Belgian GP 2016
AUGUST 28, 2016
Sunday Team Quotes
Nico Rosberg (1st): "I am so happy to win here in Spa at this legendary track. It wasn't an easy weekend for us. We had to work a lot on the setup - but in the race it was perfect. The stints on the medium tyres were really good and I felt really comfortable at the start on the softs too. Our car was really great today, so thank you to the team for all their hard work in getting it spot on. It's great for the team that Lewis was able to recover to finish in third place, so overall a great result for us. It was a great atmosphere here with all the Dutch people coming to see Max. They shouldn't be sad because he is still young and I'm sure he will have a lot more races here with much better results. Now, it's only a few days until Monza. The penalties for Lewis made things easier for me today - but he will be back in the battle for the win again next weekend, which will be exciting."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd): "If you'd offered me third coming into this race with all the penalties I would definitely have taken it! I really wasn't expecting that! As I said yesterday, I really didn't know what would be possible today. But I came into the race with a positive mental attitude and it all came together. It was a steep mountain to climb - but we did it together as a team. I'm so happy and so proud of everyone. Changing so many parts on the car, it would have been easy to make mistakes. But the guys did an exceptional job and all three Power Units worked flawlessly. I think I now have more engines than most of the others, which is great. Now, the fight is really on for the second half of the season. The car worked really well out there today. The most difficult part of the race really was the mental approach from the beginning in terms of whether I risked it all at the start or hung back and tried to pick my way through carefully. I kind of went for somewhere in the middle - but then all this commotion happened along the way and I'm grateful I could capitalize on that. Coming from the back and having to make overtaking manoeuvres, I had to push a little bit more than you'd normally plan to, so we went for a three stop strategy. Whether or not I would have made it on a two stop with the medium I'm not sure - but I'm glad we didn't take that risk. The team made the right call. I've been so impressed with the fans here this weekend. Naturally, a lot of them were here for Max. But I've seen loads of Brits here too and generally I feel like I've had great support right the way through, so thank you everybody."
Paddy Lowe: "We knew coming into today that it was going to be a tough race. Not just because we were starting from the back, but because tyre endurance on all three compounds was very low and we didn't feel we had a great performance margin to several of our competitors. As it turned out, a dramatic start to the race ruled several of the main contenders out of the running straight away. Meanwhile, Nico immediately showed good pace from the start and, with all the incidents ahead of him, Lewis made good progress. We lucked in with the Safety Car because many teams stopped and lost position, while we deliberately chose to stay out on a two stop plan. We then lucked in again with the red flag, which effectively created a fresh race and sealed our positions in first and fifth. Going into that with two sets of the medium compound available for Nico, we had a safe two stints to the flag. With Lewis, we chose a three stint strategy as we knew he had to push to improve on his fifth place and he only had one sets of mediums available having started on that compound. We're delighted to get two cars on the podium this weekend, as it didn't look like it would be an easy task earlier in the weekend. Nico drove superbly to manage the tyres in difficult conditions and take a dominant win. And, regardless of the circumstances, it was a really great drive from Lewis to come from 21st to third. We leave Belgium thoroughly satisfied and with a tantalising battle in store with our drivers separated by such a narrow margin."
Toto Wolff, Technical Director: "A fantastic result this afternoon for the whole team after what proved a pretty tough weekend for us. Nico had it all under control today from the moment the lights went out. It was a perfect drive, with great pace on each of the tyres he used and he just steadily built the gap to Ricciardo behind him when he needed to. He didn't put a foot wrong and delivered everything possible. On the other side, I'm delighted for Lewis climbing back up to P3 after starting from the back. Sure, we benefitted from the chaos at Turn 1 and the decision of some people to pit under the Safety Car before the red flag came out. But we had decided to run an aggressive three-stop strategy with him so that he could attack the other cars and move forward today and we stuck to our guns after the red flag. Doing something different to Ricciardo was the only possible way to beat him - and that was a long shot anyway. But Lewis drove a squeaky clean race and really deserved the podium finish - at one point in the final stint, we thought maybe we could chase Ricciardo down. But then even the medium tyre started to blister from Lewis and we played it safe from there. Most of all, I want to say congratulations to the whole team. To have prepared the engine penalty strategy for this weekend, to get everything ready and to deliver it perfectly at the track with no mistakes at all really shows that we are working in a great way. Our mechanics were faultless all the way through this demanding challenge and I'm really proud of what they achieved. Likewise, the engineering team worked their way from a pretty tricky situation on Friday to delivering the kind of performance we are used to seeing this afternoon. A super impressive job all round and a great way for us to come back to work after the summer break."
