Chinese GP - Sunday - Team Quotes
Heikki Kovalainen (5th): "The visibility was unbelievably poor - especially during the first few laps after the Safety Car came in. But our pace was good and, during the last laps of the race, I could get close to Rubens - just not enough to start an attack. Our strategy was spot on: finishing higher than fifth was not possible today and I'm very pleased to have scored four solid points without making a single mistake - despite some massive moments!"
Lewis Hamilton (6th): "It was almost too difficult to drive at the beginning of the race," Lewis said. "But I found a good pace and had some fun in the opening laps, but unfortunately I destroyed my tyres quite early on. I made a few too many mistakes today. It was very slippery and my front-left tyre was finished long before the end but I still gave it my best. This afternoon was a real struggle but I'm glad I got some points for the team."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "First of all, I want to offer our hearty congratulations to all at Red Bull Racing on the occasion of their first grand prix win. Sebastian drove a great race - and well done, too, to our old friend Adrian Newey. As for our team, Heikki scored a very well deserved four points for an impressive fifth place. It isn't at all easy to drive a faultless race in conditions like those we faced today, but Heikki did just that. Lewis pressed hard all afternoon - and, when you do that, occasionally you run wide or spin. Lewis duly did so - but, in truth, his was a great drive, too. We were never going to be able to live with the Red Bulls or the Brawns today, which is why we chose a one-stop strategy. The track was wet throughout the race, and the longer stints that our strategy dictated inevitably caused more wet-tyre wear than that experienced by the two-stoppers; but, despite the challenges posed by that extra wet-tyre wear, our drivers both coped very well. So, overall, an encouraging result: getting two cars into the points shows that we're making good progress, but there's more to come and we're working flat-out to develop the improvements that will deliver it."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "More than fifth and sixth places are not possible for us at the moment and this has to change. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing for a faultless race - hats off. Again everybody experienced difficult conditions like in Malaysia. At least, seven points are better than nothing, but our speed has to improve significantly. We had four cars with Mercedes-Benz engines in the top six, so thanks to all our engine guys in Brixworth and Stuttgart for the good job."
Kimi Raikkonen (10th): "In the early stages, it wasn't too bad but then, after my stop, I lost grip from the tyres and I was no longer able to push as hard as I wanted, because it meant the car was sliding a lot. A few times, the engine seemed to lose power, especially when I found myself close behind other cars, but then the problem went away on its own. Clearly the championship situation looks very difficult. We have made mistakes and we are not quick enough. In Barcelona, when we will have new aero parts, we should be able to pick up some of the grip we are lacking now. I am sure we can be competitive enough to win again but this work will take time. The team is motivated, I'm sure of that and we will all do our bit. Now it is easy to criticize, but we know how to turn things round."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Electrical): "Obviously, I'm very disappointed and a bit upset but my motivation is still intact. All of us must work together to get out of this situation. The team is united and there is a real will to turn things round as soon as possible. We should quickly be getting some significant aerodynamic developments, but it's true we also have to sort out as soon as possible our reliability problems, because if we want to win, first we have to finish the races. Today, I was in with a good chance of getting on the podium. I was third and lapping in the same times as the leaders, even though I had enough fuel on board to go for a one stop. The car was going well, except when running behind the Safety Car: at those times, there were a few moments when the power seemed to drop. Then, without warning, the accelerator would not work and the car went quiet. I would say to our fans that they should not give up on us, as this is a difficult moment, but the championship is still long."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Today, we are very annoyed about what happened to Felipe. He was driving an amazing race, when an electrical problem saw the engine die. He was third at the time and even though he had a heavy fuel load, he was lapping in the same time as the fastest and he would have almost certainly finished the race on the podium. Kimi switched his strategy, going from a two to a one stop, but he could not get higher than tenth. On his first set of tyres, his pace was reasonable, but with the second he suffered constantly from a lack of grip which kept him out of the points. The great shame is that at a time when technically we are not at our best, once again we failed to capitalise on circumstances. Now we look towards next weekend's race in Bahrain in a realistic frame of mind: the car will be the same as here, even though we will look at running the KERS again. In the meantime, we have to work intensively on getting the new aerodynamic components to the race track, when the European part of the season gets underway in Barcelona."
