Bahrain GP 2012
APRIL 22, 2012
Sunday Team Quotes
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It was an incredible race, extremely tough. A good start was crucial and I was able to pull away from the pack, which was a big advantage as we always had to go on scrubbed tyres due to the fact we had used almost all of them in qualifying yesterday. Kimi was very quick and so was Grosjean. But everything seemed to work well today; strategy was good and I can only say a big thank you to the whole team and the guys in the garage. I said it yesterday, but they have done an incredible job over the last four races, the amount of work they had to do was so much. We asked them for this and for that, for tweaks here and there and they came with new parts, then old parts, then news parts again, back and forth and spent a lot of time in the garage trying to get the car to our liking. But we got there. I was very happy with qualifying today and all throughout the race. Kimi was fast today and it was close, but I am extremely happy and very proud of the team."
Mark Webber (4th): "It wasn't a bad start. I didn't have KERS for the first lap, so it was difficult to put pressure on Lewis, but then I got it back. In the first two stints, I couldn't stay with those guys - the two Lotus' and Seb - so I had to consolidate from there. Lotus has a tidy car and when everything comes together, it works well - they did a good job today and it shows how tight the Championship is; there have been four different winners. I got some good points today and both drivers and Red Bull Racing are doing well in the Championships. It wasn't the most exciting race for me, but it's been a good start to the Championship. I'm looking forward to getting back to racing in Europe."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A great performance today. After a good get away from pole, Sebastian settled in to the race and had a very strong first stint. The challenge today, having been high on consumption of our tyres yesterday, was that we needed to get more out of them today. Seb did a masterful job of keeping the life in the tyres and making the three stop strategy work, we made the calls at the exactly the right time. It was great pit work today with some super stops and a tight race with Kimi, especially approaching the final stop - it was crucial to get that right. With a great performance from the pit crew, we actually managed to win a second in the pit lane. It was a great result with Mark as well. It's his fourth successive fourth place finish. Again, having used more tyres yesterday than some of our competitors, they were able to profit from fresher tyres being available, but he drove a good race to finish in P4 and gain vital points for him and the team and we now lead both Championships. Congratulations to Lotus on their very strong performance today and double podium finish, which also means that Renault engines finished one, two, three and four."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "It was fantastic today. We made a really solid race with a good start and after that we just had to manage the first position for Sebastian. For Renault, it's a fantastic result, and I think we have to go back 15 years to find the last quadruple top finish in F1. The last was in '97, so I would like to congratulate everyone from Viry, from Renault and from Mechachrome for a very good job."
Lewis Hamilton (8th): "There are good times and bad times in motor racing. I guess this was just one of those days. By rights we should have been fighting to finish in the top four today, but it didn't work out like that in the end. The delays in the pits were a big part of that, of course. For the driver sitting in the car, that's always frustrating, because you're just waiting and there's nothing you can do to help. We lost a bit of world championship momentum today - but, on the plus side, we still picked up four world championship points, and every point you score is valuable in a season as close-fought as this one. Now we'll head into the European season, and it's clear that we've got to do two things: we've got to work on the pace of our car and we've got to improve our pitstops."
