Jean Alesi: Once again I had a good start, and all afternoon I was quicker than both Benettons. We were able to run very close together fighting initially for sixth place, but on the 21st lap the electronic throttle bipper didn't work properly...
Once again I had a good start, and all afternoon I was quicker than both Benettons. We were able to run very close together fighting initially for sixth place, but on the 21st lap the electronic throttle bipper didn't work properly when I was changing down a gear. The rear end locked up momentarily and I ran wide and slid into the gravel, but I was able to get straight back on to the track and didn't actually lose too much time. After that I really pushed very hard, and our strategy and pitwork was very good again.
The car was very, very consistent, and we just need a little bit more of everything to be closer to the top guys. I needed maybe another lap and I would have caught Hakkinen for the last point, but as it was the race was not long enough!
In retrospect I screwed up with my set-up in qualifying, trying something that didn't come off. This morning we reverted to the standard set-up and the car was totally different. Unfortunately, when you start 15th it's tough. We all lost a hell of a lot of time behind Diniz, but once I got by the car felt very good and my times were competitive.
The team's strategy was very intelligent, with our short middle stint, and quick stops helped make up ground on Ralf. Unfortunately the tyres had gone off completely over the last 10 laps, and I lost it on the penultimate corner, so he repassed me for ninth. But for me it wasn't a bad race, and we have a good direction for the future.
Extraordinarily good work in the pits, together with a perfect, flexible strategy made it possible to get Jean past Fisichella and Johnny past Ralf Schumacher. Both Jean and Johnny drove fast and spirited races.
Overcast but warm.