Chris Dyer: "We embarked on the race with the two drivers on different strategies and with the rain and the safety car periods, we managed to get ourselves into a good position, especially with Felipe, who at one point was third with a lot of fuel on board. Unfortunately, a software management problem meant the engine cut out and forced him to retire. It's a real shame, because we could have got a good result. Right from the start, Kimi complained about the lack of visibility when following others and several times that the engine power was dropping due to the water, but above all he suffered with a lack of grip after his stop. In the meantime, we changed his strategy and he was unable to get any higher than tenth. Once again we've had reliability problems which prevented us from picking up valuable points."
Nick Heidfeld (12th): "Of course I'm disappointed with the outcome of today's race, but at the same time I feel I should be grateful I was able to finish it at all. The conditions in terms of visibility and aquaplaning were disastrous. In the beginning, after the safety car pulled off, my tyre pressures were too low so I struggled a lot. On lap 13 Timo Glock hit me, which caused damage to the car and certainly didn't help. However, close to the end of the race I had the chance to score one or two points, but then there was a lot of debris on the track, including a wheel, from Adrian Sutil's accident. I tried to find a way around it, but it was unpredictable which way it would go and it hit me. Afterwards the car felt very strange and I lost four places."
Robert Kubica (13th): "Driving was very dangerous today. We had aquaplaning nearly everywhere and the lack of visibility was a disaster. There were quite a lot of situations when I couldn't see anything. All this also caused my heavy accident with Jarno Trulli. When Jarno braked into the corner I hit some standing water. Although I hit the brakes very hard the car still accelerated. I went quite high into the air after hitting his rear tyre, but fortunately nobody was hurt. After coming to the pits we had to change the front wing a second time as I felt some vibration and massively lost grip. This ruined my race."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "There is not much to say about this Grand Prix. From bad starting positions both our drivers were involved in collisions under these rainy conditions. The result is zero points. All we can do is put this race behind us and concentrate on Bahrain."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "That was a very disappointing race. Our only chance to get into the points was in a wet race, but we didn't score at all. We have to improve as quickly as possible."
Fernando Alonso (9th): "It's a disappointing end to a weekend where we showed a lot of potential. The team have done a great job to improve the car, which was very competitive, especially yesterday when we qualified on the front row. However, today we were unlucky and I think it's one of those days when you take decisions at the wrong moment and everything seems to turn against you. We thought that the safety car would be out for the next 10 or 15 laps so we came in to get fuel and at the same time the safety car came in so we found ourselves starting the race last. We were on the first row on the grid and all of a sudden we were last so this was the end of our race. Bahrain will be another big test and then we have Barcelona so we need to keep improving."
Nelson Piquet (16th): "The conditions were so difficult today with really poor visibility and aquaplaning so just keeping the car on the track wasn't easy. I had a few moments during the race, but managed to keep the car going, although I lost a lot of time and dropped to the back of the pack. So it was a disappointing weekend, but I'm now looking forward to Bahrain where hopefully we will have a dry race and some developments on the car."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was not a normal race and it's a pity that we couldn't really see the potential of the car. The conditions were difficult and everyone seemed to struggle, except for the top three. Fernando has shown with his qualifying performance that the car is improving, but unfortunately we were penalised by the bad weather. The car is getting better and more competitive, and by Bahrain we will have new parts on both cars. Already this week we have seen a great effort by the team both here and back at the factory to get the new improvements on Fernando's car this weekend. The championship is long and I'm confident that from Bahrain things will get better for us."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It is a disappointing result today. We took an aggressive strategy expecting the rain to start later in the afternoon. The early start of the rain compromised us and the safety car start even more so. We didn't make best use of what was available to us today."
Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations: "We have not finished the race where we wanted to based on the performance we showed yesterday. With rain you can never be sure what will happen, but those who were fast yesterday were the fastest today. I feel we deserved to finish fifth at least. It isn't a good result but we will take what we have learned to be stronger at next week's race"
Timo Glock (7th): "In the end we picked up more points from the pit lane so we have to be happy with that. But it was a very hard race, especially at the beginning. I was quite surprised when we started the race. When you're at the back of the field there is no chance to see anything and it's like driving blind. I made up some ground but I damaged my front wing when I touched Nick. It was so difficult to see, I misjudged my braking point and hit him on the back. That meant we had to bring our pit stop forward by a few laps to fix the damage. Later when I had a clear run for five or six laps I was pretty quick and on the pace but as soon as I caught Kimi I was stuck behind him. I couldn't see the standing water so I had to back off, particularly in the areas where you could overtake. In the end I got past and we were able to bring it home 7th."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Damage): "That was not a good day for me. The conditions were very difficult, there was a lot of standing water and lots of aquaplaning. When the safety car came in I made a solid start and my pace was okay in the early laps. But then I started struggling for grip, the pace just wasn't there and the longer it went on the more ground I lost. On lap 17 I just felt a big hit from behind and I lost my rear wing. I made it back to the pits but we couldn't continue. Still, my pace yesterday shows we're close the front so now we must hope for better fortunes in Bahrain next weekend."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "Timo didn't quite put together his last qualifying run yesterday but he never gave up. Today he twice found himself at the back of the field but he showed great spirit to overtake so many cars and bring home two points. Jarno struggled to make the most of his strong grid position today so we will have to check the data to find out what went wrong. Still, his qualifying performance was good so I'm sure he will do his best to make the podium again at the next race. We still have our spirit to win and we will fight again in Bahrain next week."
