McNish reflects on Spa

Toyota's Allan McNish looks back at the Belgian Grand Prix "I really enjoy racing at Spa and it's one of those places that you head for with a real sense of anticipation." "We felt that the car would be a more competitive proposition on a ...

Toyota's Allan McNish looks back at the Belgian Grand Prix

"I really enjoy racing at Spa and it's one of those places that you head for with a real sense of anticipation."

"We felt that the car would be a more competitive proposition on a quick circuit like Spa and happily that proved to be the case. We had a productive first day of free practice on Friday and Mika managed to qualify in the top 10. We made a change to the tyre pressures before our final run and while it worked well for Mika, it didn't actually do me any favours. Still, 13th place on the grid was not bad and gave cause for optimism looking ahead to the race."

"Overall, from a team point of view, it was a good result with Mika finishing seventh, only 0.4s from another world championship point, and we were more competitive than in previous races. But, from the personal side of things my race could have been much better."

"We had a wheel sensor problem on the installation lap and that affects the traction control and the many electronic systems that you have on a Grand Prix car. I found the car was inconsistent for the rest of the day and it wasn't doing the same thing in left and right-handers, which can be a little disconcerting."

"There was, as always, a lot of talk about the challenging Eau Rouge section over the weekend. It's always regarded as something of a test of your nerve with some drivers having spectacular incidents trying to take it flat-out in qualifying. Well, this year, with the added grip from traction control and the tyres, it was easily flat and someone said that Michael Schumacher was something like 30kph quicker than last year through the speed trap just after it."

"On Friday and Saturday every lap was flat there, no consideration, but in the race my car, for whatever reason, wasn't easy at all through Eau Rouge. It certainly wasn't 'easy flat' in the race. I took it flat just the once and had something of a moment!"

"But problems aside, in relative terms Spa was much better than the previous races because we were ahead of and able to challenge other teams that have generally been ahead of us."

"I think a bit of that was car and a bit of it was down to the tyres, especially in qualifying. Once you have qualified well it's a lot easier to race, for sure. Spa is also a place where you can overtake and there were some good battles. I had a good one with Jacques Villeneuve for a while and also with Felipe Massa and Nick Heidfeld. At the point Jacques passed me, under braking into Les Combes, the tyres were just going through a bit of a dip so he was actually a bit stronger at that point. He was good through Eau Rouge and I didn't have any answer to him."

"As a whole we were more competitive right the way through the weekend, which was very positive. The circuit characteristics certainly played a part and, as I've said, the tyres. I think Michelin helped us quite a lot round here and the balance of the car improved and was reasonably good in qualifying. We lost that a little for the race and it was a tough weekend for everyone under the circumstances."

"Spa is a fantastic place and it's also pretty central. There are a lot of fans from countries that don't have grands prix. They can easily get to Belgium and there's a great deal of enthusiasm from the fans as well as from us drivers."

"You get a great buzz out of driving at Spa. Places like Eau Rouge, Blanchimont and Stavelot are all corners that are right on the limit. And all the more fun."

"Like Spa, you can also race at Monza, which is our next destination, if you've got good traction and good stability over the kerbs. I will be testing there on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week with that very much in mind."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Allan McNish , Felipe Massa