Jenson Button (18th): "I didn't have a very good balance today: I was struggling all afternoon with oversteer. We were taking front wing out of the car all the way through the race, in fact. However, my final stint was a long one, and, if I hadn't struck trouble, I reckon things would have got quite interesting in the final laps. Some drivers had pushed harder at the start of that stint, but I'd been looking after my tyres. Into the last five laps, I started pushing pretty hard, and I caught up with Paul [di Resta] and Nico [Rosberg]. But, just as I braked for the final corner [on lap 53], the right-front corner lifted up in the air and I realised I had a [left-rear] puncture. So I quickly radioed the team, and pitted. In the last few laps, the car sounded really noisy. I think the initial problem was an exhaust failure, then my puncture, and then a differential failure; so I had to retire. It's been a pretty difficult weekend for the whole team."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Clearly, our performance was disappointing this afternoon. Having said that, both Lewis and Jenson drove very well in extremely challenging conditions. Lewis pulled off some sensational passing manoeuvres in his efforts to push his way through to the front, but in the end he was let down by two slow pitstops, both of which were caused by delays at the left-rear corner of his car. Jenson's pitstops were trouble-free, by contrast, so we'll have to investigate what the problem was with the left-rear corner of Lewis's car. Jenson, too, had a frustrating run, which was finally curtailed by a puncture and a problem with both his differential and his exhaust, the combination of which forced us to retire his car. Again, we'll investigate what caused those problems in due course. Having said all that, we're in second position in the constructors' world championship, just nine points behind the leaders; equally, our drivers lie second and fourth in the drivers' world championship. Lewis, in second, is just four points off the lead. From here we travel to Barcelona, on which circuit we performed strongly in pre-season testing. Lewis and Jenson are as resilient as they are competitive, so you can be well sure that in Spain they'll both do their utmost to score as many points as possible in an effort to put Vodafone McLaren Mercedes back at the top of both the drivers' and the constructors' world championship standings. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the 2012 season is shaping up to be both gripping and unpredictable. Some races you win, some you don't. That's motor racing. But, above all, motor racing is a team sport - and I probably know better than anyone what a superb bunch of men and women the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is made up of, which is why I'm utterly certain that every last one of them will now work as hard as is humanly possible to make sure that, on the sweeping curves of the Circuit di Catalunya, we're back where we belong: at the front."
Fernando Alonso (7th): "It went a bit better than we feared and we managed to limit the damage. We had arrived here eight points down on the championship leader and we leave only two more points adrift. To finish this run of four races in this situation is positive, even if there is no point in denying that we cannot be happy with it in general terms. Now, it's clear we have to make a step forward, because we cannot always count on the failings of others. For example, we closed the points gap to McLaren, something which I certainly would not have believed possible if it had been suggested yesterday. At the same time, we finished the race almost a minute behind the winner, which had never happened so far this year. I expected Lotus to be very competitive because they have been all weekend. So far it's been good that there hasn't been just one driver picking up the maximum points, as happened for example last year. As for the race, I can't say anything I didn't say already a week ago in Shanghai: the car is practically the same. At some points we were strong, in others much less so, all dependent on tyre behaviour. We lack top speed and when you are in a tight duel, that is penalising. As for the incident with Rosberg, I can only say that if, instead of such a wide run-off area there had been a wall, I'm not sure I'd be here now to talk about it. A shame that I was missing one more straight to get past Di Resta in the end: we could have picked up a few more little points which would have been handy. I said it earlier, we have to improve the car as quickly as possible: in Barcelona, we will have some major updates but so will the others and how good a job we will have done we will only discover on track at Montmelo."
Felipe Massa (9th): "It was definitely not a very easy race, but in the end, we managed to do a good job and, for the first time this year, finish in the points. It's a nice result at this time, but we are well aware that it is not Ferrari's style to be happy with a ninth place. Having said that, it is a performance that gives me confidence for the rest of the season. Clearly we have to improve the performance of the car as soon as possible to be able to fight for worthwhile positions. In Barcelona, everyone will bring major updates and we will have had to do have done a better job than the others because we have to make up the ground lost at the start of this championship. As for the race, I think the decision to save a set of new Softs yesterday was the right one. A shame I lost a place to Rosberg in the pit stop: if I had managed to stay ahead of him, maybe I could have got a better result. I suffered especially with the rears and, in the end, I was not going flat out because I did not want to end up in trouble with tyre degradation."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Honestly, what happened on the track today is only of secondary importance for us. We are very sad to learn of the death of Matteo Vignali, a young man who worked in the Gearbox department, who suffered a heart attack. He lost his life at just thirty two years of age, something that leaves us in a state of dismay. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and because of this, I find it hard to comment on our actual race result. What I can say is that what has been a very tough first run of races for us has now come to an end, although this is just what we had expected. We managed to limit the damage, at least as far as the Drivers' championship is concerned. Now we must look to the future and make a step up in terms of quality which should allow us to fight for the podium and not just a points finish. That's what I have been asking our engineers for several weeks and by Barcelona, I expect to already see the results of the effort we are expending in every area."
