2005 Monaco GP
Driver Quotes - Sunday 22 May
Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong at the beginning. I got stuck behind the Minardi that blocked the track and then I had to pit to change the nose on the car. It is clear when you look at the times that we had a very competitive race pace. It is a shame that we were not able to get the most out of it. But, given everything that happened, I have to be reasonably happy with my two points. As for my move on Rubens, we are all here to race and I did not think there was much risk involved in the move.
All sorts of thing happened in this race. My car stalled in the pits unfortunately, which cost me a lot of time, but I had a really good car. The tyres were excellent throughout and meant I had a good pace, but here there is so little space to overtake, I could not make the most of the tyres. I lost a position to Michael right at the end, as I was trying to overtake Ralf. Michael took a gamble for the extra point. The most important thing we can take away from here is that the car was very good in the race.
It was a really tough race for me. I tried to look after the tyres at the start of the race, so I didn't worry too much about the fact that Raikkonen was pulling away, but in the last twenty laps, things became really difficult: I did all I could to keep the Williams behind me, but I couldn't hold them off because the rear tyres were in poor condition and they could brake much later into the Chicane. After a race like that, I think we need to look at the positive aspects: we managed to score points on an afternoon when it would have been very easy to score none at all.
I am extremely disappointed – it was probably the most difficult race of my life today. The car was impossible to drive for the last 25 laps – the rear tyres were completely gone and although I did my best to keep the other cars behind, I couldn't do it. The first part of the race was not too bad, and I was going well in third position, but when the safety car came out we fuelled until the end of the race. My situation got very difficult after that: the car was tricky to drive immediately after the stop, and things just got worse from there.
It's my first podium finish in F1 and it's very good to have two cars on the podium here, after a not so easy start to this season. Last week in Vallelunga we made a lot of tyre testing for this race and our choice paid off today because apart from McLaren today we were much stronger than anybody else. I was stuck behind Jarno in the first part of the race and it was frustrating. Then unfortunately Nick passed me at the second pit-stop and we were both again held up by Alonso, who was struggling with his tyres. Obviously, once Nick had got ahead of Fernando he made it very difficult for me into the chicane. We had a good fight and I just made it past him. It's been a great effort from WilliamsF1, BMW and Michelin. We showed today good performance and reliability. I just wished I could have driven in some clean air today!
I am very very pleased to get my best ever result here in Monaco. I had a very good start and I even touched Mark at the first corner, but that's racing. But then I was stuck with other drivers behind Trulli for some time so I tried to save fuel and tyres. When the safety car came out and the engineers called us both in, the guys did a fantastic job in getting us out so quickly. Then I was lucky because the engineers decided to take a risk and pit earlier, for my second stop and this allowed me to get ahead of Mark. A lot of cars seemed to have problems with their tyres today but we didn't and towards the end I pushed as hard as I could. When I caught up to Alonso I knew he was struggling with his tyres so I decided to wait for a couple of laps to weigh up the best possibility to overtake him. Fernando defended well but I was just able to out-brake him which was such a good feeling.
This is great. To win is always fantastic, but Monaco is a special challenge. We have been strong throughout the weekend and I was able to pretty much control the race. I was able to push and open up a considerable gap, and when the time was right I simply came into the pits, refuel and still rejoin the race in the lead. After that I could take it a bit easier and look after the car and the Michelin tyres. Once again thank you to the entire team and everybody at Michelin. We have worked hard, and I think we have the best package out there at the moment. Our World Championship battle has gained momentum today. We will take one race at a time and continue to do our best.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
I think we made the best out of our situation and scored some important points for the team and me. I was so close to getting past Fernando Alonso on the last couple of laps but had to settle for fifth position as I did not want to risk too much. My car was working very well, and without a starting position on the back of the grid a place on the podium would have been possible. I gained a lot of places at the start and had a few battles in the race with Massa, Rubens and Trulli which kept me pretty busy. Congratulations to Kimi on his victory. I have won this race once and know how special it is to claim victory in Monaco.
"Our strategy today was very good, and to begin with my plan was to save the tyres as I had plenty of fuel on board. But then I got really messed up with the incident at Mirabeau on lap 25. Felipe was able to get through a gap and make his pit stop, but I got badly held up and there was no point in refuelling then because I was on a long run strategy, so really I got nothing out of the situation.
