Chinese GP 2007
OCTOBER 7, 2007
Sunday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "Today was a very good result for me. I had a battle with Felipe at the start, but unfortunately I was not able to finish the first lap in front of him. As a result I lost a lot of time behind him in the first stint because there was a loss of downforce when following him in the high speed corners. It was difficult towards the end on the wet Bridgestone tyres as they were practically slick, but we stayed out as long as possible to get through the final shower, which was the right decision as I was able to come out ahead of Felipe on my final stop. Although this result is a boost to my chances in the Championship it is still not going to be easy. However I will not be giving up until the chequered flag in two weeks time."
Lewis Hamilton (DNF, Spin): "When I got out of the car I was obviously gutted for both myself and the team. I haven't made a mistake all year but I am over it now. There is still one race to go, so I can still do it. I made a strong start to the race and my first stop went well. Prior to entering the pit lane for my last stop I was constantly talking to the team. Although my tyres were in poor condition we took a joint decision to get through the last rain shower before changing to dry tyres. I was trying to be very careful and as a result was not really fighting aggressively with Kimi. It would have worked out perfectly, but I then made a mistake coming into the pitlane and that was it. We made the right decision, and it was just unfortunate. I will now focus on attacking in Brazil where I will do everything I can to bounce back."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "The start of the race saw everybody being careful not to make any mistakes. Lewis pulled out a healthy lead and stopped a little earlier than both Fernando and the two Ferraris. All of these cars stayed on the same set of tyres which was clearly the right decision. Like us, our competition was hoping to get through the last period of rain before changing to dry tyres. Lewis stopped first but a combination of tyre condition, the wetness of the pitlane and a small mistake saw him run wide into the gravel trap. Fernando's second stop took place on the following lap and he drove an excellent race to put himself firmly back in contention for the World Championship. As always we will now focus on the next Grand Prix and with both Fernando and Lewis having a points lead over Kimi it should be an interesting end to the season in Brazil."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It was a shame what happened to Lewis, but no blame at all to him. He was performing very well but it wasn't to be. Fernando finished second in a challenging race under difficult conditions and did a great job to stay in the World Championship fight. The team worked so hard throughout the season, and we will come out of this even stronger. We now set our sights on the final in Brazil where we will face a three driver fight for the World Championship and are still in a good position to take the title there. For all of us it makes much more sense to concentrate on the final race ahead of us rather than the one today where we didn't get the best possible result."
Heikki Kovalainen (9th): "The start of the race was a disaster for me: I made a good start and climbed three positions, but the understeer was just really bad, with low grip. Four cars passed me, and I lost too much time. We changed to dry tyres at exactly the right time, and after that the car was pretty good. In the middle of the race, I lost time in a very strange way: Kimi had just lapped me but he was on old wet tyres, while my dry tyres were new. I couldn't pass off-line because it was wet, and I didn't want to have an accident with a front runner, so I lost about seven or eight seconds until I could overtake him. After that, I pushed as hard as possible, but I couldn't get past David at the end: I was quicker, but not by enough. The car ended up running pretty well in the dry, but this result is because of my mistake in qualifying yesterday: without it, I would have been in the top ten, with a better result. The team deserved a better result than we got, as the potential was in the car to be fourth, and I'm sorry we couldn't do it for them today. Now we need to go to Brazil, and just go for broke."
