August 22, 2005 West McLaren Mercedes scored a convincing double podium at the inaugural Turkish Formula 1 Grand Prix yesterday, but the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took strong second and fourth place finishes with Fernando Alonso’s second place finish meaning he loses just two points to rival Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship, and he now holds a 24 point lead with five races (50 points) to go. Whatsmore, with second and fourth placed finishes, Renault scored thirteen points, minimising McLaren’s advantage of a 16 points bonanza and retaining its lead in the Constructors’ Championship by nine points.

Kimi Räikkönen started the race from his fifth pole position of the season. He lost first place to Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) at the first corner, but retook at turn nine and completed the first lap at the head of the field. Juan Pablo was fourth, retaining his qualifying position.

Fernando Alonso started strongly from third position and crossed the line in this position at the end of lap one. He was able to overtake team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella on lap two, and then concentrated on completing a consistent, competitive two-stop race. He was running in third position behind the two McLarens five laps from the end, when a collision for Juan Pablo Montoya, followed by an off-track excursion, meant he was able to take second position on the penultimate lap.

Giancarlo Fisichella started strongly from second position to take the lead on lap one. However, he struggled to get his tyres up to temperature in the opening laps, and ran wide on the exit of Turn 10 – costing him speed down the back straight, and one position to Kimi Raikkonen. He was subsequently passed by his team-mate on the next lap, and then concentrated on running a similar two-stop strategy to his team-mate. He was delayed by a fuel rig problem at the opening stop, but made a strong recovery from ninth position to take fourth place at the flag.

The race: After the pit stops of Alonso (lap 13) and Fisichella (lap 14) Kimi retained the lead ahead of his team-mate. Juan Pablo came in for his first stop on lap 21 and resumed after 7.9sec, remaining second. Kimi stopped one lap later (10.0sec) without losing his lead.

On lap 39 Juan Pablo recorded the fastest lap of the race in 1m 24.770s. Two laps later the Colombian came in for his second refuelling stop while running second (7.7sec) and kept his place behind Kimi when he resumed. The Finn pitted on lap 45 in 6.2sec and crossed the finishing line to take his fifth win of the season. Juan Pablo looked on course to finish second when on lap 55 he was hit from behind as he lapped Tiago Monteiro (Jordan-Toyota) and was spun off.

He recovered quickly to keep his second place ahead of Alonso, but lost his position one and a half laps later with an off caused by diffuser damage.

Kimi Räikkönen, McLaren Mercedes, first place: “I’m very happy to win the first ever Turkish Grand Prix. We arrived here with a strong basis thanks to the work put in back at base which definitely made our weekend a lot easier. I didn’t make the best of starts as I had bit of wheel spin which allowed Fisichella to pass. However he ran wide later on the first lap which allowed me to re-take the lead. I was pushing as hard as I could, but we knew our strategy would work, so really after the first pitstop I could be safe. As a team we were a little bit unlucky today with what happened to Juan Pablo. At the end of the season two points can make all the difference.”

Ron Dennis, McLaren Mercedes Team Principal: “A very good race for the team and an excellent result for Kimi who drove a consistent and disciplined race. He made sure that he didn’t get involved in any incidents. Our strategy proved to be superior, and two podium places are a good reward for the team’s efforts. Regarding Juan Pablo’s incident it should be noted that somebody who has been lapped already twice should make certain that he leaves enough room. The damage caused by the accident and Juan Pablo’s off at Turn eight prevented us from achieving a one-two.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Congratulations to Kimi on a convincing victory and an outstanding performance. We saw a super race at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix and a good speed of our package on this technically demanding circuit. Unfortunately a twice lapped competitor who ran into the back of Juan Pablo – certainly not on purpose – prevented the team from scoring a 1-2 victory today. However we are pleased with the performance of both Kimi and Juan Pablo and the car on one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar. We are now looking forward to the rest of the season and will work hard to maintain our competitiveness.”

Fernando Alonso, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, 2nd position: “We had a slightly different race to normal today: we qualified quite early yesterday, when the track was slower, and that meant we had to try something unusual to get a good grid position. So we were quite light, and got a clean first stint – which meant we could run without traffic for the rest of the race, and this paid off with two good finishes for the team. From my point of view, I knew the McLarens were faster so I concentrated on doing a race with no mistakes, and driving consistently: the car was reliable again, and I had some luck with Montoya’s problems as well. But you know, sometimes you can make your own luck – I kept the pressure on, and it paid off because I was close enough to take advantage. In terms of the championship, we know McLaren are faster – but this was as good a result as I could have hoped for.”

