GRAND PRIX : MONACO : IRVINE RESCUES THIRD
Eddie Irvine made it to the podium in third place and Michael Schumacher finished tenth, after spending a long time in the pits having the left rear track rod replaced. The F 300s of Schumacher and Irvine started from fourth and seventh places and on lap 10 Irvine was sixth. By lap 18 Michael was third and Eddie fifth. Schumacher pitted on lap 30 losing third for just one lap until Fisichella pitted on the next lap. On lap 37 Michael and Wurz had a coming together and the German pitted with damaged rear suspension. He lost three laps, rejoining in 16th place. Irvine pitted on lap 45 and maintained his third place behind Fisichella to the flag. Schumacher made it to the finish, two laps down in 10th place.
"We got both our cars to the finish, but the result was not what we had hoped for, even if both our cars were reliable and Eddie got on the podium. Michael had been on a two stop strategy, which meant he would have to push hard in traffic and take some risks. The mechanics did a great job to get Michael back in the race after his collision. They have worked very hard throughout this weekend and the podium, finish is a reward for all the boys. Once again we are the highest placed Goodyear runners. There are still ten more races. We have been through difficult periods like this before, but by working together we can recover the situation."
"I am very happy to be third but not so happy with the performance of the car. Before the start I was worried that I would be stuck behind Frentzen as he was on soft tyres. After the first few laps I could close on him and I had seen he was weakest at the hairpin. I picked my moment and went down the inside. We made contact, but I was able to keep going. I was worried my car was damaged as we hit quite hard but after the next couple of corners I realised everything was alright. Once I got past him I had a lonely race. I pushed hard to keep up with Wurz, but I could not catch him. I left my pit-stop very late as I started with a big fuel load. I continued to push hard not to lose concentration and only backed off in the last few laps. We tested new tyres at Magny-Cours last week and I think we can go a lot better in Canada. I must say this car is fantastic to drive and I have never had so much fun driving here as I did over this weekend. Now we must improve the performance level."
"After the incident with Wurz, my car was damaged and I felt something was wrong at the rear so I pitted. I thought my race was over, but the mechanics managed to change the track rod and so I continued, but the car was not quite as good as before. Having lost three laps, there was not much more I could do. I could only hope for rain or some other incidents that we know can often happen here. I tried to pass Alex, as he left the door open. We touched, but very lightly, it was just a normal incident and I definitely do not blame him. Our situation in the Championship is obviously not very good as the "wrong" McLaren had the technical problem! I hope in Canada the new tyre development we tried at the last tests will prove as good as they did then. We should be more competitive in the next few races."
Schumacher no. 184, Irvine no. 185
Air 20-18 C, track 30-20 C
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