Pat Fry: "This result is in line with our current potential: we certainly can't be pleased, but we knew this first run of races would be an uphill struggle for us. The start and the opening lap represented one of the best chances of making up places and we managed it with both drivers. Then, Fernando and Felipe had reasonably linear races, dictated mainly by the behaviour of the tyres and the situation on track. Maybe on paper, the perfect division into stints could have been different to make the most of the sets of new tyres available in the end, but we also needed to cover what the drivers directly ahead of us or directly behind were doing, so as not to lose places which would then be difficult to retake on track. Sometimes we managed it, sometimes it was less successful, and there were also a couple of pit stops that were less than perfect, even if others were very quick. Honestly, I don't think that we could have done anything different in terms of strategy. Today, more than at the other races, the behaviour of the two types of tyre was very similar: between a set of Mediums with three laps on them and a set of new Softs, the difference was really minimal. We limited the damage in these four races, but clearly we must make significant progress compared to the others in the coming ones if we want to really fight for the title. We are working hard, on all fronts and we hope we will soon start to see the results of all these efforts. It won't be easy, because we have strong competition and they will also make progress: we must do a better job than them."
Nico Rosberg (5th): "I had a pretty bad first lap today, but after that I was able to recover and get the most of our race. We had a good strategy and the pace of the car was pretty strong compared to the start of the season, although it was difficult to make progress as there were a lot of cars fighting for the same positions. Overall I'm happy with our weekend as fifth place gives me a few more points and I can see that we are making progress. Now we have a short break where we can work hard in the factory ready for the start of the European season. Before that, I'm looking forward to visiting the DTM opening race in Hockenheim next Saturday. It's my first chance to return to Germany after two good weekends, particularly of course the win in China, and I look forward to celebrating that together with our fans."
Michael Schumacher (10th): "Considering where I started the race today, it's a positive that I was able to fight up to 10th place, score a point and finish a dry race this season. The tyres obviously played a large part in the race today, and in the conditions here, we had to adapt the driving style to keep the tyres together. It will be good to have the time now before Barcelona to sort out some issues and prepare our updates for the test days in Mugello. Next weekend, the DTM starts in Hockenheim and I am looking forward to my first visit to a DTM race for twenty years."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "That was a tough but ultimately rewarding race today. Nico didn't get the best of starts and lost some positions which made the early part of the race difficult, but he had a very good drive to fight his way back up to fifth place. Michael did well to recover a point in 10th place, considering that he started at the back of the grid in 22nd. We saw again today that if you get the car right on the day, it makes a great deal of difference, with Red Bull and Lotus clearly getting their cars in better shape than we did. We will learn more lessons from today, however we made the best of what we had so I'm reasonably happy. Now we can look forward to some time back at the factory to improve the car before the next race."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Having started fifth, Nico was running in ninth by the end of lap one. More than to recover to fifth place was not possible afterwards. Following Nico's victory in China, we handled the tyres quite well on this track in hotter temperatures, and we showed that we have a good base to work from. Michael came home in 10th place after starting in 22nd, which is a good result considering the extremely high level of competition this year. We are now looking forward to the next race in Barcelona where MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS will, like most of the teams, introduce upgrades which will be evaluated during the Mugello test."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd): "It's a great result for the team and we deserve it as everyone has been working very hard. To be honest, I'm slightly disappointed we didn't take the win because we had the pace. I only had one chance to overtake Sebastian (Vettel) and unfortunately I chose the wrong side to try and get past. If I hadn't made a small mistake at the start and allowed Felipe (Massa) to get through then maybe it would have been a different story, as we spent quite a lot of time fighting with him. At the end of the day, it's good to have both cars on the podium, especially after last race which didn't go to plan, but I honestly think we could have taken the victory today."