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team: “This was a strong result for the team after a difficult afternoon. McLaren were very competitive today, as we expected, so we tried something different in qualifying to get to the front of the field. It worked well, and both Fernando and Fisico drove great races – Fernando was in the right position to take advantage of Montoya’s mistake, and Giancarlo recovered well after problems at his pit-stop. Our reliability was perfect, and although the gaps are a little smaller after today, we are still leading both championships. But we know we need to find more speed as well.”

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team: “This was a tough race for us today, particularly as McLaren once again showed a very impressive level of performance. We had anticipated this yesterday after practice, and it led us to adopt early first stops in order to overcome the disadvantage of our poor starting slots in qualifying. In spite of some problems with our pit-stops, we managed to get the results we needed. Both drivers did a superb job – Fernando drove his usual aggressive, consistent race and Giancarlo recovered exceptionally well from his problems at the first pit-stop. The next race brings us a very different challenge at Monza, where we hope to run competitively – and we will begin preparations with both race drivers during testing this week.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren Mercedes, third place: “I’m obviously disappointed to lose second place so close to the end of the race to Alonso. I had lapped Monteiro in the Jordan, but I think he must have locked up under braking and went into the back of me. The car felt OK for the first couple of corners after this, but when I came back to the pits after the race I could see that my entire diffuser at the back of the car had been destroyed. I then ran wide in turn eight which allowed Alonso to pass. I’m a bit disappointed as my car was very quick and the strategy was right, so second place would have been fairly easy. I had a bit of an incident in my first pitstop when the fuel nozzle got stuck, but that didn’t really cost me too much time. I’m sad for the team because a one-two would have been really good for the Championships.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team , 4th position: “I got a great start even from the dirty side of the grid – we had a lighter fuel load than the McLarens, and that gave us an advantage off the line. But I was struggling to get my tyres working properly in the opening laps, which meant I went off on lap one and that allowed Kimi to pass me; then the team had told me Fernando was quicker, so when he got a good slipstream down the back straight, I did not make things difficult for him because I knew I was fuelled a bit longer. I lost time at the first pit-stop with a problem on the fuel rig, so after that it was a good recovery to finish fourth. The balance of the car was quite good, so I was able to do consistent lap times and just push to the maximum. We have lost a few points in the championship to McLaren, but given the speed they showed today, it’s not too bad.”

Jenson Button, B.A.R Honda, fifth place: “I really enjoyed the race! I had a terrible start, but to work my way through the pack was fantastic. For me, it was probably one of the most exciting races this year. The result is a little disappointing in a way because we have had good pace all weekend, but we've just got to try not make the same mistake again. It has been a fantastic weekend for the team and it has shown that we are getting closer to the top two teams, so we are very excited about the next race in Monza."

Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director, B.A.R Honda: "This was the best race of the year so far for our team. Both Jenson and Takuma drove faultlessly, aggressively and very fast indeed. Our engineers’ inventive strategy paid good dividends, especially in the case of Taku. The pitstops were executed very well and, last but far from least, Honda once again built an engine that remained strong throughout the race. One can’t help wondering what could have happened had we started further up the grid!"

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: “That was a very exciting race – watching both drivers fight through the field was excellent! We are clearly closer to the front here than we have been in the past. If we continue our development and qualify well in the next races we can maintain our challenge for a race win this year.”

Jarno Trulli, Panasonic Toyota, sixth place: "After a few months of bad luck and disappointing races, it's good to have a normal race again at last. I made a good start and I pushed to the limit at the beginning and throughout the race. I lost quite a bit of time in traffic during the race but other than that everything went well. I personally had a very strong race so it's good to be back where I ought to be. I always expected to be behind the two McLarens and the two Renaults, and the BAR has also shown good pace this weekend. So I'm really satisfied with our weekend's work and happy to come away with three points."

Tsutomu Tomita, Panasonic Toyota Team Principal: "We were able to bring home both cars with no technical problems, but we were short of outright race pace. Our lap times were reasonable but a long way behind the top teams. So with the performance we had today, we couldn't really expect a lot more. Both drivers did well and pushed as hard as the car would let them go. Still, we got three points from Jarno and the teams we are fighting with in the constructors' championship didn't pick up any points, so that's good news. But I hope we can make more steps forward for the remaining races of the season."

David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing, seventh: “Well, that was a pretty good result. I was happy with the overall performance of the car throughout the race and, although we still have a few issues regarding the down-force level at top speed, the balance of the car felt good. We had some understeer at the start, but made a wing adjustment during the first pit stop to create more down-force and after that it was much better. Otherwise, there were no issues at all during the race and I’m happy we collected three points.”

