2008 Belgian Grand Prix, race: Team quotes 

Written by David on September 07th, 2008 at 8:31 pmLast Update: September 07th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

2008 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa FrancorchampsMike Gascoyne: “An exciting race in the end and good to get two cars to the finish yet again. Unfortunately Giancarlo’s race was compromised at the start when Nakajima spun and hit him. There was nothing he could do to avoid hitting him, but he did a good job to get to the finish from then on and unlap himself at the end to finish just one lap down. Adrian was on a two stop strategy, running lower downforce and made some progress early on but then a spin dropped him to the back. He then drove an excellent race, particularly in the closing stages.”

Franz Tost: “I am really very happy with this result and now we head for our home race in Monza, hoping to carry the momentum with us. It’s also the home race for our engine supplier and I expect the Prancing Horse to be on very good form next weekend. A very good start and a very good race from Bourdais until he was unlucky on the last lap, as the rain came a bit too early for him. But that’s the game at Spa. It was definitely his best race for Toro Rosso and I am very happy for him. Vettel struggled a bit at the start, but then he too drove a fantastic race, passing Glock and Piquet with some good moves. At the end, he also passed his team- mate. In the closing stages we thought about bringing them in for intermediates but by then it was too late to make that call. But in the dry, in straightforward conditions, it was undoubtedly our best performance. We have moved ahead of Honda and are now on equal points with Williams and I hope we can score more points in the remaining five races. Fantastic!”

Ross Brawn: “Both cars got off to a clean start gaining a place each. We decided to split the strategy such that Rubens would be two-stopping and Jenson only once, in order to be well placed to take advantage of any variable weather conditions and safety car periods. Rubens did a valiant job of battling through almost ten laps without sixth gear. However we indentified that the problem with the gearbox was getting worse and it became dangerous for him to continue as we risked damaging the engine and transmission and the engine was new for this race. As a result of running behind Rubens during this period, Jenson lost touch with the cars he was competing with. Jenson had good pace up until his planned pitstop but struggled for pace after switching to the prime tyre. In the closing laps of the race we decided to switch to wets, as the cars around us were struggling in the rain and there may have been a chance to take advantage. The cars who remained on dry tyres lost a lot of time in the final lap and most lost position. Unfortunately it all came too late in the race for Jenson to move into a points position and this ultimately proved to be a neutral strategy for us, with nothing lost or gained.”

Luca Baldisserri: “This was a very intense weekend, which only ended two hours after the chequered flag. Kimi drove a very nice race and it’s a real shame it wasn’t crowned with a deserved win after he attacked all race long. Felipe drove in a very calculating fashion, without taking unnecessary risks when the conditions were really critical. The soft tyres worked very well, while the hard ones struggled a bit, especially with Kimi: we need to establish what caused this. As for the rest, the F2008 proved to be very competitive and the team worked in impeccable fashion throughout the race. Now we must continue to push because we absolutely want to reach our objectives.”

Flavio Briatore: “We had a good strategy today and Fernando did everything right, which paid us back with a fourth place just behind the top two teams. It’s an encouraging result that we are pleased to score for ING in the Belgian Grand Prix, and we now want to maintain this momentum for Monza next week. We are confident that we can continue fighting back in the constructors’ championship.”

Vijay Mallya: “An extraordinary end to the race – and a great pleasure considering this to get two cars to the flag. Both drivers had excellent drives and kept clean despite the challenging conditions. Once again I think we have had a positive weekend: we’ve outraced the Hondas and we need to continue this form and pick up some points when the chances come up for the rest of the year.”

Norbert Haug: “After a thrilling race, Lewis took victory on the track which he lost following the stewards’ decision. In our opinion Lewis did not achieve this win because of an illegitimate advantage. However, we will keep our heads up. We are now looking forward to the next race in Monza on the coming weekend – we need to continue to be fully focused as nothing is decided in the World Championship yet.”

