TOP-10 FINISH DENIED KL Minardi Asiatech driver Mark Webber did everything that could be asked of him today while contesting his first Monaco Grand Prix and should have been rewarded with a top-10 finish. Unfortunately, the hard-charging ...
TOP-10 FINISH DENIED
KL Minardi Asiatech driver Mark Webber did everything that could be asked of him today while contesting his first Monaco Grand Prix and should have been rewarded with a top-10 finish. Unfortunately, the hard-charging Australian was denied the result he deserved when a damaged front tyre forced him to make a second, unscheduled pit stop late in the race while running in ninth place. The time lost dropped him to 12th, although he regained a position in the closing laps to take the chequered flag in 11th.
Team mate, Alex Yoong, also on a one-stop strategy for fuel and tyres, started this most demanding of Formula One races in promising fashion, but hit the barriers on the run up to Casino Square on lap 31. The young Malaysian managed to drive back to the pits after the incident, but was forced to retire from the race once his mechanics had ascertained that the suspension on his car was too badly damaged to continue.
"This was a really strong race for us. We knew after this morning's warm-up that we were quicker than a number of people in front of us. We therefore decided to run quite heavy (with fuel) at the beginning of the race, but also to stop quite early, because although we were running more weight, we knew we should be able to 'leapfrog' quite a few cars when they made their pit stops. The strategy was working perfectly and we had eighth place easily in the bag until a tyre problem forced me to pit for a new set of tyres. The team did a great job all weekend and had quite a bit of damage to contend with - they deserved better than 11th place today. I'm also sorry we couldn't deliver a present for Paul (Stoddart), as today is his birthday, but we definitely tried."
"We didn't do many laps in the warm-up, so the first time I drove the car with heavy fuel was in the race, and we had quite a bit of understeer. As the fuel load became lighter, the car was getting better, but then, after my pit stop, I ran over some debris at the Casino and hit the barriers as a result. A rear trackrod was damaged in the impact, and that was the end of my race. The boys have done a terrific job all weekend and I feel really sorry for not finishing my race today."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Despite having driven a spectacular race, Mark was forced to make a late pit stop, which denied him the top-10 position he richly deserved. It was, however, extremely rewarding to see the calibre of competition he was racing and staying ahead of today. If not for that extra pit stop, P8 would definitely have been on the cards this afternoon. Alex was driving well until he had a brush with the barriers that also necessitated an unscheduled pit stop. Despite the team's best efforts to repair a rear track rod that was bent in the accident, front suspension damage was spotted and there was no choice but to call it a day."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
Another reliable performance from the Asiatech engine gave Mark Webber's KL Minardi Asiatech an 11th place finish in today's Monaco Grand Prix.
MARK WEBBER Position: 11th
Fastest lap: 1 min 19.968 secs
ALEX YOONG Position: DNF
Fastest lap: 1 min 22.784 secs
PS02/03 - Alex Yoong (No 22)
PS02/04 - Mark Webber (No 23)
PS02/01 - spare
PS02/02 - extra spare