Christian Horner, Sporting Director Red Bull Racing: “After the penalty of having to go out to qualify first and second here, to finish the weekend in seventh and eighth is pretty good. It also means we maintain sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship which is great, especially at this stage in the season, and we’ll certainly be fighting very hard in the next few races to stay there. The strategic team, the engineers and the mechanics all did an excellent job today. The pit stops were fast and it was a strong, disciplined performance. The drivers did a superb job and I’m pleased with the result.”

Gunther Steiner, Technical Director Red Bull Racing: “Our strategy worked well. Realistically we didn’t come here expecting very much after our Hungarian result and difficult qualifying positions. Therefore, to come away with three points is pretty good. The guys who worked on the strategy did a great job and staying out for a long time on the first stint worked well for us. That was definitely a major factor in the final result, but I must also say well done to the drivers who didn’t stop pushing for a second. The fact that there were no significant problems with the car during the race is also very encouraging.”

Simon Corbyn, Head of Cosworth F1 Race Engineering: “Cosworth delivered a solid performance in Istanbul and had no engine problems throughout the weekend, culminating in another double points scoring finish for Red Bull Racing. Christian in particular did a great job of maximising available engine performance to defend his position. New TJ2005 Series 12 engines will be installed on schedule for the Monza GP.

Christian Klien, Red Bull Racing, eighth: “That was a really tough race, really tough. I was pushing hard on every single lap - there was no let up at all and this track needs 110 per cent of concentration all the time. We got one point at the end, which is pretty good I think, especially considering our qualifying position so I’m pleased.”

Takuma Sato, B.A.R Honda, ninth place: “It was a mixed weekend for me. It was great on the one hand as I had a really exciting race, but it was a shame that I could not finish in the points today. Our qualifying positions cost us the result, but we tried a very different strategy today to try to make up some places. The team has done a great job this weekend and I want to thank everybody who has worked so hard. I hope that we will be able to carry this momentum over to the next race."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, tenth place: “This was a very, very tough race. I drove flat out from the start, but it had been obvious that we lacked performance since we started on Friday. After Hungary, it is disappointing to see us back in a situation like this. We had no grip and I we clearly made the wrong choice in terms of the tyres we brought to Turkey. Tenth place is not what we would have wanted in this inaugural Turkish race. We must keep on working and try and do better.”

Jean Todt, Ferrari : “It was a race to forget. For the third time this season, we head for home having failed to score any points. Chronic lack of grip, which we have suffered from since the start of the season, prevented us from running competitively right from the start of this weekend. This afternoon, we saw how our competitors’ times improved step by step as the track got more rubber on it, while ours got worse. Rubens did what he could, while it was a shame to see Michael pitting with a damaged car having been run into by a lapped car. We worked on his car to send him back out on track to get him a better start position for qualifying in Monza. In the past years, we have developed the nice tradition of winning races on a new track, but today that run has come to an end. I am very disappointed, especially for the large number of Ferrari fans we could see in the grandstands at this great facility. We must get back to work immediately, along with our partner Bridgestone, to analyse the situation. Our aim is to be as well prepared as possible for the race in Monza and those that follow in what has turned out to be a particularly tough season.”

Ross Brawn, Ferrari: “This was an extremely disappointing race. Michael’s accident looked a bit unnecessary, given that Webber was one lap down. We repaired the car to get back on track to get the best possible qualifying position for Monza. Rubens had a fairly dull race with not much to say about it. His car was okay, apart from a bit too much understeer. He just lacked pace.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber-Petronas, 11th: "At the first corner everybody was going four abreast so I backed off a little. I could see somebody was going to get into trouble. Unfortunately that put me behind the Jordans and the Minardis. Their tyres warmed up quicker than mine did and the problem was that they were getting down the straights faster so it was really difficult initially to get past them. Once I did the pace was reasonable and I had no problem keeping ahead of Ralf, but in any case I think it would have been very difficult to score points today."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director, Sauber-Petronas: "This was a disappointing result when you think what Felipe might have achieved without that first-lap crash. After he rejoined the race we were happy with his car’s performance and overall we could have had a very competitive race, but then he encountered a problem in the engine and had to stop. Jacques started far back after his misfortune yesterday and lost a lot of time initially behind slower cars. Once he overtook them and could drive at his own pace it was good, but by then he was too far back to challenge for points. We are confident of a better result at Monza."

