Encouragingly the BMW WilliamsF1 Team achieved their first podium finish for the season with Juan Pablo Montoya finishing second at the Malaysian Grand Prix, behind Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. Less luck for Ralf Schumacher, who retired on lap 28...
Encouragingly the BMW WilliamsF1 Team achieved their first podium finish for the season with Juan Pablo Montoya finishing second at the Malaysian Grand Prix, behind Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. Less luck for Ralf Schumacher, who retired on lap 28 due to an engine failure - the first such failure in 17 races.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
I had a good first few laps and I managed to get in front of Rubens. Then I had quite a smooth race. Towards the end I was trying to catch Michael because I felt my car was just getting better and better. Unfortunately, after my third and last stop I exited the pit lane behind Rubens. I tried to pass him but then I preferred to back off as I did not want to compromise a good second position. I realised at this point that the most important thing was taking home some valuable points for the team and for myself.
I had a reasonable start but got trapped in traffic, so I lost several positions and dropped to 9th place. At the third lap I had contact with Webber and my front wing was damaged, causing massive understeer, especially in sector two which was obvious from my times. I was trying to overtake Mark but then I realised there was not enough room and I backed off, trying to avoid the collision, however Mark didn't give me enough space. Finally I had a technical failure, which caused an early end to my race.
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1):
The team did a good job today with excellent pit stops. We were happier with our race performance than we were in qualifying. However, we still have a lot of work to do on the chassis, engine and tyres. The whole package needs improving and we will be pushing hard to close the gap in the championship. Juan had a good start and drove a fighting but cool-blooded race. Ralf struggled after the start and then had the engine failure.
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
Compared to the season opener in Melbourne this race marked a considerable improvement, despite Ralf suffering an engine failure. Juan Pablo was able to keep up with Michael's pace over the race distance which is encouraging for the forthcoming Grands Prix. After Juan Pablo found himself behind Rubens and lost some ground on Michael Schumacher he lost his chance to catch up with the leader. At this stage we slightly reduced the engine revs.
The engine failure on Ralf's was completely unexpected and was not due to the hot temperatures. We didn't take any big risk either. The failure must have been due to a defective part. We will now have a look at it in Munich in order to identify the part. After an early collision Ralf was no longer in a position to fight for a top finish.
Juan Pablo Montoya: 2nd
Chassis: FW26 05
Best time: 1:34.223 min (lap 28, lap record)
Ralf Schumacher: DNF
Chassis: FW26 03
Best time: 1:35.607 min (lap 10, 7th overall)