In a race of exceptional reliability -- 20 cars started and 20 cars finished -- Minardi F1 Team drivers Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers took the chequered flag in 18th and 19th positions in today's Italian Grand Prix. Despite both cars ...
In a race of exceptional reliability -- 20 cars started and 20 cars finished -- Minardi F1 Team drivers Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers took the chequered flag in 18th and 19th positions in today's Italian Grand Prix. Despite both cars displaying good pace, neither driver was able to capitalise completely on the situation.
Albers' race was compromised by two unscheduled visits to the pits, one to replace a damaged front wing, incurred in an opening lap collision with the Jordan of Narain Karthikeyan, and the other, to comply with a drive-through penalty assessed for failing to let Felipe Massa's Sauber pass quickly enough.
By comparison, Doornbos had an untroubled race, completing his two scheduled fuel stops without incident and pressing on, with a string of consistent laps, to the finish.
"Today marked my fourth Grand Prix for Minardi. The weekend was going well and we were expecting to have a good battle with the Jordans. Monteiro appeared to have a slightly better car in the opening part of the race, but I had a good start and was able to maintain position ahead of my team mate and Karthikeyan."
"I was even able to pass one of the Williams briefly, so the first lap was very exciting, as usual, and I really enjoyed that. As the race developed, though, it became clear the pace wasn't quite there, so I just focused on the lap times and talking to my engineer on the radio."
"Anyway, we have been competitive all weekend, even if not quite to the level we would have liked in the race, and now look forward to Spa and another opportunity to fight the Jordans."
"We did a good job between qualifying and the race, and I was happy with the work we did. I think we had a competitive car and could have finished in front of the Jordans, as we could have done yesterday in qualifying, but sometimes you also need some luck."
"I stopped four times in the race -- once for a new nose, one for a drive-through penalty, and two normal pit stops -- so I think I have seen enough of the pit lane this weekend. Anyway, we'll now put this race behind us and look forward to the next one, in Spa."
"I want to say a special thank you to the mechanics and engineers, because they did a really good job with the car, and that was reflected in our lap times this afternoon."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"It was a somewhat disappointing race from the Minardi standpoint, because although both cars took the chequered flag, our pace suggested we should have finished in better positions than we did. We were ahead of the Jordans on pace and, in fact, our best lap was less than one-and-a-half seconds shy of Michael Schumacher's fastest race lap."
"Unfortunately, Christijan tangled with Narain Karthikeyan on the first corner of the first lap, which necessitated an unscheduled pit stop, and then, later in the race, he was assessed a drive-through penalty for failing to move over quickly enough for Felipe Massa."
Christijan simply didn't hear the call on the radio to do so, and we subsequently apologised to Sauber for this. If Christijan had enjoyed a clean race, I believe he would have finished ahead of both Jordans, and his lap times certainly reflect that. Robert, on the other hand, drove a trouble-free race to finish in P18."
Best lap: 1 min 25.193 secs
Best lap: 1 min 24.966 secs