Ralf Schumacher, Panasonic Toyota, 12th:"I had the worst possible start when I was pushed wide trying to avoid an incident at the first corner and I found myself at the back of the field. So I basically lost it all then. Then I ran over Massa's front wing as I rejoined the track, so this was always going to be a tough struggle for me. Luckily my car was okay and I kept pushing all the way to the flag. Towards the end I was chasing Villeneuve but there was no way past. All in all an unlucky day, which is a pity for the team because the pace was there and we could easily have scored points today."

Robert Doornbos, Minardi Cosworth, 13th: “What a race! I really had a lot of fun and I finished it quite easily. I’m also happy with my physical shape at the end of what was a tough Grand Prix. The car actually got better as the race progressed and I think we could have continued, as the tyres were still in good shape. I had a great start for the first time, and dived inside Villeneuve, which was fun. After that, I was able to keep up a strong pace, and to have raced the Jordans and finished in front of them, what can I say? I’m a happy chappy!”.

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth: “We knew we had a good strategy for the weekend, which we proved today, and Robert put in a gutsy drive to finish 13th in the race. Sadly, Christijan suffered a multitude of problems, ranging from a fuel rig failure to gear selection difficulties; however, he almost reached the chequered flag, and put in a sterling performance in the process. It’s quite clear that the Minardi Cosworth PS05 is improving race by race, albeit with a few reliability issues still to be ironed out”

Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas, DNF: "I tried to get down the inside of Nick at the start, but when he moved left to defend I had to go off the circuit and he just caught my front wing, which I then ran over. I lost one of my turning vanes as a result, and a lot of time. Despite that, the car was really, really good after I pitted for a new nose and wing. We changed our strategy to a one stop refuelling and even with a lot of fuel aboard I could do very competitive lap times. It might even have been possible to do something good despite the crash but then I started to lose power, and my race was over."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW WilliamsF1, DNF: “My start was average but I had a good look at Jarno on the inside going into turn one and nearly passed him there. I then nearly took him on the outside going into turn three but I was on the clean side of the track and he pushed me over a bit. It was ok though. It was good fun for the first half of the first lap! Afterwards, I think the pace was reasonable, but I couldn't keep up with the guys in front. I then had two tyre incidents. At the moment, we are not sure what the cause was.”

Mark Webber, BMW WilliamsF1, DNF: “It was a difficult day for us. I had a pretty poor start and then I saw Felipe nearly take Nick out at the first corner so I had to make sure I wasn’t on the outside of him. The Red Bulls then got a good run on me up the hill but I soon managed to pass Christian Klien and David Coulthard. I was trying to get to the first stop as quickly as possible when I had an incident with my tyre at turn 12. When I came out of the pits, I was a lap behind Michael Schumacher but I was much quicker than him. I thought it was strange that he was moving around the braking area as all the drivers agree to try not to do this. Michael seemed quite keen to do it though so I didn't show much respect in the end when I went round the corner. We then made contact. After that, I had another tyre incident which ended our race.”

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1: “It is disappointing that we had to retire both cars from the race. However, after the two rear tyre incidents on each car, we had no choice. It is too early to speculate what the cause is but we are looking into it now with our tyre partner, Michelin.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “After a good qualifying session, it is obviously disappointing both cars failed to finish the race. Both were retired and we will now investigate the reason why with Michelin. As disappointing as the retirements are for the team, I must say that the circuit is excellent so the Turkish Grand Prix deserves its place on the Formula One calendar.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, DNF: “We have not been quick enough all weekend. In fact, back on Friday it was clear we were in a very difficult situation. Even before the start, I did not expect to get any points and that is how it turned out. As regards the incident with Webber, I saw him closing on me and he moved to the right. As I began to brake, I could no longer see him and, when I was in mid-corner, I felt a bang at the back as he hit me with his nose. He was one lap down, so I don’t understand why he tried this move. After the collision, there was something wrong with the car, so I went into the pits where the mechanics changed the power steering incredibly quickly. I went back out on track so as not to have to be first out in qualifying in Monza. At least this worked out, as I made up three places.”

Christijan Albers Minardi Cosworth, DNF: “I think we had a reasonable qualifying, especially as we had a lot of fuel in the car and chose the hard tyre. It was shame, though, that we had problems in the race, and also encountered difficulties with the refuelling rigs. It’s really disappointing to have these problems when the car is obviously becoming more competitive, but I think it was the right decision to stay out for as long as we could in the race in order to achieve the best possible qualifying slot for the next Grand Prix”.

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