Jean Alesi: This is a fantastic result for the team! All season our performance has been getting better, but whenever we have been on the verge of a strong result something has always gone wrong up until now. The level of competition has been...
This is a fantastic result for the team! All season our performance has been getting better, but whenever we have been on the verge of a strong result something has always gone wrong up until now. The level of competition has been tougher than ever, and the disappointments have been difficult to take. This result makes up for all that.
I was lucky to avoid the problems at the first start, and when the race really got going I had to concentrate very hard because the conditions were so difficult. It was raining in a different way on different part of the circuit, and especially on the intermediates on which I started I had to be very careful. When we switched to full wets it was easier, but throughout the visibility was terrible.
To be honest I was surprised when the safety car pulled off again towards the end, because there were cars parked either side of the track and it was very easy to aquaplane in many places. Towards the end I could run at the same speed as the two Jordans just ahead of me, but it was absolutely impossible to try anything because the visibility was so bad. I was thinking of points, nothing else.
At the first start I could sense things moving oddly in the ball of spray ahead of me, then suddenly a wheel came flying over my head. Then I found myself spinning after somebody hit me. I took the spare for the restart, but that didn't even last as long as the first for me. Mika spun, and like David with Mika Salo in Austria, he was trying to flick it back the right way and just caught my rear suspension as I tried to squeeze by. It was too badly damaged to continue.
A bad day for me, but I am delighted for the team with Jean's result. It's absolutely the tonic that we needed.
Finally - and deservedly - we have achieved a great result. It was a fantastic performance from Jean, and a profound relief for the entire team. Johnny was twice the victim in incidents beyond his control, but that meant that there was just one more team member keeping the fingers crossed in the pits!