Romain Grosjean (3rd): "It's a great feeling to get my first podium, and I'm really proud of the whole team for doing an incredible job today. We've known all season how quick the car can be, but with such a tight field any small mistakes can make a huge difference. Today I think we got everything right, and we've finally been able to prove how competitive we are. Last week I was aiming for my first points, this week I was hoping for top five, but here we are on the podium so who knows where we can go from here! We can be very happy with what we've achieved today; hopefully we can now head to the Mugello test and find that last bit of to push us right to the top."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It was a great team performance today and I'm delighted for everyone, both here in the paddock and back at Enstone. The first three races were very frustrating, as we knew we were capable of a result like this. Until now, small details have hindered our performance, so it's almost a relief to finally show what we are capable of. We took a bit of a gamble on strategy and I'm pleased to say it paid off. Both drivers put in a fantastic performance, and to have two cars not just on the podium but so closely matched all through the race demonstrates what a strong line-up we have. I'm immensely proud of what we've achieved today."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We've been saying over the last few races that podium finishes were on their way and today we've proved that. To come from eleventh to score a strong second, challenging for the win was an awesome performance from Kimi and shows that the E20 is a superb race car. For Romain to match Kimi's pace and finish just seven seconds behind him despite having fewer new tyres is a comparably impressive performance. Our race strategy calls today were not as tricky as we've seen in other races. We knew we had to make three stops and it became clear as the race went on that our main question was could we beat Sebastian (Vettel)? We gave it a good go. It wasn't a perfect performance this weekend - we weren't happy with our performance on the soft tyres in qualifying - but it's clear we have a car which has the pace to win races."
Paul di Resta (6th): "The result today is massive for us. The team did an amazing job all weekend, the strategy came together and the pit-stops were perfect. We knew it would be a big ask to make only two stops and it was a close run thing at the end because my tyres completely went away on the final lap. I had Fernando [Alonso] very close behind me, but I saved a bit of KERS coming out of the final corner and managed to stay ahead. Apart from that, the car has been awesome. So we go away from here as a very happy team with a few weeks to reflect on things and determined to arrive in Barcelona in fighting form."
Nico Hulkenberg (12th): "I think my race was decided at the very start when I had some clutch issues and the anti-stall kicked in, which really compromised my getaway and dropped me right to the back of the pack. From then on it was a long, hard fight back through the field, and it was hard work coming through the traffic. I made it to P12, but there wasn't much more I could do. So a tough race for me, but great to see Paul pick up some points."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "Considering everything that has gone on this week, I am delighted to see such a strong team performance in today's race. We took a brave call on the strategy with Paul, but it paid off, and having saved the tyres yesterday allowed us to push the two-stop window right to the limit. Once again Paul drove a superb race, lapping consistently and making the strategy work perfectly. This sixth place is well-deserved and matches his best result in Formula One. It's a shame that Nico was the victim of a clutch issue on the opening lap, otherwise I'm sure he would have been up there fighting for points as well. Before we leave Bahrain I want to pay tribute to the team once again and thank each and every one of them for helping make today's result possible."
Sergio Perez (11th): "We knew this circuit would not be an easy one for us and we were just too slow today. We tried both strategies and split them between the cars but today there was nothing that could have really helped us. I had a lot of tyre degradation and due to a problem at the pit stop we lost a place and a point to Michael (Schumacher). He was very fast on the straights. I had no chance to get him. Next time we'll do better again."
Kamui Kobayashi (13th): "Well, for me the start was too slow. I had too much wheelspin and we will look into that. I started on a set of new medium compound tyres and we tried a two stop strategy but in the end it didn't work out. The tyres degraded quicker than we hoped and I had to do three stops as well with the last one seven laps before the end. I can't see anything that we could have actually done better in today's race. Our problem was a general lack of speed and we will work hard to fix it."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "The key point of the race was on lap one when we lost positions. The start was possibly not so good. That's something we have to look into. From that point on we were unable to recover. With Sergio we had planned a three stop strategy, and we were a bit aggressive with the first stop, but the competition reacted, and we could not benefit. With Kamui we decided to go for a two stop strategy, but in the second stint degradation came earlier than expected, so we had to bring him in. Then the third stint was too long, so he had to make another pitstop. Altogether we were not strong enough today to recover from all that."