Sebastian Vettel (6th): "Today I had a brillant start. I was in second place and half a car ahead, so I could dictate the way. I could hardly see Kimi, he was in my blind spot, with Max even further right and out of sight. So I don't think what Max was trying to do would have worked. Obviously he didn't allow Kimi to move into the inside, and that prevented both of them from clearing Turn One in a normal way. We all three touched and collided, and this was bad news for Kimi and for me. Of course, with hindsight, I would have given more room to the inside, but you want to make the corner and try to race, and I gave room to Kimi, but not to three cars. Max had a bad start, he was falling behind. I think we have seen in the last couple of years that if you really dive down the very inside,the track is falling off and you basically go straight. The cars ahead have priority, and this is something he needs to understand. In that regard there was no way he could have made the corner without making contact. I don't think that me and Kimi have to change what we are doing, we respect each other and it's a pity when two cars of the same color collide."
Kimi Raikkonen (9th): "After the start, at the first corner, Sebastian didn't see that there was another car on the inside: he expected me to turn but I couldn't, so I found myself stuck in the middle with nowhere to go. We ended up touching each other and this was pretty bad for the rest of the race. After that it was an uphill battle: the floor of my car was a bit damaged, but we managed to recover some positions and do the best we could, even though it was not easy. I'm fine with fair racing and close battles, but, in my opinion, what happened at Eau Rouge with Verstappen was not correct. I was going full speed and I had to back off before Turn 5 because he just turned in front of me when I tried to overtake him. I've never had that with any other driver, if I hadn't braked hard I would have hit him at full speed and it would have ended up in a massive accident. It's hard to say where we would have been without the issue at the first corner, but the car felt well throughout the weekend. This was not the result that we were looking for, it's a pity but that's how racing goes sometimes."
Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal: "It's such a pity. Today we probably had the pace for finishing the Grand Prix with both drivers on the podium. Unfortunately, the accident at the first corner ruined our race. The positives we can take is that, despite extensive damage, our car proved fast and resilient throughout. And this bodes well for our home Grand Prix next week at Monza. Also, the team behaved strongly and was united both on track and back at Maranello. So, starting from tomorrow, we'll start preparing the Italian Grand Prix."
Valtteri Bottas (8th): "It was a disappointing day and a shame that we wasted the opportunity that we had at the beginning of the race. We were in a great position after the start and when the safety car came in we should have pitted immediately. We then lost many positions. We tried to get the most out the race that we could after that, and I'm happy that we could at least get some points in the end, but overall it was disappointing. Looking ahead, we've got another race next week and obviously we need to learn from today. Hopefully we'll be better in Monza."
Felipe Massa (10th): "It was a very difficult race. Trying to look after the tyres until the end and checking the tyre pressures while we were racing was tough. It was difficult to stay out long enough on track. When the tyres were there we were fighting for a great position but when the tyres went off we just couldn't fight anymore."
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "It was a disappointing race to come out with so few points. The key point of the race for us was the safety car when Magnusson had the huge accident and damaged the barrier. We thought it would be a red flag and so planned our strategy around that, however the red flag didn't come out very quickly, and so we had to pit Valtteri. The red flag did finally come out, as predicted, however by this point it had ruined our race. From then on our afternoon was set as we just didn't have the pace to move further forward. We will now go to Monza and try harder."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Daniel Ricciardo (2nd): "I'm pleased with that result, I knew a podium was on today. Of course you can never guarantee, but I knew if we had the pace that we did on Friday, that we would be able to get there. With Lewis starting at the back it was an opportunity to get at least a second place, and we got that. A win is always the big target, but Nico had the pace that we expected, so second is the best we could have done. There was a lot going on at the start and I actually hit some of the debris which damaged the front wing, so the red flag helped us as we were able to repair it. Before that the car was quite affected. Then, after that we got going; there wasn't too much action for me, but I was just trying to be consistent and the outcome was good! The fans this weekend have been awesome. The driver parade was great, 99% of the fans are here for Max but they were cheering everyone and it was good sportsmanship; Max got bigger cheers but they were waving and cheering for everyone, it was really good to see. So big respect to the Dutch and Belgian fans, they were really cool."