"Towards the end I caught up with Felipe again and I could see that his rear tyres were finished, whereas my car felt pretty much as good as it had been all through the race. I was told to reduce the gap to the guys in front of me because a lot of us were closing up in the fight for points, and I tried something that unfortunately didn't work."
"I made a very good start and in the incident at Mirabeau between Coulthard and Schumacher I was just able to find a way through a small gap. The team called me in to refuel as the Safety Car came out and that was a brilliant plan. After that I was running strongly behind Heidfeld and was able to make a second stop later on, on lap 50, without losing much time. Unfortunately my tyres were losing grip and Montoya passed me, and then there was the incident with Jacques at Ste Devote. I think it was wrong from his side, but now I am just focusing on the next race."
There's not so much to say. Albers spun his car going into the corner, so I slowed down to avoid him. However, Michael couldn't see me and he hit the back of my car, which damaged the back wing and rear suspension. For that to happen twice in one weekend… well, lets just say it's pretty bad luck.
I was battling with the rear of the car from the beginning of the race. Tyre wear meant it was sliding a lot and it was difficult to keep the car well balanced. I was battling with Juan Pablo, Michael and Ralf, but on lap 61, one of the rear tyres went completely and I had nothing left. After I exited the tunnel, I hit the barrier and that was the end of my event. It's very disappointing.
"First of all thanks to the whole Panasonic Toyota Racing team for putting the car together after my accident yesterday. It was a great effort and the car went through the whole race so I'm really happy about that. It's a pity about what happened on Saturday because I could have ended up with even more points, but I had a very good day today. In the early laps I passed a few slower cars into Mirabeau, then I was held up in traffic. After the safety car period I began moving through the field. Then at the end I was in a long chain of cars behind Alonso who was going slowly. With the Ferraris behind me it was a bit difficult. Then Michael made rather a strong move on the line and we nearly crashed. Still, it's great to end up with three points."
"I made a good start and I was doing a very good race at the beginning, keeping the pace. We were on a one-stop strategy so I was pushing 100 percent while taking care of the fuel. It wasn't easy but I was doing well. Unfortunately when I came out from my own pitstop I spent the second half of the race behind Fisichella who was struggling with his tyres and losing several seconds per lap. That meant I lost position on the two Williams as well. Then Giancarlo made a mistake into Mirabeau and I was able to overtake him into the Loews hairpin. But I hit the inside kerb which made my car feel unbalanced at the end. I came into the pits to check the problem and that moved me out of the points."
Six race finishes in a row is an important thing obviously in order to collect as much information as possible. After this weekend, we need to do a lot of things to improve the car because we have been struggling throughout the three days. It was a hard race on the car and tyres but also mentally as we had to stay focussed in order to stay on track, not make any mistake, let faster drivers pass by and bring the car to the finish. It is a bit frustrating as so many cars made it to the end but if we look at the positive side, we were one of them.
It is really a pity I had to retire. I made a decent start and then I had a touch with the barrier, which damaged the hydraulic system. This explains why we had to pit early in the race. The team did a good job to try to fix it but unfortunately it was not possible and I had to retire. The whole weekend was very difficult for us, so now we have to make sure we will do better in the European Grand Prix next week.
I had a good start and got ahead of Patrick, but I left him some space, as he was running a two-stop strategy and I was on one stop, and it wouldn't have been fair to hold him up. After that, during the first few laps, I experienced a problem with the rear of the car when I was braking out of the tunnel, but we were able to solve that a couple of laps later. I was then able to race at a good pace, considering the fuel load, but started losing overall grip, even in the tunnel. The situation was the same after the stop, but then, in the last 11 or 12 laps of the race, the problem disappeared and I was again able to run at a good pace. We now need to look through the data to understand what was happening, and improve the car for Nurburgring. Obviously, I had that spin in the hairpin, and I still don't understand what caused it, so we will have to examine that as well. Fortunately, I managed to keep the engine running after the spin, and was able to continue. It was a shame for the other drivers who became involved in the incident, but unfortunately, that is racing, and particularly racing here in Monaco.
I made a good start to the race, and the car was working really well right up to the time when the Safety Car came out. After it went in, though, the back end of the car felt really strange, almost like there was a puncture. On the lap I spun, I just touched the brakes at the chicane and the rear snapped away. It's a real shame, because up to that point our race pace had been good and the car was working well. I also feel badly for the guys, who, once again, have put in a huge amount of work this weekend, but at least Christijan got to the finish, and that, plus our qualifying performances this weekend, are encouraging.