Sebastien Buemi (8th): "I am very happy as the team did a super job so that we got another point to take away from here. I am pleased that in three races, I have scored twice. Maybe I could have done a little bit better, but I'm happy all the same. We were very competitive in the early stages and I got past Raikkonen and Hamilton, but after that I struggled a bit. I think it was one of my hardest races ever. As for the incident with Vettel, it happened under Safety Car conditions: I didn't see him and I tried to swerve to the right, but it was not enough to avoid him. We changed the wing on my car and I'm glad I didn't spoil his race."
Sebastien Bourdais (11th): "I started fifteenth and finished eleventh, even with a couple of spins. I've got mixed feelings, because I don't think we should have raced as there was so much aquaplaning. The fact the cars have a lot less downforce this year, aggravates the situation as it's hard to get the car down onto the track surface. I could have spun 15 or 20 times and Sutil's crash showed what could have happened. The one positive thing is that it was probably a good show for the fans."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "First, well done to Red Bull Racing. Congratulations on doing a fantastic job with a one-two finish thanks to Sebastian and Mark. On our side, we picked up another point thanks to Buemi, who drove a good race, given the difficult conditions today, in what is only his third F1 race. Overall, it means we can head to Bahrain in an optimistic frame of mind."
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It's unbelievable - I'm so, so happy. Ten laps from the end I tried to control the gap between me and the car behind and adapt my pace. I was trying to have everything under control, but it was difficult. At some points I was trying to bring the car home, but that meant I lost focus, so then I just tried to take it corner by corner, not looking too far ahead. On the last two laps I backed off a bit, as I didn't want to risk aquaplaning on the water at the side of the track. And then... well it's just fantastic. Winning my second race, one with Toro Rosso and one with Red Bull, makes me extremely happy and I hope we can continue working in this direction! I'm extremely proud and happy. I'm so happy to have won the race, it was an enormous and great job by the whole of Red Bull. I want to say a massive thank you to them all, everyone has worked so hard, so thanks to the team and also to Red Bull. Greetings to Austria!"
Mark Webber (2nd): "It's such an incredible day for the team - you have no idea what the guys went through last night. We were absolutely shitting ourselves that the cars wouldn't finish the race because everytime we ran yesterday, they stopped. So, it's incredible to get the cars home and to get maximum points. This comes after the near misses in Australia for Sebastian and for myself in Malaysia. It's a great day for the team in Milton Keynes, well done and thank you to them, and also to everyone in Austria. It was a challenging race at times! It was hard to follow the cars in the beginning due to the spray, but then further into the race, it started to settle a bit. After the second safety car stint, I had a good scrap with Jenson. On my official lap at the front, I couldn't believe how clear it was - I thought 'Oh my God, it's beautiful!' I then pushed like hell to make up as much time as possible - it was fantastic. When Jenson re-passed me, I was very keen to try win the race, so I passed him around Turn seven as I knew he wouldn't know I would be there, it was one of the best moves of my career. I'm happy today!"
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A great result for the team and Red Bull. It's testimony to all the effort and hard work that Red Bull and Mr Mateschitz has committed to Formula One. I want to thank Red Bull and everyone in Milton Keynes, who have worked so hard for this. It's just an unbelievable result. We've got a great car, a great team, great drivers, a single diffuser and we have a double one to come, so we're looking good. The whole team and company can be very proud of this moment."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "What a result, we have a magic pair of drivers. Sebastian and Mark are very strong, very cool, and it's a pleasure to work with them. On behalf of all the Renault team, I would like to say that we are very proud to work with them both and be part of this Red Bull F1 adventure. I was also like to thank all the guys back at the factories in Milton Keynes, Viry and Mecachrome."