Max Verstappen (11th): "Today was very unfortunate. I didn't start as well as I wanted but I got up the inside for the first corner then got squeezed by the two Ferraris. In the contact my front wing and the floor got destroyed so then the car was very difficult to drive and the race was gone. Still, I tried my best to come back especially for all the people who were cheering me on in the stands, but unfortunately I didn't get in the points. Luckily we got Daniel on the podium so we still scored some more points for the team. It's good to have another race next week and we'll try to do the best job possible at Monza. The race didn't turn out the way I wanted but before that we had a great weekend here in Spa and it was great to have some interaction with all the fans who came out to support me."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "An impressive performance by Daniel today; a great disciplined drive, looking after his tyres and making an effective two-stop strategy work. To finish second, at the type of venue that we weren't expecting to be our strongest, is an amazing result. He picked up a little bit of damage after the first corner but we were able to repair that in the break (during a red flag), and he drove a strong race thereafter. Max's race was compromised after turn one. After an average start he got inside of Kimi into that turn but unfortunately he was squeezed from the outside by Sebastian and three into one quite simply doesn't go. The resulting damage significantly compromised the aerodynamics on the underside of the car costing him about a second and half per lap. He made a strong recovery to finish unfortunately just outside the points, It's clearly not the result he was looking for in front of such an enormous crowd that came out to support him all weekend but hopefully a lot more positive races to come. For the team to be coming away from Spa still second in the Constructors' Championship, and having extended our lead over Ferrari, is more than we could have envisaged."
Nico Hulkenberg (4th): "Today is a massive result for the team and I'm feeling very happy with fourth place. There were some unusual circumstances, but we were there to take the opportunities and pick up some very important points. At the start of the race things worked out really well for me. The first lap was great; I was up in second place following Nico [Rosberg] and pulling away from the group of cars behind me. Unfortunately, the red flag proved costly because it neutralised things and bunched everybody back up again. The restart was clean and the rest of the race was quite controlled - just managing my pace and looking after the tyres. There was a battle with Fernando [Alonso] coming out of the pit lane, but we managed to stay ahead and keep the fourth position. Maybe if things had worked out slightly differently, we could have been on the podium, but I'm satisfied with the fourth position."
Sergio Perez (5th): "It's been a great day for the team and I am very pleased to finish fifth, but it was quite a tough race from the start. I chose a wide line going into turn one, but had to go far on the outside to avoid the first corner accident and that cost me a few positions. I dropped down to ninth and that compromised my race. I managed to make some good progress early on, but every time I switched to new tyres I found myself having to put a lot of stress on them as I needed to attack Felipe [Massa] then Fernando [Alonso]. I still managed to make my way through and bring home a good result for the team. Moving to fourth in the constructors'' championship is a fantastic achievement for us, but we can't get carried away because there's still a very long way to go in the season. Hopefully we can keep our momentum going and keep scoring strongly."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "We can rightly be proud of a great team result - the first time we've put both cars in the top five since Bahrain 2014. It was a fantastic weekend, one that highlights once more the special relationship we have with Spa-Francorchamps. Everyone in the team did a great job and we can now celebrate a very strong race. We can even be a bit disappointed, too, because without the Safety Car and red flag, Nico could well have been on the podium, but considering how the race turned out, we feel pretty content with the result. We are now fourth in the championship, having scored 89 points since Monaco, but we won't let our guard down. There is still a long way to go and the battle in the midfield is just going to get closer. We will continue to work hard and hopefully bring home more special results between now and the end of the season."
Jolyon Palmer (15th): "We had our best qualifying here. Both cars had a great start and ran in the top ten for a while. We could have had a strong race but the safety car pulled a lot of people back into play. It's a shame not to get better results in the end but this weekend has been better than we expected overall. I saw Kevin crash in my rear mirrors. It's not nice to see because it's a really, really fast part of the track. I'm glad he's ok."
Kevin Magnussen (DNF, Accident):
Fred Vasseur, Team Principal: "Our first concern today was with Kevin after his big accident in Eau Rouge. He was able to leave the car unaided and was taken to the medical centre as a precaution. He was responsive throughout but had a cut on his ankle that required some further checks so was taken to hospital in Verviers. Jolyon had a very good start and was racing very hard, but had some problems with tyre degradation that dropped him back down the order. It's a shame as we had had the strongest qualifying of the year and had shown that we had taken some steps forward with the car yet again. I hope we can keep the stronger form going in Monza and are able to fully capitalise in the race."
Daniil Kvyat (14th): "We pushed quite hard today and after the red flag there was some hope - at one point it even looked like we could dream of scoring some points... I think we did a great job with the tyres, but we started to struggle with straight-line speed and the deficit was more and more obvious after the second pit-stop. It's a shame, but at least we can say we did our absolute best today. Unfortunately not many people will see this, as we only ended up P14 and out of the points, but it's not that bad. We will have to take our opportunities at tracks that suit us better."
