the fastest lap of the race - il giro più veloce
May 16, 2006
It’s proof of the progress we have made in recent weeks, that not finishing on the podium in Barcelona was disappointing. But, when you get to the end of a race and know in your mind that you could not have done any better, then you have to be satisfied with the result. There was no reason to be disappointed. But, of course, we had not expected the Renaults to make such a step forward on race day. They took a well deserved win when you think that even a strong team like McLaren ended up one lap down by the end of the event. All I can say to them is ‘well done!’
Generally, our package was just not quick enough. I was happy with our tyre choice and I think we took the one with the best performance for the race. The softer of the two Bridgestones was definitely too soft. Sure, we might have started on the front row if we had picked it, but after a couple of laps, we would have been in difficulty. I think maybe the heat tipped the balance slightly in favour of Renault last Sunday, as it was hotter than we had expected. But not just the heat, it was also down to the grip levels from the track. Now we know we still have to do some more work for the next few races. From what we have seen from the last three races, the close fight for the championship is going to go on.
Even if we thought we could dominate on Sunday, we should not be too surprised that it did not turn out that way. Very small changes can make a big difference in this sport. If a team that is doing badly suddenly does well, then it’s a surprise, but Renault has won the most races this year and both their cars started in front of us in Spain. So it’s not that surprising they won! We know they are the team to beat.
I tried to get past Fisichella at both pit stops, but both times, three laps before the end of the stint, he and I were both caught in traffic, but he managed to get by the slower cars easier than me and so I lost two or three very important seconds when it came to trying to get past him. I think that’s what cost me the position, because if you look at the data, you will see that once I did get past the backmarkers, I was able to go at a really strong pace and I even set the fastest lap of the race for the first time in my F1 career.