Mario Theissen: “It was a turbulent race – both immediately after the start and during the final laps. Nick was involved in a collision in turn 1 after the turmoil at the start and, like Robert, lost some positions. As a result, both cars dropped out of the points’ positions. After that the pit crew had problems connecting the nozzle during Robert’s second pit stop. Finally we recovered from these problems. Nick, his race engineer and our strategists took the right decision two laps before the end of the race by changing to wet weather tyres. The team’s ninth podium and Robert’s sixth place scored us nine points. With five races to go the team has 105 points, four more than in the entire 2007 season.”

Sam Michael: “It was a fairly uneventful race today as we were simply not competitive enough. We went for a one-stop strategy with both cars, which worked and helped to improve our position, but not enough for us to make progress into the points, which is what matters. The last lap dash on wets was a choice to see if we could make something of the opportunity, it worked for Heidfeld who jumped into a podium position, but there was insufficient track time for us to take advantage.”

Ron Dennis: “That was a sensational Grand Prix, which kept everyone on the edge of their seat, whomever they were supporting. On the second lap, Lewis made a rare mistake, dropping him to second place behind Kimi Raikkonen, whom he put under considerable pressure thereafter. But our car is slightly superior to that of our opposition in slippery conditions, so when the rain came we were reasonably confident that Lewis would be able to press home his advantage. He duly took the lead, finished first on the track, but then received a 25 second time penalty. After the race we registered our intention to appeal it. Heikki didn’t get away cleanly at the start, but then drove fast and well through the field until his charge was interrupted by the incident with Mark Webber. He was awarded a stop-go penalty, but continued to push hard until being forced to stop on the very last lap. All in all, it was a challenging race for all the drivers, all of whom handled the conditions responsibly, and both our guys showed pace and determination throughout.”

Christian Horner: “A busy afternoon for the drivers and the pit crew. Mark was unlucky in the first stint of the race when he got hit following a very optimistic move by Kovalainen, which cost him a lot of time and track position. In the final laps we gambled to split the cars and left Mark on dry tyres and put David on intermediates. David had a poor start and we had elected to run a one stop strategy, anticipating variable conditions which arrived with three laps to go. Today’s result doesn’t represent the hard work that the team is putting in at the moment, but I’m sure our luck will change soon.”

Tadashi Yamashina: “In the end we have to be quite happy with a point considering what happened in qualifying and earlier in the race. We had an exceptional start with both cars but unfortunately Jarno was hit at turn one and that basically ruined his race. Without this accident he would have been able to get a good result because he made up a lot of places at the start and we had a competitive strategy.Unfortunately his gearbox and diffuser were damaged and this made the car very difficult to drive. When the rain came late in the race, it was a good strategy to change to the standard wet tyres on Timo’s car as this allowed him to finish in the points. One point is much, much better than nothing and this result encourages all the team, at the factory and at the track, to keep fighting. I am very proud of our team today.”

Stefano Domenicali: “I have often said that the race is not over until the official results are published and that was the case today. As usual, Ferrari will not comment on the Stewards’ decision. After the race, we were called to the Stewards and we explained our position. We are very disappointed for Kimi, who had driven a great race and deserved the win, especially at this rather difficult time. This result is obviously very important for our Championship hopes: now we must maintain maximum concentration and prepare as well as possible for the forthcoming races, starting at Monza where we will be racing in front of our home fans. We will also need their support at such a delicate point in the season.”

Pat Symonds: “Once again, unpredictability produced a superb race. It’s pleasing for us that the car was very quick in the dry conditions and that we achieved a good finishing position through fantastic driving from Fernando and good team work from everyone. Our target is fourth position in the championship and today was a good step towards that.”

Fabrice Lom: “A very difficult race with mixed conditions, especially at the end. It was a hard race for the engine, which was very stressed on this track. We will cross our fingers as we still have Monza to do, which is fifty per cent of the job.”

Willy Rampf: “This was the most amazing race I have ever experienced. Up until two laps from the end everything was quite normal, but then things changed dramatically when it started raining. Nick radioed to the pits that he wanted to change tyres. He was the first driver to take this decision. The pit crew reacted quickly, and from then on he was the fastest man on the track and made up many places. He finally finished third. For Robert things, unfortunately, went wrong during the second pit stop when we had a problem when refuelling, which cost him several positions. However, overall it was a very good result for our team. We scored another podium finish and a total of nine points today.”

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