Carlos Sainz (DNF, Damage): "How frustrating to have to retire from the race because of a puncture! I did one of the best starts of my life and by the end of the first lap I had gained seven positions and was racing in P7... But I then went over some debris from other cars at the start of my second lap and the tyre ended up exploding after Eau Rouge. It definitely wasn't the best moment of my life, especially after doing such a good start! It's frustrating to have to end the race like this, but I will keep fighting and forget today as quickly as possible."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Even before arriving here we knew that Spa - and also Monza - would be a difficult race for us, because we have the disadvantage of running last year's engine. This was actually the case in the end and it also hurt our qualifying pace yesterday, as we ended up P15 and P19. Today Carlos did a fantastic start and gained seven positions during the first lap, racing in P7. Unfortunately, he had a tyre failure. I assume that the tyre was destroyed by some debris from the collision in the first corner and therefore Carlos had to retire. Daniil performed a very good race. Strategy wise, the team also did everything correctly, but in the end our lap times were simply too slow to score some points. We will now analyse everything and hopefully we will come back stronger, especially in Singapore. Before that, let's focus on another tough race for us, the team's home Grand Prix in Monza next week."
Felipe Nasr (17th): "A disappointing race. I had a good start and was able to make up some positions running temporarily in P11. Because of a lot of debris on track, I got a rear left tyre puncture, which was very unfortunate. I had to pit early, which compromised the whole race. The floor ,as well as the diffusor, was also damaged by the debris. That surely had an influence on the lap times. Now we need to shift our focus onto the upcoming race weekend in Monza."
Marcus Ericsson (DNF, Gearbox): "It was a tough day. When I went out to the starting grid we identified issues with the cooling system, so we had to make some adjustments. This meant that I had to start the race from the pit lane. It was a good first lap, I was able to catch the group ahead, but then suddenly I lost sixth gear on lap three. That was the end of my race; I had to retire. It has been a weekend with many issues, but I am sure we will be stronger soon."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "A disappointing result, after we could see in the practice sessions that the aerodynamic characteristics of the car had generally improved. This weekend was compromised by several incidents with the power unit. Also the race was influenced by factors which did not lie in our hands - the gearbox issues on Marcus' car, as well as the debris which caused a puncture and damages to Felipe's car. Nevertheless, Felipe put in a good performance driving-wise as well as with regards to the tyre management."
Fernando Alonso (7th): "It was an exciting race to drive and I had a good feeling throughout. We had good pace this weekend; we did better than expected on this track; we were in the top 10 with Jenson yesterday in qualifying; and we've scored points today. Believe me: a few months ago that would have been unthinkable on a circuit like this. That's progress - real progress. "And, after all the bad luck we've had so far this weekend, we finally got some good luck today. We started last, but we managed to keep away from all the incidents, gain some positions thanks to the Safety Car and then a couple more because of the red flag. We then put on fresh tyres and found ourselves in fourth place - and, better still, we had the pace to manage the situation afterwards. Okay, we couldn't hold back Lewis [Hamilton], Checo [Perez] or Seb [Vettel], because they were just too fast, but we had enough pace to keep Valtteri [Bottas] behind all the way to the flag. Finally, it's great news that we overtook Toro Rosso in the Constructors' World Championship - I think we can be regularly in the points from now on. "So, to sum up, this weekend we saw evidence of very good progress from the team; we're moving in the right direction, that's for sure."
Jenson Button (DNF, Damage): "We looked really good for points today, so it's disappointing that we didn't score any, but it happens. I've been around long enough to know these things happen. I had a really good start - I got ahead of a Williams, pulled in front of a Red Bull and drew alongside a Force India. But then I lost a lot of places at La Source and ran wide. I rejoined the track, but Pascal [Wehrlein] made contact with me at Turn Five, damaging the rear of my car. There was a lot of damage and we were unable to complete the race. After such a short race, there's not much more to say!"
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Having suffered problem after problem yesterday and the day before, Fernando enjoyed a trouble-free run today, forcing his way from the back of the grid to a fine seventh place by the end of a truly dramatic Belgian Grand Prix. By contrast, very soon after the start, Jenson's car was hit by another car, through no fault of Jenson's, and we judged the damage it had sustained too serious to feel able to authorise him to continue. It was massively frustrating for him and for us, because he'd shown very impressive pace here so far this weekend. That being the case, we're encouraged by our car performance here, overall, and we're optimistic of building on this weekend's decent form when we arrive in Italy in a few days' time. Granted, Monza is the fastest racetrack on the Formula 1 calendar - and as such our car should in theory be unsuited to its very long straights - but we'll do our very best to score points there all the same. Talking of points, the half-dozen that Fernando scored today have lifted us ahead of Toro Rosso in the constructors' world championship table; as a result we're now in sixth place. That's not great, but it shows that things are going in the right direction for us. Last but not least, on behalf of all at McLaren-Honda, I want to say 'get well soon' to our ex-driver and old mate Kev [Magnussen] after his massive shunt at Eau Rouge today."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "Fernando drove a brilliant race today, and the team did a phenomenal job to get him from the very back of the grid to finish P7 - and at Spa too! This is another confirmation that our power unit has indeed taken a step forward, and I'm happy and thankful to everyone for all their hard work. Jenson was unlucky to retire at the very start of the race, when he was unexpectedly hit from behind. He had a strong start to the weekend, and it was a great shame that he couldn't capitalise on his very good P9 starting position. Of course, we're still hungry and not completely satisfied by these results, but after each race we go home encouraged by our progress and this one is no different. Next up is Monza, which is probably the toughest circuit of the year for us, but we'll prepare as usual to give our all."
