Jean Alesi: We used a longer first gear today, and because of that I didn't get the necessary amount of wheelspin at the start so the engine just pulled away relatively gently and I lost some places straight away. Giancarlo and I left the...
We used a longer first gear today, and because of that I didn't get the necessary amount of wheelspin at the start so the engine just pulled away relatively gently and I lost some places straight away.
Giancarlo and I left the pits side by side after our first stops, fighting for fourth place, but I had a light fuel load and as I braked for the corner he just disappeared behind me. As I turned into it he slid into me, and we both spun. Because of the long first gear, and the steep uphill gradient in that corner, the engine stalled when I tried to restart.
I never like to have accidents, but it's even worse when you have them with somebody that you like, and I really like Giancarlo!
Since I was starting so far back I decided to let everyone get the madness out of their systems and to stay out of trouble. That worked as far as the first corner, where one of the Minardis just came flying into my vision and shoved me into the gravel. The car was okay and I was lucky not to lose any real time as the safety car came out, but from then on I had to put up with stones and gravel rattling round the cockpit, and lodging behind my back. That wasn't comfortable!
Our single stop strategy worked okay, but even though I tried very hard to save my tyres, the understeer that plagued me this morning kept coming back. It was thus a case of pushing hard for a few laps, trying to let the tyres cool, and then pushing again when the grip came back.
Unfortunately we were unable to exploit our position on the front row of the grid today. I think the incident that cost Jean another likely finish in the points was Fisichella's fault. It was a great pity that Jean's engine stalled and he could not rejoin.
Given his grid position, and especially after the collision in the first corner, Johnny did everything that was possible today.