Giancarlo Fisichella (11th): "I did my best all the way through today, but I think we could have done better with the strategy. The car was very heavy and inconsistent at the start, and we could have been much faster on a lighter fuel load. We changed to dry tyres at the right moment, and after that, I knew I had one more stop to make so I just pushed to the limit. It nearly worked for us, but we just ran out of time. It is frustrating to finish only eleventh after overtaking so many cars today, especially because we were capable of more."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "The difficult, changing conditions and our poor starting positions made for a challenging afternoon. We tried to cover all angles with two different strategies midway through the race, and they turned out to be very similar. Ultimately, though, we did not have the pace when it mattered at the critical points of the weekend. However, our position in the constructors' championship is now sealed, and we will aim to round the year off strongly during what promises to be an exciting weekend in Interlagos."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The weather played a critical role in the strategic choices we made yesterday afternoon and this morning, and the unexpected, changeable wet-dry conditions meant those choices failed to pay off today. Clearly, we were not helped by our starting positions of thirteenth and eighteenth, and it is frustrating to fall just short of the points and miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of the conditions. We must now move on to Brazil, learn what we can from this race, and look to finish the year with a strong race where we achieve our full potential."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st): "I am very happy! It is a really great result for me and the whole team, who done a truly excellent job. We needed this win and we got it. At the start of the race, I had a lot of understeer but then the situation improved. I was one of the last to switch to dry tyres but this was a help as after a little while the rain began to fall again. Even after the second stop I had a bit of understeer, but as before, the situation improved in the final stages. I knew Alonso was very quick but I was in full control of the situation. The car overall was working well both in the wet and in the dry. Last week in Fuji, we were unlucky but today things went right for us. We have had yet another example that in this sport anything can happen. The situation in the Drivers' classification is still difficult, but I will try everything to win in Brazil, even if the final outcome does not just depend on what we do. It should be a great battle, very hard to predict and interesting."
Felipe Massa (3rd): "I had hoped to be fighting for the win, but the race was affected by the changing weather conditions. At the moment I switched to dry tyres, the timing was not ideal. The rain came back immediately and it was really difficult to stay on track. In any case, in these instances, it can pay off to take risks: sometimes it works out and sometimes not. After a few difficulties with graining, the situation to the extent that, in the final part of the race, I was going very well. All in all, finishing on the podium in a race like this is very important and I am very happy for the team. There is one race to go: anything can happen and we must continue to work to stay ahead of our rivals."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It is great to be able to celebrate Scuderia Ferrari's two hundredth victory in Formula 1, here in Shanghai, at the end of a difficult race, further complicated by the unpredictability of the changes in the weather. Kimi brings his total tally of the season to five and this is the team's eighth. He drove an extraordinary race, without committing the slightest error. Felipe had a good race, helping us to see how the dry weather tyres were working at a critical moment. Unfortunately, the rain returned for a brief period, which affected his race. All the team had taken badly what happened at a difficult weekend in Fuji which we left with much less than we deserved. I also wish to congratulate our friends at Toro Rosso, who picked up some important points: it is great to see four Ferrari engines in the top eight. We know our aim of bringing home the Drivers' title will still be very difficult to achieve, but we will give it our all, right up to the last lap of the last race!"
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This was probably one of the most difficult races of the season, characterized by very unstable weather, with the rain coming and going. After the first pit stop, Kimi gradually made up ground on Hamilton and could have got past earlier but for the yellow flags. Then, as the track was drying, Kimi stepped up the pace and controlled a possible attack from Alonso. Maybe with Felipe, we rushed the switch to dry tyres, but the rain did not help. Now we can say it was a great race, run by two exceptional drivers who are capable of adapting very well to the changing track conditions. It will be tough in Sao Paolo but we will give it our best shot right down to the final corner."
Jenson Button (5th): "A fantastic race today and I'm very happy to come away with four points and our best result of the season. I struggled at the start of the race as the car was not working well in the wet conditions and I had no grip, so I ended up slipping back through the field. When the track dried out we decided to pit and go for the dry option tyre and a light fuel load. From then I started setting fastest laps which was a great feeling. It was a fun race with a lot of overtaking and very close driving. it is very satisfying to come away with some good points today."
Rubens Barrichello (15th): "Unfortunately we made one decision too many this afternoon, which compromised the possibility of a good race. When the rain started after my first pit stop, I thought it would be wet for the remainder of the race, so I came in for wet tyres again but this proved to be the wrong choice just a few laps later. A disappointing end to the weekend but I look forward now to my home grand prix in Brazil in two weeks time."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Two wet races in seven days have made the Asian rounds an exciting challenge. This time the track conditions were good for the wet tyre and only one team opted for the extreme wet, which was clearly not appropriate to the conditions. At the start of the race our cars struggled to keep pace with the cars around us as we were on a heavy fuel load. After everybody pitted for dry tyres it started to rain again and Rubens opted for wets. This was a gamble and the rain stopped after only two laps, so Rubens had to do an extra pit-stop which ruined his hopes of a points finish. Jenson also had to pit earlier than planned as the track was too dry for the wet tyres; therefore we could not take advantage of our planned one-stop strategy. After losing some positions with a heavy car in the first part of the race, he drove a storming race to finish in a fine fifth position. It's a nice feeling for the team to score some points again."