Jean-Eric Vergne (14th): "It's the same pattern as in China, in that I manage to have a good pace in the race, but I'm slow in qualifying. We must find a solution to this, because if we can start further forward with the pace we have, then we should see a more positive result on Sunday. I gave it my all today, even though I started from far back. Now we have a bit of a break in terms of races, but we will have the test at Mugello where we must look carefully at what we can do, hoping to arrive in Barcelona with an even better car for the Spanish Grand Prix. As for myself, I need to analyse what is not working for me in qualifying. As a Frenchman, I have say I think it's great that Romain is on the podium and I am super happy for him. It would be nice if I can end up with a car as competitive as his and fight with him for a podium place!"
Daniel Ricciardo (15th): "That was not what I was hoping for after starting from sixth on the grid. The opening lap changed my whole race. My initial launch off the line wasn't great and after that I seemed to go backwards, which made for a very frustrating afternoon. The front wing damage also made matters worse. I had a good chance to have a strong race today, but losing all those places at the start cost me dear. I need to be hard on myself now and find out what I did wrong to make sure I don't do it again. It was a race to forget."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "First of all, I want to thank His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa Crown Prince, the FIA, its President Jean Todt as well as Bernie Ecclestone and the organisers, especially their Chairman Zayed R. Alzayani for their work in ensuring this race took place. From our perspective, we encountered no problems, neither at the race track nor in Manama. On the race track today, we started with Daniel Ricciardo in sixth place on the grid, but failed to finish in the points. He had some problems at the start, losing several places and making contact with another car - at the moment we are not sure which one. This meant he had to come in for a new nose section and after that, his race was compromised as he lost too much time, eventually finishing fifteenth. Having started from seventeenth, after 57 laps, Jean-Eric finished one place ahead of his team-mate, having produced some acceptable lap times. Daniel's performance in qualifying was the only highlight in a weekend that did not live up to our expectations."
Bruno Senna (22nd, Handling): "We did everything right on the first lap but unfortunately I was struggling to keep the pace to the cars in front. I think we were quite aggressive with the set-up today but sometimes you don't get it right. Towards the end I started feeling a lot of vibration in the brake pedal. The engineers were looking at it, so I kept pushing as you never know what will happen, but the vibration got worse and the decision was made to pit to avoid risking an accident. It's disappointing after two points finishes, but it's a long season."
Pastor Maldonado (DNF, Puncture): "I had a puncture in the exit of Turn 1 and then spun on the straight. I'm disappointed for the team as the performance was there. Starting from the back of the pack I was fighting every lap. The car was responding well and I was able to make up many positions. I feel today we could have scored more points but unfortunately it wasn't to be."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "I had a puncture in the exit of Turn 1 and then spun on the straight. I'm disappointed for the team as the performance was there. Starting from the back of the pack I was fighting every lap. The car was responding well and I was able to make up many positions. I feel today we could have scored more points but unfortunately it wasn't to be."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "It was a shame that we could not get some points in the 150th race for Williams-Renault. We introduced some new settings this race to improve driveability and the drivers were happy with the balance. Pastor's pace in the first part of the race was good, but from the starting positions it was always going to be hard to make up positions. All the same we've now got some time before the next race to look at everything in detail and improve next time out."
Vitaly Petrov (16th): "That was a really interesting race, particularly at the start when there was a lot of overtaking and it was good to be right in the middle of the early battles. We made some very good pitstops, quicker than in China and good enough to help me stay out ahead of Ricciardo who I had a good battle with for quite a lot of the race. It was only towards the end when we had to let the leaders pass that we started losing a bit of time but today's performance shows again how strong we can be on Sundays. This has been a good weekend all round and a great way to end the first four flyaway races. We have a couple of weeks now until the next race in Spain and we'll head there feeling very positive about how we keep progressing."
