Second place for Rubens Barrichello Jean Todt: "The first weekend of the season ends with mixed emotions. On the one hand, satisfaction with Rubens's second place after he drove a great race. Given how things went into qualifying, it was quite...
Second place for Rubens Barrichello
"The first weekend of the season ends with mixed emotions. On the one hand, satisfaction with Rubens's second place after he drove a great race. Given how things went into qualifying, it was quite a long call to expect a podium finish. On the other hand, there is disappointment for Michael, forced to retire when he was in the points, following a collision with Heidfeld's Williams. It is a shame, because Michael had staged a good climb up the order and could have brought home some valuable points."
"We proved we were competitive in the race and to achieve that with the F2004 M is encouraging for the future. However, we know that, along with Bridgestone, we have a lot of work to do to reach the level of performance we are aiming for. I want to congratulate Giancarlo Fisichella who drove a splendid race to take his second Grand Prix win. Today's result confirms our prediction that it will be a very very closely contested championship."
"I enjoyed every second of the race. The other teams have obviously made a step forward, but I must congratulate our team on producing a good car and the tyres held on very well -- they could have done another race. I had a great start and passed Button immediately. Then I had a fantastic first and second corner and I was able to pass Villeneuve which I knew was essential. After fifteen laps, my rear brakes were locking really badly, the balance all went to the rear and it was like driving a kart."
"In the final stages, I was still pushing Fisichella because I had Alonso behind me, but I had to be careful as I was trying to conserve the engine, as we have to think about Malaysia and its high temperatures. I had a few problems with traffic. There are some new guys out there who were occasionally in the way, so I guess we need to give them time to get the F1 habit. We proved today that this car is still competitive, even though the new one will be faster."
"All in all there are some positives to take away from this race. We were competitive -- Rubens drove a super race -- despite the fact we had last year's car. We had a great pace and I am pretty sure I could have passed Klien. We can be satisfied and regard this weekend as a good sign for the rest of the championship. The incident with Heidfeld? With this type of thing there are always different opinions and mine is that it is impossible to blame either one of us."
"I saw him behind me just as I came out of the pits and I made it clear I was defending my position. At one point I lost sight of him in the mirrors and went into the corner when I felt I'd been hit. I have seen the incident on film: Heidfeld was on the grass and so was not in full control of his car. I can't blame him for trying to overtake me. My car was slightly damaged in the collision and there was no point in going on."
"We are reasonably happy, considering we came here with the old car. To finish second after such a dreadful qualifying is not bad. Both guys drove a great race. Rubens was exceptional, as he had a problem with the car from the early stages, but he was able to manage it very well. Michael had a race from the back of the grid and it was always going to be difficult with such a high number of finishers."
"It's a great shame he got taken out, because a couple of points from Michael would have been a nice bonus. We know we have the new car coming and further development on tyres, which were very good today. Second place with the old car cannot be bad and is a good incentive for all of us."
2nd +5.553, 57 laps
Retired lap 42, 42 laps