Nico Rosberg (15th): "The main problem I had today was drops sticking to my visor which wouldn't run off making it virtually impossible to see. It's a problem related to my visor's anti-fog system which I've had in the past but haven't been able to resolve. 15 laps before the end of the race we were not in a good position so I asked to be switched onto intermediates as I thought we had to try something. For the first few laps, they were good. It looked like the way to go so I was quite pleased, but then unfortunately more rain came and it was all over again. Bahrain is only a week away and a good result, which everyone in the team deserves, is overdue."
Kazuki Nakajima (DNF, Transmission): "I had a transmission problem today so unfortunately I couldn't carry on with the race. It was very difficult out there with really poor visibility. There was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on the track, particularly on the exit of the last corner. I made some mistakes but it was the same for everybody."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "We thought the safety car would stay out for longer than it did at the start of the race so we decided to pull Nico in early to fuel him up. It turned out to be the wrong call as the safety car came in just one lap later. We then struggled for pace against Alonso who had done the same as us. We had what appears to be a gearbox failure on Kazuki's car which forced us to retire him. It was not a good performance by us today. We made some wrong calls and we will have to look at the circumstances and improve for the future. It's also very unusual for us to have a retirement for a technical failure. We will now look forward to a much better performance in Bahrain."
Giancarlo Fisichella (14th): "It was a difficult race. The rain was really hard at the beginning, but my main problem was the graining on the tyres. With both sets we had a lot of wear and the car was sliding on four wheels through some corners. It was very hard just to keep the car on the ground and many times I had a huge moment. The strategy was good though and I think we can be pleased with the performance today. It's a disappointment that Adrian came so close to scoring the team's first points today, but we all know how hard it was out there."
Adrian Sutil (17th): "I had prepared myself for a hard race and that's exactly what it was. We took a risk with the strategy with a very early stop and it was a long way to go with one set of tyres. Then it started to rain again and it was very hard to keep the car on the circuit. Sometimes even in a straight line in fourth or fifth gear I was struggling with aquaplaning and I was very lucky to keep the car on the circuit for so long. It's a shame - you focus so much and think you can do it, but the car was just out of control at the end. I had the same feeling as Monaco - it's hard to believe when you are in the car and then suddenly you lose it and it's all over from such a great position. But you have to get over it, we had a great performance today. It's good for the team and I think we deserved the points, I just feel bad for everyone here. It was a very good strategy call, but that's what we had to do: take a risk."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "What a phenomenal race and yet what heartbreak. We can all be very proud of Adrian and the team's achievements today. He has proved yet again that he has a genuine flair in the wet and came desperately close to scoring those elusive points once more. We made all the right calls in the race and functioned very well as a team: it was just such a shame we couldn't translate it to the points at the end of the race. Although we know we have much work remaining, both Adrian and Giancarlo's performances give us a shot in the arm and shows that, if and when, the conditions allow we can be right up there. I must also extend my warm congratulations to Red Bull for a well-deserved first win."
Jenson Button (3rd): "A very difficult race today and I am so pleased that we got both cars to the end of 56 laps and scored as many points as possible. The conditions were pretty crazy with rivers of water all over the circuit which changed every time you encountered them. The last turn particularly was like a lake and you just couldn't brake for the corner. I struggled with the car aquaplaning and the tyres shuddering as we couldn't get the temperatures high enough to make them work properly. Mark Webber and I had a good fight for a few laps but I just couldn't stay with him. However to finish the race today is an achievement in itself and to be on the podium is fantastic. We couldn't have beaten the Red Bulls and congratulations to Sebastian and Mark on a great result."
Rubens Barrichello (4th): "It was a tough race in very challenging conditions out there today. I only had three brake discs working on my car for the first 19 laps which made it even more difficult for me to keep the car on the road. Thankfully the problem resolved itself when the brakes heated up during my first pit stop and I had a good pace from then but unfortunately it was a bit too late. However we got the car to the end of the race in difficult circumstances and I scored as many points as I could have done, so we have to be happy with that."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Another dramatic race today to continue what is turning out to be a very exciting 2009 Formula One season. Jenson and Rubens did an excellent job to bring the cars home in the difficult conditions which combined with a solid team performance over the whole weekend enabled us to score as many points as possible. We had a good strategy with both drivers fuelled long for their first stints which allowed us to bridge the gap to the leaders. However on similar fuel, Vettel and Webber were then able to pull away. Congratulations to Red Bull for their one-two performance today. We know from Australia what a fantastic feeling that achievement is and I'm sure they will enjoy every minute of it. Our focus now turns to Bahrain next weekend for what will hopefully be a dry race."