do was stay close to him. Then I was lucky because I had to let Raikkonen past during my crucial extra laps but I didn't lose too much time. After all that, one point is better than nothing."
"It has been a weekend where everything went wrong for me. First we had the engine change yesterday which lost me ten places on the grid. Then I had to avoid the incident at the start of the race where I almost got hit by a spinning car. My race really lasted only a few laps when I was out of traffic and I was able to do some good lap times. The rest of the time we were quick but not quick enough to overtake cars at the only place you can here, on the straight. So that was a weekend to forget, but we'll hope to do better at Suzuka in a fortnight."
My consecutive race finishes had to stop at some point. It is a pity as everyone was hoping we could make it to the end of the season. I had a mechanical problem but this is racing. It happened to me in the past and it will happen again in the future, but it is still frustrating. Until then, it was an amazing weekend, I started 11th on the grid due to Villeneuve's penalty. I was going very well during the race but you cannot control mechanical issues. There is nothing we can do about it. Now we are thinking about the next two races already.
I made a decent start and kept up with Sato and Trulli for quite a while. Then I had to make my first pit stop and when I went out, I had to give way to the leaders and therefore lost two to three seconds a lap for two consecutive laps. This cost me a lot of track position. However, I was then catching Albers but, coming to turn 1, I had a flat spot and had to make an extra pit stop which again cost me some time. The car after that was very good but it was too late. I am nevertheless happy to finish another race this season.
I think it was a reasonable result today, as we finished in front of the Jordans, although Tiago's car appeared to suffer an engine failure. One thing for sure is that we had a good race strategy, as we had a heavy fuel load to start. That gave me the benefit of being able to make my fuel stop a little later than Karthikeyan, and I overtook him. Many thanks to the team for all their efforts this weekend, and I think it is clear we continue to make progress. I would also like to congratulate Fernando for winning the World Championship today – it's great to think that a driver who started here at Minardi has been able to achieve such a result.
I didn't finish the race, which was unfortunate. It's still a sport with a mechanical content, however, so as a driver you have to get over such disappointments. It was frustrating, though, as the race strategy we had was very good. I lost a couple of seconds to my team mate in the first stint, but we were able to fight the Jordans. We had a good first pit stop, which put me back in the Jordan ‘sandwich' again, and I was catching Narain and Christijan with good lap times, but then I started to lose performance and there was smoke coming out of the car. As a result, we had no choice but to abort the race. We now look forward to Suzuka and Shanghai, the last two races of the year, as well as to having a good 2006 season.