Nick Heidfeld (7th): "I am very disappointed as fourth was possible for us today. In hindsight it was a mistake to take a second set of wets after 28 laps. At this time my first set was completely finished and I lost about 12 seconds a lap. On top of that it looked like we would have more rain. But after 32 laps I had to pit again for dry tyres. The race started well - I managed to gain two positions at the start, and it was almost three. On lap four I made a mistake under braking before the hairpin and Vitantonio Liuzzi passed me. Later in the race we met again, but I couldn't overtake him. I was very close in the corners but couldn't catch him on the straights."
Robert Kubica (DNF, Hydraulics): "I retired from the race with an hydraulic leak. That more or less says it all as I found myself with no power steering and no gears. It was looking pretty good up to then. We stayed out when it started raining with grooved tyres for three or four laps, which was very difficult, but it paid off. However, in the end it didn't pay off because I couldn't finish the race."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was an extremely hard weekend for our team. On Friday and on Saturday we had hydraulic problems three times. In contrast to European races, here we do not have the opportunity to analyse such a problem and to take the respective measures. Therefore, we knew before the race started there was a risk of a failure. Anyway, it is hard for Robert to roll to a stop while leading the race. Nick's race went without any problems technically. A short rain shower forced us to do a second tyre change that finally dropped him down three places. We will take the defective parts to Munich in our hand luggage in order to start the analysis on Monday morning. Naturally, we were interested to see what happened in the title race. I am happy that the new world champion will be crowned at the season's final race."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "This was a turbulent race under tough weather conditions. Both cars had a rain set-up, we had planned long stints. Nevertheless, the timing of Nick's pit stop was not perfect. This cost him a few places. Robert was leading the race when he had his failure. This was a bitter pill. We will now do all possible to be perfectly prepared for the season finale in Brazil."
Jarno Trulli (13th): "This weekend has been a real struggle for me. Yesterday I had problems with the balance of my car and today's race was always going to be a challenge as a result. Still, we made a good start and I was making good ground on the wet tyres given the conditions. But after the pit stop we lost a few places. It was a difficult race for everyone and it just didn't work out for me. I gave my best and pushed hard but it was not possible to score points. Now we head to the last race in Brazil and we will hope for a better result there."
Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Spin): "That was a tough, disappointing race. I spun on the first lap while trying to avoid a collision with another car. After that we were able to make up good ground and I passed a lot of cars. It was a pity that Liuzzi hit me but I'm sure it was not on purpose. At that point the track was drying so we took the risk to switch to dry tyres because we didn't have much to lose. But then the quick shower arrived, I lost grip and the engine died. It was an enjoyable race but it's too bad we don't have a result. I only have one race left for Toyota but I will head to Brazil seeking to score as many points as possible to end my time here on a high note."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "The team did an excellent job in qualifying and we had good positions but again we had a miserable start to the race on Ralf's car. We have to analyse carefully what happened. After that the car showed it was very competitive on the standard wet tyres and the two drivers showed their best performance in these conditions. But when we changed to dry tyres both drivers faced difficulties. That was the key to the race. The timing of the pit stops and the selection of the tyres were not bad but still we need to analyse what happened after the switch. This was always going to be a difficult race with such an unstable weather forecast but given these conditions the pit crew did a good job. Now we will head to Brazil hoping to do our best in the final race."
David Coulthard (8th): "A frustrating race. To start fifth and finish eighth is pretty disappointing, but at least we take a point from China and move closer to Williams in the battle for fourth in the Championship. It was a bit of a lottery with the tyres today and unfortunately at the point I changed to dry tyres it started to rain lightly costing me around 30 seconds in two laps."
