RÄIKKÖNEN AND KUBICA STAR FOR MICHELIN AT MONZA
Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) was the leading Michelin runner in today's Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The Finn held the early advantage after starting from pole position, but dropped behind Michael Schumacher during the first round of stops and eventually finished a strong second.
World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) was on course to finish third after fighting his way through from 10th on the grid, but a late-race engine failure forced him to retire. He continues to lead the world championship and holds a two-point advantage over Schumacher.
Rookie Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber/Michelin) put in a stunning drive in only his third F1 grand prix and completed the podium finishers. Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, fourth), Jenson Button (Honda, fifth), Rubens Barrichello (Honda, sixth) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber, eighth) also scored points on Michelin tyres.
Nick Shorrock, Michelin F1 director:
"After today's result it looks ever more certain that the world title battle will go all the way to the wire. It is always disappointing not to win, but we produced a good range of tyres this weekend a mixture of hard, soft and medium compounds and all of them worked very well."
"Kimi Räikkönen clearly did a very good job and I thought Robert Kubica put in a stunning performance in only his third grand prix, particularly when it became clear how much fuel he had on board at the start. It's a pity that circumstances prevented Renault making its usual push for victory, but Fernando Alonso was very quick and made significant progress on a day when overtaking clearly wasn't easy."
"It has been a day of mixed fortunes, but six Michelin drivers scored points and overall I'm very satisfied with our performance this weekend. Technically we have taken a step forward since Istanbul and that gives us an excellent platform for the final three races of the season."
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO F1, Team McLaren Mercedes:
"Obviously we come to races with our eyes on victory, so we feel a tinge of disappointment. We had a good race against Michael Schumacher but ultimately traffic prevented us being able to compete. We had a great tyre during qualifying and it ran very well throughout the race. We will now work with Michelin to develop products for the final three races and I'm sure we'll be competitive in all of them."
Dr Mario Theissen, BMW motorsport director:
"We have had a very competitive package this weekend, both in low fuel qualifying trim and with racing fuel loads on board. Tyres clearly played a very important role in that package and ours were very good this weekend. I'd like to extend my thanks to Michelin."