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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 May, 2003, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Points finish delights Firman
Ralph Firman in action in the Jordan
Firman held off Jenson Button to take eighth

Jordan's Ralph Firman was overjoyed after finishing eighth at the Spanish Grand Prix to take his first point in Formula One.

The British rookie held off the attentions of BAR's Jenson Button in the closing stages to move into joint 15th place in the overall drivers' standings.

And Firman, whose team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella retired after 44 laps, admitted his extensive testing experience at the Circuit de Catalunya had given him a headstart.

"It's absolutely brilliant for the team to get myself on the scoreboard," said Firman. "It's been an incredible weekend from start to finish.

"[Knowing the circuit] has made a big difference. You can start on your set-up from the beginning of the weekend.

"At the end of the race it was difficult to keep Jenson behind me because he had a lot of speed on the straight.

"But I think he had a problem towards the end of the race which made it easier.

Ralph Firman
I couldn't get past Ralf, which is ironic as he's usually complaining that people don't move over for him when it's not for position!
Ralph Firman

"F1 is incredibly tough and much harder than I expected but I still have a lot of speed left in me."

Firman thanked team boss Eddie Jordan for giving him his debut in F1 this year.

"Thanks to Eddie, he gave me this opportunity. He has put a lot of faith in me and I am starting to repay some of it back which is great.

"This does lift a weight off my shoulders. It's a lovely feeling to get that first point and I can go home and smile now."

Firman praised the Jordan team for improvising his strategy after a shunt on the grid brought out the safety car.

"When the safety car came out my engineer called me in for a pit stop, which obviously worked out well as it effectively changed my strategy to two real stops.

"I had a really good middle stint to the third stop but when I came back out Ralf Schumacher had been off the circuit and damaged his car and was weaving all over the circuit.

"I couldn't get past him, which is ironic as he's usually complaining that people don't move over for him when it's not for position!

"Anyway, once the tyres had worn there was no chance of overtaking him but I managed to hold off Button and keep my position, which is great."






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