DESERVING RACEDEBUT ROBERT DOORNBOS IN GERMAN GP At a crowded Hockenheimring, Robert Doornbos made an admirable F1 race debut today in a race which only counted one retirement. Minardi's new recruit finished the 67-lap race in a deserving 18th...
DESERVING RACEDEBUT ROBERT DOORNBOS IN GERMAN GP
At a crowded Hockenheimring, Robert Doornbos made an admirable F1 race debut today in a race which only counted one retirement. Minardi's new recruit finished the 67-lap race in a deserving 18th position, after he lost much time and many positions as he was hit from behind by former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve in the opening stage. By continiuosly chasing his predecessors, Doornbos earned the respect and got sincere congratulations of teamowner Paul Stoddart after finishing his maiden Formula One race!
By staying out of trouble at the start, Doornbos saw chance to jump from 17th on the grid to P14 in the first lap. Besides Webber, Sato and Trulli (who were all involved in first-lap accidents), the 23-year old Dutchman also kept former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and his ex-teammates Karthikeyan and Monteiro behind him. Unfortunately, Doornbos could not enjoy this comfortable position for a long time. In lap four, Villeneuve ran into the back of the Minardi with startnumber 20, forcing Doornbos to visit his pitcrew with damage to the rear of his car.
As his pitcrew made a mistake to both refuel and change a punctured tyre during this unscheduled stop, Doornbos again lost precious time as he received a 10 second stop-and-go penalty not much later. Though Doornbos was thrown back to the last position but one, the debutant recovered well soon after this occurence. By chasing both of the Jordans at a rapid pace, the native of Rotterdam got the best out of his originally planned two-stop strategy. After 67 tough laps at the 4,574 kilometer long track near Heidelberg, Doornbos only had a time-lag of about 10 seconds to Monteiro and Karthikeyan at the finish. Doornbos finished his debutrace in 18th position at four laps of winner and current championship leader Fernando Alonso
"Wow, what an experience! I'm really happy to have finished my maiden F1 race and still feel topfit. It's a shame I lost the connection with the rest of the field after being hit by Villeneuve in lap 04, but I'm happy to have gained so many valuable information and experiences. Overall it was again a 'good day at the office'. The team really supported me fantastic throughout the entire weekend. I can't hardly wait to attack once again in next week's Hungarian Grand Prix!"