Mark Webber (10th): "I had massive under steer on my wet tyres in the first stint, which made it very difficult to get through Turn one and twelve - important corners for lap time. I made the call to go to dry tyres, which was about the right time for my pit stop. It was a tough call to know if wet or dry tyres were best. Once on the dry tyres, the rain started again and I saw a car off the track on the last corner and also had a moment myself. I made the call to put wets back on, which wasn't good, as the rain didn't last for long, so I had to go back onto dry tyres again. Unfortunately, we didn't quite get it right today. David's point has closed us up to Williams a little bit, so let's see what we can do in Brazil."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Changeable conditions at the beginning of the race meant it was a bit hit and miss regarding the drivers being on the right tyres at the right time. David was running in fifth position behind the leading group at the start and remained on his wet tyres at his first pit stop. It then looked as though dry tyres were the ones to be on, so we opted to change him to those and fuel him to the end of the race. At the point when he left the pit lane for a second time, another small shower broke out which lost him crucial circuit time. Those not on dry tyres benefited significantly at that point. Mark was the opposite. He had some issues with the car that he wasn't particularly happy with in the damp conditions on his wet tyres so changed to dry tyres very early on. It looked like the right decision at the time. When the rain started again, he changed back to wets and was the fastest car on the track for a few laps until finally needing to pit for dry tyres. Unfortunately, he finished out of the points. It's frustrating for both cars to have started in a competitive position and obviously disappointing to only get one point out of it. Congratulations to Toro Rosso today on fourth and sixth place."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "We are a little disappointed with our result today. We had a good car, but in these changing conditions you need to have the right tyres at the right time and it was really close once again, with less than 15 seconds separating fifth and tenth positions at the finish, which is nothing in such a race. We'd like to congratulate Toro Rosso for the results achieved today, it's a shame we were not able to make it too. However our result doesn't change the fact that our car performed well this weekend. Engines ran very well and were trouble free during these two Asian races. We score one point, it could have been more which is a little bit frustrating, but it is still one point."
Alexander Wurz (12th): "I guess I was hoping for more rain today. The conditions worked well for me at the beginning and I was the first one to put on dry tyres, which initially worked well for the conditions, so we thought we'd pulled a rabbit out of the hat, but eventually we experienced a similar problem to yesterday with tyre grip and we just dropped back in performance."
Nico Rosberg (16th): "It didn't quite work out for us today. I had a poor start which dropped me back, but then it was working pretty well for me in the wet and I passed several cars. In the next stint, we had switched to dry tyres and we had the same problem we experienced yesterday in qualifying with the tyres. On lap 29, I got a left rear puncture at the end of the straight, but I am not sure what caused it as I didn't make contact with anyone else. Obviously it cost me to come in for an extra stop and that was the end of my race. I am now looking forward to Brazil and to end this season with a good result."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "Our grid position rather dictated our race, but the conditions were difficult today and we might have been luckier. Nico was certainly driving a very good race and overtaking cars but he sustained a puncture which also damaged some bodywork. As a consequence, he had to make an unscheduled stop without which it was quite possible he would have been among the points. As it was, we sent him out on the wrong tyres for the conditions and that was that. Alex's race was dictated by a poor grid position. The race was disappointing for both the drivers and the team. I must say congratulations to the Toro Rosso drivers who I think both did a good job."
