A tough race for Ferrari
Malaysian GP - Ferrari - Race Report
Today's Malaysian Grand Prix didn't end the way Ferrari had hoped with their
drivers crossing the line in second and sixth places. After failing to have a
representative on the podium at the season opener, it was Rubens Barrichello
standing on the second step alongside winner Kimi Raikkonen and third placed man
Fernando Alons, the Brazilian lucky to escape the shunt that saw his teammate
fall back down through the field.
'After the start I was
running almost alongside Michael and then I noticed a car spinning towards me. I
had to take avoiding action and then Trulli ran wide and I had to move back
inside and that cost me a lot of time. There was a lot of debris from other cars
and I was lucky not to hit everything. I found myself behind Heidfeld, but we
had good straight line speed and I was able to pass cars,” he explained.
“The car set-up was fantastic but having fallen back, I had to
catch up and that compromised my race.. After that it was trouble free. When I
was running with nothing ahead of me, I could tell that Kimi was managing to
pull away a bit. After the second stop, I had a slight misfire, but I kept
pushing until, with 15 laps to go, the team told me to hold position. I must
thank the Stewards for allowing me to race without the HANS system. Sid Watkins
checked me out and agreed that I should not use it, as I have got a small hernia
which is quite painful. I tried all weekend to make the HANS work and for the
next race, we will have a solution which should fix the problem.'
The flashpoint of the race came at the second turn, where Michael Schumacher was
at the centre of a dramatic shunt. The German driver, who started third on the
grid, attempted to beat Jarno Trulli on the inside and smashed the Italian off
the track when the Renault driver rightly cut across to slam the
Schumacher came off worst in the incident, though, damaging a front
wing, which needed to be replaced with an early pit-stop, and picking up a
drive-through penalty from stewards for causing the accident in the process.
This left Michael scrapping away amid the back-markers, but he fought his way
back up to finish in sixth.
'It was a tough race with
an unfortunate start. I made a mistake and hit Jarno and I have apologised to
him,” Michael said. “That was the decisive moment of my
race. It came as a big surprise that I was still able to fight for points after
I pitted for the drive-through penalty. So, I am happy enough in the
circumstances. I have no complaints about my car, which worked very well, thanks
to the team. Let's hope the next race will be better.'
'It was a very tough race, as indeed we had expected. The start was
the critical moment, when Michael collided with Trulli and Rubens lost a few
places. On lap 3, we called Michael into the pits to replace the front wing,
damaged in the incident. This same incident also saw Michael given a penalty and
he drove through the pit-lane on lap 9, losing ground even more. All things
considered, Michael's sixth place is significant for the Drivers' championship.
Rubens drove a good race to take second place,” added Jean Todt. “We have therefore picked up a total of eleven points, which are
important for both championships. We knew our competitors had made progress and
this race only serves to confirm that. Now we have to work along with our
technical partners Bridgestone and Shell to be as well prepared as possible for
the next race in Brazil, where we will continue to race the F2002. In the
meantime, we will continue with the development of the F2003-GA, which we know
is more competitive than the current car.'