The Race - There is still a long way to go
Monte Carlo, 28th May 2006
The leading quartet all bunched up on lap 33 so that there was almost nothing between them, although they were
thirty seconds ahead of Barrichello who now had Trulli close behind him.
On lap 44, Webber started to drop back only for his engine to lose power due to a burnt electrical loom as he went
up the hill. He stopped and the rear end of the car caught fire, so the safety car was brought out, which sent the
leading three cars into the pits. Although the safety car picked up the leader when he came out of the pits, there
were backmarkers between himself and Raikkonen, whose engine also expired, and Montoya.
When the safety car went in, the race took on a completely new complexion. Alonso was ten seconds ahead of
Montoya who in turn was seven seconds ahead of Barrichello. He was tailed by Trulli and the two Red Bulls. The
rest were lapped, but they were led by Michael Schumacher being pushed by Fisichella. Alonso allowed them to
Barrichello, however, had incurred a pit lane speeding penalty and had to come in on lap 63, which cost him his
third place, which was then taken over by Trulli,. However, with just six laps to go, the Toyota ground to a halt with
failed hydraulics. Coulthard then took over third place which is where he finished. Teammate Klien, however, lost
drive, so the resumed Barrichello moved into fourth, and being caught at a tremendous rate by Schumacher. The
Ferrari had cut Barrichello's 20 second lead to nothing in 11 laps, but Michael had to follow his former teammate to
the chequered flag, finishing fifth. Fisichella was next, while Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher took the final points.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished ninth after a tough weekend in which 17 cars finished, more than for many years.
"Obviously we are very disappointed. Fifth place for Michael and ninth for Felipe are definitely not up to the ability
level of our package: a very competitive car, running on really strong Bridgestone tyres. However, the four points
Michael has brought home are important. He fought from start to finish, putting on a good performance. Felipe was
always in traffic, held up by slower cars and he just missed out on points. Even though today we have lost precious
ground in the fight for both championships, our motivation is still very high and we will give our all to tackle the
remaining eleven rounds as well as possible."
"I am happy to have got up to fifth in the end, even though I started from pit lane. But I am still disappointed about
what happened yesterday, especially in the light of today's performance. I was amazed at how tough the Stewards'
decision was. I can understand that, from the outside, things might seem a bit strange, but if you don't have all the
information you cannot give an appropriate judgement. The facts have to be examined in an open manner. I am
sorry that Fernando's lap was ruined and it was definitely not my intention to do that. At the time, I did not know
where his car was because I had been told nothing over the radio. I have been in Formula 1 for sixteen years and I
have got used to living with this sort of situation. We are only in the seventh round of the championship and there is
still everything to play for. Everyone could see today that I am not the sort to give up."
"A race and in fact a weekend to forget as soon as possible. We could have brought home well deserved points but
I only managed to get within one place of them. At the start, I managed to get ahead of the Super Aguris but then I
was slowed by the collision between the two Midland cars and that pushed me back. In the first stint, I lost so much
time behind cars that were definitely slower. Then, I was always in traffic, only managing to push to the maximum
for a handful of laps after the pit stop. The car was very good, as were the Bridgestone tyres. I want to say well done
to Michael. He drove a great race, showing that he gets his results on the track and not by other means as was
unjustly said yesterday. Now we want to turn the page and concentrate on the coming races, where I am sure we
will be strong."
"The cars went very well for the whole race, as could be seen from the fact we set the fastest race lap with Michael.
The Bridgestones were excellent, both in terms of performance and consistency. At half distance we changed
strategy, stopping early to get out of traffic and that meant we managed to pass a few cars. Then we were very
unlucky with the safety car that came out at the wrong time for us and we actually lost a lap to the cars in front.
Michael did a good job to unlap himself and to chase those ahead of him in the final stages, but by then it was too
late. Clearly, it's frustrating not to have got the result we could have done. But this disappointment only makes us
more determined for the rest of the season. We have the team, the drivers, the cars and the tyres. We will do our
utmost to close the gap on our rivals over the next eleven races."