Sebastian Vettel (4th): "P4! A Fantastic race. In the beginning it was quite difficult, starting in the mid field. For a couple of metres the visibility was okay and then you got all the spray. After the start, I used my momentum to go round the outside of several cars. Even though it was really slippery I took the risk. I kept pushing as hard as I could. After I passed Kovalainen I had a clear track ahead of me and was able to push harder. Just as I changed to dry tyres the rain came, but fortunately it went away quickly. I fought with Jenson, but when we realized he was on a two stopper, I didn't worry. The last 20 laps were unbelievable and even though I had the situation under control and slowed the pace, it was tough. A fantastic day for the whole team, especially with Tonio in P6. Yesterday I wasn't happy with my grid penalty but today I got my revenge on the track. Finish fourth is fantastic. When I left the factory in Italy, the guys said 'Sebastian, you must bring back some points' and I said I'd try. In Fuji we got close and today came this great result. Now I will celebrate with the team who did a great job in the pit stops and with the strategy."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (6th): "This was a great race from start to finish with everything going perfectly. I think Sebastian's one- stop strategy was better but that does not matter now. It is fantastic for the team that we both scored points. I made no mistakes and had some great fights with Williams, Renault and BMW. I don't think we could have done more than this. I am really happy for the team who really deserve these points. Many times this year, we have shown that we were capable of scoring points, but somehow we never got them. Now everyone can be happy and it shows that the team is growing and that all the guys are doing a great job. Now we can go to Brazil in a really positive frame of mind after showing what we can do, both here and in Fuji last week. We deserve this result."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "A very good result thanks to a fantastic effort from the team and both drivers. We have been working very very hard and sometimes this year we have been a bit unlucky. Today it all came together. This team works so hard. It is competitive and fights hard with limited resources, but still doing an outstanding job. The immediate future? To go to Sao Paulo and try and get more points."
Sakon Yamamoto (17th): "At the end of the day we can say we made some mistakes over tyre choice, but nobody knows how it will go and you just have to take the risks. If it works out, then it will be a success and if not, a very tough race. One positive thing was that I could again finish and, even with four tyre changes in mixed conditions the crew did very well. We have now just got to look to Brazil, one of my favourite tracks, and just give a good race to end the season."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Accident): "For sure this was a disappointing weekend. We took some risks with the weather, starting first on extreme wet tyres. We were hoping for a lot more rain, but ultimately it didn't come and we changed to the wets. It was very difficult to drive, but we carried on until the second pit stop for the dry tyres. It turned out to be too early and then the rain started again. It was just the wrong moment to change to dry and tough to drive and suddenly at the last corner the car just went straight on and into the barriers. We all have to forget this one though and now look to Brazil. There are good races and bad races, and this was just one of those bad ones."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "This was a tough race to call with the expected heavy rain ultimately never coming. We have usually been right with strategy calls in similarly difficult conditions, but this time the risks didn't pay off, however when you start at the back of the grid, there is everything to gain and the risks are always worth taking. Although it didn't work out this time, there is always one race to go where I hope we can put on a better show."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "We took a gamble to start on the extreme wets with heavy rain predicted, but the rain never really materialised. We then had to change to the standard wets and, from that moment on, it was always going to be a case of getting it to the flag. Unfortunately we then changed to drys, but after a few laps it started to rain again and Adrian just got caught out. Sakon did a good job to get the car to the finish in difficult conditions, but I think that we can all say that this is one race to definitely forget."
Takuma Sato (14th): "It was an exciting but tough race for us. I made a good start, gaining a few positions and it was exciting overtaking in the wet conditions. But within a few laps we had a mechanical problem and from then on the car was bouncing quite a lot. I immediately radioed to the team, but there was nothing we could do. With the changing conditions I was able to catch a few cars ahead, but we just weren't quick enough to overtake. Thankfully we were able to finish, but the car handling was far from ideal which made it an even more difficult race for me."
Anthony Davidson (DNF, Brakes): "It is a disappointing end to the weekend. We had a very poor start and Rubens was able to quite easily overtake us into turn one. I managed to get back past and fight with a few other cars on lap one, but then going into turn one on lap two Rubens tagged my right rear and we both spun. I had damage to my body work which covered my brake duct sending the temperatures sky high. This then gives you a long brake pedal, leaving you only with the front brakes so I came in to the pits for the guys to remove the damaged body work and see if that would get more air to the right rear brake duct, but it wasn't to be. The brakes never came back so instead of putting myself and the team in danger I decided to retire from the race."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "This was another tough race for us in difficult conditions. Taku did a good job and it is a shame that Anthony had a coming together at beginning of the race with Barrichello. I would like to thank everyone in the team for continuing to push hard and I would also like to congratulate both Toro Rosso drivers who did a good job today. We have only one more race this season, so we shall continue to keep up our fighting spirit and try to replicate the result that we had last year in Brazil."