Heikki Kovalainen (17th): "I had a good start but then had contact with a car behind in turn 10 which caused a rear left puncture. We pitted immediately and from then on it was basically about putting in as strong a race as I could. I passed Glock quickly and pulled out a good gap to him and then went after my team mate and Ricciardo. It's obviously a bit frustrating to have had the puncture on the first lap, but we can take a number of positives from this weekend, particularly from the pace we showed in qualifying and from the way we were able to look after the tyres, so overall it's been pretty good."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "We can be pleased with today's performance from both cars. Despite the puncture Heikki suffered on the first lap he put in a very strong drive all afternoon and Vitaly was also racing Ricciardo hard for most of the afternoon. This shows we are definitely making progress, and our qualifying performance yesterday gives us good reason to look forward to the European season which starts in two weeks in Barcelona. We have a number of updates planned for the next few races, and more to come throughout the season, so we will aim to keep building on this type of performance and keep edging closer to the teams ahead."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "I think that was a pretty good day for the whole team. Both cars showed good pace throughout the race and both Vitaly and Heikki were able to take advantage of the engine maps we gave them to easily pull away from the cars behind. Vitaly had a good fight with the Toro Rosso and did well to manage his tyre degradation, so this is another step in the right direction."
Pedro de la Rosa (20th): "It was a tough race, but we finished with both cars and that is positive for the team. The truth is that our rhythm wasn't what we'd hoped for. We have to gain some speed per lap, more than anything because we want to be fighting our rivals on a consistent basis. In today's race we didn't have sufficient rhythm. Looking back it's true that we've taken a giant stride but we can't be satisfied with just that. We've improved a lot but we're at the starting blocks, where we should have been in Australia. We've got very good individuals on board, a new workshop where we can build on a solid base, and that is the most positive thing. Now we want to get back to work on the car and try new things out. We're really looking forward to Europe."
Narain Karthikeyan (21st): "The start today was good, but then the first few laps were quite tough because there was dust everywhere. I settled behind Pedro but I think I pushed too hard in the first stint because my tyres were dead very quickly. After my first pitstop, I improved a lot and from there my lap times were consistent. We did a four-stop strategy, which I think went very well, and in the end we were only half a second behind Pedro at the checkered flag. My race performance was extremely good, I'd say it was my best Grand Prix so far this season, so I'm very happy about that."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "We passed another stern test here in Bahrain with the high temperatures and I'm very satisfied with how everything went. We met our targets again and I want to thank the team once more for its excellent job. Perhaps the negative side was that we wore the tyres out a lot and that's why we had to do a four-stop strategy. We tried to go for three with Pedro but he finished right on the limit so maybe it wasn't the best choice. Reliability was also good and the team is working well. We can say that we are already at the standard with which we finished last year. From here we must progress."
Timo Glock (19th): "It was a very difficult race today. I had no balance in the car, no speed and no chance to push after the second or third la. The rear tyres dropped off massively and every time I did try to push, the rears locked under braking and I had no braking stability. Unfortunately this is a weekend to learn from then put behind us quite quickly. We have had a complex journey from Friday to Sunday and we need to retrace our steps and look at the set-up decisions we made in order to understand how we can improve and apply the updated package from Spain."
Charles Pic (DNF, Engine): "Naturally I am disappointed, as the race was tough but I was quite happy with the car and managing the tyre wear quite well. Despite the challenging track conditions I was still able to push and I think we were sitting quite well versus the pace of the Caterhams. Unfortunately on lap 24 I had a problem with the Air Valve System and I had no option but to retire the car, which is frustrating for me and the team as they have worked very hard to keep us moving forward here all weekend. As we head to Europe now I have to be pleased with the opening few races in general, but we need to be focused now on improvements for Spain."
John Booth, Team Principal: "On a positive note, in today's race we saw a continuation of Charles' increasingly strong form and consolidation of his good work from yesterday. It's a real shame that the as yet undiagnosed AVS problem on the engine forced an early retirement during a period of the race where Charles was very competitive with respect to the cars that he was racing. Timo was also beset by the same engine issue and we'll work hard with Cosworth in the next few days to understand the causes of these problems. Unfortunately, our slightly bigger issue has been with the handling characteristics of Timo's car, which came into play from Saturday morning onwards. We have to identify and properly understand the problems that he has been experiencing with the car. Fortunately the Mugello test in one week's time will provide us with some opportunity to iron out these issues away from the pressures of a race weekend. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the team on a job very well done throughout the first four races, which have each brought their own unique challenges. We leave the opening long haul leg behind as a much stronger team and with plenty of cause for optimism for the start of the European season."