Esteban Ocon (16th): "I am. I was really proud lining up on the grid and so proud to take the chequered flag. It's a day I'll remember for the rest of my life. It wasn't an easy race, that's for sure, but I'm very satisfied with my first Grand Prix. There were so many things happening in that first lap; it was crazy out there. It was hard for me to stay away from it all and at the same time push hard and fight for position. On top of that I had to remember all the procedures as well; it's not difficult, it's just remembering them in the heat of the moment and of course everything happens so much faster in F1. It was not easy to manage the red flag situation, but most importantly I'm glad Kevin seems to be okay. So I think we did the maximum with the car today and I'm happy with 16th position and finishing ahead of the Sauber. I learned a lot about managing the race, particularly with all the different situations going on. This track is so high for degradation that it was also a really good test of tyre management; I'm very pleased with that because, really, we didn't have the tyres left to push until the end. As for what next, well, I'm not tired, I could easily do another 24 hours! But, I guess I have to wait a week. There's a lot to think about and reflect on, but I'm ready for Monza, where I want to work on Qualifying and make a good step forward. My thanks to everyone in the team for a great weekend and I'm so excited for the next one!"
Pascal Wehrlein (DNF, Damage): "I was really unlucky. In Turn 5 the two drivers in front of me were fighting for position, braking late, missing the line, so I tried to overtake them into Turn 6 on the outside. Then, both came back on the line and when I saw that I wanted to brake and move to the inside but I couldn't avoid the crash. I'm really unhappy about it but that is what can happen on the first lap when you're starting in the midfield; that part I can't complain about and that's where I want us to be starting next time in Monza. I think P9 in Q1 was a really good measure of how strong we were here this weekend. That's the bit I'll take forward into Monza and work to maintain. Of course, I'm sad for the team because of what could have been today in the race, especially with all the incidents that created some opportunities. But, we'll come back fighting next weekend. Not long to wait!"
Dave Ryan, Racing Director: "A mixed result today. On the one hand, a great debut by Esteban, who didn't put a foot wrong all weekend. He finished his first race in 16th place and I'm sure it will be an upward trajectory for him from here. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he gets on in Monza. For Pascal, a real disappointment that he had to retire at the end of the first lap, but huge positives for him to take away from this race. His performance all weekend has been outstanding and, again, really excited to see how he takes this forward to Monza. From a team perspective, generally it's been a good event for us, but we have had a few hiccups, which we need to sort out before Monza. That will be our focus over the next few days."
Esteban Gutierrez (12th): "It wasn't the result we expected. We were fighting very hard to get into the top-10 and even though we didn't manage to get there, I think we did well. The balance of the car felt good and we had reasonable pace. This is one of the things we need to keep up for the coming events because it's what's going to keep us consistent and help us get the most out of the car. I feel very grateful for the team. They did a great job and had some great pit stops. We lost some time on the safety car before the red flag, but sometimes it goes that way. We finished P12, so I'm not completely satisfied, but we will keep pushing."
Romain Grosjean (13th): "Well, it was a very good start and a very good first lap. Unfortunately, I didn't have any top speed in the beginning of the race. Something was not going quite right. It took a lot of time to solve that. My last stint wasn't bad. I made up a lot of time on everyone, but the damage had already been done. We had a shot at a good finish today. On the positive side, I'm much happier with the car than I was recently, so that's at least great. It's just a shame we lost an opportunity for a good result."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "A very interesting and exciting race for the fans. For us, it was a bit up and down. We got away very well, but then with the red-flag scenario, we were pushed back and couldn't get further to the front. In general, both drivers showed good speed. We had a small issue with Romain's car with the energy recovery system, which the team fixed within a few laps and in the end we finished 12th and 13th. We would've liked to get in the points, but that didn't work out. However, we showed we can do it if the circumstances are right. We still hope to get some more points this year and we look forward to Monza."