Podium for Massa and points for Toyota in Japan Grand Prix Michael Schumacher's title challenge was dealt a cruel blow this afternoon at the Japanese Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion retired with a car problem on lap 37 of the...
Podium for Massa and points for Toyota in Japan Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher's title challenge was dealt a cruel blow this afternoon at the Japanese Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion retired with a car problem on lap 37 of the 53-lap race. Schumacher had led the race for 34 laps after overtaking his teammate Felipe Massa on lap three.
While Schumacher can still win the drivers' championship, he has to win the final round and hope his rival, Alonso, does not finish in Brazil. Felipe Massa meanwhile, finished in a strong second place, taking an important eight points for his team's constructors' championship challenge.
Fellow Bridgestone runners, Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher came away with some much wanted points in front of their home crowd after crossing the finishing line in sixth and seventh places respectively. The Super Aguri F1 team fans were delighted to see local heroes, Takuma Sato and Sakon Yamamoto, finish the race. All attention will now turn to the final round of the championship which will take place at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo [Brazil] in two weeks time.
Shoshi Arakawa, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board - Bridgestone Corporation:
"While there was no win for a Bridgestone shod car today we are nevertheless extremely proud to have watched all the Bridgestone supported teams and drivers give us a great race. We thank them for their efforts. Only one more race remains of this exciting season and we at Bridgestone will do our best to give the teams the support they need for the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix."
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"It was a disappointing race but that is the nature of racing. Until Michael had a problem with his car, the Bridgestone tyres were performing well and he was controlling the race. Massa drove a strong and consistent race, finishing second but he picked up a puncture in his right rear tyre which unfortunately meant he had to pit earlier than planned. Nevertheless, it was good to see him on the podium."
"It was also good to see both Toyota drivers pick up some points and Nico Rosberg finish tenth. There is now just one more race which makes next week's Jerez test a vital one for choosing the right tyre specifications for the Brazilian Grand Prix. It won't be an easy race but it's not over yet and anything is still possible!"
Bridgestone Team News
Ross Brawn, Technical Director - Scuderia Ferrari:
"Obviously we are very disappointed with the problem we had on Michael's car today because although it was a tough race, I think we had it under control and the Bridgestone tyres were pretty good. We had a slight balance issue at the beginning but the adjustments we made in the pitstop brought it back again and the car was going well."
"Felipe had a puncture, compromising his race because we had to anticipate his pitstop earlier than planned. That put him out in traffic and he lost a place to Fernando [Alonso] as a result. So what started as a very promising weekend finished with some disappointment. But, it's still possible and we won't give up on the championships."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis - Panasonic Toyota Racing:
"We are disappointed with our eventual positions after our strong performance yesterday. But Bridgestone has obviously had a very strong weekend even if there is no win for them at the end. We were the only Bridgestone team to finish with both cars in the points and we've been very pleased all weekend with the performance of the tyres, both in terms of single lap pace and consistency."